As IT landscapes become more complex and advanced technologies integrate more fully into business systems, it’s no surprise the security remains a primary concern for most companies. Cyber threats are also gaining new levels of sophistication, leaving many organizations wondering if they should prioritize their security efforts based on these newly evolved pieces of malware. However, overthinking your security measures in hopes of stopping these higher-level threats can be harmful if you put the basics on the backburner to make it happen.
Most of the security threats businesses deal with on a daily basis aren’t actually new. In the majority of cases, tried and true techniques are far more likely to be used when cyber criminals wish to gain access to corporate systems or critical data. The fact that they are generally well-known can actually leave systems vulnerable when these threats aren’t given the attention they deserve, as can occur when businesses focus solely on the latest developments in viruses and malware.
To ensure your organization is handling security properly, here are some of the basics that should always take priority.
Comprehensive Password Requirements
While a password may seem old-school in terms of IT security, it is often one of the most fundamental lines of defense your company has to ensure the integrity of its systems and data. Additionally, passwords are one of the simplest solutions to implement and manage.
Make sure all employees have unique login IDs and have strict policies regarding the creation and maintenance of system passwords. For example, requiring a minimum of eight characters and making the use of lower- and upper-case letters, numbers, and symbols mandatory can help ensure a particular level of complexity. Then, implement systems that make regular password changes part of the standard to help limit the risks should old passwords be compromised.
Firewalls, Antivirus, and Anti-Malware
All businesses need to have strong firewalls in place, period. This ensures traffic coming into and out of the network is controlled, limiting the risk of intrusion and forming an active frontline defense. Antivirus and anti-malware programs are designed to catch and contain anything that manages to make its way into the system, making them just as critical. Failing to implement in either of these areas automatically leaves your network and connected systems vulnerable, so they should always be a priority.
Most major pieces of software will have updates released from time to time, including your antivirus and anti-malware applications. At times, people assume these updates are all functional, changing how the software operates in some way. While this can be true, many updates also include security patches designed to protect against new threats and close any discovered vulnerabilities. Failing to update on a regular basis means your applications are potentially operating with holes in their defenses, leaving you vulnerable. By ensuring updates are applied quickly after release, you can limit your chance of a known threat impacting your system.
While staying up to date on the newest threats can be helpful, covering the basics outlined above ensures your system has a strong security foundation in place. If your company is interested in hiring an IT security professional to get your systems into shape, The Armada Group can locate some of the best tech pros available today. Contact us to get the process started.
Many employees and managers alike feel that time spent in meetings is less productive than it could be. Often, these events take a significant amount of time and may not actually be as helpful in developing new breakthroughs within an organization. This is especially true if the people in attendance stay restricted to particular work groups or divisions, as it prevents information sharing from getting innovators involved from other areas.
However, there are methods available for creating a collaborative environment that supports communication between workgroups, allowing those with differing perspectives to participate when working towards common goals. Additionally, by implementing the correct tools, collaboration efforts can be directed with the simple click of a mouse.
Structured Meeting Agendas
One of the biggest issues that prevents meetings from being productive is the lack of a clear agenda. By structuring the event, participants are fully aware of what should be covered, as well as the overall goal. Meetings without structure can easily drift off target, leading to time being spent on issues that should not be of immediate concern. And, when this occurs, objectives are missed and valuable time can be wasted.
Companies that value collaboration treat meetings like assets. They understand that time spent on any cause throughout the workday is valuable and should be managed accordingly. That way, everyone gets what they need to move forward on organizational goals – without any time being wasted on topics that do not need to be covered.
Collaboration-oriented software solutions have made connecting easier than ever, as long as they are used in the right way. Giving employees options regarding how they reach out can help streamline the time spent in meetings, by providing alternatives to traditional in-person attendance, while also allowing organic innovation to occur more easily.
Solutions that integrate audio and video conferencing, mobile messaging, and traditional email can get everyone connected whenever the need arises. Additionally, quick links to online meeting platforms can be sent through a variety of mechanisms, ensuring everyone has the ability to attend without having to dig through old messages or track down original meeting invites.
Often, when critical members of a team cannot be in attendance, the ability to innovate through collaboration is limited. By making the ability to communicate highly accessible, members of work groups and larger teams can touch base regardless of whether they are in the office, at a remote location or even on the road. This ensures key personnel can always participate, providing their knowledge and perspective whenever required.
