Cracks & Crevices

Grout! Putty! Glue! Cement! Heck, duct tape, if you will…whatever sort of crevice or gap filler you can imagine, IT and its developers are that and we do so to ensure PCI Compliance. The PCI, Payment Card Industry, is ever-changing with new standards to be upheld, it’s a wonder that most organizations can keep up! The majority of these tasks fall on the broad shoulders of the IT department and its developers—but what exactly do they do? Let’s start with those nerdy developers, shall we? They focus on safe coding practices to ensure that outside sources, or hackers cannot insert harmful material into their databases; mostly they keep the malicious internet surfers from hijacking their websites. Most importantly, these safe coding practices are implemented to ensure that a breach or loss of their database information does not occur. Next, IT’s main concentration is on systems and access control to ensure their physical world is safe and secure. They safeguard and secure the server room and call centers with biometric locks and require identifying name badges be worn by all personnel and visitors. IT is also responsible for the removal of generic passwords from all systems and to ensure these user accounts are replaced by secure usernames and passwords. They require password changes and enact idle time rules as well as administer Active Directory to ensure only authorized personnel can log on to the domain. Crossfire IT and developers for our PCI Compliant systems adhere to strict coding practices and security measures to ensure our information and our clients’ information is kept secure. The following is a list of points (albeit...

Big Data

Tech buzz words come and go as quickly as Justin Bieber gets into trouble…which is rather fast! The issue with that is that most of the buzz is short-lived and over-hyped which leaves us, the not so techie person, wondering what’s next and how to prepare for it. So, you ready for the next, greatest, most-bestest buzz word for today? Here you go….. “Big data” is the big buzz-word that everyone is talking about today.  However, very few people know what exactly “big data” is and, more importantly, what to do with it.  In this series of articles, we will explain what exactly “big data” is, as well as how to get your organization’s data and technical infrastructure ready for it. “Big data” is really nothing more than the organization of as much data as possible, and then the application of statistical methods to find patterns and new information in that data.  This new information is then used to make business decisions and reach desired business outcomes.   It should be noted that this really is nothing new; plenty of organizations have applied statistical analysis to their business practices to find improvements in efficiency and reduce costs.  The really novel thing that’s happening today is the scale of the data-sets that this analysis is being run on.  Today’s explosion in how much business is transacted electronically provides a very accessible data-record of virtually every aspect of an organization’s business.  Even more than that, the automation and move to electronic internal record-keeping enables direct correlations between internal business data from various business units (think HR data regarding commission structures for employees,...