May 2017

The public is certainly aware that the Chapter 13 offices are intensely computerized. We rely on complicated software programs to store, calculate and manage our extensive data.

It takes exceptionally talented people to keep our systems running smoothly and safely. In today’s environment, safety is a pervasive issue. We are all aware of massive hacking and data compromising attacks. Our information technology expert, Christine Smith, has selected and monitored a firewall that protects our office from cyber invasion. Her experience in Cyber Security is evident in the article she wrote. It is printed below. Because of her expertise, you can rest assured that our data is safely protected. Furthermore, the website addresses mentioned in her article may personally help protect you and your computer.

Cyber Security – who should practice it?
By Christine Smith, System Manager

Technical Specifications
Articles are published every day to urge us how to protect ourselves from the often silent but potentially crippling cyber-attacks. We are told to make sure we protect our networks using firewalls, security software and installing the endless updates for every form of software used. We need to protect every entry into our network, from our desktops, laptops, cell phones and yes, even printers.
There is the familiar mantra of “backups are a must.” We often forget about the physical control that should be implemented as well. Locking computers when walking away and shutting down or logging out at the end of the day are musts. Only give employees access to what they need to get their work done as opposed to the entire network. Make sure passwords are used, kept private and chanted at regular intervals. If you choose to use Wi-Fi, you are opening yourself up to a broader, harder to protect home base and must secure it with a complex password.

Team Effort
All of the above can be implemented in theory, but if not practiced on a daily basis, your systems will not be safe. In our current atmosphere, it is no longer a question of “if it happens.” It is more like “when it happens,” will you be ready? Will you have a plan that will bring your network back after an attack such as ransomware or a Zero day exploit? Don’t have any idea what these are? Sites like https://www.fireeye.com/current-threats.html can help educate you and give you an idea of what you need to be particularly careful with. The next step is realize that every click of the mouse, whether it be in an email, a word document or a zipped folder, has the potential to bring your network down. Office staff and attorneys alike must be continuously thinking of these possibilities. They should be saying to themselves, “Am I expecting this email? Should it have a zipped folder attached?” Do you allow your staff to check their own email on your computers? Do you allow internet browsing? Are your end users aware of the dangers of doing these things on work equipment?

In the End…
In the end, after all the firewalls, security software, physical security and end user procedures, your network is only as good as your biggest risk to your network. So educate, practice and demonstrate through personal practices to your staff how to create the safest network possible. Here are some tips as well: https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-306595A1.pdf

After reading her article, I’m sure you agree that Chris is a dependable expert and our data is well guarded. Thank you Chris.


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