By Richie B. Harris

Advances in internet and computer technologies have made it possible for small businesses to compete not just locally, but nationally and internationally as never seen before.

However, these expanded opportunities have also brought with them additional risk. In an April 2013 article written by Panja Kavilanz for CNN Money  titled Cybercrime’s Easiest Prey: Small businesses, Andrew Singer, Director of Symantec’s small business group said, “A typical small business doesn’t have a 50-person IT department and every computer protected.” They don’t have the money for it. Increasingly, cybercriminals are using smaller businesses as a stepping stone. Smaller suppliers or partners of large companies often offer the path of least resistance into a major corporation’s network.”

Small businesses are vulnerable to data breaches, fines and even civil liabilities. Here are some basic steps to secure business systems and networks:

1. Provide defense in depth by implementing different layers of security, beginning with anti-virus software and keep it regularly updated.

2. Use a hardware firewall on internet connections to protect internal networks and systems.

3. Install and activate a software firewall on all business computers.

4. Patch operating systems and applications regularly by configuring automatic updates to run at the day and time of choosing.

5. Make backup copies of critical business data. Many cloud backup solutions make this task affordable, automatic and painless for the small business owner.

6. Control physical access to computers and network components.

7. Secure wireless access points and networks by turning off the broadcast of SSID and use WPA-2 vs. WEP encryption to secure data transmitted over wireless network.

8. Train employees in basic security principles and hold them accountable.

9. Require individual user accounts and complex passwords on business computers and applications.

Whether a business has a network of five computers or an enterprise network of hundreds of computers, Joint Enterprise Technologies has a wealth of experience, and is available to bring expertise to businesses at an affordable price.

Contact Richie B. Harris, President of Joint Enterprise Technologies LLC, at 436-9946 or e-mail Richie.harris@jointenterprisetechnologies.com, or visit www.jointenterprisetechnologies.com for more information.