According to the latest Computer Crime and Security Survey by the Computer Security Institute and the FBI’s Computer Intrusion Squad, virus attacks are the single biggest source of financial loss reported by U.S. businesses and organizations.
CSI and the FBI surveyed 616 computer security practitioners at U.S. corporations, government agencies, financial institutions, medical institutions and universities. These organizations said the second, third and fourth greatest sources of financial loss stemmed from unauthorized access to systems, losses from notebooks or other mobile devices, and theft of intellectual property. These four categories represent 74 percent of total financial losses as it relates to information technology for those surveyed.
Other points of note:
- 65 percent experienced a significant system virus
- 47 percent reported losses from computer theft
- 61 percent indicated that their organizations do not outsource any computer security functions
- 32 percent reported some type of unauthorized access to security systems
- 48 percent spend less than 2 percent of their IT budgets on security
For the full report, go to www.gocsi.com.
According to an October 2006 study by VitalSmarts and the Concours Group of more than 1,000 senior executives, project sponsors and project managers, the reluctance to discuss one of five key areas accounts for 85 percent of project failures.
The five most prevalent cost barriers to project
success were identified as:
• Fact-Free Planning: Eighty-five percent of participants experienced this problem on nearly 40 percent of their projects, where the project deadlines or resources were set with no consideration for reality.
• AWOL Sponsors: Sixty-five percent of respondents said lack of leadership, political clout or time from a sponsor doomed one-third of their projects.
• Skirting: People work around the priority-setting process. Just over half of project leaders attempt to work on this issue, but only 16 percent report solving the problem.
• Project Chicken: More than half of participants claim that leaders and members rarely admit when there are problems with a project, waiting instead for someone
else to bring it up first.
• Team Failures: Encountered by 80 percent of project leaders is another key issue of team members who perpetuate dysfunction when they are unwilling or unable to support the project.
A novel rehabilitation strategy provides state prison system and juvenile detention center inmates with computer repair training while helping public schools stretch their technology budgets at the same time.
Modeled on a program that ran for 10 years in California from 1994 to 2004, the Computer Refurbishing Program teaches inmates to fix surplus computers donated by large businesses. After updating operating systems and refurbishing hardware, the recycled machines are donated to local public schools.
“The prisoners are learning a trade,” says Brian Parriott, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections, which recently shifted the program to its juvenile system. “And by donating these computers to the schools, it lessens the burden that the schools would have for purchasing new computers.” And, for the businesses, it can be a charitable tax write-off.
Businesses such as Abbott Laboratories, Agilent Technologies, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and SanDisk have donated equipment. As much as 40,000 pounds (48 pallets) of electronics can be processed per week by the program, which pays inmates for their time and sets them up to continue in the technology repair industry after they’re released. Other states around the country that have adopted this program include Colorado, New York, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.
As a business owner, do you ever feel like you need a translator to talk about technology with your IT staff? If you’re looking for some guidance and clarity on IT fundamentals, then pick up T.J. Benoit’s new book, Information Technology for the Small Business — How to Make IT Work for Your Company.
Benoit, who has been integrating small-business owners with IT since 1983, not only covers the IT basics and how they apply to business, but he also tackles topics such as having an online presence, systems backup and security, cost calculations, and disaster prevention and recovery.
If you’d like a free copy of the book, be among the first 25 readers to tell us how you make IT work for your company or send us some feedback on a current IT challenge or issue you’d like to read about in BizTech. To tell us your idea, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org, or click on the “feedback” link at the top of this page.
Editor's Pick By Jim Silvestri
Users have long relished the portability of notebook computers — and made them part of the business culture — but a scanner that’s so diminutive that it can be transported with ease?
That’s the premise behind Planon System Solutions’ DocuPen RC800 color scanner, a device measuring 8.9 inches in length and weighing less than 2 oz.
The manufacturer states that the DocuPen RC800 can scan a page in as little as 4 seconds and store up to 8 megabytes via on-board memory. A MicroSD-Transflash memory card slot allows for increased capacity. Powered by a lithium ion rechargeable battery, the DocuPen RC800 comes with software that manages scanned documents and connects to existing programs.
BizTech has a limited number of DocuPen RC800 color scanners for readers who can best describe how mobile technology has impacted their businesses. Cclick on the
“feedback” link at the top to send us your thoughts.
According to a recent BizTech reader poll, technology equipment theft isn’t nearly as big a problem as accidental equipment loss and damage.
Has your company ever experienced theft of technology equipment, such as notebooks, desktops, monitors or other IT devices?
|46%||Yes, but rarely|
|8%||Yes, it happens from time to time|
|2%||Yes, in the past, but we’ve addressed the problem|
|1%||Yes, it is an ongoing problem|
On those occasions when your company has experienced theft of technology equipment, which of the following most often describes the situation?
|32%||An inside job from enterprising employees|
|23%||Equipment slowly migrates away
from the office
|8%||Outside contractors with sticky fingers|
|7%||Prefer not to answer|
What is the biggest or most costly problem when it comes to technology equipment?
|66%||Accidental employee equipment damage|
|16%||Employee equipment loss
(i.e., leaving the cell phone in cab)
|7%||Outside equipment theft|
|6%||Employee or partner theft|
Source: CDW poll of 316 BizTech readers, October 2006