Friday, June 29, 2012

Safety First, Protection Policy within the Business Part 2

Firewall do we need it? By Kenneth Brewer ©June, 27th 2012

The most effective way to prevent something from falling and spilling is to set it on the floor in the first place.

If you’re reading this you most likely have a computer. If you have a computer it would be wise to protect it. Perhaps you might ask,” why, I don’t keep my banking or do anything on there that other people can use against me”? That might be true, on the surface, however it is never what it seems and you will never know what someone will use against or take away from you.

Never believe that what little information you have on your computer is so innocent and incorruptible that you don’t need protection. WRONG! Everything you own is yours and everything you put on an internet enabled device is now accessible in way or another. Diaries, photos, personal letters, e-mails, account info and so much more. Mothers madden name your pets and spouse, kids and passwords, and these are just a beginning, in the mountain of possibilities that can be infiltrated by these few you may have heard of; spam laced with Viruses, Trojans, and keystroke monitoring programs.
Bottom line is how much can your life be lost or exploited if someone wanted to mess with your life that surrounds you. Even the youngest of person to grandparents are or can be at risk at any time.
We all want to protect our family, right? We all want to protect what little we have, money, home and family and our jobs. Yes your employment can be at risk too. Credit fraud is a billion dollar (fraudulent) industry that affects everyone. The results to you are devastating. Many employment recruiters look at the credit scores and financial backgrounds of their prospects for determining risk factors when being considered for hire.  

Primary defense using a firewall

The Industry giants like Wally world, Banks, and Card companies have safety policies in place for this, however even they can prevent total penetration from outsiders or even corruptible insiders. Hope is not lost; protections from threats are handled through safety measures that include a physical and logical firewall. Deployed along with a stringent protocol policy used organizational wide. Industry Giants had software developed to prevent unwanted intruders, and because of this a less costly version is passed along to non-industry use, providing the same or similar technology that you as a computer user can deploy.
  You should have a hardware firewall (such as a router) to protect your network, however you should implement the use of a software firewall on each computer to help prevent the spread of a virus within your network (meaning more than one device on one system in home or office) if one of the computers do become infected.

How firewalls work

Like in Windows the Firewall will help provide protection from mischievous users and programs that rely on unwelcome incoming traffic that are setup to attack computers. In the server arena, Windows Firewall integrates intelligent design so out-going traffic is configured using the Advanced Security snap-in which incorporates or uses certain rules for firewall behavior, giving traffic protection within the Internet Protocol and its rules of security.
In a previous story line I wrote about the network policy incorporated into any business, or even home use for that matter as a first line of defense. I stand by that statement and article. Most importantly what must be remembered that along with the wordy policy, which a physical boundary must need to be put into place. This is called a FIREWALL. After all the weakest link in a chain is one that breaks. A good mechanic can predetermine that weak link. Your IT person is that mechanic that can search out and find out most weak links.  

 Figuring out what to do is simple for most companies by conducting an evaluation of your system. It can be started by conducting an Overview, Product evaluation, and its Design, then Deployment.
In review, the firewall is design to protect/prevent your device from hackers and unwanted intrusion that can delete your data, slow and crash your device (computer) steal passwords, credit card info and some undetermined amount of other problems that can happen from the results of an attack.

Bottom line is, “yes you need a firewall”!

Helpful Website and resources:

Firewall resources: Check Point, Cisco, Juniper, Palo Alto and Sonic Wall 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Safety First, Protection Policy within the Business

Safety in sharing
A few years ago, traffic on the internet consisted of e-mails and FTP’s relatively threat issues were nonexistent, however today we are looking at new threats every day.  Keeping up with these threats are challenging enough.
Your First-line of defense is your IT professional knowing the system, and then knowing what that system needs.
First-line defense
All good IT people will tell you that start with a Security Policy, deploy it then enforce it. Often found when I visit a business the policy starts off with catering to the general consensus of the employees, then third party venders and management.
Being unreasonable in all the restrictions that can be place on a system  
Company owners want to keep their people happy; this generally is a concept that seems productive to the cause. A restrictive policy seems to be over taxing and burdensome, and makes the administrators want to lessen the policies and restraints within a system. This then allows the administrative personal to update the system without going to leaps and bounds to get the job done.
Enterprises find a need to assure that the policies are flexible enough to allow information to flow, but not so light that the doors to the business are utterly open.
I found most companies or organization want to write their own policy, and implement it themselves. The policy writers will most likely use terms that are agreeable with the employees and management needs as well as the Technical Admins so it will be easy as possible to access remotely and otherwise. This is what I call commonsense policy.
What about penetration from outside events, threats along with internal threats or from former employees?
A balancing act between what is wanted and needed to protect the business is needed. Outside third party consulting may be the best practice with today’s threats. Policy makers need to focus on the main objective here. The business needs makes policies that need to be monitored closely and consistently.
Too often Policy is over looked for one reason or another. With vulnerability lurking just around the corner, it is well to know you have a secure system.  There is a renewed interest in security policy. Far behind where it should be today, however there are policies that are designed to continue expansion outside the traditional boundaries of an organization with their partners and contractors which build a closer tie-in to responses to the businesses endurance should a disaster occur. Many external relationships with vendor products are very demanding. With the vendor wanting to review security policy and configurations before doing business to ensure that the transfer of information and Intellectual Property will be secure.
Securing data begins at home
Logical Data is protected through cooperation within the organizations boundaries. Keeping passwords privet is number one. Laws now protect the end-user from giving up their passwords to Admin personal. Admins should have their own passwords; however that is not a cure-all. Sometimes the work has to be done in user mode.
Employer’s need to have at least one safety meeting once a year to remind employees the risk involved with telephone solicitations, IT fraud, and so forth and most of all never giving up their passwords, along with deploying a strong password policy.
This awareness will only work on a human level if the participants are willing to follow the rules, which should include; no more minimum requirements in a security policy, strong password protection, trusted relationships with vendors, understandable  maintenance  policies.
With external threats on the rise
When connected to the internet vulnerability increases 3 fold, visibility (exposure), bandwidth (and IP address), and the length of time spent on a particular site. Exposure is the key to the outside hacker, watching your every move gaining information that can bring your business to its knees.
 Physical stopping power is needed. Installing a Fire Wall security system before the server this will insure the protection of external threats through Spam, e-mails and web-browsing attempts.
One simple rule to keep in mind when it comes to choosing the level of a fire wall needed is. How much information do you want to keep and how much can be lost. In other word how much value do you put on your personal, privet and company information?  Gauge your strength of security on this bases, follow through with a policy, deploy educate and remind.