Covering the loopholes

August 2010 Cyber Security

With physical or virtual protection, how much is enough?

A solid network foundation is the key to business agility, process efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness. It provides intelligent services such as security, availability, reliability, and quality of service. This makes it possible for small and medium companies to run desired business applications and advanced technologies, establish competitive advantages, extend and streamline their operations, improve responsiveness to customers and partners, and reduce the costs of ongoing network management.

How do we measure the value of data? Through the time it took to create, or what the implication would be if we could not access it. Protection of data is sometimes seen as a waste or even an unnecessary outlay of finances because of the idea “. . . who would attack us?”

Take a virus for instance. Everyone these days has corporate anti-virus suites, everyone has their own opinion on what anti-virus is the best bang for your buck, but the case still stands, everyone has it, not even knowing whether they will or will not be infected by a virus. But in some companies the approach to network security is overlooked. Having virus protection on your work-base is only the first step. The realistic infection time of a unprotected Internet accessible machine is less than a few hours. From there the spread of infection on your local network is just a matter of seconds.

Now take into consideration that you have those bases covered and your anti-virus is up to date. Think of a non-virus related attack. Think of a new application vulnerability hitting the wild for the first time and an application your company uses and rely on everyday is vulnerable. Are your network administrators aware of this vulnerability? A study in the US corporate sector showed that in seven out of 10 cases the network administrators have not even been aware of any application vulnerabilities associated with the application.

These days it is more difficult to secure a network than a few years ago, due to the majority of companies now operating online 24x7. A few years ago meetings between vendors and clients started with a phone call to a client whereby a meeting was setup and arranged. These days e-mail does the majority of the footwork in our communications, and let us face it, it makes the process happen much faster and more comfortably.

But that data flowing in the e-mail correspondence has a value attached to it, more often than not the value of the data flowing on the corporate network is not being thought of when assessing the security of a corporate network. The same applies for the data entering and exiting the company, whether the data belongs to the company or not.

With these measures and ideas I leave the thought in your hands, do you only protect the bare minimum or are you the person that will go the extra mile to cover the loopholes for the future.





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