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Security and Maintenance Practices

Keep Your System Patched

Operating system and third party software periodically update for security and enhancement reasons. Some software packages have update managers to help remind you that software updates are available. Don’t wait, take the time to install those updates. Please note that some updates may require a reboot of the system so remember to save and close any open files to protect your data.

BigFix can help you monitor and/or patch your computers. Use this tool to not only report potential system issues, but keep your system patched. Further information can be found on our Patch Management page.

Reboot Your Computer

You should reboot your computer at least once a week if you can. This will ensure that all software updates are downloaded, installed and registered in a system. This is one of the single most important things you can do to help keep your system healthy.

Install BigFix

BigFix is a widely adopted cross-platform endpoint management system utilized by private companies, government agencies, and academia. BigFix has a Patch Management module which can identify systems with applications that are out of date and allow system managers to take action to install patches and remediate issues. Berkeley Lab IT has adopted two modes of BigFix, one active the other passive. The Active Mode is recommended for most systems at the Lab, including laptops, desktops, and shared workstations. The Passive Mode is used primarily for monitoring and reporting on system status, software licensing, and asset management. BigFix can be downloaded from the Software Store.

Lastly, BigFix can help automate and manage your asset inventory. Berkeley Lab Property Management and IT have piloted a program to certify the existence of a DOE tagged asset. Any DOE-barcoded system running BigFix and present on the LBL network can be automatically verified for inventory purposes, without the barcode being scanned, see Help IT Automate Your Asset Inventory.

Install Sophos

LBNL Cyber Security has defined the Minimum Security Requirements and all computers connected to the Berkeley Lab network must meet these requirements. One requirement is the installation of an antivirus software with automatic updates. Berkeley Lab IT has adopted Sophos as the enterprise solution. Sophos can be downloaded from the Software Store.

Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Utilizing at least a two factor authentication process helps protect your online accounts and access to your resources. Berkeley Lab IT recommends everyone adopt MFA. Further details can be found on the  MFA site.

Clean Up Your Files

Low disk space can lead to poor system performance and problems with file integrity. Please take the time to clear out any caches, delete data in your downloads folder or temporary folders, and remove any unnecessary data. Remember you have unlimited disk space on Google, use that disk space to your advantage.

Third party software tools claim they can help with system clean up. Do not install CCleaner on Lab computers.

Clear Your Browser Cache

When your browser performance becomes erratic or sluggish start with clearing the cache.

Data Protection

Backup Your Data

Your data is important so don't wait for that disaster. Be proactive and obtain a backup solution that meets your needs. Berkeley Lab IT has adopted Druva inSync as the enterprise backup tool. Druva inSync can be purchased from the Software Store.

Google Drive / Team Drive

Storing your data on a network resource is another option to protect your data. Berkeley Lab IT has adopted both Google Drive and Google Team Drives to store your unlimited data. 

Software Store

Berkeley Lab IT has provided a repository of software from Both free and software for purchase can be found on this site. If you are unable to find your software, a request to can be submitted. Berkeley Lab IT can also provide access to iOS applications via Apple's Volume Purchase Program (VPP), see Mobile App iOS Purchases.

Working Remote

When working off-site, always utilize Berkeley Lab's VPN (virtual private network). A virtual private network is an encrypted connection over the Internet from your device to a network. Essentially when running VPN, your computer is on Berkeley Lab's secure network and enables you access to restricted resources such as FMS. Cisco VPN software can be downloaded from the Software Store

Property Management

Ensure you are designated as the custodian of your computing devices. Property Management guidelines are described hereAs the custodian of your computer, you are required to follow all cyber security requirements and protect your computer from loss or theft. If lost or stolen follow Instructions for Reporting Lost, Damaged, Destroyed or Stolen IT Assets.

Hostname Naming Conventions

In order to more easily identify the point of contact for desktop and laptop systems at the Lab, particularly when a cyber security event has been detected and the owner has to be notified, a naming convention for the computer's hostname is being used for standard deployments. Lab staff who do not utilize IT for workstation support should consider adopting the standard themselves.

Physical machine

The standard format is as follows: (LDAP username)-(OS Identifier)(last two digits of the DOE number located on the machine)

Example: cwnelson-x44 or cwnelson-w39

Virtual machine (VM)

  • Use the standard format for a Physical Machine, but prefix the OS Identifier with the letter 'v'
  • Use the last two digits of the host's DOE number (this is the computer that the VM will be running on)

Example: cwnelson-vt44 for a Windows 10 VM running on a host with the DOE number ending in 44

The current convention allows for for 1 VM of each type of OS on a given workstation.

Operating System identifiers

Windows MEIMillenium
Windows NTNNT
Windows 2000K2K
Windows XPXXP
Windows VistaVVista
Windows 7SSeven
Windows 8 or Windows 8.1EEight
Windows 10TTen
Mac OS XMMac
Scientific LinuxFScientific
Red Hat Linux FamilyRRHEL
Other Linux FamilyLLinux
BSD Unix Family (FreeBSD)BBerkeley
Other UnixNUnix
Virtual MachineVaVirtual where a denotes the OS Version, i.e. VT is a virtual Windows 10 system


Help in any of these areas can be obtained by contacting the the Help Desk through a help ticket by clicking here.