General Security Practices

Fall 2005


Links to Stories:


Security Today


The Outlook Exchange Project


Why Change to Exchange?


General Security Practices


Dangers & Annoyances


September Computer Literacy Workshops


Security Begins at Home


Standards for Information Technology


What Version of Windows and Office Do You Use?


Kimís Column


Editor-in-Chief: Kim Tracy, Executive Director of University Computing


Managing Editor: Anna Brown, Computer Literacy Training Coordinator


Please send all comments, questions, and cajoling to

Putting in place some general security practices will help prevent any computer-related disasters.


Backup Your Files

The first step here is to keep your files in one location as much as possible. The My Documents folder in Windows is designed to make that easier. (Of course, you can add all the subfolders you need.) Then decide how you want to store backups. The network drives would be a good first choice; other options include CDs (if you have a burner), floppies (if you still have a floppy drive), or those new little flash drives that plug into USB ports. And finally, set a schedule for your backup process. Once a week works for many; adjust the timing based on the amount and importance of your files. For more information on this topic, watch for our new File Storage and Backup workshop coming this fall.


Set Good Passwords

Choose secure passwords that cannot be easily guessed. Change your password immediately if you suspect someone else may have guessed it. Keep your NEIU passwords different from any other personal passwords that you may use. And be sure to track your passwords somewhere you can find but others canít. Keeping a file on your computer is NOT a recommended way to track logins and passwords; viruses can track down and make use of such files.


Limit Access to Your Machine

Log off or lock your computer if you are going to be away from your computer. To lock your computer in Windows 2000 or Windows XP, press Ctrl-Alt-Del, and then click on Lock Workstation. Also, laptops should be physically locked down if possible, and office doors should be lock when no one is in the office.


Turn Your Computer Off When Not In Use

Your computer cannot be infected or invaded when it is not connected to the network. Consider shutting down when done for the day, unless you have an automated backup, upgrade or scan scheduled to run overnight. This is particularly important when you will be away from your system longer than a few days. If you haven't turned on your computer in a few days, be sure to check for updates for software and antivirus files before you do anything else (if those processes are not running automatically).