Ten Commandments of Securing Your Office Network

Posted by brussell on May 14, 2013

Through the years, I have presented a network security seminar for varying clients and organizations. The content of the seminar is constantly being updated, but the basic premises still hold true to this day. One important premise is end-user education on what they can do to lower security threats to network computers. Below is one excerpt from this seminar entitled, “Internet Vulnerability, Accountability, and Security in Our Businesses”. This is a compilation of ten well stated rules (commandments) provided by Norman Data Defense Systems, Inc for end-users to follow as they use their computers.

Ten Commandments of Securing Your Office Network

1. Never invite strangers home

Be careful as to how your PC is configured before you connect to the Internet. It is of particular importance that you are aware of shared folders / resources. It is not likely that you want to expose your private data to the entire Internet community, which may happen if you share your data in an unsafe manner.

This is one of the most dangerous security breaches in Windows systems and frequently used by intruders.

2. Use professional "cleaners"

Installation of anti-malware software is a mandatory security measure. It is of utmost importance that you update your anti-malware software regularly, usually automatically whenever you connect to the Internet. It is also weighty to acquire information about which malicious code the anti-malware program can stop, in addition to the usual computer viruses, worms, trojans, dialers etc.

3. Update the operating system continuously

The operating system is the core of all activity in the PC. There is no such thing as a 100% bug free operating system. Virus writers often take advantage of such software bugs, so make sure that all security updates are downloaded and installed continuously.

4. Be critical to the "Postal Service"

Apply some common sense rules. If just one of the following situations is true, then simply delete the email:

The sender is not known. The subject field does not make sense. The mail contains a link, and you’re not sure where it will send you on the Internet. The email is generally suspicious and even contains an attachment.

If you have a spam filter you save a lot of time cleaning up unsolicitated mails, which often contain malicious software.

You should encrypt confidential information before you send it.

5. Get a trustworthy "doorman"

Your computer has many "entrance doors" (ports) for different tasks. Open ports could allow unlimited access to your machine’s resources. The main purpose of a personal firewall is to protect your computer against “visitors" - i.e. attacks - from the Internet.

6. Lock up "filing cabinets" with sensitive information

Store your confidential data securely. On portable machines that are more likely to go astray, this is particularly important. The best solution is to use encryption tools which handle folders as well as individual files.

7. Don’t let anybody in

Configure your web browser to ask if you allow "active content".

Many web sites use scripts to enhance your surfing experience. However, this represents a security risk as it involves program code to run on your computer.

Be selective with regard to which web sites you grant access to your own computer.

8. Take advice from experienced IT personnel

If you use an office at home or a portable computer in your daily work, you should first and foremost acquaint yourself with your employer’s rules and regulations on IT security for these situations. You may avoid many future problems by consulting your company’s IT personnel or consulting company.

9. Disclose as little as possible about yourself

Never reveal information of a personal nature if it isn’t absolutely necessary. It is a good idea to use a spare email address for different requests.

10. Back up RELEVANT information

Data erasure can occur by accident, virus activity or other malicious code. Back up vital data regularly. The most valuable data is files that have cost you time and effort to create. Software and other system files can be reinstalled if they are damaged.