A Consultant's View

Prairie Trail Software, Inc. ............................................................. April 2012

Is Your Business Protected?

On April 3, a tornado bounced through a Lancaster Texas truck stop, picking up trailers, spinning them hundreds of feet in the air before smashing them into the ground, and providing a strong visual of the dangers businesses face. Recently, a major processor got "hacked" costing them their "approved" status with Visa. There are a lot of ways for businesses to be destroyed. It takes a lot of work to minimize the risks of being in business. Are you working to minimize that damage?

It is hard to think of the ways that our businesses can be destroyed. Most of us spend so much time reacting to the day to day crises that we ignore the "tsunami" of risk other factors pose to business continuity. In today's world, many businesses ignore the risks that cell phones and tablets are bringing.

Disasters can happen within a few seconds. It could have been our business that got smashed by the tornado. It took only 2-3 seconds for that event. A "smash and grab" of the laptop from your car seat containing your company financial records takes only a couple of seconds. The hack of Google's security source code took only a few seconds (and Google has been dealing with the fallout of that event for months). The actual hacking of the major credit card processor would not have taken very long either.

When VeriFone's very first shipment was being flown across the Pacific, the plane landed at an airport and burned to the ground destroying that shipment and they have had disaster planning ever since.

One of the fastest ways to lose a business is to have a major data loss. It is reported that 60% of the businesses that lost their data go bankrupt within six months. There are three ways to lose data: have someone break into your system and steal data, have your disk crash without backup, or have the equipment get stolen. One place reports that 140,000 hard drives crash in this country every week. Currently, a majority of thefts and burglaries involve the loss of a cell phone or tablet. Even NASA had a laptop stolen that had the codes for controlling the International Space Station on it.

After a number of public companies have been found to have had network security breaches, the SEC has issued the guidance that network security breaches are "material events" that need to be reported.

If you are dealing with sensitive information, all laptop disks should be encrypted. In order to minimize the cost of a cell phone loss, we need to both minimize the data we store on the cell phone and have it backed up.

Finally, remote access is one of the major ways that people are breaking into networks. Even though top executives want that access, it needs to be thought through. Some companies are now insisting that when executives travel into certain countries, they travel with "sanitized" laptops which are wiped clean as soon as the executives return from there.

It takes significant effort to keep a business safe in a dangerous world.