- Don't rely on a single service: for example, we run a website and a blog on separate servers; and complement both with Twitter feeds and other means of communication. Yes, we use Skype. But we also have regular phone services (land line and mobile). And one falls back to the other if a message doesn't get through.
- Carry out a SWOT analysis of your operations, focusing mostly on the "W" and "T" elements. Try to turn "W" to "S" and "T" to "O" - but also spend ten minutes thinking through the risks you face. What's the Impact of each risk? What's the Probability? If the Impact is High, but the Probability really Low then you don't need to spend as much time worrying or preparing as for something that is a Medium or High Probability...
- Yes, it's boring. But get get into the habit of making regular backups of your key information. And keep a copy away from your main home or office location.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
I described it as a bit like scuba diving: you're fully immersed with no easy or quick way back to familiar ground; and you can see the fish and touch the fish, but you're not a fish and can never become one, no matter how hard you try! At the same time, it's full of wonder and fascination and new learning.
And when you come back you see the old with new eyes and a fresh sense of appreciation for the familiar things previously taken for granted: it's great to breathe freely and not have to consider air levels in the tank and decompression stages, etc.!
We've made close friendships with an American family living in the Cotswolds for 3+ years to accompany the Dad's senior banking job. They immediately "get" the analogy and see we English as strange fish, too!
I looked it up: it was George Bernard Shaw who described England and America as two nations "divided by a common language!" True
But what an experience! My family and I learned so much, made such great friends, received outstanding and generous hospitality from such warm-hearted Mid-Westerners. We continue to be deeply grateful and humbled. Despite our hot tub trauma!
Thursday, December 16, 2010
What a great question! Something I'd never considered before.
It would have been easy to answer a different question, "Describe the sun to someone..." but that's not what I'd been asked!!
My questioner was wondering how good I am at conveying complex concepts to people unfamiliar with the complexity and subject matter. I described my approach, my strategy, which is to evaluate the situation and try to find some area of common understanding with which I could draw an analogy.
For example, the sun is not just a source of light (which the blind from birth have little concept of); but it's also a source of heat which they can have felt on a summer's day; of nurture, nourishment and so on. It could be said that the sun is the most important part of the mechanism to nurture and provide what's needed by planet earth in the way that a parent cares for a child...
Years ago I wrote a school essay on the difference between analogy and metaphor. Frankly, now I can't remember the distinction. I'm too immersed in the pragmatism of getting the job done instead of splitting hairs. But yesterday I got another sharp lesson in checking, on the fly, that I'm answering the right question and focusing on the right things, principles and processes.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
- Use a different password for each service you sign up to
- Never use a name or a dictionary word as your password
- Choose a password that is more than eight characters long
- Do not write your password down where it can be discovered by others - Storing a list as a draft email in Gmail means that Google knows all your passwords, for example!
Friday, December 10, 2010
- Expect further extensions to the provisions of American CALEA legislation that enables law enforcement and intelligence agencies to conduct electronic surveillance, monitoring all telephone, broadband internet, and VoIP traffic in real-time. (More)
- Expect the UK government to press ahead with plans buried in the 2010 Spending Review to revive the controversial 'Interception Modernisation Programme' which will mandate storage of details of all email, electronic communications and website visits for a minimum of one year. (More)
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
- John Naughton wrote yesterday evening that Western governments have a stark choice either to "learn to live in a WikiLeakable world, with all that implies in terms of their future behaviour; or they [must] shut down the internet."
He said, "The attack of WikiLeaks also ought to be a wake-up call for anyone who has rosy fantasies about whose side cloud computing providers are on."
- Today Charles Arthur has built on that thought, commenting "The move to cloud computing is unstoppable – but WikiLeaks gives us pause: Putting data in to the 'cloud' suits companies but does not evade political pressures."
Friday, December 3, 2010
At my core lies inspirational leadership. For example, I worked with a software development team in America that as a result was delivering up to three new software releases each week and with zero bug fixes, which is just astounding.
