By Deborah Rothberg  |  Posted 2006-10-13 Print this article Print

3. You should know how to e-mail effectively, securely and efficiently. It may seem common sense to not respond to an e-mail phishing attempt or spam, or to not click on an attachment in an e-mail from an unknown source, yet as long as these security threats exist, someone will inevitably, either by accident or because they were markedly misinformed, fall for them. The results could cripple an entire data network.
Beyond the obvious "big bads" of e-mail security are the effective managing of the quantity and information contained in electronic messages. Unnecessary messages should be deleted, sent and deleted items shouldnt be used as a saved items repository, and folders should be created to organize saved items, said Tomlinson.
"There are users that absolutely dont know how to manage their e-mail or storage space. Their mailboxes end up filling up and they cant receive mail anymore. The more users you have that dont understand that, the more storage space your IT department requires," said Tomlinson. And most gravely, IT pros told eWEEK, dont send a piece of chain mail to 20 people that you know. "E-mail was meant to be short, concise communication. Before you forward something, just assume that youre really not that great of a source of information. Youre not a journalist. You send something to 10 people who each send it to another 10, and its a huge drain on resources," said Ken Colburn, president of Data Doctors Computer Services, in Tempe, Ariz. 4. Do your part to secure your workstation. While the onus of the daunting responsibility for securing a corporations network falls predominantly on the IT department, there are no shortage of things that employees can do to ensure that their computer is not the station that waves the bad guys in. Among these, not opening risky attachments or downloading spyware-ridden programs and screensavers are near the top of the list. Not much further down, however, is the need to lock your workstation when you are idle or walk away from your computer, especially if your computer is not set up to do this automatically after a set period of time. More so, dont assume that because you are not handling classified information that your computer is not vulnerable to attack. "People have said to me, But Im just using Word! Im not doing anything risky. But any time you are logged into an enterprise network, you are doing something that poses as a security risk to it," said Tomlinson. 5. You should troubleshoot before calling for help. In the case of the stranger (cough) who hit the panic button and called for help when his computer seemed to be broken, any number of troubleshooting techniques may have averted a help desk ticket. John Baschab, co-author of "The Executives Guide to Information Technology" (Wiley 2003) and president of the management services division at Technisource, a provider of information technology and engineering services in Little Rock, Ark., gave a few examples: "Things that could have saved a call: Is the computer plugged in? Are the lights on the printer on? Is there paper in the paper tray? Is the right tray selected? Is the network cable plugged into the wall as well as your computer? Is your monitor turned on and is your docking station locked in?" Another item that any worker can easily check for is repeatability. "Is the printing problem in more than one program? You can quickly figure out if its a printing issue or an application issue," said Colburn. On the more technical side, but still a potential timesaver, is to learn the basic first-response tasks that any help desk worker would try first. "There are really simple commands [they] could [use to see] if they have a network connection, or [workers could learn] to use Ctrl-Alt-Delete to see on the task manager whats stalling them so they can shut that application down instead of rebooting the whole machine," said Tomlinson. But without question, the most basic, elemental and primitive triage workers should be able to perform on their computer is the good, old-fashioned flick of the power switch. "Its amazing how many people dont reboot before calling for help. It solves a million problems," said Colburn. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on IT management.


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