The ICTA Community Computer Security Plan
This is multifaceted Windows computer security software, for users who would rather have tech people handle the tech aspects of virus protection — even at a “simple” level. (Note: we’re told a Mac version will “soon” be available. As soon as we know more, we will tell you. Our recommendation: don’t assume it will be available in the next six months…)
- World Class computer protection
- Extraordinary simplicity for the individual user
- Allow qualified tech people to handle the tech aspects
- Very low cost
There are two simple elements to the Plan:
- Volunteer Administrators. *EVERY* user is monitored by an administrator, whether someone in your organization, or a volunteer certified by ICTA. The tech admin function is separate from the (incredibly simple) user software.
- Great software, great price. We are purchasing McAfee SaaS Endpoint Protection Suite together with SaaS Web Protection, with special permission to aggregate purchases and management across the community of ICTA-linked organizations. After a simple install process, most users typically never need to think about it again.
What protection is included?
- Anti-Spyware / Anti-Malware
- Browser protection
- Basic email virus protection (file level)
- Safe search (web search results are marked safe/caution/danger)
- Web Threat Protection (unique feature: protects against attacks via hidden “web 2.0” channels)
- Web Content Protection (categorized monitoring and blocking of content, a bit like SafeEyes, Covenant Eyes, etc.)
- Other techie security (rootkit, buffer overflow, etc)
- Optional (no cost) firewall. Very basic; current Windows firewall is actually all you need.
- “Gold” tech support
- (Search online for the product names to see more details and for a trial version)
- (If you run a Microsoft Exchange eMail server in-house, contact us for an optional add-on that may benefit you)
Why This Might Be Right For You
- You or your organization’s users want effective computer safety but do not want to spend time on the tech details.
- You don’t have spare “IT Infrastructure”
- You appreciate having a trustworthy “buddy”
Typical computer security tools work well, as long as they are carefully monitored to ensure they’re up to date. However, they also can be frustrating to typical users, popping up questions about how to handle many or most attacks.
ICTA searched for a product that would eliminate this aggravation, by turning over the technical issues to qualified tech people. Got a large organization? Then you probably have people who can handle the job. Small ministry or church? Then let a certified ICTA Plan Administrator handle it!
Maintaining proper computer security requires diligent monitoring. Experts recommend that security profiles be updated daily, even more often for those who are always online. And security incidents should be reviewed at *least* once a week. Many ministries and “Kingdom Businesses” do not have the capacity to assign paid staff to that task. And frankly, it’s typically seen as a low priority job that gets set aside.
ICTA’s Plan Administrators have specifically signed up to take care of that job. Each one is known, with technical and spiritual references. And, they’re specifically certified in their knowledge and understanding of the anti-virus software we use.
NOTE: monitoring web content activities is not part of our general Plan Administrators’ job. The necessary trade-off of privacy and accountability requires that anyone who wants their activities monitored needs to make arrangements with a specific trusted administrator (which can be a parent, staff member, etc.) If you have need of monitoring but have nobody available for the task, please contact ICTA.
Workers in far-away places, particularly those in “risky” parts of the world, are often isolated from encouraging support. “Linda” (not her real name) works in a remote place. Seeing that Linda’s computer security had not been updated for a few weeks, her Administrator investigated and contacted her prayer team, which checked up on her. Imagine how encouraging that was!
Why This Might *NOT* Be Right For You
- You don’t use Microsoft Windows
- Lowest up-front cost outweighs all other considerations for you as a non- profit organization.
- You are a computer-savvy individual, or have an organization with very strong “IT infrastructure” (people and equipment) with more than sufficient capacity to support all of your users.
- You yourself (or your organization’s users) have no need or desire for someone else to provide security monitoring.
- You disagree with ICTA’s beliefs.
At this time, we do not know of a computer security product for Mac, Linux or other non-MS-Windows systems that meets the objectives of the ICTA Community AntiVirus Plan. We’re certainly open to seeing one developed! We are told that Mac versions will “soon” be available… but that is not presently the case.
In the meantime, we recognize that Mac and Linux users are often quite computer-savvy. You may be able to significantly help the community by becoming a Plan Administrator! The Administrative role often requires nothing more than use of a web browser.
The solution we use has a very reasonable cost, yet it is *not* the absolute lowest priced solution out there. You or your organization may be committed to lowest sticker price. You may work under an organizational philosophy opposed to investing in community collaboration, even if it ultimately saves you dollars.
Other good antivirus solutions are available at somewhat lower cost. For example, AVG and Avast are available free for individual use. (We did not select these because they do not meet the objectives of our plan.) (Note that we have found no other product, free or paid, that provides similar protection to the new SaaS Web Protection product that’s part of our plan.)
If another product fits you better, we’d much rather see you use that product and be happy, than participate in the ICTA Community Computer Security Plan and regret spending those extra dollars!
If your organization has “IT capacity” to spare, you may feel it inappropriate to make use of a vendor’s infrastructure to meet your computer security administration needs. The separate administration may feel redundant.
Yes, the ICTA Community Computer Security Plan can certainly meet your needs, and your participation increases the volume and helps lower the cost for everyone. However, our primary purpose is to make “Kingdom work” more effective by simplifying the administration, and turning over the tech work to volunteer professionals. (Perhaps your team can help administer the Plan for others who are less savvy than you?)
If your inside team is fully able to handle the need, and fully dedicated to handling *only* your need, then of course it makes no sense for you to consider a community-based plan.
You may be meticulous by nature, disciplined to ensure your virus protection is always working. Or, you may never travel, so you don’t care whether someone else knows that your computer is successfully connecting online each day.
In either case, you (or some of your users) may feel it an intrusion rather than a benefit for someone else to fulfill that monitoring role.
If so, you would make a great Plan Administrator! No joke. We’d love you to consider helping out. But please know, Plan Administrators are expected to provide admin coverage for more than just themselves. Having 50,000 administrators would simply create a top-heavy network.
ICTA is building a high tech community that supports “faith based initiatives” (in very generic terms – usually we would say “Christ-centered.”) We care about the whole person, including their spirituality — and Jesus is our model.
If you are opposed to such things, then please don’t get involved, you’ll only cause yourself grief!
With the new Web Content Protection security capabilities, this is even more important. We are creating a community environment that encourages and nurtures a basic level of protection from the worst garbage on the Internet. No, we are not “prudes”… many followers of Christ specifically stay in touch with the worst news and atrocities the world has to offer, so we can intercede in prayer and more directly by getting involved. However, there’s no need for this community to wallow in content that celebrates pornography, violence or illegal activities.