Chris J Powell

Keeping Passwords Safe, Secure and Memorable

The digital reset that I recently went through had me logging into many sites that I had not been to in quite some time.  The number of Password Resets that I had to do was not only alarming, it was down right scary.  In this era of cloud security breaches and the use of “password and 123456” as the most common passwords out there it is no wonder that IT Leaders everywhere cringe a little bit when they think about the end user and how to build a better mouse trap. I was surprised to learn that my own bank has a limit of only 6 characters that is right no more, no less and no special characters allowed when logging into my banking system…that goes well outside my own naming convention that has 12 to 14 characters with Special Characters like $ and & interspersed in the key phrase that I typically use to log on to the services that keep my online life going. So if as end users, we are the collective weak point in the security … Read more

Information Overload – Am I Going Crazy or Just Blinded by the Data?

I have to admit it, I am an Information Junky.  My daily fix for Information and Data comes from a multitude of sources and the prospect that 5 days from now I will be incredibly limited in my access to information for 6 days has me already Jonesing.  I have been downloading like crazy and will use the week without the Internet to build out a new structure and plan for my posting and rebuilding the website from scratch…but what about the rest of the people who are now 24/7 connected with all the information available to human kind, with the click of a mouse button or a swipe of a thumb on a Mobile Device…are we all going a little Data Crazy? I find myself daily scrolling through my Facebook Feed and reading nearly everything that I have a shared interest in with my friends, I do the same with my LinkedIn Contacts and for the most part from within Google+ too (especially being as my Google+ Circles are mostly Geeks like me).  I also subscribe to no … Read more

What is in a Brand?

Brands come and go, there is an ebb and flow to the consumer confidence and in the ability of a company or individual to influence and command…but what is it about a brand like Google, Apple, MacDonald’s or AT&T that has them command the top values in the world?  How can individuals or small businesses take the $158 Million Dollar Brand Value of Google and translate it to themselves? When I was in the heart of building my Personal Brand and focused on nothing but my career as a Sales Guy I did a lot of studying on what goes into building a Personal Brand and how to communicate value like the big guys (without a massive marketing budget or a team of professionals to support me). For every person, corporation or product…success did not come over night.  It did not come without hard work and an application of a strategy that took them from zero to hero…and very few brands have been able to maintain success for ever.  Probably one of the few companies that have continued on a … Read more

Cloud Computing and the Heartbleed Bug

There has been much talk about the Heartbleed Bug lately.  Everything from the Canada Revenue Agency having to shut down its Income Tax website to to Blackberry needing to patch its BBM service.  It has been a scary time indeed for those of us who rely on the Interwebz for our data.  Within days of the announcement though, I started receiving emails from some of my Cloud Service Providers advising me of how they patched the Bug and that all was right with the world…for now. While I was concerned enough to change every password to every website that I subscribe to, I am surprised as to how many companies did not bother to notify me directly that they were taking actions to protect me.  There were major sites all over the globe that were affected by this security hole…and progressive companies should have no problem with telling their customers that they were aware of the issue and had taken actions to protect their customers information! I received this email from on April 9: Hi all, Just letting you … Read more

The Wild, Wild Web – Personal Security in the Internet Age

This week it was revealed that there is a major flaw out there on the Interwebz that potentially affects 2/3 of all web sites.  That seems like a big deal and it is, according to there are over 938,000,000 websites so the Heartbleed Bug could affect over 600 Million web sites and that includes the world of Google, Yahoo, eBay, Internet Banking, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and basically any other website that uses the LAMP Stack and leverages the OpenSSL standard for generating security certificates. I generally never really took much stock in increasing my Security Posture when it came to my online life.  I reset my passwords on a regular basis and tend not to surf to unreliable sites or download things that are questionable but this latest flaw had me really really thinking and after listening to This Week in Google on T.W.I.T TV last night before bed I took some precautions to protect myself and the things that are important to me: Installed LastPass – a Password Manager that lets me tie all my passwords to an encrypted … Read more

Ninety Days In…What are Your Risk Management Successes?

