The ABC of business IT security


Date: 4 March 2013

The ABC of business IT security/ABC blocks{{}}It’s good to refresh your knowledge when it comes to something as crucial as IT and data security. So here’s a slightly tenuous ABC of business IT security. Plus a D and an E for good measure.

A is for anti-virus

Get good anti-virus software and keep it up to date. You usually have to subscribe to software updates, and don’t wait for this to expire before you renew it. Even a few days without adequate protection is asking for trouble.

Spyware - which attempts to extract information from your computer without your knowledge - is another threat. However, most anti-virus packages also include anti-spyware protection too.

You can shop around for the best anti-virus deals. Reputable suppliers include McAfee, Kaspersky and Bitdefender.

B is for backups

Ideally, all the data on your computer system needs to be backed up to external hard drives. This ensures that you won’t lose sensitive information if your computers are corrupted by spyware or viruses.

Inform your staff that they need to back up their data at the end of each day, and regularly remind them to do so. External hard drives don’t cost the earth (you can see a selection here on Amazon), and you’ll be saving yourself a lot of hassle if the worst comes to the worst.

C is for control

When it comes to protecting data from prying eyes, control is the key. If there are files on your company’s shared drive which you don’t want all your staff to view, you should control who can access them.

If you use Microsoft Windows, here’s how to restrict access to a certain folder:

  1. Right click the folder and click Properties
  2. Click the Security tab
  3. Click Edit and then Add
  4. Add the usernames of the people you want to access the folder into the box that appears on screen
  5. Click Ok

That’s it – you’ve created a list of people who can access that particular file or folder on the shared drive.

D is for data encryption

Encrypting your computer systems makes it harder for hackers and fraudsters to access sensitive business information.

This can be anything from emails and financial figures to documents and databases hat are stored on computers or servers in your business. You can also protect portable storage devices like USB drives, which protects them in the event of loss.

Setting up encryption software can be a little tricky, but this guide to encrypting your laptop is a good place to start. It’s also worth speaking to your IT supplier if you need help.

Encryption is an excellent way to ensure your business transactions are protected from unwanted attention. Even if a fraudster manages to steal a disk containing sensitive information, they should still be unable to read it.

E is for external help

Instead of relying on your own knowledge about maintaining computers, it is a good idea to have an trusted IT supplier you can turn to. They will help troubleshoot any problems with your system, allowing you and your staff to focus on running your business.

Even seemingly minor problems should be flagged up, as they can indicate larger problems with your IT security. It all helps avoid any lingering suspicions that your company has been targeted.

It’s often a good idea to choose a local IT supplier, so you can ask business contacts and friends who they’ve used in the past. Perhaps they could even negotiate you a discounted rate!

Written by online security expert, James Archer, on behalf of online retailer The Safe Shop

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