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Monday, 23 February 2015

DATA Lost …….again

There has been considerable interest, and dismay, at the number of times sensitive data has been lost or stolen, indeed the amount of data lost seems directly proportional to the technological advances in devices and perhaps the stupidity or arrogance of their owners.

Government seems to be a prime data loser, despite telling businesses how important data security is to them and the country.

Desktop computers - these are sitting on our desks giving access to vast amounts of data, yet many people get up and leave their desks without a thought to the risk they are taking. I always lock my desk computer before leaving it, even for a few minutes, because I understand that a moments inattention could put my data at risk and seriously damage my reputation as a security conscious individual. I use Windows L.

Laptop computers - these are becoming smaller and smaller. My latest acquisition is a tablet,  no hard drive and is small enough to slip into my briefcase. The down side of this is that it is even easier to lose. I encrypt my data so that would not be a problem but the loss of the thing would be very inconvenient. The data is, however, safe.

Memory sticks and SDHC cards - probably the greatest threat to data known today. These tiny devices can hold Giga bytes of data and yet can slip easily into a pocket. These devices should always be encrypted, but sadly many are not. All my data sticks have the ability to lock and encrypt data.

Mobile phones and PDA devices - most people do not activate the pin number lock to prevent unauthorised access and a s such they risk having their phone numbers taken, their email contacts list taken and if secret pin numbers and passwords are stored, then these are at risk. Add to that the ability of many devices to access business based systems and email remotely then it is easy to see what a major security threat these unprotected devices can pose.

I use a pin to protect my smart phone and have set a pin to protect the sim card as well. If my phone was lost or stolen, I can send it a text message which locks it and no amount of fiddling will unlock it, even if a new sim card is inserted and the factory defaults enabled.

A recent threat concerns web cams which bare on most des and laptops; it is possible for a remote hacker to turn on the webcam without the warning LED being activated and look at the use without their knowledge or consent.  I have a sticker over my webcams which is removed when I want to use it and replaced when I am not.

Keep data secure

Monday, 9 February 2015

ISO 9001 & ISO 14001 Latest information

A while ago we advised you that the two updated Standards that were due to be published this year had some problems.

It is normal practice for draft standards to go through a number of stages before final publication.
The Quality Management Standard ISO 9001 was put before the ISO Member countries for approval, unfortunately the USA and one other country did not approve the draft.

The Environmental Standard ISO 14001 was also put before the ISO Member countries for approval and again the USA and one other country failed to approve the draft.

This has caused a certain amount of consternation as both were due to be published as 2015 Standards; 14001 was due to be published in June 2015 and 9001 was due to be published in September 2015. 

The latest information we have (from URS, one of the Accredited Certification Bodies) is that UKAS (the United Kingdom Accreditation Service) will look at the proposed changes and issue guidance on the revised Standard which is now due for publication in December 2015.

The ISO 14001 Standard  is even more contentious and there is no proposed publication date.

The good news is that once published each of these Standards will have a three year transition period before certificate holders must move to the new versions.

Clearly organisations offering training courses in the new Standards will be guessing what they will contain.  It may be better to hold fire until the Standards have been ratified before expending time and money on these courses.

We will let you know if there are further updates

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