Seven threats to your electronic records security

Seven threats to your electronic records security.

Your electronic records, no matter the form - computer files, disks, hard drives, solid-state devices - need to be protected. Despite claims that electronic records can last forever, many files never make it to the end of their document life-cycle. In this article we examine some of the major threats to your computer files and document security.

1. Missing laptops- Many companies issue laptop computers to their employees. Laptop computers are wonderful devices which allow employees to work literally anywhere, anytime. These laptops, however, are often lost or stolen, and may fall into the wrong hands.

2. Old computer equipment- Often times, when it comes time to upgrade computer systems, the old machines are thrown away, or auctioned off. Without proper wiping of hard-drives, these computers can leak sensitive company information to whoever uses them next. For this reason, make sure that all of your company's old computers are properly disposes of- either destroyed or wiped clean.

3. Employee errors - There are a number of ways in which employees can leave your company's sensitive information vulnerable. These risks range from getting up from the computer station and not logging out, to losing or damaging a laptop, to accidentally hitting “send to all” for a sensitive email. Not all employees are computer savvy. It is important then, to educate your employees about responsible computer use.

4. Errors in media backups - Backups involve making copies of important data for safe storage in the event of an accident. Sometimes, however, accidents occur while making these backups. Disk errors, for example, happen every so often. While the probability of a disk error at any one moment is very small, the risk increases along with the volume of data being transferred.

5. Too much IT access for employees. Many times, companies get their computer systems working and leave them alone. They never take the time to set up proper controls, and lack of control creates a huge computing risk. By setting up different user accounts, access levels, and file permissions, you can be certain only the right people have access to the right information for them- nothing more.

6. Internet hackers - Don't be fooled by claims of "secure web servers". Nothing can be further from the truth. There are a number of ways for internet hackers to look at or otherwise disrupt your data. These attacks can range from simple snooping, to deleting all your online records, to denial of service (DDOS) attacks which leave your server unavailable for use. The best way to prevent internet hackers is to not have anything of value on your web-enabled servers.

7. Internal employee threats- Believe it or not, some disgruntled or otherwise hostile employees may manipulate, delete, or even destroy a company's computer records. This type of behavior can be simply out of anger, or an attempt to cover up fraud or other crimes.

8. Damaged computers - Accidents happen, and computer equipment is certainly no exception.

Computers can be damaged by everything from a spilled cup of coffee, to a frustrated user who takes out his rage on the machine in front of him.

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