Non Restrictive Hard Disk Protection & Write Protecting Hard Drives
Todays Educational Public Access Computer Environment
Schools systems worldwide recognize the neccesity of computing in the educational environment. Educating computer skills is vital for today’s students, but there are many issues that school systems must address regarding their management of computer labs. Furthermore, there are two district schools of thought for how student PC's should be managed:
Desktop Lockdown - Restricting user access to certain aspects of Windows
Non-Restrictive approach - essentially Write-protecting the hard drive
Alongside viruses, the biggest threats to computer users on computers today is malware. It can hijack your browser, redirect your search attempts, serve up nasty pop-up ads, track what web sites you visit, and mess up your system settings. Malware programs are usually poorly-programmed and can cause your computer to become slow and unstable in addition to all the other havoc they bring.
Most malware will reinstall themselves even after you think you have removed them, or hide themselves deep within Windows, making them very difficult to clean. This article is intended to guide you with basic preventive measures. Some examples of typical malware are:
The Non-Restrictive computing environment
Internal Threats and Inadvertant User Errors
Students today are probably more computer and internet savvy than thier teachers and sometimes even their IT co-ordinators. They pose an aptitude to download and install sophisticated applications such as P2 P sharing, social media keyloggers, and malware that directly effect thier shared workstations. Unsuspecting users can inadvertantly cause severe changes to a PC's operating systems and configurations.
The IT Administrator
IT administrators are continually playing a cat and mouse game with their student users. They are always trying to stay one step ahead of their users in trying to more effectively manage their public access computer systems. Unfortunately, the ratio of IT support staff to workstations is less than 1 support person for upto 400 shared computing devices. Traditionally their time would be consumed by constantly re-imaging computers in order to keep them up and running.
Traditional Approach: Lockdown with GPO's and Desktop Security
In the late 90's most IT staff would prefer to lock down their workstations using Windows policies or using GUI applications that simplify desktop security such as FoolProof software. This technique was designed to to prevent users from damaging the PC's by only allowing them to only use the PC's for certain tasks. Thus restricting the access to all windows functionality.
Disadvantages Of The Lock Down Approach
Locking down or restricting PC access is like putting blinders on a horse in the hope that the thourghbred continues to travel in a straight line and does not go off track. By limiting the functionality of windows, the user can not be effectively learn how to actually use the computer. Hence the teaching and learning process is one directional.