But there are steps you can take to proactively control downloading.
The first thing you should do is get together with your team and determine exactly which applications you need. Common apps include print and scan utilities, plus programs that your vendors or customers may ask you to install. Knowing ahead of time what your team needs will allow you to locate the correct files. While you’re at it, put together a library of drivers for your printers and other devices. Then have an expert (as in someone who knows where to get genuine files AND how to avoid malware) download the files.
Option 1: Store approved installation files on a network drive.
This is probably the simplest step you can take and many of you are already doing this. Just take the files and place them on a shared network drive, so the team can just download them.
The problem with this is that network drives are typically also writable for everyone. Which means not only can your team substitute or upload unapproved files…but some malware may even modify them in order to propagate. Which is why they’re called Trojan Horses. One solution is to create a network drive that only key people can write to…but if their user accounts get compromised, then you get the same problem.
What we have also seen is that, many offices keep a back up copy of the install files, so you are essentially taking up twice the space in your network storage. And doubling the risk of distributing compromised files.
Option 2: Microsoft Intune Company Portal
Microsoft Intune is a cloud-based systems management and security service that allows you to manage your computers and mobile devices from anywhere. It gives you a wide variety of features that include a Company Portal where you can provide applications that your team can download.
Since Intune is a systems management service, you can do many other important tasks, like monitor the health of your computers and make sure they are properly update. For many offices, Intune can be part of a system that may help you forego the cost of purchasing and maintaining an on-premise server, yet become more powerful and secure. Compared to the cost of a server, it is quite reasonably-priced!
Option 3: Windows Store for Business
This is one of our favorite new features in Windows 10. While the Windows Store is a curated collection of approved Windows apps, your organization can have its own private store. Not only can you offer existing Windows Store apps…you can also add Line of Business applications. This includes your own apps (which we can develop for you).
So essentially this is safer and more secure, plus convenient for all your users using Windows 10…computers, tablets, and phones!
There are of course many other ways you can control the applications available to your office, but these are our favorites. And if your employees are mobile or work in remote offices, our cloud-based solutions allow you to extend your security wherever your team goes!
#OnlineThreats is an ongoing series of social media posts with the aim of informing everyone using the internet about common dangers. The net is a wonderful place and many threats can be avoided with just a few precautions. Think of it as going into a city. There are cool sights, fun things to do, and great places to eat. But if you’re not careful, you can get into serious trouble. Still, that doesn’t stop you from going there. Otherwise, the bad guys will have won. Same with the internet!
Over time, you’ll be able to check on the entire list of online threats by going to our blog and clicking on the category, Computing Security. You can always find a shortcut here: http://t2d.la/security