Sometimes the CEO infects the network

by | Oct/14/2009

The CEO, President, or owner is often one of the most dangerous users on a company network! Read on to learn why and what to do about it…

The top executives often get special treatment on the network. Maybe they asked for it, or maybe the IT professional gave it to them “just because.” Some of the biggest offenses I witness repeatedly when auditing companies include:

  1. Domain administrative access. In other words, some executives are essentially unrestricted on networks “because they are the boss.” That unfettered access means the executive can easily destroy the entire network. For example, if a virus enters through an e-mail sent to the executive, and your anti-virus system does not catch the virus, the virus will now have unrestricted access to your network. Restrict the executives to the least access privileges they need to do their jobs.
  2. Poor password management – such as the same password they use for everything and it is written on a yellow sticky note stuck to their monitor. Consider using password management.
  3. Executives sometimes demand exceptions. They want to be able to install software on their own, access any web site they want to, use their office computers for personal activities, and fall for some of the oldest phishing tricks in the book. The executives can be examples by following the safety rules too. Just make sure the rules still allow your employees to be productive!
  4. Fixing their own computers, or letting their “brother in law” work on the network. Rely on your own qualified IT professionals please!
  5. Bad habits while traveling including connecting to the nearest WiFi network, losing important data, and bringing infections back to the office. Ensure everyone uses secure remote connections and practices.
  6. Plug in anything and everything USB into the office computer causing an infection or data loss. Check with your IT department before using any USB device.
  7. Sending private information via e-mail or storing it on removable media. Email is like a postcard, not a letter – anyone along the way can potentially read what you send – even the attachments. If someone steals your USB memory stick, they own the data unless you are using robust encryption.

With a little care, the executives can set the excellent example of how to protect your company!