Computer networking has revolutionized the way sign making businesses are run. However if you don’t secure your network, you run the risk of losing everything to hackers, viruses, and worms.
While such predators can be nothing more than a nuisance, the damage done by some can mess your business up big time. It is good to know though, that 84 percent of network attacks can be prevented by putting in place a basic network security system. (Statistic thanks to Dan Briody at Entrepreneur.com)
Protecting your computer isn’t expensive or complicated. In fact, there are really only 4 main components that your security system needs to help protect your computer from intruders. Here they are:
- Antivirus Software. Because of its rocky start (think super expensive software that was constantly slowing own your computer with its constant automatic updating), antivirus software is the red headed step-child of the computer security system. However, that red headed step-child has grown up quite a bit and isn’t such a royal pain anymore. Free antivirus software such as AVG are perfect for small businesses who want protection without breaking the bank. Updates can still be a pain, but they are a necessary precaution that shouldn’t be overlooked.
- Firewall. Firewalls are like the gatekeeper to your computer network. They are responsible for letting people and programs in and out of your network, and keep any unwanted guests from entering. If you buy a security package from your computer, like the ones offered by Symantec, a firewall will be included. If you are using AVG Free, pair it up with the free Zone Alarm firewall.
- Virtual Private Network. If at any point anyone will be accessing the network remotely, you should have a virtual private network (VPN). Basically, a VPN protects data that is transferred from the PC to the network, so that nothing attaches itself to the data in the process. There are pay versions and free versions, such as PacketiX VPN.
- Use password protection. Set your computer so that a password is needed to log on (Extra Basic). Set a password to log on to the network (Basic.) Set a password to protect your hard-drive. (Intermediate) Set a password for downloading (More advanced). Change those passwords regularly and make sure they include letters, numbers and symbols (Advanced).
Make sure all employees are aware of the company’s security programs for the computer. Train team members to not download files from unknown sites, and not to click on random links. Educate them on basic safe computer usage and provide them with the proper security systems on each computer to ensure a safe, virus free computer network.