There has been considerable interest, and dismay, at the number of times sensitive data has been lost or stolen, indeed the amount of data lost seems directly proportional to the technological advances in devices and perhaps the stupidity or arrogance of their owners.

Government seems to be a prime data loser, despite telling businesses how important data security is to them and the country.

Desktop computers – these are sitting on our desks giving access to vast amounts of data, yet many people get up and leave their desks without a thought to the risk they are taking. I always lock my desk computer before leaving it, even for a few minutes, because I understand that a moments inattention could put my data at risk and seriously damage my reputation as a security conscious individual. I use Windows L.

Laptop computers – these are becoming smaller and smaller. My latest acquisition is a tablet,  no hard drive and is small enough to slip into my briefcase. The down side of this is that it is even easier to lose. I encrypt my data so that would not be a problem but the loss of the thing would be very inconvenient. The data is, however, safe.

Memory sticks and SDHC cards – probably the greatest threat to data known today. These tiny devices can hold Giga bytes of data and yet can slip easily into a pocket. These devices should always be encrypted, but sadly many are not. All my data sticks have the ability to lock and encrypt data.

Mobile phones and PDA devices – most people do not activate the pin number lock to prevent unauthorised access and a s such they risk having their phone numbers taken, their email contacts list taken and if secret pin numbers and passwords are stored, then these are at risk. Add to that the ability of many devices to access business based systems and email remotely then it is easy to see what a major security threat these unprotected devices can pose.

I use a pin to protect my smart phone and have set a pin to protect the sim card as well. If my phone was lost or stolen, I can send it a text message which locks it and no amount of fiddling will unlock it, even if a new sim card is inserted and the factory defaults enabled.

A recent threat concerns web cams which bare on most des and laptops; it is possible for a remote hacker to turn on the webcam without the warning LED being activated and look at the use without their knowledge or consent.  I have a sticker over my webcams which is removed when I want to use it and replaced when I am not.

Keep data secure

The official blog for independent Management Training
Consultancy, Quality Matters Limited.
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