Hands up how many people were surprised to learn that US security authorities have access to the phone records and the server traffic of the biggest telecom and internet companies in the world?
The “revelations” in the Washington Post and Guardian this week that the National Security Agency is trawling data relating to non-US citizens on the systems of giants like Microsoft, Google, YouTube and others may have made for strong headlines.
But in reality, it’s likely that many people would be more surprised to learn that the type of trawling carried out by operation PRISM was not going on. Following 9/11, the rules of engagement of counter-terrorism in the US changed utterly. Law enforcement officials secured significant new formal powers, and it is certainly fair to assume that levels of unofficial monitoring of internet and phone based chatter and records jumped too.
IT managers believe that the fragmentation of corporate data across their IT infrastructure and an emerging ‘Shadow IT’ network of user devices or consumer cloud services outside their control, are putting their organizations at risk.
New research from Freeform Dynamics shows over 80 percent of respondents believe effective business decision making is hampered by data availability and inconsistency issues. 83 percent are concerned about the security of their corporate data as it is increasingly dispersed across their network and outside. Getting the situation under control is also proving difficult with 93 percent saying that tracking and managing critical corporate data is now a big challenge, with the associated costs highlighted by 84 percent as being a further concern.
The survey report ‘Storage Anywhere and Everywhere – dealing with the challenges of data fragmentation’ is the result of interviews with 300 IT professionals in mid-sized organizations across the US and UK completed in April 2013. The independent report was sponsored by Mimecast. An infographic best practice guide and the full report can be found at www.mimecast.com/datafragmentation
As individuals get better access to the technology that enables their participation in the information age, so privacy has to be considered and regulation applied to raise standards to those that are acceptable across that society. It was interesting, therefore, to note the cultural recoil that occurred in response to the NSA’s recently discovered, and rather widespread, caller record collection (not to mention other 'PRISM' related data!) - it’s clear that this has crossed a boundary of acceptability.
This isn’t however, just a US problem. A news story recently broke in India highlighting that local law enforcement agencies had, over the past six months, compelled mobile phone companies to hand over call detail records for almost 100,000 subscribers. The requisitions originated from different sources and levels within the police force and their targets included many senior police officers and bureaucrats.
Human errors and system problems caused two-thirds of data breaches during 2012, with employee behaviour one of the most alarming issues facing companies today.
A recent study by Symantec and the Ponemon Institute claims issues included employee mishandling of confidential data, lack of system controls and violations of industry and government regulations.
Heavily regulated fields – including healthcare, finance and pharmaceutical – incurred breach costs 70% higher than other industries according to the report.
The image of someone having their computer hacked is often of a grandmother who has had her identity stolen or a family that has had its bank accounts fraudulently accessed online. However, for criminals who carry out these cyber attacks, businesses are often their preferred targets.
2012 was a banner year for cyber criminals who steal data from businesses. Numerous large corporations suffered high-profile data breaches, but many smaller firms experienced devastating data breaches as well.
Recovering from a flood or fire is hard for a business. But dealing with problems caused by a lack of business continuity plans or inadequate insurance can make it worse.
“The better you can plan for how to deal with an incident, the better off you’ll be,” says Lawrence J. Newell, CISA, CBRM, QSA, CBRM, manager of Risk Advisory Services at Brown Smith Wallace. “I say ‘incident’ because it could be something not always thought about in typical disaster terms, such as a breach of credit card information.”
Smart Business spoke with Newell and William M. Goddard, CPCU, a principal in the firm’s Insurance Advisory Services, about developing business recovery plans and the insurance options available to reduce risk.
Questions about the usefulness of tape come up often in conversations with users and vendors. The general theory, especially by cloud storage vendors, is that tape has outlived its usefulness.
The reality is that it has not; in fact, I often make the case that tape is actually more useful than it has ever been, especially in the cloud.
Here are three uses for tape in the cloud today.
1. Cloud Seeding.
Tape is an ideal way to "seed" a cloud. Seeding is getting the initial data to the cloud storage facility. Instead of transferring data across an Internet connection for days or weeks, it can be copied to tape and sent to the cloud provider via an overnight truck. If it will take you longer than 24 hours to seed a cloud via WAN transfer, then tape should be considered.
When the Ontario Volunteer Emergency Response Team (OVERT) was started about 20 years ago, it focused on providing a traditional search-and-rescue team to aid operations in the greater Toronto area. The group of unpaid professionals embraced its mission of providing well trained searchers to assist law enforcement looking for lost or missing persons. But then the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic hit Canada in 2003 — 800 people were killed worldwide including 44 in Canada — marking the first big community incident that OVERT was involved in.
“Our public health department found themselves without the manpower or resources to deal with a lot of the problems,” said OVERT Coordinator Glen Turpin. “And it was solving basic issues, things such as delivering food to quarantined homes and assisting with triage at hospitals.”
When terrorist suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev set off two bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in April, those immersed in the science of homeland security pondered a handful of obvious questions: What had authorities done to secure the route, and was securing all 26.2 miles of the course even possible? Had local law enforcement picked up any chatter related to a possible attack in advance of the incident? And were the brothers homegrown terrorists or connected with some foreign group?
Those are the kinds of questions that routinely get examined though an extensive intelligence infrastructure in place in the form of nationwide “fusion centers.” They were set up by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks as a way to improve information gathering and intelligence surveillance among the country’s various law enforcement agencies.
WASHINGTON - Recent twisters in Oklahoma are a reminder that preparation is critical, because bad weather can strike just about anywhere.
To help you prepare for the possibility of bad weather, WTOP's David Burd recently sat down with Seamus Mooney, director of the Department of Emergency Preparedness for Frederick County, Md.