An incredible display of and use of machine learning and AI for military and anti-terrorism tactics.
Manufacturers, businesses, and other organizations can better secure their IoT devices by following five best practices:
All resources matter on the project.
Without all resources working cohesively and effectively together, it can become nearly impossible to effectively and successfully deliver on the project. But beyond that – looking to the revenue level and the profitability on the project... everything affects it, but close management and oversight of it comes down to the project manager. No one entity on the project has the insight, access to info, and overall project knowledge from that standpoint to effectively manage how healthy the project financials are.
Also, not only can the project manager help keep the project stay on track financially, they can also help increase project revenue and profitability through effective financial management, scope management, and customer and team management. Many things do affect all of this – well beyond my list below, I know – but for me it starts with regularly performing these five tasks... my secrets to keeping project revenues high and project profits hopefully higher than expected. Let's discuss...
I'm introducing a new video series called "Ask the PM." The concept is you send me questions and I will choose several to answer in videos that I do throughout the week and month. I will post when a new video is ready and I welcome you to watch and see if your question was included. I don't want these to be too long and bore you all to death... 5 minutes or less would be great so I'd like to get to 5-7 questions per video if possible.
Depending on how many questions I get I may not get to all of them and your question may get answered in a later video. Send me your questions at email@example.com or through my contact form. The answers will be based on my experiences and real world project management views so don't bother asking me hardcore PMBOK type questions - that's what your study groups and the PMBOK is for. This is more for questions about resource management, leading teams, communication, best practices, customer interfacing and engagement, decision making, kick offs, status reporting, etc. And feel free to ask me questions about consulting, independent consulting, how I market and, how I get started... anything really. This will be casual and I'll do my best to give you good answers that will hopefully help you. I look forward to seeing where this goes. Thanks... Send in the questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or through my contact form and stay tuned!
Note - I get lots of daily emails - to make your questions stand out please put "Ask the PM" in the subject line if possible. And be nice to me ... I certainly don't know everything... I just want to start good discussions and threads on topics that are important to you and I'll do my best to answer based on my knowledge (or lack thereof) and experience. Thanks!
How many times have you sat down at your computer ready to start a project and drawn a blank as to where to start with your project schedule? Most of us just grab our last project schedule and start stripping stuff out if it, right? Or perhaps you have that one ‘go-to’ schedule from that great project you ran way back when and since it went so well you use that one as a template over and over and over again even if it isn’t even close to the same type of project. Sound familiar?
Think about it. What if you could just answer a series of questions and let an application build most of your project schedule for you? Think of Turbo Tax walking you through the process of completing your taxes. Yes, there are a few of us stubborn ones out there who still just want to do it ourselves. But even I succumbed to the ease of being led by the hand last tax season. Now, if you could apply that process to building most of your project schedule for each upcoming project, would you? Just answer a series of questions and Project Butler can put most of your schedule together. Yes, it’s that easy.
adaQuest is offering a very informative webinar on this new product. I’m just a project manager – like many of the rest of you. But this product has me excited because I think it’s going to fill a void – a huge void – in the PM workspace somewhere between uncertainty and overconfidence. And isn’t any automated process that can get you 80% of the way to a real, usable project schedule a good thing?
The Pentagon awarded a $10B contract to Microsoft instead of Amazon in its latest JEDI mind trick.
This JEDI fight might be done, but Big Tech-military contracts are just getting started
A few days ago, the US Department of Defense awarded Microsoft a 10-year, $10B cloud services contract, finally crowning an (unexpected) victor in the yearlong contest.
It’s been a long road to the 1 true JEDI
At first, the Big ’Soft, IBM, Oracle, Google, and Amazon were all in the running for the $10B contract, which is not only the biggest internet technology contract in military history but also a foot in the door for the billions of dollars in federal spending on cloud computing expected over the next few years.
Despite objections from critics who called for the contract to be split among multiple contractors, the DOD decided the JEDI contract would remain a winner-takes-all award.
And after Google dropped out for ethical reasons (the company has committed to not using AI to develop weapons), Microsoft and Amazon became the only contract competitors in April when the Pentagon declared that IBM and Oracle weren’t technically up to snuff.
