Why is IT trying to ruin my life? Part 3: Preventing software installations
This post was written by Dan Wons, Vice President for Network & Infrastructure at Cision US. It is part 3 of a 3-part series.
One of the more frustrating things that IT departments do to users is prevent them from having the proper rights to install software on their own PCs. This is done for two reasons—awareness and protection.
From a troubleshooting perspective, one of the most important pieces of information to have is an understanding of what recently changed in the troubled environment. If users are downloading pieces of software that disrupt the normal operations of their PC and the PCs of users around them, diagnosing the problem is complicated by not fully understanding what has changed. Controlling software distributions in an effort to manage change and maintain awareness of the environment is helpful for all involved.
The ability to install software is equivalent to local administrative rights. With those privileges, anything can be done to or with a PC. Software developers are well aware of this and they take advantage of it. Viruses and malware exploit this privilege and end users often will unknowingly download a seemingly harmless photo, file, or application and bad software gets installed behind the scenes. To help protect the entire network and end users from what they can’t see, these rights—and the ability to install software—are restricted.
When it comes to your home PC, just because you can install software that doesn’t mean you should be careless about it. In fact, it’s also best practice at home to not use an administrative account. Here are some tips about loading software on your home PC:
• Is the software from a known vendor (Microsoft, Adobe, etc.)?
• Beware of applications on social media sites. You don’t know who wrote them and they may (and often do) contain viruses.
• Stay away from peer-to-peer file sharing applications/networks (e.g. Kazaa, Bit Torrent). They are notorious for containing viruses and malware, not to mention illegally copied content.
• Ask yourself if you really need the software. Once it’s installed, your PC may never work correctly again.
• When you decide to install the software, watch out for additional products that also get installed if you don’t unselect check boxes. If you are wondering how you got so many toolbars in Internet Explorer this might answer that (e.g. Adobe Reader).
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