Blog #3: “Outsourcing IT Security: Benefits and risks”

Today there is no doubt that IT systems are a part of operations in any organization. With all components of an organization, security is an important factor whether it is physical or software. While for many organizations outsourcing security has become a part of operations; physically we hire security guards, financially we take insurance companies, when it comes to IT. However, it is a whole different story because of the strong factor which is sensitivity of information.

An advantage of outsourcing IT Security is that in the long run, if done properly it could reduce cost, as it is an expensive undertaking to have an in house team to work on IT security year round on a daily basis.  This being said, establishing an agreement with a company that specializes in IT Security would mean that you have another party to respond to technical issues on an “on call basis” and to absorb some liability for loss of information. In my own case where we outsource all our IT-related maintenance due to unavailability of our own IT specialist, this issue on outsourcing is very significant. Hiring an expatriate would cost our company around 50,000php monthly plus food allowance and housing which obviously is very costly compared to outsourcing a specific IT related issue on an on-call basis which costs around 3,000php. Not only this, we can as well focus on our company’s more significant functions without being bothered on IT security maintenance. All you have to do is just shell out some amount and the job is done.

Yes, we can save in outsourcing; however, outsourcing IT security doesn’t come without significant risks. Because IT systems operate at core level of an organization, issues on security of sensitive information as well as confidentiality are at risk. Why? Because these people working on the security system have all the access on the most sensitive and important files on our system. We can never be assured with the protection of this important information that should never be disclosed to others aside from the company’s top management. Since all IT related works are outsourced, these important data may leak or can be used against us. Financial statements as well as payroll processing containing all bank accounts are accessed by random people. These are only few of the issued with turning over your security works with outside organizations.

Often times the risk outweighs the benefits of outsourcing IT security, and therefore it isn’t ideally the best decision of an organization to outsource. On the other hand, as mentioned some organizations simply cannot afford to maintain such IT teams and would have one or two persons with limited knowledge to manage their systems.

I think that what could be done in such cases is by virtue of “no choice” an organization would have to outsource IT security. But, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the organization is on the losing end. As I’ve mentioned every organization have managers like HR managers for example who can work side by side with such outsources to be a control measure as to how far an outsource unit can go and what information could be affected.

If really left with no other options an organization can always look to outsource, but they will have to adopt and establish with their outsources proper policies, systems and procedures. That can give them the best security for their money and yet allow them to keep full operational control of their IT systems.

 

Blog #2: “Performing Effective IS Decisions: Three Most Important Managerial Skills”

A thing that most, if not all organizations have in common is that everyone is expected to bring something to the table or be set on the shelf; and managers are no exception. Especially in the modern world where Information systems are a critical part of many organizations, managers are expected to adopt and improvise if they are to survive and excel in their under takings.

Many organizations today are moving and investing into information systems for the benefits such as improved data management and speed of work completion.  As these happen, managers have a critical role to lead and they must have necessary tools of the trade.

It is not necessary that managers should really have extensive backgrounds into technical skills but I believe that the most important skills needed for managers to participate effectively and efficiently in IS decisions are: Interpersonal and relationship building , forward planning and strategy, and problem solving skills, these among many other skills.

Interpersonal relationship building skills are a key point skill set needed in any organization prior to decision making. This skill can also include good communication skills. In an organization, a manager is expected to be compassionate, approachable, diplomatic, and yet very precise with communicating his or her intents.  This is because a good relationship and communication flows multi-directional in an organization, it needs to exist between managers and their subordinates. Otherwise, how could a decision be effective if subordinates do not cooperate with their managers? In addition, since the top level management has the final say when it comes to proposed IS plans, it is very significant to gain support from them through effective communication. This good relationship and communication also flows internally and externally as the end user demands. Without such skill set it would be difficult getting any made decisions off the ground.

Another skill set I feel would do best for managers is forward planning and strategy, because even without a technical skill set background, a manager should be able to envision the end goal of his decisions, his overall mission and vision, plan contingencies and other variable in a bigger picture.

Finally, I believe problem solving skill is a need for managers when it comes to IS decisions or any decision making for that matter because they always encounter unusual problems along the way. New problems will arise with every new decision made but managers should develop their expertise to learn from past mistakes and put experience on the table, be stable under pressure, remain focused on their objectives and seek creative ways to solve problems. Having this skill, no matter how difficult the situation they face, they can remain calm while finding the best solutions.