Until recently, the force was strongest with Amazon
Amazon was expected to win the contract thanks to its dominant position in the cloud computing industry: ’Zon controls a 48% market share, compared to Microsoft’s 15.5% market share -- and, unlike Microsoft, it already has the military’s highest level of data management certification.
But the skies darkened for Amazon’s cloud when President Trump -- a widely known critic of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos -- joined the chorus of voices complaining that Amazon’s aggressive pursuit of the JEDI contract had been anti-competitive.
Now it’s Amazon’s turn to strike back
Both IBM and Oracle have already lodged formal complaints about the JEDI bidding process, arguing that parameters of the contract stacked the deck in Amazon’s favor.
But now that Amazon has lost, Bezos’ Big Biz is considering its own appeal of the decision based on President Trump’s interference.
Either way, both Microsoft and Amazon are poised to profit from their relationships with the US military in the future: Amazon makes $2B in annual revenue from its contracts with the federal government, and Microsoft last year signed a deal to provide cloud computing to 17 government agencies.
Is the the best way to protect against a hacker to hire one? Find out why organizations are paying “white-hat hackers” to test their network’s protections.
Why would an organization hire hackers to try to infiltrate its systems? Despite the risks involved, an increasing number of organizations are turning to white-hat hackers, also known as ethical hackers, to test their vulnerability to cyberattacks. Provided an organization understands and has prepared for the risks, hiring a hacking service can deliver expert insight into how that organization can effectively enhance the protection of its network and systems.
Just as doctors are experts in the medical profession, hackers are considered experts in the field of cybersecurity, or more precisely, in methods of cyber intrusion. Hackers know how to infiltrate a network and gain access to an organization’s valuable data. Ethical hackers understand the methods of a malicious hacker, but are motivated to help organizations identify and secure vulnerabilities rather than exploit them.
The Hacker Hierarchy
As most computer users are aware, some hackers are malicious and untrustworthy. One noteworthy example of a hacker who transitioned from “bad to good” is Kevin Mitnick. Mitnick is a notorious U.S. hacker who spent time in jail for hacking into 40 major corporations, but he is now considered one of the most knowledgeable gray-hat hackers in the nation and has been hired by many organizations to help detect vulnerabilities.
Organizational leaders place a lot of trust and confidence in the abilities of their IT department. These departments are full of competent and hard-working individuals dedicated to protecting a company’s systems, so why would leadership feel the need to bring in an outside party?
While IT professionals are often highly skilled at designing and implementing security measures, hackers possess the ability to think outside the box and bypass those security measures. The methods they use may not be on the radar of formally trained IT professionals. Hiring ethical hackers, who share the same natural curiosity and mindset as malicious hackers, can help an organization “test” its network security ahead of a real cyberattack.
This approach, done with the support of the IT department, helps identify vulnerabilities and verify security measures of devices and systems. The information gained can help the IT department enhance its protections.
It’s important that organizational leaders explain that hiring an ethical hacking service is not a test of the capabilities of the IT department, but rather an additional measure to help build the most secure infrastructure possible.
Vetting a Hacker or a Hacking Service
One of the initial hurdles when considering whether or not to hire a hacking service is, first and foremost, if the hackers can be trusted. These individuals will be tasked with identifying a system’s vulnerabilities, which could result in access to highly valuable and sensitive information. This risk must be properly evaluated and hackers carefully vetted. In order to assess and select a hacking service, an organization should consider the following:
The needs of the organization
Is the goal to identify unknown vulnerabilities in the system? Is it to test the cyber readiness of employees? Or is the goal to verify the robustness of the organizational network? Clearly stating the goals and purpose of hiring a hacking service will help determine what skills and services are needed.
Conducting an organization-wide inventory assessment
As part of the preparation process, conduct a thorough inventory of your organizational assets. An organizational inventory assessment identifies all the networked devices within the system, as well as valuable information stored in its systems. This list will help determine what risks (vulnerabilities) are associated with each asset and what devices should be tested by the hackers.
Vetting and reference checks
During this phase, it’s important for an organization to consult with a human resources specialist to ensure proper vetting of the selected individual(s) or service. At a minimum, this process should include a thorough and robust background check, multiple character reference verifications, and past customer recommendations.
