With computer viruses, malware and ransomeware such as the recent Wannacry outbreak in the news regularly, it’s obviously important to keep your computers and networks clean, safe and secure. There are basic steps you can take and educate users on to help make sure this is an ongoing effort and that you don’t have problems.
First, keep our computer operating system and software up to date
- This is the single most important message from our network administrator here at Arts People. The recent massive attack of the Wannacry ransomeware was entirely about out of date computers. If those computers had updated their windows operating system before hand they would not have been affected.
- If you have a computer that is tool old to upgrade to the latest operating system, you should look into updating the hardware, or retiring the computer in favor of a new one.
Maintain strong and up to date anti-virus systems
- These tools work well, but only if they are updated regularly and are scheduled to run automatically. Make sure the settings are correct to keep things updated and tested.
- Use a trusted anti-virus software system. If on an office network, consider a system that can be administered by one person and pushed out and configured automatically on all computers on the network.
Make sure your users understand how viruses are delivered to a computer.
- They should not open attachments in emails that they are not sure are safe.
- Any executable file such as a program to install something on their machine are suspect. If they receive something that doesn’t seem typical from a friend or colleague they should check with that person first to ensure they intended to send it and find out what it is before opening it.
- Visiting websites that are suspicious or unknown can implant malware or other malicious content.
- When in doubt, don’t open it or watch it.
If you are on a large office network, establish firewalls and restrictions to protect against vulnerabilities, and post a clear set of rules for user conduct while using those machines.
- Your network administrator is able to configure your computers to not allow software download and installation, so only that person can approve software upgrades and installs. This will help protect against inadvertent malicious software installations on the machines.
- Make sure users understand what they should and should not be doing on work computers.
- Some ISP’s allow you to restrict the types of websites users are allowed to visit. This can sometimes help to keep them away from sites that could secretly install malicious code.
Using some basic and fairly simple to configure restrictions and rules, you can greatly reduce the possibility of becoming victim to viruses. Knowledge by users of how viruses can gain access also is a huge weapon against these issues as well.
Lastly, remember that it’s always good to back up your data regularly to an external hard drive and also a cloud drive. Paper backup for any processes you might have is also recommended. Prepare a kit in a banker box of instructions and materials for what to do in the event of computer or network failure. Computers break down. Internet connections drop out. We all know this. So make sure you’re operation and staff are ready to handle it smoothly.
The Arts People system runs on advanced Amazon servers protected automatically and were not affected in any way by the Wannacry ransomware.
Patrick Spike is the Marketing Director, system expert, and one of the original architects of the Arts People software system, with over 30 years in performing arts creation and administration. His work with clients has helped them to increase their revenue while streamlining their box office and back office operations. www.patrickspike.com.
Arts People, software for the performing arts, serves theatres, music and dance groups, choirs and opera, high school, college and university programs, performing arts center facilities and more.