Ziff Davis Internet
News & Resources for the IT Reseller
NewsReviewsCommentarySecurityLinux/Unix
My Account |  

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols  
Building a Safer PC
By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols


With just a little extra effort, you can build better, safer PCs for your customers.


When it comes to building PCs for your customers, you have a couple of choices. You could preload the computers with just the bare basics. That’s what the mass-market retailers do, and they make some money from PC sales—not a lot, but some.

ADVERTISEMENT

Or, you could preload your customers’ PCs properly so that their machines won’t fall prey to the first virus or network attack that comes along. Yes, it involves a little extra work, but it’s exactly this kind of extra effort that will have your customers coming back.

The first thing I do with any system these days is to make sure its operating system up to date. To do that I update either with a CD containing the latest patches or across the LAN from the master patch collection for that particular operating system.

The one thing I don’t do is update it over the Internet. Behind my firewall, I could certainly download the patches safely enough, but even with my 3M-bps DSL connection, life is too short and I have too many other uses for my bandwidth.

Next, I install a firewall. Yes, with XP SP2, Windows finally has a reasonable firewall, but for my money, it’s still not flexible enough for serious use. And, besides, if your customers want Windows 2000 or an older version of Windows, the SP2 firewall isn’t an option.

My default firewall pick for Windows machines is Zone Labs’ free version of ZoneAlarm. It’s easy to set up and flexible.

Better still, if your customers need more protection, you have a natural upgrade path for them starting with the commercial versions of ZoneAlarm and leading up to Zone Labs’ parent company Check Point’s enterprise-level firewall and Internet security products. For more on Zone Labs’ reseller programs, check out its reseller Web site.

Of course, if you use ZoneAlarm—or any other third-party firewalls—on XP SP2 systems, you’ll need to manually turn off SP2’s firewall.

Next, I put on anti-viral software. There’s a ton of programs out there. After more than 20 years in the business, though, I keep coming back to Symantec’s Norton AntiVirus. It just works.

While I’ve have problems over the years with some of Symantec’s other products, its flagship anti-virus software has never let me down.

Working with Symantec’s reseller program is also straightforward. You can buy directly from Symantec’s big three distributors: Ingram Micro, Tech Data and Synnex. Or, if you want to get buddy-buddy with Symantec, you can join its Symantec Partner Program.

Once you’ve installed Norton AntiVirus, you should also make sure to update it with the latest anti-viral files and set it to automatically update. These days you can’t be too careful about viruses.

Next, I drop in a copy of Spybot-S&D.; This freeware spyware destroyer works well, and with spyware becoming as common as dirt, anything you can do to help your customers avoid it will be appreciated.

One final point: If you do go to this trouble, make sure your customers know about it. You have to get the word out to your potential customers that your PCs are safer than run-of-the-mill retail PCs.

Maybe your clients wouldn’t know malware from Malibu; or maybe they know as much about computing as you do. One thing they’ll all agree on, though, is that in today’s computing world, a safer computer is a better computer.

PointerCheck out eWEEK.com’s Security Center for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at eWEEK.com Security Center Editor Larry Seltzer’s Weblog.

horizontal rule

Be sure to add our eWEEK.com Security news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page

     
Email


TALKBACK
NEW



MICROSOFT RESOURCE CENTER
Free Hands-On Training Lab
Find out how key features of SBS 2003 can help you open up a new line of revenue. Register now >>


SBS 2003 Sales Reference Card
This handy reference card contains features at a glance, sales objection handling, pricing guidelines & more. Get it now >>


Microsoft Empower for ISVs rewards your big idea with big benefits and support.
Access key development tools at a low cost to help you develop that idea into an innovative application. Learn more >>




 
FREE WHITE PAPER
Changing Business for the Better: A Practical Guide to BPM


This paper provides an overview of the benefits of BPM technologies and identifies the characteristics of BPM solutions that lead to successful BPM process-centric integration projects.


Download this free white paper to learn more!


>> brought to you by IBM

Attention Microsoft Solution Providers!



Want to gain a competitive edge? Try Microsoft Watch – FREE!



Each week you receive:
  • Microsoft News and Insider Information
  • Expert Analysis
  • Code Names of Upcoming MS Products
  • Year-Ahead Calendar, updated monthly



    Click Here to sign up now for your FREE 14 Day Trial to Microsoft Watch.
  •  
  • Add up to $1,200 of value with the new BONUS PACKS.
  • HP PartnerONE: The key to increasing your margins.
  • HP Compaq nc6129 Business Notebook. $1149 Smart Buy
  • HP xw8200 workstation. Smart Buy price $1549.
  • ProLiant DL360G4p server: HP Smart Buy price $1647
  • Microsoft files new anti-piracy lawsuits. Learn more.
  • New offers with Windows Genuine Advantage.


  • POPULAR TOPICS
    CHANNEL INSIDER BUYER’S GUIDE
    •Catalog Publishing
    •Dealer Management
    •Order Configuration
    •Price Management
    •Sales Management

    View All >

    CAREER CENTER
    Search the jobs you want & get the info you need – post your resume here today!

    Powered by Dice
    SPECIAL REPORTS
    White Boxes
    MS vs. IBM
    Linux in the Channel
    Network
    CHANNEL RSS FEED
    Stay in the Zone
    Put The Channel Insider on your desktop.
    FREE NEWSLETTERS
    Subscribe to The Channel Insider: Channel News, Reviews, Resources and more.

    Make your selections below:


    Contract Watch

    The Channel Insider Update

    Preferred e-mail format:

    Enter your e-mail:


    view all newsletters >>
    Channel Insider Quick Links
    Ziff Davis Footer Logo