1/25/2010
02:38 PM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
Commentary

BBB Offers SMB Security Info

The Better Business Bureau, working with technology and financial companies, unveiled a new online educational resource intended to help small businesses get a grip on data and online security. Based on the BB's numbers, it's past time for plenty of those businesses and their staffs to go back to school.



The Better Business Bureau, working with technology and financial companies, unveiled a new online educational resource intended to help small businesses get a grip on data and online security. Based on the BB's numbers, it's past time for plenty of those businesses and their staffs to go back to school.Fully a third of small businesses don't even run anti-virus software, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) states in the announcement of its new security resource, Data Security -- Made Simpler.

The site is bare-bones and straightforward, and that, from my perspective, is a good thing. People who aren't running anti-virusware aren't likely to be captivated by a jargon-rich, detailed and tech-heavy "intro to security."

They need something simpler, and that's what the BBB has put together.

Take a look, for instance, at this partial sample from the opening section: 1. Inventory the types of data you collect, store and/or transmit.

2. Inventory HOW you store your data.

3. Inventory WHERE you store your data for each type and format of customer information.

4. Inventory HOW DATA IS MOVED and WHO HAS ACCESS to it. Take into consideration your type of business, the stationary and portable tools your employees use to do their jobs. This is a very important part of the inventory process, as it will help you begin to identify the potential ways that sensitive data could be inadvertently disclosed. If you think you need outside help to identify potential leak points, consider consulting with a data forensics team or the bank or processor that provides your merchant account services.

Before those of you with IT security experience roll your eyes at the basic nature of the information, think about everybody at your business who doesn't have much security expertise, and may not even have a clue.

This is precisely the sort of resource -- just like Informationweek SMB of course! -- that you can confidently steer even novices (and maybe especially novices) to.

The topic is divided into three sections with detailed subcategories in each:

Handling Data

1. Securing Sensitive Data 2. Monitoring & Transmitting Financial Data 3. Becoming 'PCI Compliant' 4. Disposing of Data

Customer Relations

1. Data Security and Your Customers 2. Spotting Identity Theft 3. What To Do If Consumer Data Is Stolen

Data Community

1. Global Enterprises Data Security Issues 2. Responding to Third Party Data Requests 3. Common Technical and Legal Terms 4. About Our Topic Experts

Each of the sections can be read in a few minutes, and each would make a nice starting place to walk your employees through security issues.

I'd recommend making something like this a required part of even the most basic employee training, and, of course, making that training (and testing it) part of your security policy.

In developing the site, the BBB partnered with Symantec Corporation, Visa Inc., Kroll's Fraud Solutions and NACHA  The Electronic Payments Association, and it's to the credit of all involved that the project remained free from jargon, with information accessible to everyone and, more importantly, written in such a way as to comprehensible by almost everyone.

Sure you know this stuff.

But just as surely you know (and probably work with) plenty of people who don't, not even close, and the BBB has done a good thing by putting basic security information together, and putting it together in the straightforward way it has.

Send your clueless employees to the Data Security -- Made Simple Page... once you've made sure they;re running up-yo-date anti-virus software.

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