I’ve been innovative and entrepreneurial in planning so that for example we were able to repurpose assets, to diversify markets and to generate additional sources of revenue after the financial collapse in 2008.
My focus is always on achieving key results and for example I’ve been able to rescue two businesses from loss to operating profit, simply out of cash flow. By holding down cost, increasing revenue, trebling the customer base, achieving a 97% customer retention rate.
And the organizations with whom I’ve worked have been able to cut their costs; and to increase their revenue; at the same time we’ve been able to lock in clients and lock out competitors, to strengthen the positioning of the business.
I have a strong focus on negotiation so that we both win and for example I turned what otherwise would have been a completely failed project into something that had a higher gross profit margin than the original and with a satisfied client as a result.
I’ve consistently held a client-oriented focus and that’s because I had a seven year career at IBM where I learned the mantra that the customer is king. And that IBM background has enabled me to consult at the highest levels on strategy, and change and project leadership; and I’m now advising companies on using IT for strategic advantage and developing additional revenue streams.
I have a very strong personal credibility which delivers solid relationships at the most senior levels of global for profit and not for profit as well as NGO sector organizations.
And a great personal integrity and drive. So that for example, I accomplish a considerable workload as I develop ideas into solid action plans.
And in my last post as a pastor or priest in the Church of England I was leading volunteers to pioneer new ways of achieving objectives. And there one of my colleagues identified me as a “strategic thinking diplomat.”
And yet despite that I’m not too proud to clean the loos or make the coffee or do whatever else needs to be done in order to get the job done right now.
In terms of my background, I have a degree from Oxford University and another one from Bristol University in England. And as well as more than three years experience running companies in America, I’ve spent time working in SE Asia as well as Europe where I’m now based.
I do hope that you’ll be able to visit my website MikeSchorah.com where there’s more information and some contact information. And thank you so much for watching this brief presentation.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
The IT industry has long known and exploited a host of tricks, including cookies and link tracking, but reports in mainstream media will bring this to the attention of a wider, and increasingly paranoid, population of users.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
- Is he choosing a cheap provider with inadequate infrastructure?
- Does he need to split his service across multiple providers to limit points of failure?
- What's the commercial balance between fail-safe provision and the direct and indirect costs of fixing the occasional failure? Each business application has to balance risk and reward.
Friday, November 19, 2010
But in addition to the usual marketing- and sales-related answers, I find that Twitter helps me learn stuff I didn't know I wanted to know. More often than not the info comes in useful.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Of course, as the article points out, many internet service providers keep all the traffic details of their subscribers' web and phone use for billing. But new legislation will also require them to collect and store for at least 12 months all third-party communications data that crosses their networks, including all traffic from sources such as GMail, Skype, Facebook and Twitter.
'The data includes all the "envelope" information such as who is contacting whom, when, where and how – but not the actual content of what was said or written. Interception of contents requires a separate warrant authorised by the home secretary.'
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Maybe it’s a generational thing: many of the young, grown up with phone cameras, Facebook and instant messaging, seem unconcerned about sharing the most intimate details with a global audience. Until they come to find that they are denied a job or a qualification because of a ‘drunken pirate’ photo.
However, in business it is very often the case that information has a commercial or other sensitivity and it can be important to ensure that it is shared appropriately, especially when it travels across borders.
Unfortunately, that is hard to do. This blog post contains a summary of some of the reasons that users are becoming more concerned over privacy:
- ‘Blackberry phones in the United Arab Emirates recently received a text from Etisalat, a major provider in the UAE, prompting for users to download and install an update to enhance performance. … the "update" downloaded was really software designed to collect received messages and send them back to a central server.’ More
- ‘India has sent formal notices to the country's mobile operators telling them they must have equipment to monitor Blackberry services by 31 August.’ More
- ‘China has been monitoring and censoring messages sent through the internet service Skype, researchers say.’ More
- Google’s business model (in common with Twitter, Facebook and many others) is to sell advertising targeted to the individual based on the content of information they have stored. In discussing this, an American bank executive working in England who has his tax returns sent to his Gmail account by US-based KPMG realized that all his tax affairs from the PDFs are indexed, stored and available for retrieval.
