Last week, following the high profile Twitter accounts being hacked, I posted a blog on Information Security. Following a conversation I overheard at the weekend, I thought I would add another flavour to this subject. I was in a restaurant and I heard a customer ask for a beef burger. The waitress asked him: ‘how would you like it cooked, sir?’ to which he responded, ‘good to soft, but firm in places’.
“Horsemeat found in Ikea meatballs in Czech Republic”, is a headline on the BBC News website today. This is just one story in a long line of reports where horsemeat has been found in beef products. This is partly due to poor management of their supply chain and poor record handling of goods in and out. Several high profile food manufacturers are recalling meat products and now have to pay for poor decision making. Many local butchers and farmers, on the other hand, are profiting. I guess you could say that this whole horsemeat scandal has completely meat-balled, sorry, I mean snow-balled.
Perhaps, it is just people’s greed to make, or do something as cheap as possible for the maximum profit that has enabled criminals to exploit this tendency and rip people and businesses off. I guess that if manufacturers had strict tests and guidelines in place this would not have got out of hand. Had they managed their supply chain from the field to the shelf then this would not be an issue.
Now, I am not saying that OpenText has the exact answer or solution for this, but there are a number of companies in the Consumer Packaged Goods vertical, who, by choosing OpenText have prospered. Please feel free to reach out to your local OpenText office to learn more about them and how these solutions can help you.
This week we saw a cyber-attack on US Fast-food giant, Burger King. For over an hour their Twitter profile resembled a McDonald’s advert. During that time, it posted comments about why it had been bought by their rivals, along with numerous racial and obscene tweets. This goes to show that no organisation is immune to a cyber-attack.
Criminals, and terrorists alike, target businesses with the goal of disruption, the bigger the better. With cyber-attacks they often aim for the soft underbelly of an inexperienced person within that organisation. This can be in the form of a simple email purporting to be from a colleague asking the recipient to click on a link or open an attachment. This is what experts are calling “spear-phishing”. Chances are that this simple action can result in a virus that attacks the computer in question and subsequently infects the rest of the company. This gives the criminals access to do their thing and cause disruption.
All companies have sensitive information, some more than others. These could include governmental departments, emergency services, pharmaceutical companies and law firms.
Many have taken steps and have done all they can to prevent this from happening. All organisations should have Information Security teams who monitor, legislate and educate staff to be aware of any potential dangers. In the UK, ISO27001 is the standard that most adhere to.
Also more recently, Content Management and Information Management technologies are being used to offer an improved level of access and security to the data held within an organisation.
Information Security is one topic being discussed at OpenText EIM Days this year. In the UK it is being held at Twickenham RFU Stadium on 16-17 April 2013
OpenText has a wealth of experience in this area globally, working with many governments and businesses alike. Please contact your local office to learn more and experience true information security for yourselves.
cio, compliance, content, ecm, eim, government, information, knowledge, opentext
Recently there have been many horror stories about the mismanagement of information, whether it pertains to personal, private or public data in the form of lost laptops, discs, files and briefcases etc. How should information be managed? Could anything have been done to avoid the loss or minimise the risk of human error? Is there an easy answer?
The HM Government have released a whitepaper entitled “Information Matters: Building Governments Capability in Managing Knowledge and Information” this highlights an extension of ‘Transformational Government into data, information and knowledge management where there is a need for best practice policy supported by technology’.
It has been said before that this is the century or age of information. More information is being created every day, this in turn means that more information is being held every day too. Businesses, Services, Governments and other Organisations all need this ‘lifeblood’ of information to be accessible, useable, safe and accountable.
The government is committed to addressing specific aspects of information management and information security (BS10012 and BS27001). This is all very well, but having just information management on its own is not enough. Good information management needs to be aligned with good knowledge management. Well, what use is information if it is not used correctly? If you go to an ATM to withdraw money, you expect that the bank has used the information about you correctly, to ensure that you get your money from the correct account when you need it. But what if this information was not managed properly and you were abroad and needing to access your funds and were unable to? This is a simple scenario but think about how information is used when you renew your car tax online, at passport control or to ensure you have the correct tax code etc. It is not just about having the information but using it effectively. Recently Knowledge Management and Information Management have been formally recognised as functions of government, in the same way that finance, IT and communications are.
With more and more information being created, how long should you keep certain pieces of information before it loses its usefulness or becomes dangerous? Who decides what parameters are set for this? How does this impact on data protection laws? These are just a few of the many important questions raised. Each organisation will have differing requirements on this matter. There are guidelines online for organisations which help them to meet the necessary regulations required by law, but you still need to manage this effectively.
So what do Governments and Businesses need to do in order to deploy an effective information management and knowledge management strategy? The government, here in the UK, has set out guidelines highlighted in their Information Matters whitepaper and have organised a committee to help manage this. Many businesses have done the same, but some are not seeing the bigger picture yet. People are talking about big data and the age of information but what are they doing about it?
Many of their current systems and process have been in place for many years and a lot of the information is paper based. Technology is moving forward at an exponential rate, particularly with smart phones and tablet devices. Many business processes nowadays are handled electronically with little or no actual paperwork involved, but how is this information tracked and handled? Electronic document and records management software (EDRMS) appears to be the answer. Many vendors will offer this at a departmental level or in some cases at enterprise level. Having an EDRMS system in place will ensure that your business or government department meets the necessary legislations and ensure that you have an effective information management strategy.
