T2022_21 Guide to safe use of software (4th November 2022)

Every business relies on one or more computers, and by extension, software, to function. In order to choose and use operating systems and applications in a way that is effective, secure, and compliant with the law, there are several key considerations. Due diligence has become more crucial in recent years as more software is now downloaded or hosted online rather than being distributed on disks. 

Risks of unsafe use of software  

The unsafe or immoral use of software may produce some unwanted risks to an organization. Below are some risks that may arise from the unsafe or immoral use of software. 

  • Software copyright violations, by 
    using more software on more PCs than you have licenses for. 
    utilizing unauthorized (pirated) software copies. 
    using commercial versions of software (such as those provided for home or classroom usage). 

  • Launching fake software that infects your network, mobile devices, and desktops with malware 

  • Software that slows down your computer(s) or is incompatible with the operating system or other programs while it is loading. 

  • Downloading big applications that consume an excessive amount of bandwidth and delay network or internet traffic. 

  • Utilizing software that hasn't been tested or isn't suitable for the job, which could compromise the integrity of your business operations (for example, a faulty calculation engine delivering incorrect figures on spreadsheets). 

  • Using and downloading file-sharing software by employees. 

  • Malware being downloaded on mobile devices in the form of rogue apps. 

Guidelines for safe use of software  

The following are some guidelines to minimize the risks of unsafe use of software. 

  • Put rigorous restrictions on how software is purchased, loaded, managed, updated, and used, including apps for mobile devices. 

  • Always use licensed software, and if your organization is expanding, make sure you have the right number of licenses (also known as "seats") for the systems on which it is installed. 

  • Think about making an investment in scalable software that can meet the expanding demands of the company. 

  • Utilize the right software version (for example the business or enterprise version). 

  • When utilizing any software that is not commercially available (such as internal or bespoke software created by a third party), be sure it has undergone rigorous testing for malware and functionality.  

  • When requested, always download the most recent software updates. Updates typically focus equally on security and usefulness. 

  • Test the capacity of your storage, network, and internet connections on a regular basis. 

  • To simplify management and proper usage, including licensing, deployment, and updates/patching, think about utilizing software as a service (SaaS).  

  • Make sure your firewalls and internet security software are active and up to date. 

The Guyana National CIRT recommends that users and administrators review these recommendations and implement them where necessary. 

PDF Download: Guide to safe use of software.pdf

References