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Computer security: a matter of concern and tips to avoid trouble


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With so much of today’s business being transacted online, computer security is a major issue affecting businesses and consumers. For online businesses, there can be problems in the form of stolen credit card information, mailing or personal information. If you are selling information, your content may be hacked into and copied. This affects the business and customer adversely, since the customer is likely to blame the online business. This erodes the image of your business and discourages other customers from trusting you with their information. No one likes their email inbox to be bombarded with viruses and spam. If they feel that your site has something to do with it, your business and reputation will suffer long term damage. To avoid problems with your business’s computer security, follow the guidelines listed below.

Never allow external storage devices – Do not permit anyone to take data out of your system in any form of external storage device, such as floppy disks, CDs etc. for any reason. Obviously, this compromises your safety and that of your customers.
Limit employee access – Restrict employee access to files, folders and areas within the system that they require in their day to day work. Do not allow anyone to gain access to any information that they do not require. Make sure that you install systems that lock out employees who do not have authorization.

Third party outsourcing – Outsource your payment system to a third party such as PayPal, so that your liability is reduced in case of any computer security problems. This third party will have the necessary technological support to ensure that the customer and your business are safe. But to be sure of this, you will need to do a thorough check on your selected provider or choose a reputable one.

Check on your technology vendor – It is important to ensure that your technology vendor has taken steps to protect the server and the software in your system appropriately with firewalls etc. If it is possible and affordable, look into getting a third party security audit of the system from both ends – the server provider & the software at your end since leaks may be from either end. Pages that contain sensitive data should be appropriately protected with software security locks.

Newsletter email lists – If you have a newsletter, make sure that your online business keeps its mailing list secure and that no recipient can tamper with it or gain access to the list. This is essential in protecting the privacy of your customer information.
Affiliations with reputable associations – Form affiliations with trusted business and computer security organizations, such as BBB online, to ensure that customers feel safe coming to your site. The additional benefit of this is the identification of any flaws in the security through a check up.

Educate customers – It is imperative to educate your customers about computer safety. Ensure that they know your online business will not send them emails soliciting information and that if they receive any such mail, they should report it to you at once.

Content – Protect your content by ensuring that it is safe behind firewalls and other applications that prohibit unauthorized entry. As for public content, simply provide your visitors with updated and informative content regularly since good quality cannot be copied.
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