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Firewalls and Anti-Virus Protection for your Online Business

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 5 Aug 2010 | comments*Discuss
Online Business Data Protection

The customers of your online business will demand the highest levels of security, but you also need to pay close attention to the security regime you adopt and maintain on all the computers you use to help you manage your website. Make no mistake, a virus attack can have a devastating impact on your business.

Not only can precious data be lost, your entire online business could be out of action of days. Don’t forget, if your website isn’t live and updated regularly, customers can easily go to another online business. If you take your computer’s security seriously you can avoid any costly breeches of security.

Understanding Computer Security

Protection for your customers’ payment details and personal information should be a top priority for your online business. What is often overlooked is the security you must have on all of the computers you use to help you manage your new online business. Whether you have a desktop PC, or notebook computer all of these machines are vulnerable to attack each time you connect them to the Internet.

Anti-virus Protection

Virus attacks continue to plague the Internet. Computer viruses come in all shapes and sizes. The most common are:
  • Trojans
    These viruses are names after the Trojan Horse. They disguise themselves as another type of program to penetrate your computer.
  • Worms
    A worm is very much like an electronic bacteria. Once it has gotten inside your computer it begins to multiple. This can destroy data and slow the performance of your computer to the point where it becomes unusable.

To avoid any downtime running your online business ensure you have a good quality anti-virus package installed on your computer. Leading suppliers include McAfee and Symantec. You must also protect your computers from what are called Spyware programs. These pieces of software are design to infiltrate your computer and collect data about you activities and the data you have stored on your computer’s hard drive or network. Some Spyware is benign, but some can slow and even crash computer systems they infect.

Firewall Protection

It is also vital that your computers have an active firewall. A firewall is a piece of software that is installed on your computer and should also be installed on the server that hosts your online business’s website. The firewall stops unauthorised connections from the Internet penetrating your computer.

Windows and the Macintosh operating systems both have built in firewalls. However, these may be switched off, so check that yours is active. Third party firewalls are also available, but it’s not a good idea to have more than one firewall or anti-virus software running on your computers as these can conflict with ease other and reduce their effectiveness.

Online Security

To ensure your online business has high levels of security and data protection, follow the guidance below:

Firewall and Anti-virus Software
Always ensure you have the latest version of the firewall and anti-virus software installed on your computer. It is important to keep what are called the virus definitions up-to-date. The definitions is the database of known viruses active on the Internet. If your anti-virus software doesn’t know about a new virus it can’t detect it and therefore stop it from infection your computers and network.

ISP’s and Data Protection
You can protect your own computer with a firewall etc. but what about the ISP your online business will be using? Ask to see details of the provisions they provide to protect the server your website will be hosted on. Websites can be hacked, which could damage your online business’s brand and image.

Commercial Software
As you will be using your computer and network systems for your online business be aware of the impact installing public domain software could have on your computers. Try and only install the software you absolutely must have to operate your online business effectively. This not only ensures your computers and network operate efficiently, it reduces your risk of installing an infected piece of software that could damage your computers.

Scan your Computers and Network
Even if you keep your virus definitions up-to-date and install your operating system’s latest firewall, a virus could still slip through. Try and get into the habit of regularly - once a week if often enough - scanning your computer for any viruses or Spyware that may have evaded your anti-virus software and firewall.

Install Security Software Patches
Neither the Windows of Macintosh operating systems are perfect. Ensure you install any security patches that are released as soon as they become available. This will ensure your computer has the latest data protection.

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