technology

NEXT-GEN DATA SECURITY

securitycommunityTo understand what next generation security may mean to us in the future, we must understand what it means today. Let’s boil the term security down.  What are we trying to secure? Data, right?  In today’s digital age, the evolution of 1’s and 0’s dominates the way we manage our lives, our finances, our businesses, and lately with the adoption of big data, we now allow the data to make decisions for us. Maintaining the integrity of the data, now ruling such a significant portion of our lives, could then be determined a top priority. We don’t want to go off making poor choices because we got the facts wrong. Ultimately, data security is simply the understanding and recognizing of the link between mastering data and protecting it.

idc-logoAccording to an IDC survey conducted, “84% of US Consumers expressed concern regarding the security of their PII (personally identifiable information) and 70% told IDC that their concern is greater today than just a few years ago.”

IDC goes on to explain just how much demographics can play a factor in preconceived notions of data security.  IDC finds that younger consumers, those aged 18-35, demonstrate a higher concern than the slightly older 36-50-year-old counterparts. So, we can see an uptick in a risk-adverse generation of users. These are the same consumers that will contribute to the adoption of new technology being pushed across all market sectors. It will be important for companies to maintain trust between those users and their data if they want to remain relevant.

iotMore devices are connected to the Internet than ever before. From our smart phones to our smart watches and fitness apps, to our smart homes, the rising phenomenon of the Internet of Things proposes security concerns alone. Per a new report from the Ponemon Institute, IBM, and Arxan, a staggering 80% of IoT applications and 71% of mobile applications are not tested for vulnerabilities raising more concerns for data security.

A new dawn is rising and the transformation of the digital landscape is changing. With new technology comes new threats, next generation data security will look to evolve from a data-centric solution to an extended, distributed networking solution which leverages many endpoints, multi-layer authentication, data tokenization, masking, and data loss prevention. We are already starting to see the expansion of this platform in financial industries with the increased adoption of Blockchain technology.

As the technology learns to advance, so will the rise of the cybersecurity professional. Job postings in the cybersecurity field have increased over the past 5 years, up 74%.

Digital transformation efforts are underway at most companies looking to deliver more value to their customers, but it does not come without the next generation costs to rise against new data security challenges presented.

http://www.erinalbertson.com

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Personal

Here I Go Again…

122446088It’s been a long time since I dusted off the old blog here @WordPress. A couple days ago I picked up the pace on my more familiar blogging style with my typical tech posts, but today, on a more personal note, I’d like to take a moment to breathe it all in and reset. So, here I go again out into the ether.

February 2, 2017: “You could be standing on the cusp of a new venture and be in deep discussion about which direction to take in order to move forward.” –Aquarius daily horoscope from AstrologyZone by Susan Miller

Funny thing about horoscopes is that they either are punctual or not. I can’t help but take my chances, so I continue to check. Maybe I’ll find inspiration in the mystic. The aforementioned daily horoscope brings a smile to my face as it could not be more poignant on a day like today. As the old adage states, “Times they are a changing.” Yes, they sure are. And they are changing at such a rapid pace it’s almost deafening. Could it simply be that I’m getting older and my life is more consumed than ever with responsibilities and daily tasks? Very possible. Most assuredly even. But in these agile times, it is important to take a step back and breathe it all in.

Unfortunately, most of us, myself included, become bogged down in the daily grind and we tend to forget how important these little moments of pause can make not only to our internal wellness but for the betterment of others we surround ourselves with. See, I truly believe what we put out there, we receive back and therefore I must always be aware of my words, my actions and what they might mean to others. This is a daunting task that requires vigilance and diligence. I am not always successful and that’s OK. We must reconcile to pick ourselves up and move on. Ultimately the world goes on and so must we.

I am on the cusp of a new venture, how did my horoscope know? I am in a deep discussion with myself of how I move forward. What’s my direction? It is still unclear to me. I will press on and continue to put myself out there. You cannot stop me for I am a formidable force. I will continue my journey and I hope you will come along. I am sending my love for it is all I can give.

http://www.erinalbertson.com

technology

BIG DATA SUCCESS STARTS FROM THE TOP DOWN

ceo-big-data-strategyWhat is big data? Big data is defined as extremely large data sets that can be analyzed to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions.

