Just as office security is important, the security of your computers, data and privacy are things that are very important to your
businenes. The threat to small business today is one that is invisible and can often be prevented by taking the right steps to insure that cyber criminals, hackers and viruses do not get in the way of doing your business. This blog entry was inspired by one of our office space tenants that had his computer attacked, but luckily for him, he had everything backed up on a cloud server that was safe from the attack.

In the early days of computer viruses, the attacks mainly came through an email from an unknown source with a file attachment. If you did not open the attachment, you were normally safe. Well those days are gone and as people got smarter, but so did the cyber criminals. These days just visiting a website the is infected with malware can cause a small business a great deal of harm. Some website owners do not even know they are spreading malware, because an intruder has placed it there without their knowledge.

Here are some tips to keeping your computer safe:

• Keep up to date virus protection on all your computers (even on your smartphone). Depending on your business and the number of computers you have, there are plenty of inexpensive and even free programs like AVG and Avast that are very reliable. There are also open-source projects like ClamWin and ClamAV that are very effective and FREE. If you have a more than five computers in your office, you may want to consider enterprise virus protection that can be updated and controlled through one computer.

• If your anti-virus protects you against malware, it is always wise to have more protection. Programs like Anti-malware, Spybot and Xspy are always a great way to help have additional protection against attacks on your computer and your business. Even if a malware attack does not affect your files, the cost in terms of cleaning up from an attack can come in the form of having someone fix it as well as the lost productivity time.

• Be sure to keep your firmware, operating system and other software up to date. Most software companies like Microsoft will release security patches and other updates to help you keep safe. If you are using Microsoft Office, you will probably have seen these types of releases when your program prompts you to make updates. Not all software companies include these types of patches and releases automatically, so take some time to look for them – and make sure you keep your computers safe from vulnerabilities that hackers have discovered in your software.

• Do not install or allow free browser toolbars to be installed on your computer. These can often lead to browser problems that can change not only the way you use your computer and default search engine, but they can also be a gateway into your computer for hackers and cyber intruders. The only toolbars you should consider installing are the ones that are part of a security package that you have purchased and are intended to help keep you safer.

• Keep your files backed up on a cloud server – or even keep and work on your files directly on a cloud server rather than your PC. Cloud servers will not only protect your files in the event of an attack on your PC, but they are a great way of keeping your files available when you are on the go. We will be doing another blog solely on cloud servers and how they can be very affordable to small business.