With so many horror stories about hackers taking down entire networks and corporate computer systems, how does a small business protect itself against hackers?

  • Invest in an Internet security consultant, even if only to test your system and give you an assessment.
  • Hire a tech consultant who specializes in Internet security who can recommend software or a system to secure your company computers.
  • Do regular backups onto a Zip disk, Jazz disk or tape drive, depending on the size of your system. Even if you're hacked, a good backup system can salvage your data.
  • Keep passwords secret. Don't let everyone know all the passwords, don't write them down where people can find them, and change them often.
  • Consider liability insurance. If you believe you're truly at risk for hacking and you can't afford to have your systems go down, look into insurance that will cover tangible losses due to havoc from hackers.

Keep in mind that hacking most frequently occurs when you have computers dedicated to the Internet 24/7 and you have open Internet connections vs. dial-up accounts. Get sound advice, and be safe rather than sorry!

Aliza Sherman is an entrepreneur and author of Cybergrrl: A Woman's Guide to the World Wide Web (Ballantine Books). She is currently working on her next book and new company.