I have started to beef up the security of my IT infrastructure, especially for these earnings announcement. The biggest risk is not so much becoming the victim of a crime, it is human error. Forgetting your laptop somewhere, typing in the wrong email address and sending a highly confidential document to the wrong person.
Here are some basic steps you can do to beef up your security.
- Password-protect your laptop and have the screen lock up after you left your device standing unattended for 15 minutes.
- Send confidential files only by hitting "reply" to an earlier message by the trusted person to prevent making typos in the name (and have your email program trying to be helpful and pulling up the email address of a random person)
- Put PowerPoint files in an encrypted WinZip file before emailing them. Standard PowerPoint passwords can easily be broken, you can Google the technique to do this easily. An encrypted WinZip file covers you if you send the file to the wrong person by accident. (There is also a WinZip version for Mac, it costs $30)
- For added security, apply a full encryption of the harddisk, or put highly confidential files in an encrypted folder on your disk. The free open source utility TrueCrypt is great for this.