Stopping Spyware at the edge of the network

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Spyware is a more serious problem for network today than most viruses and really pose more of a threat to the security of the network. Over the past couple of years the number of virus outbreaks have actually went down while the proliferation of Spyware has grown to enormous proportions. The main reason for this was while all the large companies where working to prevent the Virus outbreaks seen by most companies during the early part of the 21st century the rising threat of spyware was mostly over looked.

Spyware is no longer being overlooked, but the Spyware writers have a huge lead over companies that are attempting to provide products to combat this increasing threat. The main method for combating this threat is to ensure the computers in your network have the latest patches for the operating system, but this is not always feasible in this environment of companies asking Technology Support departments to do more with less resources. Technology Support personal numbers ar eon the decline in a lot of companies while the threats to the infrastructure are increasing. Testing and deploying patches is a labor intensive operation even if you us some of the automated tools out there like Windows Update Service, you still must test each patch to ensure it does not interfere with custom applications used in support of the company’s business processes.

Another popular method is to limit the user’s access on their desktop, but this is not always feasible either, since a lot of applications require the logged on user to have elevated permissions on their computer to function properly. Couple this with the fact that many Technology Support departments do not have the political clout to force users to work in a manner that is best for the company as a whole.

So considering these situations how does a Network Admin control this threat in an effective manner. The Network Admin must go to the one area that no one else has access to the Network Edge. There are quite a few commercial products out there that will hunt down Spyware on the network and kill it on the user’s computer. You can also implement a Web filtering device which prevents user’s from visiting in-appropriate websites while they are connected to the company’s network. Many of these applications also have options to detect and eliminate Spyware type applications from ever entering the network.

This may be a difficult sell since these programs are usually kind of pricey, but if approached the correct way then you can usually get Management to sign off on the cost. The most efficient way to convince them of the need is to take an approach showing how much more productive employees will be with these protective measures in place. These edge appliances can potentially provide a method for Network Administrators to take back control of their network resources and eradicate these Spyware type resource draining applications from their network.

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