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Internet and Computer Security 101: What Your Small Business Needs to Know

Internet and Computer Security 101
Today, technology has made it easier for many people to start a home based business. All you need is a reliable computer and a high speed Internet connection. This seems simple and uncomplicated, but there is more to this adventure. Unfortunately, many new business owners forget about securing their Internet connection and protecting their computer against data loss and hackers. 

Securing Your Internet Connection 

Your first step is to secure your 802.11b/g/n wireless connection. It is important that you configure your computer and router so no one can breach your network. An unsecure router connection invites hackers into your network. Follow these steps below to secure your computer and wireless network.

  1. Log into your router using the router’s Gateway IP address. Look in the instruction manual that is supplied with your router to find the router’s IP address.
  2. Enable the 128-bit encryption on your access point.
  3. Change your router password and username from the factory default. This is important because all routers come with the same password and username. Anyone can remotely log into your router and gain access using the factory password.
  4. Change your SSID, network name or Service Set Identifier. It will depend on the manufacture of your router which configuration is used. Create a unique name for your router identification.
  5. Enable your MAC Addressing filter on your router or Access Point.
  6. Leave the SSID Broadcast enabled. When you disable the SSID you make it easier for hackers to find your network. A disabled SSID will identify your network when you try to connect.
  7. Disable the router remote login.
  8. Disable the router wireless administrating. Only connect to your router through a LAN cable and not a wireless connection. 
Protecting Your Computers from Hackers and Viruses

Many people don’t have a firewall or antivirus on their computer. They feel it isn’t necessary because they don’t download from the Internet. Unfortunately, this isn’t correct. Your computer can still be infected with a virus from an email, attached device, or searching the Internet. It is important that you protect your computer from viruses and malware.

  1. Install a firewall on your computer or configure the Windows firewall. Furthermore, never turn your firewall off.
  2. Install paid antivirus software in your computer. Keep the software updated at all times. Set the software to check for updates and install all updates.
  3. Install antispyware software in your computer. It is recommended that you purchase this software and keep it updated.
  4. Set your windows update to automatically install all new updates. It is important to keep your operating system current and always have the latest updates installed.
  5. Never download programs, music, or movie from a website you don’t know. If you need to download a new program, download from an authorized website.
  6. Never open attachments in your email if you don’t recognize the sender. Furthermore, never open an email if you don’t know the person who sent this to you.
  7. Keep your computer turned off when not in use. When you finish working for the day, turn off your computer. This makes it harder for a hacker to breach your system. 
Data Backup 

Most small home based businesses seem to forget how important it is to have a current backup of all your important data files. If your computer is infected with a virus this can wipe out all of your data. Furthermore, viruses can corrupt all of your data. This is only part of the reason you should have a backup. If your hard drive decides to stop working you will need your current data to rebuild your system. Otherwise, you will be seeking the help of a data recovery specialist to recover your data. 

Making a weekly backup of your important files isn’t difficult, but it is time consuming. It is recommended that you invest in backup software to schedule weekly backups of your important data. Otherwise, use a cloud service provider to store your backup data. Some cloud providers offer an easy way to back up your important files. It is possible to schedule backups to the cloud. 

No matter if you back up your computer to a NAS, cloud provider, or external hard drive it is important to have a recent copy of your data. When a disaster strikes, this will be your only hope of rebuilding your computer and saving your business.

Image: flickr.com

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