Why is big data becoming an important factor in today’s digital business? Data by the numbers is quickly becoming the basis for competition in today’s agile marketplace. Analytics becomes a crucial way for companies leading big data initiatives to do business better by enhancing their customer experience, leverage strategies to innovate and increase the quality of products and services.

Gartner’s article, 100 Data and Analytics Predictions Through 2020, states, “By 2020, contextual predictive data streams — and the proprietary algorithms behind them — will be a top three service provider differentiator.”

Investments in big data require hefty investments not only in the technology to support it, but also the personnel resources necessary to organize and disseminate the value gathered. Companies wanting to achieve success and glean ROI, big data initiatives must warrant a strong relationship with corporate strategy. Big data leadership must start with the CEO. Top down is a proven, effective way to drive the organization to the intended vision. Think about it like this: big data is the cart and corporate strategy is the horse.

Motivation and inspiration are also the keys to success and often the CEO is the one who will advance the charge. Big data and managing business decisions based on numbers versus that good ole’ gut feeling proposes a difficult balancing act where we go against those natural instincts and trust the data instead.  This can often cause conflict with ideologies, but if the CEO is driving the vision, it will be hard to dispute. It will be imperative that the CEO is walking the walk and talking the talk. He or she must be the primary user and repeatedly show value of how analytics are supporting the corporate agenda to win business in the big data and analytics game.

http://www.erinalbertson.com

technology

BETTER BDR PLANNING IN FIVE STEPS

Multiple Wired to BackupIT systems have become increasingly critical to the business and protecting the data produced is more important than ever before. BDR (Backup Disaster Recovery) is the coordination and execution of company policy and technology architected to reduce downtime and expedite the recovery in the event of a disaster or hardware failure.

Ensuring critical data, systems and networks can be recovered in the event of acts of nature, like a flood, fire, or tornado can be a daunting task. What about if the power goes out for an extended period of time? Am I prepared for human error that leads to accidental deletion and data loss? Having a well thought out business continuity plan in place can ensure business objectives can still be achieved if an event happens.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Incorporate a solid plan. Better BDR planning takes into consideration the structural framework necessary to execute. This includes a thought out company policy that merges data retention requirements with the regulatory and compliance needs of the business. Conducting a risk assessment and/or a business impact analysis will lead to improved backup procedures and process.
  2. Fuse responsibility and accessibility. It’s imperative to identify critical IT resources and delegate ownership. In the event of an emergency, understanding the roles people play and the importance of systems and data used will be the first step in execution of BDR strategy.
  3. Audit, test and validate. Conducting regular reviews of each end point schedule, alert configuration and backup job could mean the difference between being proactive vs. reactive.
  4. Provide documentation. Keep all documents centralized. Items like backup process and schedule, off-site storage instructions, vendor contracts, training plans, etc. You will appreciate having all the pieces in one place when it comes time to assembling the puzzle. Following-up with a report that speaks to the frequency and maintenance of endpoint BDR can also be extremely impactful to management when justifying ROI.
  5. Get buy-in from management. This should go without saying but BDR planning requires money. No budget equals no plan. Failure to properly plan and obtain support from senior management will ultimately result in failed adoption. Of course trying to get funding from some management teams may be like trying to pull blood from a stone. But if all the elements are in place and your plan has taken into consideration the dollar amounts associated with the risks and threats of NOT adopting a BDR plan, this may prove more negotiable in the eyes of those responsible for keeping the lights on.

http://www.erinalbertson.com

technology

Turn Your Pictures Into Windows Desktop Themes: It’s Super Easy!

One of the features in Windows 7 that I absolutely love is desktop themes.  This is where you can set several different images as your desktop background.  You can even designate how much time elapses before flipping to the next picture.  It certainly offers up a livelier alternative to those static desktop backgrounds available in XP.

Before you create your own theme, there are a few considerations.  First, will you be sharing your theme with other people?  If so, you are going to want to map out your images by size.  This includes image resolution as well as image size.  You don’t want to use high resolution images as this will only make the size of the final file too large to share via email.  For example, I have 10 images I’d like to include and each image is 5MB each.  After the math I’m looking at a theme file size of 50+MB.  Most email servers will not accept file attachments over 10-20MB.  It can become problematic, so it requires thought.  You can choose to decrease by resolution, I recommend 72dpi.  Or by pixel size or a combination of both will help decrease file size.  Pixel limits vary upon devices being used.  I’ve found a good average to go by is 1024px.

