Rapid advances in technology are presenting numerous opportunities for businesses along with potential hazards. As a result, organizations are quickly shifting their approach to IT.
BYOD, Bring Your Own Device to Work: We’re always plugged in either by computer, laptops, tablets or by smartphones. “BYOD” is convenient, easy, saves companies money, enhances productivity and employees expect to use their own devices at work, on the road and at home. With pressure to produce, workers may take short cuts that can create security risks for an organization’s proprietary information. Additionally, this may have an impact on your employee agreement when it comes to working overtime hours.
Public Wi-Fi: Out of convenience most people connect their laptop, tablet or smartphones to public Wi-Fi hotspots at hotels, business conferences, shopping malls, airports or while grabbing coffee. Most public Wi-Fi hotspots don’t encrypt the data being transmitted, which means passwords, emails, bank, credit and professional information can be accessed by cyber-criminals. Sredni shared, “My firm created a wireless connection point at a conference, called Superfast Hotelname Wi-Fi. Within 40 minutes 147 people had signed on. By the end of the day, over 700 connections were initiated. Users would have unknowingly provided criminals huge amounts of confidential data that no one would have intentionally shared.”
The Cloud - is there a silver lining? Everyone’s heard of the cloud, but not all cloud solutions are created equal. While some cloud services are geared towards offering businesses a larger degree of security, many do not provide enough safety to protect and meet standards needed by most businesses. Personal, public or small business cloud storage services such as Dropbox, SkyDrive and Google Drive have grown in popularity. Some are free or offer small business options for minimal fees. Businesses must decide whether the risk is worth the savings -- and be aware that while they do everything possible to protect their client information, their employees may be using personal cloud services to store their clients’ data.
Cyber-warfare, BYOD, Fraud, Theft: As witnessed by the recent “Heart Bleed Virus,” we’re not as secure as we’d like to be with over 66% of the internet recently affected. The BYOD phenomena has employees carrying around confidential client information, file sharing and exposing company data to unsecured clouds, Wi-Fi and apps. Cyber Business and Identity Theft are at an all-time high. Sensitive data generates revenue for cyber-criminals. They can use emails, text messages, voicemails or documents to blackmail businesses or to sell information to competitors. Businesses may unknowingly leak customers’ information by not taking necessary safeguards to protect their data. Even losing a mobile device can wreak havoc for a business, if the contents on the device weren’t wiped off. Cyber-criminals are involved in numerous schemes; from selling pirated software programs engineered with malware, to invading company networks, Wi-Fi networks, to infecting systems and sending ransom notes on the information they acquire. A recent organized crime threat came via email attachment. Those infected lost access to their files and back-ups were impacted. The ransomware infection criminals demanded fees of $500, $1,000+ to obtain codes to unlock a company’s data. Recovery took four or more days, and some data was not recoverable. The threat affected IT systems worldwide and penetrated some very secure networks.
Sredni notes, “Employers need to be prepared for BYOD technology issues. A panicked doctor client called because the IRS and FBI were at his office. I went over immediately. We have numerous law firm clients and excel in retrieving case data. The FBI and IRS were investigating why my client’s address had been used for numerous tax returns. Nothing showed up in the data investigations. We concluded the information was embezzled through an assistant’s smart phone, which was seized. The employee was found guilty of taking smartphone photos to steal patient information and submitting falsified tax documents to my client’s address.”
“What appears to be a great solution could be detrimental to your business.” he said. “Smart businesses know it’s essential to create a secure BYOD policy that clearly defines your company's policies and procedures. It’s imperative for businesses to discuss, plan, implement and monitor customized security, recovery and cloud options with an expert to ensure business information is adequately protected.”
Ilan Sredni enjoyed speaking to the Fort Lauderdale Rotary Club, known for its outstanding leadership, development and ties to community with a motto of "Service Above Self." Over 150 recognized community leaders consistently demonstrate high values while sharing a passion for helping others in the community, at work, and in the world through the club’s many service projects that address today's critical issues.
The Fort Lauderdale Rotary has an excellent reputation, gets outstanding participation and is well-known for its remarkable programs. Officers are Steve Leinicke, President, Tony Abbate, President-Elect, David Kroner, Secretary, Michael Sanchez, Treasurer, Charles Felix, Past-President and Lloyd F. Rhodes, Programming.