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Wyoming Business Tips for Nov. 27-Dec. 3

November 18, 2016

A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Jim Drever, WSBDC regional director and certified cybersecurity specialist

“What are three things I can do to improve cybersecurity for myself and my business?” Mitch, Laramie

There is information overload on what to do and not to do to improve your cybersecurity.

Instead of focusing on a cybersecurity plan, which I would recommend every business have, and I realize your business has other demands that might seem more pressing, I recommend at least doing these three things to protect yourself:

-- First, if you are not backing up your computer(s), start now. Incremental backups that are not stored in the same place as your computer will allow you to recover when your hard drive fails. Cloud solutions work just as well as non-cloud backup systems. Every so often, test to make sure the backups work and, if you use an external hard drive, please keep it disconnected when not backing up. You win bonus points if you use an encrypted option.

-- Use lengthy different passwords for each site/service you log into. If you cannot remember 12 or 16 character passwords for each, consider using a password manager. Apple’s system comes with one and there are others, such as Dashlane or Fastpass. If you have a two-factor authentication option with sites/services (Google and Apple, for example, offer it), use it.

-- Third, keep your computer software and anti-virus/anti-malware up to date. Many people feel that when their computers are up and running, and everything works, that they are best left alone. The opposite is true as hackers are diligently finding vulnerabilities that make unpatched machines easy prey. Two of the three favorite software targets are Java and Flash. If you have installed either system, keep them up to date. By not doing so, you can be infected when visiting seemingly innocuous websites.

There are many additional actions that you can take that, with just a little effort, can help protect you. But, I hope these three steps will keep you, your data, your systems and your financial resources from being easy prey.

Wyoming Entrepreneur SBDC offers additional resources on our website (www.wyomingsbdc.org) in addition to free one-on-one confidential advising, including cybersecurity-related topics.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments are available at www.wyomingsbdc.org/blog1/.

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email wsbdc@uwyo.edu, or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.


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