Most businesses are online these days and for many that means data and information is stored on computer hard drives and servers. There is a wide variety of antivirus software out there on the market, offering to protect that information and stop criminals getting their dirty paws on it. But if you’re just a sole trader with a small retail operation, do you really need to bother with anti-virus protection? Is anyone out there really interested in what is on your computer?
Ask the question
Ask yourself whether your business would suffer and whether you’d be inconvenienced is you were not able to switch on your computer again. Ever. Would it make a difference to your company? The answer for most people is a resounding yes. Many use their home computer to store details of customers, to maintain their website, to find new business and to get in touch with clients. Without it they’d lose money and lose custom. Consider that a virus can bring down your computer in a matter of seconds and you’ll begin to realise that having a comprehensive security plan and data back-up is not just desirable, it’s essential – even for the smallest businesses.
The legal position
You might not be ICI or the NHS, but if you hold and process information about your clients, employees or suppliers, you will have to abide by the Data Protection Act. As part of the act your company has a legal obligation to protect the information that you hold and keep it secure. If you do not take any steps to protect the information you hold and are reckless then it could result in the business facing legal action.
Small business owners are often forced to take on a number of roles themselves, from head of purchasing to head of packing, all at the same time. As a result, it is rare that they have time to sit down and twiddle their thumbs. If a computer virus shuts down your computer then your company is going to be offline for hours, possibly days, while the problem gets sorted. Could you cope without access to your files for that amount of time? What effect would that have on your business?
With antivirus packages suitable for small businesses starting at under £50 is unlikely that you’d be able to use price as an issue not to have antivirus protection installed on your machine. End of.
Back it up!
Even with the best antivirus protection available installed on your computer, it is important to remember that new viruses can still get through the net. Making regular hard drive and server back-ups a habit will make sure that if the worst happens, your business will not be inconvenienced for long. Just remember though, having a single copy of your data stored on a clip drive that sits next to the computer you are working from is not good enough. Ensure you have a copy offsite and that it is updated regularly.