The Business-Technology Weave

June 11, 2011  11:57 AM

From Starbucks to U.S. Airways – Part I

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott


A few days ago my local Starbucks lost power.  The sun was shining and it was around 2 in the afternoon.  Suddenly, all the lights went out, the refrigerated cases went dark, and… yes, internet connectivity was out.


What I learned that day, and the next, was interesting to me, and I hope it can provide a lesson for all of us.  There had been a tremendous rainstorm the day prior to the outage.  As it turns out, upon this next day’s outage, one of the baristas mentioned that they had received a call from the local utility company earlier in the day that the power might “go down” in order to work on a station.  Huh.


Unfortunately, there was not only the one effect:  That is, an afternoon’s loss of power.  Something else occurred:  Next day, the ‘net still wasn’t available  – nor the next.  Apparently, a hard crash had affected some measure of my local Starbucks’ backoffice (if I may deign to call it that – I haven’t seen it).  And, for whatever reason, it was on Day 3 that internet connectivity was restored for customers.


On one of the days during ‘net unavailability, I worked at Starbucks, writing away.  I watched customer after customer walk out of the store upon hearing of the outage.  So, there was a definite business impact.


I’m wondering if Starbucks has a simple UPS with configuration for a graceful shutdown of equipment in the event of outages?  Perhaps it’s a calculated cost – they’d rather suffer a hard crash, with dispatch of a tech to fix whatever server, router, or measure of corruption has occurred.  (A barista also told me that she spent considerable time on the phone with someone from Starbucks who attempted to talk her through various resets and restore points – to no avail).


But – one also has to consider the lost business over the course of days due to the outage.  Even if it was a wash, it’s better to expend a little $$ for some measure of protection to equipment in just securing the environment for business reputation – and the secured environment for customer convenience of internet access and use.


Next:  Part II.



June 11th:  On this day in 1911 the Tigers, trailing the White Sox 13-1, came back to win 16-15.  Never, never, never give up.


June 8, 2011  8:33 AM

Who “Drives” DAPR?

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott

(Note:  See prior two articles if necessary)

Who drives DAPR One Guess… Particularly for Business, it is inadvisable to rely on a simple conversation with IT regarding this area. This is not to put down anyone’s IT endeavors, or disaster recovery efforts. This is simply because IT may feel that they’ve done the best they can regarding security of business in this regard, based on the resources they’ve been able to lobby for (including Business’ attention). It also includes IT’s belief (whether erroneous or actual) that they’ve met the Business expectation, and mounted the best mission. But here again there is an ignorance in many organizations. Business may like the numb comfort they often have in this area: Walking away with a simple “Yes, we’re covered” allows Business to go back to the core business focus of the day.

There is also a certain denial at work in many organizations, or a simple pushing aside of DAPR: “We’ll get to that next quarter, next year, soon,” etc. – or – “our vendor handles that.” But like all things in the Business-Technology Weave, the IT Enlightened Organization makes disaster awareness, preparedness, and recovery a Business-driven initiative too. Who owns “business-continuity”? IT? No – after all, it’s Business’ continuity. Further, IT can only establish DAPR according to its allowance, safe-channel, and lead – from Business’ sanction and support. When IT fulfills a Business expectation, Business has to make sure the expectation is sized appropriately, filled appropriately.

To Business: You own it. It is your business that will suffer from a state of non-recovery. You must oversee DAPR, its maintenance, its evolution, its testing, and you must believe that you can rely on it to your satisfaction, values, and standards. IT will serve, participate, suggest, focus, and implement the mechanics of preventions and recoveries. IT will lead when that lead is designated by Business – but policy and planning must be driven by Business.

On this day: In 1979, The Source goes online – what some say was the first computer public information service.

June 3, 2011  11:07 AM

IDRU and DAPR, Pt. II: Directing purpose – achieving results

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott


The other day, we spoke of IDRU – check here for the beginning of our discussion if you haven’t already. 