Assessing the skills and proficiencies of hackers
As part of the vetting process, organizational leaders should verify the capabilities and skills of candidates to ensure they possess the technical and physical control skills needed to assess the organization’s systems. Technical controls include knowledge of software and hardware devices, such as firewalls and intrusion prevention systems (IPS). The candidates must understand physical control systems that prevent physical entry to buildings. They must also understand the organization’s policies and procedures involving these systems, so they can make recommendations to modify and bolster them.
It’s also important to involve the organization’s legal team in the selection and vetting process. Personnel performing the ethical hacking process are agents of the corporation, which is liable for any damage that may occur to its system or to outside parties. Monitoring the actions of ethical hackers can assist in the minimization of damage to property and reduce liability. Organizations remain responsible for the actions of any entity representing the organization—this is a responsibility that cannot be delegated and is considered due diligence. Therefore, it is important that organizations thoroughly understand the liabilities associated with actions of an ethical hacking service.
Expected Outcomes from a Hacking Service
What can an organization expect to gain from using an ethical hacking service to discover vulnerabilities? The short answer is peace of mind.
Using a hacking service allows the organization to discover if someone gained improper access to its computers or network. It may also discover that its software has not been properly updated with the latest security patch or is no longer supported by the supplier.
The hacking service can also expose insider threats and weaknesses. Whether intentional or otherwise—employees often expose blind spots within the organization through their daily interactions. A vulnerability scan can discover actions by employees or partners that cause risks to the organization.
One example of the risk of third-party vendors is the massive 2013 data breach of Target, when a subcontractor stole network credentials and accessed more than 40 million customers’ credit and debit cards. This intrusion cost Target $18.5 million. If Target had completed a comprehensive vulnerability assessment and accepted the security recommendations, the likelihood of such a data breach would have been significantly less.
The strategic decision to employ an ethical hacking service can be extremely beneficial for an organization, resulting in increased awareness of unknown vulnerabilities and the implementation of stronger security measures and network protections.
Article by Kenneth Williams, Ph.D., is the Executive Director, APUS Center for Cyber Defense (CCD)
THIS ARTICLE IS FEATURED IN THE MAGAZINE, PREVENTING A CYBERATTACK: A GUIDE TO CYBER READINESS. DOWNLOAD IT NOW.By Dr. Kenneth Williams, Executive Director, APUS Center for Cyber Defense (CCD)
Unfortunately, there are times in business where your ecommerce sales plateau or even decline. Don’t let this get you down-hearted! Instead, focus on what you can do to change this. Here are ten tips for boosting your ecommerce sales.
Focus on Regular Customers
When sales decline, businesses often look at ways to find new customers. While this can be a good idea, it may also cost you more money. Don’t forget about your existing loyal customers. There’s a reason that your sales are decreasing, so perhaps it’s time to improve the shopping experience for the customers you already have? Use loyalty schemes or a point-based system that customers can use against products.
Show That Your Site Is Safe
You need to ensure that customers feel safe using your website, or they simply won’t! Your website should show the lock sign in the search bar to show customers that their details will be safe. As cyber-attacks happen more and more, customers simply aren’t going to chance putting their card details anywhere that doesn’t seem trustworthy. If you need to find a website security provider, Norton Antivirus is one of the most popular.
Accept Different Payment Types
You need to be able to accept a variety of payment methods if you want to keep customers happy. Credit and debit cards are a must, and it’s also a good idea to accept PayPal payments. Always follow the latest trends; for example, Apple Pay is becoming a popular way to pay, so making this an option on your website could boost your sales.
Learn Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
As an ecommerce site owner, knowing how search engine works could come handy. By optimizing your ecommerce site with the right keywords, you could get a lot of free and targeted traffic from search engines. According to a recent study by nchannel, 44% of online shoppers begin their buying journey with an online search, so not learning SEO could mean a disastrous mistake.
With that said, SEO involves tedious, ongoing work such as keyword research, content writing, link building, and relationship building. Even if you decide to hire someone to do SEO for you, it is a good idea to also be knowledgeable about the topic so you won't get lied to by your SEO team.
Show Customer Testimonials
Many customers are more likely to buy a product or use a service if it has good reviews. The best reviews also include photographs, and this is a great way to boost sales. Perhaps ask your existing customers to review your product for a discount or hold a competition where every customer that leaves a customer testimonial gets entered into a prize draw.
