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Best Practices

Virus Protection

  • Always make sure your anti-virus program is up to date with the latest anti-virus definitions. These definitions are constantly updated so that your computer is protected against malicious codes and scripts that reside on the internet and also your email.
  • Do not open any files attached to an email from an unknown, suspicious or untrustworthy source.

  • Do not open any files attached to an email unless you know what it is, even if it appears to come from a dear friend or someone you know.  Some viruses can replicate themselves and spread through email.  Better be safe than sorry and confirm that they really sent it.

  • Do not open any files attached to an email if the subject line is questionable or unexpected.  If the need to do so is there always save the file to your hard drive before doing so.

  • Delete chain emails and junk email.  Do not forward or reply to any to them.  These types of email are considered spam, which is unsolicited, intrusive mail that clogs up the network.

  • Do not download any files from strangers.

  • Exercise caution when downloading files from the Internet.  Ensure that the source is a legitimate and reputable one.  Verify that an anti-virus program checks the files on the download site.  If you're uncertain, don't download the file at all or download the file to a floppy and test it with your own anti-virus software.

  • Update your anti-virus software regularly.  Over 500 viruses are discovered each month, so you'll want to be protected.  These updates should be at the least the products virus signature files.  You may also need to update the product's scanning engine as well.

  • Back up your files on a regular basis.  If a virus destroys your files, at least you can replace them with your back-up copy.  You should store your backup copy in a separate location from your work files, one that is preferably not on your computer.

  • When in doubt, always err on the side of caution and do not open, download, or execute any files or email attachments.  Not executing is the more important of these caveats.  Check with your product vendors for updates which include those for your operating system web browser, and email.  One example is the security site section of Microsoft located at http://www.microsoft.com/security.


Firewalls

  • Install a firewall for any broadband based internet connection to minimize risks from outside attacks.
  • Always make sure you update your software based firewalls to ensure the software can protect you against the latest security threats such as hackers.
  • Use VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) whenever possible when accessing your network from an outside location.

Backups

  • Backup your essential documents and data daily. If possible, perform a full backup as opposed to incremental backups.
  • Keep a copy of your backup off-site. If there is a catastrophic event such as a fire or hurricane, you will need a way to recover your data.
  • Replace the media used to store your backup once a year or as often as the manufacturer recommends.
  • Test your backup to make sure you can actually restore it in the event you need to.
  • Check the log files daily to insure the backup did not have any errors.
  • Make sure that you close all programs prior to performing a backup. many backup software programs cannot backup files that are open or are in use.
  • If you have Exchange or SQL server, make sure your backup software can actually backup these programs.
 

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