Health and Safety

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Data Protection Guidelines

The pervasive use of computers in our lives has changed the way we deal with information and technology. Thus, it is extremely important we have a plan to protect our data. The next recommendations can help minimize the danger of losing homework, emails, letters, photos, etc. stored on your computer:

  1. Save Your Work Often: When working on a document, save as you go. Take advantage of the automatic save features that some word processing programs have.
  2. Backup Your Data: If you are going to work on critical data first make a duplicate of it. Backup your data at least every week.
  3. Isolate Your Backup: Copy your backup to a portable disk, web server or another computer. This will isolate your data from your computer. If possible, keep it offsite.
  4. Transfer School Work: Always send a copy of your assignments to your email account. Thus you can have access to it from the computer labs on campus. Also, protect your portable disks by putting them in a protective case.
  5. Install an Antivirus Program: An antivirus program will block e-mail viruses, detect attempted virus intrusions from the web, and automatically clean or quarantine infected files.
  6. Verify Email Attachments: Unless you are expecting attachments from a known email do not open them. Files that have the .vbs, exe, or .bat extensions are executables that could infect your computer with viruses. Always run any attachments and downloaded files through a virus scanner first.
  7. Be Cautious of Other People’s Disks: Always run your virus scanner on disks regardless of their origin.
  8. Keep Your Computer Up to Date: Make sure you have the latest updates for your applications, operating system and antivirus program. Take advantage of the automated tools in your system. Configure your antivirus program and operating system to check daily and the rest of your applications weekly.
  9. Protect Your Passwords: Your network/web identity is your username and password combo. Anytime your account accesses resources on the network/web you are responsible for any activity from the account. Change your password on a regular basis.
  10. Perform Regular Maintenance: Take advantage of the included utilities (e.g. error-checking, defragmentation, etc.) in your computer to diagnose your system for problems. These applications can reduce the likelihood of small problems becoming big problems.
  11. Install a Firewall: If you have a computer that connects to the Internet install a firewall. It will add a layer of protection between your computer and the web. Hardware and software firewalls are available from several vendors.

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