Office Security 101

Common sense computing advice for employees

Employers who want to get their new staff acquainted with their systems, and with general office procedure, of which the computer is a major factor, have a detailed handbook in Ben Rothke’s Computer Security: 20 Things Every Employee Should Know (McGraw-Hill Osborne Media; $7.95). This short manual is ideal for new or entry-level employees who have limited experience working with computers, and it is also a handy tool for employees who want to reacquaint themselves with simple measures to secure their computer data and other resources.

The book is short and quick to read — less than 60 pages. Each chapter is clear and concise, with a three-point summary followed by a reminder quotation at the end. The writing style makes the material easy to recall — the layout follows a “to do list” style that allows you to check off the main ideas as you go along. A glossary supplements the text, with terms not only related to computer use but also to key tech terms used in the corporate office.

With a range of guidelines from how to safely use and protect passwords, to using e-mail and digital media devices, to understanding the relationship between employees and their workspace, Rothke reminds us of how basic rules of office etiquette can help in protecting your computer from abuse by what he calls “social engineers.” Rothke states one main idea that is worth noting — computer security involves job security. Computer Security is an exposé directed at potential victims of security breaches and is a manual for self-protection in the workplace. While the text may sometimes seem repetitive and some ideas may appear obvious, these practical reminders can help reinforce what so many employees often forget or may not know at all. Rothke’s guide is ideal for managing minor security issues. But the best advice he gives is to leave major IT issues for the IT staff.

SIMPLE RULES

  1. Follow these easy-to-remember tips for safe computing at work or on the road:
  2. Know about the company security policy and follow it.
  3. Don’t forward any type of security advisory or virus warning. Simply put, it’s not your job.
  4. Be aware of the myriad data security risks of working outside of the corporate confines. These include theft of both devices and data.
  5. When on the road, make use of a personal firewall.
  6. Though small, PDAs require just as much security as a full-size PC.
  7. Work with the IT department to identify backup resources, file locations and the backup schedule.Make sure to log off or lock your screen when you walk away — even if it’s just for a few minutes.
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