How to “Sanatize” Your Documents

Posted by nlvari in Microsoft Office, computer security, email, how to, small business December 2, 2009

Are you inadvertently sharing information with your competitors, coworkers, or colleges that you may not knowingly wish to share?

An attorney client of mine forwarded me an article today from a legal publication about attorneys that inadvertently share “meta data” with the opposing party.

For example, if you use the markup and editing features of Microsoft Word frequently you need to pay close attention to this.

Let’s say you finished making revisions to a document and accepting changes that were made by one of your peers and now your ready to send the document. If you send the final copy in Word format you risk the chance of sharing “meta data” inadvertently. In other words, its possible that the person you are sharing with could see all of the markups, notes, and editing history.

This could be potentially dangerous, embarrassing and costly if done unintentionally. The best practice is to print the document to pdf and then distribute the pdf electronically. PDF readers are widely distributed and most pdf printers allow you to add a password to restrict what can or can’t be done with the document.

Now if your intention is collaboration, then you ought to review the “meta data” in the word document and be sure that it does not contain anything that you wish to keep confidential.

This mostly comes down to training your employees and keeping your companies policies up to date. This is especially critical for small businesses.

We live in the information age. Staying up to date on best practices and understanding how to take full advantage of the technology you have at your fingertips can be a competitive advantage. Not keeping up to date can be costly.

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How much does spam cost you? Google will calculate

Posted by nlvari in computer security, email, small business, spam March 22, 2009

The following is a great story I found about the true cost of spam:
By Robert McMillan , IDG News Service , 11/19/2008

How much is spam costing your company? Google unveiled a nifty little calculator Wednesday to help you add it up.

It’s part of a marketing campaign for Google Message Security, the online spam-filtering service based on the Postini technology Google acquired last year. “We know in these tougher economic times that companies are trying to figure out how they can save,” said Adam Dawes, a Google product manager.

To figure out the cost of spam, you enter things like the number of workers at your company, how much you pay them and how much spam they have to deal with, and presto: Google figures out how many days (and dollars) in lost productivity this represents. Of course it also tells you how long it would take for Google’s service to pay for itself at your shop.

For companies doing their spam-fighting in-house, there’s also a “Total Cost of Ownership” calculator to show how inexpensive Google thinks its service really is.

Last year, Nucleus Research reported that spam costs U.S. companies US$712 per employee each year. A $31,000-per-year employee spending 16 seconds each on 21 spam messages per day would cost about this much, according to Google’s calculator. That adds up to about $70 billion per year in lost productivity, Nucleus said.

While Google may be helping people figure out how much spam costs, the company could do a thing or two to lower spam itself, said Richard Cox, chief information officer with the Spamhaus antispam group.

He would like to see Google do more to block spammers from using Gmail service and to start including the Internet Protocol addresses of Gmail senders in its message headers. “If you could see how many anonymous Gmail drop boxes are being used as the registration addresses for domains that are being used in spam, you’d understand just how much this is costing the community,” he said of Gmail spam.
The IDG News Service is a Network World affiliate.

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