Arlington Composite Squadron IT Update for September 2012

I hope that everyone enjoyed Labor Day and that you’re all getting back into the swing of things as summer winds down.  I have a couple of items I’d like to share with the squadron:

NatCap Google Accounts

The National Capital Wing makes Google Apps accounts available to its members and strongly recommends that all senior members and cadet leadership maintain an account for CAP business.  Members receive a NatCap e-mail address that is often used by the wing to disseminate important announcements.  For our new members, I’d like to suggest that you go to the Wing’s web site and click on the cloud on the left side of the screen that says “NatCap Apps.”  You will then be taken to a short form where you can request an account.  (Here is a direct link to that form.)

The squadron also recommends (but does not require) that members with a NatCap e-mail address use that address in eServices, rather than a personal e-mail address. Doing so means that if anyone in CAP needs to contact you, there is just one address to use.

Protecting Personally Identifiable Information

As a reminder (see my update from April 2012), in accordance with CAPR 1-2, all CAP members are required to protect any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) they acquire as part of CAP business.  Let me suggest two particular practices that will help us all be better stewards of this information:

  1. There are some cases where a member’s Social Security Account Number (SSAN) is needed for legitimate CAP business.  If you are asked for your SSAN, first please make sure you know what it is being used for.  If you are comfortable sharing the information, it is best to avoid sending it via e-mail if at all possible.  Please try to communicate the information in person or over the phone.  (If the use of e-mail is unavoidable, please make sure you verify the e-mail address to which you send it and encrypt the e-mail if encryption is available.)
  2. When we receive squadron-wide (or wing-wide) e-mails, sometimes the header contains a long list of addressees.  This can certainly be annoying to wade through to get to the content of the message, and I have been guilty of sending out those e-mails in the past.  More importantly, sending out an e-mail with all those addresses visible puts PII at risk.  As you know, e-mail messages, unless encrypted, are not particularly secure.  If the message is intercepted, or if a virus on a recipient’s computer exposes that information to a nefarious actor, all those e-mail addresses are fair game to spam and other unauthorized use.  If you need to send an e-mail to a long list of people, a best practice is to place that information in the Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) field of the message, so that list will not be visible to all the addressees.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any CAP-related IT issues and I’ll do my best to help.