IT. What is it? You often don’t know you have it until somebody tells you that you do. How do you get it?

No. I’m not talking about the elusive IT that you hear about in television commercials. This is not about the beautiful people of Hollywood fame and fortune. IT is your Internet Technology department.

“What?” you say. You don’t have an IT department? Well, if you have a computer with which you help to operate your business, you have an IT department - even if that department is you.

If you have ever had to have a computer rebuilt because of all the bad stuff (worms, viruses, spyware, adware, malware, nastyware, etc.) that builds up over a few years, then you know the importance of maintaining a high level of security for your computer systems.

In an ideal world, here are some things you should be doing:

1.Make sure that your IT guy or gal is certified, even if that means he or she is self-taught. What are their credentials? What gives them any special command of cyberspace more than anyone else?

2.Update your operating systems, applications, and firmware when updates are available. But, don’t use the pop-ups to perform the update - more on this later. This helps prevent an accumulation of the bad stuff.

3.Use antispyware to find and remove the bad stuff.

4.Block content that you think could be damaging to your computer by setting your Internet Security setting for high priority.

And lastly, commit to being involved with the accountability for your IT department. Do you let the bookkeeper also write the checks in your company? Don’t think that your IT person should run the entire show on his or her own either.