These technologies also allow impromptu gatherings to occur with greater ease, ensuring that when a good idea hits the floor employees can pursue the opportunity immediately instead of waiting until the next scheduled meeting. By allowing these conversations to take place naturally, innovative ideas are quickly shared, helping the group keep the creative juices flowing whenever inspiration strikes.
If you are looking for employees to help implement collaboration software solutions or to contribute to larger organizational discussions and innovations, The Armada Group can help you get the employees you need. Contact us today to see how a new employee can help you reach your next breakthrough.
Being promoted into your first leadership position is an exciting time, but it can also be a challenging one. Often, it comes with a series of nuances you have yet to experience. Add to that the desire to make a strong first impression, and it can be almost anxiety inducing.
While everything may not go perfectly regardless of your efforts, there are steps you can take to help you prepare for your first day as a leader in a company. To help you on your journey, here are some tips to make the beginning of this segment of your career as successful as possible.
An internal promotion into a leadership position means you are working with people who remember when you were a member of their ranks. Regardless of your skills or abilities, the change in the dynamic can lead to some awkward encounters. You may be unsure about your authority, and former coworkers might not know if the relationship has effectively shifted as you assume your new role. In some cases, you may even run into individuals who are blatantly resistant, guaranteeing some uncomfortable moments.
While you may not handle every one of these moments perfectly, understanding that they will occur helps ensure you aren’t caught off guard. Just remember, it can take time for a change to sink in and become the norm and make sure you handle every situation with a mixture of confidence and grace.
To Err is Human
When you start a new position, you are going to make the occasional mistake. And transitioning into a leadership role is no exception. Acknowledge that errors will be made and take ownership of them when they do. Then, treat them as learning opportunities and strive to avoid that mistake in the future.
Just because you have worked at the company for a while, that doesn’t mean you will automatically know everything there is to know about being a leader in the organization. Be prepared for some missteps, make necessary corrections, learn from the experience, and then move on to the next challenge.
Popularity and Leadership Don’t Always Go Hand-in-Hand
Sometimes you will have to make a choice, and it isn’t always going to make you popular even if it is the right move. Understand that not everyone will like your decision but, if it was made based on an appropriate amount of analysis and experience, don’t be afraid to stand by it.
It can take time for employees to trust new leaders. As you continue in the position, you may see the amount of resistance lessen, though it might never disappear. Just make sure to listen to legitimate concerns or potentially valuable input and then act accordingly. If it turns out you made a mistake, refer back to the point above.
If you are interested in more advice regarding working in a leadership position, The Armada Group has the expertise to help you on your way. Contact us today and see what our recruitment professionals have to offer.
Many of the world’s most successful CIOs reached their positions through a range of career paths. On the surface, it can seem as like they may be dramatically different personalities. However, many of them share certain characteristics. And these traits are often a sign of great potential in aspiring, new, or current CIOs to develop into strong leaders.
To help you understand which traits can be an indication of exceptional leadership potential, here are some key characteristics many of the top CIOs have in common.
One of the most important traits strong leaders share is the ability to understand employees and their daily roles and struggles. Being able to relate to them personal level and empathize with their situations allows you to make decisions in a way that supports their needs as well as those of the business.
It also involves creating a culture where employees feel secure when they need to speak up and ask for support. By cultivating such an environment, workers are more likely to see themselves as being valued by management, which can be critical for morale and long-term retention.
A CIO can’t lead if people aren’t confident in their abilities. Part of ensuring workers feel secure in your decisions is being confident in your actions and abilities. Being able to assume a place of dominance without being overbearing, balancing strength with empathy, creates an ideal blend that employees are more inclined to follow.
As a leader, it’s not enough to be able to spot and correct flaws in others; you must be able to do the same with yourself. Everyone, including the most successful CIOs working today, makes mistakes. Being able to monitor and manage your own behavior is key to being a well-rounded leader in the workplace, and can support strong interpersonal relationships.
While being confident in one’s decisions is important, understanding when you need to be flexible and make adjustments is just as critical. Change is a constant part of any business, and being equipped to role with them as they arise makes you more agile on a daily basis. If you are also comfortable adapting when things don’t quite go as planned, you can make positive changes quickly, better positioning the company for success in both the short- and long-term.
We are all ingrained with the idea that being a strong leader requires being open to guidance from others. While this is true, it is just as important to be able to act independently when the need arises. Being stuck in a place where you can’t make a decision without input from others puts you at a disadvantage while also preventing you from making quick changes when the need arises.
