Beat the recession and protect yourself against crime with these handy tips from Bernard Collin, CEO of SafeComs
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Bernard Collin, CEO of SafeComs, has compiled this year’s top ten major IT security and business risks and the best ways to prevent them. This month we offer the second article of three.
Itâ€™s the Year of the Ox and the astrologers tell us we can gain prosperity through fortitude and hard work. Given the global economic forecast for the coming year, it looks like we are all going to need lots of both. Expect cybercrime to surge, expect Thai authorities to step up their crack down on copyright violations, hackers to create new and ingenious viruses, and your competitors to be looking for ways to control costs and retain customers. Bernard Collin, CEO of SafeComs Co. Ltd. in Bangkok, offers these thoughts on the top ten IT security and business risks for 2009 and the opportunities that come with them.
1. The Risk: Business Software Alliance crack down on unlicensed software
The Business Software Alliance or BSA will be getting a lot more anonymous reports in 2009, so be on the safe side and do a software audit. Fast!
The Opportunity: Get legal, look at Open Source
A time of slow business activity is the perfect opportunity to do a software audit. SafeComs can run a complete audit and produce a full report on exactly what software is running on your systems, its legal status, and its productivity in terms of performing the tasks it is supposed to be doing. This is also a great time to explore the many benefits of Open Source software.
2. The Risk: Money and data theft through virus infection
Complacency is the big risk in 2009. The most desirable targets: companies using illegal software.
The Opportunity: Learn to protect your systems and put safety measures in place
A slow business cycle is the perfect time to get your house in order in terms of security. Donâ€™t stop at the technical fixes. Now that things are a bit less hectic, use the time to educate yourself and your staff.
3. The Risk: Loss of personal or company data
Most business owners are aware of the risk and most think they have backup under control. The reality: very few companies are adequately prepared for even minor data loss events.
The Opportunity: Upgrade your backup system
Use this period of relative quiet to review and revamp your data backup system. Look into outsourcing your data backup.
4. The Risk: Losing customers
If you are running a company, youâ€™ve got to find ways of cutting costs without compromising your brand image and losing your regular customers.
The Opportunity: Winning new customers
Spend some time exploring Enterprise Management and Customer Relations Management systems. Smart companies use hard times to build for the future. At SafeComs, we can also completely outsource ER and CRM, which means some companies can save enough to pay for the system in a few months.
5. The Risk: Thailandâ€™s new Computer Crime Act
A new Computer Crime Act came into effect in August 2008. Compliance requires installing data logging systems, which requires a bit of expertise. The risk is you can spend a lot of time, effort and money and not get the technical stuff right and find out too late that youâ€™re not in compliance with the law.
The Opportunity: Set up compliance measures
Because itâ€™s so new, the Computer Crime Act is a bit of a puzzle. While there is still some debate, the law seems reasonably clear on what data you need to keep and for how long. In this respect, itâ€™s a hardware and methodology issue.
6. The Risk: Good old fashioned theft
Expect an increase in petty theft of small items like mice, hard drives and printer ink cartridges and more expensive items like printers and laptops. Laptop computers are the prime target for both the casual and experienced thief because they are just so easy to steal and so easy to resell. And please, lock up these extremely expensive CDs with your original software and licenses you paid substantial amounts of money for and are sitting on an open shelf in your office.
The Opportunity: Tighten up security
Use down time to tighten security. Start by updating your equipment inventory. Review security policies and procedures and do some awareness raising among staff.
7. The Risk: Amateur consultants
Expect to be flooded with offers of cut-rate work on everything from website and database design to Internet security. People are out of work and need money and will promise you anything to get your business.
The Opportunity: Bargain rates on good work
The flipside is that there will be a lot of very good people available and willing to work at lower rates than before the downturn. In terms of talent, itâ€™s going to be a buyersâ€™ market. Donâ€™t rush into things. Do careful background checks and talk to references.