Re: Re[2]: documentation on the WWW

Subject: Re: Re[2]: documentation on the WWW
From: Win Day <winday -at- IDIRECT -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 4 Oct 1996 06:56:22 -0400

At 02:16 PM 10/3/96 -0700, Chet Ensign wrote:

>>> A question for those of you whose product doc is on the web...How do you
>with security issues? The R&D guys here are talking about distributing
>and doc through a limited access web site, and I'm not sure that's doable...


>I wouldn't put up anything your company really considers sensitive. But a
>password protected documentation database is probably just as secure as a
>paper book.

I've had to chuckle at those who seem to feel that paper docs are somehow
more secure than those on the web. My client just won a lawsuit against a
competitor over PAPER docs.

My client is a process control engineering firm. They design, install, and
maintain process control systems in refineries and chemical plants. They
are not always the only process control company that does work at a
particular refinery.

In this instance, my client upgraded a control system and left the project
report and software manual with the refinery operators. The operators are
supposed to keep these docs secured when other process control or
engineering firms are onsite. Well, in this case, a manual was left out
where the third party could get at it.

Soon after, this third party released a new product. They had never
developed anything like this before; they had never released any of the
development stages that would have led up to it. They also weren't smart
enough to change some key phrases in their documentation.

The refinery personnel were on the ball, and informed my client when this
third party approached them with such a similar product. The lawsuit that
followed awarded my client their fairly substantial claim. And this
happened in Canada, where lawsuits are no nearly so common as in the US!

The bottom line is, your paper docs aren't completely secure, either.
You're kidding yourself if you think they are. So take reasonable
precautions with both your online AND you paper docs.

Win Day
Technical Writer/Editor
Email: winday -at- idirect -dot- com

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