Ultimately, no two CIOs are completely the same. However, many of them share these traits, helping to show how they can be used together for greater success. If you are interested in more information about the characteristics of strong leaders or are looking to hire additional personnel to help your business thrive, the recruitment professionals at The Armada Group have the expertise you need. Contact us and see how our experience can support your leadership goals today.
Receiving public praise is often a key to greater job satisfaction. It demonstrates that your contributions have been noticed and the work is appreciated. However, not every IT position lends itself well to inherently getting noticed, and that can leave you feeling as though your efforts are being taken for granted.
But there are ways to increase your chances for recognition without coming across as self-centered and entirely self-serving. To get started, consider focusing on these areas first.
Keep Your Manager Up to Date
A manager rarely has the ability to stay on top of the contributions of every individual within a team at all times. While the progress of specific work groups may be monitored and end results examined, you should consider it your responsibility to ensure your manager has information about your work.
Consider implementing a weekly email progress report to keep your manager informed regarding the status of current projects, and feel free to forward any positive feedback you receive from key stakeholders or customers. Both of these serve as platforms to keep your boss up to date without coming across as a braggart. Just make sure that when accomplishments are based on team success, every person is appropriately mentioned in these messages.
These approaches give your manager points on which praise can be given, creating a clear opportunity for recognition.
Offer Recognition to Increase Recognition
Not every company has a culture that focuses on praise and recognition. However, you may have the ability to make changes in that regard. If a team member does something worth recognizing, feel free to give them a shout out. Team meetings and project reviews can be suitable times to acknowledge a team member’s contribution and may encourage other team members to do the same.
Similarly, you can inquire about adding a peer-to-peer recognition system within your organization. Again, this can help develop a culture where offering praise is part of the norm and not the exception.
Take the Initiative
Sometimes the easiest way to get what you need is to ask for it. Individuals often prefer different rewards for a job well done, and if your preferred method doesn’t match those around you, it may simply be an overlooked point in larger employee retention plans.
When more recognition its the goal, you can seek opportunities for more high-profile projects. Similarly, seek out chances to take on certain duties or projects on your own, or when certain tasks aren’t being well managed, publicly volunteer to take those tasks on; then solicit feedback to ensure your work is meeting everyone’s needs.
You may need to embrace self-promotion to a degree if you want to increase your visibility. Just make sure to remain professional as you do so.
Reevaluate Your Position
If your efforts to facilitate more recognition by invoking change in the company culture, or your request for additional feedback to support your career growth are met with blank stares and zero enthusiasm, it may be time to reevaluate your workplace. Not every company culture meets the needs of all individuals, and if recognition is a critical part of your overall job satisfaction, it may be time to find an environment that can meet that need.
Begin preparing your resume and start exploring what new employment opportunities may be available. If you aren’t sure where to begin, contact us to speak with one of our IT recruiters. The skilled professionals at The Armada Group have the experience necessary to help you find a work environment that better suits your needs, allowing you to receive the recognition you need to feel satisfied in your work.
Employees with IT skills are still in high demand as unemployment among tech professionals remains low. Companies are raising their IT budgets and salaries are rising. On the surface, everything looks positive for those working in the field of IT. But there’s more to the 2017 picture than what you see at a glance, and IT professionals need to brace themselves for the change that is coming.
Organizations are moving away from many of the traditional IT paradigms. Rising budgets are being directed towards cloud services and software development projects, and away from the usual maintenance associated with managing a large internal infrastructure. Even ERP is falling out of favor when it comes to making investments in a business’s technical needs.
Professionals who traditionally found themselves working in the areas of server maintenance and ERP projects may find it more difficult to obtain new positions. The landscape is changing, and these are the jobs that will likely feel the pain first.
Big Data Analytics
Companies still value their data. Being able to bring meaning to the wealth of data businesses collect is a highly desirable skill, and will remain so into 2017. Skilled professionals working in this field need to be able to do more than organize the wealth of data an organization may collect; they need to help others understand the information so that decisions can be made.
As businesses begin to move away from traditional maintenance expenses, they are able to direct more attention to software development. Professionals with programming skills and experience will continue to be in high demand throughout 2017. And those whose skills can be used to promote the need for increasing mobility will likely find themselves fairly secure in their employment options.
