Sadly, this topic is never far from the minds of business owners - how can they understand the risks and develop mitigation strategies when they are not sufficiently technologically aware to keep up to speed with the fast changing developments and best practice.
Choosing and using security software at home is relatively easy – you pick a package which “bundles” together all the facilities you need to keep your standalone PC safe. But it’s different in the corporate world.
Most businesses will operate a “perimeter security model” which basically ring fences all of the organisation’s IT infrastructure and systems with the following elements:
- Email gateway security (for emails coming into and going out of the organisation) with antivirus and antispam modules
- Web gateway security for checking web browsing / downloads- a high risk area
- Server application anti virus (for checking data passing through email system, document collaboration systems and others)
- Server file level anti virus (for checking data held on servers)
- Desk top security to protect users from viruses and spyware
- Other end point protection systems which might detect phishing and other attacks
Most organisations are confident about protecting against viruses and worms (self replicating viruses) but less comfortable in the area of spyware. This is where a user might visit a web site and either clicks on a link or downloads something and inadvertently introduces a problem. These can be relatively minor and passive risks which, for example, simply hinder the performance of the system but they can be malicious performing such actions as key stroke logging to obtain access to passwords or sending emails from the PC.
However, the problem becomes more complex when staff move beyond the physical safety of your offices. Whilst most are comfortable with the security on the iPhone from Apple there have been rare reported cases of malware applications on android phones. The more technologically challenging issue is the use of laptops at home, in coffee bars and airports where users are not aware of the risks of using unsecured wireless access points and the possible threat of nearby users “hacking into” your communications link and gathering your information at will.
At haysmacintyre we have developed a sophisticated solution whereby off site lap top use is enveloped into the offices’ perimiter security model – therefore thoroughly protected. We are still toying with what we call this approach – “distended” brings images of rather overweight users, “stretched” suggests that capacity might be an issue, “elastic” has unfortunate associations with undergarments and “apron strings” implies that our users are immature. So let us know what your ideas on a suitable name for our innovative solution.
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