Before discussing DAPR, which is disaster awareness, preparedness and recovery, and its position to IDRU, let’s consider:   Organizations, vendors, and practices have created a ready handle for recovery from disastrous harm – Disaster Recovery – with the attendant “Disaster Recovery Plan.”  The venerable Disaster Recovery Plan is meant to secure business continuity in the face of disaster.   However, security is ill served by this handle, and so too are many of the plans (and associated realities) that fall under it. 

“Recovery” is reactive, when we should have a plan that includes prevention of disaster.  Some measure of prevention is within our internal control, and some lies within our agility in sidestepping much of outside disaster’s influence and potential.  And, we strive to make disaster “transparent” to those whom we serve. 

The “recovery” aspect is poor branding.  Awareness and prevention are far better terms.

Too, mere “disaster recovery” is often given short shrift in terms of attention, resources, and any sort of test or proof of concept.  Many people, particularly Business people, are left to assume their disaster recovery efforts are in place, and will work, when in fact there is no reliable evidence to support this assumption:

     “Can you recover from disaster?” 

     “I guess so – we have a disaster recovery plan.”

Many don’t really know, because there’s never been an event to recover from.  But they have a plan.  (Place a check in that box.  Sleep well). 

Absent are identified, known, and agreed upon missions, beliefs, values, standards, and tests.  Here, we’re building awareness.

¨      Mission will be defined by your requirements for prevention, recovery when necessary, subsequent assignments, and exercises.  The mission will be associated with a policy, and the policy’s manifestation is achieved through a plan.

¨      Beliefs include prevention as a standard; the understanding of prevention’s true value; those things that need protection according to assessed risk and available resources; and your confidence and control. 

¨      Values support your beliefs – those things valued as necessary for sustenance of business.  Values will help establish that which is protected to the best point of prevention from harm.  There are also those valued business elements that determine the order of recoveries according to priority, when recoveries become necessary due to the truly unforeseen or truly uncontrollable. 

¨      Standards establish the degrees, or levels, to which your protection is certified, in supporting preventions.  Too, when recovery from damage is made, standards establish a period of time for how quickly full recovery is expected or necessary.  Standards can define increments of recovery, and they support the prioritization of the valued business elements through ranking of them.  

¨      Tests will be those simulations of harm that you employ to expose your level of success in preventions, recoveries, restorations, and the employment of identified alternative resources. 


You must satisfy yourself (believe) that you can meet your organization’s identified values and standards of business continuity in the face of disaster.  These things are necessary in order to provide some assurance that the best efforts have been made according to acceptable risks and available resources. 

When we arrive at that place, we find that what we really have is a policy, plan, posture – a mission – for:

Disaster  Awareness, Preparedness, and Recovery (DAPR)

In fact, you may wish to title this Disaster Awareness, Preparedness, Prevention and Recovery (DAPPR).  Suit and size to your organization, mission, position of readiness, and comfort.

When we talk about Disaster Awareness, Preparedness, and Recovery, we stand a better chance for securing business in the real world.  Recognize that the recovery aspect is for the truly unforeseeable.  The leverage to understanding and compliance is essential: 

Consider – DAPR forces, not a different question but, a set of questions: 

“Are we prepared for disaster?”

“I guess so – we have a disaster recovery plan.”

“Do you have an updated awareness for potential disasters?” 

“Well, let’s see – I guess we should list them.” 

“Now that you have an awareness, are you prepared?”

“No.  We’ve added some events, and we have a better understanding of others.”

“Are we properly prepared to prevent identified risks and potential bad outcomes?” 

“Prevention?  I thought this was Disaster Recovery…?” 

“Can you prevent harm where appropriate?  Can you truly recover from disasters  – have you tested your preparedness?”

“Well, we’ll have to develop some tests, and then conduct them…”

As usual, we can leverage understanding in a powerful way when we set simple and accurate identifiers right up front – the appropriate awareness.  DAPR helps us to better know ‘where we are.’  Disaster’s potential is a part of where we are, and we need an awareness of our surroundings as a part of that.  Preparedness is a route to a destination – a journey – a ‘how do we get there’ factor.  It leads us to the ‘where we’re going’ zones of prevention and to our strong abilities for recovery. 

