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Buzz Off!  Managing the Big Risks of Big Data

Poof!  Woody and Buzz were deleted forever.

In 1998, Pixar had nearly finished the Toy Story 2 film when a technician accidently entered the command ‘/bin/rm-r-f*’ into his computer. This deleted every single Toy Story 2 file.  Gone, wiped out, obliterated.

OK, what about the backup?  It wasn’t working properly and failed.  

Ed Catmull, in his excellent book, Creativity Inc., describes the despair that spread throughout the company.

Then, the movie’s technical director piped up.  She had been pregnant, had been working from home and was pretty sure she had set up an automatic backup every week to her home computer.  

They drove at speed to her home and – success! – found it had all the files.  Her home computer, he describes, was “carried into Pixar like an Egyptian pharaoh”.  Woody, Buzz and even evil Dr Porkchop had been saved.

The digital world has provided us with big entertainment and big productivity gains as the working world becomes more connected, faster and 24/7.


Gone Phishing

But it has also heralded big risks.  As the Toy Story episode illustrates, genuine mistakes can have catastrophic consequences.  But internal accidents such as those at Pixar are miniscule in comparison to the external risks from cybercrime.

Cybercrime comes in a multitude of forms from simple hacking to phishing, identity theft through to highly sophisticated forms of spoofing, GPS mirroring and the widespread use of malware and crimeware.

In 2012 research by US Congress found that identity fraud alone cost nearly $21 billion and affected 13 million Americans annually.  That works out to be about one American every two seconds.

OK, maybe this is a result of poor security by individuals and corporate security is far tighter?

Maybe, but let’s take an example of a modern, well-invested business which only has its online business to protect – what about Facebook?  

According to Facebook’s own security department they acknowledge that over 600,000 accounts are compromised every day.  Not per year or month, every day.  That’s one account every 140 milliseconds – a blink of an eye is 300 milliseconds. 

Twenty years ago, this may have been a result of a lone hacker, a spotty youth with a computer in his parent’s basement.  Today, this is far more likely to be a major online crime organisation or even a state-sponsored black-ops operation.


Fortress Equilibrium

Here at Equilibrium we constantly strive to stay ahead of the digital threat.  We have a number of defences, including;

-  Very secure systems for backup and resilience

-  Strict internal processes to provide security around authorisation and access

-  Applying the same rigorous standards to all of our suppliers and firms we work with

-  Undertaking regular audits to ensure these high standards are adhered to and reviewed - including testing of our systems by external cyber-security experts

To ensure we can safely process any requests from clients, however, we may need to verify with you that the request did genuinely come from you rather than someone who may be pretending to be you (identity theft).  

This may entail double-checking with you through a different channel but please be re-assured that this is part of our security process to ensure your assets remain safe, not due to any inefficiency or pedantry on our part.  

We will never, for instance, ask clients for login details for platform accounts.

By working together and – with a little added patience – by ensuring you know any communication from Equilibrium is genuine and we can be sure any request from a client is real, we can widen the moat to the digital invaders.