Through the years, hacking has changed quite a bit which puts small businesses at serious risk if antivirus is the only preventative measure. Relying on antivirus software to ensure that your business is protected is the wrong approach and has been for some time now, yet most small business owners think that as long as their antivirus is up-to-date then they are ‘all good’. Never assume this approach!

Don’t get me wrong, antivirus does have a place in a security plan, but thinking that all you need is antivirus is all wrong. Hackers have become more sophisticated which requires new tools and techniques to prevent a system from getting infiltrated. Most new attacks come from web browsers and use social engineering to convince you to click on links in email messages or on websites.

Small businesses now have to do more than just rely on antivirus software for their protection. After all, if customer information is compromised, it could spell the end to the business.

The first step a small business owner should take is to use a vendor supported operating system, like Windows 7 or 8, that is fully up-to-date with patches, regardless of whether it is from Microsoft or Apple. Newer operating systems have built-in mechanisms that allow for automatic updating of critical security patches so that the business owner doesn’t have to take a lot of additional steps to ensure the system is secure.

Password policies are a must for every small business, and the policy must enforce changing passwords often. Passwords need to be complex to ensure that they are not easily ‘guessed’ by cracking software. It doesn’t hurt to block the use of social media during work hours unless it is part of the job description.

How employees surf the web also makes a difference. Companies need to treat Internet surfing the same way that sexual harassment awareness is dealt with which means having clear cut policies in writing. Hold staff meetings in order to reinforce policies and hold employees accountable when policies aren’t followed.

Staying on top of software updates for Adobe Flash and Java, is also instrumental in a secure system. Security has to be taken seriously all the time, not just when it is convenient. Small businesses are being targeted more than ever before, and the risk of hackers gaining access to vital customer data is very real. Look at the breaches in security through the past six months with names like eBay, Google and Target.

Don’t let your business become a statistic. Develop a long-term plan that is focused on keeping critical data that runs your business secure. Contact Impact Solutions today for a free consultation.