Awareness is required before you can achieve preparedness, and preparedness is necessary for requirements supporting prevention and recovery.  Can you see the ‘where are we?’, ‘where are we going?’, and ‘how do we get there?’, elements of the previous statement?

We then require the satisfaction of a test to indicate your level of success in arriving at a state of prevention or recovery – and in arriving at a properly sized DAPR position for any moment in time. 



NP:  I Get a Kick Out of You, The Dave Brubeck Quartet,


May 31, 2011  10:15 AM

IDRU and DAPR, Pt. I: Closing a Divide – New thinking for new realities

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott



We touched on IDRU in our prior article (please see if you haven’t read it).  It is paired with DAPR, which we’ll discuss in our next article.


IDRU (Id`-roo) is an acronym:


Inadequacy, Disaster, Runaway, and Unrecoverability. 



And IDRU is this:


Inadequacy:  Inadequacy is manifested as lack of proper awareness, planning, action, proper results, and resultant dire consequence.  On a local scale, we’re aware of inefficient, ineffective, and inadequate attention, inadequate business, and inadequate technology (or use of it), leading to poor business outcomes. 


Disaster:  Today, business frequently finds itself in an unrecoverable posture due to a lack of planning.  In the case of small business, it’s been estimated that more than 60% of startups fail due to lack of a coherent business plan and proper allied execution.  In the case of larger businesses, just Google “List of business failures” for some perspective.


Runaway:  In a true condition of Runaway, you, and any action you take, are irrelevant in the face of an inevitable outcome.  Consider that statement carefully.


A simple analogy will serve:  You are the driver of a car.  You are speeding on a wet and winding road.  There are signs, and they expose your conditions:  One gives the speed limit.  Another  indicates “Slippery When Wet.”  One states “Dangerous Curve Ahead.”  Given the nature and conditions of the road, you should have an adequate awareness of danger, and you should have enough information to take action:  To slow down, to drive with care, to prevent a bad outcome. 


However, you fail to do these things.  Your attention, concern, and actions are inadequate.  You fail to imagine and plan for the contingency that soon happens:  You cannot make the dangerous curve; you break through a guardrail; and you begin a plummet down a cliff.  Your predicament was preventable, But now this, for you, is disaster. 


However – you yet have ‘systems’ at your disposal!  You mash the brake.  There is no effect.  You turn the wheel to the left, to the right – again, your action has no effect.  In fact, your fall accelerates.  You pull the emergency brake.  You are in an emergency and beyond:  You are in a condition of Runaway.  It is, simply, too late. 


(Here, prevention isn’t some part of a disaster plan – it is all of it).  Once you begin Runaway, there is no meaningful action to be taken, and – regardless of remaining plans – no executable part of a plan contains any meaning.  In terms of business and technology, Runaway can occur when systems, security and allied process (and use) start to lag.  If the organization doesn’t invest on a timely basis, and bring new services and products to market in remaining competitive – and learn to make best use of technical business enablements and protections, it becomes harder and harder to regain a responsible forward edge.  It’s a choice:  The organization faces either an ongoing manageable incline – or the face of an impossible cliff.


Unrecoverability:  Once you’re in the zone of an inevitable bad outcome, you are in a position of Unrecoverability.  Our car is in a Runaway condition, and the car and its occupant are now unrecoverable – they will be smashed and killed, respectively.  Any business relying on technology – any Business-Technology Weave – is susceptible to unrecoverable situations.  



For business:  Runaway and unrecoverability begin with such things as failure to invest in the future; loss of business reputation through negligence, poor customer service, poor products, etc.; poor investments in process, the wrong infrastructure; resultant inability to raise captital – or a pouring of efforts into “catching up” at the expense of properly serving the present.


Understanding IDRU’s “value”:  As we can see, Unrecoverability is something to be avoided at all cost:  There can be no good reason to risk even the beginning of IDRU:  Inadequacy. 


It all begins with a modern awareness.  Awareness.  That bring us to DAPR – and our next article.


