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The Virginia Engineer's Guest Articles

Developing a Corporate E-Security Policy

October, 2005

By Patricia S. Eyres

Dangers lurk in cyberspace. Every business, regardless of size or industry should have an easily understood, consistently enforceable policy to protect trade secrets, maintain the integrity and security of all networks and servers, protect sensitive customer information, protect the organization from lawsuits by third parties, protect the integrity and reputation of the organization and its business and ensure achievement and productivity. Security is everybody’s business.

Spam and viruses are the most visible, but not the most significant security challenge. Fearing loss of valuable trade secrets and confidential company records from intrusion by criminal hackers, large and small organizations alike are installing firewalls to protect their networks. These firewalls will stop many, but not all of today’s hacker attacks. Hackers can take advantage of holes in a network’s perimeter defenses, created by employees who bypass protections by attaching modems to their PC’s, setting up wireless access points without permission or downloading risky software, such as chat or file-sharing programs, all of which offer entry points for the creative criminal. That’s why security is everybody’s business, and all managers and employees must understand the importance of following your established security procedures. This is especially important when using laptops or working from remote locations.

Keeping your networks secure from hackers is just as critical to protect your customers’ private information. Hackers target electronic databases of companies selling products on the Internet, because they often have a mountain of information from which identities can be stolen: names, addresses, credit card information, and other personal data. Theft of customer data gets the attention of the media, and one company was hit with a class action lawsuit charging that it failed