A remote access e-mail gateway will enable your employees to get to their e-mail while they're away from the office. However, this same gateway can also provide intruders with a side door to your network. Likewise, a FTP server will enable customers anywhere to get fixes for your software products instantly. On the other hand, intruders might use your ftp server as an electronic tunnel to valuable corporate data.
With worldwide connections, someone can get into your system in the middle of the night when your building is locked up. The Internet allows the electronic equivalent of an intruder who looks for open windows and doors. Now, a person can check for hundreds of vulnerabilities in just a few hours.
Every organization requires some type of a network site security policy. This will serve to protect its valuable assets -- everything from systems to data. The policy guidelines presented here will help you to establish an enterprise-wide program of how both internal and external users interact with a company's computer network, how the corporate computer architecture topology will be implemented, and where computer assets will be located.
To create a good site policy for computer security, you'll need to do two things: determine the expectations of proper computer and network use, and the procedures to prevent and respond to security incidents. To this end, you, working with your policy committee, need also to consider and to agree upon the following:
Next, you'll need to look at whom, besides yourself, will devise the network site security policy. Policy creation should consist of a representative group of decision makers, technical personnel, and day-to-day users from different levels within the organization. Decision makers should have the power to enforce the policy. Technical personnel should advise on the ramifications of the policy. Likewise, day-to-day users should have a say in how easy or difficult the policy will be to carry out.
Developing a security policy requires that you identify the organizational assets, identify the threats, evaluate the risk, evaluate and implement the tools and technologies available to meet the risks, and develop a usage policy. In addition, you'll need to devise audit procedures for how to do timely reviews of the network and server usage, and how to respond to violations or breakdown. Finally, you'll need to communicate information the policy to everyone (both employees and contractors) who uses the computer network. Plan to review the policy regularly.Identifying Your Organization's Assets
Evaluating the Risks
Risk analysis involves determining what you'll need to protect, what you'll need to protect it from, and how to protect it. This process forces you to examine all of your risks, ranking each one by severity level.
Possible risks to your network include:
Once you've put the list together, then you'll need a scheme for weighing the risk against the importance of the resource. This exercise will enable the site policy makers to determine how much effort to spend protecting the resource.
Defining a Policy for Acceptable Use
To define a policy for how users will interact with the network, you'll need to consider the following in a policy for acceptable use:
For example, you'll want to cover the following topics when defining the users' rights and responsibilities:
Auditing and Reviewing
To help determine if there is a violation of your security policy, you'll need to depend on the tools included with your computer and network. Most operating systems store numerous bits of information in log files. Examining these log files regularly will often provide the first line of defense for detecting unauthorized use of the system.
By running various monitoring commands at different times throughout the day, you'll make it hard for an intruder to predict your actions. While it may be exceptionally fortuitous that an administrator would catch a violator in their first act, by reviewing log files you'll have a very good chance setting up procedures to identify them at a later date.
Security is a dynamic process. Since it's getting easy to break into network sites through easily available, point-and-click packages, you'll need to do regularly reviews of your network. To this end, you'll need to assemble the core team or a representative subset to review how well things are working, what are the latest threats and security tools, and what are the risks against new assets and business practices.