Cyber threats aren’t limited to large companies. According to one report, 43% of cyber threats specifically target small businesses. As a small business owner, you may have limited tools and resources to deal with viruses, malware and other cyber threats. Rather than allowing it to wreak havoc on your business’s operations, though, you should consider an air gap as a last-ditch solution.

What Is an Air Gap?

Also known as an air wall, an air gap is a cybersecurity measure that involves the isolation of an infected or otherwise compromised device. If a computer is infected with malware, you can disconnect it from your business’s network to mitigate the damage. The malware may still harm the computer’s performance. It may, in fact, lock some or all of your files on the computer. By disconnecting the computer from your business’s network, however, you can rest assured knowing that your data won’t be seen by a hacker.

Advantages of Using an Air Gap

Using an air gap offers some key advantages, one of which is the protection of your business’s data. Malware is often distributed for the purpose of stealing sensitive data. Hackers deploy malware in hopes of capturing data from victims’ computers. But even if a piece of malware captures data on an infected computer, it must be transmitted back to the hacker behind the attack. If you disconnect the infected computer from your business’s network, and therefore the internet, your data will be safe.

Air gaps are particularly effective at preventing the spread of computer viruses. Computer viruses are distinguished form other types of malware by their ability to self-replicate. They create new malicious code while spreading to other computers. Using an air gap will prevent the virus from spreading — assuming you disconnect the infected computer from your business’s network in a timely manner.

Disadvantages of Using an Air Gap

There are disadvantages associated with air gaps as well. If you use an air gap to mitigate the damage of a cyber threat, you won’t be able to use the computer for online activities. After all, an air gap is a form of isolation that involves disconnecting an infected computer from your business’s network. Once disconnected, you won’t be able to access your business’s private network or the internet from that computer.

Because it requires isolation, you should only use an air gap as a last-ditch measure for cyber threats. Ideally, you should remove the cyber threat from the infected computer. Whether it’s a virus, ransomware, spyware or any other type of malware, removing it will allow you to continue using the computer.