Protection and Productivity During the Holiday Buying Season

The holiday online shopping season is coming and that means very soon we’ll be inundated with emails, ads and videos telling us about the great deals vendors are offering and how we need to go buy their products. The unofficial worldwide start of what’s been dubbed the “holiday buying season” begins on Black Friday, continues through the biggest day of selling, Cyber Monday and extends through the end of the year.

For most of us, this is a fun time to look up cool new products online. However if you’re an IT administrator, online shopping by your co-workers poses problems. And make no mistake, employees are using their IT-issued devices as well as their own smartphones and tablets to shop online at work. A 2012 CareerBuilder survey reported that almost half of all workers expect to spend some time in the office this holiday season shopping online. Shocking? No. Problematic? Definitely.

Should your organization be concerned? If you consider the security of your network, the productivity of your employees and the use of network bandwidth important, then the answer is yes, and here’s why. Employees who shop online at work inadvertently create opportunities for malicious attacks directed at your network. One example is phishing emails which attempt to get you to go to a fake web page where the attacker can steal personal information such as a credit card number or user name and password to an account. Another is malicious advertising or “malvertising,” which uses online advertising to spread malware.

Network security isn’t the only issue your organization faces. Employees are frequently using their own personal devices for activities such as online shopping during work hours. This raises two issues. First, they're shopping on company time which means they’re not working so their productivity is decreasing.  And second, they're probably connecting to the company network which introduces a security risk as well as a mis-use of bandwidth.

What can you do about all this? While there are some basic steps you can take such as helping employees learn how to avoid malvertising and recognize phishing emails, and applying system and application updates and patches promptly and reliably, to protect against modern day threats requires a solution that delivers a deeper level of network security and that’s where Dell SonicWALL can help.

Dell SonicWALL offers a complete range industry-leading Unified Threat Management and next-generation firewalls that integrate numerous advanced features for deep packet inspection such as Anti-Malware, Intrusion Prevention, Application Intelligence and Control, Content and URL Filtering and SSL Decryption and Inspection. These capabilities can prevent users from going to web sites related to malvertising, including online shopping sites, block malware, and disrupt communications between your network and the cybercriminal’s server. For more information on solutions that can help you, visit the Dell SonicWALL web site.

About the Author: Scott Grebe