Wednesday, September 06, 2006

How not to handle confidential information

We can talk about protecting yourself on the Internet, but if you say too much in front of your competitors, what's the point? John Andrews relates a little story about the risks of speaking in public (via David Churbuck):
You probably won’t listen to me if I suggest you keep your voice lower, not discuss tactical or strategic issues in a public forum, or speak in secret code, so this is the least I can offer you. If you finish your overly loud public “search marketing” pitch and walk out leaving your dream client behind, I will feel compelled to hand her my business card and offer her a free review of your written proposal. Like I just did.

I worked briefly for a large company that included information security in its new employee training sequence. Among other things, we were warned not to discuss the company or its business in public, and to avoid the accidental sharing of reading materials and computer files on airplanes. Our instructor, of course, had just enjoyed a long discussion of a competitor's business on her flight, courtesy of the competitor's employees sitting right behind her.

We pay a lot of attention to new risks online, but the old ones are still in the game.



At 9/07/2006 2:30 PM, Anonymous John Andrews said...

Did I tell you about the time 2 pharma execs got into my elevator and headed to my floor? My mentor was expecting some suits to deliver a company award...the press photog was already waiting upstairs. To them, I was just some post-doc. The whole ride they spoke about my mentor, how his funding would not be renewed, and how they didn't want him to know until next month. I got off a floor early, and took the stairs to arrange an emergency meeting with our research team. The funniest part? They still didn't recognize me, even when we stood together for the press photos. They remained completely ignorant of their mistake.

At 9/07/2006 8:51 PM, Blogger Nathan Gilliatt said...

Wow. Amazing how someone would dismiss the unknown person in the elevator and talk about a sensitive topic. The funny thing is, most people probably have similar stories.


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