Fear of the Unknown-IT Security Level 1

  |   Technology   |   19 Comments
Note: Recommended reading a prelude to this chapter, IT Security Concepts in plain English, click here 


By human nature we are scared of ghosts, less because they may be ugly, more because we don’t exactly know what they are. Darkness induces fear in us as our subconscious mind fears the unknown that may creep out of the dark.


Let us not deny that we all knowledgeable people are scared of IT Security, not because we don’t trust, but because it is largely unknown. Our fear makes us use gmail and yahoo as our official email I’d, our fear prevents us from activating our online banking, our fear prevents us from hosting our applications on cloud. These are all varying degrees of our unknown. However we also know that the longer we avoid these automation the further our competition will be from us.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
Sun Tzu’s Art of War

[sociallocker id=”695″]

So it’s important to know both yourself and your enemies. Let me ask you a couple of question so that you can judge how much you know yourself and your enemy.


  1. What is the exact count of the active employees in your organisation today?
  2. Do you know for certain that an employee who quit your organisation yesterday does not have access to any of your company systems?
  3. Can you prevent and control your employees from misusing confidential company information? – Customer information, contract information, accounts information.


These may be simple questions but are the primary building blocks to securing your information. If you have avoided these, no matter how many sophisticated firewalls you have deployed, your enemy lies within. This brings us to the first layer of security – The User Authentication Level.


You can do the following things to comply with this level:


  • Implement a Payroll System with employee directory, entry and retirement process. Integrated Biometric Authentication preferred.
  • Create an Active Directory with employee record enabling and disabling intimation from the payroll system. Read a case study here.
  • Set user level access to company systems from the Active Directory.


  • Use a Two-Factor Authentication System which will fortify access to critical information.
  • Implement Single Sign on (SSO)



You can check the offerings from DS3.



If you already have an Active Directory in place, get it audited by an external auditor that can provide you with your industry benchmark compliance report. If you have an internal IT audit team in place, you can use some automated tools to perform periodic AD audits. Read more on Authentication from Internal Audit perspective here.


Compliance Standards for Guidance

You can check recommendations from SOX, ISO27000


Watch out for the next interesting session on Level 2 Security: Identity and Access Management

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Palash Bagchi

Executive Director at STPL Global
Palash is an experienced business leader with exposure to industries of Civil and Construction, Education, Information Technology, Banking and Financial Services, Telecommunications, and Energy & Utility. He has been engaged with the world's top organizations and imbibed skills of process standardization, global risk management, sales and marketing, and alliance management. Palash is experienced in various emerging markets including Africa, South Asia and South East Asia and has lived and operated in these geographies. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Civil Engineering and has studied Finance from IIM, Calcutta. He provides strategic direction to his organization and is instrumental in creating the operating ecosystem.

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  • Arthur Hambleson | Feb 9, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    IT Security is definitely still a HUGE unexplored space despite all the advancements made in the last 15 years. And, unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with the rate of change (from a security standpoint) with that of social plugins and cloud extensions in regards to company infrastructure. Personally speaking, I work with a company that makes use of numerous openldap technologies that federate to active directory. What most people don’t realize is that that federation occurs from web service calls triggered from intranet web applications. Although those web applications are managed behind our WAFs, there are so many new mod sec rules being implemented every single day to prevent new social sharing and cloud extension based plugins from publishing private company data out to the masses.

    This example is just a splinter in the potential vulnerabilities that exist and grow every single day.- and this fear of the unknown keeps many a compliance and security admin up at night. Thanks for the read.

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