You can’t take it with you anyway

Last night, our office was robbed — as well as several others across the International Linguistics Center. The thieves broke a window near my desk, and they stole all of the laptops that they could, including the MacBook that I use. Argh. Two other buildings were broken into in a similar fashion, and we don’t know yet how many laptops, monitors, and projectors were taken. As I write this, we’re working from a conference room while waiting for the fingerprint team to show up. Ugh.

The “positive” thing is that the thieves may have made some mistakes in leaving evidence such as fingerprints and footprints. As you work and go through your own day, please pray for the capture and arrest of these criminals — as well as for the recovery of the stolen equipment.

In the end, though, I remember that none of this stuff is that important: “Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.” (Luke 12:33, NIV)

The people on this campus are working hard to give people around the world the opportunity to gain that treasure. If you don’t have that treasure for yourself — if all you have are the things of this world — then look to the man who made the statement above, because he’s the only one with the key to that treasure.

How secure are YOU?

Data security is of increasing concern within Wycliffe. From the translation project in a sensitive area of the world to the financial data center, nearly every part of our organization has information to protect. The first word in data security is encryption, the scrambling and obfuscation of data to the point of being unreadable or inaccessible without the right password(s) or key(s). It’s possible to encrypt any form of data, whether it’s your email messages, your connection to a website, a phone call, or the files on your hard drive.

On the Dallas campus, I serve a number of people who need to be concerned about the security of the information that they use and carry with them when they travel. Today, I spoke to a group of Wycliffe counselors who have legal and ethical obligations to protect their client files from prying eyes. Many of them acknowledged that they don’t do nearly enough to secure that information, and they were all interested in what counsel I could give them.

I talked to this group of counselors about two encryption solutions: TrueCrypt encryption software and the IronKey encrypted USB flash drive. The first is free and the second is, well, not so free. Both are excellent. Click on the links to see more information about each. I’ve been practicing using both products lately so that I can be equipped to advise people who need encryption and assist them in putting encryption to use. In October, I plan to present the IronKey product to my peers from around the world at our biannual technical conference. I’ve also been involved in an online discussion about data security with some of those same people. I’m not a security or encryption expert, but I know a good idea when I see it … and use it.

Do you have information that you wouldn’t want someone else to see? Encryption’s not a subject for the timid, but neither’s identity theft. Think about it. If you have a question, post a comment.