Online Security Tips for Small Businesses

Your business’ online security is something you need to take seriously. This isn’t only true for large businesses, but small and medium sized businesses as well. This is because you will be held liable if your network is compromised and data is seized.  We want to discuss online security for your business and give you ways to protect your business and its assets.

Email Security

Let’s start with email.  Many people in business prefer email to phone calls, especially millennials.  This is one of the most common areas of security concerns for businesses.

If you receive an email and you know who the sender is, but it looks suspicious to you, don’t open it, don’t click it, don’t click the links inside the email. Call the sender and make sure that they did in fact send you that email. It is very possible that their email server has been compromised and they did not send that even though it comes from their email server.

You may also receive an email from an unknown sender asking you to take some type of action – a lot of times you’ll notice that they’ll use fear to get you to take an action, like clicking on a link.  That’s not by accident, but by design. They use fear to motivate you to take an action that will end in you getting hacked.  Don’t be fooled by these tactics.

Office365 Exchange

At 24×7 Protect IT, Inc. we set out clients email up with Office 365 Exchange.  It is an amazing technology that has been empowering business’s communication for over 20 years.  The great thing about improving technology is that Office 365 Exchange now lets a micro/small business of just one person leverage this amazing technology.  It allows businesses access to a secure email system for any endpoint device, including features and benefits that previously only large corporations had access to.

However, exchange server needs to be protected from the internet. We recommend a third-party filtering service that sets between the internet and your email server. Your email server should only communicate with this third-party spam filter. This prevents the server from being exposed to the internet and to the hackers directly. This is a critical component to using the Office365 Exchange.

Whitelisting and Blacklisting Email Addresses

We proudly use Reflexion email spam filter, a cloud solution that offers virus filtering, spam filtering, phishing filtering, and also lets you manage and control your email white and black listings. This is important because if there are people that are accidentally getting blocked by your spam filter you can whitelist them and they’ll never be blocked again.

Moreover, if you have an email that is spamming you – you can blacklist is and you’ll never see that email come through again.

Stop Sign and keyboard

Web Browser Hack

The most common attack that we do see is with the web browser hack. This is when the web server gets compromised and hacked due to low security on that website.  The hackers and criminals inject malicious codes onto that website. An unsuspecting visitor going to a legitimate website thereby executes these malicious codes on their computer and now their computer has been compromised.

What we commonly see happens is what we called a Browser Hijack at the end of this. You’ll get that webpage with a scary message and that lady screaming at you “better call us right away or else all of your data files will be deleted”. This is to invoke an emotional response in you to where you will call that number then give that person a remote access in your machine and it is in that time that you get hacked.

We’ve Helped our Clients and Can Help Your Business

Our clients have called us when this happens to them and we immediately remoted it, ceased the attack, clean up their machine within minutes and they were back to doing their jobs. No damage was done, no files were compromised, their systems were left secure. That’s the value of having an outsourced IT company managing your small business’s IT (information technology).

Block Pop Up Ads

It is important that you have pop up ads blocked on whatever web browser you use. Whether that’s Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. Mozilla Firefox has some amazing plugins that handle ads and block them, so you don’t even see these ads and thereby prevent you from accidentally clicking on an ad that will take you to a malicious website.

Written Policy and Procedures

The most common practice that we’re seeing these days is the hacking of people. As we discussed earlier, it’s much easier to hack a person by using things like fear and intimidation and invoking an emotional response that would not be the normal reaction.  Those “CLICK HERE NOW TO REMOVE YOUR COMPUTER’S VIRUS” warnings are actually downloading a virus to your computer!

Therefore, your business must have written policies and procedures, teaching your employees how to use technology securely.  Along with this, you need to properly train your employees on them and consistently check and update them frequently, as technology is everchanging.  What good is a policy manual that simply collects dust and is never read or implemented?

Cloud Anti-Virus

You may have heard about Cloud Anti-Virus, truth be known Cloud Anti-Virus has been around for about 30 years, but the current Cloud Anti-Virus allows a small business, not just a large corporate enterprise, to leverage this amazingly powerful technology.

The way that it works is each computer has what’s called an End-point Agent / Anti-Virus agent. That Agent is what does the scans, has a virus definition and keeps you protected.  It also talks to a central server that’s managed by IT professionals that know what these threats mean, how they impact you and what needs to be done to alleviate the issue.

This is where the Cloud Anti-Virus comes in. That server sits in a cloud in a data center, somewhere secure and it’s being monitored and sends alarms. By having these professionals watch over these systems, you are getting the industries’ best engineers watching over your small business technology.

This was unheard of 10 years ago, this type of power and access to engineers was only available for fortune 500 hundred companies that can afford to hire a robust staff of experienced and very talented and highly educated engineers. 

Contact us today and we will help you develop your security procedures and best practices for your company. Your business’s online security can mean the difference in your business remaining in business for years to come. You are the one that will be held liable if your network is compromised by your negligence; secure IT!