NP:  Things Are Getting Better, Cannonball Adderley,


May 31, 2011  9:06 AM

Cyber Warfare: Lessons for the “local” org… Yours

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott


In his excellent Wall Street Journal article, Cyber Combat: Act of War, Siobhan Gorman writes of our nation’s challenges in responding to state-sponsored acts of damage – acts of war, really – due to cyber attack. 


When you think about it, the business of securing a nation is similar to any other business (save for the scale of balance and effects).  We have streaming, ongoing, objectives in answer to goals and challenges:  Resultant plans; attendant projects; priorities; resources; adjustments – and – there’s always the unexpected, isn’t there? 


It got me to thinking about two paired concepts that are unique to my consulting practice and my subsequent counsel to business:  IDRU and DAPR.  (id-roo and dapper respectively).


IDRU is:  Inadequacy, Disaster, Runaway and Unrecoverability.


DAPR is:  Disaster Awareness, Preparedness and Recovery. 


I’ll explain those and their relevancy to the enterprise in my next article, so I solicit your patience.  First, some lessons and observations by employing “example by extreme”  


Part of what our Pentagon is presently wrestling with is how to respond to a cyber attack.  An idea gaining favor is a measure of “equivalence.”  That is, if a cyber attack was to cause a similar measure of death, damage and disruption that a bombs-and-bullets military attack would, then a like-attack would be warranted, employing a similarly-scaled return effect through conventional military attack.


However, the ultimate of cyber attacks wasn’t mentioned:  That of Electro-magnetic Pulse (EMP).  In 2006 I wrote of this threat.  My book, I.T. Wars:  Managing the Business-Technology Weave in the New Millennium, (BookSurge 2006), has a concluding chapter, What’s At Stake, dealing with the ultimate threat and challenge for any enterprise, to include entire countries.  Here, there are lessons for the “local” organization – that is, yours.


An EMP attack could be something as simple as a scud missile carrying a single nuclear warhead.  This missile need not be accurate for any specific target.  It need only be detonated at a suitable altitude:  the weapon would produce an EMP that would knock out power in a region – all power. 


Not only would some measure of a nation’s power grid be out, but also generators and batteries would not work.  There would be no evacuation of affected areas:  Cars would not work, and all public transportation would be inoperable.  Even if trains, planes, and other mass transit were operable, the computers that enable their safe use would not be.  This would be due to the loss of all electronic data, rendering all computers useless.  There would be no banking, no stock market, no fiscal activity of any kind, and there would be no economy. 


Hospitals would fail without power.  There would be no electronic communications: no mobile phones, no land phones, no e-mail, no television transmission, nor even radio.  There would be no refrigeration of food, which would quickly rot to become inconsumable.  Potable drinking water would quickly be expended, and the means to create more would not exist.  Fires would rage, since the ability to deliver and pump water would be virtually nonexistent. 


Now imagine a simultaneous application of a couple large-scale nukes detonated over the country.


No Federal Government would be able to govern – nor would any state or local government command any control over events.  No police department could be able to know where events were happening requiring response.  Priorities would be non-existent:  The only actionable situations would be those in a direct line of sight.  The Military would not be able to communicate.  Hence, there would be no chain-of-command; no control.  Scattered commands and units would soon begin operating autonomously in the vacuum. 


The affected society, on all levels, would be sliced and diced into small groups and factions hell-bent on survival – the situation would be an almost immediate chaos.  As we’ve seen during post-Katrina New Orleans and other disasters, breakdown of the social order is rapid and deadly.  In this circumstance, it would also be prolonged, and possibly permanent – until the arrival of an enemy control.  Imagine, if you will, a peak, sustained, Katrina/New Orleans disaster, coast-to-coast.


As the Pentagon considers “equivalency” and proportionality in regards to cyber attack, remember EMP.  Of course, you can bet our government and military is well-aware of the threat of EMP.  However, there’s a new wrinkle here.  For years, people have taken some measure of comfort in the old “Mutually Assured Destruction” (MAD) theory:  If Russia or another country sent a nuclear volley into the U.S., we’d still have some means for a response – and send a volley back.  Thus, a deterrent effect was in place.


Today, it’s not clear if one country could “get the jump” and disable another through EMP, thus rendering the threat of retaliation moot. 


