Monday, April 2, 2012

Five Ways to Secure a Company's ICT Network

ICT network security is a must for any organization.

Most business owners and managers who are concerned with employee performance and productivity know the importance of information and communication technologies (ICTs). They allocate resources for the setting up of an ICT system that is largely comprised of various digital technologies.

Part of having an ICT system installed is ensuring the optimal functioning of such infrastructure. Not all enterprises, however, adopt network security measures. Based on GeoTrust's Best Practices for Securing Your Enterprise (n.d.), the following are five of the recommended network security measures:

1. Protecting data integrity through Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) server certification

Through having an SSL encryption, threats to data transmission from the company's preferred browser to the server are thwarted. It shields confidential business and personal information from potential digital "eavesdroppers".

2. Updating security patches, as well as strengthening other related aspects of physical and network security

Access to the ICT network of an enterprise should be thoroughly guarded from any form of intrusion and damage. The company's web server becomes vulnerable to hackers whenever its Internet Information System (IIS) security patches are not updated; thus, it is important to immediately install such updated security applications.

Additionally, access to the enterprise ICT network, including unused computers, should require stringent measures like biometric or key card access and hardware tokens. There should also be several layers to the network's firewall to police the demilitarized zone (DMZ), the web server, the application server, and the database.

Moreover, an intrusion detection system should be installed to warn network administrators of possible and existing attacks or vulnerabilities that need to be promptly addressed. Likewise, an updated anti-virus and anti-trojan software program should be in place.

If possible, there should be a different server meant for company visitors who want to go online. This will ensure limited, if not zero, accessibility of non-members to shared digital files within the organization.

3. Adopting a password protocol

Employees need to be aware that online passwords often fall prey to cyber attacks. It is advisable then that each Internet user should be instructed on how to create hacker-proof passwords. These rules include using: (1) both upper and lower cases, (2) one or more numbers and special characters, and (3) minimum of eight characters. 

4. Using digital client certificates for signed and encrypted emails

This step aims to ascertain that the message will only be read by the sending party's identified receiver, particularly if the latter is based in another location or company. The information moves from one server to another, making the process vulnerable to possible intrusion. With secure messaging both parties to a particular message are able to sign and encrypt it. The client certificates serve as a proof of the message's authenticity. 

One related advice is the use of a secure instant messaging product. This step is meant to avoid other parties from gaining access to what was supposed to be confidential or intra-company communication. 

5. Enforcing a security network policy

An organization should have a written policy concerning its ICT system. All members of the organization then should be made aware of such policy and should be required to follow these guidelines. The details of which should include the various rules and processes with regard to access and acceptable use of the company's network and online messaging systems.

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