Blog | Read about controlling and protecting your information
Everyone from Walmart to my 10 year old nephew is using cloud computing. Small and mid-sized businesses see it as a great way to use the types of services that were only available to large organizations in the past. Large companies see it as a way to scale quickly and provide new services fast. My business runs completely in the cloud. Ten years ago this would have been impossible.
Businesses are taking advantage of filing sharing services from Onehub, DropBox, Egnyte, Box and others to share documents across PCs, Macs, smart phones and tablets. Evernote is a great service for sharing meeting notes and documents with colleagues. Numerous other services exist for collaborating with customers, business partners, development teams and anyone who needs access to information quickly and from any device. The cloud has become a big virtual file cabinet for most of us.
The world is moving at lightning speed today. People used to talk about doing business at the speed of the Internet and it’s clear we are already there. Change is the only constant, which has been attributed to Heraclitus, Isaac Asimov and others, is the only thing we can rely on.
Just look around at the world of business, academia and government. Everyday new products, services and ideas are emerging. Customer loyalties are shifting as frequently as the tides. Companies that were thriving a few short years ago, may be gone or struggling today.
Look at what’s happened to book stores. Borders declared bankruptcy and a lot of the smaller ones have closed. People are buying ebooks, listening to audio books or buying physical books from Amazon. When is the last time you went to a travel agent? Most people go online to Expedia, Orbitz or Priceline to book travel. How about using a traditional stock broker? We still use the post office, but email has replaced a lot of our correspondence – and more of it is in the cloud than ever before.
Data breach headlines are almost becoming a cliché. Not a week goes by when I don’t read about people stealing information from a company or someone losing a confidential document. Just this week 435 credit card numbers and 1,175 social security numbers at the University of Maine and 1,007 online store transactions at the University of Arkansas computer store were compromised by hackers. This may not be as large as the 280,000 social security numbers stolen from the Utah Department of Health in April 2012, but it’s a big deal to those people affected.
The cases above were deliberate acts, but sometimes a data breach is unintentional. It could be as simple as an employee forgetting they had confidential documents on a USB flash drive and misplacing it. Or maybe someone accidentally emailed an HR spreadsheet with employee’s personal information to a friend. We all love email look ahead, but sometimes it can bite you.
It’s 2012. Do you know where your data is, who has access to it and what they are doing with it?
These are 3 fundamental questions that every organization should ask, because most people can’t answer all of them. You know you have data in databases. Most financial and customer data sits there and is hopefully protected by encryption. If you aren’t sure, you better check. But a lot of that data makes its way into spreadsheets, customer proposals, quotes, reports and numerous other documents. Do you know where all of them are and who is accessing them?
Data breaches seem to be in the headlines almost every day. Just do a Google search on “data breach” and you will get more than 29 million hits. Do a search on News stories in the last month and you will get over 2400. Here are a few interesting stats from 2011 according to the Verizon 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report. The report reviewed 855 confirmed security breaches that affected 174 million compromised records in 36 countries. This is the largest number of breaches ever reported. In all likelihood there were probably more that went unreported or discovered.