We recently experienced the dreaded hacking incident on our servers, well actually less an incident and more of a pain in the keyboard. We maintain a fair number of websites for companies and individuals so we have the responsibility of overseeing any problems. While we were fairly lucky this time, it still took us about 10 straight days to go through all of our Client’s websites to make sure things were set back in the right place and that they were clean.

 The situation reinforced what we have said all along about computer security. Make sure your computer(s) are secure, updates are current for all programs, and make sure you have clean backups for all your files. Have a strong antivirus and anti–malware program on all of your computers.

 Since this happened, we decided to expand our backup system to include a set of CD-R/W for every website we maintain. This way, if something really drastic happened, we still have the websites we can upload quickly and cleanly. Then our Clients won’t have to wait for days to have their website available again.

The comparison in cost of having to check all of the websites to simply reloading the websites was about $130 for fifty 700Mb CD-R/W disks and ten 4GB flash drives to accommodate the larger websites to the 40+ hours of time it took, an estimated cost in time of about $1,500.00. That is a big cost savings, if you have that amount of time used up and not getting paid for it, and especially if your customers can’t do business with you until things are cleaned up.

 For a small business, that can get expensive very quickly given that hackers target 31% of small businesses and it is steadily increasing with more severity. All it takes is for one employee to open that one bad email or visit that one website and have a Trojan or virus downloaded onto your business computer. Then it spreads out to your other computers and possibly to your customer computers.

 A good anti-virus program, it will usually tell you when there is a problem, at that time, and will also quarantine the varmint. Yes, you have to keep that program up to date as well, and run it. Most you can schedule to run overnight, so you have a safe computer to come to in the morning. We aren’t saying you have to but we have ours scheduled for every night.

Our Clients depend on us to keep them running. After all, we do owe our business to them.