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The Rules Have Changed; Puerto Rico Dismayed


December 16, 2004
Copyright © 2004 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Two decades ago, the security threats companies feared the most were thefts from break-ins and less-than scrupulous employees who stole equipment, supplies, files, money, or merchandise. These thefts were managed with security guards, state-of-the-art alarm systems, and security cameras.

Not so today. In the 21st century, security breaches go right to the heart of a company’s information system, which contains valuable data on the business and its clients, such as bank account numbers, social security and credit card information, etc. Although businesses may not like to talk about it, threats to their information systems and computer networks are on the rise. And it is costing millions of dollars each day.

Such threats emerge from insiders, people you trust and who sit at computer terminals in your company and intentionally or unintentionally breach your network’s security, allowing others to access your company’s information. Threats also come from outsiders, who may even be located thousands of miles away. They hack into your network, stealing information or unleashing viruses and worms that can destroy critical business and client data. Wireless communications has also added a new dimension to these security breaches.

How can companies protect themselves? By acquiring the right security tools that prevent and identify attacks to information systems before they occur, not merely detecting them after a security breach has taken place. Companies such as Microsoft, Cisco, and Nortel, among others, have taken a proactive approach in developing security measures that prevent such attacks.

The federal government also has taken a strong stand, cracking down on threats to information systems, with the Federal Bureau of Investigation leading enforcement actions. Companies must now implement strong security measures for their information systems, particularly when they consist of private-citizen information, or face stiff penalties from the federal government.

But successfully securing the island’s networks requires public, private, and academic cooperation. Educating the business community on how to reduce the vulnerabilities of their information systems and reducing the number of security incidents is necessary and is an effort that must be launched by both the private and public sectors. Company executives should also consider establishing strict e-mail, network, and Internet access policies for their employees.

Puerto Rico dismayed

Last weekend a devoted father did what most caring parents do on a daily basis throughout Puerto Rico. He went to pick up his young daughters from a concert to make sure they arrived home safely. But on an island where the murder rate surpasses that of any major city in the mainland U.S., this loving father was tragically caught in the crossfire between two cars, losing his life along with that of two of his young daughters.

The prayers and thoughts of everyone at CARIBBEAN BUSINESS are with the Barcelo family. We also pray that no other family in Puerto Rico has to suffer the pain that the family of Antonio R. Barcelo Jimenez is enduring and that too many families have been enduring over the past years.

This tragedy has generated a collective heartache among every one in Puerto Rico. These senseless murders also have contributed to widespread fears, as every person driving with his or her family to schools, church, movie theaters, dinners, or anywhere else is worried that any vehicle approaching them could fire weapons and threaten the safety of their most precious resource: their loved ones.

Puerto Rico’s crime and murder rates have reached unacceptable levels, and the citizens of this island are demanding and must receive greater safety and security for their families. Having four police superintendents over the past four years, while crime in Puerto Rico continues to escalate, is simply unacceptable. The island’s residents need ongoing safety and protection measures that are unaffected by local politics.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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