The labyrinth is a model or metaphor for life. The Christian life is often described as a pilgrimage or journey with God, a journey in which we can grow closer in relationship with God, and in turn, closer to others.
In life, as in the labyrinth, we don’t know where the path will take us. We don’t foresee the twists and turns that the future holds, but we know that the path will eventually arrive at the center, God. Sometimes the path
leads inward toward the ultimate goal, only to lead outward again. We meet others along the path—some we meet face-to-face stepping aside to let them pass; some catch up to us and pass us from behind; others we pass along the way. At the center we rest, watch others, pray. Sometimes we stay at the center a long time; other times we leave quickly.
Computer Mediated Communication or CMC, is generally defined as the use of technology to exchange, broadcast, or publish messages. It is difficult to determine the point CMC emerged but one school of thought places its origin with the exchange of prototype emails during the 1960s.
The founding of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication (JCMC) in June 1995 established a focus on social science research which includes communication, business education, political science, sociology, media studies, information science, and other disciplines in its purview.
The evolution of communication technology has radically changed the world several times during the course of human history. From oral tradition, to fix-type print, to telegrams, to tweets, how we communicate has repeatedly revolutionized business practices, made the world smaller, and redefined culture.
The last two decades have demonstrated an exploding pace of change as the Millennial generation, which has been immersed in technology since birth, matures to adulthood. The potential for exponential propagation of messages, in a viral-like pattern, is one reason for intensified focus on CMC. Virtual teaming, cyber-crime, and e-learning are just a few examples of things to be considered today that have only recently emerged.
How you manage your communication has a real and lasting effect on your success.
Lesson from the Target Breach: IT Must Implement Two-Factor Authentication
Last year’s Target incident should be a wake-up call for IT to fundamentally change how they handle passwords.
- By Don Jones
Now that the dust has settled on the Target credit card breach — along with data theft at other retailers — I hope you’re taking a hard look at your organization and asking, "Are we stupid or lazy?" Frankly, with the high-profile Target case top of mind and security experts predicting more breaches are inevitable, "ignorance" isn’t really an acceptable excuse for IT decision makers anymore.
It’s time to scrap the way IT allows passwords for authentication. It’s no secret security experts for decades have been moaning about how terribly passwords are used. Two-factor authentication, which greatly reduces the chances of a breach, is still practically a trite phrase even though it’s been available for quite some time. Yet very few companies bother implementing two-factor authentication, or for that matter anything stronger than a password even though it’s easier than ever. Even Microsoft, which has offered multifactor authentication in its Microsoft Azure cloud service, in February extended that to Office 365 and plans to offer it in the desktop version later this year.
Target should wish they had used two-factor authentication. The root cause of Target’s breach was a password, stolen from an HVAC contractor who had access to some store networks. I’m sure that password was at least eight characters long and consisted of letters, numbers and symbols. That didn’t matter a bit, because it was stolen. The cost of that theft is likely going to be in the millions of dollars after the retailer covers losses, pays fines, makes fixes and so on.
An RSA token would have cost about $25. A software security token is a mere $2. And every organization — including yours — should absolutely be using these for all network access, including logging in from within the office. Using security tokens — or smart cards, or some other physical factor — can put a complete stop to the unauthorized access that resulted in the Target breach.
"But we’ve never been hit!" is the almost invariable counter-argument — and it’s one I’m sure the IT folks at Target heard a few times. But that’s the point — until you are hit, you haven’t been hit, but once you’re hit, you’re screwed. You don’t buy homeowner’s insurance because your housedid burn down, you purchase it in case the house burns down, and you hope to heck you never need to use it. But you spend the money because the insurance is cheaper than the loss should a loss actually occur.
Two-factor authentication is pure IT insurance, plain and simple. It’s a lower cost now, to help prevent a high-cost loss later. And it doesn’t take much to result in a high-cost loss. I mean, for pity’s sake, an HVAC contractor’s password was stolen. That’s not even a blip on the IT radar for most organizations it’s such a minor event. But look at what it enabled. It led to millions of dollars in fraudulent charges plus an untold cost in revenues. Tens of thousands of customers were furious when they had to replace debit/credit cards. Yet these are losses that could have been prevented with a minimal investment in security infrastructure.
I don’t care if you’re a small mom-and-pop, $1-million-a-year business — someone will find a reason to attack you, whether for financial gain or just to prove they can. They might not want whatever you sell, and they might not want your intellectual property — they might just wantaccess to collect credit card numbers, e-mail addresses and phone numbers. All of this data is valuable in the hands of criminals and your business is a potential source.
At this point, there’s absolutely no excuse for not having better authentication on your network, both for in-office and remote users. In fact, the next big company that gets hit this way — and there will be one, I assure you — should fire its executives for malfeasance. The facts are on the table. The outcomes are clear. The costs are low. If you get hit by busted authentication at this point, you must have done so out of deliberate spite. There’s no other excuse.
About the Author
Don Jones is a 12-year industry veteran, author of more than 45 technology books and an in-demand speaker at industry events worldwide. His broad technological background, combined with his years of managerial-level business experience, make him a sought-after consultant by companies that want to better align their technology resources to their business direction. Jones is a contributor to TechNet Magazine and Redmond, and writes a blog atConcentratedTech.com.
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More images Grace HopperComputer Scientist Grace Murray Hopper was an American computer scientist and United States Navy Rear Admiral. A pioneer in the field, she was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, and developed … Wikipedia
Born: December 9, 1906, New York City, NY
Died: January 1, 1992, Arlington County, VA
Buried: Arlington National Cemetery, VA
Awards: National Medal of Technology and Innovation
Education: Wardlaw-Hartridge School, Vassar College, Yale University