- ‘Personal details of thousands of Sky broadband customers have been leaked on to the internet, alongside a list of pornographic movies they are alleged to have shared online.’ The list was in an attachment filed with one of 1,000 emails leaked from a law firm’s email archive. More
- ‘If you have a friend on Facebook who has used the iPhone app version to access the site, then it's very possible that your private phone numbers - and those of lots of your and their friends - are on the site.’ More
 ‘Stacy Snyder was weeks away from getting her teaching degree when she said her career was derailed by an activity common among many young teachers: posting personal photos on a MySpace page.’ 6 May 2008 http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=4791295&page=1 retrieved 7 Oct 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
- Facebook is correct in responding that all of the information (Name, Username and URL) is already visible to Google and other search engines, as well as other Facebook users; and users have some degree of control over their privacy to make that information no longer public.
- However, the media hype and scare-mongering is part of a growing privacy concern with web-based applications as fears of data mining activities becomes more widespread.
What could go wrong? User names and profile page URLs are available in the download, so by following them personal information (address, birth date, phone numbers, etc.) can be viewed. Along with a list of their online friends. And their picture. What's more, friends of all those users that have opted to keep their information private - can now be found by clicking through the profiles on the list. And, statistically, it is likely that up to 10% (10k users) have an insecure password that is some variant of their name and/or date of birth etc so this list gives opportunity for great damage.
Social networking really took off in the public domain and now is being used by forward-thinking companies, but still lagging the leadership of the private sector. Once again the private sectore leads: expect privacy calls and an anti-web reaction to increase.
For more on this see this blog post. It's one reason why I recently committed Facebook suicide!
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Last year the UAE tried to impose a software patch to BlackBerry devices in the country, sending a copy of the contents to in-country servers, accessible to government monitoring.
Are we about to see the first moves away from fashionable "cloud computing?" On the one hand, governments are beginning to want to access and control the data within, and across, their Borders; on the other hand, users are becoming aware of this and increasingly unwilling to trust some of their data to a service in the cloud that they can't control.
As I looked at the faded keys on my laptop, worn away through over use, I thought back to one of the "forensic computing" investigations I once performed: I had found that 80% of one employee's emails sent on company time were not work-related. The lesson I learned is that the stuff we do with technology can be found out by anyone who has enough time, motivation and technical skill. Perhaps it's not just the cloud we should be wary of!
Friday, July 9, 2010
But this means that we can't give away our insights at the start of an engagement before a contract is signed. And our approach won't work if they are trying to buy in the old way.
We faced a prospect that was putting effort into an investigation that currently lacks senior management sponsorship, budget and business case. I had to take a commercial decision to limit our cost of sale. When it became certain that they were choosing to buy in the old paradigm; we chose not to reveal our insights into their data, because we are never going to sell them a software solution that would let us recover the costs of that expert evaluation.
We are "tools agnostic" and prefer that our clients choose which hammer to use and let us help them decide which nails to hit, in which order and with what force; and how not to hit thumbs while doing it! We have several consultants assisting a client to make best use of the software tool provided by the vendor we are competing with; and we are equally comfortable with Business Objects, Informatica and others ...
We are tools agnostic precisely because all IT projects are not about the technology tools, but the people and the processes to support the business.
Friday, July 2, 2010
We were talking about the focus that's needed to excel. A golf game is never won on the first shot, though can be lost then. In a tournament, the truly great are the ones who focus on the end result and pace for what they need to achieve. Great golfers focus for the thirty seconds of each shot, then relax and move on to deal with the consequences of their last action. They take responsibility for their performance. They plan for what they have to do to get to their objective, quite literally in the shortest way possible.