The number and complexity of internet threats have been growing for years. Businesses have become targets for many different kinds of malicious software and hacker groups. There are several ways companies can protect themselves against viruses and other malicious software. With a few good habits and some internet security software, most any company can prevent these attacks.
Security software is the first step in securing a network. Known viruses are detected with definitions that stop malicious code from executing. This kind of protection stops most viruses since developers work hard to keep up with the latest threats. For viruses and malicious software that hasn’t been discovered yet, heuristic detection methods are used. Heuristic detection stops malicious software by watching for certain behaviors that could indicate malicious intent.
Data encryption is the next step in protecting data. Even if hackers and spyware make it through the security software installed on the system, the data they steal will be useless. If the data is encrypted, only authorized users will be able to access it. This kind of protection can be applied to data stored on the system and in backups on the cloud.
Strong passwords prevent unauthorized access. System administrators can help assure users have strong passwords by putting minimal requirements on the number and type of characters. At least fifteen characters should be used and those should include special characters, numbers, and capital letters. More importantly, passwords should have an expiration that requires users to update at least every six moths.
System wipes should occur regularly. Most viruses sit in the system until they activate. By cleaning the temporary files out of the system, most malicious software is stopped before it can do any damage. Users should be encouraged to backup their files often so they don’t lose work when the system is wiped.
Backups need to be done regularly. If ransomware locks the system, there’s not much that can be done except to wipe the system and start over. If data isn’t backed up, they will lose work and end up having to start all over themselves. System administrators can automate backups or add alerts to make sure users do it themselves.