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Prevent Security Breaches

The buck stops with you, the employee, when it comes to keeping confidential data confidential. Because one slip on your part when handling corporate data could bring disaster to the firm and to you. For instance, if you are found to be negligent, you could be sued, tired or both. Security products like password managers and firewalls can help companies keep bugs and unauthorised users out but the proper and timely-use of these tools can be a tough job, even for large, resource-rich enterprises.

For the many smaller companies, caught up with bread-and-butter issues like making enough sales to stay afloat, dedicating a separate pool of people just to tackle data security will be difficult. This is where every employee can make the difference, For these companies, educating employees to do the right thing - keeping an eye on each others' computers and mobile phones, paying attention to who you send e-mail to - is the next best thing.

Besides the threat of a security breach, an employee's laissez faire attitude - or ignorance - can prove to be as big a bugbear for companies. For instance, programs like Microsoft Word maintain records of all changes made to a document, even if the changes have apparently been "deleted" from the text. This means a tech-savvy recipient can call up all the previous changes for less than altruistic reasons.

China's largest semiconductor manufacturer, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp, accidentally released its financial results ahead of schedule because the executive who had initially included these results, but later decided to remove them, did not realise that Word documents had this call-up-deleted-text capability.

Here Are Four Tips About Good Security And Best-work Habits

Never Leave Company Equipment Unattended

Keep portable devices like notebook computers, personal digital assistants and mobile phones closed, and take them - yes, even notebook PCs, if necessary - with you to the toilet, especially, when you are in a public place. This may seem paranoid. But even places that seem safe - like airport lounges, hotel lobbies or customer service centres - are not totally crime-free. You do not want the notebook PC, and all the customer contacts inside, to go missing.

Keep Your Draft Documents And Final Work Separate

This is because popular word processing programs like Microsoft Word track all changes made, so confidential data or comments you might have made initially, but deleted in the final version, could be easily recovered. If you want to use the same document format, then cut and paste the text you want onto a new document. Another good alternative: use software like WorkShare or Adobe Acrobat. These programs save the final document into a format which cannot be modified or "reversed".

Store Personal And Business Data Separately

Personal data tends to take up more storage space compared to corporate data because the bulk of it is likely to be family photos, home videos or MP3 music files. If your company does periodic backups of employee computers, all these personal files will get stored into its backup systems. This will eat up both the storage space and the time needed to do the backups. In addition, when a computer breaks down, it will also take that much longer to get it back online. All in all, a counter-productive scenario. So if you must save personal stuff on say, your office PC, create a separate, easily identified folder on the desktop. Better yet, transfer the personal data regularly onto portable storage devices like USB drives or MP3 players.

Avoid Using "Reply All" Or Forwarding Attachments

Avoid the temptation to click on "reply all" when replying to an e-mail message. Read the message thoroughly and check all recipients' names before hitting the "send" button. Better still, key in the names individually. It may be a chore, but it helps keep confidential information from leaking out inadvertently. Similarly, double check the recipients of your message before sending an attachment, especially if it has confidential information like sales figures or prices.

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