In discussing cyber threats, one really does have to go to the ultimate in assessing threats, and make consideration of EMP.  In fact, it was that very consideration that led me to IDRU and DAPR, and their applicability to Business – in fact, their very necessity.  So, what do these mean to the local organization – yours? 


Stay tuned.  In the meantime, we may wish to consider: 


The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present.  The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion.  As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.

            Abraham Lincoln


The best way to predict the future is to create it.




I like that last one especially.  For Business and IT I say:  You must thwart cyber attacks and crimes on a proactive basis.  You must stay ahead of potential hacks, disablements and thefts by virtue of a responsible forward edge (RFE).  Invent your future; sustain your safe entry to it.


Remember:  Your number one asset is your reputation.



On this day (May 31st):  In 1868 Dr. James Moore of the UK wins the first recorded bicycle race – a 2k velocipede race at Parc fde St Cloud, Paris.

May 26, 2011  1:09 PM

The Cloud: Forecast remains a bit cloudy for security

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott


Several things are on the rise as concerns the Cloud.


Ever more organizations are taking advantage of the Cloud:  Its universality; its ready storage potential for shared data (or even static, backed up, data); its grant of access to networks; its dispensation of services, and so on.  Rising use by a rising number of organizations and org-types is paired with something else, however…


Also on the rise are attacks on the Cloud, and resultant successful breaches.  Darn!  Every time I begin to sense a perfect world, something comes along to burst my bubble.


The Cloud is attractive in that it is cost efficient:  Storage is inexpensive, easily mounted and maintained, and again – there’s the ready access as enabled by the web.  How about Software as a Service (SaaS)?  Again, ready access and use.  Further, utility and production easily “drop” from the Cloud to any desktop, any device (with proper access and authentication) – and a user is off and running.


But recognize that whether it’s data, apps, tools or services, something very fundamental – perhaps as fundamental as it can possibly get – is shifting.  The enterprise, the organization, no longer harbors security.  The organization no longer controls security – as in the days of an in-house discreet network, with a room of servers, and a workstation population largely within four walls (whether literally or figuratively) of… the organization’s control.


When things move to the Cloud, recognize that a service provider, a vendor, a solutions partner – whatever you’re using and/or deem to call it – is now running the security show.  You must ensure that they have best security practices in place:  Constant survey, adjustments, upgrades, risk assessments, notifications – in service to a leading security edge, not a lagging one – a proactive security posture.


You’d better do some due diligence.  Why?  Who manages security in these circumstances?  The answer – the only answer that counts from the enterprise’s perspective is –  Someone other than the enterprise.  And this leaves you vulnerable:  Ensure you get the actual security you need, demand, and pay for in these circumstances.


And yet:  Indemnification for breaches and losses is always difficult to negotiate.  Cloud services providers (including storage as a service) aren’t exactly in a posture of “Use at your own risk”, but because attacks are always evolving, and breaches can expose providers to catastrophic loss, it’s tough to ascertain just how secure any environment is in the Cloud – and contracts can be difficult to negotiate and discern.


But don’t get lazy and sign off on something you’re not comfortable with.  Search and select your partners carefully.  Then, survey contracts, guarantees, and remunerations.  Don’t rush to the Cloud faster than providers are willing to mount, and stand behind, appropriate security.



NP:  Cakewalk Into Town, Taj Mahal,


May 23, 2011  11:58 AM

LinkedIn: Linking to Insecurity?

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott


There is a potential problem at LinkedIn – a social networking site bringing professionals together for creating and networking with business contacts, and for furthering one’s career prospects and opportunities.


There’s a claim that a liability with LinkedIn’s authentication cookie creates a breach potential.  A New Delhi researcher, Rishi Narang, claims hackers can exploit LinkedIn’s storage of authentication information in a cookie that doesn’t expire for an entire year, from date of creation. 


Further, LinkedIn, according to him, does not ask whether you’d like to store this information, as does Google and many other sites.  For that matter, Google and other sites only store cookies’ information for a few weeks.   


