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    Full Control Internet:
    Uses and Applications in the Financial Services Industry

    Bardon Data Systems
    www.bardon.com

    Introduction

    The financial services industry is one of the most heavily regulated businesses in the world. The confidentiality, integrity, and security of data residing on financial services companies' computers is of paramount importance in ensuring compliance with these regulations.

    Yet Windows computers (the most common platform in this industry) are inherently incapable of enforcing this regulatory compliance. Companies must often rely solely on written personnel policies to safeguard business information. Unfortunately, with this type of strategy administrators have no reliable audit trail to document security-related events, much less the ability to automatically address such issues "on the fly" in real-time as they occur.

    Windows computers are ubiquitous, and government regulatory oversight will only grow, so over time the issue of managing financial services industry activities in this environment will only become more of a problem. How can financial services companies oversee and manage this situation?

    Full Control Internet

    Bardon Data Systems publishes software that helps financial services companies secure and protect the data residing on Windows workstations and mobile computers. Bardon's flagship product is Full Control Internet. With this product, administrators can simultaneously oversee and manage thousands of computers operating anywhere in the world. Full Control Internet helps financial services companies accomplish the following important goals:

    •  Protect client and other confidential information from misuse, theft, or loss
    •  Ensure the stability and standardization of employee computers
    •  Regulate and oversee employee use of computers
    •  Prevent unauthorized access to company IT assets
    •  Prevent unauthorized modifications or alterations of company computers
    •  Enable/disable computer resources such as drives, directories, and files
    •  Oversee employee connections to PDAs and other external devices
    •  Protect company computers from harmful or inappropriate files, programs, and downloads
    •  Automatically logoff unattended computer resources
    •  Alert administrators of suspicious computer activities in real time
    •  Create an audit-trail log of all computer activity for analysis or documentation purposes

    How Full Control Internet Works

    Full Control Internet includes a powerful "smart client" that resides on employee computers. The "smart client" controls, monitors, and oversees all activities that occur on the computer according to employee groups determined by the administrator. Full Control Internet manages the computer, not just at startup, but in real time during the entire session. Because of this, it can allow or prevent access to literally any resource on the computer, including Windows itself. It is extremely difficult to bypass, even for sophisticated computer users.

    Full Control Internet generates an ongoing audit trail log of all user activities. This includes all program, Internet, and file access. If desired, it can even record usage details down to individual keystrokes. The audit trail log uploads to the administrator for analysis and reporting.

    Full Control Internet includes a Remote Administration Manager that allows the administrator to observe in real time the activities of any computer. The administrator can engage in Instant Messenger style "chat" with users for help desk activities, receive real-time alerts of unauthorized activities, send and receive files, and change user configurations on the fly. The Remote Administration Manager provides rapid information on large numbers of computers simultaneously, so that the administrator can easily manage groups of computers.

    Mobile computers operate according to instructions relayed from the Remote Administration Manager when the computer was last connected to the system, across a LAN or using the Internet. The connection is automatic and doesn't require any special action on the part of the user. The operating instructions relayed from the Remote Administration Manager can include special security precautions for mobile devices that may be lost, stolen, or misused.

    Benefits of Full Control Internet for Financial Services Companies

    Standardized computer configurations: With Full Control Internet, an administrator can set up a standard computer, and have complete confidence that the computer will remain exactly as issued to the employee: NO inappropriate software, NO unauthorized changes to the computer, NO surprises. This will greatly reduce the volume of help desk calls and number of returned computers.

    Data security and confidentiality: Full Control Internet provides security for critical client and company files. The product's "smart client" can render confidential files invisible to the file system, to the user, even to outsiders who might gain access to the hardware. This can provide greater protection than encryption, because encrypted files are visible, known targets and therefore can be cracked with standard de-encryption tools. When an unauthorized individual examines a computer running Full Control Internet, critical files simply won't appear to exist at all.

    Enforcement of usage policies: Many financial services companies have guidelines for employees regarding the acceptable use of computers. However, some of these guidelines may operate on the "honor system", with mixed results. In large companies, some percentage of personnel will accidentally or deliberately violate these policies. Full Control Internet can enforce policies such as inactivity timeouts, appropriate Internet usage, file confidentiality, and much more. Administrative alerts and the ongoing audit trail of all user activities allow administrators to oversee all systems and maintain confidence that computers are used according to company policies.

    Heightened security for mobile computers: Mobile and wireless computers place financial services companies at special risk. While it is clearly necessary for staff to have access to computers in the field, the danger of compromising company or client data is a major concern. Full Control Internet can determine the security status of a mobile computer according to a predetermined set of conditions, and adjust the security of the system accordingly. For example, a stolen computer may alert the administrator to the thief's efforts to connect to the corporate network, allowing the administrator to remotely delete or lock specific files. In addition, Full Control Internet supports Single Sign-on capabilities that can interface with password protection and biometric devices for an additional layer of security.

    System protection from PDAs, external drives, and networks: Well-meaning employees may attempt to connect computers to PDAs and similar devices that could compromise confidentiality and security for both the individual computer and the corporate network. Full Control Internet can easily regulate such devices according to company policies.

    Protection from viruses and unauthorized downloads: Even in the course of following acceptable business practices, an employee may download a file that contains a virus or other unauthorized file. Full Control Internet can prevent unauthorized executables from running, thereby preventing both the infection of the host system and the spreading of the virus.

    The Resolution of the Conflict: Full Control Internet

    Full Control Internet is the answer for financial services companies caught in the quandary of providing powerful computer-based business tools to personnel, while protecting confidential regulated data. With Full Control Internet, an employee can use a computer to the full extent of its capabilities according to the company's acceptable use policies. In short, Full Control Internet is a powerful tool that helps protect both the employee and the company from the potentially serious consequences of computer system misuse.