As fans across the country are ramping up for March Madness, IT departments are rushing to beef up network security and reliability in preparation for the coming onslaught of malware break-in attempts and intensive bandwidth demands. When it comes to network security and stability, the biggest problem IT managers face is already inside their organization – the employees. As they stream games, access social media to trash talk their friends, and do research for their brackets, employees unwittingly provide system access to harmful viruses, worms, or malware, in addition to creating a heavy strain on network bandwidth.
March Madness is a time when corporate networks are put to the test – one study estimated that nearly one-third of all U.S. employees spend three hours or more watching March Madness hoops during the workday, which can increase network bandwidth demand by as much as 3x over a typical workday.
Malware refers to the type of malicious, hostile, or annoying software that invades users’ computers without their knowledge or consent. Malware ranks high in terms of its threat level to organizations, with most types entering corporate systems through Internet browsers.
- Legitimate business sites may have vulnerabilities that allow a hostile site to deliver malware.
- In most drive-by downloads, the victim is willing to dismissively click pop-ups and warnings as they navigate to the desired content. Users may just click on pop-ups or ads to watch videos about their favorite team.
- Most drive-by downloads can be prevented by keeping software up to date.
If you’re at work and stream the games with little trouble, be sure to give your IT department a round of high fives – a lot of behind-the-scenes preparation went into that. If, not there’s still hope! If you’re one of the many office workers whose productivity will suffer as a result of avoidable network outages and malware attacks, heed this valuable advice on handling the challenges March Madness brings to corporate networks.
Most attacks leave a trail that can be used to identify subsequent attacks. Be sure to maintain best practices in order to get the best protection for your networks. The following are a few resources that can help you maintain a good level of security within your network and your users:
The most important defense in this year’s March Madness lineup? Yours!
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