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By Linda Boykin

Leaving your computer on when you leave the office at night or working on your laptop at the airport may not seem like risky business, but both of these everyday behaviors can leave your business susceptible to security risks.

Yet, many small- and mid-sized companies remain vulnerable because they don’t believe they’re at risk. According to the Small Business Technology Institute, more than half of all small businesses in the U.S. – or as many as 13 million – experienced a security breach in the past year because of human errors such as insufficient virus protection, employee manipulation (also called social engineering) or everyday behaviors that disclose business strategies unintentionally.

That’s why Ira Winkler, one of the world’s foremost security experts, teamed up with us at Office Depot to create a program called “Compromising Behaviors: Don’t Leave Your Business Exposed” that provides simple, affordable recommendations to help protect corporate information. Throughout his career as a government agent, and now as a consultant to businesses of all sizes, Winkler has seen most security vulnerabilities occur as the result of human errors or system loopholes.

How to Protect Your Business

To get started follow these simple steps and you will be well on your way to securing your company’s information.

Use security software. Every PC must have antivirus, anti-spyware and a personal firewall installed to protect your computers files from being compromised. Keep your software updated as new viruses and spyware bugs are release virtually every day. One protective software package is the Office Depot Internet Security Suite, which protects against viruses, spyware, hackers, and phishing scams that may result in lost files, identity theft, and poor computer performance.

• Back-up data regularly. The most common way to lose date is by not backing it up on an external hard-drive, a disk, or mobile USB flash drive. Get into the habit of conducting regular data back-ups, such as nightly or weekly. When traveling, be sure to store data in two locations, such as on a laptop and on a removable flash memory drive, so that you will always have back up of critical documents.

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Linda Boykin is Divisional Merchandising Manager for Office Depot.
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