When Edward Snowden came forward in May 2013, accusing the world’s largest intelligence service of spying on US allies, people, and private companies, it became evident that electronic data is quite vulnerable. This major event even caused Russian and German government officials to consider cataloguing their data, using old-fashioned manual typewriters instead of computers. Should you do the same with your business’ data to protect it?
The only way to keep your data absolutely safe from hackers and spies is to keep it far away from computers and servers, but this approach isn’t realistic. So here are five steps that you can take to protect your small or medium size business’ data:
1) Configure your computer network properly Regardless of the way your computers are connected in your company, via work group or server, make sure that you have implemented the right configuration. Make sure you haven’t left any gaps for hack attacks, such as software that has not been updated or free network accessibility to suppliers or all company employees.
2) Install a business-grade antivirus This one sounds obvious, however, it is important to point out that several SMBs still use personal antivirus to protect their business data. A company that opts to use consumer security products might not get into legal problems (although this is possible), but the major issue here is the security of the data itself. Business antivirus allows an entrepreneur to manage the company’s electronic security remotely instead of being obligated to check each PC’s security manually. With a administration console, you can check on current problems, their solutions, and in the event of an infection or unauthorized action your console can get real-time alerts.
3) Educate your employees about online security At AVAST we receive 50,000 samples of new viruses a day. Online security is evolving, which means you need to educate your employees about the dangers of online security and how they can best protect your company’s data on a regular basis. Try to focus on explaining the concept of social engineering to your employees, what the most recent methods of attacks are, and what the latest malware on the market is. The AVAST blog is a great place to find this information.
4) Keep in mind that humans can fail Remember that although a great part of online security can be automated, it continues to be dependable on human actions, which from time to time can fail. Minimize the risks by training your employees properly and sharing the responsibility for data security with everyone. If a mistake is made, take it as an experience to learn from as a company, rather than cracking down on one person.
5) Encrypt your most important data Currently, SMB owners have the option to encrypt data, so that in the case of an attack, their files will be protected. Encrypting files turns the information into unreadable code and only those who have the access to the encryption key are able to restore the files to their original state. This process is not simple, which is why it is recommended to encrypt your most important and sensitive files.
In addition to these five steps, make sure you stay up-to-date with the latest data security news. If a company in the same field as yours gets attacked, it can hit your SMB quicker than you may think! Remember, the digital world has neither frontiers nor barriers!
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“Antivirus, as customers know it, incorporates firewalls, intrusion detection, heuristics, virtualization, sandboxes, and many other layers of protection and not just antivirus. It is far from dead.” ~Vince Steckler, CEO
A weekend article in the Wall Street Journal in which traditional antivirus vendor, Symantec, described its new business strategy and declared that antivirus software is dead, prompted AVAST’s CEO, Vincent Steckler, to respond about the effectiveness of current antivirus:
Symantec’s statement seems to relate to the enterprise, and not the consumer and small business. Enterprises have traditionally relied on many layers of defense and antivirus is one of those layers. Antivirus though is a broad-spectrum defense and as such is often complemented by other products, such as those protecting against targeted attacks that enterprises worry about.
In the consumer and SMB space, the situation is quite different: customers typically do not have multiple layers of protection. They have one, their AV product.
These products though are not the simple AV products of past years. The true statement in the story is that consumer security is so much broader than AV. AV is used as a generic name as it is what customers know. They instead incorporate firewalls, intrusion detection, heuristics, virtualization, sandboxes, and many other layers of protection and not just antivirus. Therefore, we believe AV is not dead in the consumer space. It is far from dead there.
Avast has had this broad offering under the umbrella name of antivirus for quite some time now. Adding to its tool set of anti-spam, anti-phishing, and a silent firewall is a new set of tools to keep consumers safe from clever attacks.
avast! Mobile Security leads the fight against the exponentially increasing malware written for Android. Just as AV software is not exclusively a malware combatant, the Mobile Security app includes password protection, back up, VPN, etc. – all features that increase your security. avast! Anti-Theft for mobile devices addresses the more prevalent problem for the time-being; lost or stolen devices. Also on offer is software not traditionally in the “antivirus” universe: A password management system, a browser cleanup tool to remove potentially unwanted programs such as browser toolbars; military-grade backup storage services, and VPN services to protect unsecured WiFi.
So yes, the statement that antivirus is dead has been greatly exaggerated. Antivirus and the additional services are a necessity in today’s insecure environment, for consumers and enterprise.
And for those Symantec/Norton customers who feel abandoned by their security provider, we welcome you to switch to Avast for free. Antivirus is alive and well and continues to protect more than 200 million Avast customers daily from online threats.
Thank you for using avast! Antivirus and recommending us to your friends and family. For all the latest news and product information, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram. Business owners – check out our business products.