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Small Business IT Tips

Date: 01/17/2006 | Category: Business | Author: Diana Heeb Bivona

The Small Business Technology Institute recently conducted a study of 1,000 small businesses and their use of technology. The conclusion of the survey was that most small business are largely unaware and uninformed about information security risks and their potential economic impact.  Results indicate that 20% of small business do not even scan email, and 75% have no plans to undertake any information security planning in the future.

There are some simple steps a small business owner can take in order to safeguard their information infrastructure.  The good news is that these steps will not cost anything and take very little time to implement.

Use strong passwords:  By using a strong password, you make it more difficult for hackers to do their job.  Typically, a strong password is characterized as being at least eight characters in length, a combination of lower and uppercase letters, numbers, and/or symbols.  Also consider changing your password every 45 to 60 days.

Be a smart email user:  Most security threats are spread by email. Even the occasional infected message can break through your antivirus software.  Carefully scrutinize every email attachment before opening, even if you recognize the sender’s name. Don’t open attachments which end in unusual extensions.

Use antivirus software: Antivirus software is still the best way to protect against viruses, worms and Trojan horses. There are numerous products on the market.  Several reputable antivirus softwares are also available online at no charge.

Use a firewall: Think about all of the important and sensitive information that lives in your computer. Every time you connect to the Internet, a conduit opens up directly into your computer.  Without a firewall, you are putting that information at risk.

Backup and restore:   Someone should be responsible for backing up your data daily. In addition, backups should be made on servers and on users’ hard disks.   Be sure to store your backups in a safe place, preferably away from your business location.

Stay up to date with patches and software: Most successful attacks exploit flaws and vulnerabilities in software applications.  This is why security patches and fixes should be added to your computer as soon as they become available.

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