How to Secure your Computer Systems – 10 Tips for Small Business Owners

As a Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator, a Certified Computer Forensics Specialist, Network
and Security Consultant, Software Developer, and Data Recovery Expert, my passion for technology
is undeniable. I also enjoy helping people, especially when it comes to my passion. This white paper
is centered on 10 important points to keep your computer systems secure.

1. Make sure that your password is secure.
This means any passwords in use should have some degree of complexity. A common standard for
secure passwords is to have a minimum of 8 characters, and be a mixture of letters, numbers and
symbols. For example, the user Jane Smith could use a password similar to Ja$mith1, providing a
good amount of complexity and very easy to remember. The symbol: $ can be used instead of s or S,
@ can be used instead of a or A, even 0 can be used instead of o or O.

2. As the Business Owner or as a Partner you should not hand your password to anyone, nor should you
write it down and leave it in your work environment or office.

3. Confidential information located on your network should be restricted and only allow access to the
appropriate individuals. Make sure you test the access rights or delegate this to a trusted individual.

4. Your personal computer should be password protected and automatically enable password protection
if the computer system has not been utilized for several minutes, this will prevent anyone from
snooping around on your computer while you are in the restroom or on a lunch break.

5. All Computers in your office should have Anti-virus software installed. Commercial products such as
Symantec Antivirus http://www.symantec.com or free software such as provided from Grisoft
http://www.grisoft.com.

6. All Computers in your office should also have Anti-spyware software installed.
This will help to keep your computer clean from other malicious programs on the internet that could
generate pop ups, capture confidential information, and slow down your computer system tremendously.
Commercial Anti-spyware programs such as Spyware Doctor from PC Tools can be found at
http://www.pctools.com. Free Anti Spyware programs such as Microsoft Windows Defender can be found
at http://www.microsoft.com and Adaware at http://www.lavasoft.com.

7. Keep your systems updated.
Microsoft provides an update feature that can be accessed from within Windows. It is used to update the
computer system with new improvements and security fixes. It is generally located under “All Programs”,
then click on the “start menu” to find “Windows Update”. If you are unable to locate the “Windows
Updates”, then updates can also be accessed directly from the Microsoft webpage.
http://www.microsoft.com. The same principle applies to other computer operating systems such as Apple
and Linux.

8. It is a very good idea to implement a Firewall.
There are two types of Firewalls: Hardware-based and Software-based. Your Firewall of choice depends
on the size of your organization. If you have less than 10 computer systems, I would recommend using a
Software-based Firewall on all of the computer systems. A commercial Firewall such as Zone Alarm Pro
can be found at http://www.zonelabs.com. Windows XP also has a built-in Firewall that can be utilized.
Hardware-based Firewalls vary depending on the size of your organization and the level of sophistication
desired. A good Firewall for Small Businesses is the TZ 170 from Sonic Wall http://www.sonicwall.com.
This Firewall is optimal for organization of 10 – 40 users.

9. Storing company information on USB Sticks to work on information at home, is the biggest most recent
trend. Make sure your company has a policy that specifies if such devices can be used and more
importantly to what degree.

10. Remote access tools such as Remote Desktop or PC Anywhere should be used with caution, given
they
open doors to your computer system and to your network.
Cyber criminals are attacking more and more Small Businesses assuming they are easy to bait.

Use these
tips to improve the security of your computers, your data and to counter cyber crime.