I saw an interesting post on InformationWeek about protecting your network and systems from the influx of summer workers. The same logic goes for the December holidays – when additional help is needed to stock shelves, pack boxes, and sell things. These temporary folks can do damage – more because they have no idea what they can/should do rather than thanks to any malicious intent.

I’m not a big fan of some of the recommendations in the post. Like not providing Internet access. Common sense needs to rule the day, right? Someone in a warehouse doesn’t need corporate Internet access. But someone working in the call center might. It depends on job function.

But in reality, you don’t need to treat the temporary workers any different than full-time folks. You just need to actually do the stuff that you should be doing anyway. Here are a couple examples:

  • Training: Yes, it seems a bit silly to spend a few hours training temporary folks when they will leave in a month or two. On the other hand, it seems silly to have these folks do stupid things and then burn up your summer cleaning up after them.
  • Lock down machines: You have more flexibility to lock down devices for temporary workers, so do that. Whether it’s a full lockdown (using application white listing) or a lighter application set (using the application control stuff in the endpoint suite), either reduces the likelihood of your users doing something stupid, and of damage if they do.
  • Segment the network: If possible (and it should be), it may make sense to put these users on a separate network, again depending on their job functions. If they need Internet access, maybe give them a VPN pipe directly to the outside and restrict access to internal networks and devices.
  • Monitor Everything: Yes, you need to stay on your toes. Make sure you are looking for anomalous behavior and focused on reacting faster. We say that a lot, eh?

So again, workers come and go, but your security strategy should cover different scenarios. You can make some minor changes to factor in temporary work, but these folks cannot get a free pass and you need constant vigilance. Same old, same old.