Byte Me Article 342 – Who Can You Trust 2

4th November 2017

Keys to the Digital Kingdom

Following on from last weeks’ article on computer security and loyalty we not look at the upkeep of computer systems themselves from both a personal and a business point of view.  In either case you are normally employing a 3rd party entity to do the work.  In many cases this is not far from handing them the ‘keys to the kingdom’.  So how does this work?

When your personal computer needs servicing or replacing there is little sense in creating a lower privilege user account and only giving a technician those log on details.  This would severely limit their ability to make system changes and if you need data transferred then it could also prevent this happening at all.

As a result you are giving your technician full access to your computer operating system – but what else do they need?  If they are fixing an email problem or recreating your email profile on a new PC then they will also need your emails account details (username and password).  There is no way to properly test an email system without these details.

The next thing to consider is if you have a locally installed tax package like MYOB, Reckon or Phoenix.  These packages can normally be uninstalled, reinstalled or setup on a new PC without log in details however if you are having a problem with one of them or if you need them tested then your technician will once again need the log in username and password.

So what happens if you are having an Internet banking problem?  We have had customers even give us these details because they wanted a fault fully tested.  We have not asked for this and I don’t believe it is the right way to go.  Instead we prefer to sort what we believe to be the offending settings or malware and then ask the customer to try logging onto their banking sites while they are in our reception office.

The last thing with personal computers is your own personal data such as letters and photos.  Between 7 permanent technicians we transfer around 100,000 customer photos per week on average from old computers across to new ones.  All of my techs have been doing this for years on end so do you think they take any interest in your nephews’ 21st birthday photos – not really.

Computer security for businesses also takes on some significant questions.  Is there anything that your IT tech doesn’t have access to?  If a business has an internal IT employee then basically he has access to everything.  He has access to the boss’s wage details, staff super details – everything.  If you have an external IT tech then he still has access to all of the above but has limited time to snoop.

In our line of work it gets to the point that you have to trust someone.  It is easy to read cases and plenty of movies have been made where an IT tech has ‘gone rogue’ and created a world of hurt for their employer or their country.  In reality this does happen but usually to a lesser extent.  Statistics show that there is more likelihood that your bookkeeper is going to rip you off than your IT technician.

At the end of the day it is not much different to a Doctor or Dentist.  If you are not comfortable with your existing one then best to look for another – before things go askew. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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