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Information for New GWCC Customers


by Membrane.com

For more information on businesses that provide Internet and Networking services, please email help@membrane.com

From the the Senate Intelligence Committee:
"Any computer connected to or containing modems that allow external connectivity to computer networks such as the Internet. Such computers are vulnerable to attacks by unauthorized persons." the report said.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
A survey by the Sans Institute, a Bethesda, Md., research group, said network security administrators earned $56,442 a year on average in 1999, an increase of 11.47 percent from 1998.

- "Computer security has been important for many years, but the recent increase in online retailing and business-to-business transactions has made it a top priority."

- "Last month's . . . attacks help yet another few people learn about the perils of security," said Rob Kolstad, Sans Institute program manager.


Any business that wants to build an e-commerce presence and have an internal network (intranet) connected to the internet will have to address certain needs:

Establishing a Written Security Policy

The establishment of guidelines that will constitute an adequate written security policy includes, but is not limited to:
  1. An inventory of all machines and users involved in any activities on the network
  2. Determination and implementation of security measures
  3. A plan for backing up of information and usage of back-ups when the need arises
  4. Disaster Recovery

Bandwidth

  1. Dial-up Modem

    With a dial-up modem (33.6 K, 56 K) the transfer rates are dependable. If you establish a connection to your provider, your ability to "surf" the internet and accomplish other tasks is generally consistent. The overall speed or transfer rate is slower than a cable modem or DSL, but there are exceptions to take note of, and we will mention those in the other sections.

    A stand alone computer using a dial-up modem connection poses no security risk to an office network, since there are no wires running between the stand alone and other computers. This is by far the lowest cost way to go with connectivity, but if efficiency becomes a problem, then other technologies offer better solutions.

  2. Cable Modems

    Cable Modems generally achieve speeds up to 512 K. The main exception to this is that a cable subscriber's bandwidth is shared with the "neighborhood". This means that other cable internet subscribers in your immediate vicinity are sharing your pipeline. This can cause painstakingly slow transfer rates during peak hours or because of extraordinary usage. The security offered by cable modems is nil. There are more and more cases of systems being compromised through cable connections. No one is immune, and many attacks are automated with no specific target in mind.

  3. DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)

    Currently DSL offers speeds from 128 Kbps. A range of speeds is available with faster connections costing increasing amounts of money per month.

    There are two types of DSL: ADSL and SDSL or Asymmetrical and Symmetrical. The biggest difference between the two is that ADSL does not allow for bi-directional high speed movement. In other words, although you may be able to receive files, or surf the internet at high speeds, you cannot send information out very rapidly.

    SDSL does allow high speeds in both directions, but is more costly.

    DSL technology, in general, offers very little in the way of built-in security.

It is generally not recommended that a network be hooked up to the internet via a cable modem or a DSl connection, at least not without the implementation of a security plan.

Security/Firewall Administration

Many commercial "firewalls", a combination of computer hardware and software that are designed to thwart off break-in attempts, are readily available. Unfortunately, none of these are 100% bulletproof. Most software has been worked around by the latest methods developed by hackers.

Some email and web browser programs also pose serious threats to internet security. Users of these kinds of programs owe it to themselves to be educated about thses issues.

A combination of measures must be implemented to have the best chance of securing one's systems. Experience has shown that these measures include:

The Internet allows administration from locations other than where the machine to be administered is actually located. Normal adminisitration should not be visible to the system users behind the firewall.

Network (Intranet) Administration

A network administrator is needed to maintain the systems that allow for such functions as file sharing and printer sharing. The scope of this administrator covers network server maintenance and upgrades, software installation, and end user education. The on-going time commitment of the network administrator is dependent on the size of the network, type of server(s), age and condition of the computers, applications in use and the level of expertise of the users.

Some of this function can be done remotely using programs like PC Anywhere running on Windows based network software. If a site is running UNIX, VMS, Linux or other platforms then the administration can all be done remotely. In the case when an on-site administratior is needed, this item will have to treated as budgeting for a full-time employee.

Web Administration

Web administration covers maintenance of website front-end and back-end e-commerce functions. Most of this work can be done remotely by the web administrator, unless he or she is an employee. In this case, there will be the need for interaction between the administrator and the internet service provider.


The Philadelphia Spirit Experiment Publishing Company
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