As a sailor, the notion of being stranded is really, really scary. As remote as the possibility (and location) may be, you have to develop a contingency plan for the rare event that you might find yourself in that predicament. The plan has to contemplate extreme isolation for long periods of time and/or risky transit back to society. But the plans can be so onerous to imagine, you put it away once they are developed and don’t bother to remind …

Data protection and the cloud

Posted on June 19, 2014 by

In my last blog post I made the case that data is money. So it’s important to have a strategy for data protection just as you would for cash management. It helps to have a framework when developing a strategy. One framework for developing a data protection strategy is the Data Protection Spectrum. Traditionally, costs grow exponentially as you move from “Not Never” on the left of the spectrum to the “Always On” to the far right. But the cloud …

It amazes me how plentiful and important data has become to our lives. In the early 1990s, I co-founded a company that built a software product called WARE that tracked and analyzed workplace injury and illness information. WARE included critical data analytics to help with loss control, automated reporting required by Department of Labor regulations, electronic claim submission to the insurance carrier and automating many of the critical decisions required to properly report and track a case. The automated OSHA …

As we shared with you on our April 19th, 2012 blog post, we started using the Net Promoter System (NPS) from the book “The Ultimate Question 2.0” by Fred Reichheld. Since then we’ve received sufficient feedback to calculate a statistically significant Net Promoter Score. We benchmarked this score against some of the best brands in the world. Our results so far have been impressive – we scored 73% on the Net Promoter Score – joining the ranks of Apple, Amazon …

Video, music, classified ads, newspapers, magazines, pictures – all forms of media have been dramatically transformed by their digitization. iTunes, Amazon and all of their various devices have enabled a new business model that created fantastic wealth at the expense of old-guard leaders. This digital transformation was an onslaught that decimated local newspapers, record stores, film production, magazines and many more. IT professionals claim they dodged this. In fact, they claim they benefit from this. All of this digitization will …

Because it’s worth it. It’s the one that really helps an executive sleep at night. We’ve done HIPAA, SAS 70, SSAE 16, SOC 1/SOC 3 audits, but PCI DSS does the deepest dive, by far. PCI includes source code reviews, requires custom penetration testing and well-documented procedures, policies and change management processes. PCI is also very prescriptive about the technology you must deploy, compared to other compliance standards. For example, HIPAA requires you to logically secure data, but it doesn’t …

Efficient Auditing at Online Tech

Posted on December 12, 2011 by

We’ve completed a number of audits over the years. Each audit results in a report such as HIPAA, SAS 70, SSAE 16, SOC 1/SOC 3 and PCI.  It’s extremely expensive to do these audits well. The obvious costs are the auditors, but you can’t overlook the staff time and technology. We estimate it takes a few hundred hours of staff time for each audit, and we regularly automate many functions. This obviously doesn’t scale well enough for us. We have multiple data centers …

I have to share this experience as the manager of OTPortal, a SaaS hosted application: We have a virtual server in our private cloud that hosts both the production and test sites for OTPortal. We needed to put the test version on a separate virtual server so that we could do more thorough testing without impacting production. Within an hour’s work and one phone call between our systems administrator, our lead developer, and myself we had a test server in our private cloud …

How I found out I wanted “Predictably Priced Elastic Computing” We have a really important web application that gets a fairly unpredictable flow of traffic from multiple sources including users. I wanted to know what it would cost to host this application “in the cloud.” I thought it would be really easy to buy a “cloud” server and move my application there. But first, I wanted to forecast the costs. I decided to check Amazon EC2 and Microsoft Azure. Without …

I recently came across a very interesting question at ITToolbox.com which inquired: As larger data centers continue build outs, they begin to pose a major risk due to sheer size. It’s also becoming more apparent that a smaller distributed infrastructure is more favored among IT professionals. An April 2nd 2009 FBI raid on a Texas data center that hosted cloud services resulted in 50 businesses offline at 9.00 AM and over 200 (two hundred) businesses adversely affected before noon. In …

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