Monday, March 9, 2015

Enterprise Data Security

Recently, along with millions of others, I received a notice about a data breach at Anthem.  I did not have a relationship with Anthem, but I had worked with an affiliated Blue Cross Blue Shield organization.  I was notified that my name, birthdate, social security number, home address, email address and even my income history, may be for sale on the world wide web.

This made me wonder what big companies can do to prevent attacks like this.  I assume that they all spend millions a year on data security, but issues remain on how best to fight off the threat.  Here are a few ways they can protect themselves:

Companies need a strong data security policy in place, and they need to make sure all employees read and understand it. With BYOD today, your own employees become your biggest risk.

Find your vulnerabilities before the enemy does. Leverage corporate wide security solutions, starting with email, web, and wireless security.

Be careful not to get over zealous and make it difficult for employees to access import data that they need to do their jobs.  Some security measures, meant to protect data from outsiders, actually puts limitations on employees.

The CEO also needs to be on board with the data security policy.  Gartner states that companies spend between 6 and 7 percent on data security.  This makes it a big budget item, but companies need to spend this money wisely.  The best defense is a good offense, which means that companies must constantly be evolving in the their strategies to fight off the hackers of the world.

To their credit, Anthem did provide consumers with a number of options to protect themselves from potential identity theft.

Friday, July 18, 2014

ComSci by Upland Software, Provides IT Cost Transparency

IT Governance continues to be a challenge for many IT organizations, and it is becoming more important as they move from a functional role to much more of a strategic role within their companies.

IT Financial Management (ITFM) solutions have been available for several years, but many IT organizations have yet to implement a solution.

ComSci by Upland Software provides IT financial business management solutions and capabilities that empower organizations to implement more effective IT financial management processes and governance.

Among the critical services ComSci software provides are:

Data Management: Delivers primary data acquisition capabilities for the receipt, normalization and integration of disparate utilization and financial data.
Service Costing: Provides IT product and service cost modeling functionality with visual representation, unit cost/rate generation, benchmarking metrics, analytics and executive dashboards.
Bill of IT: Provides consumption and demand management capabilities so business managers have visibility into the utilization and associated cost of all IT products and services so they can evaluate the financial impact of alternative solutions and make intelligent business decisions regarding their use of IT services.

With IT budgets being analyzed constantly, the use of a comprehensive ITFM solution, like ComSci, can help CIOs run IT like a business and not just a cost center.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Microsoft Office Online is a Winner

When I purchased my Chromebook, I liked everything about it except for the lack of any applications like Microsoft Office.  Yes, Google does offer Google Docs, but it just was not the same.  Then in a surprising move, Microsoft published Office Online to the Chrome Web Store.

Office Online works great in all browsers, but for those of you who use Chrome, you can now add Word Online, Excel Online, and PowerPoint Online to your Chrome App launcher to create new Office documents online with a single click from your desktop.

Best of all it’s free.  Microsoft wants you to pay for a subscription to Office 365, which is the only way to get access to the iPhone and Android versions of the suite.

Office Online has limited functionality, and some of your favorite menu options may not be there.  However, it provides enough functionality to create and edit basic Office files. After all, most of us only ever used less than 20% of the functionality in Microsoft Office.  Right now there is no integration to Google Drive, but Microsoft gives you 7 GB of free storage.

Office Online is not for everyone, however students and home users should find it to be useful, especially if they own a Chromebook.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

ClariLegal Saves Time and Money on eDiscovery

ClariLegal is a cost effective and time saving way for buyers and sellers of eDiscovery services to communicate with each other.

ClariLegal allows buyers to post projects online and to solicit bids from sellers.  The platform matches buyers and sellers based on the project criteria entered into the system.  The sellers can then see all the projects that match the services that they provide.  Buyers decide which sellers can bid on the projects and then award the contract to the preferred seller. Once the bid has been accepted, both parties can also manage the entire project through ClariLegal.

The idea is to create a marketplace online for buyers and sellers of eDiscovery services, but it can also be used by law firms and corporations to manage existing vendors.  The buyers save time and money by streamlining the process, and vendors can benefit by finding business that they never knew existed.  The good news is that the more people that use ClariLegal the more powerful it becomes.

ClariLegal is definitely a win-win situation for anyone buying or selling eDiscovery services.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Internet of Things (IoT) Explained

Recently Cisco announced the launch an Internet of Things (IoT) division that will focus on linking data, machines and people and the standards that go with them. Just like with Big Data, many of us do not have a very good understanding of what the Internet of Things really is.

The Internet of Things refers to uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations in an Internet-like structure. Equipping all objects in the world with minuscule identifying devices or machine-readable identifiers could be a real technical breakthrough.

According to ABI Research more than 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the Internet of Things by 2020.

Kevin Ashton, cofounder and executive director of the Auto-ID Center at MIT, first mentioned the Internet of Things in a presentation he made to Procter & Gamble in 1999. Here’s how Ashton explains the potential of the Internet of Things: “If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things -- using data they gathered without any help from us -- we would be able to track and count everything and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling and whether they were fresh or past their best.”

With companies like Cisco making big bets on the Internet of Things, we can be sure that many other companies will follow, and this will be a dramatic change in the way we collect data.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Innovation and the Next Big Thing

What's the next big thing? When it comes to technology, more and more companies are asking this question.  We all saw how social media had a dramatic impact on the way we do business.

Loosely defined as introducing something new or different, innovation is fundamental to many IT projects, especially those that involve developing new technologies, new methods, or new business processes.

The world of information technology is undergoing tremendous change on a global scale and it is affecting all aspects of business and society in unanticipated ways. Innovation is a core driver of growth and performance over time, and the most successful companies develop strategies and tactics that enable them to keep pace with, anticipate, and even benefit from these changes.

However, many IT groups spend more time keeping existing systems working than they do deploying something new.  If you can embrace change and you understand the strategy of the business, you are in a good position to discover the next big thing.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Mobile Malware

Careful what you install on your smartphone. The number of mobile malware threats is on the rise and cybercriminals are finding more ways to infect your mobile device.

The number of malware programs posing as legitimate mobile apps grew by more than 600 percent in 2012.  The most popular target is Google’s Android. Criminals have tended to favor Android as their target, because there is less oversight on the process of releasing applications into the wild.

When the victims of malware attacks take their smartphones into work, their devices could infect the corporate network or collect corporate information through the infected device, and then send that information back to a command server operated by cybercriminals.

Free apps in the games and personalization categories were the most likely to carry malware.  What can we do about this?  The best thing to do is stay informed and to find an information resource for your mobile device.