A disconnected network is a set of computers that have been either physically or logically separated from the production environment. There are many reasons for using a disconnected network in a business enterprise (e.g., a government organization needs a disconnected network to separate certain systems from the general public in order to address government-wide security requirements, or test labs where IT departments need a disconnected network to ensure that data cannot cross between two networks except via removable data.
You may be asking yourself, "If a network is completely disconnected, why do I have to worry about updating machines on that network?" When a network is isolated, it can still be susceptible to viruses. Computers and media that are infected with a virus can still be easily introduced into an isolated network.
Some Independent Advice_
There are many ways to isolate a network to the point where no removable media can be introduced into it. However, you still have to address things such as someone introducing a wireless access point into the network. By simply plugging in a $50.00 device from the local office supply store, your disconnected network is now accessible to the whole world. On the other hand, when securing a network you need to be careful not to secure it to the point that it becomes unusable. If you are interested in learning more about network security, obtain a copy of Hack Proofing Your Network, Second Edition, published by Syngress (ISBN 1928994709).
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