Recommended reading for the week of April 6

How to spend less time in meetings
Source: Bnet

Consultant Seth Godin offers nine tips for minimizing meeting times.

Among them: Schedule meetings in increments of five minutes and require the meeting organizer to justify the need for each increment, especially after the fourth segment.

Another trick is to assign tasks or reading assignments beforehand, so less time is spent getting everyone caught up. And if attendees don't do their homework, kick them out.

Or try this: If you're not adding value to the meeting, leave. Read a summary report later.

Browser hacking wars: A frontline report
Source: InfoWorld

Blogger Roger Grimes, aka the Security Adviser, has bad news for anyone who is not using the Google Chrome Web browser.

Chrome was the only browser to withstand attacks by contestants in the CanSecWest 2009 PWN2OWN hacking contest. Grimes reports that hackers had no problems with fully patched versions of Apple Safari, Internet Explorer and Firefox.

But Chrome users should not get complacent, he writes. "Even if every Internet browser made today were completely bug-free, it wouldn't stop malicious hackers and malware. Why? Because the vast majority of successful malicious exploits today don't exploit buggy browsers but rather unwitting end-users."

Twitter for professionals
Source: CIO magazine

CIO's C.G. Lynch provides tips and a bevy of resources for organizations that are serious about reaching their audiences through Twitter.

Most organizations have found it useful to listen before they tweet, Lynch wrote. Rather than jump-starting their Twitter presence, they begin by following various Twitter feeds in their market or sector to hear what people are saying.

Once they have a good feel for the community, organizations should establish clear objectives for their initiatives so they can assess its performance and change course if needed.

Twitter has been around long enough that best practices have begun to emerge. The CIO article points to several sources of Twitter 101 material and research data.

IT security on the cheap
Source: Network World

Reporting from the SecureWorld conference, Network World's Bob Brown shares some low-cost ideas for improving security.

For example, David Sherry, chief information security officer at Brown University, said his team issues virus alerts via Twitter. Sherry's group also used a blogging program to test a plan for keeping in touch if they cannot get into the office because of bad weather or a disaster.

Teri Curran, director of information security at Bose, recommended using low-cost online videos to improve security awareness among remote employees. Rather than hiring professionals, her company runs contests in which employees compete to take part.

Another expert recommended that organizations create official forms that employees can use to apply for exemptions from security policies. This makes it easier to track those exemptions and ensure those policies continue to evolve.

About the Author

John Stein Monroe, a former editor-in-chief of FCW, is the custom editorial director for the 1105 Public Sector Media Group.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Shutterstock image: looking for code.

    How DOD embraced bug bounties -- and how your agency can, too

    Hack the Pentagon proved to Defense Department officials that outside hackers can be assets, not adversaries.

  • Shutterstock image: cyber defense.

    Why PPD-41 is evolutionary, not revolutionary

    Government cybersecurity officials say the presidential policy directive codifies cyber incident response protocols but doesn't radically change what's been in practice in recent years.

  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

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