Guarding your business from online threats does not need to be expensive or difficult. There are simple steps you can take right away to significantly reduce the chances of your organisation being seriously damaged by viruses, hackers and spam.

1) Education, education, education. Make sure your staff are aware of the security threats posed by the Internet and that they understand basic safety principles such as not opening suspect attachments or giving their password to anybody except the IT administrator.

2) Form a disaster recovery plan and test it regularly. If your systems are wiped out by a serious attack, how will your business react? Make backing up your important data a part of your organisation’s daily routine.

3) If you can, block all email attachments with suspect file extensions, such as BAT, PIF, SCR, EXE, VBS and so on. There are no practical reasons why most people will need these types of files, and in all likelihood they will contain viruses.

4) Regularly visit the web pages of Microsoft and any other software suppliers you use – they will tell you when important product updates are available, and you should install them immediately. Never accept product updates or virus warnings from other sources. Virus warnings circulated by email are almost always hoaxes, ignore them and check with your security supplier.

5) Remember that security software only works if you keep it updated regularly – you cannot just install and forget about it.

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