Macs in Small Business: Six Steps to Proper Security
Sponsored Guest Blog: Many small businesses are moving toward the Mac platform, and it’s about more than simply having cool, sleek computers sitting on desks. Macs are solid, reliable products, especially for small-business owners who are inherently busy and don’t have a lot of time or resources committed to IT support. However, as Mac usage increases within the small-business community, so does the size of the target for cybercriminals. Here’s why.
According to Trend Micro’s Global Threat Report for 2010, cybercriminals have been busy. The number of malicious Web links increased from 1.5 billion in January to over 3.5 billion in June, with the most attacks located in North America. Cybercriminals are looking to maximize their return on investment for the time and effort they’ve invested in creating their malicious software. If your small businesses customers are putting their business data on Macs and think it’s completely secure and immune from computer viruses, web threats, worms and other data-stealing malware that generally target PCs, you may want to amp up their security strategy.
Although Apple works extremely hard to inform their customers of potential threats, vulnerabilities and provide security updates for their systems, you now need to ensure multiple layers of protection for whatever proprietary business information or data that reside on customers’ computers. Here are six easy steps to help make sure your customers’ Macs, and ultimately their data, is kept safe:
1. Recommend an effective security product that’s designed for the Mac platform. In addition to PC security, more and more security providers are also putting out Mac-specific products for this growing market. Key features to look for:
- Proactively stops threats from the Web before they can reach your business as the majority of viruses use web sites to infect your computer.
- Includes three types of scanning: real-time scan, manual scan, and scheduled scan.
- Ability to protect both PCs, and Macs with a single, integrated product. Having more than one product increases the complexity and effort to protect all their business computers.
2. Once you install their Mac security, enable automatic updates, and schedule weekly scans.
3. In addition to the Mac operating system itself, third-party software running on it should also be kept updated. Like Windows system, without updated patches, this software may contain vulnerabilities that can be exploited and used to infect your computers.
4. Secure the Safari Web browser as it is the interface between their Mac and the Internet. For guidance, check here.
5. Encourage your customers to only use legitimate software and programs. Downloading pirated software is not only illegal; it also increases risk of infection.
6. Educate your customers around the threats of clicking on embedded links found within email messages and of downloading file attachments. Their best bet is to not click on links nor download file attachments. Instead, go to the sites themselves and download what they need directly. This way, they know whatever they’re downloading is from a trusted provider.
These are just a few tips on protecting customers using Macs in their business. With Apple recently becoming No. 3 in the PC space protecting these Mac clients will become more and more important.
TJ Alldridge is product marketing manager at Trend Micro. Guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy’s annual sponsorship.