Top 5 Computer Security Threats that Can Affect Your Business

January 27, 2010 No Comments

The National Security Alliance, in coordination with technology companies like Microsoft and Symantec, has compiled and released a list of the Top 5 Computer Security Threats that can affect your business. Here is a round-up of the said list:

1. Malicious Code – Computer hackers have become more and more resourceful and “creative” through the years so technology companies are expecting that 2010 will usher in more hackers who are adept at taking over computers and business systems using Botnets, drive-by-downloads, malicious scripting, Trojans and other kinds of spyware and virus codes.

2. Phishing Scams – People should always be on their guard when opening their mails. Phishing scams occur more frequently via emails. Opening mails that contain malicious scripts or those that ask you to fill out forms so other parties can “steal” your personal data tend to become more dangerous and frequent this year. Email attachments that embed viruses and worms into your system are still commonplace. Apparently, people can’t get enough of their curiosity. They still open malicious attachments from unknown senders. This can affect not only their system but also the other people that they share network with.

3. Lost Portable Devices – Devices like computers and hard drives are becoming smaller and more portable. For most people, this is convenience since they can bring their work almost everywhere. However, portable devices like laptops and PDAs can easily get lost or misplaced. As such, they become potential source of threat for businesses. A lost laptop or external hard drive can bring down business security because it exposes confidential or critical data to outsiders.

4. Employees – Unsatisfied employees, whether past or present, can be good sources of information or data for competitors. They may also load up their external drives with vital company information or delete critical information that they may have to hamper the operations of the company.

5. Wireless Networks – Wireless network gives the workplace flexibility and mobility but businesses have to make sure that if they are using wireless network, then all important data should be encrypted. You may also use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to secure your network. This is because data travelling through a wireless network can be easily hitched or stolen. Hackers can also penetrate wireless networks more easily especially if it’s left unsecured.

The good news about this is identifying the primary sources of threats to your business network or system has allowed technology companies to create a checklist of what you can do to protect your IT system. Here are a few tips on how you can enhance security in your business:

  • Be aware – Communication is the best way to increase awareness among employees. Make it habit to send out emails or notices about new viruses or worms that may infect the computer system. Encourage employees to do regular virus scans on their work PCs.
  • Security Software – Business networks and systems should at least be protected by a firewall. In this case, a hardware firewall is more recommended as well as an anti-virus program and anti-spyware software. There are other security-related software available in the market such as email or spam protection. Most important of all, keep all security software updated particularly on the latest virus definitions and patches.
  • Security Plan – Businesses should devise a security plan. A security plan should be well-written and detailed. It should include policies, procedures and technical requirements for your business and employees. You may enlist the services of an internet security consultant when creating a security plan for your IT system to ensure its feasibility and reliability.
  • Seek Network Balance – Some businesses tend to apply too high security levels on their networks that their system ends up locked down. In this case, the IT system is in place but it is no longer fully functional so employees can get frustrated with it. You have to strike a balance between functionality and security.
  • Educate the employees – Workplace “house rules” vary from one office to another so it will be better to train your employees on proper computer usage. We already made mention of disseminating security-related information but you should also keep your employees updated on the security plan so you can hold them accountable for any breaches that they may commit.
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