Recommended reading

When insiders go rogue
Source: Computerworld

A security breach at the hands of a trusted insider is one of the most damaging blows an organization can face — a lesson underscored by the WikiLeaks debacle. But those breaches might be a lot more common than you think, given that three-quarters of such lapses are dealt with outside the public eye, according to a security industry study.

The three most common mistakes organizations make are inadequately vetting employees, being sloppy in managing access privileges and failing to spot warning signs in employee behavior, writes by Tam Harbert in Computerworld.

Harbert profiles incidents at three unnamed companies — two in the Fortune 500 — in which once-trusted employees went rogue for personal financial gain or as an act of revenge. Better prevention requires a combination of technical measures and more careful employee monitoring. However, persuading your organization’s high-level executives to invest in those activities will likely be your first challenge.

Celebrating the network revolution
Source: Network World

Twenty-three years ago, Network World covered the federal court decision that allowed the seven regional Bell operating companies formed by the breakup of AT&T to get into the information gateway business.

At the time, Judge Harold Greene said his ruling would stimulate the market and help make information services available to small businesses and residential customers.

As part of its 25th anniversary coverage, Network World recently took stock of our current hyper-connected world and the profound political, social and economic changes that resulted from the expansion of the information services that Greene helped accelerate.

The story also sizes up where that ubiquitous connectivity will likely take us next: Internet-connected devices — from dishwashers and nanny cams to power lines and roadways — will cooperate with minimal intervention to make our society more efficient and productive.

The truth about multitasking
Source: Bnet

Steve Tobak, writing for Bnet's "The Corner Office" blog, takes issue with all the recent studies and articles blasting the negative effect multitasking is having on our productivity and well-being.

So to set the record straight, Tobak offers 10 truths about multitasking. Among his conclusions: "Interrupting what you’re doing to constantly check e-mail and tweet isn’t multitasking — it’s distraction, plain and simple."

Furthermore, "in the real management world, the only definition of multitasking that matters…is the concept of switching between tasks or interrupting one task in favor of another," he writes. "It’s how we prioritize functions and tasks in real time. It’s necessary and critical to the performance of any management or organizational system."

Barriers to CIOs' progress
Source: TechAmerica

TechAmerica released its 21st annual survey of federal CIOs last month. Among other questions, the organization asked respondents to rank the five greatest barriers to increased effectiveness. Not surprisingly, inadequate budgets rose to the top of the list, after three years in third place. Tight budgets bring competition for resources, which is why "conflicting priorities among program units" came in second.

CIOs seemed to have gotten many of the externally directed initiatives — those demands from Congress and the Office of Management and Budget — under control in 2011. But "CIOs continue to complain, as do so many top leaders, of having little time to plan strategically, given daily demands," TechAmerica's report states. "Finally, the pace of technology change has not slowed down in the past few years, so we think that it is lower down the 2011 barriers list simply because the other obstacles have grown so much."

The report offers insight into the complex challenges facing federal CIOs, but the authors write that "if there is a single major conclusion from the 2011 federal CIO survey, it is that success in IT has more to do with leadership and good management than with hardware, software and communication networks. If technology is the future of defense and government service, then it is about time we started managing it better than we do today.

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FCW in Print

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

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