Managing Project Change Requests
By George Spafford | Data Center Article Published August 16, 2007
Like a ripples in a pond, even small change requests can have widespread effects, writes PM Planet columnist George Spafford of Pepperweed Consulting.
eBay and the Flattening of the World
By George Spafford | Article Published January 11, 2007
Business buyers can leverage eBay just as consumers do but they need to be aware of some key considerations.
Vendor Selection: A Fourteen-Point Guide
By George Spafford | Article Published December 7, 2006
Youre investing a lot with your vendors. Are you vetting them properly?
The Thriving Business of Poor Quality
By George Spafford | Article Published November 16, 2006
Users have grown accustomed to shoddy quality from software and services vendors. Why?
IT Portfolio Mismanagement
By George Spafford | Article Published October 20, 2006
Good project management requires IT executives to review three key areas.
Offshore Call Centers: Time to Bring em Home?
By George Spafford | Article Published October 11, 2006
Weighing the benefits (and problems) of an offshore call center is about more than the short term bottom line.
So Many Portables, So Few Rules
By George Spafford | Article Published September 25, 2006
All manner of sensitive company data floats around on employees portable devices. Without proper procedures, theres no telling where it might land.
The Transient Knowledge Trap
By George Spafford | Article Published September 21, 2006
Our society and economy cannot afford to lose basic skills -- yet that is exactly what we are allowing to happen, our Datamation columnist writes.
The Dangers of Excessive Permissions
By George Spafford | Article Published September 18, 2006
Allowing too many employees too much access to your network is a recipe for disaster. Here are three scenarios to avoid.
The Real Source of SOX Woes
By George Spafford | Article Published September 14, 2006
Fraud and other malicious activities draw a lot of press and management attention, but there's a far greater risk to the integrity of financial reporting.
How Energy Costs Can Affect IT
By George Spafford | Article Published August 9, 2006
IT and organizations as a whole must recognize the risks associated with rising energy costs and take a proactive stance.
The Impact of Global Warming On IT
By George Spafford | Article Published August 4, 2006
As the Earth's temperature rises and demand for power escalates, IT professionals will find it increasingly more difficult to keep their equipment cool and their networks running.
Using RACI Charts to Improve Processes
By George Spafford | Article Published July 31, 2006
With all the pressures on IT to deliver effective, efficient and economical services that also are compliant, process design is more important than ever.
Do Your Business Continuity Plans Cover Home Workers?
By George Spafford | Article Published July 25, 2006
Keeping home-based workers connected to your network in the event of problems can involve unanticipated challenges.
Selling Senior Management on Upgrades
By George Spafford | Article Published July 19, 2006
To win over the "suits," IT must clearly identify relationships between service upgrades and organizational benefits.
Making the SOX Grade
By George Spafford | Article Published July 14, 2006
George Spafford examines some key steps organizations need to take to pass the cumbersome Sarbanes-Oxley compliance test.
By George Spafford | Article Published June 29, 2006
Our Datamation columnist relates a sad tale of poor service from his ISP. There's a lesson in this story for all IT service providers.
The Importance of Defining 'Availability'
By George Spafford | Article Published June 1, 2006
To avoid problems down the road, IT must work with management and customers to ensure a common understanding of how availability is measured and reported.
Storage Devices and Security Risks
By George Spafford | Article Published May 26, 2006
Portable data storage devices such as memory sticks may be convenient, but once lost or stolen, they're also potentially hazardous.
The Right Way to Set SLAs
By George Spafford | Article Published May 17, 2006
Before rushing to establish a Service Level Agreement, IT managers first must step back and view them in the larger context of Service Level Management.
Why IT Should Understand 'Costing' Terms
By George Spafford | Article Published May 8, 2006
To accurately and effectively communicate the value or costs associated with its services, it is important that IT use the right terms.
Plugging into the Nerve Center of ITSM
By George Spafford | Article Published April 27, 2006
Datamation Columnist George Spafford takes a look at the Configuration Management Database -- what he calls the hub of all activity in the world of IT Service Management.
When More is Less
By George Spafford | Article Published April 19, 2006
Sometimes greater IT resources can lead to unexpected and costly inefficiencies, writes Datamation columnist George Spafford.
When You Need Emergency Portable Lighting
By George Spafford | Article Published April 10, 2006
With more choices of portable lighting available then ever, IT pros don't have to be kept in the dark while on any job.
How Users Can Play an Active Role in Security
By George Spafford | Article Published February 3, 2006
Sometimes users are the biggest security hole a company has. You can turn that around. Columnist George Spafford shows you how to do it.
Keeping Road Warriors' Data Safe
By George Spafford | Article Published January 23, 2006
What would we do without our notebook computers? Actually, what would we do without the data on them? Columnist George Spafford shows you how not to be in the position to find out.
The Importance of Audit Logs
By George Spafford | Article Published January 20, 2006
Audit logs are valuable for a number of reasons, but it's up to IT to use them effectively.
