Go Administrate With Codework

    December 21, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

The need for efficient control within the company network to safeguard assets and maintain productivity has fallen hard onto the shoulders of system administrators everywhere.

Employees and employers in a modern business, complete with high-speed access to the Internet, sometimes chafe about the freedom staffers should enjoy with company resources. It’s not just Internet access, but the availability of software and storage space on business-owned hardware that can tempt people to go ahead and schedule their kid’s softball league in Excel before plugging in a USB drive to grab a copy of it and take it home.

Whether or not one works at a publicly-traded firm, where the joys of Sarbanes-Oxley compliance weigh heavily on C-level executives, that USB drive poses a threat. The employee may have had it connected at home, where the PC may have a silent program like a keylogger or other malware just waiting to leap onto a portable device.

Non-technical users may not be as painfully aware of the problems a simple USB device can cause. But they should be aware of company policies, preferably ones that have been documented and issued to employees who sign for their receipt, banning them.

Once those policies have been explained and set in place, it’s up to a company to enforce them consistently. Failing to do so, and then taking punitive action against an employee who violates them, could leave the business open to a lawsuit.

Security and business continuity should be the greater concern, and it’s one that software vendor Codework wants to help address. They offer a number of products oriented toward these needs, as well as for other software-related activities.

A quick look at three of their best sellers shows where an enterprise can think about backing up its policies with proactive measurements. The AccessPatrol product offers two centrally-controlled implementations. One manages devices like USB, CD/DVD, and floppy drive access; the other controls power management, which can be used to schedule shutdowns and restarts.

During the holidays, when online shopping can sap the motivation of even the most productive staffers, it may be necessary to track Internet usage more closely. No one wants to work for a company with draconian policies, but through the use of BrowseReporter, managers can generate reports and use them to help employees realize how much time they may be spending online that could be put to better use.

Some environments need a firmer hand in controlling those computing assets, especially in places where a number of computers are available for public use, such as a kiosk or a conference. The BrowseControl product allows an admin to specifically block URLs, storage devices, and even peripheral devices like keyboards from use.

In a perfect world such measures would be unnecessary. As we show in reports on SecurityProNews, stronger protective measures than wishful thinking are necessary.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.