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Monitor the Inbound, but Especially the Outbound

The greatest threats to a company's computer systems are often the actions of its own employees. Small and large businesses alike are aware that they need to protect themselves against access attempts on their network, specifically inbound ones from the Web. Yet they ignore their network's outbound attempts to access the Internet. I am referring here to outbound attempts by software that employees install on their workstations. These downloads can contain spyware, Trojan horses and other types of viruses.

Dave Cloutier, CCSA, CCSE
Security Analyst
Télébec

Antivirus programs are often helpless to prevent the installation of such software. But what people don't understand is that they are giving hackers direct access to the computer since these intrusions bypass the restrictions imposed by the firewalls.

The good news is that Télébec's monitoring software detects this type of download and our experts automatically check with the customer that this installation is really necessary to the company's operations. In most cases, we will need to intervene to remove the downloaded application from the employee's workstation. As an employer, it is also recommended that you restrict your users' outbound access.

You're in business, so why use equipment designed for residential customers?

Many suppliers will tell you that all you need is a good antivirus and a Linksys router to protect your system from all attacks. False.

Five years ago, these applications might have done the job, and more... But in 2006, this is no longer the case! Don't confuse a home computer environment with that of an office. The data stored on your workstation are confidential and strategic. A continuous monitoring service by experts will help prevent threats before it is too late.

Make your employees aware of the dangers

It is very important to train your employees. Don't hesitate to make them aware of the dangers to which your company is exposed every time they make download a file or use disks brought from home. USB flash drives are also a very real risk.

Think about it: an employee brings a disk to the office in order to print his kid's school project. The disk could well be infected with all kinds of viruses. Your employee inserts the disk in his workstation and automatically contaminates your whole network. Just an example to illustrate the importance of training your employees.