Sunday, August 22, 2010

Silver City IT Work

I help out with information technology (IT) support in addition to developing software. IT isn't exactly my favorite thing in the world, but it is nice to help out my family and be a part of helping people receive high quality medical care. My dad is a pulmonologist down in Silver City, and his network administrator quit almost two years ago. Since then, I've been picking up the work. He keeps all of his patient records electronically, and I'm the one that makes sure the systems keep running. Plus, more people need help keeping their infrastructure going than they need new, custom, (hopefully scientific) software written for them.

I build a separate, Internet connected, network for his office to use when connecting to the hospital's network (VPN) and looking up information online. This is completely separate from his electronic medical record network, since I was not ready to overhaul that network and securely connect it to the Internet. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provides all sorts of guidelines for well connected networks that are basic IT infrastructure security guidelines, which are basically simple best practices for securing a network. It is much easier to secure a stand alone network than one connected to the Internet, so I simply build a stand alone network. (Red / Black seperation, for all you spooks out there.)

This system requires regular updates. The major two components that require updating are the virus signatures for the virus scanner, and the operating system.

These instructions have been created in order to help share some of the updating work load, so I can focus on other IT related tasks when I am in town.

Updating AVG
The first thing to do when updating the anti-virus scanner is to open the interface to it. This can be accomplished by double clicking on the AVG system tray icon as shown below.

Figure 1. AVG System Tray Icon

The next step is to actually tell AVG to update. This can be easily accomplished by clicking on the "Update now" button as shown in Figure 2. below.

Figure 2. Telling AVG to Update

After this completes, you can close AVG.

Windows Update
Telling Windows XP to update is even easier than updating your antivirus signatures. Simply click on the "Windows Update" option from within the first level of your start bar menu, as is shown in Figure 3. below.

Figure 3. Windows Update

Then, the easiest thing to do is to select "Express" to download the updates Microsoft considers critical. This is shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4. "Express" Updating Mechanism

The next thing you may or may not see, is a "No Updates Available" screen. If this is the case, you are finished. Otherwise, follow the on screen instructions for installing the important updates.

Windows update is scheduled to happen every day, but as the Internet machines are not always turned on, the automatic update may or may not happen.

Hopefully these instructions are helpful in describing the steps necessary to update antivirus signature files and the Windows XP operating system.