For most of us, the New Years Resolutions we made just 90 days ago have gone by the wayside.  The gym is no longer a daily activity, the eating right has been replaced with old habits of McDonald’s and Tim Hortons and those critical business resolutions…seem like they were made a life time ago.  Over at Dark Reading, an interesting article leaped out at me this morning that looks at the Top 5 IT Risk Management Resolutions for 2014. None of the 5 Resolutions at the outset look to be too difficult to attempt but the discipline that it requires is a constant battle, just like the changing of any other habit. Improving Third-Party Risk Management Tune Risk Management For Greater Flexibility And Response Use More Data To Assess Risks Collaborate With Business Users For More Pervasive Risk Management Balance Preventative Controls With Detective Controls As we hit the 2nd Quarter of 2014, I like to take a step back and evaluate what has gone right and what has gone wrong with my year so far and if you made … Read more

The Last 21 Days

On April 8, 2014 Microsoft will end support for the ongoing patching of the venerable Windows XP and it is now crunch time for the nearly 30% of all desktops out there that still run the venerable 13 year old Operating System that in all honesty served so many for so long.  But what will happen on April 9th?  I have heard some doomsday forecasts that this far worse than the perceived threat that never happened with Y2K, but for the most part…it will continue to be business as usual for users of WindowsXP…sort of. I did a quick perusal of the June 2013 Microsoft Security Intelligence Report and surprised that Windows XP still had the highest infection rate among the 4 Client Side OS versions from Microsoft…nearly double that of Windows Vista. So the older code and porous operating system that is Windows XP is more prone to infection by the world’s Virus makers…that is really not a surprise and has been a fact for some time…but the real question that should be asked is…what is the real alternative … Read more

When Risk Outweighs Reward – The Ocean of Data

The amount of Data being generated by individuals, corporations and governments everyday is daunting and in many ways scary.  If so much data is being created (by most estimates it is around 2.5 Exabytes per day or enough to fill 2.5 Million 1TB Hard Drives) then what is being done with it all?  Is it safe? What is it used for?  Does it ever go away? This Ocean of New Data comes with many challenges but also a great many rewards and the investment in both collecting but also using and leveraging that Data is what I will look at today.  There are two interesting studies that looked at in preparation for this post: Big Data – The Risks and Rewards Locked in Vast Oceans of Data (by KPMG) GENERATING VALUE FROM ABSTRACT BIG DATA ANALYTICS (by ISACA) Looking through both of these documents it is clear that there is a huge potential upside of knowing more about…well everything and making smarter, more effective long term plans but to dive into the Risk vs. Rewards but to look at a deeper view of … Read more

Infographic – BYOD aka Bring Your Own Droid

In my time of working with IT Leaders around the world there was a “lesser of two evils” that existed when it came to their BYOD Plans and more often then not, it defaulted to the Apple iPhone for ease of maintenance and support for their existing teams. Well that is quickly coming to an end as this week’s Infographic shows: by JanBorunda. Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually. Cheers, Krispy

When Risk Outweighs Reward – A Cloud Model

In all my time as a Sales Professional, I have been honest with my customers about the features and benefits of the products and services that I sell.  I try to hide nothing and I put all my cards on the table, it has what has made me successful in sales…but when I take a step back and look at the things around me.  The products and the services that are peddled every day…to the companies and the things that they do in the pursuit of the all mighty dollar…I take a step back and wonder…is the Risk worth the Reward? This is the first part of a series of looks at Risk vs Reward for different Technologies. One of the first things that every company and business leader needs to do is understand what their Risk Tolerance Level is.  We do it when making financial investments.  We sit down with our Advisers and make a solid short term, mid term and long term plan and then revisit it either annually or semi-annually and this is a good thing…but I … Read more