For many years UMF has maintained a rigid policy that all students and employees connecting a personal Windows computer to the university network must be running the UMF anti-virus software package. After much debate we have decided to back down and simply recommend it. Why did we require and now why are we stopping?
The answer actually lies in the maturity of computer networks and steps taken by Microsoft over the years to cure some of the rampant vulnerabilities in their operating system. Years ago, a single computer with a virus could take down the core of our network and infect others on campus. In fact, I spent countless hours a decade ago on the phone with network hardware vendors combating these outbreaks and trying to stabilize the resource. Today, much more robust equipment prevents a single device from wielding that kind of power. Windows itself has far greater protection from network borne viruses and requires specific permission from the operator before allowing software to make significant changes. This is very good news for us in ITS and all of you.
So why not still require the UMF package? It seems like a good policy right? It does but, so many people already have their own when arriving at UMF and we are discovering that the inconvenience of removing one piece of software to add another has finally outweighed the benefits of a requirement. This is a change in thinking that goes along with the idea that information security and basic computer ownership is the responsibility of everybody, not just a single department. We hope that every person that uses a computer at UMF updates their computer on a regular basis and verifies the existence of anti-virus just as they remember to change the oil in the car and not leave the keys in it when parked in a bad neighborhood. That all being said, we still offer anti-virus software to all members of the UMF community and will continue to consult on these issues.