Blog | Read about controlling and protecting your information
I just finished reading a book where the entire operations of a financial company are digital. “The Fear Index” by Robert Harris is a thriller that combines the world of hedge funds with an algorithmic trading program that becomes autonomous. The financial company uses no paper in its operations. In fact no paper products or anything related to them are allowed in the offices.
There are no magazines or newspapers in the reception area. It is company policy that as far as possible, no printed material or writing paper of any sort should pass the threshold. They came up with a clever incentive to ensure this. Each employee is required to pay a fine of 10 Swiss francs each time they were caught in possession of ink and wood pulp rather than silicon and plastic. Violators would have their names posted on the company intranet.
It’s amazing how effective this was in changing behavior. They also realized that they couldn’t control if their visitors carried paper, but it was very evident from the lack of paper in the office, that it was frowned upon.
How often have you accidentally sent an email to the wrong person? If you’re lucky, there are no consequences other than apologizing for sending someone the wrong information. Unfortunately too often, there may be dire consequences. If you sent confidential company information to your competitor, that could be a big problem. You could be in legal and financial trouble.
Email is still the medium we use the most to communicate information to friends, coworkers, customers and business partners. It’s available on any platform and it becomes a default filing cabinet for many of us. Because of its ubiquity, a person with malicious intent can cause a lot of havoc by simply emailing sensitive information to themselves or a confederate.
That almost sounds like the title to a bad movie, almost. In reality it’s a real problem today, since most of the important information inside any business is digital information. In the past, if you wanted to keep your secrets safe, you locked your filing cabinets or stored paper documents in a safe. Today, information is all over the place and in many forms. Someone leaving your company could walk out the door with the keys to the kingdom.
Much of our important information is either sitting in databases or documents. These may be on premise or in the cloud. Most of us think that if it’s in a database, we have it secured, but a lot of people run reports that export the data into regular spreadsheets or word processing documents.
But it’s not just what we think of as traditional documents. It’s also in presentations, videos, photographs, image and audio files. Just think about how damaging the tapes of conversations from the Nixon White House were during the Watergate scandal. It’s also email messages in your inbox and on email servers. Voicemails on your cellphone. Or it could be source code to your software product.
Ah, the poor password. We love it. We hate it. It’s the most maligned thing in our daily lives. Whether you are at work, home or on the road, you use multiple passwords a day. It’s the most common way we have to provide secure access to computers and applications.
Because we have so many passwords and we have to remember them, most of us are still in the bad habit of creating ones that are easy to guess. This happens for personal and business accounts. It’s one of the reasons that important systems are hacked.