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Do You Know Who is Listening?

Taking care of business outside the office is a part of life these days. This makes it important to take caution not compromise your company’s security. One simple step is to be aware who might be listening. Here’s a couple of examples.

As I sat in a hotel restaurant enjoying breakfast on a recent trip, I noticed a few tables away two men talking business. One of them had a rather strong voice, an attribute very useful in leadership but in this case proving to be a potential security risk. Now, I don’t normally listen to other’s conversations but due to the level it was unavoidable. And because they were talking about IT, it was even harder to ignore. So during my breakfast I learned about a company’s IT strategy, from the organization structure to the weaknesses. Now, someone with deceitful intent may have been able to gain sales advantages, stock trading data and even information on how to compete successfully with this company.

The lesson? When taking part in “working” meals, be aware of your surroundings. Who is sitting within hearing distance of your discussion? What are your business topics? If the discussion was a document would it be stamped company confidential?

If there is a risk, don’t discuss or find a quiet secure area. This limitation can be challenging considering you may be meeting to make decisions and resolve issues taking place between and within companies. But think ahead and decide if your discussions might be damaging if publically published or end up in the wrong hands.

Secondly, when using your cell phone, consider who might be hearing your conversation. On the same trip, while waiting in the airport to board a plane, I couldn’t but help hear a traveler over ten chairs away, describing to his wife their newly purchased house. Ok, no real risk, although I do know where every security camera is located, but if this was a discussion about company secrets, they would have just been made public.

Lastly, a reminder about public WiFi. Working remotely through these access points does not mean the connection is secure. You don’t know who might be listening electronically. Be careful not only with the type of business transactions you place, but what you discuss in chats and emails.

Written by Ted Saul, Sr. Staff Writer

Ted Saul is a business coach that assists with Business Plans and Project Management. He holds a master certificate in project management and has earned his MBA from Regis University. Ted can be reached on LinkedIn, TedS787 on Twitter or emailing

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