The decisions you make about the software you install, the wireless networks you use, and the people you trust can either create a secure home or office network or hang out the "this network is unprotected" sign for data and privacy thieves.
In a recent article for CIO.com, I discuss five threats to home and office networks, many of which are due directly to decisions made by individual users:
- Installing P2P network clients like LimeWire, BitTorrent and others can expose sensitive information to the world, as demonstrated by several recent surveys.
- Setting up an insecure wireless network at home or not using secure technologies like VPNs when in a public location makes it easy for interlopers to steal your bandwidth and your shared files.
- Social engineering, whether in the form of phishing emails and websites or failing to verify the identity of "the guy (or gal) from the help desk" makes identity theft and loss of confidential documents very simple - and worse, might provide a continuing gateway to personal and company information.
- Failing to use firewalls, encryption, and other operating system tools to protect vital information makes a would-be data thief's job much easier, as does the failure to install, use, and update antivirus and antispyware programs.
Whether you're responsible for a single PC or an enterprise-wide fleet of desktop, notebooks, and PDAs, you need to make sure users understand the importance of the security-related decisions they make - and can get the help they need to keep confidential information truly confidential.