How to Keep Your Computer Safe and Secure

How to Keep Your Computer Safe and Secure

Similar to your bank account, house, car or other important things you need to keep your computer safe.

When I say safe and secure, I mean both from a physical and digital risk perspective. How do you protect your device from theft? And if the laptop or desktop is taken have you taken steps to stop the thieves from getting into your machine and accessing your files?

Protecting yourself from computer viruses is also important. If a virus gets through, is your system able to recognize and remove the computer virus before it can do any harm?

Let’s look at these items a little closer.

I Just Turned Away for a Second…

As workforces become more mobile, many people are working from coffee shops, airports and other public places or shared work spaces. Although this allows for more flexible work hours and the mobility offers a number of benefits, there is also a larger risk of your computer growing legs and going for a walk.

To eliminate this, there are a couple of easy steps to take:

1. Don’t leave your laptop unattended. You wouldn’t leave your keys in the car and walk away in a parking lot would you?

2. Buy a lock. An inexpensive cable lock from makers like Kensington, for example, can be a simple solution and allow to you to have the ability to take a bathroom break without worrying your laptop will walk away or having to carry it to the bathroom. If your business has machines that the public can access such as a library or storefront, a cable lock is great idea even if it is a desktop. It doesn’t take long to unplug a few cables so these just gives you that extra security.

Protecting Your Device is as Easy as 1-2-3-4

Sometimes things happen despite best intentions and your laptop, desktop or mobile device is lost or stolen. That’s okay though, you have a password on your device to prevent unauthorized access right?

Every device you have, even personal, should be password protected just like you would with your bank card. This should be a relatively difficult password, so avoid things like 1-2-3-4 or your birthday. A mix of letters and numbers are always best.

Why make it easy on someone to access your device?

Tracking Software

You can also be a little more proactive and add tracking software to your device. There are simple programs available for a small fee that you can apply to any device (desktop, laptop, smart phone) that will allow you to use GPS to track it, remotely lock it and wipe all data should it ever go missing.

This can be managed by your IT provider or any individual from a website without much difficulty.

But What About Computer Viruses?

So your physical device is covered. If it gets taken or lost you will be able to find it. But how do you keep it safe from things like viruses or malicious bugs? You need to take a multi-layered approach.

Have a strong security system in place from your firewall to your local device. Your firewall should be a Unified Threat Management (UTM) system which covers web filtering, dangerous emails and more. This is your security guard at the door of your building. Only those allowed get in.

You should have enterprise grade antivirus on every desktop, laptop, server and mobile device. Sometimes emails get through and dangerous links are clicked and viruses have access to your computer. A strong antivirus would catch, notify and remove the computer virus before any harm could be done.

The antivirus should be monitored by your IT provider and alert them of any issues in case of large or frequent security issues.

You should also ensure your email is protected with a strong hosted anti-spam service. Office 365 includes this but if you have a local Exchange Server or other email hosting, you will need to check this is in place. Many computer virus and malware threats come via email.

Simple steps and a couple of different software programs and hardware equals peace of mind knowing that no matter what you are secure and so is your computer.