Landscape: height =1024        Portrait: width=1024

To get started, create a new folder in your Pictures folder.  To do so, right-click in the Pictures window and select New, then Folder.  Name your Folder.  Next copy pictures you want to include in your desktop theme into that new folder.  I recommend a copy here as you would not want to lose or perhaps, misplace the original picture file.  Once the pictures have been copied into your folder, then I suggest making the image size adjustments. *if you want to decrease the file size for sharing*  This way everything is contained in that folder.  When that step has been completed, you are ready to add the folder as a desktop theme.

On your desktop, right-click and select Personalize.  At the bottom of the Personalization window look for Desktop Background and select it.  From there select the Browse button and navigate to the folder you created with your pictures. Select OK to choose.  From there you can configure your theme settings.

When you are finished, select Save Changes.  Upon saving your changes your desktop background will be set and the Personalization window still shows.  You should notice under My Themes you will have Unsaved Theme, to save the unsaved theme, simply right-click.  It’s that easy!  Share with your friends… here is mine.  Enjoy!

technology

Smartphone Battle for Battery Life

What’s better, the iPhone or the Android?  Ask many and I bet you’ll find yourself in a dilemma.  I’m behind a computer the majority of the day so honestly I do not own or use a smartphone.  However I find myself delving into articles concerning them.  I admit I’m a little fascinated.  Even if I didn’t want to be, I have to.  I’m surrounded by the technology.  I can’t count how many times someone who knows I’m in tech has asked me to help them with their smartphone.  Most times I oblige but find myself fumbling because I am not used to using one.  Lately I’ve been in the market to make the leap.  I know.  I know.  It’s about time, Erin.  I get it.  I digress; back to the point of the article

The biggest problem I hear and read is expected battery life versus the actual battery life.  This misconception leads to a number of disgruntled purchasers.  You can see this when you read product reviews.  Of course this commentary is understandable especially when one does not grasp the concept of use in terms of battery life.  The amount of battery life suggested on websites trying to sell you the latest and greatest is the best possible number.  You can be assured of that little fact.  What the websites tend to leave out are the guidelines to which they have tested the battery to conclude such a number.  Therefore it might be difficult to judge how much life you will get from your use of the phone.  Think about it like a laptop.  The more programs (apps) installed & running, the slower the laptop (phone) runs because it has to use more resources and consequently the faster battery life dies.  Recently I read some articles that discuss turning off random services on your smartphone to preserve battery life.  Brilliant!  Kill those tasks.  Just like in a computer or laptop, hence the assimilation between the two.

If your smartphone is not getting the expected battery life that it used to get, you might want to look into these articles which provide tips and tricks to extending the life of your battery.  A simple Google search on this subject will also yield a plethora of additional articles.

iPhone: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/smartphones/tips-to-make-your-iphone-4s-experience-more-efficient/4712?tag=nl.e004

Android: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/five-apps/five-tips-for-saving-battery-life-on-an-android-phone/181?tag=content;siu-container

technology

Women in Technology

White Town's Women in Technology CD - Listen: Your WomanLately, I have come across quite a few articles discussing gender differences within the technology industry. Most recently was the discussion of IBM’s CEO, Virginia Rometty, and her inabilities to achieve the ‘big boy-golf club status’. (Article) Now I enjoy a good riff, especially when it comes to gender inequality, but this takes the cake. I suspect the author of this article achieved exactly what she set out to do: get people talking.

With articles of this nature, i.e.: gender inequality, I find the pulp resides in the comments. I have to admit, I love this stuff. People become so passionate and emblazoned with their opinions it almost always turns emotional erupting into a hair-raising, gun-slinging, and chaw-spitting discussion. People get caught up in their moments of stating points and lose their sense of reality. We live in a patriarchal society, people! End of discussion. So what if the tech industry is filled with a bunch of guys who want to be in an exclusive club? I commend all the women out there that have broken barriers and achieved success in this male-dominated industry. Good for you! Good for you, Virginia Rometty, for not getting caught up in the hype and good for you, Eileen Burbidge, for providing the platform for such an intense commentary.