Privacy and Social Media

Sounds like an oxymoron, but this debate has been raging since the words social media popped into the ether.  “Don’t tell people anything or someone will get you” sounds like the old story of the boogeyman in your closet.  There of course is a legitimate concern about giving details of your private life away so people can steal things or harm you.  But how about in the business world?

SaaS and Higher Ed
Secure collaboration

I was listening to a podcast on Why the Internet will NOT tear apart colleges and I started thinking about using SaaS in Higher Education.  The podcast said people are worried that using Internet technologies will make going to college obsolete.  If I can do e-learning over the web, why bother going to some buildings to get an education?  They pointed out that there is a lot more to going to college than ingesting information.  Living away from home, maturing as a person, doing research in a lab, collaborating on projects, attending sports games and socializing are just a few of the benefits of actually being at a college.

Private cloud is an oxymoron
Secure collaboration

In Phil Wainewright’s recent column Survival of the fit-most he talks about sharing and collaboration on the Web versus keeping things private.  The essence and value of the internet is to make it easy to share information and collaborate.  People and businesses benefit most when we collaborate.  Many cloud and SaaS providers are providing a private cloud solution for customers who are skittish about moving applications to the cloud.  This seems to be a reversal of the benefits of cloud computing and SaaS.  If I create a private cloud in my data center using virtualization, is it really a cloud?

Track it before it gets into the wild
Data security

I was reading an article in Information Week entitled 5 Security Lessons From Real-World Data Breaches that talks about data security and how companies can harden their external and internal defenses.  There was a lot of good information about security infrastructure, including firewalls, network intrusion systems, data loss prevention tools and numerous others.  Most of these tools address data at rest or data in transit.  They tend to exclude data in use.

What is data in use?  It’s what it sounds like.  If a hacker steals a document by exploiting inadequate defenses, they now can use the data they stole.  Most people focus on making sure the data doesn’t get out in the wild, but what do you do when it does.  Encryption techniques help ensure that if a sensitive document gets out, it is unusable by the hacker.  

GMail, SaaS and Choice
Secure collaboration

Yesterday GMail went down for about 1.5 hours.  If you followed this on Twitter, you thought the world had ended.  It was all over CNN, MSNBC and numerous other media outlets.  According to the GMail blog, the outage affected the web interface to GMail, not POP3 or IMAP clients.  People accessing GMail through their iPhones or Blackberrys were also fine.  The outage was because of some routine maintenance that overloaded a few of the routers.  

Corporations are afraid of social networking
Secure collaboration

I have been reading The Cluetrain Manifesto and noticing how relevant this book is almost 10 years after its publication.  The book and the manifesto itself address how business is changing in the Internet age.  Back in the dark ages, before computers and mass media, commerce was done through conversations between people.  The village bazaar with its hustle and bustle is where people met, talked, gossiped, spread news and generally got things done.  It was chaotic and informal. It was human.  You can see the same thing at a county fair or a garage sale.  It’s informal and its also fun.

Is your ACL safe?
Data security

The demand for safe information sharing has increased dramatically, as Enterprise Content Management (ECM) applications are being deployed by companies of all sizes.

ECM applications simplify the management of an organization’s unstructured information (data not in a database).  ECM applications help accelerate business performance by providing easier access to an organization’s core information assets.

The circulation of documents through ECM applications results in an increased risk of information leakage. The need to secure information sharing on the ECM systems has increased as more employees gain access to these repositories.