RE: Do you share? Are you unmutual?

Subject: RE: Do you share? Are you unmutual?
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: Mike Starr <mike -at- writestarr -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 8 Jul 2012 16:53:58 -0400

Responding to a query about a recently-implemented network policy
forbidding/preventing sharing of files and directories on laptops
and desktops, Mike Starr observed:

> I've never encountered a policy that draconian but most organizations
> I've worked with have a shared directory on a file server where users
> at all levels can store and share files so having a shared directory on
> an individual workstation wouldn't be necessary and would probably be a
> pain anyway. I've never even thought of doing it that way. One of the
> advantages of having files stored on a shared server is that those
> files get backed up on a daily basis. I usually use a directory on a
> shared server for daily backups of the files on my own computer. That's
> especially important with a laptop... when I'm in the office, I back up
> to the shared server at the end of the day so that if anything happens
> to the laptop on the way home or back to the office, there's no loss of
> data. I also back up to that same shared server via VPN from home
> before traveling if I've modified files on the laptop while working at
> home.

Well, obviously we all can and do have lots of files on network
servers, and if we need to share something, we can certainly
copy them to a central location.

However, it's often the case that an individual or small group
is working on something that's not ready to be put on a public
server space for everyone, though it is fine to make it available
to specific persons who can be trusted to garner the info they
need, but to keep a lid on the not-ready-for-prime-time stuff.
For years it has been common for a person working on
an aspect of a project to reply to somebody's internal request
with "I've shared my directory \x\y\z; you can browse or
grab what you need." The owner of the material then continues
with whatever they were originally doing. It's the responsibility
of the supplicant to sort through the material and copy what
they need on their own time, not the job of the owner/SME, who
has better, or more pressing, things to do.

For smaller files and directories and within the local office,
that's not necessarily quicker than going to the local file
server, creating a purpose-named directory, copying the desired
files over, and sending the link to the supplicant... but, when
larger quantities are involved, and especially if the VPN is
involved, the various activities can stretch out over extended
periods and therefore involve repeated interruptions to the
owner as s/he must wait or must check in for the completion of
stages before the next step can be started.

Losing the capability of instant shares of specific directories
on our laptops/desktops, for named users or groups of users,
will be a bit of an inconvenience, but it does put a crimp
on an attacker's ability to spread their influence or their net
within the organization, so overall it's probably a major
security gain at minimal loss of convenience.

So, since basically none of you have encountered that before,
let me be the first to warn you that it's coming. If your
company is a likely prime target for industrial espionage,
it won't be long. Hope it isn't already too late... ;->


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Re: Do you share? Are you unmutual?: From: Mike Starr

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