Seventhman Blog

  1. BYOD Policy: Practical Tips for Small Business Owners

    "byod policy"I believe that some of you may have allowed remote working in your organization to help maximize productivity and minimize the cost of doing business.  Yet, some of you may be worried about the challenges that your BYOD crowd brings – from viruses, risk of data loss and other security nightmares that you can only imagine.  In an era where information resides on the cloud for everyone to easily access, having this flexibility may come at the high price of compromising the privacy of your company’s sensitive data.  If your employees work from mobile devices, the risk is two times higher.  How can you define that blurred line between work and personal computing in a way that’s mutually beneficial for both parties?

    BYOD Policy: Do You Really Need One?

    From social media, cloud computing, mobile, to virtualization of all types – we hear how small business owners face more issues with each new technology created.  Now, with the Bring-Your-Own-Device (or BYOD) movement, we’ve added more headaches to help desk as people ask for more support in accessing emails, databases and other valuable data from remote location… all in the name of productivity.  While empowering your employees to use their own devices to find solutions to your business needs may be great, having a policy can strengthen that trust factor through awareness and proper implementation.  As they say, with freedom and power comes responsibility.

    Creating a Robust BYOD Policy for Your Business

    To start, I’d say it’s not an easy job to write policies.. no matter what they are for.  Thanks to BYOD policy templates like those from White House BYOD Toolkit and IT Manager, you now have a guide to creating your own.  While it’s tempting to just copy it all, know that no two businesses are alike.  You still need to customize that policy to fit in with your current needs.  Make sure that you tailor your policy to your business code and ethics.  It helps to keep these pointers in mind too:

    1. Define what devices will be supported and what the network requirements are.
    2. Define user, corporate and IT responsibilities – including monitoring of usage and right to privacy
    3. Create a simple, clear and consistent policy that will cover all servers and technologies used
    4. Make sure to clearly define who owns the data or application on a device – from resetting a device to data deletion
    5. Check on what you’re all currently using to help you set up usage and sharing guidelines
    6. Use complex passwords, PINs and data encryption to add more security
    7. Restrict apps and choose them wisely before allowing your people to use it
    8. Manage wisely – from having a help desk to assist your employees to management software that keep tabs of data flow
    9. Define the consequences of policy violation (which can include job termination)
    10. Educate your employees at all times and implement effectively

     

    The whole point of having a BYOD policy is to protect your rights, as well as those of your employees.  The last thing you want is to restrict them to the point that working remotely feels more miserable than having to show up in the office.  Clarity and consistency are the keys to your policy’s success.  Good Luck!

    … and a Happy Thanksgiving from us all!  -Shaleen

     

     

  2. 5 Smarter Ways of Managing Your Valuable Data

    "data security"In light of the recent NSA spying scandal, I’m curious if your faith in technology has dwindled – especially when it concerns storage of valuable data.  These revelations may have been an eye opener for many business owners to rethink how they treat data privacy and protect themselves from those who would like to access them without your consent.  When the future of how we do work is shifting to mobility, you begin to wonder if all those cloud storage out there are worthy of your trust.  For the same reason that we hear Google announcing that their cloud storage now encrypts all data with strict key access controls, one can only wonder if you’re better off bringing in IT talents in-house into setting up a small server room somewhere.

    Data Security: No One-Size-Fits-All Solution

    If you believe that having a backup of your files and software to a storage device or the cloud makes it totally secured, think again.  Technology impacts our daily life in terms of work productivity, safety and relationships.  If you’re one of those who can’t live a day without email, surely you’ll know how important it is to keep your messages not only private, but accessible when and where you need them.  Somehow, we are codependent on machines to keep a watch for all the information trail we leave behind.  Unfortunately, technology has some loopholes and backdoors for anyone with less than good intentions.  Protecting your data properly is a MUST!

    How Do You Create a Sound Data Storage Solution?

    Whether you opt for on-premise solutions, cloud storage or a combination of both, take time to…

    1. Understand your data – by defining the value of your data, you can clearly outline how you will go about with choosing the best way to store these (online or offline).

    2. Check Credentials – If you’re choosing a data storage provider, make sure that these are highly trusted in the industry to make sure that they give you a highly secured environment for all of your data security needs.

    3. Define Archiving – Create a policy on how data will be managed, where some important data will be retained for years and others, for days or weeks only.

    4. Optimize Solutions – When looking for storage and security solutions, it’s important that you choose the one that will fit your data needs; not the other way around.  If you run a mobile workforce, the more you should look for flexible solutions that can run across platforms – not just those running on desktops.

    5. Calculate Costs – Don’t be tempted to let upfront costs influence your decision in choosing the right provider.  You may be tempted to sign up for that great discount, which may add more cost to you in the long run.  Think of long term here.

    No matter what your choice is, make sure that you can easily retrieve data once it’s been stored.  Having a recovery plan and constantly testing your backup may be your best defense against  disasters.  Besides, what’s the point of archiving it all if you can’t access the right data when you need it?

