Protect Your Business From Internet Threats

SCOREThis article is provided by the Greater Scranton Area SCORE chapter.

For small business owners increasingly reliant on technology, the threat of disruptions from computer viruses has become increasingly important. Maybe you haven’t had trouble yet with computer viruses. But the problem keeps getting worse and more small businesses are feeling the effects.

The risk increases with each new technology device or service you link to your system, such as wireless networks, instant messaging and other applications. One technology firm that screens e-mails for spam and viruses on behalf of small business customers says that 3.6 percent of messages contain a virus.

As a business owner, you must be prepared to protect your PCs. A virus can damage data and disrupt your business. The first step is to educate everyone at your business about the dangers and set policies for using the Internet and opening email attachments. For example, don’t let employees use file sharing Web sites and prohibit downloading applications from unknown sites.

You should install antivirus software and other security features on your computers, networks and e-mail. Use a firewall to block incoming traffic that is not needed for your business. And keep all operating systems, software and security measures up to date. Older versions are more vulnerable to attack. If you discover a PC is infected, take it off your network so that fixes can be installed. offers a full range of antivirus, anti-spam and computer problem solving solutions for small business. The Small Business Center portion of the firm’s Web site has dozens of articles on computer security and maintenance.

To help startups and other small businesses better understand online security, Symantec offers several free educational tools, including “Security Essentials for Your Small Business,” a CD-ROM with an interactive guide to online threats and help evaluating security options. You can order a free copy online at

For helpful articles on the latest Internet security trends, subscribe to Symantec’s monthly small business newsletter at, or download a copy of their book “IT Security for Small Businesses” at

For additional planning help for your small business, contact SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business.”  SCORE is a nonprofit organization of more than 10,500 volunteer business counselors who provide free, confidential business counseling and training workshops to small business owners.  Call (570) 851.1608 or visit to contact the Greater Scranton Area SCORE Chapter.