Anyone breaking the cookie can gain access to a user’s account.  Given the liability of a year’s expiration, that use could obviously continue for a year.  Particularly for people who use public computers, such as those at libraries, or even devices in a work environment, they could be leaving themselves open to identity theft.


Narang has reported his findings to Reuters news agency, as well as posting details on his blog:


“There exists multiple vulnerabilities in LinkedIn in which it handles the cookies and transmits them over SSL. This vulnerability if exploited, can result in hijacking of user accounts, and/or modifying the user information without the consent of the profile owner.”

According to LinkedIn’s own site statistics, one million new members join each week; faster than one per second.  With more than 100 million members in over 200 countries and territories, it is the world’s largest professional network, and just recently became the first U.S. social networking company to go public. 

LinkedIn has said that it takes the privacy and security of its members seriously.



On this day:  In 1701, Captain Kidd was hung after conviction for piracy and murder, in London.


May 20, 2011  12:20 PM

Sony is Hacked Again

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott


Security is not evidenced merely through the absence of harm.  A harming event may be transpiring in this moment, not yet apparent.       a B-TW warning.


You may remember my discussion of Sony’s earlier breach in my article, “Sony is Sorry.”  I don’t mean to be mean, but that can be taken a couple of different ways.


It was an apology, but now Sony is looking to be in rather a sorry state of affairs:  They’ve been hacked again.  Sony in Japan’s customer rewards site was broken into by an intruder, and that intruder stole virtual points worth the equivalent of $1,225 from account holders.  Not a whole lot in terms of theft, but the fact that access was gained is a very worrisome thing – particularly as a follow-on to what happened at Sony earlier.


What happened earlier was the stealing of personal information when the Sony PlayStation network was hacked, as well as Sony Online Entertainment.  

“What we’ve done is stopped the So-Net points exchanges and told customers to change their passwords,” So-Net, Sony’s ISP unit in Japan, said in a statement. 


At present, the company says that the breach seems to be limited, and no accounts are at risk other than those immediately affected. 

The company further states, “At this point in our investigations, we have not confirmed any data leakage. We have not found any sign of a possibility that a third party has obtained members’ names, address, birth dates and phone numbers.”


Unnamed security experts have said that Sony’s world-wide networks remain vulnerable, according to Reuters news agency. 


For that matter, I supposed we’re all vulnerable.  As noted, the mere absence of evidence of something harming is not necessarily a “secured state.”  Only through ongoing survey of systems, and a forward-thinking security posture, can you be reasonably certain that you are secure; that the environment is secured.  Even then, there are no guarantees in this world.


Do your best, and then quickly do better.


Firewalls, intrusion preventions, virus scans, surveys for malware, antispyware, e-mail protection, and so on – are no good if someone is not surveying reports and taking note of the warnings yielded.


Also, you must take note of the successfully thwarted attempts, to remain cognizant of where attempts are coming from and what sort of entities are mounting them – in making best attempt to project and predict where threats are going in their nature, and where they’ll be coming from in the future. 


You need a very proactive, evolving, and agile posture as regards threats and security. 


Ensure that those who are on the forefront of securing your organization get it.

Is Sony sorry?  They said they are…



NP:  Thelonious Monk, Straight, No Chaser.  On CD (cleansing with vinyl later…)








May 19, 2011  12:05 PM

Yikes: Survey Says Distractions Cost Big $$$

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott


Many people get distracted at work.  No, seriously, they really do.  It was hard for me to believe at first, too.  Once I “get to it,” I’m hard at it, focused, and efficient.  Further, it’s hard for me to stop working…  I know you’re the same way.


But it seems that for many others, distractions are a recurring nuisance, and these folks are susceptible to them.  Huh.


According to software company (formerly Mainsoft) and uSamp (a polling company), a 1000 member firm wastes $10 million per year due to the distractions of social media, e-mail, and badly designed software applications.


