January 17, 2012, 12:55 PM —
I know the readership of this column is a technical crowd. Don’t worry, I’m not going to talk about computer viruses and other related technical issues.
If you’re a software developer, tester, business analyst, or project manager, if you lose your laptop, leave it on the train or it is stolen out of your car, the work files you have on your laptop can potentially get you fired.
For software developers, your risks include the release of
- Test data containing real customer information, including credit card numbers, social security numbers, etc.
- Hardwired company passwords to FTP sites, cloud computer based applications, and fire wall pass-throughs
- Source code to company proprietary algorithms, such as security schemes, mathematical formulas, stock/bond purchase algorithms, etc.
- Company internal data, such as customer lists, marketing plans, employee salary information, etc.
- Company proprietary source code that gives your company a competitive edge or is used in a software product if you work for a software company
For testers, your risks include the release of
- All those things listed above for software developers if you are working closely with the software development teams
- Test plans that highlight potential weaknesses in client/customer facing software applications
- Functional and Technical Specification documents that contain information on company proprietary software applications, business processes, and implementation schedules
- Lists of problems with current project software that could be exploited for fraudulent purposes
- List of testing passwords that are live in production applications
For business analysts your risks include the release of
- All of those items listed above if you are working closely with the software developers and/or testers
- Documentation on key business processes, business initiatives, quotes and analysis of existing company problems and issues from company executives and application users.
- Business cases that include information on company initiates and new product releases
For project managers your issues include the release of
- Names and contact info of key business and technical users
- Names of key developers, testers, business analysts, and users
- Project timeframes and business initiatives
The goal of the above lists is simply to illustrate the potential problems that could be caused for your company if your laptop is lost and ends up in the wrong hands. As you saw when reading these lists, good work is being done, all intent is ethical, and this type of information is probably on your laptop because you plan to work at home. The lesson is don’t get in trouble for working hard and trying to do the right thing.