I’m serious. Do you know for sure? I mean 100% absolutely, no questions, you’d bet your entire music catalog and your kids Golden Retriever on the fact that you do not have one byte of P2P software on any server, desktop or laptop in your entire network. I know most network admins and security officers would like to be able to answer that question with an emphatic “YES! I’m sure”. But…if you had just an inkling of a doubt by the time I got to the Golden Retriever then you’re not completely sure.
And, if you’re not completely sure then you have a security problem as we just learned today that the FTC has notified over 100 companies of serious data breaches. “But wait!” you say, “We’re just a small (200? 100? 50? 5? – what really is small?) company. This is only a concern for the big guys.” Well, if you’ll notice, while there were very large companies and government agencies on the list, the smallest company that was notified had 8 employees. The blackhats of the world have realized because of technology that small no longer means unimportant. In fact, today it’s the small companies that are the dynamic game changers and these companies now create and manage just as important and confidential data as their multi-thousand employee brethren.
Ok, so now you’re concerned you have a problem but what do you do about it. You already have anti-virus installed on your systems and you thought you had a good firewall but you’re in the business. If you spend all your time monitoring, managing, maintaining and babysitting these users you’ll never get anything done.
You know the drumbeat by now, so I’m just going to go ahead and say it: Multi-Layered, Multi-Layered, Multi-Layered! First, you need to shut down your network to only allow the protocols your users need. Generally, this is only HTTP:80 and HTTPS:443 and possibly Secure POP:995 or Secure IMAPS:993. Other than that, all outbound data to and from users should be stopped. The only other data holes you should have are for very specific applications that should be mapped to specific systems. For example, if you have your mail server in house, you should ONLY be relaying from your mail server. Do not leave your network open to inbound or outbound SMTP.
Next, you need cloud based protection on your two primary streams of data: Email (SMTP) and Web (HTTP, HTTPS). Email security and filtering protects that most vulnerable data stream your users interact with every minute of the day. And don’t forget, you need inbound email protection AND outbound email protection. The ‘mean and nasties’ come through the inbound and all your precious data leaks out the outbound. You need to protect both.
Now, with your network looking pretty good you still have the P2P problem. When many P2P apps can’t find another way out, they are going to drop back to those standard ports you must have open for your users; 80 and 443. This means, just like email, you NEED cloud based web security and filtering on your inbound and outbound web traffic which assures you those critical ports you can’t close are monitored and scanned.
The beauty of cloud-based security solutions for these applications is that they’re just about as close to “set-it and forget-it” as you get in the security world. Because they’re cloud based you have a security wall that is monitored, managed, updated, maintained and enhanced in real-time by a team of security professionals. Which leads me to the obvious conclusion (ok, can you hear me warming up for the pitch here?) that if you manage a network of users no matter how big or how small, you need Mailprotector’s Emal Security and Compliance solution as well as our Web Security and Filtering.