Thursday, 31 July 2008

Careless Talk Costs Jobs

We have all enjoyed a good laugh at the Government's expense over their loss of computers and personal records. Yet I wonder how savvy we are when it comes to protecting sensitive information regarding our work.

Everyday on the commuter train you can hear detailed conversations of business contracts, disciplinary procedures and named individuals. Less obtrusive, but potentially even more damaging are those who work at their laptops on company documents with people standing or sitting next to them and well able to view what they are working on.

The same relaxed attitude is true of guests in restaurants and people talking or working on flights. I have seen documents across an aircraft aisle relating to a company which I was very familiar with, being worked on by a Japanese executive, which led me to believe that he was running his slide rule over them with a view to taking them over. A former Chairman of mine bragged of overhearing a conversation in a restaurant which led him to bid for the work under discussion and obtain it.

"Careless talk costs lives "was a watchphrase of World War2. We don't face such dire consequences but perhaps we need to revive it to read " Careless talk costs jobs" - starting with our own.

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