10 Security Questions from Small Business Owners

Our Managed IT Service Pros answer ten of our most frequently asked security questions.

Because of wide-spread data breaches, ransomware, malware, and other security issues in the business world today, our Managed IT Service team get questions from our customers all the time about various security issues and concerns. We have created a quick list of some of the most frequently asked questions and their answers so you can benefit from this security knowledge as well!

Answers to Your IT Security Questions

How can I tell if an email I received contains a virus or malware program?

The easiest way to spot potential viruses or malware programs in an email is: Look at the email address.

  1. Is the email unfamiliar?
  2. Does it include an attachment?

If the answer is 'yes,' these should raise a red flag! The best method to prevent an attack from malicious software is to never open any attachments from unknown email addresses, then to block and delete the email.

When in doubt, toss it out!

If the suspicious email was legitimate, the sender will likely email you again or reach out using a different form of communication. Learn more about how to stay safe while using email.


How do I know my data is secure “in the cloud”?

We hear this concern frequently from our customers "How do I know my data is safe if I can't see it?". Rest assured, Microsoft's data centers are infinitely more secure—both physically and virtually—than any security measures a small or medium size business may have in place for their servers.

Hosting your servers in the cloud provides numerous benefits over the "on-premises" infrastructure that you host at your office location. While cloud servers incur month-to-month hosting fees, there are no up-front expenses, no ongoing maintenance costs, nor replacement hardware costs.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a piece of malicious code, written by the scum of the earth, and snuck onto your PC, many times through email. Once the ransomware is on your PC, it starts to encrypt (locking) your essential files (like customer documents, finance documents, HR documents).
Most of the time, you will notice it happening because you will see a new window pop-up on your PC demanding money (average demand is $5k-$15k) to receive the unlock password. And sometimes, these bastards (yes, they are bastards) don't even send you the password once you pay them.
Unless you regularly back up your documents and train your staff on how to avoid email scams, you might find yourself in a tight spot with ransomware. Watch this video on How to avoid Scammy Sextortion Emails.


Help! I have ransomware, and I didn't back up my documents, what should I do now?

There is no easy way to say this. If you are not backing up your documents, you are playing Russian Roulette with your documents! Once you have ransomware, there is next to zero chance you can recover your data without paying the ransom. Click here to get in touch and get help now.


Why are small businesses being targeted for cyber-attacks over large corporations?

Unfortunately, small businesses don't have the cyber-security resources or expertise at their disposal that the large enterprises do. Think about it this way. Who would a thief rather steal from? A single wealthy person surrounded by bodyguards with lots of guns. Or 100 distracted unarmed people with their wallets exposed?

What is an email phishing scam and how can I avoid it?

Phishing is the practice of sending fraudulent emails that look like they are from a reputable source. Phishing emails intend to persuade the recipient to reveal personal information such as login credentials or credit card numbers.

You can start by asking yourself the following questions to help eliminate threats before they can cause you, your business, or your contacts harm.

  1. Why am I receiving this email?
  2. What is it asking me to do?
  3. What is the sender's email address (not just the sender's name)?
  4. When hovering the cursor over the link (whether it's text or an image) what is the website URL displayed? This is the link you will visit if you click. Learn more in this blog.


What is the safest way to store passwords?

You should always store your passwords within a password vault, or password manager. Using this method will allow you to have one "master" password to remember, which will allow you to access all of your other passwords safely and securely. We recommend the password vault LastPass. Learn more about staying safe online.


What is Two-Factor Authentication?

Two-factor authentication is a secondary layer of security requiring proof other than your password that you are you and not an attacker attempting to gain access. For example, if your Twitter account has two-factor authentication configured, you may be required to verify your identity by inputting a code that was texted to you. Learn more about staying safe online.


Is it safe to use public Wi-Fi?

Absolutely!  Who doesn't love free Wi-Fi?  But nothing is ever free, right?

When you are sitting at Starbucks or the Airport using the public Wi-Fi, you want to make sure that you are extra cautious.  We would suggest not accessing your critical accounts, such as banks, credit cards, personal information, or even work information.  If you do, you run the risk that every other device connected to that Wi-Fi can access, view, and capture your information. 

Protect yourself by using a VPN while on public the Wi-Fi. A VPN will encrypt all of your information and keep prying eyes out. If you don't have a VPN service, there are plenty of options available. However, if you plan is to binge the latest season of Game of Thrones, then binge away on that public Wi-Fi!

I purchased an Anti-Virus from BestBuy; doesn't that keep my network safe?

Think of network security like going scuba diving with sharks. Consider that your anti-virus is your air tank. You might be able to breathe, but without a mask, fins, or speargun, you're at risk of being attacked!

Having anti-virus software is a good start, but network security is a multi-prong approach that requires various tools to ensure you're protected. Using a Managed IT Service provider can keep your business safe by using enterprise level anti-virus, managing and monitoring a hardware firewall, switch and router, and applying Advanced Threat Protection for email.
So, would you rather jump in the shark-infested waters with only an air tank or fully equipped with your mask, fins, and speargun?

Have some questions of your own?

You can submit a question and get it answered by our IT Pros! Submit your question to our Ask A Wizard Knowledgebase and read answers to questions that other business owners have asked!

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Jason Monroe, Associate Director, Solution Development
Jason M. Monroe

Associate Director, Solution Development

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