Internal website security or your company’s “intranet” system is all too frequently considered a magical place where company’s sensitive information is safe, where there are no security. Companies are often dangerously unaware of how important internal website security is and the best practices to follow in order to have a strong intranet security system that resists and guards against cyber attacks. The truth is that cyber criminals love to take advantage of businesses and employees who mistakenly believe that just because it’s an internal digital asset, then no cyber harm can come to them. issues, where cybercriminals can’t enter, and everything is perfect, just because it doesn’t have a public-facing online presence. But this is not the reality.
Any intranet system needs constant attention and maintenance to perform at its peak, and to prevent your company from losing what is most important – your classified information. In fact, it is only when internal website security and external security systems go hand-in-hand, that companies are as fully protected as possible.
This article will help clear up the misconceptions about internal website security by discussing:
- What is Internal Website Security?
- Why is Internal Website Security Important?
- Most Common Types of Internal Website Security Threats
What is Internal Website Security?
Internal website security consists of all the security measures needed to protect the internal websites, databases, and network systems from all the cyber threats that come from inside the organization’s private network system.
This definition sounds a bit confusing, but if we take a few seconds and try to understand what a public website is and what is an internal website/intranet, then everything becomes more clear.
What is a public website?
Basically a public website, just like its name suggests, is a widespread web page that is located on the World Wide Web and can be accessed by anyone with a Web browser and internet access.
What is an internal website?
Internal websites exist only on the intranet and are in-house websites that can be accessed only by a company’s employees throughout a private network system. Every employee needs to have a specific email address, usernames, and passwords to access the internal website system. Intranets are commonly used to communicate internal information to employees like public company policy, news, schedules, medical and insurance forms, training manuals and more. And while intranets do have less exposure to cyber threats than public ones, they are not completely protected “just because.”
Why is Internal Website Security Important?
To understand the importance of internal website security we first need to understand that internal websites keep sensitive information confidential, like client and employee data in their databases.
Also, the importance of the intranet becomes much greater if we think of industries like banking or healthcare that keep very valuable client information in their databases and any leak of that data can mean paying extremely high fines for the companies that were supposed to protect that data.
Most Common Types of Internal Website Security Threats
1. Weak passwords
We have mentioned in several articles, like external website security and 6 Reasons Why Website Security is Important that weak passwords are the primary gateway through which cyber criminals first try to get sensitive information from databases. Study after study done every year proves this point time and again.
One of the more recent studies, which was done by verizon.com has shown that weak passwords still are tied to 80% of hacking-related breaches
Solution: Password Policy
Your IT team must introduce the policy of creating strong passwords and also the necessity of resetting them at least every 60 days.
- Read Google Best Practices in regard to strong passwords.
- Kaspersky made a nifty password checking app. You just need to enter your password and the app will tell you how strong it is.
2. Unauthorized Users
It may seem simple, but one common weakness of internal website security is that users simply forget to log off their devices when they step out of their offices. A good practice for every company should be to enable automatic logoff for employee devices after a certain period of inactivity to prevent unauthorized users from accessing sensitive information.
Solution: Workstation Security Policy
When configuring a workstation security policy for automatic logoff please consult your IT department and take into consideration that the time amount of inactivity differs from user to user depending on their role in your company. 20 minutes of inactivity may be suitable for some departments and 10 or 5 minutes can be suitable for other departments.
3. Logins on Multiple Devices
For a secure internal website security system, a very important aspect is to NEVER allow login information like passwords, usernames, ID to be automatically saved on multiple different devices. You never know in which hands devices may end up. So, it is better to be cautious when it comes to valuable information.
4. Non-restricted access
In many cases, internal data leaks happen because too many users are granted access to sensitive information. Cybercriminals know and will always try to obtain information from inside users.
Solution: Account Hierarchy and Internal Audits
Have your IT team implement account hierarchy to determine who has the right to view, edit, or share certain files and also implement an audit procedure that must be done on a regular basis, and that focuses on what kind of information users uploading and downloading and/or modifying.
5. Unprotected data
Many companies do not encrypt their intranet data for the single reason that they are under the illusion that the intranet is magical please without any threat. At long as the intranet data is not encrypted it can be susceptible to security breaches.
Solution: Always Encrypt Sensitive Information
Encrypt your intranet data when is stored in your databases and when it is transferred.
- When your data is stored in your databases, a good and free way to encrypt is to use BitLocker (PC/Windows) or FileVault (Mac/iOS). This guide can help you learn more about How to Encrypt Your Hard Drive for Free
- When you transfer data use a VPN and email encryption software for added protection.
6. Unsecure Remote Access
Employees can use public 3G, 4G, 5G or Wi-Fi via their mobile devices to access the intranet website or databases and this can pose a serious problem because these devices don’t usually have a strong antivirus or firewalls that can protect corporate information.
Solution: Employee Training
Companies can organize training for employees on the importance of internal website security when using their mobile devices to access intranet data. Also, IT departments should install remote access for employees to access the internal databases on their mobile devices, as opposed to allowing employees to set this access up on their own.
7. Phishing Campaigns and Malware Installations
Phishing is a fraudulent practice done by cybercriminals that organize and send email campaigns that contain malicious software called malware for the purpose of committing data breaches or otherwise gaining access to internal website assets. It only takes one employee or user who gets fooled by these campaigns to compromise the safety and security of all the data and all users connected to the same intranet system.
Solution: Perform Regularly Audits and Install anti-phishing and anti-malware protection.
Regularly conduct audits to monitor intranet data inflow because you need to keep a close eye on what kind of files you are entering your internal networks. Cyber criminals use many strategies to fool people into downloading a file or accessing a specific link and that can result in the installation of malware that can steal credit card information or any type sensitive data.
Also, hackers always will take advantage of hot media topics and will disguise their emails to seem like they are sent from a trusted source just check out the
- How to tell if you may have malware and what features to look for in strong malware protection
- The Essential Guide to Phishing: How it Works and How to Defend Against it
- Hacked Website Repair Guide
- WordPress development articles
Conclusion: There’s No Such Thing as a “Naturally” Secure Internal Web Asset
When it comes to internal website security, what you don’t know absolutely can hurt you. Many people have incorrect beliefs that “this kind of system is naturally hacker proof,” or “hackers can’t get into my internal sites because they’re password protected.” The problem is that these misconceptions are exactly what hackers and cyber criminals want people to think, because it allows them to go about their crimes undetected. Further, when people have a false sense of security, they either forget to or ignore best practices that should be used all the time when doing any sort of work, shopping, entertainment, or communication online. By accepting the fact that cyber dangers are everywhere, during every hour of the day, all over the world, your internal website assets will get the attention they deserve for superior security.