IT Security: Training and Beyond
Classroom training sessions are not enough to ensure you are keeping your organization best protected.
Most people follow many of the IT security recommendations that are out there, but many are not imaginative enough to think like a criminal. People can be used as proxies for invasion without knowing it because they allowed or downloaded something they should not have accessed. You need to think like a thief.Can you Imagine?
I had a client that placed keypad locks on their doors to prevent theft, yet computers kept disappearing. What was not considered was the hung ceiling, which was too lightweight to hold someone crawling over it ... or so they thought. We eventually discovered that the thieves were employing small children to crawl on the ceiling without falling through and then drop down to open the doors from the inside. No one believed that this was possible.
This is a problem with security training. You not only need to know what is happening today, but also learn to be cautious of unknown websites, mistrust social networks, avoid unauthorized downloads, and read that e-mail, SMS, or IM with security in mind.How Bad is IT?
You are vulnerable on almost every technology you use to communicate. Organizations experiencing an internal security incident in 2015 found the threats originated from software vulnerabilities and accidental actions by staff, including mistakenly leaking or sharing data (read Kaspersky Lab's "Global IT Security Risks Survey 2015").
Kaspersky Lab research shows that 42% of confidential data loss is by employees. Another survey found that 28% of employees admit that they have uploaded a file that contained sensitive data to the cloud. The Ponemon Institute reports that 78% of endpoint security threats are due to negligent or careless employees that ignore security policies. Further, Skyhigh reported that 89.6% of organizations experienced one or more insider threats monthly. The average organization experiences 9.3 insider threats per month.Top Down Leadership
Security awareness has now reached the C-level executives and even board members. It is not good enough to know of security problems. Leadership for security practices has to originate at the top, meaning the C-level executives need to encourage, lead, and follow security procedures. Unfortunately, I have met executives who believe they are safe, but when they go home, is that true? I learned of a teenager who used his father's work computer to play games, shop online, and gamble. The father never knew until the bills came in.Enhancing Security Training
Do not think that security training is just another course for employees. Following excellent security practices and procedures should become a habit, not an afterthought. Security problems, especially when they become public can significantly damage the image and reputation of an organization, sometimes bad enough to cause large financial losses.
Here are seven things to keep in mind as you work to enhance security training and keep your organization safe:
- You need to ensure that the organization's users, no matter what level or position, follow the security procedures and practices. Send out false e-mails, IM, SMS messages, and website solicitations that appear valid but are really there to test the user's security consciousness. You may be surprised how many security trained users fall for the false information. Once discovered, immediately notify the user of their transgression. Others will hear of the notification and become more security conscious in the future to avoid the notification.
- Periodically inform users of the cost of threats and verify the user has read the information.
- When suspicious information appears on the user device, he or she should immediately inform security personnel and ensure that the questionable information is not discarded but relayed to the security staff.
- Limit security access rights and privileges. Too much freedom can be misused and negligently handled. If the rights and privileges are rarely or never used, revoke them with a notice to the user who can then justify why they should remain in force.
- Scan the network for rogue devices and scan the endpoints for vulnerabilities. This should be done daily, probably overnight.
- When attacks or vulnerabilities are detected, analyze them and create barriers to their use. Inform users of their existence and what is being done to prevent the security problem.
- Keep your hardware and software up-to-date. Don't delay fixes. Once a fix is announced, it is essentially an advertisement of the vulnerability. The attackers have a short but useful window of time to attack.
Some other security blogs of interest include Curb Employee Turnover, Reduce Security Problems, Are You Safe on LinkedIn?, Sharing Cybersecurity Data, Cybersecurity Sharing: Think Before You Participate, Securing through Machine Learning -- Part 1, Securing through Machine Learning -- Part 2, and Responding to Security Incident Threats.