Computer Security Basics for Small Businesses

In the business world, IT support has moved from something that used to be a luxury and is now considered a necessity.  Computers and the internet are used in business now more than ever and while it used to be something reserved for large corporations, technology has helped millions of small businesses all over the world. 

A reputable IT company can offer a wide range of services, but one of the most important ones has to do with security. 

Criminals can exploit a business in many different ways through unsecured networks and devices.  Compass Network Group can help mitigate the risk of a cyberattack on both the hardware and software levels.  That being said, every business should have a good grasp on some computer security basics. 

We have compiled a list of things every business owner can do to help protect themselves.

Be Careful Who You Share Information With

Oftentimes, information and access are handed right over to criminals and scammers because victims are not even aware of what they’ve done until it is too late.  Business owners and their employees should safeguard information at all times when interacting with people outside their company.  Criminals can bombard a business to get information through phone calls, text messages, emails, and even fake websites.  They have carefully crafted scripts that they follow when communicating with their targets and can be very convincing.  They may even use threats to get what they want.  Information is their currency and they are on the lookout for everything from user credentials to social security numbers and everything in between. 

One tip to stay safe online is to only use websites that encrypt information and are secure.  A quick way to spot a secure website most times is to look at the web address.  Nearly every website starts with http:// before the www.  Websites that add an “S” to their address can generally be trusted.  If the site you are accessing starts with https://, then you know you are dealing with a secure site.

Secure All Wireless Networks

The convenience of having wireless internet in your business can be an asset to both your employees and potential customers.  While wireless connections are a great utility they’re also another entry point for criminals to gain access to information when they are not secured.  Internet comes into your business on a wired connection from your provider, but then is transmitted wirelessly through an access point called a router.  The router sends the signal to all of the devices within its range. 

Whether you are setting things up for the first time or need to give your system a once over, you should always follow these steps:

1. Do not use the manufacturer’s default credentials. 

For ease of setup, many manufacturers have a standard set of credentials for routers.  These should be changed immediately upon setting up to maximize security.  Network names, usernames, and passwords should be something that is unique and only known by people who need to access the internet connection.  This varies from one manufacture to the next, so you may want to consult the instructions or contact their customer support.

2. Keep software up to date. 

You might be aware that your computer will have software updates from time to time that may seem annoying, but can ultimately help your computer run more smoothly and securely.  This is the same with routers.  After your first set up and frequently thereafter, you should visit the manufacturer’s website or contact their customer support to find out if there is a software update for your device.  Registering your device when you get it is an easy way that manufacturers can contact you to let you know there may be an update for their products.

3. Make Sure To Encrypt Your Wireless Network. 

The information being sent over your wireless network can be encrypted, though many routers have this feature turned off by default.  When an encryption feature is turned on, it takes the information being sent over your network and codes it in a way that makes it much more difficult for it to be accessed by hackers.  There are several different encryption methods.  Currently, the most secure is WPA2 encryption.  Most modern routers have this feature. so make sure to turn it on immediately.

Be Careful Outside Of Your Business

Being mindful of computer security does not stop when you leave your place of business.  With millions of people in today’s day and age working remotely, it is important to have safe practices everywhere you go.  Whether you or your employees are working from home or remote from an airport or hotel, the above steps should be taken whenever possible.  If you are using a laptop or mobile device outside of your business, stay safe when doing so.  Check to make sure the connection is using WPA2 encryption.  If it is not, you should avoid using it at all costs, as information sent over that network is not secure.  Make sure to look for the https:// when connecting to sites when using a different internet connection.  You should also avoid using sites or mobile apps that require sharing personal information like usernames or passwords to gain access or that unnecessarily need financial information.

If you can manage to follow these steps, you will greatly reduce the likelihood that your business becomes a victim of cybercrime. 

Whether you need help getting things set up or simply want to make sure that you are doing all of the right things, Compass Network Group is an IT company that you can depend on for support and security.  We have decades of shared experience and a plethora of satisfied customers who can attest to the quality of our work and you can even see what they have to say right here

Contact us today to see if we can help you secure your business and more!