Email and document security is no longer just an option for companies, it is a necessity. Couple that with the costly user licensing of most enterprise software solutions and many small business operators can be locked out of taking advantage of Best Practice strategies that ensure the privacy of intellectual property and communication. Setting rights permissions to documents and encrypting email will be essential to future security practices for all businesses.
Common knowledge has been that the less sophisticated small business operates on a pricing sensitivity and is more apt to take advantage of promotions, whereas the more sophisticated make security decisions based on perceived business necessities. Overall, small businesses tend towards waiting to implement internet security measures until after suffering an email breach or informational leak. By this time privacy and accompanying monetary loss may have already done irreparable harm to a company’s intellectual property and reputation. Large enterprise solutions make it necessary to adopt complex IT infrastructures and processes that are usually dependent on an IT staff – a solution that does not fit well into the budgets of most small businesses.
According to published reports in PCWorld.com, there are nearly 70 million small businesses worldwide and over 20 million in the U.S. alone. Small business is a major component of the global gross domestic product and accounts for over half of all private sector employment. The association figures note that the number of small business owners is booming and electronic business operations are a growing industry.
The publication also reported that small firms face serious technical problems on a regular basis. One in five small firms admit to having an onsite computer security problem on the premises. party also said that small firms are putting data at risk by not implementing both onsite and online security measures.
Party recommended that small firms create their own risk-based decisions about which IT services they may require. For example, a bank can determine that high-risk assets such as financial and customer data and records, computer hardware and software, and confidential communications,emails and even legal documents, need to be protected with extra attention and SLAs (security agreements) that require extra monitoring and planning.
Party also recommended that risk-based decisions about which IT services to implement should be made after careful planning and networking with other specialists. It also recommended that basic networking skills be learned by every business owner to prevent IT from being a barrier to entry for a business.
Party said that a changing world makes it necessary to keep pace with, and even preemptively protect, against Internet threats such as viruses, spam, trojans, and hackers.
However, even as they say, “preventive” measures taken by companies and individuals can minimize the risk of cyber attacks against their businesses.
Although protecting against viruses and other external attacks is important, information security experts believe the most effective way to avoid such attacks is through education, vigilance, and change management.
Viruses can be prevented through two main remedies: 1) use updated anti-virus software, and 2) install specially designed software and practices to prevent the viruses from reaching your computer.
The valuable information that is contained in your computer (such as your customer database, sales records, and financial documents) cannot be at risk because any harm to the information will cause you to lose your income.
Since computers are an easy target for viruses, most viruses spread by contacting one of the many computers on the Internet that are not protected. Once a virus has found a computer, it will replicate itself, copying itself to that computer’s hard-disk, and then to an extent, spreading to other computers. It can take days or even weeks for the virus to spread. A virus that reaches your computer can destroy information that is inside your computer, or worse, can damage the computer’s operating system and software. Even showing the slightest infection can cause a great deal of trouble.
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