What Causes A Disparate Job Scheduling Environment?

24 06 2010

While I have touched on the causes of a complex and disparate job scheduling environment in past posts, let’s take a more in-depth look at some of leading causes:

  1. Acquisitions  – For many companies that integrate acquisitions, consolidating IT tools such as scheduling is not their highest priority. Although, it will save money in the long run, it is a big project that poses risks. Consequently, scheduling staff members are burdened with managing multiple schedulers.
  2. Departmental Purchasing – The lack of centralized purchasing or company-wide standards often results in the independent departmental acquisition of different job scheduling solutions that are unable to interoperate with each other and existing tools.
  3. Access to Tools – Application departments circumvent standard tools and use easier scheduling tools such as Cron. It is simple and easy to set up a Cron tab or schedule a process in Windows, but it is only a quick fix. Moreover, these one-off fixes decrease overall business visibility.
  4. Built-in application capabilities: This is one of the biggest culprits. Companies deploy applications and tools, such as backup products, due to the perceived benefits of a self-contained system that can be managed by its own tools. This thinking ignores the fact that most applications are not self-contained. In fact, they “touch” other applications by exchanging data and have dependencies based on the overall business workflow. Implementing these “point” solutions prevents the ability to control business workflows from end-to-end.
  5. Lack of management mandate – Without clear mandates from senior management, there is no ability to enforce centralized control. Thus, departments and application developers will take the path of least resistance.

In many cases, sooner or later, IT operations inherit these different applications and tools and are stuck with managing them. With vendor-independent technology, IT organizations can avoid these pitfalls, while saving money, time and resources.


Are Your Employees Following Security Policies?

22 06 2010

In the Ponemon Institute’s study, “Trends in Insider Compliance with Data Security Policies,” a majority of respondents admit to serious non-compliant workplace behaviors that place their companies at risk. Such behaviors include the insecure use of USB memory sticks, Web-based email, social media, mobile devices and more. What’s more, the problem seems to be getting worse. The report sites lost or missing USB memory sticks and other portable data-bearing devices that often not reported to the company or are reported when it is too late.

Two key findings?

  • Employee attitudes about their employees affect the level of compliant vs. non-compliant behavior.
  • Employees do not believe their organizations provide ample training or adequate policies to inform them about data protection and security practices.

So, how does your company stack up against the percentages? 61 percent of end users transfer confidential data onto a USB stick and 71 percent says that others do it. What if there was a way to easily transfer sensitive, proprietary and confidential company and client information without using the number 1 cause of lost data? A secure, ad hoc Managed File Transfer solution can let your employees send up to 2GB of confidential information of files without even leaving their email client. No training, no ramp-up time and the ability to track messages and files. Sound too good to be true? Learn more.

P2P Networks Vs. Managed File Transfer

18 05 2010

In a recent ComputerWorld’s, “P2P networks a treasure trove of leaked health care data, study finds,” the article states, “that nearly eight months after new rules were enacted requiring stronger protection of healthcare information, organizations are still leaking such data on file-sharing networks. In a research paper to be presented today at the IEEE Security Symposium, the findings include thousands of documents containing sensitive patient information on popular P2P networks such as Limewire, eDonkey and BearShare.  Further research by Eric Johnson, a Dartmouth college professor, finds that “one of more than 3,000 files discovered by researchers was a spreadsheet containing insurance details, personally identifying information, physician names and diagnosis codes on more than 28,000 individuals.” At a time when a person’s private healthcare information (PHI) is coming under closer scrutiny due to the Health Information for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, it seems surprising that these P2P networks are still in use.

The problem with P2P software is that it is usually improperly installed on a computer that contains sensitive data.  While the use of the P2P software might be as benign as sharing music and video files, if installed improperly, the P2P software makes all data on the computer visible. Healthcare is not the only industry that has been burned by this issue – businesses and government alike face the same problem. So how do you securely share movies, music, photos and other files without jeopardizing the security of sensitive information? Ad-hoc Managed File Transfer. Similar to P2P networks ad-hoc managed file transfer solution enables you to send large files up to 2GB without disrupting sensitive data that may be on your machine.

Moreover, due to the secure nature of Managed File Transfer, you can send proprietary, confidential or sensitive information and not just large files. The ability to send messages and files securely with the ability to track when the recipient has received the message or file, gives the end user more control over how they send information and gives businesses, healthcare organizations and the government a secure person-to-person file sharing tool that prevents the leak of private information.

How Do Multiple Job Schedulers Affect Your Business?

5 05 2010

One of the most devastating effects of a multiple job scheduler environment on businesses is the delay of mission-critical business information. Having multiple scheduling systems leads to complexity. It also leads to multiple points of failure and delays in supplying the business with the information it needs to competitively operate.

How does complexity affect your business?

Additionally, unnecessary complexity leads to more money spent on IT. There are always investments in new technology needed to help businesses stay current on compete. The problem is that the money available to IT is limited. Money that could be spent on staying competitive is instead spent on operating a complex, multiple scheduling infrastructure, depleting the budget for more revenue-driving technologies.

Moreover, the complexity of multiple scheduling environments affects the mindset of IT. The effort required by IT to maintain a multiple scheduling environment requires it to focus resources on managing the day-to-day issues instead of preparing for the evolving needs of the business.

Want to learn more about how to solve these issues? Read the article.

