While spam, pop-ups, and hackers are a real threat to any small business network, there are 3 security measures that you should be focusing on FIRST before you do anything else...

Worry About E-mail Attachments, Not Spam

Sure, spam is annoying and wastes your time, but the REAL danger with spam is in the attachments. Viruses and worms are malicious programs that are spread primarily through cleverly disguised attachments to messages that trick you (or your employees) into opening them.

Another huge threat is phishing e-mails that trick the user by appearing to be legitimate e-mails from your bank, eBay, or other password-protected entity.

Here are 2 things you must have in place to avoid this nightmare:

Keep your anti-virus up to date and enabled. Okay, this sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s not uncommon for an employee to disable their anti-virus software unbeknownst to you. Which brings us to #2...

Train employees on what they are (and aren’t) permitted to do with the company’s computer, e-mail, Internet access, etc. One thing that should be on the list is that they should NEVER open suspicious attachments or respond to phishing e-mails. We highly recommend creating an AUP (acceptable use policy) to teach your staff what NOT to do.

Put monitoring software in place to not only maintain the health of  employees’ desktops, but also to automatically “police” employees from accidentally (or intentionally) visiting a phishing web site, downloading a virus, or visiting questionable web sites and content online.

Fear Downloads Before Pop-Ups

Did you know that most computers and networks get infected with viruses because the user actually invited the threat in by downloading a file (screen saver, music file, PDF document, pictures, etc.).?

Again, this comes down to training the staff on what they can and cannot do with your computer network; but the best way to avoid this from happening is to remove the temptation by installing monitoring software that will prevent employees from downloading unsavory items to YOUR network. We also recommend installing and maintaining a good firewall, which will block Internet traffic to and from dangerous sites.

Lose Sleep Over Backups Before Hackers

You are more likely to lose data from  hardware failure, accidental deletion (human error), flood, fire, natural disaster or software corruption than a hacker. Sure, you should do everything to keep hackers out of your network, but not backing up your data to a remote location is crazy. At a minimum, you should have an onsite AND offsite copy of your data, and you should be testing your data backups regularly to make sure your data CAN be restored in the event of an emergency.