The introduction of the Internet into today?s business world has been both exciting and terrifying at the same time. What was once a matter of internal security controls and training has now become a complex process with numerous unknown variables and problems. The ever-changing world of the Internet has given rise to a whole new breed of system security experts and the need for ongoing modifications and upgrades to security systems. In short, the Internet is a raging beast that will devour the unwary and unprepared.
The Internet has broadened and diversified businesses to allow for interaction and communication on a scale that was never possible before. This tremendous power also comes with a great deal of risk. The single greatest threat the Internet poses is its lack of control and regulation. From its early development as a department of defense communication system, the Internet has grown in to an uncontrolled entity with an ever-changing face and structure. Other than minor regulatory controls, the Internet is run and developed off of the whims and desires of its users. This lack of standardized controls can prove to be a nightmare for businesses that are not prepared to handle the task.
The single greatest thing a business can do to protect themselves from the risks associated with Internet connectivity is to prepare. A lack of specific policies and procedures, coupled with a variety of security measures will leave a business open to the possibility of devastating consequences. The Internet has proven itself a great tool and asset to small and enterprise businesses alike. A business can begin to reduce its risks by training employees on the ?do?s and don?ts? of Internet use. A standard set of enforced email policies is one of the simplest things a company can do to protect itself. Many companies find themselves on the wrong end of one computer virus after another. Establishing policies to control email is a simple way to reduce this risk. A company can establish a ?No Joke? policy that would forbid the sending and receiving of letters, cards and jokes from people outside the company?s infrastructure. By reducing the inflow of known virus carriers a company can greatly reduce the risk of outside infection. Employer supplied email should be used for work related activities, not as a personal forum for employee entertainment.
Another simple security measure is the limitation of web ?browsing.? A Company can establish a policy that limits the use of the web for purposes other than work. Many company?s have strict browsing guidelines to limit the inflow if unauthorized information and files to their internal network. While establishing a policy is effective and necessary, a company must also take proactive steps to protect itself from the dangers of the Internet. The most common and effective measure is the use of Internet Firewalls.
Firewalls are a combination of hardware and software that are designed to control and limit incoming and outgoing data flows. A Firewall is designed to control access in and out of the network through a series of controls to and from unauthorized IP addresses. There are a variety of options open to a company, which will help to control network access. Each company would have to look at its individual resources, expertise and funding in order to determine the best solution. The key to establishing a secure system is having a unique configuration that will cause the novice hacker to worker harder at gaining access than is worth their trouble. By using a firewall a Company gains the ability to control, limit, or grant access based on company specific requirements and needs. Access through a firewall can be customized and changed as the company grows and evolves through the years.
Lastly, a company must determine the mode for