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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Safeguarding the Database

Safeguarding the Database
4 February, 2006
The library database is managed using Alice and is on a standalone computer. Although I can access the network through the router to gain internet access, there is no server for the curriculum side of the school. The Operating System is Windows 98 (Yuk…you have performed an illegal operation and will be shut down. I don’t need to see that error message again.) There is no CD Rom burner in the PC, and I was told the backups were done to a USB stick, although I have not been able to locate the USB stick so far. Probably lost in the shift! There was only one logon and the Cancel button was used to gain access to the PC. So effectively there was no backup and the data was in jeopardy with no restrictions to the users or the information they had access to.
Some staff use the PC when I am not at the school to access emails and do their searches etc. Aside from the PCs in a classroom which has a small computer lab there is not much else for the staff to use for this.
So things were humming along and I was trying to make sure all the user data was correct as I had found a few problems when the children started to borrow. There are real problems with one class group and Alice will not print them as a class group. Alice is such a clunky database as you can’t search it to see if information exists in the groupings you are asking it to print out in. So I eventually deleted the class of users and reentered them. Then it worked. It turned out this took less time than what I had already spent trying to fix it in the first place.
Then I had another little heart start when I realised that I had not seen any antivirus updates occur. On searching the computer I noticed there was no such thing installed. Norton’s Antivirus (NAV) is used in schools and it is a standard for all to use.
To resolve the backup problem I mapped a drive to one of the PCs in the computer room. I was having a few problems setting security permissions when on a reboot I noticed that they were running XP Home edition. Eventually I managed to get a copy of the database to the computer, but the students know and use the admin password on all the PCs. So be to extra sure I put two copies on in different locations. The computer lab computers also had no NAV installed.
I left that day feeling a little better because there was a backup, but still with mixed feelings about the virus issue.


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