Tag Archives: security

Security breach costs US CIO his job

By David Bicknell

Beware of data security – a breach can cost you your job.

According to Government Technology, a breach of health data within the Utah Department of Health in the US has cost the state’s CIO, Steve Fletcher, his position.

Fletcher’s departure was part of Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s actions following the breach, which was discovered on April 2 and is believed to have compromised 280,000 Social Security numbers other personal information of an estimated 500,000 people, including names, addresses, birth dates and some details contained in patient health records.

In response to the data loss, Utah has now started a comprehensive security audit of the state’s technology systems and created a new position of “health data security ombudsman.”

The data breach was found to have occurred on March 30, and is believed to have been caused by a weak password that allowed hackers to break through the department’s security and steal the personal information of as many as 780,000 people.

Government Technology reported that the breach was regarded as ‘preventable’, and that the incident shows that greater funding is needed to protect government’s IT systems.

At the same time, it shows the problems CIOs – in both the public and private sectors – face in trying to put adequate protection in place to prevent security breaches before they occur.

The problem is that if you ask for security funding before anything has happened, the request risks being rejected by executives. And if you wait until a breach occurs, as in the latest Utah case, it’s a bit like shutting the gate after the horse has bolted.

Dept of Technology Services CIO resigns over UDOH data breach

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Australia bars China’s Huawei from competing for broadband project

By David Bicknell

There is an intriguing row Down Under about the Australian Government’s decision to bar the Chinese telecomms company Huawei Technologies from competing for work on its national broadband network (NBN) project.

Australia told Huawei, one of the world’s largest telecomms equipment providers,  that it could not tender for NBN contracts because of security concerns about cyber attacks emanating from China.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said she regarded the NBN as a crucial national infrastructure project.

”You would expect, as a government, we would make all of the prudent decisions to make sure that infrastructure project does what we want it to do, and we’ve taken one of those decisions,” she said, when asked about the Huawei decision at the ongoing nuclear security talks in Seoul.

The Australian Opposition said it regarded the government’s decision to ban Huawei from taking part in tenders as ”clumsy, offensive and unprofessional”.

Huawei’s spokesman Jeremy Mitchell said Australia was still getting used to privately owned Chinese companies, but Huawei would not give up on tendering for NBN projects, which are being managed by the Australian government-owned NBN Co Ltd.

”We’re not used to companies coming from China that are leading in technology and also global – 70 per cent of our work is outside of China,” Mr Mitchell said. “We see this as a setback. We’re obviously disappointed. But through looking at what we’ve done overseas, looking at what we’ve done in the United Kingdom, we can put in place measures that help the Australian government consider us as a partner in the NBN.”

Other Links

Australian Financial Review: China’s Huawei banned from NBN

BBC Business News: China’s Huawei barred from Australia broadband deal

Former Dragon James Caan tells SMEs ‘cloud computing has changed the landscape’

By David Bicknell

An article in ITPro magazine featuring former Dragon’s Den presenter James Caan describes the benefits for SMEs of cloud computing.

Caan insists advancing technology and the growth of the online industry makes it easier and more efficient now to set up your own business and access information faster.

” It (cloud computing) has changed the landscape quite significantly. Companies no longer need to have large bulky archives with all their databases written on papers. Cloud computing enables all this information to be stored online in a digital format, with little limitations on size.

“What’s also very important is that cloud computing enables information and data access anywhere in the world, as long as there is an internet connection. My private equity firm Hamilton Bradshaw uses cloud computing and I’m still amazed how efficient the system is.

“I was recently abroad and I wanted to show my colleague some fairly large documents. I was able to access the files and information within minutes. Of course there is a risk with cloud computing, but security is high on the agenda for cloud computing companies. They are continuously updating their processes for user security.”

And believes Caan, that focus on security is something more SMEs should be aware of, even if their times is limited.

“I think all companies, not just start-ups, aren’t doing enough for their business information security. In the case of small businesses this may be down to the perception that they aren’t in a high risk position. As a business owner you wouldn’t leave the front door of your office open at night so why would you put your information assets at risk?

“Business owners are typically so swamped with everyday tasks and issues they tend to push their business security to the bottom of their priority list. However, I believe that a company’s information is one of their most valuable assets and should be at the top of every entrepreneur’s agenda.”