How much of your essential business information is stored in a computer? Do you know what you would do if either a virus or a hacker breaks into your system? Do you think everything is safe because it’s stored in a cloud? What can you do to shore up your cyber security?

The biggest cyber attack in the world happened this past weekend, affecting over 150 countries. Even CNN Money has been trying to quantify the damage. Businesses, government agencies, hospitals, universities, were affected around the globe. It’s only a matter of time until the next one happens. In fact, the anonymous hero who discovered and disabled it, says he is sure the virus will probably be rebooted. How do you know if your business is safe?

There are several security measures you can take to increase your peace of mind:

Installing a firewall:

No, it’s not a video game. It’s a hardware appliance that allows you to customize the type of information that can enter into your system. It’s a physical boundary of protection between you and all the wannabe hackers out there.

Installing anti virus software:

While a firewall protects your system from unauthorized access, an antivirus scans for, and detects malicious software. One of the most important aspects to keep in mind is that updates must be installed as soon as they become available because of zero day threats (just now created). The reason for the urgency is that since a virus can spread in seconds, you can’t afford to wait until you have a reason to worry to determine whether your anti virus software is up to date.

Use encryption software:

Remember going to school in the 80s and 90s, when nobody had a cell phone? We’d pass notes to our friends in the hallways, in between classes, while switching books in our lockers. Quick. What would you have done if a note about how you felt about your secret crush fell in the wrong hands? Now, how would you feel if your business’ information were viewed by an unauthorized party while in transit (i.e., via email, or any type of file sharing?) Encryption software encodes information so that only the intended recipient can view its content.

Clone your Nest egg:

No, we are not talking about a Star Wars movie we are talking about backing up your critical information.  You have invested in a firewall, anti-virus software and malware, and you’re encrypting your communications what happens when all of that fails? Guess what folks, you can take all the necessary steps but ultimately none of this is foolproof. The only time that anyone thinks about backups is when they need them and it’s too late.  Ask anyone who has lost an iPhone and thousands of great memories stored in photos are gone… forever.  Taking the time to do a simple backup would have prevented that crushing moment.  In your business and personal environment, no less than a weekly backup process should be a requirement.

While this list is not exhaustive, it’s a solid starting point to ensure your business security. It’s 2017. Every day brings with it new cyber security risks. Take the necessary steps to protect what’s yours.

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