If a completely isolated network is managed by 100% honest SysAdmins, is it necessary to secure sensitive resources with SSL when only a handful of unidentified low-privilege malicious users have access?
closed as not constructive by EEAA, MadHatter, Shane Madden, MDMarra, voretaq7♦ Jan 19 '12 at 17:10
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Well, that's up to your organization's security policy.
I'd recommend using SSL if the communication is sensitive at all; if you have potentially malicious users on the network, an ARP poisoning attack could compromise your unencrypted communications, allowing an attacker to intercept and/or modify the communication between other nodes.
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Also you say your sysadmins are
Honestly even if your network were truly isolated and there were no malicious users I would use SSL anyway: It's pretty much transparent to the application layer in most implementations, and the computational overhead of SSL is relatively low.
"a completely isolated network"....In all my working life I've only come across one such instance of such a network which was both completely isolated and likely to remain that way.
More and more devices are being connected to networks and internetworks - why would someone ever plug a centrifuge for extracting weapons grade heavy metals into a network? It happens.
...and deciding to wait until you do connect up is a very poor justification for not implementing adequate security - security should be holistic and integrated - implementing it as soon as possible (preferably at the same time as implementing the systems its designed to protect) means that the knowledge, skills and forums are close at hand.
The only compromise I'd suggest as acceptable would be using defering a switch from snake-oil to CA signed certificates.