Everybody’s a Techie…

So the other day I walked into a shop to do some repairs. They had an in-house techie that put together their systems, but had no formal training. The kid was on vacation, so I walked in to fix an important program.

What I found was less than acceptable. The wireless was open, the computers firewalls were off and their data was completely exposed. Further, they were close to a public fairway which means that they get a lot of unknown traffic.

I have been seeing this on a regular basis – people that put their trust in non-educated techies. I lost a job to one a while back. They took price over quality. Later I found that person did something rather scary that exposed the systems and was asked to leave.

I can’t believe how many shops that have free WiFi have open systems. One system I was able to not only see the computers, I could see their POS systems. I was also able to download and upload files.

Did you know if you expose your Credit Card data in any way, shape or form, you will be subject to a $30,000 a day fine. Let me reiterate:

Thirty Thousand Dollar a day fine

I understand you need to cut corners. You wouldn’t fire your accountant for someone who does it every now and then. You wouldn’t take your Lawyer off retainer because your cousin is taking some law classes in college. Why would you do that with your tech?

There is a flip side – I know a few so called “Experienced techies” that I wouldn’t trust with my systems. They have certifications and diplomas to prove they have the knowledge, but couldn’t troubleshoot their way out of a box. A couple of them turned out to be good supervisors.

I also know some kids who come out of the gate and know their stuff. They have no certifications and are still in High School. They have the thirst for knowledge and can pick up new technologies like no tomorrow.

So if you are a company or person that needs help with technology, what can you do? You don’t know how to do that stuff and need to get things done.

Well, unfortunately the only way is to have a little bit of knowledge. Not only a little on the technology, but also what can affect you. A seasoned techie might not know that little tidbit on credit card info and you don’t want to learn of the issue until after the fact (and fine).

A good thing to do is talk to another techie. Ask them if they will come in and look at something small. If a seasoned techie sees problems, you will know pretty quick. Then you can take action.

This is going to be more important now that we can connect any machine to any available open wireless network. Laptops, phones or whatever from inside or outside the building. You might not even know someone is connecting. That is, until your data is compromised.