Have you ever wondered? Truth is, I never have. And, as hard as I think about it, I don’t ever remember seeing a president furiously punching keys as he types a text or an e-mail. Turns out, there’s a reason for that: Bill Clinton, according to this article, sent only two e-mails during his term in office. (I know — hard for me to believe, too.) George W. Bush stopped using e-mail in 2001. Now, I admit, during my SharePoint talks, I do point out that we, as a society, depend far too much on e-mail and expect it to do things it was really never meant to do (like achieve real-time communication and distribute files). That aside, I cannot imagine how I could get through my day with only 2 e-mails, let alone 8 years! But, that’s probably one of the many, many reasons that I am not President of the United States. (I think that not being elected probably has something to do with it as well.) 🙂
But, I have noticed that I often see President-elect Obama with a portable device of some sort in hand. I didn’t really wonder what it was until I saw an article discussing his device of choice. What does he use? A Blackberry. You might wonder why I, an avid evangelist of Microsoft products, is blogging about our competitor’s technology. The reason for that is the rest of the article — once Obama becomes President, he will be switching to an NSA-approved device running… you guessed it: Windows Mobile. The reason for this is the level of security needed to meet government regulations. While some form of encryption is available on most handheld devices, the Windows Mobile device is up to the task of securing the communications of the leader of the free world. As the old saying goes, "if it’s good enough for him…"
And while this may seem like a light-hearted post, the truth is that security is something for which we all need to be responsible. It comes down to a trade-off between business continuity and risk management. The easiest way to secure your data is to simply not have any. No data = no risk of any unauthorized people accessing it. That, of course, is ludicrous. Since we need information to keep our business moving, the task becomes how to secure that data so that only those who should have access do have access.
Too often, when giving a presentation, I find that many people do not take security risks seriously. They consider "hackers" to be only the worry of governments and multi-billion dollar enterprises. This attitude could not be farther from the truth. Unfortunately, many do not heed this warning until it is too late. I know several businesses locally, for instance, that use unprotected wi-fi networks. I know this because they are in range of public hotspots, such as coffee shops, which I frequent. When connecting to the public network, I can clearly see the SSID of a local business attached to an unsecured wireless network. Even a "secured" network does not really mean that your data is secure. A wireless network running WEP, for instance, isn’t really a safe network. WEP, which stands for Wired Equivalent Privacy, is an old technology which can, according to Wikipedia, be cracked within minutes with readily available software. Unfortunately, WEP is still being used to "secure" networks.
If you want to know more about what you can do to protect your own systems from unauthorized access, I can help. While I am not the NSA, I can offer some security best practices for you to follow. Stay tuned for future blog posts relating to how to better protect yourself and your data from intruders. You can also use the "tag cloud" on my blog page to find posts related to security simply by clicking "security" (as shown below).
Now that you’re thinking about security, want to know more about the specialized NSA-approved devices the President can use? Read all about them here.