Securing Your Network from Web Threats

GFI Web Monitor

With this post, I make another step into blogging by publishing a guest post written by the kind folks at GFI Software, a great security vendor and friends. Here it goes :

Securing Your Network from Web Threats

There is a price to pay for everything – while the Internet has proven to be an indispensable communication, research and promotional tool for most organizations, with it come a series of web threats and security risks.

What are the risks involved?

Studies have shown that a good amount of employee daily Internet activity is spent on non work-related sites. Morse PLC, for example, reported that 57% of office workers use social networking sites for an average of 40 minutes a day. Moreover Nielsen research revealed that the greatest number of Internet videos watched was on weekdays between 12.00pm and 2.00pm, meaning when most people were at work.

This not only reflects one of the primary side effects of employee Internet use, cyberslacking, which results in lost productivity, but it also indicates that the corporate network is exposed to a series of web threats throughout the day. Harmless-looking websites could be hosting malware and, as a result, if an employee carelessly accesses such sites or downloads files from them, the network is then exposed to a series of security risks. Google Advisory, for example, has shown that frequently visited social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, are regular victims of malware (read more).

Once a company network is infected with malware or spyware, depending on the damage caused, the business experiences a series of negative repercussions which can interrupt, or even halt, its daily operations. Furthermore, in certain cases data could also be compromised or stolen, meaning the company could also end up facing serious legal charges.

What should be done?

Enforcing web security is therefore essential for organizations to protect their systems from web threats. The first step an organization should take is to set an Internet usage policy with clear guidelines as to what type of web use is considered acceptable, while also informing employees that their Internet usage is being controlled.  Controlling employee Internet usage is possible using web monitoring software; the knowledge that their web activities are being monitored encourages employees to curb their non work-related browsing; this in turn – decreases the possibility of accessing dangerous sites.

The next, and most important, step is to make use of a solid web filtering solution which offers protection to the corporate network by checking downloads for malicious payloads and quarantining or deleting infected files. The chosen web filtering solution should also offer the ability to examine websites and scan for hidden files or scripts that are covertly downloaded when the user opens a link to that particular page.

The Way Forward

Businesses need to understand the concept that prevention is better than cure – the savings made in worker productivity, IT labor, and bandwidth – not to mention the cost of defending the organization in court – not only compensate for the investment in a web monitoring and filtering solution but also provides ongoing value.

This guest post was provided by Christina Goggi on behalf of GFI Software Ltd. GFI is a leading software developer that provides a single source for network administrators to address their network security, content security and messaging needs. More information: GFI internet monitoring software.

All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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