While there are a lot of skills out there that managers can use in decision making I feel that these skills mentioned above are the ones that would make a decision in terms of Information Systems aspect efficient and effective. 🙂

 

Blog #1: “Way Of Life- IT beyond computers and gadgets”

 1:”We had to address information technology in the ways we had not before and give the agents the tools that they need to do their job more efficiently and more expeditiously.”- Robert Mueller

(Photo credits to the rightful owner of this image)

We cannot think life sans technology. The use of technology has made our lives comfortable, thus, technology is undeniably important.  IT plays a very important role in the modern society, as a driving force that builds economies, connects people, and establishes the modern society. Mankind among and above many other species has always sought to be informed whether it would be as simple as looking to the skies or be more sophisticated as to avail services of others and utilize complex means to gather, store, interpret and analyze data and information critical to decision-making which has always been crucial to our survival as a society. Modern technology has greatly improved how information is managed and has made it a lot more accessible to everybody.

As an individual growing up in the “information age”, I have seen a world that has greatly improved with the use of information technology.  Lifestyles have been changing rapidly in the past decades as various revolutionary devices and applications are being introduced. As a person who has evolved with such technology, I have also reaped the benefits of such. I know from personal experience what it is like to attend school without a computer, and it was never an easy time. I have to schedule my time around when libraries and computer labs are open so that I can get my work done, and it is not always assured that there will be a space open. And the locations where the computers are may not always be easy to get to.

  I remember during my undergraduate years in UPV wherein not all of us can afford to have a laptop. Laptops where very expensive during those times and your only way to have an access to the internet for your paper works is to run at the nearest internet cafe. It could get inconvenient and stressful at times to do all this. Nowadays, I can see a big difference on how IT benefits not only students but as well as working professionals by allowing organizations to operate more efficiently and maximize their productivity. Faster communication and storage of records are just few of IT’s advantages.

The world is becoming closer as staying connected with friends and loved ones are possible nowadays through social networking sites. You can browse long lost friends and relatives through their Facebook accounts or Instagram and reconnect with them. Sharing of ideas is a lot easier and barriers such as language and boundaries between countries are not a hindrance anymore. If you don’t understand what the heck they are talking about because of a language not familiar to you, Google translate and yeah! Somehow you get some sense out of it. Spending long hours sitting in the internet café just to access your Friendster was a real pain in the ass plus the cost and the very slow connection. Today, communication became a lot cheaper, faster and more efficient. I knew how beneficial IT is in this aspect because I’ve been working abroad and communication with your family back here in the Philippines means more. Somehow, homesickness can be lessened since face to face communication like Skype for example can be done through your mobile phone.

Almost all businesses around the globe are open 24/7 for inquiries or purchases, with this; online purchases in other countries through different payment methods are possible. Any product you want to buy as long as it is sold online can be ordered and after a few days, it will be delivered right at your doorstep. I am a fan of online purchases because aside from the fact that it saves you a lot of time, it also offers a lot of choices and options which are not available at the nearby physical stores. Cheaper prices and low delivery rates are also a bonus.

Our daily office work is also technology based. No longer do people use the pen and paper to complete their work. IT helped streamline businesses making them cost effective by increasing productivity which in turn raises profits and lessens strenuous working conditions.

I used to work with the country’s biggest banking institution wherein dealing with different systems and accounting applications were done in a daily basis.  We were trained how to run these applications accurately to avoid erroneous transactions. Banking operations are very dependent to these systems to the point that when systems are down, all transactions are impossible to process. Each teller can finish hundreds of transactions a day in a very fast pace as long as the connection is running good.

(Photo Credit to the rightful owner of this image) The Beautiful city of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

As a manager, whether you like it or not, you have to deal with IT related concerns. In my work abroad, as an HR manager, I am the one processing our employees’ payroll. Since Papua New Guinea is still left behind when we talk about technology and IT specifically, timecards are still very common. Aside from the fact that it could be very time consuming in my part by manually computing no. of hours for each employee, it causes a lot of stress.  We don’t have our own IT specialist and we still outsource services from other companies which is very expensive in Papua. Companies there are still hesitant to hire their own IT specialists because they still haven’t realized how it can be beneficial for the organization in the long run. IT specialist have higher salary rates compared to other trades, which is another reason why companies prefer to outsource IT services whenever the need comes. In this personal experience of mine, I strongly encourage investing with IT because I know how difficult it is to work in a working environment where IT is not yet considered a necessity.

Information Technology has a very big role in most aspects of our lives. In other words, it answers most of Mankind problems. The importance of technology is aiming for comfort of use in whichever form it is. It always directs for easiness in life.