Even industrial strength, antivirus-protection software from McAfee and Norton Utilities couldn't stop the Love Bug virus from invading millions of Windows NT e-mail servers around the world. Another layer of antivirus protection, however, continues to help some organizations keep their Windows NT servers squeaky clean -- free from virus attacks, and free from junk that doesn't belong on a server anyway.
When viruses started making headlines last year, Lynden Carr, a network engineer with the TDL Group, the Toronto-based holding company for Tim Horton restaurants, became concerned about his 30 Windows NT servers accessed by 550 employees scattered across Canada. Carr selected W. Quinn's FileScreen 2000: a $195 (U.S. price per server) utility that allows a network administrator to set filters to block certain types of files from being saved on a Windows NT server or Windows 2000 server by specific employees or groups of employees. FileScreen 2000 can block an unlimited number of file types, including .vbs, .exe, and .mp3.
He says, "FileScreen 2000 provides us with more virus protection and, at the same time, maximizes our server space. We're saving money and time because we're avoiding server outages and cleaning up disk space."
FileScreen 2000 also helped keep the 1,200 call center customer service representatives (CSRs) in check at Bell Express Vu, a direct satellite broadcasting company based in Montreal. Tim Strong, the network systems architect at the Montreal site, says, "While the CSRs don't access a lot of network resources, they do tend to surf the Web if they don't have any calls."
A few months after the Montreal call center opened in September 1999, Strong wrote a script to find certain types of files downloaded by the then 200 CSRs. He located about 1,500 files with file extensions violating the company's Internet policy. He says, "Besides antivirus protection, we needed an additional way to prevent viruses from coming into our servers through downloaded infected files. We turned to FileScreen 2000 to block employees from being able to store downloaded files."
Strong says he could easily set up FileScreen 2000 to filter any downloaded files the CSRs tried to store to their home directories on the Windows NT server. Because CSRs don't use the same workstation for each shift, Strong says that FileScreen 2000 blocks them from saving files, no matter where they sit. If they try to save a file, FileScreen 2000 sends them a canned message composed by Strong, such as: "You are trying to save a file prohibited by Bell Express Vu. If you feel this message is an error, please contact the IT help desk."
Of course, other employees at Bell Express Vu do need to download and save images on the Windows NT servers. For example, the sales and marketing employees look at images from Bell Express Vu's satellite receivers to see what types of problems customers may be having. Strong has put specific departmentsincluding executives--on FileScreen 2000's exclusion list. He says, "FileScreen 2000 doesn't block those employees who need to save certain types of files. It blocks those employees, such as the CSRs, who are the most susceptible to finding infected files." //
Elizabeth M. Ferrarini is a freelance author based in Arlington, Mass.