1. Use a Home version of Windows
I have come across this problem more times than not. Normally business owners don’t realize the risk of running Windows Home. There are so many features that are left out in a home product. One of those being Bitlocker. This feature allows your data to be encrypted on your hard drive. Business owners don’t realize that a hard drive can be taken out of a computer and the data be read on another computer. Regardless if you have a password on your PC or Laptop data that is unencrypted can be easily accessed with little effort. This poses a risk of your sensitive personal information or your clients. That is just one of the features, there is also Active Directory support, Group Policy capability, and Mobile Device Management. Yes, a Pro version of windows adds about $100 more dollars to the cost of the PC. But that $100 goes a long way in knowing you are protecting the data on your computer.
2. Use FREE software for anti-virus spyware
I get it, it’s free, and some freeware programs do okay until you have a problem. Even though all Windows 10 operating systems have “Windows Defender” this program is very limited and has even been proven to miss certain obvious viruses and spyware software. Not only that but this software also does not actively scan your computer for threats while you are browsing the internet. The best practice is to use a paid subscription like Webroot or Symantec Endpoint. These subscriptions are very affordable and constantly update their virus & spyware database helping you prevent a problem down the road.
3. Buy off the shelf hardware’
I had a new client reach out to us to diagnose a computer that was acting slow and shutting down unexpectedly. They had just bought it about a month ago and did not have any kind of power outage that would damage it. After looking at the “Intel Celeron” sticker on the computer I asked the client if they had bought it on special at a local store. The answer was yes, they were running a special and had purchased it since the previous computer was a little old. Equipment that is sold at box stores is mass-produced and oftentimes already being discontinued by the manufacturer. They are sold at a low price because they’re pretty much entry-level computers, meaning they are not made for constant day to day use. Can you find a good computer at a box store? Yes, it will just cost more than the $299 model they are advertising.
4. Don’t use a firewall for their network.
We have seen a lot of this lately, it especially plagues small businesses that start growing. A business owner can sometimes overlook the threats their network can be under because they’re busy running a business. With ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) providing a full feature cable modem/router combo you can be up and running rather quickly. The problem is that most of these modem/routers have little to no firewall features and can leave a business vulnerable to attacks from hackers. Because of this, there’s been a shift in the hacking world to start going for smaller businesses. A business firewall will help block common attacks from the internet or someone trying to hack your system. With as many data breaches it is important for small businesses to protect their network and not think they are too small to hack.
5. Have no backup computer or data backup.
You should ask yourself this question “What happens if my computer quits today?” Computers do have parts that wear out over time. Sometimes it's not a hacker or a virus, but just old age. In the tech world, a computer is obsolete within three years. In human years a three-year-old computer would be 56. I had a client that had purchased a laptop from a local store. It was a good laptop ran great but around the 9-month mark it started giving the client trouble. The client had purchased a “warranty” from the store and decided to take it in, after all they had a warranty. After the store diagnosed it the client was told that the computer needed to be shipped to the manufacturer because the motherboard had failed. When the client asked, “why does it have to be sent off? we purchased the warranty.” they were informed that since the computer was less than a year old it had to be sent to the manufacturer. The warranty they had purchased from the store only kicked in on the second year after the manufacturer's warranty had expired. Long story short they spent 2 weeks without their computer and since they didn’t have a backup system or backup data, they couldn’t do anything except wait and hope they could recover all their data. At the least, you should have a backup of your data and programs. Whether cloud or a NAS (network attached storage) drive your data is one of the most important things your company needs to protect. Advice is always free if you have any questions about or want to address any of these problems in your business please don’t hesitate to call or email us.