Chris Wright, managing director at IT Desk UK, on how SMEs can keep their data safe.
1. The safety and security of data is absolutely vital. Lose files because of a hardware failure and the results can be extremely damaging. You must back up data.
2. Storing data on an onsite server is fine, but what if your server fails or your premises are flooded? Off-site storage keeps data safe.
3. A remote server means data won’t be affected by problems at your premises, but do ask questions of where your data is stored and who will be storing it. Remember you are trusting them with critical business data.
4. Any system is only as safe as the ease it can be hacked. It is important to have strong passwords that are not obvious and to change them every 30 to 60 days. A strong password is a mix of upper and lower case characters, numbers, special characters and a minimum of eight characters
5. Ensure your computer account is password protected and lock your computer when you are away from it for any time, particularly in a public place.
6. It is essential to have the latest antivirus software installed on all computers. Make sure it updates automatically.
7. Make staff aware of the dangers of phishing emails. The basic rule is never click a link in an email or open an attachment that you don’t know anything about.
The alternative could be viruses and other malware stealing data or even preventing access to your data (ransomware).
8. If you do need to transfer data using a memory stick, make sure it is encrypted – and don’t leave it on the bus!
9. When you are out of the office and need to use external wireless networks, check that they are secure so someone else can’t gain entry to your device.
10. If you are still using Windows Server 2003 you need to know this date: 14th July 2015.
That’s when Microsoft will stop providing updates and security fixes. It means if you continue using the system after then you’re more at risk to potential security threats.