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internet security virus threat warnings on monitor screen red green (Simon Smith/Getty Images/iStockphoto)
internet security virus threat warnings on monitor screen red green (Simon Smith/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The Top Tens

How to protect your business against cyber attacks Add to ...

The consequences of external attacks, internal security breaches, and Internet abuse can wreak havoc on your bottom line.

Here are ten questions and answers about how to keep your valuable data safe from threats.

1. What should I know about internet security before talking to a vendor?

To protect against emerging threats, you need security that resides in the cloud, doesn’t hinder computer performance, and protects against identity theft, risky websites, and hacker attacks within a single solution Select a solution that helps you keep tabs on all your business computers, servers and even mobile users — all within a single console. Location awareness changes the security settings on devices automatically to the best level of protection for employees as they move inside or outside the office. Cloud-based antispam solutions reduce unwanted e-mail, block risks and limit distractions for employees — before it reaches your business

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2. Does my small business really need a security policy?

Do you think your business is too small to interest hackers? Think again. Smaller businesses are easier targets because of stretched IT resources. So, it’s important to develop a security policy that can be easily updated, shared with employees, and enforced. Determine which applications can be loaded on company computers and which are prohibited. Clarify what casual uses of the computer are appropriate, such as personal e-mail, social channels, etc. Develop guidelines for internal and external communications as well as what documents/files should and should not be opened or forwarded. Decide if an e-mail encryption solution is required to protect your sensitive information, and when it needs to be protected

3. How can a small business establish smart social media guidelines?

Empower your employees with best practices and guidelines.

Provide easy-to-follow guidelines. Employees need to know what information is okay to post on social media sites (Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, Google +) and who can post.

4. Any tips about passwords?

The more keystrokes and characters you add — the stronger your password will be. Require strong passwords with 8-15 characters and embedded numbers and symbols to stop simple attacks that guess passwords. And require password changes about every 6 months

5. How can I make Internet security easy for my staff?

Internet security solutions that help you conquer the latest threats with fewer distractions for your employees. Don’t rely on employees to think about security or restrict where and when they can access the network or Internet. Automate updates make security simple and transparent for on-site and remote employees, as well as those using mobile devices.

6. What should I say to my staff about data loss?

Experts say that up to 80 per cent of all data loss is caused by human error either done by sending out confidential or sensitive information to the wrong people or simply sending it in an unsecured way. Make sure your employees know the difference between confidential information and content that is appropriate to share. Also, be sure to stress the ramifications if these documents or pieces of information leak out

7. Any tips on how to have a good relationship with an IT security consultant?

Ask for advice. Your resellers or consultants should help you select the right solution for your business that will grow with your needs and protect your IT investment.

Outsource management. Your reseller or consultant might even offer to remotely manage your security solution for you—meaning less hassle and even greater protection for you and your business.

8. What is the best way to set a good example about security for my team?

Creating a small business culture that values security is a giant step toward keeping your data safe:

Be an advocate. If you hear of a new threat or have suggestions to avoid them, share your best practices across teams.

Be smart about sharing. Before sharing information with others, make sure the content is from a trusted source. It only takes one person to spread a nasty virus across the company

9. How can I make sure our small business keeps its security up to date?

Manual or infrequent security software updates opens your business to threats. The cliché holds true: you are only as safe as your last update. However, if you are using a cloud-based platform, all updates are done automatically in the cloud. Use a hosted solution - Conventional security solutions can reduce your computer’s performance. A hosted solution makes the vendor’s datacenter work for you—and save your computers and servers for processing your business needs.

Don’t rely on old antivirus. Traditional antivirus security caught threats by comparing files against their fingerprints or “signature” files on each computer. New solutions perform the equivalent of a background check on e-mail senders, files, and websites to protect better and faster without slowing your computers.

10. How do I pick a partner, not just a vendor?

Choose a security vendor. Consider if your vendor is focused on security as their core business, or simply offers security as an add-on . Select a vendor who understands the unique needs of security in a small business environment.

Jim Short is the General Manager for Trend Micro Canada. For more information on Trend Micro products specifically designed for small business, visit: www.worryfree.com

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