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  • Are your business computers and networks protected?

    Posted on April 16th, 2013 admin No comments

    Business identity theft has become a real problem in todays marketplace. Any business that does not take steps to protect themselves is at risk. But why are criminals targeting businesses as opposed to individual consumers? The fact is, stealing from a business is much more cost-effective than stealing from an individual consumer. So, businesses must not take this threat lightly. Every business should have certain defenses in place in order to prevent falling victim to identity theft.

    One of the most basic steps in protecting a business from identity theft is securing business computers and networks. Businessidtheft.org lists 5 ways a business can do this. Here is an excerpt from their website:

    Restrict the use of your business computers to only business activities: Activities such as casual Internet surfing, use of social networks, online gaming, downloading programs, and file sharing expose your business computers to viruses, spyware, and other security risks that can jeopardize your business operations, your accounts, and the confidential information of your business, customers, and employees.

    Install and use regularly updated anti-virus / anti-spyware / Internet security software: Effective anti-virus, anti-spyware, and Internet security software programs are essential. Don’t rely on free software to protect your business. Be certain to utilize a program that actively scans and is frequently updated to keep up with new threats.

    Keep security patches and updates up-to-date: It is critically important to regularly check for and install any security updates for your computer’s operating system and internet browser program to ensure that you have the latest versions designed to protect against known software vulnerabilities. Most newer operating systems permit the user to set an automatic update schedule with a specified frequency. You should set your system to check for and install important security updates no less than weekly.

    Install and utilize a firewall on your business computers or network: A firewall is a software program or hardware device that monitors and controls external connections to your computer and/or network. A firewall helps to prevent unauthorized or unwanted external connections, and it is your first line of defense against intrusion attempts and malicious code attacks. Be certain to change the default administrative password.

    Secure your business’ wireless network: If your business uses a wireless network and it is not secured (encrypted), others can gain access to your network. Average Wi-Fi signals can extend for hundreds of feet beyond the perimeter of the building. Off the shelf wireless network devices typically do not come with their security features active, so review the product documentation to learn how to set the security features for your device, or call the manufacturer if you need assistance. WPA2 is currently the strongest wireless network encryption standard and is available on most newer wireless network devices. Be certain to change the default administrative password on the wireless router, and disable broadcasting of your SSID (Service Set Identifier).

    For more information on business identity theft prevention, visit BusinessIDTheft.org.

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