A man and a woman stand at a worktable and look at an open laptop with serious expressions. The woman stands on the left; she wears glasses and a brown apron covered with gray stains. The man standing on the right is leaning forward and using the laptop's trackpad with one hand. he wears a clean dark gray apron over a white button-up shirt. In the background, out of focus, is a large carpentry workroom. A second worktable, equipped with a mechanical measuring and sawing tool, stands in the middle of the room.
Your company's cybersecurity guidelines should both apply to your employees' work and communicate which safety measures are the most important. — Getty Images/sanjeri

The purpose of computer security guidelines is to keep the computers, laptops, and other devices you provide your employees secure. They’re particularly important in today’s digital era, as phishing scams and other cyberthreats are more prevalent than ever before.

While computer security guidelines can make your computers safer, a new study shows that they’re often confusing, misleading, or simply incorrect. It’s usually unclear who wrote the guidelines or what process they used to write them.

Researchers from George Washington University and Paderborn University interviewed 21 professionals who write computer security guidelines for a variety of organizations. The researchers found that these writers try to provide as much information as they can but don’t explain what’s most important. This is why most businesses find these guidelines overwhelming and often miss the most crucial details.

Those who write computer security guidelines simply compile bits and pieces of information from different sources. Instead, they should come up with information that specifically applies to their readers and prioritize the most crucial details. Ideally, these writers would be able to follow a set of best practices that would help them rank guidelines in order of importance.

While computer security guidelines can make your computers safer, a new study shows that they’re often confusing, misleading, or simply incorrect.

Here are some key computer security guidelines you should follow as a small business owner or entrepreneur:

  • Train your employees: It’s your job to educate your workforce on proper cybersecurity measures.
  • Invest in antivirus software: Choose a quality antivirus software that can protect all your business devices from viruses.
  • Encrypt vital information: If you frequently deal with bank accounts, credit cards, and other sensitive information, use encryption to keep it safe.
  • Create a strong password policy: Make sure all employees have strong passwords with many characters and a mix between letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Use a virtual private network (VPN): A VPN can allow your workers to access your network securely while they travel or work remotely.

Cyberthreats may cost your business time, money, and a good reputation. That’s why it’s essential to carefully review your computer security guidelines and make sure they’re perfect for your particular employees and business needs.

[Read more: Cybersecurity Monitoring and Alerting: How To Know If You're at Risk]

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