Business Administration Education Guide

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Why some computer technology is blocked at work

SOURCE: CIO - The Eight Most Dangerous Consumer Technologies

Instant Messaging

In one study, 40 percent of study respondents said they use consumer a instant messenger service such as AOL or Yahoo at work. Consumer instant messaging presents numerous security challenges. One such challenge is that malware can enter a corporate network through external IM software. Every time IM users send sensitive company data across insecure networks, the company is at risk of vicious attacks.


Web Mail
Nine out of ten people I know use services such as Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail for both personal and professional email services. The problem with consumer e-mail services is that we the users don't realize how insecure our own e-mail exchanges are because messages are transported over the Web, stored on the ISP's server and temporarily stored on the e-mail provider's server. Even though I know this in the back of my head, even I don’t always consider the value of sending sensitive information such as Social Security numbers, passwords and or confidential business information through email.

Portable Storage Devices
Have you ever lost or have you ever had a purse, wallet or jacket stolen? An IT manager’s and executives biggest fear is the shrinking physical size of portable storage. It’s anther thing a lot of people do. Too tired to stay at work, you decide you’ll take home some of the files to work on after dinner. With portable drives so convenient it’s incredibly easy to transfer some copies and slip into your purse or pocket. The problem is what can be pocketed can be stolen.
PDAs and Smartphones
Not all computers, software and gadgets speak the same language. People are using smartphone and PDA for everything. But When a employee with a smartphone or PDA (BlackBerry, Treo or an iPhone) try to sync up their device's calendar or e-mail application with their own PC, it can cause problems ranging from application glitches to the blue screen of death.

Why? Because if you go to Korea expecting to communicate easily with the locals but you don’t speak Korean, you’re going to have this blank look on your face when they talk to you in Korean. Some computers, software and gadgets act the same way. If they don’t speak the same language they will malfunction.

Camera Phones
Not just instant happy moments, unless you’re a thief. A undercover ‘mystery shopper’ (for lack of a better word) from DeKalb's Finney went to a hospital, stood at the hospital station and took pictures with her camera phone without the nurses knowing it. She than downloaded and enhance the images to see if she could get any patient information from them. The nurses were good about security she didn’t get any. With an advanced digital camera phone or small digital camera, any thief can easily randomly snap pictures of secure documents.

Anther trail of thought - It’s someone birthday at work and the office surprises the person with a cake at their desk … as she / he is working on highly confidential company information. Someone than posts a picture of the happy surprise moment and unbeknownst to the picture taker, she / he is also showing the screen full of confidential company information.

Downloadable Widgets
The risk is that these programs use processing power on the computer and the network. Any software that is downloaded without being determined ‘not a threat’ is a potential threat of viruses and vicious attacks.

Virtual Worlds
Using virtual worlds such as Second Life involves downloading large programs in order to run the virtual world which is than stored inside the corporate firewall. There's really no way to know the genuine identities of the avatars behind the online name in virtual worlds. You could be talking to a just anther employee of a company that has a few minutes to kill… Or you could be talking to a competitor trying to manipulate confidential company information. Even telling someone that your company will be at the XYZ tradeshow could potential hurt sales for your company.

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