Protect your business
Minimise and manage spam
Email viruses, worms and Trojans are capable of harming your business computer system which may affect your ability to conduct your business.
As with any form of communication that is cheap and easy, email is open to abuse. Spam now makes up the majority of email traffic.
Reduce the spam you receive and securely manage what does reach your inbox. Software is available to help reduce the inflow of spam. It detects unsolicited and unwanted emails and prevents them from reaching your inbox by searching for suspicious word patterns or other clues that may indicate spam. The filtering software then diverts these messages to (in some cases) a special mail box or location so that you can check through them later and delete those that are spam.
Speak with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) about the spam filtering they offer.
You also need to be aware of your legal obligations to ensure any electronic messages you send to consumers do not breach the Spam Act.
Protect your email address
As a business, advertising your email address can potentially attract new customers. However, revealing your email address online can result in it being harvested and used by spammers.
You can provide a simple web form that allows customers to contact you without needing an email address or publish your email address as an image rather than as text.
If you ask customers to provide an email address in an online contact form, you must ensure you comply with privacy and consumer legislation to protect their email address and personal information.
Install security software
Installing security software (anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall) protects against most email viruses, worms and Trojans.
To protect against harmful emails you should also:
- Perform a complete virus scan on your computer at least once a week.
- Keep all filtering and security software up-to-date to protect against the latest threats.
- Install security patches for all operating system software and application software and set them to update automatically.
Preventing data theft
Threats to your data include:
- hackers accessing networks that are not properly secured
- thieves breaking into your office and stealing equipment
- your staff carrying your data out of the office on portable media.
Internal threats are more difficult to anticipate, but can be equally devastating to your business. Staff may remove data inadvertently or on purpose for financial gain or revenge.
Data is very easily transported out of your office using writable CDs or DVDs, USB drives, MP3 players or mobile devices and phones. All of these devices hold large amounts of data and are a discreet way in which an employee could copy data and walk out of the office without you ever knowing.
Think carefully about where you store data and how you secure it physically and electronically, who has access to it and what devices you allow staff to connect to your computer network.
Control access to your computers and data
Only provide access to your computer network and data to those that need it to do their job. Determine staff access to data on a need to know basis. Consider how to separate staff roles and responsibilities so that you can segregate data more effectively.
Create individual user accounts for all staff that have access to your computers. Having separate user accounts will allow you to control who can access your business data by restricting access to drives and folders to specific user accounts.
Most operating systems allow you to create Standard or Administrator level accounts. It is recommended that normal users have accounts without the ability to install software (Standard accounts), as this greatly reduces the chance of spyware or viruses being installed without their knowledge.
If you have employees that occasionally need to install or modify software, create two accounts for them. Create one as a Standard account and one as an Administrator account. They should only use the Administrator account when they need the additional privileges.
Install Data Loss Prevention (DLP) software
You can install Data Loss Prevention (DLP) software that can be used to disable USB ports or to monitor or restrict the copying of files to USB devices. This software can be set to silently monitor transfers or actively stop users from transferring data.
Where to get help
|Fraudulent use of your identity||
|Report a scam|
|You are looking for more technical information to solve a problem||Your device manufacturer's website
|Information on recent threats||Sign up to the free Stay Smart Online Alert Service.|
A full list of useful contacts can be found on the Contact us page.
Find out more:
- Smart behaviours to protect your personal and financial information Stay Smart Online video
- Protect Your Financial Identity website, information to assist consumers to protect their financial identities.
- Protecting Yourself Online – What Everyone Needs to Know (PDF 2.7 MB)
- Protecting Yourself Online – What Everyone Needs to Know (RTF 1.1 MB)
- Protecting Your Identity' booklet – What Everyone Needs to Know (PDF 985.2 KB)
- Protecting Your Identity' booklet – What Everyone Needs to Know (RTF 263.5 KB)
- Little black book of scams
- Spam Quiz – Don't be caught out by scams
- Phishing Quiz – Know a Phishing attack (hoax email) when you see one?
- Stay Smart Online Small business self-assessment tool
- AusIndustry, support and resources for small businesses in the digital economy
- Australian Communications and Media Authority, information and downloadable guides on reducing spam.