Fascinating article on health care data privacy leak

If you aren’t following Troy Hunt (and you care at all about information security — which you should) you should be.

A recent post of his went into detail on a poorly-secured server which left thousands of Indian citizens’ health care data exposed to the world.

I posted not too long ago about our expectations of privacy. This is exactly the sort of situation where nobody was hacked or infiltrated, but sensitive information was out there for the taking for months before anybody noticed.  This got a lot of attention (once it got into the right hands) because it was medical data — if these had been chat logs, it would probably all still be available for download.

 

Staying friends with your team

I had a conversation recently with a colleague about the challenges of having certain types of management conversations with a team that you’re socially close to. To put it another way, is it possible to deliver difficult messages to your friends? More broadly: does staying friends with your team compromise your managerial effectiveness?

When I started in management, the team I was given was the same team where I had been an individual contributor. In a situation like that, there are certainly some pitfalls: others on the team might be resentful they were passed over for the role, a close friendship with a colleague may be viewed as favoritism in the new team structure, and so on. That’s a difficult (but common) situation and makes the transition to management even harder than it is normally.

But let’s step past that scenario and into the “steady state” of management. You’re working closely with your team, have shared values and culture, and develop a strong working relationship. You eat lunch with them, invite them to social gatherings, give them holiday gifts, and so on. Some of them will undoubtedly be the people you are more likely to be friends with than others. In some ways, it’s not a question of whether you’ll become friends with individuals on your team, it’s what the impact of that will be.  From what I’ve seen, there are three main areas of concern:

  1. Delivering difficult messages
  2. Fairness (and the perception of fairness)
  3. Your own upward mobility.

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Lessons from the 2016 election

Wherever you sit on the political spectrum, the increasing amount of publishing and scrutiny of (previously) private communications (from both major candidates and their parties) should be interesting. It’s not isolated to politics either; we’ve seen similar situations unfold with celebrities and movie studios. And there are lessons here for managers and for tech-savvy individuals in general which are worth examining.

There’s been significant analysis and condemnation about the wording of the emails between various DNC officials, whether it relates to bad-mouthing Bernie Sanders or unflattering characterizations of vast numbers of the voting public. The same held true during the aftermath of the Sony Pictures hack. There’s been remarkably little condemnation of the repurposing of these private communications for public analysis, though. Everyone seems to believe that the greater good (or just the greater curiosity) outweighs respecting the privacy of these communications.

This is a valuable insight into the reality of 21st century communication.

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Falling Behind or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the Internet

I happen to have been born at a time when I was able to get on the Internet almost as soon as there was an Internet to get on.  I was in college in 1992, and so I remember the gradual shift from Gopher and FTP sites to browsers and web sites. I say this not to brag, but to note that I’ve witnessed a lot of changes in the web and that I understand it never sits still.

Within the past few months, though, I’ve felt behind the curve a couple times.

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Looking back at EMC

With tomorrow marking the start of our new home under the Dell Technologies umbrella, we got a lot of mileage today out of the joke, “Enjoy your last day at EMC!”

The truth behind the laughs is that the feelings are bittersweet. When Data General was bought out by EMC, there were similar feelings – had we “won” or “lost” in being acquired?  In this case, since Dell isn’t a competitor to EMC, it’s more clear cut. Fewer people feel we’ve “lost” (though some do – I don’t know what “win” they saw coming that nobody else saw).

I personally am a little sad to see EMC go, from the standpoint of a Massachusetts success story being folded into something bigger. But I’m glad to see such a clear vision for the future. I’m excited by the business leaders and their plans. People who aren’t in the industry ask me if this news makes me nervous or scared – I can honestly tell them “no.” Change is a constant fixture at EMC, and while this is change on an unprecedented level it is less nerve-racking to me personally than the dot-com crash or the 2008 recession.

The other side of this is that people who were paying attention were already nervous. I attended a session in the summer of 2015 about EMC and its place in the transforming IT landscape. The constant calls for EMC to split off VMware, or otherwise make drastic changes in response to shareholder pressure were a big part of the conversation.  Discussions with my colleagues suggested that something “big” would have to happen in the fall of 2015 if EMC was going to remain recognizable in a few years.

Something big did happen, of course, that fall. And it’s finally completing tomorrow. And out of all the “big” things that might have happened, I think this one has something good in it for the employees, customers, partners, and shareholders. I’m on board.

Tomorrow I’ll be a Dell EMC employee. I’ll pause and reflect on all that made EMC unique and amazing. And then … back to work. Because we’ve got to help make Dell EMC unique and amazing.  The battle continues!

These are exciting times.

Is this thing on?

It’s hard to believe I haven’t touched this thing in three years, but it may be time to start putting pen to paper again now that we’re about to finalize the biggest merger in IT history.  I’m sure I’ll have some thoughts on the subject, and the joining of two immense corporate cultures like this is bound to trigger some discussion-worthy topics.

 

New day, new team

Today I logged into the system and saw that the team I’ve been leading for a few weeks now is formally now reporting to me.  I didn’t write about the change for the same reason I don’t write about a lot of my day-to-day issues as an engineering manager: it’s hard to make the content interesting while still respecting the privacy of the people involved.

My responsibilities aren’t changing, not in the grand scheme of things.  I’m still leading a team which is responsible for doing a lot of the “guts” type work in the SRM Suite, which includes functionality from ProSphere, Watch4Net, and Storage Compliance Analyzer … and unless you’re a customer or a fellow ASD employee, I don’t expect that means anything to you.

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Friday links, autumn edition

The time has just about come to officially enter my favorite season of the year — autumn!  Football season, malty seasonal beers, crisp mornings, sweatshirts and campfires … the brief respite between air conditioning and heating.

Some links harvested from my RSS feeds for your in-between season consumption, even if none of them are particularly work-related….

 

Friday links, “It’s September already?” edition

Welcome to Football season, ladies and gentlemen.  Summer is quickly turning into a memory — and I’m thrilled.  While you enjoy the brief lull between lawnmowing season and leaf-raking season, enjoy some links from my RSS feeds:

Have a good weekend!

 

I … I don’t even know (Friday link)

In place of actual content, I give you this.