The Integrity News
Vol. XII No. 28
October 14, 2003
"objective risk management services"
These technologies are very popular. Your
workers can be more productive. However,
hackers and thieves may have easy access.
It is estimated by market researchers that at
the end of 2003, 90% of corporations will have
Instant Messaging (IM) software operating
on their networks.
By late 2005, 100 million workers will have
their mobile equipment communicating using
Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) networks where they
are connected at ultra-fast speeds without any
In this new world of ultra-fast and highly adaptable
communications, IT and other corporate managers
must be knowledgeable, vigilant and understanding.
The fundamental problem is that employees will find
ways of integrating these technologies into their work
lives because they know that they increase productivity.
But that means that companies can be less secure
because in an ad hoc setup, there is little or no security
protocol in place.
Corporations know that the increased productivity of
their employees can come with increased security risks.
They know that when employees download their own
IM software, for instance, IT managers lose control.
They also know that when they are not aware of an
in-house Wi-Fi setup, no security precautions, or at
best weak built-in encryption, are in place. An open
wireless network can allow any passerby with an
inexpensive wireless networking card to log in to the
corporate network and steal valuable data.
Proprietary information and infected documents can
travel over unmonitored channels. The financial and
health-related industries, for example, MUST be able
to track, monitor, and store communications in order
to comply with Federal law.
There are software products in the marketplace that
allow administrators to monitor, search, and archive
all conversations and file transfers that take place
using Instant Messaging. For privacy reasons, the
IM users are then warned that their conversations
are being monitored, recorded, and archived. There
are even commercially available industrial strength
IM systems available, with more coming in 2004.
The security of Wi-Fi is a little trickier. Your company
data are out on the airwaves. Because employees like
the unfettered portability, better security is now being
developed. In the meantime, companies can install
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) that allow employees
to log in to the company network from any Internet
connection. This admittedly does cut down on portability,
but the user has a secure connection.