The use of cloud services is growing across almost every major industry. For many organizations, it is not only the cost-effective choice, but the convenient one as well. This means companies are looking for different IT professionals than previously. Having a thorough understanding of cloud operations and SaaS can help employees keep pace with the changes that are occurring. Additionally, cloud service providers may find the need for more workers as the demand for services increases across the country.
Data breaches are still regularly making headlines, so it’s no wonder that companies are investing in IT security products and professionals. With demand high, and unemployment low, security-oriented tech experts see salary increases as businesses compete to secure the best talent available.
Mobile Device Management
The workforce continues to become more mobile as smartphone and tablet technology brings more computing power into the palm of your hand. With that comes a need for professionals with the knowledge and ability to manage this increasingly diverse IT landscape and help mitigate the risks associated with handheld devices holding significant business resources.
Be Prepared to Learn
IT professionals need to remain adaptable as the landscape continues to change. Those who are willing to learn new skills and adapt their current ones will likely find continued success as companies work to fill vacancies. Go ahead and roll with the changes; a new level of career success might be just ahead.
If you are interested in finding a new position or career direction, the Armada Group can provide the assistance you need. Contact us to speak with one of our professional recruiters about what positions may be available in your field today.
It was only a few years ago when the idea of data scientists seemed to storm onto the scene, becoming the career de jour for the management of big data. Now, the next hot job title is a Site Reliability Engineer (SRE).
If you aren’t familiar with the SRE title, you’re not alone. Even though tech giants like Google and Microsoft have SREs on their payroll, the concept is just beginning to break into other areas and industries.
What Does an SRE Do?
SREs perform duties traditionally associated with systems and software engineering with a focus on reliability, automation and maintaining “up time” for critical systems and services. Professionals working in the field work closely with infrastructure professionals while developing critical pieces of software and scaling operations.
Job duties can include tasks like creating automated provisioning processes, disaster recovery testing methods, streamlined deployment mechanisms and auto-remediation systems. The work can be fast-paced, and job duties may be performed under pressure when an emergency occurs. Real-time analytics provide critical information regarding the status of systems, alerting SREs to potential problems that require immediate attention.
Why the Work of an SRE Matters
Our world has become increasingly digital over time. Additionally, third-party cloud storage and computing options have gained significant market share in a relatively quick fashion. To ensure operational continuity, it is imperative that any associated sites be incredibly reliable.
For example, if a business stores their primary databases on a third-party server, they won’t be happy with a solution that is unavailable five percent of the time. In fact, any downtime can be devastating depending on the nature of the work being done.
SREs actively monitor the current state of the applications and data centers, allowing action to be taken at any moment if it becomes required. Data visualization can help IT professionals find the root cause of complex issues that can occur within the traditional IT infrastructure, so that appropriate actions can be taken quickly.
Recovery and redundancy concerns are also directed towards SREs, requiring them to develop solutions that create fail-overs to compensate for known risks. Additionally, machine-learning algorithms must be designed to pinpoint abnormalities that suggest a major event may be pending. This includes analysis of system logs and telemetry with data that is collected in real time.
Why the Work is Lucrative
When any new tech-related concern begins to filter into the mainstream, demand for qualified professionals can rise dramatically. Additionally, the lack of people trained specifically in the field means there is stiff competition to hire top performers.
At this time, average salaries for those working as SREs often break into the six-figure category. With that generally comes a competitive benefits package, and may include other perks like bonuses. Since the demand for qualified professionals is high, and unemployment in the IT field, is generally low, this is an excellent career to pursue.
If you are interested in pursuing new employment opportunities in this growth field, The Armada Group has the information you need to be successful in this career. Contact us and see what options may be available to you.
Future-proofing your career – making it last a lifetime – requires keeping an eye on technology trends. Develop skills in an emerging technology area and you'll have the satisfaction of working with innovative technology and inventing new products, as well as being in high demand and receiving high levels of compensation. These are the tech areas that are just starting to take off now.
Internet of Things
Internet of Things (IoT) devices—small, sensor-based devices that transmit data and receive instructions over the internet—are everywhere. Whether in homes with smart alarm systems, smart thermostats and smart light bulbs, manufacturing plants where connected devices control industrial process, or hospitals where smart pumps deliver medicine, they offer convenience and control critical services.
