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Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Carbon Footprint

Open any new publication and you are sure to find a reference to carbon footprint and the impact that this footprint has on the environment, from destroying the polar ice caps to altering the weather. There is little doubt that the evidence is irrefutable; mankind has done some real damage to the planet and its ecosystems.

What is a carbon footprint and what is a carbon neutral company?

Your carbon footprint is the amount of C02 (Carbon dioxide) that you and your business are putting into the environment. The direct causes are business activities including manufacturing, processing and service industries, also leisure activities and our own homes. We can all reduce this impact by using less electricity, gas, oil and water and by buying materials locally to cut down on transportation. Flying less, driving smaller cars, recycling and buying food that is in season all have a positive impact on your carbon footprint. However don't think that recycling has no effect on the environment because there is a carbon cost to recycling although less than manufacturing a new item.

If you are carbon neutral you are offsetting the amount of carbon dioxide you produce by providing (or getting others to provide) a positive impact on the environment. Tree planting is a good way to offset carbon dioxide production as is the use of renewable energy from wind, solar power or wave power and the use of renewable sources of fuel such as sugarbeet, oilseed and all other bio-fuels. If you can balance the amount of CO2 produced by these offset methods you are considered to be carbon neutral.

If this is part of a comprehensive environmental management system such as ISO14001 the rewards are even greater.

Monday, 16 April 2007

Poor Security in Wireless Connections

I am often early for appointments with my Clients (by design, as I hate being late) and to while away the time I often turn on yhe wireless function on my laptop. I am staggered just how many businesses, and home users, leave their WiFi unprotected!

They possible do not understand the implications of this but this ignorance can be costly in terms of poor security.

There are two standards available to protect any WiFi setup and these are WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy), this is the minimum requirement for safety and WPA (WiFi Protected Access) this comes as WPA1 or WPA 2. Wherever possible I recommend that WPA2 is used; it is far more secure and uses a better protocol than WPA1 and a far superior protection to WEP.

WPA requires you to set up a pass-phrase rather than the usual six digit password.
I would be surprised if a hacker could guess a pass-phrase and it certainly would defeat all but the most determined dictionary attack.

Here I have spoken about the application of basic security for WiFi but without this protection your system is like an open door; at best it allows others to use your bandwidth and at worst it allows access to your system with all the risks that unauthorised access can cause.

Would you leave your front door wide open?

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Internal Auditor Training on your Site

It is well known that training for internal quality or environmental auditors is a requirement of both ISO9001 and ISO14001 Standards. The usual way is to find a company offering audit courses and then to arrange for your trainee auditors to attend the course and receive a certificate (if they pass).

Although this method does provide your auditors with proper training in auditing the product or service element of the course is unlikely to be an exact fit; although training in audit principles and specimen tasks will be provided.

An ideal solution is to have the audit training provider tailor make the course to fit your own organisation; this way your auditors will have proper training in the standards and auditing, plus audit practice on your own production or service provision.

This may be a little more expensive but will pay dividends in targeted training which will shorten the learning curve. Your auditors will have the advantage of bespoke training and


Bespoke auditing training for medium and large organisations

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