Allow for Cell Phones
These days, most sales are done via a cell phone. If you don’t have an app available, ensure that your website is accessible via a cell phone or handheld device. You will see a decrease in sales if you don’t have a cell phone friendly website. If you’re unsure how to make your website accessible to cell phones, check out this handy article.
Promote Your Best-Selling Items
There’s a reason that some items are top-selling, and promoting these on your homepage will entice customers in. Some people will come on your site with no idea what they are looking for. These are the customers that will enjoy a best-selling page. If your ecommerce website sells a lot of products, it can be even more difficult to find a particular product that catches your eye. A best-selling section is an easy way to boost sales.
Drive Sales at The Right Times
If there is a special event or a holiday coming up, now is the best time to put on that sale. Holidays are when most people buy online, and so being ready with great discounts will make more customers use your site and possibly purchase more. With sales days such as Black Friday being so popular, many now choose to purchase online as shops can get too busy. Use this to your advantage and be sure to advertise a few weeks before so customers will keep your website in mind.
Send Abandoned Cart Emails
An abandoned cart email can improve sales and is more likely to tempt a customer to come back and purchase what they didn’t the first time. Sendinblue have created some abandoned cart email examples that are perfect for any business. They also allow you to create an account on their website, make a new template, and set this to send to anyone that abandons their cart. This will improve sales and is all done automatically once set up, meaning you can sit back and relax!
Use Video Demonstrations
Videos are both interactive and informative and are the most popular way to market products. Use this as a way to interact with your target market. Make your video fun and interesting while showing how the product can be used. This may not be the answer for all products, but you could choose to advertise a range of products through video format.
Hold a Sale
In the meantime, why not use the oldest trick in the book and hold a sale? Be sure to promote this well. This can engage customers and make them re-visit your website. The best way to make sure you don’t lose much profit is by upping the prices of your products and then putting them on sale. Using an offer such as 30% off everything will be sure to get customers noticing.
These ten tips will boost your sales and allow you to continue to reach out to customers old and new.
COMBINING THE BEST OF STANDARDS-BASED PPM WITH SCALED AGILE
ONEPOINT's innovative, hybrid approach to project management allows you to combine the best of Scaled Agile with all major features of common PM standards including PMI, IPMA and PRINCE2. Work smarter by taking advantage of fully integrated agile methodologies such as Kanban boards complementing proven, traditional tools like WBS and Gantt charts.
INTEGRATED PROJECT, PROGRAM & PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT
ONEPOINT Projects is a modern, flexible, standards-based PPM web application that is available both on cloud and on premise and is trusted by hundreds of customers across industries. By covering the whole project life cycle and integrating with leading enterprise applications such as Jira, Confluence, Slack and SAP, ONEPOINT enables a new way of integrated project work.
Why Acuity PPM? Because...
Your Teams Need a Productivity Boost
Senior Managers and Project Managers alike are in too many meetings and are under constant pressure to deliver value to the organization. Many traditional PPM software solutions are cumbersome and hard to use. You do not want to spend months getting weighed down implementing those solutions only to use a fraction of the functionality. Rather, choose free PPM software that is easy to use and quick to get started so that you get portfolio insights that help you make better decisions faster.
Rightsized For Newer PMOs
Your teams and sponsors expect intuitive and easy-to-use software. Acuity PPM’s lightweight software is perfect for newer project management offices (PMOs). Be careful investing in traditional PPM software that users say “has a clunky outdated UI” or “is difficult to learn and use”. Customers love the modern interface and you will too. Their modern design makes your teams productive on day 1.
Communicate Value Easily
Acuity PPM delivers full transparency across all your projects. Intuitive dashboards quickly communicate the real value of your projects and ultimately the value that your PMO is delivering. Their free PPM software means your teams can track projects and manage the portfolio without risk.
The basic platform is free forever – unlimited projects, up to 10 users, but if you need more functionality, the true feature-based model lets you pay for what you need and not pay for what you don’t need (that’s fair, right?). Acuity PPM is the only true modular-based PPM software vendor, which means you can add new modules as your PMO grows and matures.