Computing and Research Services Best Practices for Computer Security

Required for IBS Members

You are responsible for the security of your personal computer. CRS works to maintain a computing environment that minimizes the probability of virus infection and system crashes. We try to make sure that your computer is secure, but we cannot guarantee you computer safety. Here are three precautions that everyone should take: 1) Backup your files; 2) Install the current antivirus software; and 3) Keep your software/data CDs, DVDs and registration numbers organized and available. If you need help with any of these three steps, please contact

1) Backup Your Files! IBS Has a Mandatory Backup Policy!
System crashes are inevitable. Computer devices fail. Be prepared. If you don't have a backup system in place, CRS support staff will not be obligated to resurrect your lost files when your computer crashes. Original data and archived materials should be kept on CDs or DVDs with multiple copies in multiple locations. Automated backups are for ongoing work, and there are two options supported by CRS:
The IBS AUTOMATIC Backup Method: We encourage you to use the IBS file server when you are working at IBS. This will allow you to work in a secure networked environment and to have your files backed up through the IBS AUTOMATIC Backup Method. If you use the IBS file server you can designate which folders are included in the automatic backup (usually all folders within MY DOCUMENTS). These files are backed up to the IBS backup server every day, automatically, with no intervention required from you. (When your documents are stored on the server, only you and the CRS system administrators have access to them.) Every Wednesday the IBS server is backed up to ITS backup servers. This double backup system ensures that you will be able to retrieve lost files from versions that are 2-3 weeks old. To recover older versions of files, CRS keeps monthly copies of the IBS backup server for six months. Send email to if you would like to start using this backup method.
The INDIVIDUALIZED Backup Method: If you would rather not use the IBS file server for some reason, your best option is buy a local external hard drive. These can be purchased for $150, on average. If this is the route you would like to pursue, please contact for drive recommendations and for help with setup and automating the backups.
2) Keep Antivirus Protection Current
The antivirus software supported by CRS is ESET NOD32. It is available for free for all IBS computers, and the CRS support team is in the process of installing it on all computers, building by building. If you are receiving warnings about your antivirus software being out of date, please contact
Be diligent in patching your operating system with critical security updates. Your computer should be configured to do automatic updates, or you should regularly check for critical updates. The steps for patching Windows computers with critical updates are outlined at
3) Keep Important Software and Data CDs, DVDs, and Registration Numbers Organized, Available, and in a Secure Location(s)
Do this so that when your computer crashes your software and data can be rebuilt quickly and efficiently. If you purchase site licensed software through CRS, the software and registration information is available through CRS. However, CRS has no way to reinstall software or data that you purchased individually. Once again, multiple copies of original data and other archived materials should be kept on CD or DVD in multiple secure locations.


Computer Tips

Thwarting Spyware
Spyware is a growing concern for PC users; it can seriously degrade your computer's performance. Spyware consists of unintentionally installed software or Trojan horses (programs that may seem useful but whose purpose is primarily malicious), either of which may serve you unwanted pop-up ads or send information on your web-surfing back to the originator. Spyware is not always detected by your antivirus software. If you suspect you have spyware, please contact for help.
Defragment Your Drives
Feel like your Windows computer is running slower than it should? The problem may be that the disk drive has become fragmented with use. Follow these steps to see if your drive needs to be defragmented and, if so, to perform the defragmentation.
1) Find the Disk Defragmenter in the start menu: Start Menu > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter
2) Select a drive (primary drive selected by default) and click the "Analyze" button.
3) Once the analysis is complete, it will tell you if you should defragment or not. If it says you should, then click the "Defragment" button, otherwise click "Close".
Do steps 2 and 3 for each disk drive in the list.