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Four top tips for keeping viruses and malware out of your business

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Viruses and malware can be a costly headache for businesses, and if the Sony hack taught us one thing, it’s that no one’s network is completely secure. Malware can slow your network down, compromise your data security, and in the case of ransomware such as Cryptolocker, deny you access to your data until you hand over a significant sum of money.

There are a number of technical solutions for protecting your network from viruses and malware. But there are four basic things every business should do to protect themselves:

1. Train your staff

We can’t emphasise this one enough. Most, if not all, viruses and malware rely on someone giving them access to the network, whether by clicking on a link, downloading a piece of software, or opening an attachment.

Do your staff know how to recognise a dodgy link? Are they suspicious of .exe attachments? Do they know that if they aren’t expecting a delivery, they should think twice before opening the attachment in an email purporting to come from UPS? If they don’t, make sure you tell them. This is the single biggest action you can take to keep your network virus-free.

2. Secure your network

Not giving your people administrator rights to their computers isn’t draconian, it’s good business sense. If all your users are logged in as administrators, there is nothing to stop virus software installing itself and removing any virus protection. Best security practice means giving your users the level of access they need to do their job effectively.

3. Get a good spam filter

Email filters such as Messagelabs, or Microsoft’s own Exchange Online platform (you don’t have to be using Office 365 to use it) will get rid of the bulk of dodgy traffic before it ever hits peoples inboxes. Get a good one, and keep it updated.

4. Install anti-virus software on all computers, set to update daily and scan weekly

Many people make the mistake of scheduling virus scans and updates for times when no one is in the office, to prevent down time – but often this means computers are offline and the scans don’t run. Pick a time when most computers will be on but to minimise disruption: Friday lunchtime is normally a good one.

These basic steps will go a long way to preventing viruses and malware spreading through your network – however, a robust technical strategy can prevent infections from reaching your network at all.  To find out more about how we can help you protect your network, give us a call on +44 (0) 207 043 7044 or email help@stripeolt.com