Computer and email security is a big issue for all types of companies. Malicious viruses can infiltrate your system and force your business to grind to a halt while your IT staff tends to it. Hackers can collect sensitive data and use it to harm your business.

But there are ways in which you can prevent and protect your business’ valuable data. You don’t need a computer science degree or expensive software, either. Much of this protection comes from applying good old-fashioned common sense to your computer use and teaching your employees to do the same.

  1. Update your software: You know those annoying update notices that pop up on your screen every now and then? Instead of ignoring them, run them. Software manufacturers sometimes issue updates and patches when holes in the software code are exploited by hackers to spread viruses and malware. Older software is more vulnerable to problems than newer software, and updates help prevent and protect your system. Run those updates and invest in new software.
  2. Add virus protection: Software that scans incoming emails and checks websites before allowing you to enter them also adds a layer of protection to your online interactions. Some virus codes can be picked up just by visiting an infected site. To prevent this, software that scans sites for safety can help you avoid problematic places online.
  3. Improve password security: Change your passwords monthly, and ask your staff to do the same. Instruct them to use complex passwords that include upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Strong passwords incorporate phrases that only the user knows but are hard to crack. Avoid sharing the same password among different systems or websites. If one is hacked, that password can now be used to access any other places online that share it. And lastly, don’t share passwords by email or tape them to your computer, especially mobile devices. That’s just asking for someone to steal them!
  4. Teach your team simple email protection: Many hackers use simple tricks to enter systems. They send “change password” emails that pass the glance test or look great at a glance. Others send messages asking the recipients to click a link to access information or to change passwords. Never click links in emails unless you are sure they come from the company itself. When in doubt, close your browser, open your internet browser again, and manually enter a website user name and password to check on your account. Simple precautions like this can save you a world of trouble later.

Although you can’t guarantee that your data will remain secure, taking these simple precautions can help you prevent costly problems later.

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