Security, Privacy Depend on Low-Tech First Line of Defense: You

John Storts

Just yesterday, a friendly, inquisitive stranger approached my desk. She appeared to be looking for someone in my office with no luck. Like any courteous person, I asked her who she was looking for. She introduced herself as a sales and marketing associate for the company; I identified myself as the host of the Knowledge Network. When she asked me to demonstrate some of our Knowledge Network content and explain how my job duties related to IT Business Edge, I willingly proceeded to give my best description of my responsibilities and frank assessment of impact.


About two-thirds of the way through, as I began to prematurely applaud myself for my succinctness and candor, sirens began to blare and red lights began to flash.


Why? Because I had quickly and easily revealed sensitive information about my work, our company heirarchy and partner details to a perfect stranger.


In a previous job, according to clear, firm company policy, this would have had consequences ranging from formal reprimand to outright termination, depending on who I had talked to, what was revealed and how that information was used. By heedlessly revealing details without first confirming this person's affiliation, I could have been in violation of privacy and data security rules of both a codified and common-sense nature. I had a responsibility to guard information about the company with utmost vigilance; competitors continually hunted for any "intel" they could get on our products, schedules and people.


I have that same responsibility at IT Business Edge, regardless of the product on offer; the klaxons in my head wailed to remind me of this. Sure, the person's credentials were legit, and we actually had a very pleasant, promising conversation about future projects. But, momentarily, I had let my guard slip and shared information that might have been harmful to the company (or me) if used inappropriately.


I'm not saying that I know anything of any real importance. I am saying that we all need to stay mindful of the many, innocent-seeming ways that we can inadvertently divulge the wrong info to the wrong people. All the sophisticated safeguards in the world won't protect us if we don't use common sense and think before we act.


More from the Knowledge Network and IT Business Edge

Information Security for End Users

Sample Password Policy

Password Management One Link in IT Security Chain

Symantec: Majority of Users Don't Change Their Passwords


More from Our Network Sites

Social Media and Security Back in the News

Top 10 Information Security Threats in 2010

Security the Smart Grid: The Road Ahead

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