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6 ways to improve your farm office cybersecurity

Failing to pay attention to online security can lead to frustration and real losses.

Most small businesses, including farm offices, regularly use the internet to engage in selling or purchasing products or services. Failing to pay attention to online security can lead to frustration and real losses. Businesses today are more vulnerable than ever to hacking, viruses, and disruption of services, and that's why you should take cybersecurity in your smart office seriously.

To help keep the information of your business safe and protected, here are some cybersecurity tips that will minimize your chances of falling prey to hackers.

1) Use latest security software

You should always update your security software that covers all computers, operating systems, and even web browsers to minimize the threat posed by malware, viruses, and hackers. You can set the software to run a new scan after updates and automatically install updates. Maintaining updates and scheduling scans is the best way to avoid security issues, but it is not always foolproof.

2) Educate employees on security protocols

Your employees need to know the basic security protocols and practices from creating strong passwords to following the guidelines on internet usage. By having everyone follow the same guidelines, you minimize the chances of viruses or hacking to occur from sloppy or lazy security practices. Also, you should instruct all employees to change their passwords every three months to help maximize protection, as well as to avoid using the same password for all of their logins.

3) Backup all important data

You should back up vital information and data to a cloud system or separate storage devices that are both on and off your property. Vital information and data can include spreadsheets, documents, databases, files for financial and human resources, accounts both receivable and payable, and more. By backing up your files regularly, you can minimize the damage caused by a major systems failure, such as a virus or natural disaster.

4) Have firewalls in place

A firewall is a series of programs that prevent those on the outside from accessing your data. There are free firewall software systems online that are quite good at keeping out intruders, and you should extend that protection to employees who work from home.

5) Secure wi-fi networks

Often overlooked in many security plans is the Wi-Fi network that allows for access to your computer system. Be sure to place an encrypted, secure code into the network so that only personnel with the proper access can use it. You will also need to protect the router with a password so that access to that is limited as well. And, don't forget that you’ll need to change the passwords regularly to enhance security.

6) Protect mobile devices

In addition to Wi-Fi networks, you’ll need to protect all mobile devices that have access to your data. One way you can do this is to require that all devices that your company or employees own have the latest in security protection so that it minimizes the chance of hacking, malware, or viruses will manage to get inside.

By performing all these security tips, you can minimize the threat from outside sources and protect your data. While there is no perfect solution, keep in mind that intrusions are most likely to occur in systems that do not take the necessary steps to protect the systems.                                                                                       

Have recommendations or questions? Tell us about it in the comments below, on Twitter via @nerdsquawk or send me an email at [email protected]

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.

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