Wearables, which include smart watches, fitness trackers and Google glasses, combine aspects of mobile technology and IoT applications. Companies are starting to incorporate these devices into their business processes, especially in locations where hands-free access is important.
Autonomous cars rely on the Internet of Things as well as artificial intelligence methods to drive safely on streets and highways. Although they're not yet ready for consumer use, there's widespread commitment to developing them; Google's efforts get much media attention, many startups as well as the established automobile manufacturers are working on the problems.
Big Data and Analytics
All of these new devices, plus all of the new online interactions people have on social media and websites, are deluging companies with massive amounts of data. There's a big push to move beyond collecting and storing information to making it useful through sophisticated analytics processes. Companies hope to find insights in the data that give them a competitive advantage, so the engineering, programming, and analytical skills that can uncover that value are in top demand.
Plan your career with the long term in mind. The opportunities in these areas offer technology workers in all roles – developer, designer, engineer, tester, support – the opportunity to work on projects that will shape the future. Check out the opportunities in The Armada Group’s jobs database and contact us to connect with a recruiter who can help set you on your lifetime career path.
Tablets are becoming a key tool for employees who work out in the field. Many employers now issue tablets to service professionals like visiting nurses or salespeople who make customer calls. By using these tablets, those workers are able to access company systems so data entry doesn't require a trip back to the office or to look up the information needed to close the deal. But, as with other mobile devices, the security risks of tablets are often unacknowledged, and many companies don't have the capabilities to secure, monitor, and support the usage of these devices.
There are several different risks companies need to address:
Loss of the device
Because these devices are so small and light, they're easily misplaced, lost, or stolen. Companies need to ensure that if an unauthorized user gains access to the device, they don't gain access to all the data on it and all the company's data systems.
Employees on the go are likely to connect using insecure Wi-Fi networks in hotels, coffee shops, and other facilities. When employees connect using these networks, they risk exposing password and data or infecting their device with malware. Public charging stations also can potentially infect devices with malware.
The risks of malware are limited with iOS devices, but there's widespread malware that targets Android devices.
Companies that want to give their employees the flexibility of using tablets while maintaining appropriate security should consider using mobile device management software. That software provides a variety of features that help protect tablets and other mobile devices, such as allowing applications to be added or removed from mobile devices, enforcing encryption and other security controls on the device, and allowing devices to be wiped remotely if they are lost. Additionally, enterprises should build strong authentication into their applications, including multi-factor authentication. Antivirus software on the device will help protect against infections.
Need to build a team with the smarts to create tablet-centric applications for your field team and to keep them secure? The Armada Group has a deep pool of technology talent with leading edge skills. Contact us to learn how our staffing services can help you find the professionals your projects need to succeed.
The challenges of big data projects aren't limited to dealing with the structure of the data; the first challenge you face is determining the structure of the data team. Deciding the goal of your data projects is key to making sure you staff the team with the right skills to accomplish your purpose. Here are seven tips to help you staff and structure your data team.
Hire based on needs, not skills.
There's lots of buzz around Hadoop, but not all big data projects need Hadoop skills. Don't let keywords dictate your hiring; focus on the problem you need to solve and hire the specific skills required.
Big data projects are new and the technology is still changing rapidly. You shouldn't expect the structure you put in place now to work for you next year. Anticipate rethinking your data team's structure frequently to keep up with changes in the industry and changes in your own organization.
Bring in multiple skill sets.
Data projects require technical skills for loading and managing the data as well as analytical skills to develop insights from the data. You should plan to hire engineers as well as analysts to make sure people can focus on the tasks they're most suited for.
Start with good data.
It's difficult to find value in messy, dirty data. You should expect data projects will need to spend time manipulating and cleaning data before the analysis begins, so take the time and staff needed for that task into consideration as you plan your team. It's likely you'll need more time and people to work on the data cleaning aspects than the analysis.
Use consultants wisely.
You may want to use consultants if it takes too long to find permanent employees with the skills you need, but you'll need to get the skills in-house eventually. If you have trouble finding the skills you need, consider training your existing staff. Consultants can help guide your team as they learn and transfer expertise.
Because big data is such a hot topic now, many candidates with limited experience are putting big data skills and projects on their resumes. Ask probing interview questions to find out the reality behind the experience they claim.
Hang on to your employees.
Because the data job market is so hot, you have to work to retain the skilled big data employees already on board. Make sure they don't get bored; offer them interesting challenges to solve, and pay market rates to keep them content.