Content Security

Content security is much like looking after your children, especially teenagers; you need to know who they are talking to, what they are doing when you're not there, and what (and who) they are bringing in and out of your house. They are also at risk from various outside influences, careless friends and make a great deal of personal 'innocent' mistakes. All this and more adds to the wonderful joy of parenting.

Applying the concept of being a parent into our daily working life translates into Content Security. It relates to traffic to and from each employee's desktop, laptop, mp3 player or pda, in that we all want to:

• Monitoring and managing data
• Reducing our legal liabilities
• Reducing increasing amounts of spam e-mail
• Managing employee Internet usage
• Ensure our employees are protected at all times

Each of these risks are mitigated under the umbrella of content security and there are a number of specialised products that can be applied to counteract them all. Content scanning will screen email for spam or other objectionable content and screen websites for content that would not be suitable for business operations. All solutions are customisable so that only the content deemed appropriate for your business is presented to your employees.

It may be that in the pharmaceutical industry your employees need access to drug-related content; whereas in the finance sector there is probably no need for this access to be granted. You may also wish to permit your employees access to news websites over lunchtime or after normal working hours, but between core hours you do not.

There are many cases processed through our forensic lab where poor content security has been blamed for the appearance of unsuitable (and at times illegal) content on the computers under review. There have also been situations where innocent (perhaps uneducated) members of staff have entered into the darker side of the Internet completely by accident, to be confronted by images which are shocking, upsetting and potentially illegal. Organisations must take steps to protect their employees from accessing such material and via policies/procedures outlining what employees are allowed to do and enforced via content screening, this can be easily controlled.

We feel that the following solutions offer the best options for any organisation wishing to protect their employees and data from the growing number of threats. Seen once as being useful additions to a security manager's portfolio, much like firewalls, they are now an essential part of any organisations information security infrastructure.

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