Have you ever lost one hour’s worth of work on a document because you didn’t save it properly, or your computer unexpectedly shut down on you? While that it a major pain, think about what it would be like if you lost a day, week or all your files. Or even worse, all your company’s files and data were gone.

Even though that should be enough to keep every business owner and manager up at night, I’ve seen too many businesses leave themselves unprotected from disaster.

Data Security Threats

Every day there are new and more dangerous viruses released, new hackers trying to make a name for themselves, and natural disasters caused by severe weather. All of which pose an incredible threat to our data. Put them all together and it’s amazing any of us can keep our computer and data intact.

Companies that experience any of potential disasters can have a difficult time recovering UNLESS they have taken the proper steps to protect themselves. Unfortunately, most small businesses don’t have a full time IT staff to properly support and maintain their network. Most just set it up and use it until it stops working. Unless the business owner is somewhat of an IT expert, there is a good chance that no one is paying attention to whether files are backed up properly, if the virus protection is up to date or if the critical patches are installed. Without this, your data and critical information becomes more at risk with every passing day.

3 Things You Can Do Now To Protect Your Data

While it’s impossible for a small business to fully prepare for every potential disaster, there are a few simple and inexpensive things that can be done to avoid the most devastating of disasters.

Tip #1: Keep Up-To-Date Virus Protection

If you have worked with a computer for any length of time you probably know how devastating a virus can be. In today’s world virus are coming at you from every possible source – emails, web sites, links, music, etc. You can’t afford to be without a current anti-virus product.
There are also a few simple rules to follow that will dramatically decrease your chances of getting a virus. First and foremost, never open a suspicious or strange email even if it is from someone you know. If in doubt, delete the email and call the person. Save yourself a lot of hassle and err on the side of caution.
Finally, avoid downloading free music and other free software, especially from unknown sites. Peer to peer file sharing sites are the worst! These are breeding ground for viruses.

Tip #2: Install a Firewall

Many small business owners believe that because they are “just a small business” no one will waste their time trying to hack into their system. WRONG! Most hackers will look for the easy target and that means you! I can tell story after story of small business that have been attacked by viruses, had their computers infected, data held hostage, data servers turned into porn servers and even their bank accounts drained by hackers.
There are tens of thousands of unscrupulous people in the world who want nothing more than to take advantage of people like you. They strike randomly by searching the web for open and unprotected access to companies like yours. As soon as they fine one, they get to work and make your life miserable.

Tip #3: Properly Back Up Your Files

The unfortunate reality is there are way too many small businesses that do not have a current, if any, backup of their critical data. Just recently I was in a small business that had not had a backup for 3 months and had no idea. To make things worse, there was no offsite backup so if anything happened to the building there would be no way to retrieve any data.
By setting up a simple system to backup all your programs and data on a daily basis, you can turn a disaster into nothing more than a minor nuisance. Let’s face facts, your data is constantly at risk from human error, corruption, viruses, and natural disasters. The only way to truly protect yourself and your data is to implement a solid, reliable backup solution.

KLH – Minneapolis IT Managed Services Provider

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Scott Johnson COO, KLH  651-328-6121