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Security on agenda at Chamber event

By Brian Oliver, The Graphic

Azhar Laldin, pictured, InScope managing director, speaking at Portage la Prairie and District Chamber of Commerce’s annual joint luncheon with the Rotary Club of Portage la Prairie Tuesday afternoon at Canad Inns. (Brian Oliver/Herald Leader)

Azhar Laldin, pictured, InScope managing director, speaking at Portage la Prairie and District Chamber of Commerce’s annual joint luncheon with the Rotary Club of Portage la Prairie Tuesday afternoon at Canad Inns. (Brian Oliver/Herald Leader)

Business owners in Portage might not be as secure as previously thought.

Company security – both cyber and physical – was the subject of discussion at Tuesday’s annual Portage la Prairie & District Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club of Portage la Prairie joint luncheon.

Representatives from Winnipeg-based project management and consultation firm InScope spoke to both chamber and rotary members on security trends that are currently plaguing businesses across the country. According to InScope managing director Azhar Laldin, an alarming amount of small businesses are not adequately secured.

“I’d would suspect more than 80 per cent of the small businesses don’t think about information security,” says Laldin. “(Security) is something a lot of people don’t think about because they think, ‘I run a mid-sized company, I’m not in the layer of companies that are typically the target,’ but that’s not true. The information that hackers are looking for is all the same.”

Although cyber-security has become all the rage in the age of the internet, Azhar points to basic physical security measures that many organizations are overlooking. Lack of protection of paper data is a growing trend and converging both physical and IT security is one of the biggest challenges businesses face. A useful method Laldin suggests, in terms of improving physical security, is asking if physical copies of certain documents are necessary, or will an electronic version suffice.

“We’re here to educate people and share the fact that if you have someone’s personal information, you’re holding onto something that is very precious and it needs to be treated with a lot of respect and care,”  he adds. “I think the first and foremost thing is making a decision on data classification. Is this information something that needs to be protected?”

Invoices left about - perhaps not of the utmost importance to the business owner - could have customer’s credit card or other personal information available for the taking. Better defined parameters dictating which information needs to be protected can help identify the important information from the frivolous. 

“We hope that our members that were here today are able to take this information, and for their own benefit and their own purpose, be able to create a plan that will help secure them in the future,” says Preston Meier, Chamber president. “Any business in general has challenges. Our role is to try and bring in some solutions and some relevant speakers that may be able to address some of those challenges.”



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