by Dave Moore, 1-27-19
Do you own a small business? If so, you are a favorite target of the Internet bad guys. Have you and your employees been trained in how to protect your computer systems from Internet criminals?
The basics of protecting small business computers are the same as protecting large business computers. There are some specifics that will apply only to small businesses, and vice versa, but the basics are the same. Indeed, they are the same as for personal home computers, too. Learn the basics, first.
Much of dealing with computer and Internet security and safety has to do with attitude. Many small business owners get in trouble because they don’t take the subject seriously. Oftentimes, they think they are too busy to deal with it, and so, they don’t. Some think because they have never had a problem before, therefore, they will never have problems in the future. I wonder if they feel the same way about homeowners insurance. They’ve never had their house burn down before, so, why bother? They’re busy.
Another mistake many small business owners make is letting an employee “take care of the computers.” Sometimes, this is due to an extreme Scrooge-like approach to expenses. If there is much of an age gap between the owner and employees, this serious blunder is sometimes based on the myth that “kids know all about computers.” It’s been my experience that, while “kids” may know a lot about using computers, showing off skills like changing background pictures, downloading songs and “looking stuff up,” most kids don’t know much about Internet safety and security. The reason for that is the same as for everyone: they’ve never been taught. The answer? Education. Just like you probably don’t want your brother’s pool guy who “knows all about electricity” installing the burglar alarm in your restaurant, you most likely don’t want a minimum-wage cashier in charge of computer security, either.
Do you know which antivirus programs are really the best, or do you just buy whatever the cheerful nerd at the big-box store tells you to buy? Few antivirus programs are optimally configured right out of the box. Do you know how to set them up for maximum benefit?
Do you know how to recognize a fake website? Can you tell the difference between a real email and one designed to hold your computers hostage? Do you know how to turn a firewall on? Could you pick out a fake news story from a news story lineup? Do you know why strong passwords are important? Why do computers, tablets and phones need to be updated?
Knowing the answers to these questions is important, but not unattainable. You made the effort to learn how to safely drive your car. Take the time to learn how to safely drive your computer, too.
Dave Moore has been fixing computers in Oklahoma since 1984. As founder of the Internet Safety Group, he also teaches Internet safety workshops for public and private organizations. He can be reached at 405-919-9901 or www.internetsafetygroup.com