technology

Time to Up Your Security Game

It’s time for business leaders to start rethinking their risk. In today’s ever changing technology landscape, the stakes of the game are becoming higher.  As technology evolves and businesses look to incorporate things like the cloud, IoT, and AI, the business will need to focus on items like:Security-Gruard-Vector

  • data privacy
  • security
  • vendor management
  • transparency of auditing
  • regulatory compliance
  • business continuity

Solutions are needed to transform businesses and help them manage risk and compliance efforts effectively and holistically across the entire organization.

Where and how do those business leaders begin to fill the gap? I believe the easiest place to start is by focusing on what’s most important first. What systems are critical to the business then work your way out towards the perimeter. Knowing the hierarchy of the business needs can aid in switching from reactive to proactive, which is where you want to be when it comes to risk management. Highlight and start monitoring user activity on all fronts. Ensure you have a clear understanding of your data and its importance to the organization as a whole. Who has access to that data? Can it be limited? It’s a starting point.

Often times security can get shuffled to the back burner by the IT staff as they tend to be inundated with other higher priority requests like user requests and new innovation. Spinning up a security team or a dedicated security pro within the IT department is starting to trend. This is a good answer for businesses out there struggling with a security talent gap.

Another great place for businesses to focus on the problem is with their staff. Develop security protocols and practices if none are in place. Manage business assets and personnel through awareness of those protocols and practices with training and educational tracks to help foster a culture of acceptance. Gamify the experience and level your staff up with some healthy competition.

Security will continue to be the hot topic in the years to come as we see the world of technology transform and the global cyberwar rage. Will your business rise to the occasion or be left vulnerable? The time to act is now.

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.

technology

Social Media Marketing: Do We Do IT?

For smaller companies, social media marketing may raise eyebrows especially when short-handed with employees to manage and maintain.  Media correspondence normally functions as a marketing initiative but with the latest technology trends on the social media front, these objectives have now been placed onto IT desks.  So as IT you may find yourself delving for more information.

Before taking the plunge into the social media realm, ask yourself some marketing questions:  What are the goals of the company’s social media plan?  Is there a company slogan or campaign?  I like to call them campaigns rather than plans because they hold many facets similar. If you think about it, a social media campaign is much like lobbying your business to procure customers.  It’s all for show.  And to be a successful show, your campaign must be the big act in bright lights, ever-present on the social media stage performing the quality of service your targeted audience deserves and applauds!

There are many ways to get started but remember your campaign should include, at the minimum, the following:

  • Goals;
  • Objectives;
  • Dedicated employee(s);
  • Allocated time spent daily/weekly and;
  • Ability to track and record results.

Cheers or jeers, you might also find it helpful to designate a workflow of how to handle feedback from different social media outlets used.  This can prove very useful should you find yourself in hot water over the misuse of a hashtag.  *cough… cough… #McStories*  A good example of this is currently used by the U.S. Air Force.

technology

SaaS & Cloud Computing, A Hot Topic

SaaS and Cloud Computing, two terms associated with one of the hot topics when talking tech these days. It makes me think of how vital a relationship with the company CFO becomes. When we discuss SaaS, I immediately think of my company’s bottom line.

Many questions arise when software or services need to be integrated into current business practices in order to stay competitive. The ideas of increased efficiency, faster turn-around, less paper, etc. become crucial in today’s ever-changing market. So how do we keep up without breaking the bank? This is where SaaS or cloud computing will help. Or at least that’s the notion they are attempting to sell us.

The work is up to you, IT. My best advice is to do the research and learn to talk numbers. Talking numbers becomes an extremely effective communication tool when discussing budgets with the CFO.

technology

Windows or Mac?

So many times I’m confronted with the question of what’s better, Windows or Mac? My response: neither. Some may disagree with that answer but in my personal opinion, both are of equal quality. Consider that you might be asking the wrong question. The better Windows/Mac question is: What do you want to do with your new computer? If all you want to do is surf the web and email, then buy what feels comfortable for you. If you want to use software programs like Word, Excel, Power Point, etc. then buy Windows. If you’re a student going into web design, buy a Mac. If you are an accountant, buy Windows. Can you see the pattern here? Design = Mac. Business = Windows. Remember this next time your friend is looking at purchasing a new computer. You will come off as an expert and maybe you can get a free lunch for your awesome advice!

technology

Smartphone Security

Would you leave your new computer unprotected by not installing anti-virus software? If your answer is: Of course not, then why should your smartphone be any different? I recently read an article stating data taken from a survey of smartphone users. It reported 70% of users felt they were safe from cybercrime. This did not surprise me. Most people tend to think that the technology is different therefore the ability to hack and steal information must be different. I’m here to say this is not true and don’t you believe it!

Have you ever been out and your friend asks, “Who sang that song we used to sing back in college?” And you reply with, “I can’t remember, let’s Google it!” So you break out your phone and away you go. Essentially you are accessing the same websites that your computer would as if you were sitting behind the desk in your office. Think of your smartphone as your pocket pc. More and more viruses are being launched targeting smartphones. Most recently a nasty Trojan called SpyEye targets your bank account. It sits and waits, incognito, waiting for you to check your bank balance only to steal your credentials and then erase its tracks. You wouldn’t even know until you go back to check your account balance only to realize it has taken a vacation without you. Don’t be a victim of vacation stealing. Take action today!

I highly recommend researching security applications for your phone without hesitation. Most times you can find a free app. And who doesn’t like free?