There are several possible threats that can affect the integrity of any organizational network. Many of these threats can come internally from the users of the system. Internal attacks can be intentional, accidental, or simple human error. Some examples of accidental infection can come from a user opening an email containing a virus, installing new software, altering desktop configuration, visiting precarious web sites, leaving the area of their desktop without logging out of their account, or simply losing or leaving their personal wireless device unattended.
Organizations should have specific policies covering each of these topics defined within their security plan document. Also, standard operating procedures should be available for technicians to follow whether performing day to day tasks, or responding to an incident. It is a fact that emails are commonly used to perform what is known as social engineering. According to Dictionary. com, the aim of social engineering is to trick people into revealing passwords or other information that compromises a target systems security.
Because of this fact, organizations must create a user policy strictly dedicated to email use conducted within their network. Employees must understand that any communication created through email should follow the same considerations as correspondence containing an official corporate letterhead. It must also be made aware that any email composed and sent through an organizational email server falls under the responsibility of the company. This means that the company may be held liable for the actions and contents of the email.
Although emails follow many of the same rules as postal mail, voice mail, or faxes, there are some significant differences which must be considered regarding the security of information. The route that an email takes can be somewhat unpredictable, meaning that it may be intercepted and read by an unintended source. While this may also occur with postal mail, it may be undetectable with email as there is no sign of tampering such as an opened envelope.
Also, due to the ease of which emails can be stored, it is important that the intended message is presented professionally and correctly the first time, as the life of the document has the potential to outlive the author. In fact, there are so many things to be considered regarding emails that this entire paper could be dedicated to this single topic. Another important area to discuss, where the main audience consists of the users of a system, has to do with acceptable use of resources within an enterprise environment.
Some main areas of concern include internet use, software installation and removal, and desktop configuration. Each of these topics present possible threats to the network and should be controlled through documentation. Some examples of unacceptable use of the internet might include online shopping during an employee’s lunch break, accessing and participating in some form of social media, reading news articles online, or viewing humorous websites. What seems very obvious to one person may not be to another. This is why it is critical for a company to clearly define what is and what is not acceptable use of the web.
The overall physical security of an organization’s assets is yet another area of concern that a company must bear in mind. One of the first concepts involved with physical security is designing a secure area to contain our data centers, server rooms, or offices containing client computers. There are several areas that need to be addressed within this process including securing the perimeter; implementing physical entry controls; securing offices, rooms, and facilities; and considering the work that will be performed in the secure areas.
After defining how the areas will be secured, we must look at securing the hardware that will be utilized within these areas. In order for our system hardware to function properly, we must ensure that a constant flow of power is provided. Power protection devices are used to safeguard against disruptions in power caused by surges, brownouts, and blackouts. One of the most overlooked areas pertaining to security is the disposal of equipment such as hard drives.
It is very easy to recover information from a hard drive that been thrown away or donated, even if the drive has been formatted and a new operating system has been installed. Finally we must consider a solid incident response plan in the event that some form of emergency or disaster has occurred affecting business continuity. An incident response plan is a list of detailed procedures used to report, respond to, and recover from an incident. The worst time to start planning a response to an incident is after the incident has already presented itself.
The truth of the matter is incidents are going to occur. The good news is the impact of the incident can be minimized by utilizing proper risk management processes. The main focus is to be ready to respond, or as ready as possible, at all times. For a business to continue to operate efficiently, it must follow written and approved guidelines outlining ways to perform various tasks and functions. Well written standard operating procedures reduce the necessity for an organization to rely on the knowledge of one or a few sole individuals. The process of creating standard operating procedures will not only allow the organization to take a deeper look into their current business practices, it may also reveal methods in which to improve them.
Easttom, C. (2006). Network defense and countermeasures: principles and practices. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall. Greene, S. S. (2006). Security policies and procedures: principles and practices. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall. Social Engineering. Retrieved October 5, 2012, from http://dictionary. reference. com/browse/social+engineering? s=t