Managing the Fraud Risks of 21st Century Technology


James D. Ratley, CFE
ACFE President and CEO

Today's businesses and governments rely heavily on exchanging computer data files to inexpensively collaborate on projects anytime, anywhere. The basic ingredients — widely used applications and 24/7 global connectivity — have long been cobbled together to gain limited, but important, advantages. For nearly two decades, we have run our favorite software on stand-alone or networked PCs and emailed our data files to colleagues around the world.

However, the game is changing. Organizations can now cut costs and reduce maintenance responsibilities by storing and using their data via various offsite "cloud computing" options offered by hundreds of new and established companies.

Besides providing worldwide file creation and sharing without having to use email or a company network, the cloud allows companies to "rent" only the applications, processing power and computing infrastructure they need today and reduce their consumption with minimal losses whenever it suits them.

Even so, the numerous operational and cost advantages of doing business in the cloud come with a corresponding array of disadvantages for CFEs. For example, it is often difficult to maintain chains of custody over evidence in the cloud's diverse virtual computing environment. As ACFE Faculty Member Walt Manning, CFE, recently wrote in Fraud Magazine, "The legal, digital forensics and e-discovery communities must revamp their mindsets, tools and training programs to address the new challenges presented by cloud computing." ("Investigating in the Clouds: Cloud Computing Shakes Up Examination Process.")

Read the full "Letter from the President" in the September/October issue of Fraud Magazine.