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Reflections of Harvey : How the worst of nature brought out the best in mankind.
In this month's VantagePoints we address an area of growing concern for employers that demands proactive planning - guns in the workplace.
We also address the issue of vulnerabilities in accessing Wi-Fi networks in flight, seldom highlighted but often felt by those who, in their effort to maintain connectivity, fall victim to hackers.
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Packin' Heat: The dilemma of guns in the workplace
The United States, and particularly Texas, has an affinity for guns. According to a number of estimates, there are about 15 million holders of concealed handgun licenses in our nation, with Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania each having issued more than 1 million permits. In Texas, the recent "open carry" provision further allows licensees to carry an unconcealed sidearm.
This makes it increasingly likely that someone in your midst is legally carrying a sidearm. To many, this is a disturbing concept - even more so in the workplace. This is a matter that should be considered by all employers, and for which policies and procedures should be carefully formulated and implemented.  
There are a number of considerations that must be weighed when crafting policies regarding firearms. The first is the safety of company personnel. You want your people to be safe, and feel safe. There are many who are deathly afraid of any weapon. On the other hand, there are those to whom shooting is second nature. A policy that accommodates both mindsets can be a difficult balancing act.  
Many companies have opted for a complete weapons ban. However, a universal prohibition of guns might not be the best policy, because it removes the ability to respond to threats. An exception might be made for properly trained executives and others with military or law enforcement backgrounds.
Regardless of your policy on firearms in the workplace, it is critical that you have one. It is also essential to have your policy in written form, clearly communicated to all employees, and in compliance with state law.    
The security team of ResultQuest® would welcome the opportunity to guide you through the process of developing policies regarding firearms. Call us at 713/781-9040 to discuss your needs.  

Unfriendly Skies: Vulnerabilities of on-board airline Wi-Fi

ResultQuest® was recently contacted by a CEO client who requested assistance in determining the source of a spoofed email in which he directed his corporate accounts payable clerk to wire money to a certain account to pay a vendor. Of course, the email was bogus, but it was formatted and worded in a way that made it appear genuine. Fortunately, the payables clerk contacted the CEO for verification and the fraud was averted.
Our specialist determined that the header of the email was completely fabricated, suggesting a significant level of expertise, and it had characteristics suggesting Nigerian actors. However, the question remained as to how closely held company information had been acquired.
A discussion with the CEO revealed that he had recently accessed the Wi-Fi to access his email on an airline fight, during which time he had noticed "some weird messages" that popped up. Although convenient, especially on long trips, in-flight Wi-Fi provides a target-rich environment for a hacker to gain access to your data, which is probably what had occurred with the CEO. This is especially true for those who lack proper encryption and strong passwords.
In their efforts to make in-flight networks widely accessible, thereby maximizing profits, the providers have intentionally minimized the security layers. This is not to say that aircraft Wi-Fi should never be used. There are means by which risk can be minimized, such as the use of a suitable firewall, deactivation of any sharing services, and close scrutiny of all security certificates. Also, many experts recommend avoidance of the old POP/SMTP email protocol. Moreover, utilizing a virtual private network (VPN) is a good move.
You could also just do things the old fashion way by leaving the Wi-Fi off and working off line. You might also read a book or, heaven forbid, engage your in-flight neighbor in conversation.
For more advice, or to speak at length with an authority on secure electronic communications, call the professionals of ResultQuest® at 713/781-9040.