Swine Flu May Have Impact On Computers

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OK, I know what you’re thinking: there’s no way a virus that infects humans and (presumably) pigs is going to affect my computer. Technically, you are right — no need to strap a facemask on your home PC. But in the grand social scheme of things, a swine flu outbreak may open up a new set of challenges for your home PC.

Let’s say that the swine flu rears its ugly head and you have symptoms of the virus. You will be forced to stay home to prevent further outbreak. Similarly, if your kids are infected with the flu, you may have to stay home as a precautionary measure. Add to those situations the fact that schools or workplaces may have multiple infections and be forced to shut themselves down. There are plenty of scenarios that could result in you working from home during an outbreak.

Your home PC will be asked to perform activities that it generally doesn’t have to do. Completing work projects from home may seem like a simple task, but proper precautions must be put into place to protect valuable work files and proprietary information.

Just as you will likely take steps to receive a flu vaccination, you should take steps to add additional layers of protection to your computer. When the boss calls on you to stay home, you can honestly say that your work will be safe on your home computer.

Home PCs are used for so many applications that they may be susceptible to security breaches. Your computer at work most likely doesn’t have the unique aspects of your home PC: teenagers sharing music and videos, multiple users with stored passwords, ancillary programs installed to make entertainment and multimedia viewing easier, and a variety of other specialized programs and operations that aren’t typical to a business-only computer. None of these things is bad, per se, but proper precautions must be taken to prevent a security breakdown.

First, you need to ensure that you are starting with a clean slate. If there are remnants of prior viruses on your computer, you could be setting yourself up for lost work, lost time, and lost money. Make sure to have a professional scan completed on your computer for hidden viruses.

Next, you need the appropriate firewalls, anti-virus protection, and security patches installed on your machine. By taking these preventive measures, your PC will be much less likely to succumb to malicious viruses.

Lastly, you should set some ground rules with your family. Encourage every computer user to avoid downloading unknown files, signing up for sketchy services, or using community file sharing programs. Granted, these ideas are always good practice, but even more so when you have sensitive information on your home computer.

With a few simple steps, you will be ready to confidently work from home. In Payson, Computer Problem Specialists is available to help run a scan on your computer or to simply answer your questions about computer “good practices.” Call us at (928) 468-0000 to speak with a technician or visit www.computerproblemspecialists.com/freehelp for a free checkup.

There may come a time when things are difficult — but with the right preparation, your computer will be the least of your worries.

Daniel Taft is the senior network administrator and member/owner of Computer Problem Specialists, LLC with a degree in applied computer science. His career spans more than 20 years.

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