     

     

  3. Big Data or Big Lies?

    "big data myth"Would you agree if I say that 2013 is the year of big data?  There were talks on big data last year and now, it’s the center of data analytics as we know it.  Both private and public sectors alike would want to tap into predictive analytics, of having access to information that can be used not only in growing business and customer base, but also to enhance homeland security, law enforcement, finance, health care and a whole lot more.  The race is on in finding value in the vast volume of data, like ripe apples ready for the picking.  We’ve only scratched the tip of the iceberg and we haven’t unlocked big data’s fullest potential yet.  One can only ask if outdated policies can really keep up with these new technologies (soon?)

    Responding to the Big Data Challenge

    Are Fortune 500 companies making big data investments like some digital gold rush?  One thing is for sure, business decisions are now data-driven and they need to measure what they want improved.  Simply put, data is everywhere and the world just got bigger as we see structured and unstructured data proliferate online documents, websites, social media, mobile and relational databases.  To be highly productive where big data is concerned will mean finding the right data scientist to interpret things accordingly.  The issue here is not so much about a lack of talent where big data initiatives are concerned, but organizational alignment – of making sure that business and technology will work together for a common goal.  This is still a work-in-progress among many who are trying to manage data and create an environment with the greatest probabilities of success.

    Big Data, Bigger Myths

    Just as there’s huge enthusiasm over big data, there are those who call it a hype.  I was just reading this post by Matthew on how President Obama really beat Romney – and it’s curious to see bias in the interpretation of data presented.  I’ve been following all these talks about the big data buzz and compiled these myths as follow:

    1. Size matters – Not really; bigger volumes of data doesn’t necessarily mean it’s valuable.

    2. You Have to Know Hadoop – while this open-source Apache software is great for working with big data, you don’t need to master it just for you to leverage customer data to improve your business ROI.

    3. It is Unstructured – which is not really accurate.  Big data is multi-structured as it can come in any (and many ) forms

    4. It’s only used for analyzing social feeds or user sentiment – which big data can do, but it has more to offer than that ( This article on Forbes shows you other ways of using big data ).

    5. There’s an Ultimate Solution – The complexity of big data shows us that there’s just no silver bullet to solve it.  You need to have a dynamic environment to effectively collect, manage and draw insights from big data

    If you collect quality data, you’ll get quality results.  While these myths abound, let me say this: Knowing is Better than Guessing.  Like it or not, big data is here to stay.  It may be a tough road to take as you switch from information overload to focused data.  In the end, everyone wins.  Just take a holistic approach, be open to new data patterns and integrate the old into the new.

    Then, reap bigger rewards..

  4. Perceptions on Big Data: The Good and the Bad

    "big data trends"There have been many talks about Big Data lately and one can only wonder if there is a limit when it comes to the power of predictive data with all these analytics available.  Last time, I have blogged about creating big data initiatives for business success and yet, looking through the lens of an entrepreneur, there are still plenty of unexplored terrains where the topic is concerned.  Should we simply embrace the idea that big data is here to stay?  Is the trend reaching the peak of inflated expectations where matters of security is concerned?  At the end of the day, data gathered is not really the real business driver, but the insights and intelligence that rise from this.  It will always transcend beyond size.. to the impact these data will have, whether the raw volume of data is big or small.

    What You Should Know About Big Data

    With the influx of investors wanting to take a piece of the big data cake, it’s not a news anymore to find venture capitalists pouring millions of dollars into firms creating products whose goal is to manage this so-called big data.  Does big data mean big business?  It’s too soon to tell.  Right now, one thing is for sure: Businesses will always look for better ways to store, manage, analyze and integrate data to help them reach their goals.  With the advent of cloud computing, mobile technology and social media platforms – it’s all a matter of time when everyone gets more comfy with the idea that big data isn’t a hype, but a hope for those who are targeting global markets in a down-sized economy.

    Given this circumstance, you need to know that data these days can come from virtually anywhere.  The real value here is how you can capture what’s important and analyze it to drive efficiency to your business.  For this to happen, you will need to find the right person who knows how to work the tools of the trade, so s/he can come up with the right data, of filtering through the clutter.  This onslaught has surely paved the way to a renewed interest on predictive analytics, of finding value in an era of widespread data – to finding ways in solving big problems before it can happen in real-time.

    When Big Data Enters the Dark Side

    A couple of years back, big data is used by credit-rating companies in an effort to build a monster database about their clients.  Access to this rich customer data is like joining an elitist club.  Today, big data is more strategic.  Just take a look at Facebook who recently offered an IPO and is valued in the billions simply because it’s a big treasure cove of valuable data that will unlock the secrets of selling to a wider demographic.  I’d rather say ‘Welcome to the stalker economy’ and there’s no such thing as free.  People these days are willing to give out personal information in exchange of  free products.  Yes, technophiles may be excited about the potentials of big data, but it’s like appreciating carbon energy and its huge supply… until ice caps melt.  What we created as a gift may be our burden, and the cost may be higher this time.. where knowledge is concerned.

    We may argue for the customer’s sake as we use big data to drive a customer-centric business.  Yet, are we reaching the end of privacy?  Or more likely, will we risk our privacy to pay for the price of big data?  Knowledge do come with power and this time, it’s not really about the data we will gather.. but how we put it into use.  The risk may be higher and this time, there’s no turning back.

    Are you ready to walk the fine line between what’s right according to the data you’ve examined… and what you feel is right?