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Monday, 26 March 2007

Why you should use A UKAS Accredited Certification Body?

You have done all the hard work and your management system is ready for External Certification. It should be straightforward and after one or more days of intensive investigation, the Assessor finally declares your management system compliant to the appropriate standard.

This is how it should be, however, there are companies touting for business that offer certification on the cheap and in double quick time; these are the companies not accredited to UKAS and offer certification for a fee. The certificate issued is usually only recognised by them and does not stack up against any of the UKAS accredited bodies. It could be a complete waste of money.

How can you tell if the certification body is accredited to UKAS? Look up the UKAS web-site. Accredited companies can display the distinctive crown and tick. If they do not have accreditation then their certificate will not bear the UKAS logo and is potentially worthless. You may find this out when sending a copy of your certificate of ISO9001 or ISO4001 to a prospective customer only to have it rejected.

Reputable consultants recommend only UKAS accredited Certification Bodies.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

ISO27001 and Hard Disks

We all tend to take our hard disk drives very much for granted; they start each day and provide sterling service. With a little care and a bit of housekeeping such as defrag and cleanup.

A disk drive consists of disks of magnetic material spinning at relatively high speeds with a reading head flying less that the breadth of a human hair just above it. The smallest deviation will result in the reading head crashing into the magnetic disk with disastrous results. Add to this the mechanics and electronics of the thing, it is not surprising that ALL disk-drives will fail; yes 100% of them.

If you have been clever and have taken good backups of your data and have ensured that you have verified that the backup is good then you will have only a moderately bad time reinstalling the programs and settings etc. If you have been super efficient and have used a mirror raid system where the information on one disk is mirrored onto another, then you will have very little down-time.

The sad thing is that very few organisations have a full mirror set-up, not all organisations have a verified back-up and some organisations have no back-up at all. Irretrievable loss of all data can be very damaging, if not fatal, to an organisation.

ISO27001 Information Security Management Standard specifies the level that backup should take, the protection given to back up media and finally how redundant media is de-commissioned and disposed.

Don't let short term gains result in data loss.

Sunday, 11 March 2007

ISO22000 Food Safety Management System

There is a great emphasis on food safety, and rightly so. The consumer is having a greater say in these matters and cover all aspects of food safety from Farm to Fork. These include all elements in the food chain including packaging, cleaning materials , machines as well as foodstuffs and catering.

Previously there was HACCP Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) is a systematic preventative approach to food safety that addresses physical, chemical and biological hazards as a means of prevention rather than finished product inspection. A number of other emerging national food safety standards has led to more confusion than was intended and it was time that a definitive harmonised International Standard was produced

ISO22000 covers the majority of the existing retailer food safety standards and is a standard that is truly auditable; it aligns with other Management Standards such as ISO9001 Quality Management and ISO14001 Environmental Management. Indeed integrated systems are seen as the way ahead.

The approach, as with the other standards is a process rather than product and emphasises continual improvement as an important element.

Organisations achieving 22000 certification will have met or exceeded the existing Standards.

ISO22000 Food Safety - The Way Ahead

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Why is ISO 9001 so Successful?

The Quality Management Standard ISO9001 is the worlds most recognisable standard, with approaching 1,000,000 certificates issued in 130 countries this is a truly global standard.

The standard requires an organisation to turn customer requirements into customer satisfaction; something we all aim to do, but those achieving the required level are awarded a certificate of conformance, declaring this fact to the world.

Most organisations claim to be the best, the quickest, the most cost effective, etc, but an endorsement by a third party often carries more weight. This is where ISO9001 scores highly.

ISO, The International Organisation for Standardisation is a non governmental body whose country members are permitted to issue certificates. In this country there are some 268 bodies permitted to issue certificates and are accredited by UKAS, The United Kingdom Accreditation Service. Certificates issued by an accredited body have the distinctive CROWN and TICK logo next to that of the certification body.

There are a number of non-accredited bodies issuing certificates, unfortunately these certificates are recognised only by the issuing authority and are often worthless as a reference. The certificate is usually issued after a very short time frame and is essentially a receipt for monies paid rather than proof of conformance.

Achieve recognition from a UKAS approved body.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Security of Smartphones

The mobile phone is far more than just a device for making telephone calls these days. Most have a camera, some have the ability to receive and send email and some have the ability to log into servers remotely, so it is surprising that often the basic levels of security are not used.

Mobile theft and loss can cause significant problems to organisations especially those phones that do not have a pin in place to prevent unauthorised access.

There is little point in having high levels of security on networks if smartphones are readily accessible.

  • Set a pin for power on (usually turned off by default)

  • Set an automatic lock to occur after a period of inactivity

  • Don't use your device when walking along a street (theft is highly likely and additionally you could be distracted and get run over by a bus)

  • Don't leave your device in your jacket pocket unattended

Common sense - Protect your systems and your security.

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