Some thoughts on technology….

Knowledge of Cyber Security (Skills)

The use of certain types of network equipment can help provide protection for a company’s data is paramount. For example, a firewall (either software or hardware based), can be used to allow one or more persons to browse a company’s web page and nothing more. Everything else is blocked in getting into the company’s network to access any data on that system. Firewalls and routers usually are combined in most cases, but not always. This is important to know if a person decides to be a Network Systems Administrator. The following paragraphs talk more to the “Knowledge” of certain types of equipment which are essential to this kind of work environment.

Knowledge of Router Equipment. A router is like a post office, whereas two or more people can send mail to each other. This requires an address from the one that sends a letter and the one that receives the letter, so both can have an address of one another. Once the originator sends a letter, the post office (router) receives the letter and reads the address of the destination. Then, the post office (router) decides which route the letter needs to go in order to be delivered. Obviously, it is more complicated than what was described.

Knowledge of Switch Equipment. A switch in this example is like a power strip where someone can plug many devices such as PC’s (personal computer), printers, monitors, etc. With a switch, a person can plug many computers (or devices) into the network. Instead of having an outlet for each power cord to plug in, a person can use a switch to plug many computers and/or devices into it. This eliminates the mess of having too many plugs everywhere.

So, this illustration shows how someone can organize logically all the computers and cables that can help troubleshoot in case a problem arises. A switch can also restrict access to a network and/or a computer that is plugged into it for more security. The network equipment connects many different devices. These devices have data that is stored on an operating system that users can share as a repository.

Knowledge of Operating Systems. Different operating systems (OS’s) such as Microsoft, Macintosh, and Linux offer a variety of different versions. Keeping up with the base functionality of each of these OS’s can assist in guiding someone where a problem may be. Even though there are more operating systems out there, a person needs to keep up with the major ones being used in the current technology of today. Knowing how to access these systems and/or devices is a crucial part of a person’s skill set.

With any of these operating systems, a person would need to know how to sign on to them. Meaning, that a person would use an ID and password to log onto the system, and if successful gain access to the computer. Knowing how to manage accessing computers or devices by limiting or increasing someone’s access level is crucial to maintaining security to the data that is available on that system or what that system connects to.
Being able to detect if the data has been compromised is important. As someone learns more about safeguarding data, the more they will be able to detect and/or be alerted via some software that lets a person know that something is trying to attack or has attacked the data. Knowing what should be running on a computer or device or not is also imperative. To be able to look at what is currently running on a computer can often times tell a person is something is wrong.

Being diligent in preventing or slowing down an attack on the company’s data is imperative. If an attack of data loss is occurring, a person must respond quickly and effectively to stop and recover the data in the shortest amount of time possible. It is best to keep on top of monitoring the environment in an efficient and effective manner. A person could have potentially saved the company thousands or even millions of dollars just by having the right monitoring in place.

Knowledge of Monitoring Tools. There are many monitoring tools that can be used to help alert them if something is happening on the company network. Some tools such as network analyzers, operating system monitors, and virus detection software/hardware can offer great ways to be informed immediately in case an issue arises.
Network analyzers, once configured, are used to track or trace any unusual activity on the network. Analyzers can alert someone in the event it thinks that there is suspicious activity, and one or more persons can be alerted via text messaging to their phone. A person can also use the network analyzer to do a manual audit of the network traffic between two computers. This can help to determine if unauthorized traffic is going through, or there is a network communication issue between the two computers or devices on the network.

Operating system (OS) monitors are also a vital component to detect if the OS on one or more computers or devices, is not functioning properly. The alert that the OS monitor gave would give an idea of what could or is happening on the device(s) the network is connected to. Some examples could be a memory error (not enough memory), a hard drive failing or has failed (usually, the alert would be, hard drive failure imminent, or the performance threshold is too high).
Virus detection comes in many sizes just like all the above fore-mentioned products. This can be used in the following ways. Virus monitoring built into the firewall before traffic is allowed into the company’s network. Enterprise virus management and monitoring computers to keep them updated or if a virus is detected on a computer, it can disconnect that computer from the network and alert the appropriate personnel to resolve the issue, and allow the computer to get onto the network again.