WikiLeaks not just about spilling government secrets: Why computer security matters

Fingerprint Over the last year we have heard a lot about WikiLeaks and the secret government information they have been publishing for the entire world to see. Governments around the world are scrambling to find out how they are getting this information. One would think this would be a wakeup call to not just governments, but to businesses of all types everywhere.

In the coming year, I believe we will see many high profile companies and industries have their dirty laundry aired by WikiLeaks, the first of which appears to be Bank of America. Even before the information has been released, Bank of America is already sending out their damage control teams trying to determine how WikiLeakes got a hold of the documents.

So how do you prevent your company from being splashed across WikiLeaks? It all comes down to security, training and trust. The electronic security of the information; physical security of the hardware used to store, transport and view the information; and the training and trust of the employees with access to the information. A failure in any one of these areas can mean big trouble for you and your company.

As a technology speaker for The Ohio Society of CPAs I have the opportunity to talk with CPAs and accounting professionals working in all the different areas the accounting profession. The common theme when I talk about security to this group is, “I don’t understand it”, “It costs too much,” or “I don’t need it.”

Whether you realize it or not information security has become a part of our daily lives. Everybody has access to some sort of information whether it’s personal or business related. Whatever the case, it needs to be kept secure. Security by obscurity is no longer an answer as technology continues to make everything more transparent.

Here is another way to look at it: If you were working with a company that had information stolen, leaked, etc., and when asked why they didn’t have security in place or why what was in place didn’t work, and they answered with the above statements – would you still continue to do business with them?

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