However, there is a new approach called Enterprise Information Management (EIM). This combines the elements of Business Intelligence (BI) with Enterprise Content Management (ECM). BI is what the business users work with to report on the information held within the organisation, while ECM is more about how and where the information is managed and stored. EIM brings these two elements together. In effect what EIM does is brings structure to the unstructured by unleashing the power of information to the organisation.
With the growth of information coupled with the myriad of different formats, only one organisation is standing up to be the leader in this field, with the goal of becoming recognised as the #1 EIM vendor. This organisation is already demonstrating leadership, according to analysts Gartner and Forrester, and is well on its way to being leader in all five pillars of EIM, namely Enterprise Content Management (ECM), Business Process Management (BPM), Customer Experience Management (CEM), Information Exchange and Discovery.
If I were a CIO of a major organisation or government department, I know full well what I would be doing. I would read the two whitepapers below, and contact OpenText.
By acting now, I would hope to avoid any mishaps or issues around information management, compliance and legislation within my organisation.
OK, so today in the United States, Friday 28th September 2012, is Ask a Stupid Question Day. ‘Only in America’ I hear you cry. Well asking stupid questions is something that happens every day in every country by many, many people, but it is America who decided to celebrate it today! So in the spirit of the Ryder Cup starting today…U-S-A! U-S-A!
Well, this got me thinking, what constitutes a stupid question? Was that a stupid question in itself? Or that one? This could go on a while…
It seems that this idea was invented in the 1980’s by teachers in America. Its goal was to help children to be more inquisitive in the classroom, to not hold back and ask more questions without the fear of ridicule. This is a great idea which should be adopted worldwide, especially in business. During meetings at work we are often encouraged to speak up and ask questions, but do we? We would do well to remember the time we were children and the most popular word we used was ‘why’. It seems annoying to us now, as adults, but how else did we learn?
If something does not make sense to you, speak up! It may be that you are not the only person not getting the gist of the discussion. You could be hailed as the hero for helping others understand, bring enlightenment to those who were too afraid to ask the question themselves. Or chances are that it was a stupid question and you look a right Muppet. Either way, the meeting will have been far more enjoyable to all involved. Looking on the positive side, you would have made that step into the world of ‘stupid question asking’ and deep down you will have done your country proud!
I would love to hear some comments about your experiences, some examples of you and/or your colleagues who have chosen the path of ‘stupid question asking’. Please feel free to post them below in the comments area. Is that too much to ask? Was that a stupid question? Etc…
Just remember that in reality, there are no stupid questions, just a lot of inquisitive idiots…
While sitting through a recent sales meeting, I had the privilege of hearing a ‘classic quote’ which I since found out is also called the Common Law of Business Balance. It is by a gentleman called John Ruskin. Although we only touched on the first part, I thought I would share its entirety.
“There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price alone are that person’s lawful prey. It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money — that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot — it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”
This is a classic case of stating the obvious in such a way to make it sound profound and inspirational. Most people today sum it up as ‘you get what you pay for’.
In business it is wise to heed these words as it is often easy to go for the cheaper option, when in reality it could cost more in the long run. Buying something which is expensive up front may well have the lower cost over its lifetime. Take for example buying software for your business. In the Public Sector the majority of substantial purchases are awarded by a tender process. Within just about every tender contract notice are these words: ‘Contract will be awarded based on: Most economically advantageous tender in terms of: The criteria stated in the contract documents’. Many things are taken into account, but in most cases the buyer reads the words ‘most economical’ as cheapest. This is a fallacy. The responsibility therefore rests on the sales team to work their magic and explain clearly all about the total cost of ownership (TCO).
Many Government Departments have fallen foul of this and have not been sold to properly. They have fallen into the trap of trying to save the taxpayers money by spending as little as possible on systems when really they should have been wise and listened to Mr Ruskin, ‘If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better’. Many mistakes could have been avoided and stories about lost data and lack of future-proofing when it comes to electronic content and data archiving would be a thing of the past.
Most mobile phone contracts include 100′s if not 1000’s of free minutes to landlines and other mobile numbers. Don’t you think it is about time that ‘Freephone’ numbers prefixed with 0800, or ‘Low-call Rate’ numbers such as 0844, 0845, 0871, etc. should be included in the tariff?
I know that there are a couple of iPhone apps which convert the 0800 number to a landline, I actually use one, but I don’t think that should be necessary.
It seems strange that national breakdown companies, here in the UK, such as The AA, RAC and Green Flag all have ‘Freephone’ numbers to call in an emergency. That was all very well when public payphones were more common than mobile phones, but I guess that this means that the ‘Freephone’ service is not really free any more.
Should these service providers have mobile-friendly alternatives made readily available for mobile phone users? Because, I don’t know about you, but I hardly ever use my landline at home anyway.
I am sure there are many other examples of this, such as Banks, Insurance Companies, Satellite TV providers, Utilities Suppliers, Ticket Offices, Football Clubs and even the NHS! Do people realise that calls to most ’Low-call Rate’ and/or ‘National Rate’ lines are actually costing more than a call to a standard landline number? I’m not even going to start on about the ‘Premium Rate’ competition lines, that is for another day!
And one final question… Why is it, whenever you call these numbers, you are ALWAYS kept on hold?