Segregate Duties to Lessen Security Risks
By George Spafford | Article Published January 18, 2006
Columnist George Spafford says no one should have excessive control over any critical process. Here's what to do to make sure your company isn't at risk.
Effectively Using Problem Review Boards
By George Spafford | Article Published December 27, 2005
IT lives in a technical world where complexity and coupling increase each day. Inherent in this world are problems that must be managed in order for IT to achieve its objectives. To do so effectively, enterprises should create problem review boards.
Regulatory Compliance and Security
By George Spafford | Article Published December 15, 2005
For enterprises, regulatory compliance is a risk to be managed just like any other.
Focus on Business Goals for Real IT Productivity
By George Spafford | Article Published December 6, 2005
Columnist George Spafford says productivity isn't a matter of how much you get done in an eight-hour day. It's all about what you're doing to advance the company's business goals.
Is Your Recovery Plan Good Enough to Save You?
By George Spafford | Article Published November 18, 2005
Columnist George Spafford says a recovery and business continuity plan may be all that stands between your company and disaster. Is yours good enough to keep the business afloat?
Cool Tools for the Road Warriors
By George Spafford | Article Published October 25, 2005
Columnist George Spafford has been logging a lot of time in airplanes lately. Here's what's been keeping him productive and happier.
Why Configuration Management Matters
By George Spafford | Article Published September 29, 2005
Datamation columnist George Spafford takes a look at Configuration Management and what you should be doing about it.
The Hotel Internet Access Nightmare
By George Spafford | Article Published September 21, 2005
Not enough hotels catering to business travelers treat Internet access as the critical service it is, columnist George Spafford writes.
Dude, I Got an Axim
By George Spafford | Article Published September 14, 2005
Datamation columnist George Spafford is getting a lot of attention these days. Well, his Dell Axim X30 and a foldable keyboard are getting the attention... and garnering a lot of questions.
Fixing the Disconnect Between IT and Business
By George Spafford | Article Published September 7, 2005
Datamation columnist George Spafford focuses on bridging the age-old gap between business and IT. Here are some steps to take to bring them into alignment.
Everyday Work in the Way of IT Innovation
By George Spafford | Article Published August 10, 2005
Datamation columnist George Spafford says IT administrators need to make sure there's enough time in the day -- and in the budget -- to be innovative.
Process Controls Can Avert Disaster
By George Spafford | Article Published July 20, 2005
All IT shops and enterprises ultimately are judged on their ability to achieve goals. And that's why process controls are indispensable.
Forging a 'Risk Chain' in a Complicated World
By George Spafford | Features & Trends Article Published July 8, 2005
In today's world where businesses operate in a complicated web of partnerships and dependencies, it's more important than ever to figure out your own risk chain.
Using a PMO to Prioritize Your IT Work
By George Spafford | Features & Trends Article Published June 30, 2005
With so many jobs to get done and so many different executives pushing their own agendas, how do you prioritize everything? Here's some help.
By George Spafford | Article Published June 28, 2005
During the course of a project, opportunities and risks surface that people tend to address ad hoc. Here's how to avoid that tendency.
Fulfilling the Internet's Potential Value
By George Spafford | Article Published June 21, 2005
Any hope of attaining the potential value of the Internet necessitates a degree of globally coordinated care that has not been evidenced to date.
Protecting the Internet's Potential Value
By George Spafford | Article Published June 13, 2005
The Internet is a global public commons. As such, it is a resource that needs safeguarding to prevent its misuse and ultimate destruction.
Creating a Resilient IT System
By George Spafford | Article Published June 1, 2005
If something knocks your system off line, will it immediately come back up and work as planned? If not, you've got some planning to do.
Factoring in Compliance
By George Spafford | Article Published April 26, 2005
Internal compliance initiatives must constantly trade off the need to balance risks with the needs of the business to achieve a proper balance.
Recovery Process Needs Rollback Planning
By George Spafford | Article Published April 14, 2005
So what happens when a change fails? Our Datamation columnist says you'd better have a rollback plan in place... a way to get back to the system's last known good state.
Backup Best Practices Save Critical Data
By George Spafford | Article Published April 6, 2005
In an increasingly paperless age, it's critical to backup your data. If you're not doing so, or if you're not doing so correctly, you and your company could be in for a disaster.
Ordering off the Security Menu
By George Spafford | Article Published March 28, 2005
Our columnist lays out a basic list, or menu, of security technologies and processes that business and technical folks should consider. Pick from the list based on your specific needs.
Leveraging Configuration Management
By George Spafford | Article Published March 23, 2005
IT must have effective configuration management controls to ensure that change isn't overwhelmed by complexity.
Sensible IT Security for Small Businesses
By George Spafford | Article Published March 7, 2005
Small businesses worried about security should avoid magic-bullet solutions and look instead to multiple layers of defense.
Data Center Power: Ignore At Your Peril -- Part 2
By George Spafford | Article Published March 2, 2005
In the second of two articles about power quality, Datamation contributor George Spafford outlines what factors to consider when choosing a data center power strategy.
