BUSINESSES are being warned to protect their data from the ever-growing number of computer viruses.

John Davison, IT consultant at Clive Owen and Company Chartered Accountants, in Darlington, is calling on all firms to make sure their information is protected.

Mr Davison suggests various ways to stop computer bugs destroying valuable data.

He suggests keeping back-up copies of essential files, which also means information may not be lost if an individual computer is damaged.

It is also possible to backup data through the Internet so information is held away from the office.

Mr Davison said: "These are all good ways of trying to prevent or recover from a catastrophe, but the most popular and obvious way is to invest in anti-virus soft- ware.

"This software not only scans files already in the hard drive, but some also check incoming emails."

As most viruses are received through emails it is recommended people are cautious before opening mail.