While it’s impossible to plan for every potential computer problem or emergency, a little proactive monitoring and maintenance of your network will help you avoid or greatly reduce the impact of the clear majority of computer disasters you could experience.
Although there are over 37 critical checks and maintenance tasks that need to be performed on a daily, weekly, and movnthly basis—here are the six that are most important for protecting your company.
Back Up files daily
Imagine this: you write the most important piece of information you could ever write on a chalkboard and I come along and erase it. How are you going to get it back? The answer is simple, you’re not.w
Unless you can remember it, or if you made a copy of it, you can’t recover the data. It’s gone. That is why it is so important to back up your network. There are several things that could cause you to lose data files. If the information on the disk is important to you, make sure you have more than one copy of it.
Check Your Backups Regularly
Many business owners set up some type of backup system, but then never check to make sure it’s working properly. It’s not uncommon for a system to appear to be backing up when it’s really not. There are dozens of things that can go wrong and cause your backup to become corrupt and useless. That is why it’s not enough to simply back up your system; you should check it on a regular basis to make sure the data is recoverable in the event of an emergency.
Keep an Offsite Copy of Your Backups
What happens if a fire or flood destroys your server and the backup tapes or drive? This is how Hurricane Sandy devastated many businesses that have now been forced into bankruptcy.
What happens if your office gets robbed and they take everything? Having an offsite backup is simply a smart way to make sure you can get your business back up and running in a relatively short period.
Virus Protection is Always on and Up-To-Date
With virus attacks coming from spam, downloaded data and music files, instant messages, web sites, and e-mails from friends and clients, you cannot afford to be without up-to-date virus protection.
Not only can a virus corrupt your files and bring down your network, but it can also hurt your reputation. If you or one of your employees unknowingly spreads a virus to a customer, or if the virus hijacks your e-mail address book, you’re going to make a lot of people very angry.
Set Up a Firewall
Small business owners tend to think that because they are “just a small business”, no one would waste time trying to hack in to their network, when nothing could be further from the truth. We’ve conducted experiments where awe connected a single computer to the Internet with no firewall. Within hours, over 13 gigabytes of space were taken over by malicious code and files that we could not delete. The simple fact is that there are thousands of unscrupulous individuals out there who think it’s fun to disable your computer just because they can.
These individuals strike randomly by searching the Internet for open, unprotected ports. As soon as they find one, they will delete files or download huge files that cannot be deleted, shutting down your hard drive. They can also use your computer as a zombie for storing pirated software or sending spam, which will cause your ISP to shut YOU down and prevent you from accessing the Internet or sending and receiving e-mail.
If the malicious programs can’t be deleted, you’ll have to re-format the entire hard drive causing you to lose every piece of information you’ve ever owned, unless you were backing up your files properly.
Update system Critical Security Patches
If you do not have the most up-to-date security patches and virus definitions installed on your network, hackers can access your computer through a simple banner ad or through an e-mail attachment.
Most hackers do not discover security loopholes on their own. Instead, they learn about them when Microsoft (or any other software vendor for that matter) announces the vulnerability and issues an update. That is their cue to spring into action and they immediately go to work to analyze the update and craft an exploit (like a virus) that allows them access to any computer or network that has not yet installed the security patch. The time between the release of the update and the release of the exploit that targets the underlying vulnerability is getting shorter every day.It is evident that someone needs to be paying close attention to your systems to ensure that critical updates are applied as soon as possible. That is why we highly recommend small business owners without a full-time IT staff allow their consultant to monitor and maintain their network. Escalating threats and a complex technology landscape make it difficult for in-house IT organizations to keep up with changing requirements.