1. Be sure to set up security on any wireless networks. Open wireless networks can be accessed by computer users that are up to 1,000 feet away from router. Unauthorized activity by these users could be "blamed" on the church, such as downloading copyrighted music or movies, or accessing questionable web content. The security code should not cause issues for authorized users – once it has been entered onto a computer, it does not need to be entered again.
  2. Make sure a virus scanner is installed on each computer. Microsoft Security Essentials is a good choice for any PC in use at the church, as it is a free product which is updated along with Windows Updates and consumes very little resources while running. Another free option is AVG Antivirus Free.
  3. Make sure important church information is being backed up. Many affordable backup solutions are available, ranging from external hard drives to online solutions such as Carbonite. See article entitled Avoid Computer Nightmares: Free and Paid Backup Solutions by United Methodist Communications.
  4. Make sure that laptops in use by the church are password protected. If a laptop is stolen and a password is in place, most thieves will simply erase the machine instead of trying to access the information stored on the machine. TrueCrypt is a free product that can also be used to provide additional protection for laptops that may contain financial or personal information. By encrypting the contents of the disk drive, information cannot be recovered if a laptop is lost or stolen.
  5. Keep software up to date. Many vendors offer substantial software discounts to churches through charity/not-for-profit licensing or software donation. Microsoft offers many software products at a substantial discount to churches through its Charity Licensing program. Many other vendors offer similar programs. UMCom.org offers latest technology available with deeply discounted software from major suppliers like Microsoft and Adobe.