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Risk

1/1/2010
11:29 AM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
Commentary
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New Year's Security Resolutions Require Full Year's Security Resolve, Especially Where Employees Are Concerned

Everybody makes resolutions, everybody breaks resolutions. No less true for small and midsized business security resolutions than any other kind. But security resolutions generally require the participation of others who might not be as security conscious as you are (You think?). And that's where the resolve comes in.

Everybody makes resolutions, everybody breaks resolutions. No less true for small and midsized business security resolutions than any other kind. But security resolutions generally require the participation of others who might not be as security conscious as you are (You think?). And that's where the resolve comes in.The only things easier than giving advice about keeping resolutions are ignoring the advice, or breaking the resolutions. So no advice here (well, not too much anyway).

Rather, some New Year's Day observations about security resolutions -- and particularly about the people who's lack of resolve, lack of security knowledge (or just plain indifference to security practices) can all to quickly undo even your best-kept security intentions.

I'm talking, of course, about all the employees, at every level, of your company. It's no secret and certainly no news that of all the vulnerability points in a business, the employees loom largest.

I'm not talking about deliberate insider data theft and other employee threats, nor about former employees who retain network access (if you've got that problem you need more advice than I'm trying not to give today anyway).

The biggest security risk you face this year, as last year, and all the years before that, are the good, solid, trustworthy employees who make mistakes, don't understand policy enough to follow it, have more access than they need.

Probably they have more technology than they need as well, particularly if they are adding their own devices to the mix of company equipment and tools at their disposal.

Other factors amplify the vulnerability-- social network use and employees indulging unrestricted Web surfing chief among them.

Remedying the vulnerabilities requires resolve, and particularly requires resolve in the tricky but vitally important area of employee usage policy.

Above all, it requires your resolve -- backed by company management, and good luck with that one -- that company policies will be comprehensive, will apply to every employee, from business owner/ceo to entry level newhires, and that policy will be backed with strict and strictly enforced penalties for violations. Without exception.

If I were to offer advice for the single security resolution likeliest to heighten compnay security, that would be it.

But that would require me actually to offer the advice and one of my resolutions, for today anyway, was not to do that.

Here's to a happy, safe, prosperous and secure New Year.

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