A computer network is secured by using a combination of policies and best practices designed to thwart the evil intentions of those who would steal your valuable information. Those entitled to access your information would generally have unique credentials allowing them to pass through the computer network security and use the computer’s programs required to see your organization’s data.

With the ever-changing business landscape dictating a need to merge separate organization networks into a single functioning computerized system, ensuring the newly combined network’s separate firewalls or virus technology is also combined and in place to protect your business information is of utmost importance.

For example, the seemingly simple task of combining separate email domains presents some logical challenges. When combining two organizations, you will be starting with email addresses that end with those organizations’ names, such as:

  • user@organization1.com
  • user@organization2.com

If the end goal is to combine these email domains into a single domain, the result might be email.user@organization3.com, with the members of the formerly separate domains now potentially able to see combined corporate information on the single domain.

By applying Information Rights Management (IRM), the following sensitive information is protected or shared as business needs require:

  • Financial data: This can include payment records, account numbers, and client files.
  • Executive communications: Privileged discussions between upper management often needs special handling.
  • Intellectual property: Compromising this sensitive type of organizational information could possibly break a company.
  • Legal documents: Often the penultimate of confidential information, this category of information should be closely monitored when exchanged.
  • Other protected archives: As an example, Internal Revenue Service requirements often dictate that certain documents be archived for up to seven years (and in some cases, permanently).

Through login credentials, access to this type of information can be controlled on an individual “need-to-know” basis. This means the individuals of the combined organization email domain can now see information such as the combined email directory (or address book), while access to individual information is still protected.

Add the need to connect a geographically dispersed workforce and communicating through a Virtual Private Network (VPN) may become a necessity. By extending your organization’s internal network across the public internet, this enables your workforce to send and receive important data as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network, while still keeping it all safe.

In the end, the final decision on how to approach combining your computer network security from separate domains into a single entity may depend on the complexity of the existing systems and the timeline you face. While ultimately, your organization’s workforce needs to remain productive throughout the entire combining process.

Being sure to fully understand the separate components of your existing network, planning the entire process in advance of starting any combining, and constantly communicating to your organization any pending work to be done, should alleviate most of the uncertainty and disruption caused by a change to your organization or business structure.