B2B Managed File Transfer: The Business Value

29 04 2010

Managed File Transfer solutions enable you to securely send data to your business partners, suppliers and partners. But, is that all it does? In an effort to comply with regulatory mandates, to meet customers requirements and to improve customer and partner relationships, more and more organizations are looking for the complete package.  Managed File Transfer enables organizations to meet compliance standards and provide data security, whether the transfer is internal, external or ad hoc.

Many organizations are also using EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), a particular set of standards and security protocols, to send information such as purchase orders and invoices to customers, suppliers and partners. In fact, some of the data exchange might not be the norm: X-rays, CAD files, movies, etc.  The benefits to EDI are plentiful:

  • Reduced costs
  • Speed
  • Paper elimination
  • Data entry elimination
  • Greater accuracy

In close conjunction with EDI, VANs are value added networks. Approximately 90 percent of EDI transfers go through VANs. VANs act as the post office that stores, routes and delivers your files. While EDI and VANs are not new technology, integrating them with a complete MFT solution is. What if there was one solution that could handle all types of B2B communication?  There is.

Consolidate B2B Communication for Greater Visibility

B2B Managed File Transfer offers all of the above functionality, allowing you to consolidate your B2B communication workflows.  One advanced solution can centralize internal and external MFT as well as ad hoc file transfers and EDI transactions. With this solution, you benefit from greater community management, flexible integration capabilities, advanced transfer reporting, uninterrupted data flow and a centralized enterprise. The benefits of B2B MFT are:

  • Security and Compliance
  • Consolidation (no more silos of information)
  • Leveraging Investments and Growth

Reduce costs. Become more agile. Automate processes. Scale for growth. Realize quick R.O.I.

Ultimately, the most important business value of B2B MFT is improving partner, supplier and customer relationships.

Protecting Personal Data Globally

27 04 2010

In a recent report published by Accenture, “How Global Organizations Approach the Challenge of Protecting Personal Data,” five key findings emerged from its research:

  1. There is a notable difference between organizations’ intentions of regarding data privacy and how they actually protect it, creating an uneven trust landscape.
  2. A majority of organizations have lost sensitive, personal information, and among these organizations, the biggest causes are internal and therefore something they potentially could control.
  3. Compliance complacency is prevalent throughout the world.
  4. Understanding the perspective on and approach to data privacy and protection of business partners is crucial.
  5. Organizations that exhibit a “culture of caring” with respect to data privacy and protection are far less likely to experience security breaches.

Let’s look at the first point: There is a notable difference between organizations’ intentions of regarding data privacy and how they actually protect it, creating an uneven landscape.

The Accenture report supplements this finding with the following facts:

  • Approximately 70 percent of both business and individual respondents strongly agreed or agreed that organizations have an obligation to take reasonable steps to secure consumers’ personal information, disclose how they use consumers’ personal information and deal with the ramifications if they lose consumers’ personal information.

The report goes on to relay some inconsistencies with this fact. Between 40 and 50 percent of the business respondents in their survey:

  • Where unsure about or actively disagreed with granting  individuals the right to control the type of personal information about them that is collected and how that information is used.
  • Did not believe it was important or very important to limit the collection and sharing of sensitive personal information.
  • Did not believe a range of typical organizational privacy practices were important or very important (including notice, consent, access, redress, security, minimization and accuracy).

The report goes on to explain the reasons for these discrepancies, including industry differences, cultural/regional differences and a lack of clear accountability and responsibility for data privacy and protection within the organization.  A key reason for who is accountable is the complexity of those involved: “They also may find that the management responsibility and accountability can be fragmented, with the Chief Information Officer, Chief Information Security Officer, Chief Privacy Officer or the legal function all having some involvement, depending on the specific aspect of data privacy and protection in question. For instance, the CIO could be responsible for maintaining IT and data security…”

While this obviously well researched report focused on the complexity of data security, how can a CIO maintain IT and data security? Managed File Transfer.

Can You Afford FTP/SFTP?

23 04 2010

As many IT organizations can testify, FTP and SFTP solutions are not free. While there may be no license fee attached to either of these file transfer solutions, many companies spend millions per year in hardware and resource costs in an effort to make them reliable and to ensure that critical files arrive on time and intact. Data files that arrive late, corrupted or incomplete negatively impact a business both financially and from a reputation perspective.

Many companies are realizing that the security and reliability of their data transfers are paramount to their IT organization and have made significant investments to replace FTP/SFTP solutions with a Managed File Transfer solution.

Whether an organization is moving files internally or to external partners and suppliers, they need to arrive securely, on time and intact. A Managed File Transfer solution ensures this end result through high levels of fault tolerance and automatic restart of transfers from any point of failure. Any MFT solution should include the most modern and secure protocols for file encryption (SSL encryption, X.509 certificates, proxy certificates, etc.). Additionally, MFT has the ability to perform third-party transfers, enabling it to execute and manage a file transfer between sender and receiver without either party having any direct knowledge of the other’s identification credentials.

When it comes to moving critical files within your organization or to business partners, it’s critical to have the ability to manage, monitor and audit every file transfer from a central point. It would be unfeasible, let alone an invalidation of compliance procedures, if file activity wasn’t monitored for failures or that a complete audit trail of file transfers wasn’t available. Moreover, delays in data transfer mean mission-critical delays for your business.

Can you afford that?