Monday, February 8, 2016

Security at the Core and More

We're growing more connected every day. In fact, Gartner's latestforecast says that in 2016, we'll see 6.4 billion connected things, and that number will to jump to 20.8 billion by 2020. While all these points of connection and data in transit hold great potential for business applications, they also open up new security challenges.
To get some insight into the direction security is taking in 2016 and beyond, I checked in with Stephane Ibos, co-founder and CEO at Maestrano, a cloud-based platform that provides enterprise applications like data sharing, dashboards, guided tutorials and more.
Ibos believes that the cloud is proving itself as a secure environment for business but that the risks of the Internet of Things (IoT) are only starting to come to light. Securing those many points of data transfer will require innovative solutions. Based on past experience, he is certain that those innovative solutions will emerge, particularly from agile companies, but there are still challenges to overcome as outlined below.

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Security Innovation & the Shifting Mindset

Supply Chain Transparency to Combat Slavry: the UK's Plan

Most people would make a point of refusing to buy something known to be a product of slave labor. The problem is that sometimes consumers have no way of knowing that, particularly if the items includes a component made from by workers trafficked in and enslaved by the factory. The only way to effectively stop the sale of the products of such labor is to track all the parts used in the supply chain.
Now, the United Kingdom (UK) has set out its own guidelines, titled The Transparency in Supply Chains, etc: A Practical Guide, to help businesses to keep informed about labor sources. The guide help businesses be sure they in compliance of the Modern Slavery Act of 2015.  ...

Rather than government regulating what businesses should do, they rely on the free market forces to have a positive effect. The requirement to publicize what they do or do not do will motivate businesses to do whatever they can to reduce the market for slave labor. In the words of the guide, it would "create a race to the top by encouraging businesses to be transparent about what they are doing, thus increasing competition to drive up standards."
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UK Plans to Use Supply Chain Transparency to Combat Slavery

Monday, February 1, 2016

Save me from resume advice

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 Most of us do seek advice from others at some point in out lives, particularly when looking for new job and preparing a resume. Once in a while I read such articles which never fail to disappoint. Anything of any value I already know, and anything else brought up is usually ridiculous.Here's one example, and I admit I am at fault here for having any expectations whatsovever.

 The listicle format should have tipped me off to the fact that this is a superficial piece like  most listicles I've read before. It appears in Inc., though the writer,  is identified as being associated with Monster. The title is 7 ASSUMPTIONS RECRUITERS MAKE ABOUT YOU BASED ON YOUR RESUME

I'm going to jump to my personal favorite on the list and work from there:

School Stereotype

Yes, this is horrible, but I’ve seen certain hiring managers express biases based on the school someone attended.
Solution: There’s not much you can do on this one, except to be aware of the biases that might exist regarding your school.
Did you notice the same thing I did here? Where the solution is supposed to appear, you get what amounts to: there's no solution to this problem, but at least you can be aware of it. Fantastic!

As the writer didn't offer you any solutions, allow me to offer some possibilities. You can highlight what you did that counters those stereotypes. Say your school is considered a place for parties, you can stress that you held down a job or did volunteer work on your time off from classes to make it clear that you were not just there for a good time. Obviously, though, you should only do this if you really did. If you really went to that type of school because you wanted that kind of experience, then the picture the recruiters will form of you would be quite accurate, and misrepresenting yourself can only backfire in the long run.

Where you live

Speaking of not misrepresenting yourself, there's a bit of problem with the first piece of advice. It tells you to leave off where you're living so as not to be eliminated from jobs that are out of your state because most companies don't wants to pay for relocation.  The thing is this: if you truly do want to relocate, and some people really do, particularly if they have just completed their degree, then that's fine. But if you are somewhat rooted to where you live because, say, you have kids happy in their schools and the like, then you have to be honest with yourself and others in considering how willing you are to move. Also many places have their own forms for job applicants that require full addresses, so you aren't fooling anyone by leaving it off of the resume.

Email makover
Not only do you have to be concerned with what your physical address says about you but with what your email address says about you. If you have an AOL or hotmail address, according to our writer,  "you’re sending the message that your understanding of technology is stuck in 1999." Here's my take on this: I have to admit that I am surprised at times to see people are still using such addresses. But that doesn't mean that they are stuck on old technology. They could very well have the very latest iPhone in their pockets and a whole wardrobe of wearables to boot. It's just that it shows they likely have stuck with the same email they set up about 20 years ago, which is more an indicator of age that some people may wish to avoid.

 Her advice is to set up a domain email or a Gmail account. The latter really is virtually effortless and free. I'd say it can't hurt unless you are setting up the email solely for the job search. If so, you may forget to check that email, and that can hurt. So if you do adopt a Gmail account, be sure you check on it and be sure you check the settings you want for its syncing with all related Google services. Now if you go the more expensive domain route, be aware that you have to continue paying for the services if you want the email to remain accessible to you. That can be a drawback if you decided to drop the domain, and recruiters still have only that email as your primary contact.

