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Mystery printing and the price of pizza

Jun 28, 20043 mins
Mobile Device ManagementSecurityVoIP

Security concerns dominate Remote Office Networking Tour

The 2004 Remote Office Networking Technology Tour is now history. Toni Kistner and I had a great time visiting readers in New York, Washington D.C., Houston and Chicago, and hope those of you who came enjoyed yourselves. You can hear highlights of my presentation concerns dominated the discussions, with the same questions popping up in every city: How do we convince the boss the importance of strong security? How much should we spend on security? What’s sweet spot between overspending and wasting profits and underspending and leaving the company vulnerable?wireless networks. One attendee reported being startled by his home printer one day when it spat out a resume. Not his resume, but that of a neighbor who linked to the wrong printer over an unsecure wireless network.    

As always, 

Start by measuring the cost of making security mistakes. Track the time and money spent cleaning up after the last virus attack, for instance. The cost is much greater than that of keeping your anti-virus protections up to date, I guarantee you. Keep clippings of attacks on other companies, especially those in your industry, and show them to the boss.

One vendor told how a new customer learned, painfully, that buying his company’s endpoint security software cost less money than buying pizza for all the workers who spent four nights cleaning up after a virus outbreak. Not less than the overtime, but less than the cost of the pizza itself.   

Many asked about securing 

Corporate IT departments struggle daily against users installing unauthorized inexpensive wireless access points and creating gaping security holes. Attendees admitted to being much more diligent searching out rogue access points in headquarters than in branch offices. Have you checked your small office for rogue access points? Think your company’s too small to worry about them?  

If managers won’t listen to you, take them out into the parking lot and demonstrate how easy it is to connect to your company network while sitting in your car. 

Small business owners are motivated by money. Not in a greedy way like corporate CEOs, but in  the “need money to make payroll on Friday” way. Save by doing the small things right: Password-protect all network resources, make users create decent passwords, back up your data, and keep your applications up to date. 

When all else fails, let the owner’s secretary computer get clobbered. The owner might not turn on his or her computer that often, but the secretary or office manager who keeps the business running rides a computer hard. When that computer stops, the business stops, including invoicing.

Sabotage? No. Selective protection to make a point? Works every time.