The Three Scariest Threats To Small Business Networks

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

While spam, pop-ups, and hackers are a real threat to any small business network, there are three 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 spread primarily through cleverly disguised attachments to messages that trick you or your employees into opening them.

Another threat is phishing e-mails that trick you by appearing to be legitimate e-mails from your bank, eBay, or other financial accounts.

Here are three things you must have in place to avoid this nightmare. First, keep your anti-virus up to date and enabled. This sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s not uncommon for an employee to disable their antivirus software “because it bothers them.”

Second, educate your employees on what is and isn’t allowed on company computers, 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 acceptable use policy (AUP) to teach your staff what NOT to do.

Third, put monitoring software in place to maintain the health of employees’ desktops and automatically “police” employees from accidentally visiting a phishing website, downloading a virus, or visiting questionable web sites.

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 your staff on what they can and cannot do with your company’s network. Again, the best way to avoid trouble is to remove temptation by installing monitoring software that will prevent employees from downloading or opening dangerous items.

We also recommend installing and maintaining a good firewall, which will block Internet traffic to and from dangerous sites.

Lose Sleep Over Backups, Not 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 incredibly dangerous. 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.

So, here’s the scary Halloween question for you: If you came into your office tomorrow morning, and your computers and server were destroyed or missing, could you recover your data, and how long would it take?