Businesses that wish to avoid lost productivity due to issues with their IT infrastructure need to have a strategy in place to deal with
possible attacks from the outside world and one of the most common ways that viruses are spread is still via email so this is an area to which special attention should be paid. It is a good idea to get together with your network administrator to discuss how to teach workers to protect the company network and part of their training should include tips on how to spot suspicious emails. Emails that are not opened will not compromise your network security so this is an obvious first line of defence. In addition to making sure that employees are aware of possible dangers, there are other steps that you can take to minimise the risks associated with modern ICT networks that are posed by unsolicited emails.
• Invest in an anti-spam and spyware solution that is based in the cloud. Since one of the most popular solutions was discontinued by Google in 2011, many companies have been searching for a suitable Postini alternative that is as cost effective and that works in a similar manner. There are several products on the market that can do a good job of filtering incoming mail before it is delivered to your corporate server so you should be able to find one that meets all of your company’s needs. Before you make a commitment to any one solution, make sure that you are aware of all the terms and conditions that apply to the software contract you will be signing, in order to avoid misunderstandings in the future.
• Have simple but firm rules regarding personal emails. Although some employees may resent any limitations imposed on the way that they are allowed to use the Internet at work, it is much easier to manage risks to network security if you control the types of emails that your workers are likely to receive. If they are only expecting to receive messages from suppliers, customers and other employees, suspicious emails will stick out like a sore thumb. With an effective mail filtering solution, it is highly unlikely that any would get through in the first place but when it comes to ICT security issues, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
• Only grant Internet access to employees that really need it. If some of the people in your office have no need to communicate with the outside world during working hours, then there is no point in providing them with the ability to do so. If this proves to be an unpopular solution in your company, you can consider other ways that you can manage employee Internet access such as providing communal computers for workers that do not have one of their own, for use during breaks and at lunchtime. These machines can be sandboxed by keeping them separate from the rest of the company network and wiping all data after each user session.
• Install an effective anti-virus software. In the event that an email containing malicious code manages to get through your mail filtering software and is subsequently opened by an employee, it is important that you have the means to deal with it. Whilst this is not likely to happen if you have followed all the advice in this article and purchased a reputable anti-spam product to filter corporate emails, your network administrator will be able to sleep more soundly if you have an efficient anti-virus solution in place. There are a number from which to choose and personal preferences may come into your decision so I will not go into details about this type of software. Suffice to say, any of the well-known suites should do a reasonable job.
If you invest in the right products and offer your employees as much training as is necessary, you will greatly reduce the chances of any malware or spyware infecting your network. Although you will need to spend a reasonable amount of money on software and educational materials, this approach is far cheaper than the fees that an expert would charge to repair your network and restore your PCs after a serious security breach.