There are many ways in which network monitoring works to benefit businesses and other organizations that rely on their computer environment to process daily workflow and generate a revenue stream. The experience of the City College of San Diego demonstrates just how essential this type of monitoring can be for maintaining IT security.
The college recently had the unfortunate experience of discovering that its systems had been infected with viruses for well over a full decade. IT staffers first realized there was a problem when, during routine network monitoring procedures, they noticed odd gaps in a main server's data records. A detailed investigation revealed the presence of viruses and demonstrated that the infection dated all the way back to 1999. Further analysis made it clear that the infection had caused unauthorized transmissions to be sent to both China and Russia among other nations.
The college took immediate steps to correct the problem, isolating the computer lab that had been infected and taking the affected server offline. At that point, what remained was to implement IT solutions that would help to prevent such breaches in the future. At a minimum, these methods of prevention could include all of the following.
1. Re-establishing firewall protection for all systems,and configuring it as needed to keep up with the evolving threat environment.
2. Changing passwords on all computers that function as servers. As part of this process, companies should take the opportunity to strengthen their passwords. Strong passwords generally use upper and lower case letters as well as number and symbols.
3. Reviewing procedures related to applying updates to computers on the network. It is possible for businesses inadvertently to become infected with malware during an update that went awry. This happens, for example, when incomplete or flawed updates open up a security hole in the system.
4. Installing new hardware that will help to heighten IT security.
5. Reconfiguring the network into isolated ‘pods’ that do not communicate with one another. This system will help to ensure that a breach cannot spread throughout the entire system. The type and number of such ‘pods’ will naturally have to vary according to the needs of the business in question.
6. Moving to a managed services model for IT support so that continuous monitoring and remote assistance on a 24/7 basis will be available in the future.