Blog Entries from 07/2013
Successfully implementing your business continuity plan requires more than just ensuring your systems are operational and accessible. Success starts with your employees – those who maintain the expertise and knowledge to keep your business operational. Communicating appropriate BCP steps to your employees is essential in ensuring your business is not impacted by a disaster or disruption. But more about BCP communication on Thursday…
Following are three critical steps firms should take to find business continuity planning success:
1. Identify a specific evacuation site in the event of a disaster. Designate a safe location for employees to gather if your firm’s building is evacuated. Don’t forget to:
- Make sure the site is ALWAYS accessible. For example, don’t choose a restaurant as your evacuation site if they don’t open until 11 a.m. or are closed on Mondays.
- Communicate the evacuation site details to all employees, including those who work at client sites. Because not all employees will necessarily be in the office when a disaster occurs, anyone off-site or returning from a meeting should know where to report to.
You guessed it. It’s Security Week here on Hedge IT! Today, we’re diving into a topic that we’re passionate about – education and awareness.
We’ve told you about the types of threats that can harm a business, the steps you should take in the event of a security incident, and the policies you should create to keep your organization safe. But now it’s time to talk about training your employees to understand each of these.
A firm’s security strategy will only work if employees are properly trained on it. Therefore, the importance of providing information security awareness training cannot be understated. The goal of an awareness program is not merely to educate employees on potential security threats and what they can do to prevent them. A larger goal should be to change the culture of your organization to focus on the importance of security and get buy-in from end users to serve as an added layer of defense against security threats.
Once you have buy-in from employees, your focus can turn to ensuring they get the necessary information they need to secure your business.
It has been said that cyber security is becoming what disaster recovery was 20 years ago -- the threat is real and increasing at a notable rate, and precautions must be taken. As a result, studies abound about the potential impact of security threats on a company.
Just last week, CSO Custom Solutions Group and Oracle raised the question of whether companies are protecting the right assets. Based on a survey of 110 companies, including financial services firms, CSO and Oracle found that most IT security resources in today's enterprises are allocated to protecting network assets, even though the majority of enterprises believe a database security breach would be the greatest risk to their business.
Following are specific survey findings pulled from the report that aim to make the case that firms should focus more on protecting core systems (i.e. apps, databases) versus the network layer:
Mirror, mirror on the wall. Ok Glass, who is the fairest of them all?
This is how I envision the modern day queen in Snow White receiving her daily validation. Why? Because Google’s Glass, a wearable smartphone, has the potential to shift how we function and put us all on the path to talking to ourselves on a daily basis.
Google Glass is one example of how smartphone technology is ditching the confines of phones and moving into new form factors including glasses and watches.
Currently, about 8,000 “Explorers” are testing Glass and experiencing how beginning a sentence with “Ok Glass” can dramatically change how you receive information. Earlier this month, Google provided more details on Glass and promised wider availability in 2014. They also took steps towards squashing privacy concerns.
The Glass screen, when activated, looks “a lot like a 25 inch color TV floating about 8 feet in front of you” and weighs about as much as a pair of sunglasses.
This week, Research in Motion officially became known as BlackBerry Ltd. But will the name change really change anything for this struggling company? It’s hard to say.
BlackBerry’s woes have multiplied of late, with personnel changes, price cuts and stakeholder dissatisfaction making headlines. Just this month, two long-time board members announced they will be stepping down, while CEO Thorsten Heins continues to ask shareholders for patience as the company tries to reinvent itself and compete with its successful rivals.
On the smartphone market front, BlackBerry’s struggles continue. According to Gartner, market share has dwindled from over 50 percent in 2009 to less than 3 percent. BlackBerry’s newest device, the Z10, has already lost its luster. US smartphone carriers including AT&T and Verizon have slashed prices from $199 to just $99, less than four months after the phone’s initial release. Retailers like Amazon and Best Buy are doing one better, and selling the phones for as low as $49 under contract.
In a move likely to redefine the financial industry, the SEC voted this week to rescind an 80-year-old ruling prohibiting hedge funds from public advertising. The ruling comes as the result of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act), which is intended to make it easier for small businesses to raise capital.
The Securities Act of 1933 was originally implemented following the stock market crash in 1929 as a means to regulate and control securities sold, requiring that funds register with the SEC unless they met an exemption.
Under the new rule, hedge funds, private equity funds and other investment firms will have the opportunity to publicly solicit capital via a variety of commercial advertising outlets, including websites, print ads, and social media. Hedge funds have historically been quiet on such mediums, largely due to fear of noncompliance with regulations.
Here at Eze Castle Integration we have a pantry full of thoughtful policies that help ensure we keep everything in tip-top shape. In past Hedge IT articles, we’ve shared our recipes for creating security incident policies, BYOD policies and social media policies.
Today, we are going to share our recipe for creating an Acceptable Use Policy, which governs how a company and its employees use computing resources. The SANS Institute, which has policy templates galore, also has an Acceptable Use Policy template that you can find HERE and is the foundation for our award-winning recipe.
First, define the purpose and scope of your policy by answering questions including:
- Why are the rules in place (i.e. protect firm from virus attacks, compromising of the computing network, etc.)?
- Who does the policy apply to (i.e. employees, consultants, contractors, etc.)?
We hope all of our readers, clients, partners and friends have a great Fourth of July holiday! We'll see you back here on the Hedge IT on Tuesday, July 9th for more tech talk!
You may have heard of it – the newest social media app that’s sweeping the 18-25 year old demographic – Snapchat. But what is it, and how could the technology behind it affect the business world?
Snapchat is a photo messaging application in which users can take photos or record short videos on their smartphones, then add text or drawing and send them to select contacts. When sending the content, users have the ability to set a time limit for how long the recipients can view it (up to 10 seconds), after which the photo or video will disappear from the recipient's device.
Here’s a recent Snapchat ad that depicts how the app is used:
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