Ron Mendell Knows Your Information (Security)

“Don’t confess your secrets online,” says Internet security expert and ACC Adjunct Professor Ron Mendell.

Seems like a simple concept, but with today’s technology and social networking, people aren’t exactly following that philosophy.

“A woman told me that someone was stalking her – they knew her favorite movies and books. Sure enough, she had posted her life story on her Facebook wall,” says Mendell.

“Don’t let people get that information by feeding it to them.”

Mendell knows online investigation, and not just the easy stuff people publish on their social networking profiles. He worked 13 years as a legal and private investigator, finding anything from details on a company in Dubai, to the safety of a children’s big wheel.

He’s even written the book on security. In fact, he’s written seven books on information security, including his most recent title, “How To Do Financial Asset Investigations.”

“Mr. Mendell is a true expert in the field of security and private investigation and a genuine pleasure to work with,” says Claire J. Slagle, his book editor at Charles C. Thomas. “He’s not only experienced firsthand what information security is, but has the expertise to back it up.”

Ron Mendell

Along with his writing and consulting, Ron works as a technical client analyst at ADP business services and is in his fourth year teaching at ACC in the Computer Science & Computer Technology Department. In his class “Fundamentals of Information Security,” he shares, “There is no such thing as security; there are only different levels of insecurity.”

He’s the first one to tell you he didn’t coin that phrase; author John Carroll wrote it. However, Mendell encourages his students to have it down pat as they leave his class.

“It’s a class that can be valuable for anyone. It introduces you to the major issues in information security, and you’ll definitely leave more cautious and more informed than you were before,” says Mendell.

Lori Oakley was one of those students. She works as a senior audit specialist at Farmers Insurance and took Mendell’s class to pass the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) exam. She passed, and also gained knowledge to use for IT audits. She now has the proper terminology to assist her in getting information from those she audits.

“Ron’s strength in teaching is that he shares examples of current topics, which makes the class more interesting and real,” says Oakley. “In fact, I liked his teaching style so much that he presented at one of our seminars for the Austin chapter of the Institute of Internal Auditors.”

While students who complete Mendell’s class have a smarter attitude about information security, he also wants the general public to know that what they share with the world through their smart phone is not always very smart. If someone really wanted to store that information and use it, they could.

“There are issues with smart phones. If you store sensitive info on one, like online banking access, and lose the phone, you could be in trouble.” says Mendell. “Smart phones are great, but be careful with what you store on there – if you don’t want people to know that information, don’t have it on your phone.”

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