Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
 
 
Send Cancel

Keeping your veterinary practice safe
keyboard
It seems an opportune time to look at our own systems and assess how virus-proof and secure they really are.

Are you up to speed?
 
A recent global cyber attack that badly affected the NHS and spread across 150 countries should act as a “wake-up call” according to Microsoft. It seems an opportune time to look at our own systems and assess how virus-proof and secure they really are.

Andrew Horrex of AT Veterinary Systems offers a few tips to help you ensure that you are doing your best when it comes to computer security.

Backups
Make sure you have up to date backups of all your important files. Have more than one copy and alternate these so you always have a backup that is not attached to the machine you are backing up.  

Ideally, always have a backup at a different site or in a fire-proof safe. If you have another copy of your files, you can’t be held to ransom. If you are taking backups of sensitive data off-site, ensure the data is encrypted on the backup media.  

Making regular backups will also protect your data from hardware failure. If a virus destroys your files, at least you can replace them with your back-up copy.

Security updates
Install security updates for your computer on a regular basis.  

Anti-virus software
Make sure your anti-virus software is kept up to date and scan the entire system periodically, in addition to the scans done when files are copied.  

Practice computer network
Where possible, ensure your practice computer network is ‘ring fenced’ – kept private by suitable hardware and software. External access should be controlled and limited.

Infected files
Common sources of infection are: email attachments, downloaded files, infected websites and files opened from USB sticks or other media.  

Where possible, limit the access staff have to files and set strong passwords on user accounts. If all computers have access to all data then an infection on one machine could affect all the data rather than being isolated to a particular department or function.  

Some viruses can replicate themselves and spread through email, so take extra precautions when opening email attachments.

Do not open any files attached to an email from an unknown, suspicious or untrustworthy source, or if the subject line is questionable or unexpected.

Unless you know what the attachment is do not open any files attached to an email – even if it appears to come from a friend or someone you know. Confirm that your contact really sent an attachment.  

Delete junk email and chain letters immediately – never forward or reply to these items.  

When downloading files from the internet try to make sure that the source is legitimate and secure. Make sure that your anti-virus protection is checking such files.

Restrict activity
Ensure that all activity on work computers is restricted to the business of the veterinary practice. Never allow personal use of or input into the practice computers.  

When in doubt
No system can ever be 100 per cent secure, so if you have any doubts always err on the side of caution.

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

Vets save premature penguin chick

News Story 1
 Vets have saved a tiny Humboldt penguin chick after her egg was accidentally broken by her parents. Keepers at ZSL London Zoo were shocked to find the chick, named Rainbow, still alive and rushed her straight to the Zoo’s on-site veterinary clinic.

It was a little way to go until the chick should have hatched, so the process was touch and go. Vets removed bits of shell from around the chick with tweezers until she could be lifted out and placed in a makeshift nest.

Rainbow is now in a custom-built incubation room where she spends her days cuddled up to a toy penguin. Keepers will hand-fed Rainbow for the next 10 weeks until she is healthy enough to move to the penguin nursery.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
BVA infographic to help shoppers understand farm assurance schemes

An infographic to help members of the public understand farm assurance schemes has been produced by the BVA. The infographic outlines BVA’s priorities for animal welfare and shows whether or not the schemes address these priorities in their standards.

BVA president John Fishwick said: “The infographic is not intended to be a league table but to allow people to understand what aspects of animal health and welfare are addressed by assurance schemes so that they can decide which scheme best aligns with their own individual preferences and priorities."