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Keep Your Guard Up

Don't let your company's data security be an afterthought.

As more small companies connect to the Internet, they become aware of new ways their data can be attacked. This, combined with recent high-profile computer break-ins involving government agencies and reputable corporations nationwide, has caused small businesses to take data security more seriously.

Protecting your company against intruders starts with a systematic and objective look at your business's data security issues. "Small businesses need to think about where they have data and the different ways people can access it, and consider scenarios in which it can be compromised, altered, destroyed or stolen," suggests Ira Machefsky, vice president of Giga Information Group, an IT advisory service in Santa Clara, California.

First, determine where your computer system is weakest. Once you decide what you need to protect, devise a plan that combines a set of security procedures with technology intrusion barriers. Keep in mind that the potential harm may not come from hackers outside the organization--current and former employees are often the biggest threats to a company's computer security.

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This article was originally published in the October 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Keep Your Guard Up.

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