One subject that is dear to the heart of a major corporation is network security. One often hears anecdotal evidence of the huge steps companies take to protect their intellectual property. I even knew a company whose boardroom was “secure” and had regular scans for listening devices. Also there have been a number of high profile news items where CDs with bank account information have gone astray in the post or where laptops have been stolen resulting in embarrassing security breaches.
For a smaller organisation it doesn’t necessarily make economic sense to employ dedicated IT staff to look after the security of their network. This doesn’t make their important information any less valuable in relative terms than that of a major international corporation.
Security is a huge subject so where do you start. To begin with businesses can make sure that the way they connect to the outside world is secure.
Sign up for a good quality anti-virus and anti spam service that is updated regularly – don’t rely on the one that often comes as a free trial with your PC.
Make sure that you have a company firewall and that this is properly managed
Ensure that you have adequate resilience in place for critical business components/resources. Eg use a server with dual power supplies, back up critical data daily (at least)
If you are using a Wireless LAN is this properly protected/encrypted?
Are your passwords secure (eg “password” is not a secure password) and how often do you change them?
This is all basic stuff but a small business needs to make sure that it has it all covered. A little time spent on prevention is better that the days of effort it might take you to recover from a virus attack or someone maliciously hacking into your network.