Strangely, I’ve heard from several people in the last month, that had a acquired a computer virus and had lost all of their data.  This is a gentle reminder to remember to 1) back up your data regularly; and 2) if you have a PC, follow these tips to help protect your computer.  If you have a Mac, you may not be as susceptible to an attack, however it is still important that you protect your system.

  1. Use an Internet firewall.
    Note: Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP with SP2 have a firewall already built-in and turned on by default.
  2. Visit Microsoft Update to verify your settings and check for updates.
    Note: If you’ve installed the most recent version of Microsoft Office, Microsoft Update will also update your Microsoft Office programs.
  3. Subscribe to antivirus software and keep it current.  Some more reputable software names are Norton Antivirus and McAfee, that cost somewhere around $40/year.  Microsoft has come out with a new FREE download, Microsoft Security Essentials, for Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.
  4. Never open an e-mail attachment from someone you don’t know.
  5. Avoid opening an e-mail attachment from someone you know, unless you know exactly what the attachment is. The sender may be unaware that it contains a virus.
  6. Use a standard user account unless you need to use an administrator account.  The standard account can help protect your computer by preventing users from making changes that affect everyone who uses the computer, such as deleting files that are required for the computer to work.

When you are logged on to Windows with a standard account, you can do almost anything that you can do with an administrator account, but if you want to do something that affects other users of the computer, such as installing software or changing security settings, Windows might ask you to provide a password for an administrator account, therefore protecting your computer.

Keep your business (and personal) documents and systems safe and avoid the headache.