by Monte Enbysk
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.
Habits of Highly Effective IT Departments
by Chris Geiser -
firstname.lastname@example.org - 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.
By Craig Kitch
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.
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.
Connected Businesses Win
Networks connect your world securely, reliably and more
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
But what is a
network? And how can it connect your world securely,
reliably, and efficiently?
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
10 Emails You
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
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
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.
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.
Business Continuity Tip
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
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.