One other point: if you really want to appear technologically with it, it's not enough to have an email account. At the very least you should have a LinkedIn profile. Depending on the type of work your are pursuing, you may also be expected to have a presence on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and or your own website or portfolio.

Choppy job history
This is an old truism about experience. It used to be considered a good sign to stay with a place for years and not to jump around. That's where the warning about many short stints in this article comes from. Today more jumping around is the norm, and I'm told that people who have stayed at one place for 5 years or more may actually be considered less employable elsewhere because they don't show the initiative of looking around for more opportunities. Nevertheless, staying at a job that is not defined as a freelance or contract position for just a few months is a sign of someone who either doesn't get along with anyone, get bored too easily, or just doesn't know what s/he is signing up for each time.

 I don't agree that explaining it away as being too difficult a commute would work for you -- unless the job you seek is really just a short walk from your home. You're supposed to be grownup who can project what it would be like to have to get to a job that requires two subways and a bus and not a kid who just finds it too much trouble once you start. If this has been your work history, I'd suggest ta different solution. Offer the employer to come on temp to perm or delay benefits for 90 days (many workplaces already have such a setup) so that they won't fear investing too much in you just to have you hop away.

Drop a few years, degrees, jobs

This is a dangerous course of action offered in the third piece that the writer puts under the heading "You're going to be expensive." That's the conclusion, some will draw, she argues from a PhD or a certain number of years of experience. The simple solution is cut (no paste). She further justifies this by saying, after all a resume should not exceed two pages. As in the address, the problem of trying that approach is that companies have their own forms that ask for a complete work history and education history. They then ask you to affirm that it is true. Obviously, you can drop some work history that is ancient like the summer jobs you held in school or some part time jobs you picked up alongside your main job. But I wouldn't try to cut out several solid years of work history. Even if you attempt to disguise your age on your resume, it will likely come across in an interview, and you would have to account for that time.

Wrong assumption on degree 
What about dropping the  PhD degree from your resume.  I'm  someone who  has been there, done that as a job applicant. I have been advised to leave it off when applying for regular jobs in corporate settings not because the people assume the PhD is expensive but because they assume they are too intellectual to be practical. They have a stereotype in mind of an academic type who is out of touch with the real world. I happen to be an extremely practical person, and what my degree does show is being able to pursue a project until the end even when it involves a lot of work and a number of years. As one of my undergraduate professors said, it's not so much a mark of intelligence as persistence.

 Persistence is a huge asset to just about any job. If the recruiter can't recognize that, then the recruiter is too much of an idiot to be of much use to a person like you. I mean that seriously. You wouldn't want to have to pass as white to get a recruiter biased against blacks to work with you or pass yourself off as a nonJew to get to work with anti-Semite. Don't work for or with someone who looks down on you for what you are and what you've accomplished.

Related post:

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tech Forecast for 2016

 Sarah Lahav, CEO of SysAid Technologies gives her take on what we can expect to see this year. .in 

2016: 6 New IP Predictions

For one of the predictions, I was really tempted to put in a reference to The IT Crowd. You should be able to guess which one.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Algorithm predicts which couples will stay together

“He loves me. He loves me not.” Flower petals predictions have a 50 percent accuracy rate. Marriage
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therapists have a somewhat better rate of accuracy, but a computer algorithm beats most of them with nearly 79 percent accuracy. What puts the odds in its favor is measuring the tone of voice in couple interaction.

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Algorithm Predicts Relationship Success

Monday, January 4, 2016

Security through sharing

On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed off on the 2,000 plus page omnibus budget bill, that amounted to spending $1.8 trillion in a combination of government allocation and tax breaks. Among the items packed into this gargantuan package is the Cybersecurity Act of 2015, also known as the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA). Set to stay in effect until September 30, 2025, it's a bill that will keep on giving for a decade. But not all regard it as a gift.

The bill had some vociferous opposition, most notably from the group called Fight for the Future. As late as December 16, the organization appealed for a veto on the law. Its campaign director, Evan Greer, declared that the bill is "a disingenuous attempt to quietly expand the U.S. government's surveillance programs, and it will inevitably lead to law enforcement agencies using the data they collect from companies through this program to investigate, prosecute, and incarcerate more people, deepening injustices in our society while failing to improve security."

The part that critics of the bill are most uncomfortable with is the permission granted to monitor networks. That makes up the first of three components of the bill's effects that comes under the heading "Authorizations for Preventing, Detecting, Analyzing, and Mitigating Cybersecurity Threats," presented in the analysis of the bill by Orin Kerr, Research Professor at The George Washington University Law School. He sums it up as: "First, network operators can monitor; second, they can operate defensive measures; and third, they can share information with others."

