You aren’t an obsessive worrier if visions of hard drive crashes, firewall breaches, trojan horse viruses and spyware infiltration invade your 3 A.M. thoughts every now and then. Problems like these can shut down your business in a blink. Protecting your business and your computer equipment from these kinds of attacks costs about as much as dinner and a movie.

Data Back Up

This is the easiest safety net you can deploy. Regularly back-up hard drives and anywhere else you store data. Consider storing your files in the Cloud with a web based storage service like IDrive. IDrive provides up to 5 GB of data storage for free. 150 GB of storage for a year can be had for less than 50 bucks.

Antivirus Protection

Data is constantly passing back and forth between you, your suppliers, your contractors and your customers. You download files and email back and forth with people you’ve never met. Antivirus software is mandatory for protecting your computer and your identity. ESET has one of the most widely-respected anti-virus software security programs around. A one-year subscription for ESET’s NOD32 antivirus protection software starts at around $40.


Malware is short for “malicious software.” It describes nasty program codes like worms, trojans, rootkits, rogues, dialers, spyware and any other program designed to attack your computer. Malwarebytes has logged over 200 million downloads of its programs since the company started in 2004. They offer both free and paid versions of their anti-malware programs.

A couple of types of software aren’t damaging but fall into the category of “really irritating.” Spyware and Adware are always hard at work reporting your information back to their sources. They also take up computer resources, slowing down (and even taking down) your entire system.


Software that “spies” on your Internet activities and reports them back to advertisers is called “spyware”. Many consider spyware to be an invasion of privacy since they collect and report your information without asking your permission. They also don’t have to tell you they’re there.


Adware is often categorized as malware, but its primary intent isn’t computer damage. Adware is software that reveals more information about you than you realize you’ve given permission for. Adware gets into your computer from another software program you’ve downloaded. Adware opens the door for an advertisement bombardment. You should be able to remove Adware by uninstalling the software it was attached to. 

You end up with a lot of this unwelcome software because of simple things you do or do not do. Protect yourself by: 

  • Being selective about what you download to your computer
  • Carefully reading licensing agreements all the way through
  • Avoiding freeware that flashes clickable advertisements

If you know what you’re up against, it’s easy to protect your data from both system failure and the majority of malicious software attacks. Once you’ve set-up your protection services, most of them will self-manage with automatic updates. If you’re not up for that challenge, need a higher-level of security or don’t want to take chances, a computer support service will know what to do.

You have lots of software choices for all these types of products. The service providers I’ve listed here are the companies whose products I use to protect my information, my computer equipment and my ability to sleep at night. My only endorsement: Protect yourself with at least these basics, or you’re headed for big trouble.