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Should software be used to monitor networks for blogging activity?

Should network-monitoring software be used to monitor corporate networks for blogging activity? Should enterprises focus their monitoring priorities elsewhere?

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This is really more of a policy question than a security one. It's all boils down to risk management. If you, in conjunction with the leadership of your organization, feel that blogging poses a significant risk to your company, you may wish to consider using this type of control.

If the objective is to restrict blogging activity, network-monitoring software probably isn't the most efficient way to do so. I'd recommend implementing a content-filtering product, such as Secure Computing Corp.'s Webwasher SME250 or Websense Inc.'s Hosted Web Security tool. These products come with built-in Web categorization databases that help monitor certain types of unwanted traffic, such as blogging sites, pornography, etc.

If you choose to implement content filtering, a word of warning: no filtering scheme is perfect, and it's difficult to defeat someone who is determined to bypass such filtering. For example, if you allow users to access secure websites using HTTPS, it won't be possible to inspect the contents of their encrypted traffic. Bypassers could set up an encrypted proxy at home and use it to route traffic elsewhere on the Internet. Also, while content filtering databases may contain well-known blogging sites, such as Blogger and Wordpress, they can't possibly track all of the little-known single blog sites out there on the Internet. You can build a wall if you like, but it's going to be made of Swiss cheese.

More information:

  • See how blogging on corporate laptops is risky business.
  • editors debate whether blogging is a security threat to corporate systems.
  • This was first published in December 2008

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