No More Excuses: The Cloud, Big Data & CaaS (Compliance as a Service)
How to use the Cloud to Eliminate Fraud & Ensure Compliance
19 years ago all of my data was on my thick and heavy Toshiba laptop. It was 1996, and this was the smallest device money could buy. Back then, I remember thinking having all your documents in one place was a great idea- it would improve organization, efficiency, and even protect in case of a fire or some other disaster. And it was great, that is, until the SEC seized that laptop as a part of an investigation into my business.
These were the early days of consumer computing. No one knew what they were doing or what risks were involved. External drives, backups, the “cloud”; all the places that data is protected and available today were, at best, an afterthought or a luxury. In most cases, they were not even possible – not readily anyways.
When my laptop was sequestered, never to be seen again, so too was the story that I was about to tell about FINOVA. For those who don’t know, FINOVA was a major corporation providing commercial financing back in these days. And my business was one of those being financed by FINOVA. Unfortunately, FINOVA was successful not because of their track record successfully financing commercial ventures, but because they were defrauding smaller companies, and using their extensive legal department to bury the evidence. FINOVA had my laptop sequestered four years before somebody finally got wise. At the time of their bankruptcy in March 2001, they were found guilty of committing the largest fraud in the history of the United States. But as we all know, 2001 was a tumultuous year. With the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in September, and Enron’s epic meltdown in December, FINOVA largely escaped notoriety (although several of their top executives ended up in prison).
Fraud has profoundly affected my life. Whenever I hear stories of people and businesses being defrauded, I feel my gut churn. I know exactly how helpless a person can feel when it’s not the truth that matters, but how good your lawyer is.
Since my own experience with fraud, I’ve sought to help change the fact that with big money and clever lawyers, cover-ups can prevent the facts from emerging, sometimes for decades. We’ve seen this from Madoff, to Lehman, to Bear Stearns. It has taken me nearly twenty years to overcome my “afraid to talk about it” phase. But for the better part of those 20 years, I’ve been looking, watching and building ways to help prevent others from going through the experience I had. I’ll detail those in the next installation of this series.
More to come ......