Home > Articles > Security > Network Security

Small Office Security

  • Print
  • + Share This
Like this article? We recommend

Action Plan

The parameters of recent U.S. privacy regulations have mirrored regulations developed in the European Union. Some may say that the EU originally gained their inspiration by early U.S. government action on privacy; however, the concept here is an effort has been made to standardize privacy and security regulations across the globe. Therefore, there's a strong likelihood that the eventual security rulings will mimic the EU and global guidelines as well. This ruling will likely require that organizations take the following proactive steps to avert confrontation with any regulatory issues:

  • Perform a security assessment of the office network.

  • Install a host-based firewall on all Internet-connected systems.

  • Install antivirus software (AVS) on all computers and regularly update the signature database.

  • Secure configuration settings for all computers in your network, including the following settings:

  • Strong password policy with unique passwords for all users

  • Auditing of a basic set of transactions

  • Password-protected screen savers

  • Regularly back up all client/customer data and securely store the backup disks.

The following sections discuss each of these steps individually.

Security Assessment

A security assessment should be performed that will identify the greatest needs for the organization with respect to security risks as well as available resources (manpower and budget). This should come complete with recommended countermeasures and a roadmap to their implementation. Having this assessment in hand will certainly help you to respond quickly if pushed by regulators (and hopefully sooner).

Host-Based Firewall

Host-based firewalls are often overlooked but can be a very valuable asset to an overall network security posture. This can be thought of as a "last line" of security—before connections reach the destination (target) host, there is one last barrier that they must cross. These firewalls are software programs that reside on the host itself and can monitor incoming and outgoing connections. They can be programmed to accept or reject connections based on the connection's source and destination address and/or port or the service invoked. The firewall can also prompt the user to accept or reject the connection when a connection attempt is made.

These tools don't have to be expensive; in fact, there are quite effective, freely available tools in this category.

Antivirus Software

Antivirus software may be the first security tool of the digital age to enjoy widespread usage. Still, too many hosts connected to the Internet don't deploy an AVS solution, especially among the small business community, and far too many users don't keep their AVS current.

As the primary means of detecting and protecting against harmful computer viruses, an antivirus product is essential for any host connected to the Internet, along with an automated process for updating the signatures so that updates don't require human intervention. Being human, we're likely to forget to install the updates.

As the deployment of antivirus software has become widespread, the cost of these solutions has declined, and it's simply becoming a necessary expense.

Secure Configuration

One of the primary vulnerabilities that allow hackers to compromise and then penetrate deeper into a network is insecure configuration of host machines and other networking devises, such as firewalls and routers. In fact, in their list of the top 20 Internet security vulnerabilities, the SANS Institute includes numerous misconfigurations or insecure configurations that have led to network compromise, such as weak passwords, susceptibility to null sessions, default installations, default SNMP strings, and (unnecessary) open ports.

A free software tool is available on the Center for Internet Security web site to scan hosts for the top 20 vulnerabilities. In addition, there are numerous commercially available tools that can scan machines for a host of vulnerabilities. It's a good idea to acquire a vulnerability scanner, whether Open Source or commercial, to periodically assess the configuration of the computers that comprise your network.

Backing Up the Data

As anyone knows who has been using IT for any length of time, computers crash and sometimes take all their data with them. Therefore, it's important to have a reliable backup system even before we discuss the threat of data loss or corruption due to a hacker attack or natural disaster.

Data should be backed up either to tape or a backup server periodically. The frequency of the backup depends on the quantity and criticality of transactions. Nightly backups are recommended; however, weekly backups may be sufficient in certain situation.

One thing to remember is that backup data really should have the same level of protection as the primary data. This doesn't necessarily mean that you need to have secure offsite storage; a locked cabinet may suffice if only select staff can access it.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020