From the March 2005 issue of Entrepreneur

Security Blanket

The cost of internet security software can add up with anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-pop-ups. But you could shave some of those off your budget, depending on which ISP you use.

One of the big movers and shakers in this area is AOL. AOL 9.0 Security Edition offers McAfee VirusScan Online, anti-spam controls, spyware protection, anti-spim features and a firewall for free. That's a lot of software users don't have to buy separately anymore. Previously, AOL charged an extra $2.95 per month for a lot of those capabilities. For entrepreneurs who already use AOL, that's a big plus. For those looking for a basic internet provider, that free security setup could sway your choice and save you money. AOL's move in this direction should push other providers to offer similar services.

For businesses with more complicated ISP needs, there are other providers out there dangling security carrots. SBC's Yahoo! DSL, for example, includes SpamGuard, virus protection and a firewall as standard features. If your current ISP has improved its setup, some software downloading may be required to take advantage of it. If you're looking around for a new ISP, take their free security offerings into consideration. The time and money savings could be worthwhile.

Scan Artists

Scanners are now some of the elder statesmen of business technology. The popular form factor flatbed scanners look and act much the same as they have for years, but there have been some useful advancements. When it comes to stand-alone scanners, flatbeds are the most versatile, and many are now available with the ability to scan film and slides.

Professionals who work with multimedia can expect to pay $400 to $500 for a high-quality, versatile scanner. More basic machines come in at under $150. You can expect higher optical resolutions than ever before in the current crop of scanners, but that can translate into extra scanning time and eat up more memory.

Manufacturers to check into include Canon, Epson and Microtek. Home offices and small offices may find the most bang for their buck in the form of multifunction printers--look for ones with built-in flatbeds.

Name That Domain

While .com is still the most dominant top-level domain, other options are still being introduced. New entrants .post and .travel will be joining the ranks alongside .org, .net, .biz, more than 200 different country codes and a few miscellaneous others. Negotiations haven't been finalized and could drag on for several more months, but entrepreneurs who are still seeking easy-to-remember domains should have these new options available before the end of the year.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is also looking over applications to create other top-level domains such as .eu and .jobs. Still, it's hard to shake the reliance on the ubiquitous .com. According to a report from internet domain-name registrar VeriSign late last year, total domain-name registration hit an all-time high. If .post or .travel fits your business, you might want to consider jumping onboard when they become available.

59% of

businesses are reviewing and/or changing their data backup procedures based on the threat of e-mail viruses.
Statistic Source: Imation

The number of phishing attack sites increased by

29% from

October to November 2004.
Statistic Source: Anti-Phishing Working Group