the Enterprise Network
Internet has changed the fundamental rules of enterprise
security. Now it's a must for enterprises to go
beyond firewalls, and think about implementing policy-based
security solutions to ensure effective protection
business productivity gains offered by the WWW and
its ubiquitous, user-friendly interface (the browser)
are indisputable. The intranet, extranet, and the
Internet has escalated intra-business and business-to-business
(B2B) processes to new, previously unimagined levels
of speed and efficiency.
Internet has its numerous drawbacks too. Employees
may expose enterprise-networked computers to rapidly
spreading viruses or other malicious or harmful
code by accessing or downloading files of unknown
origin. And, unlike earlier viruses that were designed
to infect single computers, the latest generation
of viruses has been specifically designed to take
advantage of the rapid propagating Web environment.
Proof-of-concept viruses, such as Melissa, Explore.zip,
and Loveletter have clearly demonstrated the potential
of these threats to spread through entire networks
the same virtual workspace that yields enormous
business productivity gains has the potential to
diminish worker productivity when used for the wrong
industry statistics indicate that employees squander
both meaningful work hours and precious (and expensive)
network bandwidth on Web-based activities that have
nothing to do with business. In addition to incurring
lost work hours, and negatively affecting network
performance, these activities also leave the enterprise
vulnerable to a variety of lawsuits. Enterprises
may be held accountable for the information that
resides in their networked computers, even when
that information has no bearing on business and
has been downloaded or accessed by an employee
strictly for his personal use.
protect themselves from these threats, enterprises
need to implement
a comprehensive Internet security
security is becoming an essential tool for doing
business in the 21st century. While the earlier
vectors of delivering harmful content to an enterprise,
such as physical access and file sharing via diskettes,
are still a concern, the primary vectors for the
introduction of harmful content into an enterprise
has now shifted to the Web.
for Internet content security solutions
following highlights of the Computer Security Institute
(CSI)/FBI 1999 Computer Crime and Security Survey
System penetration by outsiders increased for
the third year in a row; 30 percent of respondents
Those reporting their Internet connection as
a frequent point of attack rose for the third
straight yearfrom 37 percent of respondents
in 1996 to 57 percent in 1999.
Insider abuse of Internet access privileges
(for example, downloading pornography or pirated
software or engaging in inappropriate use of
e-mail systems) was reported by 97 percent of
26 percent of respondents reported theft of
starts with effective policies
breaches can occur from both within and outside
an organization. All good security efforts start
with developing reasonable and effective policies.
These policies are a critical first step in protecting
vital enterprise information assets. They can also
be used as a defense against potential legal liabilities.
Today, enterprises must define or redefine their
security policies to include rules regarding Internet
access and acceptable use.
with these policies in place, however, some means
of enforcing them must be available. Manual enforcement
methods are easily defeated. And because Internet/
access is a necessary prerequisite for business
in the 21st century, there is a danger of too much
security constraining businessin effect throwing
out the baby with the bath water.
importance of gateway-based solutions
granular, policy-based solutions can assist the
enterprise in providing an effective means to administer
and enforce Internet access and appropriate content
rules, while still allowing Web-based productivity.
Deployment of this technology
at Internet gateways allows enterprises to control
threats before they have a chance to spread to essential
network data and applications behind the firewall.
managed, granular, policy based solutions provide
the enterprise with maximum control and flexibility.
Such solutions are highly scalable and can greatly
reduce administrative overhead. These measures,
when combined with other network security measures,
such as e-mail, desktop, and server security, constitute
the total Internet security solution that businesses
in the 21st century will increasingly require.
firewalls are not enough?
important to note that in today's Internet-enabled
business environment, firewalls alone are no longer
sufficient to provide multiple levels of security
that are needed. Firewalls are generally very effective
at keeping unwanted people out of enterprise networks.
They do this by establishing the types of network
connections that will be allowed and the kind of
session services that will be supported.
works well when the boundaries of the network are
clearly defined, and when there is either limited
or no need for collaborative computing.
Web-based business processes, however, have changed
the rules for enterprise computing. Enterprises
increasingly need to be able to allow and control
more applications. With each new application allowed,
the risk of security holes is multiplied. With each
new user, there is also an increased risk of tampering,
misuse, and information falling into the wrong hands,
either willfully or by neglect. Policy-based granular
controls are also needed to enable many levels of
limited access that will be required.
addition to being able to control who gets to view
sensitive information residing behind enterprise
firewalls, enterprises must also be able to control
what information gets out. Attacks or intrusion
may originate from within or without conventional
enterprise boundaries. Statistics now show that
a great many security breaches originate from behind
the firewallfrom within the enterprise itself.
To protect confidential enterprise information from
falling into wrong hands, the ability to monitor
the content of files leaving the network is just
as important as the ability to monitor files coming
in. This is an area where firewalls typically fall
firewalls don't natively support anti-virus measures
or granular monitoring and control of today's mobile
code files, such as Java applets or ActiveX files.
However, these files can contain harmful content
capable of crippling enterprise networks. Gateway-based
content filtering and strong gateway-based anti-virus
measures will both be required to ensure adequate
Ghosh is the Country Manager-India, Symantec Ltd
and can be reached at email@example.com