Gaining Control over Compliance Issues
By George Spafford | Article Published February 25, 2005
The pendulum is swinging. We've quickly gone from the simple to the excessively complex. Our Datamation columnist looks for the middle ground.
Data Center Power: Ignore At Your Peril
By George Spafford | Article Published February 23, 2005
Underlying all of IT's fancy servers, networking gear and other devices is the need for clean, reliable power.
'Firefighting' Means Trouble
By George Spafford | Article Published December 13, 2004
Some of the most respected IT people in any organization are the 'firefighters' -- tech heroes who dive into problems and fix them. But enterprises in which firefighting is common usually face a lot of unnecessary, self-inflicted woes.
Control Framework Misconceptions
By George Spafford | Article Published November 23, 2004
There have been numerous articles written about ISO 17799, ITIL and COBIT. But, according to our Datamation columnist, only one of these provides an overall IT control framework.
Learning to Rely on IT Standards
By George Spafford | Article Published October 26, 2004
If you're not working with a clearly drawn list of standards, you're facing inefficiencies and potentially trouble with your customers. It's all about the process...
Planning Out Your Compliance Moves
By George Spafford | Features & Trends Article Published October 14, 2004
Without a doubt, companies are spending terrific sums of money to gain compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOx). What's the best way to deal with all of this?
The Right Way to Outsource Control Planning
By George Spafford | Article Published September 29, 2004
Just because your organization has hired a consultant to build compliance-driven control environments, don't think you're not ultimately responsible.
Breaking the Rules: Temptation and Risk
By George Spafford | Article Published September 24, 2004
Establishing control policies and procedures is critical for a successful IT shop, but as our Datamation columnist points out, that's only the first step.
Hindsight not Always 20/20 with Problem Management
By George Spafford | Article Published September 22, 2004
When you're studying an incident, you need to be careful not to let hindsight ruin your efforts. Our columnist walks you through how to handle the review process to get the best insights.
The Increasing Importance of IT 'Controls'
By George Spafford | Article Published September 1, 2004
Due to pressures for regulatory compliance and a need for overall process improvement, there is a distinct push for controls in IT. But many IT pros just aren't familiar with basic control theory.
Surviving the Great Technology Convergence
By George Spafford | Article Published August 26, 2004
Our Datamation columnist says we are witnessing a convergence that radically will reshape our world. How should we best handle the combining of information technology with the worlds of biotechnology and nanotechnology?
The Temporary Death of Processes
By George Spafford | Article Published August 17, 2004
The need to meet regulatory requirements and the desire to implement sound business practices are pushing IT governance and controls to the forefront once again.
Monitoring Complex Systems
By George Spafford | Article Published June 17, 2004
Complex networks require increasingly sophisticated monitoring systems. But all too often, monitoring systems are treated as afterthoughts, leading to security breaches, accidents and inefficiencies.
The Operator Did It
By George Spafford | Article Published June 8, 2004
Operators are identified as the culprits in 80 percent of all accidents. But rather than play the blame game, organizations must focus on causal factors and address the real issues.
Time Has Come for the IT Process Engineer
By George Spafford | Article Published June 2, 2004
As enterprises become more aware of the immaturity of their IT processes, the industry may be ready for a new specialist -- the IT process engineer.
The Increasing Importance of Process Skills
By George Spafford | Article Published May 26, 2004
To cope with the demands of today's regulatory environment, it is imperative for organizations to hire and retain employees based not just on technical skills, but process skills as well.
Understanding 'Mean Time Between Failure'
By George Spafford | Article Published May 14, 2004
Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) is an important IT management metric for discrete components as well as overall systems. But misreading MTBF can be costly.
Getting at the Root of Security Problems
By George Spafford | Article Published April 27, 2004
IT is getting a wake-up call. Security problems are running IT managers ragged. They're wasting time and loads of money. But our Datamation columnist says security problems are merely the symptom. The root of the problem runs much deeper.
Is Your Job at Risk of Being Outsourced?
By George Spafford | Article Published February 19, 2004
IT professionals need to recognize if their jobs are prime candidates for outsourcing and how to minimize that risk. Our Datamation columnist offers some strategies.
The Dangers that Lurk Behind Shadow IT
By George Spafford | Article Published February 4, 2004
While IT managers may worry about what's going on in the IT department, when you move that work outside of the building, it's enough to give most managers fits. Our Datamation columnist looks at what's lurking behind Shadow IT.
Learning to Deal with Change and the Unknowns
By George Spafford | Article Published February 2, 2004
As companies push in new intrusion detection systems and patch-management policies, there's something that often gets overlooked. Change. And change can lead to the unknown. And if you're not thinking it through, it can lead to lots of problems.
Treating Messaging as Critical
By George Spafford | Article Published December 12, 2003
If you haven't looked carefully at your messaging infrastructure, now is the time, advises our Datamation columnist.
Taking Policies from Useless to Useful
By George Spafford | Article Published November 11, 2003
What must not come out of governance and operational improvement efforts is documentation that sits on the shelf. Our Datamation columnist takes a look at how to make policies and procedures useful and accessible.