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Common Network Security Threats to Organizations

written by: •edited by: M.S. Smith•updated: 8/22/2010

Organizations often use client server network models. Though this model offers greater protection, plenty of network security threats to organizations still exist. This article talks about the major security issues and offers tips on dealing with these threats.

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    Network Security Threats to Organizations – External Threats

    Network Security Threats to Organizations The common network security threats to organizations can be classified into two major categories – external threats and internal threats. The external security threats to organizations include malware problem and hackers.

    Though a client server model employs a security suite on the main server, it is not always enough to provide security as newer virus and spyware keep on popping up almost every day. It is necessary to use one of the best Internet security suites and to keep it updated. I also recommend using an online scan from Microsoft or any other trusted source to make sure the server is not infected. Besides running an Internet security suite on the server, it is also necessary to install a security suite on each computer in the network. People often use removable media or in some cases, download files from Internet, that make a particular computer prone to infection. If an internal computer is infected, it passes the infection to the server when the latter is accessed.

    Hackers are another threat. They try every method to gain unauthorized access to networks in order to view/modify data or to steal the data for personal gain. A firewall helps you prevent unauthorized connections to/from the server. Though there are limitations to a firewall, it reduces the hacker threat to some extent. Another important factor to consider is that the network admins should allow users (other computers) in the network to contact the outside world (Internet etc) ONLY through the server. In other words, no computer on the network should have direct access to the Internet or any FTP site.

    Finally, it is better to use good encryption software to encrypt data packets leaving the network through the server. For example, you can use Comodo MailSecure to encrypt emails leaving a network. It further reduces the security threats where hackers may be trying to study the outgoing packets.

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    Network Security Threats to Organizations – Internal Threats

    If you think that only external hackers are a threat, you are mistaken. The internal staff can also carry malicious intentions and hence may prove to be a threat to an organization and its network. Some people may try to access a database to steal data and sell it off to competitors while others may try to modify certain data to help themselves or their friends. To avoid this, there should be a sound user group policy in place, with just enough rights for each user. Each user should be able to access only that part of database that s/he requires to work properly. For example, if a user is into data entry, s/he should not be given the rights to modify or delete already stored data. Similarly, a user into creation of reports should be given read-only permission and in no way should be able to view/modify data beyond the scope of the reports. Random checks on how the users are using the network can help in identifying any culprits. In addition, users should be educated about network security so that they do not make mistakes such as leaving a computer unattended without locking it up.

    Social engineering is a method whereby external people try to talk network users into giving up important data. People involved in social engineering call/email network users to build goodwill and then use different tactics to get as much information as possible. They may pretend that they are conducting a survey or may say that they are students collecting data on a particular topic. Once the network users are convinced they will begin to share information with the external person or persons, which may prove harmful to the organization. Network users should be educated on how to detect such threats.

    Finally, one of the most common network security threats to organizations is network component failure. This is a software or hardware fault that renders a network useless for hours. Network administrators must have a good backup plan and a scheduled maintenance system in effect.

    If you need more information please read: Types of Computer Security

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