Twice a month the network at Clear Blue Pools slowed to a crawl. The office manager would call the company IT provider who would scan the network and invariably find new viruses and malware. Like clockwork, every other Monday, the network became infected and operations were interrupted.
After much investigation, it was discovered that the owner of the company brought his personal laptop with him to meetings with the bookkeeper every other Sunday, and when that laptop accessed the network, all of the viruses and spyware on his machine spread across the company’s IT infrastructure like a cancer. The next Monday morning, the employees of Clear Blue would turn on their machines and be greeted with those same viruses. The carelessness of one person – the owner – was crippling the entire company.
You’ve worked to secure your network. You’ve installed anti-virus on every machine and an enterprise-grade firewall on the circuit. You have a third party managing all patches and updates and perform quarterly security audits and network assessments. You’re doing everything you should do…right on time. But what about the network vulnerabilities that are unconventional, sporadic, and rare? Are you planning for them or simply hoping that the odd intrusions don’t equate to bad luck for your organization? Have you considered the following weak spots in your network?
- Employee devices: If your employees use unmanaged devices to connect to your network, then your entire IT infrastructure is at risk. Malware or spyware on an employee machine can quickly spread throughout your organization if you aren’t careful. Be sure to establish firm rules with employees who want to bring a personal laptop or tablet into the workplace with regard to appropriate usage. Even better, do not allow these devices to access your network at all unless they are under company administration.
- Open machines: It is startling how many businesses do not require a password on each workstation. Just as troubling are the number of machines left unlocked while an employee steps away from their desk for a break or leaves for the day. Make sure that your organization has a firm password and lock policy for all in-office machines. From custodians to other employees, unattended machines are an invitation to breach and intrusion.
- Guest WiFi access: How many times have you walked into a business and been granted the WiFi password by simply asking the receptionist? Or a retail establishment that places the password on a public-facing whiteboard? Just because you have a guest WiFi network doesn’t meant that anyone walking by should have carte blanche to do as they please with your bandwidth. Make sure to change the network password weekly and make it available only by request, not published for everyone to see. Furthermore, put the network device on a timer to shut off automatically outside of business hours so that no one drains your bandwidth allocation while you are away from the office.
- Computer destruction: Every few years you refresh your computer hardware, right? What procedure do you use to make sure old machines are properly cleaned or destroyed? At a minimum, you should remove the hard drive of each machine before getting rid of it. Even better, if possible, is working with a reputable company that specializes in data destruction and asset recovery. The incremental cost of $20 to $50 per machine is worthwhile to make sure there is no chance the private data on your hard drive can be reclaimed by creative and ambitious hackers at a later date.
The above listed vulnerabilities sound incidental in the grand scheme of things, but can present major problems for your network security. Just like Clear Blue Pools above, the slightest misstep can lead to major problems for your entire operation. Implementing enterprise-level security is worthwhile for your organization, but don’t forget to keep smaller risks in full view, as well. A full scope security solution means addressing even the most trivial concerns. Click here to learn more about how Mosaic NetworX can keep your network safe and sound!