I have three tips for you . . .
- Ask a lot of questions.
If you have not had to buy, update, approve or otherwise sign off on some type of work on your server and workstations recently, then you may not be protected. Even if you outsource your network technology, you must get involved in the virus protection decisions and the firewall decisions.
Ask your IT Engineer to draw you diagram of your Network. He should include the firewall system, the type of firewalls, the virus protection system, the internet connection, any branch connections, any gateways to third parties, such as connections to outside core processors etc. He should then explain this to you and include information about the versions of any software and the last updates made. If he can’t do this for you, get someone else who can.
Your virus software should run 24 hours a day and update on your server and workstations at least weekly, if not daily. You should be able to print out a report on this activity every day if desired.
- There are many good types of virus software, McAfee, Norton etc. We use McAfee at our bank. It updates each workstation daily and keeps an online record of all the activity that I can easily access. You can download any of these products from the web, but before you do. . . Call the company and ask them specific questions about their product and how it will work for you. You will be impressed when they recommend something better than the product you have that will work best on your network. Also there is a best and worst time to spend money on software. I recently purchased a new McAfee virus product at a cost of about $8,000. Too much money for me to jump right on the decision and I procrastinated until late in the month. After talking it over with my supervisor and getting the cost approved, I called McAfee back to order the item. To my surprise, the same product was $4,300. When I asked about the price change the salesperson pointed out to me that my order date was on the last week of the last month of the calendar quarter and they need to meet their quota. (I have also used this method in purchasing computers and it works as well.)
- Also be sure that each workstation has the latest version of its mail program. If you use a Microsoft product for your mail delivery, such as Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express, make sure you keep this up to date on every workstation. This will help prevent those pesky viruses that are targeted for Microsoft products that propagate those embarrassing emails to everyone in your address book. The best way to keep up with this is to go to http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/ then click on “PODUCT UPDATES” and they will build a list of updates especially for that workstation. Make sure you download the Critical Updates and you should be safe. No easy way to do this, as you must go to every workstation that has email and run through this exercise.
All in all, if you are in charge of your network and you don’t know about your virus software, chances are that no one else does and you probably aren't protected to the extent you should be.
First published on BankersOnline.com 7/2/01