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LAN checklist: 12 tough questions to ask a LAN administrator.


While accountants can benefit enormously when their office computers are linked by a local area network (LAN), such a setup demands skillful and attentive administration. Handled incorrectly, a network can become an expensive nightmare. The responsibility for ensuring that a network runs smoothly falls to the LAN administrator.

The most immediate danger networks face is loss of data. Losses can occur for several reasons: a computer "crash," which occurs when the hard disk drive that stores data malfunctions; the office is hit by an electrical blackout, corrupting data stored on the hard disk; an employee purposely or accidentally erases data; a fire or other disaster destroys the office; or a computer virus obliterates all the data files.

Following are 12 tough questions to ask a LAN administrator to be sure that data vital to the office is safely backed up on a regular basis. The checklist, which appeared first in the American Institute of CPAs newsletter, InfoTech Update, was compiled by Donald Hunt, CPA, a network specialist and partner of Anderson Hunt & Co., Atlanta.

1. Do you have a written comprehensive backup and restore plan for all your applications and data files?

2. Have you tested your backup plan by restoring all data and applications to a backup server computer?

3. Do you create regular director maps of the server?

4. Do you have a hardware and wiring diagram of the network and an inventory of all equipment and accessories?

5. What provisions have been made for swift replacement of hard disk(s) on the server?

6. Who is responsible for overseeing daily or regular backups?

7. Are your backup methods state-of-the-art and complete?

8. What provisions have you made for safeguarding backup media?

9. Who is the assistant LAN administrator? Do you regularly confer with him or her on procedures?

10. How often do you require network users to change their passwords?

11. Have you installed a virus-detection application on the network?

12. Do you have a policy against installing public domain software or applications of questionable origin to protect against virus infection from those sources?
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Institute of CPA's
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:local area network
Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Date:Jun 1, 1992
Previous Article:Right to bring securities fraud and RICO action against auditors upheld.
Next Article:State and local tax collections rise.

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