The computers on which your employees work are an integral part of your organization. If something goes wrong with your computers or network, you face a potential loss in productivity while the IT team or a third party service investigate and solve the issue. Prevention is key when it comes to computer safety, and there are a few simple things you can do to protect your systems from intruders and accidental infections.

Software Protection

When it comes to computer security, a strong set of anti-malware tools is your first line of defense. Every computer on your network should be equipped with anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall software. Protecting a computer with anti-malware software will not prevent all infections, but will stop the majority of common ones in their tracks. Be sure to keep your anti-virus and anti-spyware software updated, and to run regular scans.

Constant Updates

Every computer has an operating system, and every operating system has security holes. As these security holes are discovered, the company responsible for the operating system issues updates that seal them up. It is of vital importance that you keep every computer’s operating system up to date with the latest bug fixes and security holes, whether you use Linux, Windows or OS X. Operating system updates should be done as soon as updates are made available.

Employee Education

Many security breaches or computer infections are not the result of software failure, but of poor safety practices on the part of users. Educate your employees on safe web browsing habits to help them make good decisions while using company equipment. Employees should know about phishing scams, dangerous email attachments and off-limits websites, and should be limited to either work-only or approved web use while using your organization’s devices.

Regular Backups

No security system is foolproof. Even with the best prevention practices and a staff well versed in web security, your company’s computers could end up with an infection. Keep backups of all important information on your network and set a regular backup schedule. Remember: A backup is only useful if you remember to update it as information changes. Back up your data at least once per month to limit your losses in the event of infection.

User Accounts

Threats to your cyber security are not all remote -- physical breaches are a possibility as well. Give every employee a specific user account and password so that only approved people can access your systems. User accounts also give you the ability to set permissions for each user, which in turn allows you to control in greater detail exactly what your employees can and cannot do while using their computers. Ask all employees to lock or log out of their systems before leaving their desks.