Restaurant Computers: Computer Viruses and How to Avoid Them
By Randy Bragg
Several major viruses will be hitting the internet in the first weeks of the year. Computer viruses can cause serious harm to business networks including data loss and productivity. Restaurant owners should consider the following actions in order to reduce their vulnerability to viruses that may affect their computers:
- Anti-Virus Software - Ensure that current and up-to-date anti-virus software is loaded on all computers including laptops, workstations, servers, etc. Anti-virus software must be constantly updated on a daily basis.
- Virus Scans - Anti-virus software should be set-up to run daily scans of all computers regardless if they are connected to the internet or not. Scans on servers and high internet use computers may be set to run multiple times per day.
- Internet Downloads - Ensure appropriate rights restrictions are in place to limit who may download executable files from the internet. Usually this right should be restricted to network administrators who can properly screen the download for viruses prior to execution.
- Internet Browsing - Companies will need to give serious consideration to their policies in regards to internet browsing and restrictions. Many viruses are spread through connections to internet sites and these are very difficult to control. More advanced viruses may be embedded within images, etc. While the internet is critical to e-commerce and many other business functions, serious consideration must be given to overall internet policies.
- Email - Ensure proper policies are in place in regards to email attachments. Policies should include that no email attachment is to be opened from any unidentified source as this is one of the most common way to spread a computer virus. The same restriction should apply to all links in emails that are not from known sources.
- Employee Education - Ensure all employees are properly educated and trained on the risks that computer viruses pose, how they affect the company and how to avoid them. This includes education on both email and internet threats listed above.
These actions and many others may be implemented to limit a company's vulnerability to computer viruses. Companies need to take this threat seriously, as computer viruses can cause severe damage to networks and the data they contain.
Randy Bragg is CEO of Brownstone Technology Solutions. BTS specializes in integrated systems for the restaurant and bar, hotel and motel, retail and manufacturing industries.
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