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Neil Barrett

How Secure Are Your Files?

For your eyes only ...

Posted on: 16/05/2013   By: Neil Barrett

How confidential is your business information? Do you simply hold basic contact and account information regarding your clients? Would your standard data storage be sufficient if you suddenly found yourself working for a Government department or the Ministry of Defence ...

are your company's files for your eyes only?

are your company's files for your eyes only?

I would hope that most, if not all of us, have antivirus software and maybe even firewall software to try and protect our data from the evil forces that lurk on the internet. But the threats to your data can be even greater if you don't think seriously about taking the necessary precautions.

A few years ago, it seemed as though we could not go a week without seeing headlines about some government minister or government employee losing a memory stick or laptop containing the personal information of thousands of people. Although these stories seem to have disappeared from the headlines, I can assure you that this kind of thing is happening amongst the business community on a daily basis. How many times have you misplaced a memory stick?

Despite all this, you would be amazed at the rings you have to jump through when you work on Government projects. I know from talking to Genie Jenny that she had a Government security clearance in her 20s. The company she worked for was involved with a client who was bidding for work relating to self-adhesive stamps, although they never got beyond providing a specification there were still stringent rules and only 3 people within the global firm Jenny worked for were authorised to work on the project. Sounds very much like "For Your Eyes Only" doesn't it!

So, how secure is your data? A recent audit of a customer's infrastructure found that on average there was 6GB of data stored locally on their mobile workforce's laptops that wasn't stored on the corporate network. Fortunately in this case there was very little customer information; it was mainly CAD drawings but even so the work required to re-create those drawings, had the laptop gone missing, would have been substantial.

Quite a few of our customers now are using Endpoint security software which amongst other things can encrypt hard drives and stop the use of unauthorised USB devices. This means that if the laptop was stolen, encryption of the data would mean that nothing would be recoverable and also would prevent the distribution of that data to memory stick. Data security is really important for any small business, if you were to accidentally leave your laptop at a hotel after networking or in shared offices after a client meeting would all your data be secure?

As well as making sure your equipment secures your data, you need to also think carefully about the information you store on the cloud, especially on free cloud storage services like Dropbox and who owns it and how they keep it secure. Remember if you share access to cloud databases, it is your responsibility to keep track of who has access to what.

I do know of one client that still has access to an ex customers folders on Dropbox because the access was not rescinded at the end of the contract. Despite a difficult severance of their working relationship it is only the professionalism from my client that has prevented them from accessing the files and making some damaging changes with huge ramifications to the other business.

If you need help making sure that your data is secure, in any and all circumstance, then it may be a great idea to call me on +44 (0) 1327 300 311 because your company's files should always be for your eyes only, shouldn't they?

Until next time ...


More about Neil Barrett ...


I have always worked in the IT industry both for in-house IT departments and outsourcing companies. My first position was for a large managed services provider in Coventry, based full-time on a customer site in Northamptonshire. It was during this assignment I was exposed for the first time to the UNIX & Linux operating systems which I still enjoy looking after today. By the time I left there I was running the Department and went on to head up the IT department of the distribution arm of a manufacturing company on the Warwickshire / Northamptonshire border.

Although the position was well paid and had great benefits, it wasnt particularly challenging and that's when I set up my own business. Keba was born. It was about nine months later in the summer of 2002 that that I decided to do it full-time and never looked back.


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