More stupid IBM tricks put customer data at risk

I heard from dozens of readers this morning about a message IBM sent to its current employees concerning their 401K plan — changing it from a contribution in every paycheck to a single contribution at the end of the year. Of course if you are laid off that means no annual contribution, less retirement savings, but a real bonus to the company. This, in itself, isn’t worth a column. It’s just Scrooge IBM being more Scrooge-like in search of that 2015 earnings target. What is worth a column is putting this news in the context of IBM having failed its recent internal security audit, which should concern IBM customers.

What, they didn’t tell you?

How well is […]

Cloudy with a chance of data loss


This is a followup to my recent column about Steve Wozniak’s warning on the perils of cloud computing, especially cloud storage. It might surprise many users to know there are firms that sell cloud storage and do not back it up.  They rely on the disk RAID and some redundancy in the cloud to “protect” your data.  If something happens to their data center, they could probably not recover your data.

Remember They did not have a viable business model.  They also didn’t back up their servers.  One day they had a big crash and relied on the RAID array to recover the data.  It took two weeks and still not all of the data was recovered.

RAID is not a data backup technology.

What […]

A belt and suspenders for your cloud storage

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak this week warned of the perils of depending too much on cloud storage and the general press reacted like this was: A) news, and; B) evidence of some inherent failure in cloud architecture. In fact it is not news (Woz never claimed it was) and mainly represents something we used to call “common sense.”

However secure you think your cloud storage is, why solely rely on it when keeping an extra backup can cost from very little to nothing at all?

No matter whose cloud you are depending on it will be subject to attack. Bigger targets get more attacks and something as big as DropBox, say, is a mighty big target, while that spare hard drive attached to a […]

Cloudy judgement at BAE Systems

Microsoft last week lost a potential European customer for its cloud-based Microsoft Office 365 product over concerns about the Patriot Act allowing U.S. government access to to private data. UK defense contractor BAE Systems said they’d changed plans on advice of their lawyers. Smart lawyers.

If we have to rely on lawyers for data security advice, we’re in real trouble.

Frankly I think the US Government and the Patriot Act would be the least of their problems.  If a defense contractor put their data on a public cloud service it would be an open invitation to Iran, North Korea, China, and others to try to steal it.

It boggles my mind that BAE even thought about putting […]

Our Own Worst Enemies

Note — This is the first of two three very different columns about what turns out to be the same topic.

I was driving back to college in my red 1966 Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible when a pickup truck appeared before me on the two-lane road going perhaps 20 mph under the speed limit, which was to say 25 mph slower than me. I pulled into the opposing lane to pass him and the guy punched it, accelerating quickly to keep pace with me so I could neither pass him nor pull back into his lane without hitting him. My simple passing maneuver became a death race because now a third car was added to the mix, […]