This blinding news comes from a survey of 515 white collar workers.  It seems that more than half of them waste at least an hour a day:  60% of this waste is due to interruptions from electronic devices and e-mails (if these are work related, are they really “interruptions”?), and the remaining 40% is phone calls and talking to colleagues.  I dunno – I had an office back in my pre-consulting days – simply closed my door.  I dimly remember working in a cube or two way back when.  I also remember saying, “Sorry Fred, I’m really crunching on something just now.  Can we cycle past the front desk to see what Linda is wearing a little later?” 


As to these interruptions:  Phone etiquette demanded the answer of calls.  E-mails were routine too.


Apparently, according to the study, two-thirds of people space out at meetings, reading voicemail and checking devices.  Here’s a simple solution:  Unless expecting something critical, instruct folks in the meeting to leave devices in their holsters.  (I don’t recommend turning them off, due to possible emergency notifications from family, etc.).  Make it a part of new employee orientation to mention respect for meetings, speakers, etc., and what the expectations for behavior are.


I work as a consultant now, but my office days are relatively recent, and of course I consult in offices similar to the ones I used to work in.  Everyone needs a mental break, and whether that’s sauntering down to the kitchen for coffee, soda or snack, and a little tete-a-tete with whomever else has to space out for a couple minutes, I’m not sure much has changed.


Hire solid employees, set expectations, explain work, distribute work fairly and evenly, and I think things are going to be just fine.


Stay sensible out there.    :^ )


NP:  Feeling Good, Gerry Mulligan,

May 14, 2011  1:18 PM

Facebook vs. Google: I.T. WARS indeed

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott


By now, many if not most people have heard about Facebook’s so-called “secret” hire of an outside public relations firm to plant less-than-flattering stories about Google as regards security.  That public relations firm, it is now known, is Burson-Marsteller – one of the biggest, and… er… one of the best (?).


In the interest of full disclosure, your humble correspondent was Information Technology Director at one of Burson-Marsteller’s (B-M) largest regional offices:  Washington, DC.  In fact, I was actually a Young & Rubicam employee, positioned at the DC office of B-M:  Young & Rubicam owns Burson-Marsteller.


That said, it’s a rather interesting story about a lack of judgment, and a rather unsound understanding of The Business-Technology Weave that we all inhabit.  The Daily Beast has reported that Facebook’s initiative to put Google in a bad light backfired when Burson-Marsteller tried to enlist a blogger in furthering negative privacy implications surrounding Google’s Social Circle social networking service.


That blogger, Chris Soghoian, a former Federal Trade Commission researcher, published his e-mails with B-M, and this exposure was ultimately reported by USA Today.  The flavor of events became such that it is now clear that Facebook was engaging in an anti-Google campaign. 


Here’s the kernel of what has Facebook, and perhaps Google, in a bit of hot water:  Google’s Social Circle service is intended to help Gmail users maintain connection with people they chat with or e-mail – “direct connections.”  But beyond, this service sends Gmail users the names of what they call secondary connections; these are any people that the direct connections follow publicly through the internet.  Thus, there’s an uncomfortable mixing of private and public connections…  further, Google is constantly refining the “Google experience” – mixing all manner of people, associated information, and online activity into an ongoing evolution of the web experience.  It usually happens seamlessly, and many people may not be aware of what their presence within Google’s circle actually represents.


Google also prompts Gmail users to connect other outside accounts to the Social Circle:  Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Flickr, as well as others.  More uncomfortable mixing, at least according to my taste.  The stew can have too many ingredients; there’s always a point of diminishing return…


I like managing things very tightly, and I communicate in different styles according to different individuals and audiences – I’m sure most readers here do too.  That’s the crux of the matter – what is it that you’re doing, and to whom might it inadvertently be exposed?  Are you completely knowledgeable about access to your vital information – content – and do you harbor a similar knowledge as to where any of your “sends” go?  (Whether e-mail, Twitter, post, etc.).


I’ve often asked of Business:  What is being done in the name of your domain?  But now I say to the individual social networking user:  What are YOU doing in the name of your domain?  That is, under the umbrella of your own personal good name? 


For example, I know that when I publish in the domain of David Scott, my content is appropriate, and goes to appropriate entities and eyes.


Do you know that in your own regards?


NP:  Light-Foot, Lou Donaldson,






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