Computer Management

Every Computer Needs Management

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A well managed computer is a secure computer. Proper management includes the following:

  • Keeping your operating system and software up-to-date
  • Protecting your computer with anti-virus and anti-spyware software
  • Being skeptical and careful in what you do, such as opening attachments

What Is Your Role?

Your role in managing the computers you use depends on your situation:

Your Situation Your Role
Managed Workstation
Configuration, installations, and updates are done for you, usually automatically over the network. UW Information Technology's Nebula service is an example of a system for managing computers through the network. Many departments provide similar services.
Do not change anything without explicit permission. Someone else is taking care of security management for you.
Supported Workstation
A support person works with you to do configuration, installs, and updates on your computer and guides you on additional steps you should take.
Talk to your support person about what is being done for you and what steps you need to take yourself.
Do-It-Yourself
You have no assigned support person for your computer. You need to do all the steps of computer management yourself, perhaps with help from your friends. Learn about Securing Your Computer.
Much of what you need is on the Securing Your Computer page, including anti-virus programs.

Four Steps of Computer Management

The following four general steps will go a long way toward making your computer secure. If your network manager or support person is not taking the following steps, you probably need to do them yourself.

Management Steps What Is Your Role?
Managed Workstation Supported Workstation Do-It-Yourself

1. Before Connecting

With any new computer, BEFORE doing any other work, take the following steps:

  • Apply operating system updates.
  • Install an anti-virus program. Get the Sophos anti-virus program for both Windows and Macintosh computers.
  • Reset default passwords (such as the password for the administrator's account).
  • Turn off file sharing (you can turn it on later when you need it).
  • Consider running a firewall program. Do not run a firewall if your computer is network-managed or your computer support person says not to.
Done by your network manager. Talk to your computer support person about which steps you should do. You need to do all these steps yourself.

2. Have Protection

Establish a security routine:

  • Automate your operating system updates.
  • Automate your anti-virus updates.
  • Regularly do software updates.
  • Regularly run an anti-spyware program.
  • Consider running a firewall program. Do not run a firewall if your computer is network-managed or your computer support person says not to.
  • Do your work in non-administrator accounts.
Done by your network manager. Talk to your computer support person about which steps you should do. You need to do all these steps yourself.

3. Be Prepared

Be ready for failures and infections:

  • Backup your files regularly.
  • Be prepared to rebuild:
    • Have installation CDs and software.
    • Have a plan for getting OS updates.
  • In case of infection:
    • Obtain the most recent anti-virus updates.
    • Run your anti-virus program scan, then reboot, then scan again, then reboot, etc., until fixed.
    • You may have to rebuild your system.
  • Plan for upgrading:
    • Support is fading for Windows 98 and Macintosh OS8.
Done by your network manager. Talk to your computer support person about which steps you should do. You need to do all these steps yourself.

4. Be Skeptical

Don't be fooled into helping attackers:

  • Do not open unexpected email attachments.
  • Do not download unknown programs, such as free screensavers.
  • Do not trade lots of unknown files, such as with peer-to-peer programs like Kazaa.
  • Do not share your passwords with anyone.
  • Do not believe amazing offers and unlikely stories.
Everyone needs to be careful and skeptical. Everyone needs to be careful and skeptical. Everyone needs to be careful and skeptical.

Information Security

Ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of UW information while at the same time making it available for use requires careful strategic, tactical, and operational planning. The Office of the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) works with UW units to develop management strategies, manage incidents, and assess risks. Learn more here:

Authentication and Authorization Services

UW-IT provides authentication and authorization systems and tools for use in UW applications and services.

  • Identity and Access Management — I&AM services include Kerberos, Web authentication, token authentication, UW windows infrastructure, and the UW Certificate Authority
  • ASTRA — ASTRA is an access management service that stores authorization information about who can use a variety of UW administrative applications

Comply With Rules and Laws

As part of its effort to provide quality and reliable technology services, the University of Washington is required to comply with a broad range of federal and state laws and regulations related to management of public records, use of public resources, privacy protection, copyright protection, ethics rules, and criminal behavior. See Appropriate Use of UW Resources for more details.

 

Last modified: May 31, 2013