Data Encryption in USB Sticks

The use of encryption has been around for years in one form or another and even dates back to the hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt. However, perhaps the most famous historical use of encryption happened during the Second World War when Germany used the mighty Enigma machine to code their highly sensitive military plans and strategies transmitted across Europe and the world.

Data encryption in the modern world still follows the same basic principle, that being the systematic scrambling of data in order to make it unrecognizable to anyone who does not know how to un-scramble it. In computer speak; it is the conversion of plaintext into ciphertext by use of an algorithmic cipher. In addition, a simple definition of an algorithm would be a detailed set of instructions that lead from a known start to a successful finish.

Whilst this all might sound a little high-tech, the fundamental message is clear; without the cipher, encrypted data will mean nothing to anyone trying to read it.

Encryption in today’s world is of major importance. With sensitive information of a personal, commercial and public nature increasingly stored and transmitted electronically, securing it from the prying eyes of opportunists or hackers should be a priority.

From a business aspect, there are many areas where the encryption of information should be considered. For a start, the records, and personal details of staff need to be secure and likewise the details of a company’s customers could be a valuable asset to a competitor.

Financial information, details of important deals, and plans for the future strategy of a company are all examples of sensitive information. A simple rule would be to encrypt any information that could be detrimental to the business if it were to get into unauthorised hands.

The value of encryption becomes even higher when it comes to portable devices. Losing a laptop or a USB stick that isn’t encrypted opens the door for anybody finding one.

In recent times, some manufacturers of USB sticks have produced units with encryption hardware built-in however, there are also a number of third-party software products available for those without, many of them as free downloads such as TrueCrypt, FreeOTFE, and Cryptainer. A Google search will reveal many more.

Electronic data is valuable and like all valuables should be kept safe. Modern technology has made it possible for information to be transmitted quickly and stored in vast volumes, but it has also made it possible to safeguard it. Businesses will only have themselves to blame if their information gets into the hands of unauthorised people.

Get a Handle on the Legislation With Architectural Ironmongery

There is an increasing need for both public and private sector companies to ensure that ironmongery specified within their business complies with new legislative requirements.

Due to the complexity of the legislation affecting ironmongery specification in UK businesses today, the experience, knowledge and expertise embedded within the Architectural Ironmongery industry can provide companies with a valuable insight into how to comply.

There are 5 key pieces of legislation governing the industry of Architectural Ironmongery:

EN Standards
To harmonise the standards for architectural ironmongery across Europe, a number of European Product Standards or European Norms (EN) are being introduced which where relevant will replace the existing British Standard.

Products are classified by using a coding system which is similar across all building hardware products so that complementary items can be specified for instance to have a common level of corrosion resistance.

Disability Discrimination Act: 1995
The DDA requires employers to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to physical features and arrangements to avoid placing any employee with a disability at a disadvantage to others. Service providers are also required to anticipate the requirements of disabled people and make the necessary ‘reasonable adjustments’ to the way they deliver their services so that disabled people can use them.

The act does not set out a particular way of meetings its obligations and though designing buildings to the latest best practice standards will reduce the risk of claims being made, there are no guarantees.

Code of practice BS8300: 2001
BS8300 (Design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people) was first published in 2001 and provides guidance on good practice in the design of domestic and nondomestic buildings and their approaches so that they are convenient to use by disabled people. BS8300 makes a number of recommendations concerning Architectural Ironmongery.

Building regulations – Approved Document M
Document M came into effect on the 1st May 2004 (England and Wales) and offers ‘practical guidance’ with respect to the requirements of building regulations for non-domestic buildings. Approved Document M makes a number of recommendations concerning Architectural Ironmongery.

BS8300 and Approved Document M were published separately and in some cases, there were anomalies between the two. This caused considerable confusion with specifiers especially as some of the requirements of Approved Document M were impractical. This confusion was rectified in June 2005 when a five-year review of BS8300 was undertaken and it was amended. At the same time a technical memorandum for Approved Document ‘M’ was published by the ODPM.

This route aligned the two documents on the many issues including visual contrast and door opening forces. Approved Document M and BS8300 have been successful in focussing attention on the ease with which people can move around buildings and the main issues concerning architectural ironmongery are to ensure that doors are easy to open and that the door furniture can by easily identified.

If you are looking to tender a project requiring a detailed specification of Architectural Ironmongery, it is worth checking whether the architects are registered with the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers (GIA). The GIA promotes standards of both integrity and excellence within the industry.

Footnote: Dryad Architectural Ironmongery is one of the UK’s leading brands of Architectural Ironmongery and is exclusively available nationwide from Wolseley through its specialist architectural ironmongery branches.