Monday, June 16, 2014

A simple, inexpensive method for preventing computer fraud

Running a small business is time consuming.  There's so much to do and often so little time in which to do it.  Consider the possibility of your business experiencing computer fraud.  Suppose an employee either deliberately or accidently misusing the information on your computer system.  How much time would it take you to clean up the mess?  Could it even put you out of business?

Fortunately, Shalini Kesar, a computer scientist at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, has devised an anti-fraud strategy for business that is straight forward and effective.

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"Computer fraud can result from incompetence, ignorance, negligence in the use of Information Technology or deliberate misappropriation by individuals," says Kesar. This results in the destruction of not only the main information systems but also backup systems, causing damages up to hundreds and thousands of dollars.

Kesar points out that reported cases of computer fraud only represent a tip of a potentially large iceberg. Anecdotal evidence suggests that employees pose one of the greatest threats because they are in a better position than "outsiders" to engage in computer fraud, Kesar adds.

Opportunistic computer fraud could be minimized, however, he says simply by raising managers' awareness and knowledge.

"Lack of awareness of social and technical issues among managers largely manifest themselves in a failure to implement even the most basic safeguards and controls," the researchers conclude, "Concomitantly, if management ignores wider organizational structural issues then this too increases the likelihood of a potential offender committing computer fraud."

These two main insights point to Kesar's seemingly obvious solution, which simply involves teaching management about computer security and then subtly communicating management's new-found knowledge to employees.

Spend some time learning about computer security then let your employees know - subtly - that you have done this.  Which takes less time and costs less money?  Educating yourself?  Or suffering a fraud that can cost you and your customers money?
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Story Source: Materials provided by Interscience Publishers. "Educating Managers On Computer Fraud Could Cut Crime." ScienceDaily.

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