Always remember that even telecommuters eventually come to the office. One reader relates the experience of a remote user visiting the home office and immediately killing the entire network. A little laptop investigation showed that the user had decided to configure his laptop as a DHCP server for his home network, which “suddenly made his machine the default gateway for that segment.”
Other examples include mamas and papas who genially allow their kids to play high-end games on the corporate hardware, or (worse) to surf the Internet in all those dark and fringelike nooks that teenagers like to explore on the Web. While the adults are out having dinner, the kids are home infecting the workstation, which promptly begins to spew out viruses the next time daddy either logs in or visits the office.
Solution: Perimeter defense. End-point security technologies such as Cisco’s NAC or Microsoft’s NAP are specifically designed to minimize this risk by scanning outside machines the moment they’re connected to the network. Failure to meet with specific criteria, including everything from minimal patch levels to scheduled virus scans, means the PC is dumped into a quarantine area of the network where it can be scanned, updated, and fixed without risk of harm to other nodes.
Moral: Talk to your telecommuters. Fair use policies with a little bit of disciplining oomph behind them can go a long way toward having mommy buy her precious offspring their own PC to infect rather than risking her job by letting them use hers.
This one won our Deepest Chuckle Award. Dave Schultz related an incident in which he tagged a note to a network laser printer informing users that if print quality suffered enough to warrant a toner cartridge replacement, they should first “shake a few times to yield a few additional copies.”
Schultz was later berated because a user suffered a work-related back injury by reading the note, then picking up the entire HP LaserJet 4000 and trying to shake the printer back and forth.
Solution: Shoot the user, he’s lame now, anyway.
Moral: Never let your blood pressure get too far into the dangerous numbers and keep a bottle of Advil handy.