If you tell enough stories, perhaps the moral will show up.


How Security Policies Fail (3)

Policy: Only our trusted workstation build may be attached to the LAN

Failure: Contractors and visitors need Internet action, sometimes at very short notice. The easy way to let them have it is to plug into one of the DHCP LANs.

This policy is fairly robust: it's not that hard to spot non-domain machines with an IP address, and the price of disconnecting is a brief argument about priorities, project objectives and timescales. But it is not at all lazy: it's incomparably easier to snaffle a cable from the desk next door, or even try outlets at random, than it is to order and pay for an ADSL outlet.

So we have to make a lazy route to Internet access. I see a three stage plan:

  • Deliver a "contractor convenience" VLAN through your switching infrastructure. This would have no internal routing -- just a cheap firewall direct to your Internet red side, with no inbound access, and outbound permits for browsing and VPN only.
  • Make sure there's no Internet from your internal DHCP LANs or printer LANs -- all attempts to browse direct fail at the firewalls
  • Make sure you can account for all outlets which do have unproxied Internet.
That will tip the balance of convenience your way: you should start to see all those laptops requesting access to the contractor LAN quite soon.

Stay on top of the risks, though. You want to make sure that your own users won't be hooking up to unfiltered Internet. You should probably arrange the workflow around contractor convenience to include an expiry date to ensure that the outlets get re-certified from time to time.

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