Make Sure Your Consultant is Following Standards and Best Practices
I’ve had the chance to visit some new clients lately. They have all had some issues that needed to be addressed. These issues were all created by a poorly installed project.
While it is hard to find out if the person truly has experience with the product they are installing, a first good step is to ask for references and call those references. Make sure you ask how knowledgeable they are and how they handle pressure and problems. Make sure they have completed a project like the one you are hiring them for.
The next item I typically see is no project plan. Make sure that if this is the first time you are working with them that they have some sort of project plan with steps to be completed and how they are going to complete those steps. You should review this project plan before it starts, to create milestones and agree on what a “completed project” is.
You should find out if they are using a vendor recommended best practice or their own. If they are using their own best practice, then ask them how they came up with that best practice.
Finally, have them create documentation and have them show you the work that was completed.
This is an easy way to ensure you are getting what you paid for and also to ensure that you don’t have a project that is not completed correctly.
Software Company Claims to Have Hacked CAPTCHA
If you have used a banking site or some other secure site, I am sure you have used CAPTCHA. CAPTCHA is a security feature that distorts words and numbers in an effort to stop non-human users from accessing or signing into that site. It is meant to prove you are alive and human and it might have just gotten much less secure. The software company Vicarious may have created an algorithm that could possibly break this feature.
If this is true, then all the websites that contain this security feature would be required to change it quickly. Otherwise, this could allow for an opportunity for users to engage in bad activities.
Not all of this is bad news. This could be a breakthrough that computer scientists can use to create computers that can visualize what humans can. The ‘Recursive Cortical Network’ is the algorithm used in this technology. It attempts to mimic the somatosensory system in humans on computers.
Currently, no proof exists that they have cracked CAPTCHA. If they did and offer the source code, it could be a huge security issue for all internet users.
Don’t Use a USB Drive You Find – It Could Be Put There by a Hacker
Security consultant Steve Stasiukonis was hired to test security awareness at a credit union. He loaded malicious software on some old thumb drives and left them on the ground at the parking lot at the credit union. Each time an employee used the thumb drive, it loaded software and reported who used the USB key. While this was harmless, a real criminal or hacker could have used it to compromise your security. Make sure you are making your employees aware of this trick. More information can be found here.
If you need a way to securely share files, box.com might be the tool for you. I don’t like to email passwords or sensitive documents; I wanted a way to securely share them with others. Box.com offers that ability. You can share a folder with someone and it is encrypted from the website to the computer. It does not go across the email system unencrypted. If you are looking for a good tool, check out box.com
Win an iPad Mini
We at TBJ are looking to grow our business and we would like to enlist your help in finding clients who might benefit from our services. For any qualified leads that result in a meeting, you will be entered into a quarterly drawing to win an iPad Mini. Our best leads come from referrals and we would like to reward you.
If you know of someone that you network with that could benefit from our services, use the form below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Final Thought – It Is a Season for Giving
While I typically talk about IT related items, I figured I would take the time this month to discuss helping others. Many people are in need this time of year and lonely. If you are blessed, it might be time to give something back. You don’t have to do anything grand. A simple way is to put some money in a Salvation Army bucket. You could also donate money or items to the local food pantry – they are always in need this time of year.