Dozens of new threats are being raised every fortnight. Viruses, hacker attacks and other cyber threats are now becoming a nightmare. In this era of knowledge and information, every organization is concerned about security. At the same time it is important to make sure that a user can access vital information independent of location, device or time, when he needs it.
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Connection between end users and Networks
Users may be classified into two categories namely, corporate users and home users. Users always access our sites either for the latest services or for customer support. The connection may be either through world wide web or dedicated connections.In both cases, if any security pitfalls happens there is a chance of catastrophic security attacks. The other side of this case is as more and more users get connected to the network, if any system in the network get affected by any type of attacks , user may contact the concerned authorities for help and we can get timely reports of the virus attacks and can get updated with security measures, accordingly. This may prevent the chance of spreading of the virus attacks.
Corporate users and free anti-virus software
As far as security is concerned, corporate users won’t be sacrificing security for a low cost or free anti-virus protection. They will make sure that the best of security is ensured by purchasing latest, efficient anti-virus packages available. I am concerned about the home users as they may not feel to afford the cost. Security is of main concern here and any chances of hacking, phishing should be prevented at any cost. Also the difference in knowledge and experiences about the virus threats make a lot of differences. The corporate users may be having enough tough experiences with the security threats and they will therefore be conscious about the new releases of the attacks. The home users may not be aware of these attacks and will continue to use the unprotected systems which may result in catastrophic effects. People who know about security threats often demand certifications and people with a limited knowledge rarely ask for it. Corporate users who know the security concerns will take preventive measures at any cost whereas the home users may not be able to afford the cost. At this situation, without an effective risk management strategy, none of the organizations can survive. ”Prevention is better than cure “- It is advisable to make sure the security rather than solve the entire problem after the infection. One suggestion is to give efficient solutions to the home customers at a subsidized rate. While comparing the cost to cure the entire infected systems, this overhead may be considered negligible.
For success it is more than necessary to get connected to the internet. We cannot isolate our network and work. So an efficient access system and firewall should be part of the system. All the traffic between the users and the organization should be encrypted and all access should be granted on an individual basis. Users should only be granted access to information they need and everything else should be protected from unauthorized access. It is also possible to enforce access polices which are dependent on the platform and users location and access time. But most of the anti-virus software vendors will not promote this solution as it will reduce product and license sale to a limited number. Presently most of the vendors are enjoying the demands for their products and they have become really greedy.
Role of different users in maintaining network security
IT professionals in our firm can make a difference by identifying and implementing solutions according to the critical situation. Also interaction and sharing of information among the users will help to identify the threats at the earliest so that professionals can cure it immediately. For the security managers and administrators and the Non IT departments, the threats are becoming really a nightmare as they are not dealing with one individual spam or virus complaint. They have to deal with thousands of queries that come from the entire network.
Of course, not only the hackers but also employees of the organization are sources of a lot of security threats. ”Knowledge can be a Dangerous Thing.” (Gaudin). An unhappy or greedy former/ present employee can really be a threat to the network. “They know the location of the data. After gaining access to the system, the amount of time it would take them to get to the data would be insignificant compared to an outside hacker who would have to make his way through the system to find where the information is.” (Gaudin). In this concern the question is –“If a worker resigns, how soon should his/her email account and other accounts be shut down?” (Gaudin). In my opinion it should be done as early as possible, at least within 24 hours. Even though changing the credentials like system logins, administrative passwords and route passwords for routers and switches seems to be a difficult task, there is no other way to ensure security. All our network administrators or security professionals, have privileges to access many of the data on the systems on our network. They may even be able to access encrypted data. My suggestion to this issue is to properly implement employee monitoring. The end users other than the employees of the organization may knowingly or unknowingly be a cause to the network threats. End users should be given proper awareness against the threats.
As a conclusion, I propose the following towards the threats to network security:
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- Providing efficient anti-virus software to the home users at a subsidized rate.
- Implementing proper employee monitoring within the network.
- Implementing proper risk management policies and training the employees how to follow it.
- Timely identification and implementation of the solutions.
- Making awareness in end users towards the problems of viruses.
Gaudin, Sharon. IT and End Users Differ on Spam Severity. Enterprise It Planet.com.
Gaudin, Sharon. Former Employees Threaten Network Security: Knowledge can be a Dangerous Thing. Wifi Planet.
Goodin, Dan. InfoWorld: 2006 InfoWorld Security Survey IT’s confidence crisis.
Vamosi, R. (2004). Antivirus software must be free. Here’s why.