Live Free: How To Protect Your Startup From Malware
Malware can hurt any business, but startups usually don’t have the resources to fight malicious programs or bounce back from an attack. This doesn’t mean they are powerless, though, and any startup can take steps to prevent malware from infecting their electronic devices, no matter their resources. Avoid becoming an easy target by following the guidelines below.
Buy the best antivirus and security programs.
Startups usually lack the resources to continually fight malicious software and should make security programs a priority to protect their hardware from attack. Unfortunately, malware creators are always adapting and improving their designs, and businesses can fall behind if they don’t use the best security programs.
Experts recommend using both security and anti-virus software; using only one safeguard could leave your devices vulnerable to a malware attack. However, even the best anti-malware software will do no good if it isn’t the latest version. Always make sure your security programs are updating correctly and are the newest versions you can afford.
Train your employees.
Malware spreads quickly even from a single source, and relying on untrained employees is a risk no business should take. Hiring and training malware-savvy employees doesn’t take much time or effort, and the long-term stability of your startup is worth the investment.
First, teach your employees that malware is never designed to look malicious. If it was it would be easy to remove! Instead, malware programs are made to either stay undetected or seen legitimate. Next, you can detail the common symptoms of malware and how it spreads.
Not all malware infects a computer the same way.
Some malicious programs spread physically when people use a compromised CD-ROM or USB stick. This is why many businesses choose to ban employees from using their own media files on company property. File sharing websites are also a common source of malware, where it comes packaged with software files.
Spreading dangerous software through email messages is another popular tactic scammers use. An infected email either downloads malware directly when it is opened by a victim or indirectly through a malicious website. Scammers work hard making scam emails look legitimate, but creating and sharing a trusted contact list with your employees will let them know which emails are safe to open.
Malware symptoms are usually subtle, creating only an impression that something isn’t quite right. Learning to embrace these feelings is the best way to recognize when a device is compromised. Encountering a pop-up even when you don’t have an internet browser open or receiving a bizarre email from a contact are both signs of infection, but your employees can easily dismiss them if they aren’t taught to listen to their instincts.
Other common symptoms can include: computers randomly slowing down, toolbars that you can’t uninstall or that automatically reinstall after you remove them, programs failing to load promptly, large pop-ups that don’t go away, new security programs that scan your computer way too quickly, windows that demand a ransom or accuse you of committing a cybercrime, and random glitches.
Store important files remotely.
Many startups avoid risk by storing their important files off-site. This allows them to continue operating without major distractions even if their systems face a malware attack. Many choose to use an information storage service, usually on the cloud, to keep their files secure, while others store data in portable storage devices like smartphones or USB drives. Off-site storage isn’t for every business, but it is smart option to consider if you have the resources and wish to keep your important information safe.
Any startup that uses electronic devices is vulnerable to malicious software. But this doesn’t mean that a malware infection is inevitable. By taking the right precautions, and teaching every employee how to handle malicious software, any startup can keep their electronic devices free from malware.