Tech tips for non-profits
Microsoft Security Essentials
Microsoft Security Essentials is an antivirus/antispyware program. Most people think of Norton for antivirus software, but there are several free options. We recommend using Microsoft's solution. It is robust and works just as well as other programs like Norton. Most importantly it is free!
Tech Soup is an organization that provides software and hardware at a discounted price for non-profit organizations. For example, Microsoft Windows 7 normally costs $290, but through Tech Soup it only costs below 50.
The most popular internet browswer in use today is Internet Explorer. This browser is very inefficient and has several bugs. It does a poor job of supporting web standards. A better choice would be to use Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome, which are both free and do a much better job of supporting web standards.
Everyone has seen those annoying pop up windows that states you need to update something. It is very important that these updates are downloaded and installed as soon as possible. These updates normally include security patches which help keep your computer more secure. It is especially important to install Windows updates for the same reasons. It is recommended to do this on a regular schedule to all machines in order to avoid forgetting about updates. It is also possible to set up Windows to do this automatically to make it even easier on people.
An excellent way to back up files in case of a hard drive failure or disaster at the facility is cloud storage. The idea behind this is to have a company store your data in a secure facility on their hard drives. There are several options and even a couple of free ones. One is called Dropbox. It offers 2GB of free storage and is easy to use. There is another free option called Box. It offers 50GB of free storage space.
Google Apps are great for nonprofits, because they provide Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Docs sharing. Gmail allows you to have individual email accounts through one domain (example: email@example.com). Google Calendar allows you to share your events and meetings with staff and the public. Google Docs allows you to share documents with staff and clients. Google Apps are free of charge and allow easy collaboration between all team members.
Uniform Naming Conventions/File Management
It’s helpful to use uniform naming conventions, because it makes finding documents and files extremely easy. You should come up with an office wide protocol for naming files. For example, if you have several versions of the same file, naming it file_01 for the first revision and file_02 for the second revision will make it easy to distinguish which version of the file you are dealing with. Giving folders clear and concise labels will help with overall management of files and should be decided on by all staff in order to minimize confusion.
A good password needs to be easy for you to remember, but difficult for people to crack. Changing the case of letters in a password is a quick easy way to increase the strength. You can also substitute letters with numbers or symbols that are similar to the original letters. For example, "snowday" can become "Sn0wD@y." Making these small changes can make weak password much more secure. It is also a good idea to change passwords every 6 months. A less secure, but easier method of is to use a set of 2 or 3 passwords and rotate their use every 6 months.