The third part of the mitigation formula is the equation of forewarned is forearmed. The idea is that putting out updates about the latest cyber threats in real (or very near real) time would give a heads up to other organizations that can take preventative action to avert attacks. The same assumption underlies IBM X-Force Exchange (XFE), a cloud-based platform for accessing information about cyber threats.

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Not everyone believes the new cyver security law passed on December 18 as part of the omnibus bill will prove effective. What do you think? 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Now for something a little different

If you ever look at this blog, you'll notice that the overwhelming majority of posts merely link to my articles on other sites. Once in a rare while, though, I do post about writing or language. This is one of those rare posts, though with a twist. It's not so much my own how-to as a commentary on another.

I started to just write this up on a Google+ post, but it was getting rather long for that.

Now notice the sentence I just wrote before this one. It is true and relevant; however, that is not the only reason I put it in. The same goes for the sentence just before this one. Both the sentences featured two independent clauses put together. In one, they were joined by the coordination conjunction"but" after a comma. In the other, they were joined by the adverbial conjunction "however" with a comma that was placed after a semi-colon. Both "but" and "however" serve to join the two parts of the sentence in a way that signals the relationship of the first part to the second part.

And now on to what I'm referring to. it's Blogspot's "The Ultimate List of Words That Sell." Some points are fine and well known, like focusing on the reader/potential customer rather than the seller.  But some attempts to turn language around are really absurd. For example:
3) And This is a clever replacement for "but" when dealing with criticisms or objections. The word "but" signals to the prospect that you are about to utter a statement that runs counter to what they'd like to hear. "And" by its very nature is inclusive -- you seem to agree even when you're disagreeing. Consider these two examples from Sales Coach Seamus Brown:
"I see that you only have a budget of $50,000, but let me tell you why our system costs $100,000."
"I see that you only have a budget of $50,000, and let me tell you why our system costs $100,000."

Brown points out that the second sentence acknowledges the prospect's budget, while the first steamrolls over the problem and makes the buyer feel ignored. What a difference one word can make."
Simply linking two contradictory points with the coordinating conjunction "and" does not make the contradiction go away.  Using "and," the least specific of linkage words simply makes the sentence weaker. It actually indicates you're just paying lip service to the concerns of the buyer without working out a solution. 

. A much better way to approach the problem is to make an actual selling point here. "I understand that you have set a budget of $50,000 and so would think that our $100,000 system is beyond your reach. But that's not the case because of our flexible payment terms/guaranteed savings/whatever." 

Another strikingly stupid example offered in this article is this one:  
12) Because
Ellen Langer, a social psychologist and professor at Harvard University, conducted a study where she tested the impact of phrasing on people's willingness to let someone cut them in line. Here are the variations she used:
"Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?"
"Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies?"
"Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I'm in a rush?"
While only 70% agreed to let her cut in line when she used the first question, upwards of 90% let her skip when she used either the second and third phrasings. The takeaway? When asking people to do something, always include a reason. Don't just request that your prospect introduce you to another stakeholder or fill out a survey -- explain why you'd like them to take these actions.

I can get the rush reason a bit for those who have sympathetic coworkers around, but explaining you want to use the Xerox machine because you need to make copies is absolutely ridiculous. What else would you be using it for -- to make coffee? Really, if I were on that line, I'd be completely turned off by someone trying to cut ahead of me for that because we're all waiting to use the Xerox machine to make copies. 

Last and maybe least, in this case, is this:
13) Opportunity
Problems are bound to crop up in the sales process, but that doesn't mean you should acknowledge them as such. The word "problem" has a negative connotation, and can make the prospect feel as if the process is difficult and unpleasant. With this in mind, replace it with more positive words. Instead of saying "no problem," for example, say, "it's my pleasure." "I understand the problem" can become "I see an opportunity to make this run more smoothly.

Perhaps the writer doesn't normally get calls from recruiters. "Opportunity" is their word of choice for job possibilities. That's what most people would associate with it.  But this section isn't even about using the word "opportunity," despite the heading. Rather it is about avoiding saying teh word "problem," even "no problem." 

This is absurd. No one walks away from hearing "no problem" with a negative association unless they are sticklers for saying a more old-fashioned "Thank you."  Now if the question is about using the word in connection to actual problems, I say, you're better off calling a spade a spade and then offering a real solution because that's what business deals are really all about: finding solutions to problems. There is no progress made by ignoring problems, sweeping them under the rug, or referring them through some ridiculou euphemism in order to try to mitigate their impact. The best selling point for any business offer is to identify the real problem the potential customer is struggling with and to offer a solution that will fix it. Unfortunately, this article will not work as a solution to communication problems. 

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Monday, December 21, 2015

Hybrid cloud alliance

Hewlett Packard Enterprise's unique partnership with NTT America is a classic example of a New IP partnership -- built on the strengths of each and to the advantage of both in that it delivers innovative products, market access, interoperability, security and more

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HPE & NTT: A Strategic Alliance for Hybrid Cloud