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Complacency Costs Money

Monday, 19th June 2006.

That was the message being delivered at the latest Haverhill Chamber of Commerce event. Samuel Ward Arts & Technology College provided the venue for the presentation on “e-Crime – How to protect your business in the 21st century” given by a team from Suffolk Constabulary led by Inspector Bruce Gent.

Inspector Gent outlined some of the changes taking place to the current policing model at both regional and national level and the challenges for Haverhill. He explained how the problem of youth related crime in Haverhill was being tackled by Community Police Officers in addition to working in partnership with a number of different agencies on initiatives such as “Teenage Kicks” and the Youth Diversion Project.

Suffolk Constabulary offer a free service through Crime Reduction Officer, Bernard Plume, to audit current security provisions within businesses. Based on the findings of the audit recommendations are made on how to improve the security of their premises, people and equipment.

Detective Sergeant Kevin Hegarty from the Economic Crime Unit spoke about the impact of employee fraud on businesses and gave some practical advice to the audience on what they should be watching for. He also discussed the growing trend in identity theft; the number of reported incidents in 2005 had increased by 50% on 2004 figures.

DS Hegarty explained that by taking some simple precautions with our personal data the threat of identity theft could be significantly reduced. Shredding personal and business paperwork, shielding the keyboard when typing in pin numbers at the ATM and never losing sight of credit cards when conducting a transaction were just some of the tips given.

Forensic analysis was the final topic on the agenda, Detective Constable Adrian Cassidy and his civilian colleague Graham Green from the Hi-Tech Crime Unit covered this at length. DC Cassidy spoke about the importance of encrypting data to ensure maximum security and advised that encryption software was freely available from the Internet.

He explained how the routine of taking regular backups of data was essential, on PDA’s, laptops and mobile devices as well as desktops. Automated anti virus software checks were recommended to detect malicious software and the dangers of sharing files, particularly music and pictures was discussed.

“Access control, clearly defined access levels and password management are cost effective solutions that are fairly simple to implement and greatly improve security of desktop and mobile devices. It is surprising how many businesses do not have these procedures in place. If there are any local businesses who require help or advice on this matter we are more than happy to help,” said DC Cassidy.

Graham Green concluded that it is imperative to have a plan in place in case a mobile device such as a laptop or PDA is stolen.

“If this happens to you or one of your staff you need to be in a position to limit the damage it can cause to your business. Some time spent formulating a plan “just in case” is a very worthwhile investment,” explained Graham.

“This was a fascinating topic”, commented Paul Donno, Chairman of the Haverhill Chamber. “ I was impressed by the wealth of knowledge that our speakers had and their eagerness to offer help and advice, free of charge, to the local business community. I feel we need to make more of this invaluable resource. We could all benefit by making our businesses more secure. There is a tendency to be complacent and to think that it won’t happen to my company or to me, if we take up the offer of the help available from the specialist units of the Suffolk Constabulary we have far less chance of falling victim to the e-criminal.”

Contact details for the officers and some useful website links are available on the Haverhill Chamber of Commerce website, www.haverhillchamber.co.uk.

The next Haverhill Chamber of Commerce event will take place on Tuesday 11th July and will be the Annual Car Chamber of Commerce Car Rally.

Vehicles will set off on the treasure hunt between 6pm and 6.30pm from the car park at East Town Park and end at a mystery location where food and refreshments can be purchased.

This is a free event with a shield for the winning team to be presented by local solicitor Paul Cammiss of Adams Harrison and a bottle of Bollinger, sponsored by Wicked Wheels.

To reserve your place contact Elaine Carr by Tuesday 4th July 2006, email: elaine@flipflopmarketing.co.uk, call 01440 710158 or for more details visit www.haverhillchamber.co.uk.

Haverhill Online News

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