What Is A Hacker
by Monte Enbysk
used with permission from the Microsoft Small Business Center

 

The first thing to know about computer "hackers" is that the term itself is a point of dispute.

Many people who hack into systems without criminal intent proudly label themselves "hackers," and say they're the good guys and the bad guys should be called "crackers" or something else. "Hackers are not evil, malicious people out to damage computer systems and steal passwords. Hackers hate these kind of people," read one e-mail I got after I wrote a column about virus writers.

Others argue that "hackers" represent both good and bad guys - people who explore and "test" systems for a living or a hobby, as well as those who break into systems to embarrass or rip off companies and people. "Just like in the Wizard of Oz, there can be good witches and bad witches. In the world of hacking, it goes the same way," wrote a reader.

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7 Habits of Highly Effective IT Departments
by Chris Geiser - cgeiser@pcstechnology.com - PC Solutions, Inc.
 

It's been 20 years since Dr. Stephen Covey published his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Today, I will take a look at those habits and see how they apply to IT Managers of 2010 and beyond.

Habit 1: Be Proactive
Steven Covey writes that your life doesn't just happen. Whether you know it or not, it is designed by you. Proactive people recognize that they are responsible for the outcome of their life. By contrast, reactive people are affected by their physical environment, often blaming their circumstance or even the weather for their mood and behavior.

Reactive IT Departments are Easy to Spot Walk into an office and you might immediately see the tell-tale signs of a reactive IT department. It's the users. You can tell that they are concentrating, but it doesn't look like they are getting much work done (long stares at their screen, sighs, not much typing, asking co-workers if they are experiencing the same issue). Much of their finite energy is being applied, not to their work, but in trying to adapt their way of working to suit the constraints of their IT environment. They've taken their issues up to their reactive IT Manager who usually cites all of the system and budget constraints that prevent him/her from fulfilling the users' request.

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Miss Communication
By Craig Kitch
 

Not long ago, I held a communication workshop for a restaurant chain and asked a pretty young lady to assist me in a demonstration. As she walked to the front of the room, I announced to the group that we had just held a beauty contest and that one of the finalists was with us today. As she turned to face the group, I introduced her as Miss Communication and asked for a nice round of applause. Following the ovation, I indicated that she was obviously pretty and smart and asked why everyone was using her for a scapegoat. “You blame her for everything”, I said. When the customer is not properly served, and complains, we blame it on Miss Communication. When two departments are not working well together and the corporate office wants to know what’s wrong, the answer is often Miss Communication. While this was obviously an oddball demonstration, I got their attention and made my point. Miscommunication has become such a scapegoat that many people accept it as a viable reason for any problem.

Good communication can build an empire and poor communication can destroy one. It is such an integral part of what we do, especially in the information age, that it boggles my mind as to why most companies invest so little in teaching their people good communication skills and then holding them to a standard. The accurate sharing of information is a skill that can be learned and developed continuously.

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Connected Businesses Win
Networks connect your world securely, reliably and more efficiently.

used with permission from the Cisco Small Business Website
 

People in small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) regularly connect with others who are vital to their success. Customers bring income, the lifeblood of any business. Partners, such as contractors and suppliers, provide services and products for daily operations. Prospects are vital for growth and new opportunities. And employees are the brains, hands, eyes, and ears that make a business successful.

A network can connect them all, according to Deb Mielke, operator of HomeOfficeReports.com, a Web site providing technology advice and information to small and home-based businesses. "Electronic communication is a great way to reach a lot of people," she says. "The beauty of networking and the Internet is that it can make a little guy look like a big guy."

But what is a network? And how can it connect your world securely, reliably, and efficiently?

Cisco commonly refers to the concept of a Secure Network Foundation which encompasses a flexible communications platform that both delivers business information needs and positions a company for growth. Note that "computer" is nowhere in that definition.

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October 2010
In this issue:

What is a Hacker?
7 Habits of Highly Effective
IT Departments
Miss Communication
Connected Businesses Win
10 Emails You Should Never Send
Business Continuity Tip
Cartoon & Quote
10 Emails You
Should Never Send

used with permission from the
HP Small Business Center

 

Here’s a scenario most of us are familiar with, whether first-hand or as a witness to a colleague’s faux pas: an email with a crude joke or a funny picture that crosses into the personal-email realm is sent to a cluster of friendly internal contacts and accidentally included on the recipients’ list is the company CEO. Embarrassing for the sender? Yes. Grounds for dismissal? Unlikely.

What can prove far more detrimental to your career, however, is the way you compose your everyday emails. We often treat email communication in the same casual manner as we do informal telephone conversations, and it’s all too easy to forget that there’s a flawless digital record of what’s been communicated.

Unlike verbal conversations, emails can be forwarded to the wrong people. Likewise, if a message is written in a hurry, it can end up sloppy or leave itself open to misinterpretation and, as a result, it can have nasty repercussions. It’s always better to think before you send.

Convenient email enabled devices such as the Palm® smartphone and HP notebook also allow you to send emails from anywhere these days too, but it’s important to train yourself to send in “work mode”. Next time you reach for your smartphone, remember that you’re representing yourself and your company, no matter where you are.

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Business Continuity Tip
 
Think locally.

A well-thought-out recovery plan takes into account multiple disaster scenarios, but it should also convey a realistic approach to preparing for the events most likely to occur in your area. For example (and to point out the obvious), a Florida company probably does not need to prepare for an ice storm, and likewise a business in Wisconsin should not focus on the effects of a hurricane. Be realistic about the threats you are prone to face, and focus your planning on those most likely to happen.

 

Quote of the Month

The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.

Vince Lombardi
 

Just for Laughs

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