Hey Kevin and Susan, this blog thing isn't so bad after all.
Thanks to a conversation with Kevin Beares over at the Microsoft Small Business Summit in Bellevue earlier this year I decided to start up on a blog. Something I told Charlie Anthe was sure to be a fad two or three years ago when we were discussing it at an MVP Summit. Later that month he jumped in with his blog. So I'm not an early adaptor of this by any means and I've given in to the idea that blogs are going to be around for awhile so I may as well add my two cents.
A quick "technology" introduction. I own and run a consulting firm, Banks Consulting Northwest, out here in Western Washington. I founded and run the Puget Sound Small Business Server User Group (currently meet the third Thursday of the month in the SBS building over at Microsoft's Redmond campus). I am one of the Microsoft Small Business Server Most Valuable Professionals - Windows Server System, Small Business Server, or something like that (SBS MVP for short) and I like run-on sentences. :-)
As I was traveling across Puget Sound on my way back to the office from Seattle on a pleasant August evening last night I was reading up on Susan Bradley's trip to Chicago and her comments about the CPAs and their notebooks. Got me thinking about us consultants too and how we need to educate our end users across the entire small business space, not just CPA firms.
I picked up a new HP tc4400 Tablet last month when my tc1100 died and have had a new awakening with security on a notebook. I have been using SplashID on my Pocket PC (and Palms before that) for years. Used to run it on my Apple PowerBook before I switched over to the Tablet PCs. It is great for keeping track of confidential information like Website credentials and customer credit card information. But that still wasn't covering the entire hard drive on my portable.
Tried the encryption in OS X a few years back and it brought my Titanium PowerBook to a crawl as the OS would chew on the data. That lasted about 30 minutes before I changed it back.
To date I have kept all critical data in the 256-bit Blowfish encrypted SplashID database and accounting information locked down on the server at our office. But still been thinking about that hard drive with each passing news story.
To the rescue came the tc4400. To be honest, I wasn't looking for it, but the Tablet came with a built in integrated Security TPM 1.2 Embedded Security Chip and a HP Fingerprint Sensor. The security chip has been very cool. I've set up the single sign on for what I consider non-critical sites (various SharePoint sites for example with their annoying logins) and had it generate a key for Windows XP to use to encrypt the drive. I'm still leery to have my financial Websites attached to a single sign on in the chance I walk away from the computer and someone decides to go browsing, but the encryption on the drive, and again, the single sign on to the sites I do have activated, has been fantastic. So start looking into this for your own PCs when you are replacing and/or upgrading. And use SplashID or a similar product on your PDA and don't put your soc and credit cards in your contacts or notes section of Outlook or Palm Desktop!