IT Best Practices

IT Best Practices

For more information about acceptable use, please read our computer and network usage policy here.

1) Keep all systems up to date

Update operating systems, applications, and antivirus software regularly. This will allow any security patches included in software updates to be added to your system, increasing the systems’ protection against vulnerabilities and hackers.

2) Install anti-virus software and keep all computer software patched

Software can include bugs which allow someone to monitor or control the computer systems you use. In order to limit these vulnerabilities, make sure that you follow the instructions provided by software vendors to apply the latest fixes.

3) Use a strong password

Reusing passwords or using the same password in multiple instances is like carrying one key that unlocks your house, car, office, briefcase, and safety deposit box. If you reuse passwords for more than one computer, account, website, or other secure system, keep in mind that your information will be only as secure as the least secure system on which you have used that password. Never enter your password on untrusted computers, websites, or other connected systems. Remember to change your passwords in accordance with UD account standard policy as noted in the university security policy.

4) Using your computer on public networks and logging-off public computers

Public internet offers a convenient way to use a networked computer when you are away from your home or office. However, it is impossible for an ordinary user to tell what the state of their security might be. Public networks have a high probably of exposure to viruses, worms, trojans, keyloggers, and other nasty malware. A public network is a network that is generally open (unsecured) allowing anyone access to it. These networks are available in airports, hotels, restaurants, and coffee shops, usually in the form of a Wi-Fi (wireless) connection. When you connect to a public network, your online activities and data transmissions can be monitored by others, and your device may be at risk to a potential attack. If using a public network is necessary, use the VPN to create a private connection and acquire internal network accesses. When using a public area computer, be sure to completely log off when you are finished using the device, ensuring the next person cannot access your information.

5) Back up important information and verify that you can restore it

Due to hardware failure, virus infection, or other system failure, you may find yourself in a situation where information stored on your computer or device is no longer accessible. To prevent a lapse in accessibility, be sure to regularly back up any important data to you personally or your role at UD. An easy and common way documents can be backed up is by utilizing your Google Drive account, which is always available via the cloud. For university employees, any confidential data backups or copies must be stored securely.

6) Be wary of suspicious e-mails

Never respond to emails asking you to disclose any personal information. UD will never email you asking for your personal information. A common fraud, called "phishing", sends messages that appear to be from a bank, shop or auction, giving a link to a fake website and asking you to click the link and confirm your account details. Embedded links may also include viruses and malware that are automatically installed without your knowledge or permission on your computer. UD makes every effort to prevent viruses and other malicious content from reaching your campus email account, but even emails which appear to be from a trustworthy source may be forged. Exercise caution, and when in doubt do not follow links or open attachments from a suspicious message or someone you know unless you are expecting the message.

7) Limit social network information

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and other social networks have become an integral part of our online lives. Social networks are a great way to stay connected with others, but you should be wary about how much personal information you post. Learn how to use the privacy and security settings to protect yourself, keep personal information personal, know and manage your friends, and learn how to troubleshoot if you encounter a problem.

8) Download files legally

Avoid peer-to-peer (P2P) networks and remove any file-sharing clients already installed on your system. Since most P2P applications have worldwide sharing turned on by default during installation, you run the risk of downloading viruses or other malware to your computer, and having your personal and/or confidential information inadvertently shared. Illegal network activity can also result in your access to the UD network being suspended.

9) Lock your computer when you walk away from it

When leaving your computer unattended, physically secure it to prevent theft and lock the screen with a password to safeguard data.

10) Secure your laptop, smart phone or other mobile devices

Every time a laptop computer or other portable devices are lost or stolen, the data on that device has also been stolen. Any data stored on an unsecured device can be lost, accessed, or compromised as the result of a laptop, tablet, smart phone or other mobile device theft. Secure your mobile device with a password or PIN along with an inactivity timeout.

Cybersecurity Best Practices

UD has partnered with renowned security education firm, KnowBe4, to provide cybersecurity awareness training and resources. For more information or questions regarding cybersecurity training please email

Additional cybersecurity information can be found in our department newsletters or on the UD Center for Cybersecurity page.