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Information Systems Security

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Information Systems Security

Information Systems Security

Two of the biggest challenges Information Technology (IT) Departments face on a daily basis are operational, and physical security threats that are created by both internal, and external forces. Establishing security plans that include protection not only for the network, but also the equipment needed to run it should be one of the top priorities within Riordan Manufacturing Inc. Most often businesses underestimate the resolve of criminals to access sensitive data, and do not protect their data to the fullest extent. Often there is a misconception that a firewall, anti-virus, and encryption program, are all that is necessary to keep businesses safe. Recommended below are several key security areas that Riordan Manufacturing Inc. should address in order to ensure total protection of both operational, and physical assets.

Operational Protection


To many users and organizations authentication think that authentication is just a means to sign on to a computer. When in fact it is actually a very important security process that Riordan Manufacturing needs to be aware of. With their 550 employees that spread throughout the United States, and even a plant in China ensuring that only authorized user access the Riordan network is very important. Authentication is the process of verifying an individual is who they say they are. Only upon proper authentication can a user access the network they are requesting access too. This can be accomplished in many different ways. The user name and password is one of the most common practices. Some organizations like the United States military has gone to a smart card and pin authentication process (Shinder, 2001). Then there are the new and fancy biometric authentication processes.


The user name and password authentication is the most common and still useful, but may not be the most secure. The way it work is by having a user enter both user account name and password, which is then authenticated to verify if it allowed or not. One of the reasons this authentication method is not the most secure is because of passwords. It is important for system administrators push the importance of using strong passwords (Shinder, 2001). This is because it has become relatively too easy for hackers to crack, or run password-breaking software. If Riordan is use this authentication method then their IT department will need to enforce the use of strong passwords. A strong password should contain both alpha and numeric characters (Shinder, 2001). It should even have a requirement to use a few special characters, and have a length of eight or more characters long (Shinder, 2001).

Smart Card and PIN

Today’s United States military use a smart card and pin number authentication method. This method is a two-step authentication procedure that is a lot more secure than the user name and password method. This method uses the smart card that is given to the individual. The smart card contains a chip on it that stores authentication certificates that are only authenticated with the users PIN number. This method is really secure in the fact that even if the user loses his or her smart card, a network would still not be able to be accessed without the user PIN. This method is kind of costly in the fact that the smart cards are not cheap, and the organization needs to purchase smart card readers (Shinder, 2001).


Biometric authentication are the fancy ways to authenticate that you see most spy movies, and it is the most secure method when it comes to authentication. This method authenticates based on a trait of the person. A fingerprint, voice, or even retinal scans can be used to verify the individual’s identity, and since these traits are unique to each and every person it makes it increasingly harder to falsify. This method has the obvious advantage of using things that the user always has with them, which makes the smart card useless in comparison (Shinder, 2001). The only real problem with biometric authentication is its cost. Riordan will need to weigh out the needs and costs of what authentication method they wish to use, as there are advantages and disadvantages to them all.

Physical Protection

Video surveillance cameras, a must have security system for any thriving business that wishes to keep personnel out of restricted areas, and protect vital resources. Although these systems typically come with a hefty installation fee, the money saved in the long run by having fewer security guards will offset those initial costs. These systems will act as a deterrent for criminal activity, by monitoring, and recording all of the daily activity within, and around Riordan Manufacturing Inc. Not only are video surveillance cameras an excellent way to keep external threats at bay, but also internal threats in the form of disgruntled employees for example, having eyes



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