Computer Security Fundamentals

Richard Kissel is a GCI pastor who works for the government at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the Computer Security Division for the Small Business Community. The NIST offers a small (20 page) PDF on information security for small businesses, which he and the IT department feel could also be very helpful to pastors. It is a fairly good primer on computer security. Some of the information is technical in nature as it explains what is required for good computer security. I would encourage you to take time to read the booklet. You can download it at the link below.

For those who aren’t inclined to read the information, the basic points are:

  1. Install antivirus/antispyware software and keep it up to date.
  2. Use a hardware firewall. Most wireless routers (not access points) have this feature built in. Many of them also default to turn the feature on.
  3. Use a software firewall. Most newer versions of Windows include one. If you run Windows XP, make sure you have service pack 2 installed so the firewall is included.
  4. Keep your operating system (Windows or MacOS) updated by using the supplied automatic update tools. Also make sure you install any security patches for the software you run.
  5. Back up your data.
  6. Control physical access to your computer. Don’t just let anyone use it.
  7. Secure your wireless network if you have one. “WEP” is not good security–it’s almost as insecure as an open network.

Those are just some of the basic points. There is a lot of other helpful information included in the booklet. It is worth taking the time to read it through. The principles included there just might prevent you from losing important information or getting a major virus infection.

Booklet: Computer Security Fundamentals

Website: http://csrc.nist.gov/groups/SMA/sbc/library.html