28 May 2007

5 Cheap But Effective Tips To Improve Security

Here's another article from InformationWeek to improve computer security for your church. A summary listing of the five tips can be found below:
  1. Periodically check for rogue wireless access points in corporate buildings
  2. Enable Windows Update on all computers
  3. Don't allow html e-mail through
  4. Training, whether for users or the IT staff, will pay off in the long run
  5. Consider using Mozilla Foundation's Thunderbird and Firefox as possible alternatives to Outlook and Internet Explorer
The entire article can be found online here.

The second suggestion on this list could be generalized to suggest updating and patching all systems and software used in the church to ensure they are protected (e.g. Linux, Mac OS X, Firefox, Thunderbird, PowerChurch, etc).

The third suggestion could impact churches that want to use HTML-formatted email for marketing purposes. HTML-formatted email as a marketing tool was a suggestion from the Unitarian Universalist Association's District Services Staff. They recommended using an email marketing vendor called Constant Contact. One disadvantage of using HTML-formatted email can be found on Wikipedia:
" ... the sheer volume of spam e-mail has led some users to mistake legitimate commercial e-mail (for instance, a mailing list to which the user subscribed) for spam — especially when the two have a similar appearance, as when messages include HTML and flashy graphics."
If our church outreach materials were to be lumped in with "spam" junk mail through filtering, it won't be very effective. Plain-text email would be preferable to HTML-formatted email due to this concern.

Using Firefox for web browsing and Thunderbird for email instead of the Internet Explorer and Outlook programs that are bundled with Microsoft Windows is one of the best suggestions on this list in my opinion.

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