Internet security is vital for today’s businesses, regardless of the size of your company. Unfortunately, the threat of malicious attacks is ever present so prevention rather than cure is essential.
To help you minimize the threat we have put together some basic steps that will reduce risk to your company. In this post, we’ve compiled five key internet security tips and links to free software that will boost your levels of protection.
1. Keep Your Software Updated
Updating operating software can be expensive, especially for large businesses but don’t ignore the notifications, updates happen for a reason.
Mac and PC users should make sure they continually upgrade with the latest OS security patches. As threats change daily, the vulnerabilities are constantly present. Note however that Windows XP is no longer supported for updates.
Make sure you also keep up to date with your anti-virus software or you are leaving yourselves open to attack. Most upgrades are free so most of the investment should only be time, but time well spent.
Windows 8 and later has a built-in software called Defender that runs in the background but reviews are mixed as to the depth of scans it can perform – other options available are McAfee® VirusScan Plus- this software blocks, cleans and removes viruses from your PC, automatically. It also monitors internet activity and continually looks for suspicious apps and data. It includes McAfee® SiteAdvisor™, which warns you about harmful websites.
2. Keep Your Browser Safe & Secure
Browsers are constantly updating and improving, some better than others it has been reported. Browsers are just as important to keep up to date as operating software but of course sometimes these go hand in hand.
Google Chrome and Opera have very good reputations for security whilst the once very popular Firefox has somewhat drifted in terms of development. Chrome also boasts the fastest response time to security vulnerabilities. Do be mindful however that Chrome is collating data about you constantly so it can advertise to you, privacy is not it’s strength.
Apple’s Safari seems perfectly stable. We have never read about any major issues with its engine and Apple has a history of taking security very seriously.
Microsoft Edge appears to be shaping up to be a solid browser but it is still new to the game. It seems to take time to establish a browser popularity, so time will tell. This more lightweight version of Internet Explorer is closed sourced and exclusively built by Microsoft, so, like Chrome, you might want to consider the privacy implications.
The dying breed in browsers is Internet Explorer. If you want to take internet security seriously, our advice is don’t use it. At the time of this post we understood that only Explorer 11 was still receiving security patches, anything below that and you are inviting problems. Steer clear!
3. Protect Your Website
Your website needs protecting. It is vital you utilize programs to monitor and protect your website from potential security breaches or malware attacks. Without such monitoring, you will probably find out your site has been compromised when it’s too late. It can also be very costly to cleanse a website once it has been attacked.
Keeping your site running requires managed hosting for optimum performance, the importance of managing your hosting environment should not be underestimated.
If you use WordPress, Joomla, Magento or any other open source platform to power your website, make sure you update the software upon the release of security or maintenance patches. Note, don’t just hit the button that says ‘Update’ – especially on a live environment. There is a process to updating a website that should happen on a development environment (offline) – this will enable testing prior to a live update.
It is also good practice to install addition security levels such as a https (SSL certificate) to your sites domain name. This will create an acknowledged safe environment to the user via a padlock symbol in a browser. Your brand reputation is also enhanced by making your site and its hosting environment as safe as possible.
4. If You Don't Know Them - Don't Click It!
Email is a route in for the malicious on the internet – there are millions, if not billions of Trojan Horses out there.
This may sound like an obvious security protocol but users still fall foul to tricky messaging in spam emails. Spam is very difficult to control but, if you get a message from someone you don’t know, don’t open it! You don’t need special software, just common sense.
Tip: in most email applications, you can white list your contacts.
We all forget our passwords – we all have too many but they are crucial to protecting our data and information.
Never use the same password for all your online accounts, and never use a simple password like qwerty or 123ABC or even worse – MyPassWORD – these are far too easy for a hacker to unravel.
You should always use extensive, complex passwords like X%dTA^V))sngFSRF – make sure you use upper and lower cases, letters, numbers and special characters in a mix that will be extremely difficult to ascertain.
Tip: If your concerned about the time it takes to type each password in, try using True Key from Intel. It’s free and helps managing the complexity of password management.
Tip: Use the free Norton password generator to create complex passwords for your accounts.