Security breaches are costly, sometimes devastating, for the average small business. With planning, understanding, and user training, you can help ensure your network and your business is safe. Some problems can be easily avoided, while others require a bit more effort. Below are some of the more common mistakes we’ve come across.

1. My password is…. password.
Weak, unsecure passwords remain a regular security problem. Regardless of whether you have 1 or 100 employees, all businesses should have a strong password policy and enforce it.

2. Set it and forget it…
Once installed, many people never think twice about the security of their systems… until it crashes or is breached. As threats arise, your systems must be updated to remain protected. Many updates can be configured to occur automatically. Be sure antivirus software is up-to-date, licensing is current, and the latest Microsoft patches are implemented. Implement a maintenance program to monitor your network components and ensure all security devices and their software are current.

3. An open door
Lack of security devices, such as a firewall, virtually opens up your business to outsiders. Firewalls act as a filter to protect your network from malware and intruders. Firewalls, either hardware or software-based, can also prevent malicious programs from connecting to the Internet. Daystar’s standard firewall solution encompasses MXLogic, Fortinet, and Cisco products.

4. Welcome to my Inbox
E-mail spam is a major problem in the spread of malicious software. Have a good spam blocking program and be sure it is set to a high enough level. Spam filters are not 100% effective; some junk will get through. When this happens, do not open e-mail or download attachments unless you know who it is from. Never click an attachment with an .exe file extension such as Wordup.exe. Never click any link, including “unsubscribe” within a suspected spam e-mail; just delete the message immediately.

5. Your own backyard
When it comes to security, most people are focused on protection from outside intruders; they neglect risks stemming from their internal staff. User error, sabotage, or inappropriate use opens your network to security risks. Keep your users informed and aware of security best practices.

6. On the road again….
With laptops, tablets, and smartphones, company data is increasingly mobile. These devices are commonly used in public settings and connect to various public networks. They lend themselves to loss or theft. Company data accessed by and/or stored on mobile devices must be password-protected and encrypted.

7. It won’t happen to me…
Oh yes it will! According to a 2009 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey, the average SMB has experienced three technology failures in the last twelve months. The cost of the outages? $15,000 per day! Implement an automated data backup solution that stores backups offsite. Know what you’re backing up and what you aren’t. And test backups constantly!

Stay safe!