Ransomware. Phishing attacks. Malware.
They’re all bad things. And they’re all associated with the scourge of nasty computer viruses that lead to the loss of mission-critical data and can cripple or even shut down a business.
But your business doesn’t have to be a victim. There are plenty of inexpensive yet highly effective ways to protect against computer viruses. September is National Preparedness Month, and it’s a good time to make sure your business is doing just that.
Below is a list of five simple ways to make sure your data is protected during National Preparedness Month. To get more tips and delve deeper into the topic of data protection, download our new e-book, “Five Things Small Businesses Need to Know about Disaster Recovery.”
1. Educate your employees about ransomware and phishing attacks
Ransomware viruses, such as CryptoLocker, CryptoWall and an endless list of variants, are often spread through email phishing attacks. A phishing attack occurs when a hacker sends an email designed to trick people into clicking on a dangerous link or log onto a malicious. Ransomware viruses lock up a user’s files and renders them useless unless a ransom is paid.
But users don’t have to pay the ransom if they have a solid backup system in place. Just ask Chad Mockensturm of Diverse Technology Solutions. Mockensturm recently used Carbonite backup software to defeat a ransomware attack at a healthcare facility. Read this article to find out how he did it and get bonus tips for making sure your systems are protected.
2. Firewall/antivirus software
Education is certainly the first line of defense when it comes to avoiding viruses. But even the most brilliant among us can be fooled by a well-crafted email that may lead to a malware attack. That’s why firewalls and antivirus software are an absolutely essential second line of defense. This month, make sure your firewall software and antivirus software is current and working properly.
3. Review your password policy and update if necessary
If hackers can figure out your employees’ passwords, they can easily infect your systems with malware. National Preparedness Month is the perfect time to make sure your password polices are effective and enforced. Requiring upper and lowercase letters in combination with numbers and special characters is pretty standard, as is requiring passwords to be changed at regular intervals. But make sure passwords aren’t too difficult to remember. Encourage good memory techniques over sticky notes.
4. Back up your important business data
If all else fails and your systems become infected with ransomware or some other type of malicious virus, the only thing you can do is rip and replace. That means deleting the infected files and downloading clean versions from backup. That’s exactly what Chad Mockensturm did. It only works, however, if you have a top notch backup system in place before the attack occurs. Another best practices is to make sure your data is backed up both locally, for speedy recovery, and in the cloud, just in case disaster strikes and your systems are physically damaged.
5. Test your backup and its restore capabilities
Be sure to test your backup system – and it’s restore capabilities – at regular intervals. If using Carbonite, just log into the system and make sure your important files are being backed up. Then practice restoring a file to your computer, and then opening it up, just to be on the safe side.
To learn more, download our brand new e-book today. It’s called, “Five Things Small Businesses Need to Know about Disaster Recovery.”