The Elements of Security: Omit Needless Software

[Inspired by a mail virus that’s going around, and the classic Strunk and White text, The Elements of Style]

DO NOT install random software from friends, links you get in email, ‘free’ screen savers, and the like. Less is better. Your systems will be faster and more secure, and you don’t need them.  Even if they work, they are a waste of your time and system resources.

Here’s a longer aside for those of you who are thinking “But surely you don’t mean avoid installing anything?”

If  you DO need something, do the research and get what you need for the time and money price you are willing to pay.  (Free isn’t necessarily what’s best for you;  the ‘more expensive’ package can easily be better for you in the long run.)

Here are a couple of relevant examples:

1) Web browsers:  Firefox, Safari, and Chrome.  Great web browsers, all free, and worth the minor work to keep them up to date. They all have their strengths; I use Firefox most often, but both Safari and Chrome for some other tasks.  (Comments are more than welcome!)  Sorry, I’ve been burned too many times by Internet Explorer to want to use it, and the other browsers support a wider range of machines, since Microsoft has dropped upgrade support for older Windows versions, and doesn’t support other operating systems.  Your mileage may vary.

2) EVault data protection software.  Yes, there are free alternatives, but for your business servers where you really, really have to be able to recover, these folks are really good.  I’m no longer with the company, but I did run the engineering team for a year and a half, and I still happily recommend the products and services.  The free/’freemium‘ alternatives are good as far as they go, but system restoration is tricky, and EVault gets it right.  EVault software is owned, and the service operated, by i365, a Seagate company, so you know they’ll be around.  Highly recommended.

I’d love to have comments on other ‘elements of security,’ so please feel free to chime in.

Thanks,
Dak

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Quick article excerpt for the day…on Apple’s business strategy and software leadership.

Steve Jobs at the WWDC 07
Image via Wikipedia

There are many useful business strategies for companies, and many of these are executed successfully up to the point of a crisis, at which point the companies must re-invent themselves or die.  It seems to me that most hardware vendors (RIM, Motorola, Scientific Atlanta) are caught in a ‘how do we race to the bottom on price and still preserve our margins?’.

This article (Steve Jobs Speaks Candidly About the State of Apple and Its Competitors.) suggests that Apple does it differently.  There are many interesting points, but this one struck me as being especially important, both in illuminating Apple’s strategy, and in highlighting how real strategies must be explicit, not implicit, and sometimes reinventing the company strategy is the most critical thing that an executive can do.

“Because Apple looks at things from a software-driven standpoint first and then works to iterate and make the product better while keeping the price the same (or lowering the price), as it did with the iPod, the company doesn’t look at its line and make decisions based on features in order to lower the price, expecting the software to magically perform.”

In my opinion, Software requires real investment, process, and sustainability.  As a software leader, I guide the software team to make our work a key feature of what the company is offering to the customer, not an afterthought.  Apple clearly gets it.  Microsoft gets it (finally?); see Windows 7.

RIM *could*, if they make the Blackberry a great platform for developers, and see their own software on it as being pivotal.  RIM still has best-in-class email and instant messaging, and Outlook integration, but these advantages are starting to erode.  There is still time for RIM to awaken, but the clock is ticking…

Thanks again for reading,
Dak

Why your customer service is the most important thing for your business…or for YOU personally.

This article (a summary of Ken Blanchard’s Raving Fans, with what appears to be material from a subsequent interview), may be the most important thing you read today.

Ken Blanchard: Save your firm from a customer service crisis.

Are your firm’s customers, or YOUR customers, raving fans?

Happy reading,
Dak

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

There are two countries in the world that officially celebrate Thanksgiving (and that have a substantial population of people descended from the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony). As an American in Canada (and, as it happens, a descendant of those Pilgrims), I thoroughly enjoy both Thanksgivings.

Whether this is a religious holiday for you or not, I hope that you can take a few minutes to stop and appreciate what you have.

Best holiday wishes to all; may you count your blessings and share with your friends and loved ones.

Best regards,
Dak