April 2014

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Recent Posts

  1. Compliance doesn't equal security
    Monday, January 27, 2014
  2. Mobility and Cloud Innovation
    Monday, January 06, 2014
  3. Success with Avaya IQ
    Friday, February 10, 2012
  4. The Evils of E-Mail
    Tuesday, January 17, 2012
  5. My Professional Biography
    Thursday, November 24, 2011

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Compliance doesn't equal security

We're all aware of the Target security breach, and Neiman Marcus just announced more than a million compromised accounts.  I was shocked such large and well-funded organizations could be compromised so dramatically.  However, while I have no intimate knowledge of how those organizations operate, perhaps I shouldn't be surprised.  Many large organizations focus more on compliance than security.  Perhaps they placed too much emphasis on compliance at the expense of security, too.

PCI compliance is widely viewed as the standard for credit card security.  I imagine many believe "if we're PCI-compliant, we're ok.  We're doing what Amex, MasterCard and Visa want."  PCI compliance has a security component, but it's more about meeting regulatory standards.  Indeed, each passing year, PCI adds more regulatory requirements, but has done little to address the changing behaviors and threats from would-be attackers. 

PCI is important.  Security itself is more important, though.  A successful PCI audit (or self-audit) is critical to any mid- and large-sized organization, but preventing an attack is more important.  I hope, in the wake of these highly visible attacks, more organizations invest in penetration testing, high quality security consulting partners and staff members and most of all, user community education. 

Mobility and Cloud Innovation

Recently, I had the good fortune of attending a private lunch event with Aaron Levie, CEO of Box.  A number of colleagues and I were discussing innovation with mobility and cloud, and Mr. Levie made a very interesting point.  He asked, "why do we continue to push yesterday's application experience into today's mobile platforms?"  In particular, he questioned the point of VDI on tablets, Microsoft Office on iPhones, and the like.  Instead, he claimed, we should advocate application experiences that fit the platform, namely Box's products, but certainly others, like Evernote. 

This is provocative.  I asked, "is this happening because the user community wants the known entity or because IT professionals are unable or unwilling to go beyond what they have always done?"  I asked the question with an answer in mind.  I suspect it's predominantly the latter. The group largely agreed.  Perhaps this is a wake-up call for all IT executives.  We need to continue to innovate and lead the discussion about the mobility experience.  I certainly took it as one.


Success with Avaya IQ

One of my proudest professional achievements was my team's work on Avaya IQ, a cutting edge contact center analytics and reporting tool.  

Over the last three years, we worked diligently to implement, customize and enhance this product.  My IT organization’s work in this area has been recognized by Avaya worldwide. 

Earlier this year, I decided to participate in a testimonial video celebrating the product, my team’s efforts and the impact on my company.  The link is below.

Avaya IQ has made our contact center more efficient, responsive and cost-effective.  This story is a tremendous example of IT serving the business, saving money while still doing very interesting and challenging work, something all IT professionals enjoy. 

I hope you enjoy the video.

The Evils of E-Mail

Recently, I've specifically asked my teams to limit back-and-forth e-mail debates.  I've also asked them to never, never, never troubleshoot a technical problem with each other by e-mail.  I've taken up this cause because I believe this sort of communication slows progress, diminishes morale and does nothing to build relationships. 

In particular, IT professionals are especially reliant on electronic communication. We tend to use IM, e-mail, texts and anything else that will supplant a face-to-face conversation with actual words and interpersonal interaction.  I'm not sure why this is, but it seems we'd rather talk by text with a person in the desk eight feet away than get up and talk face-to-face.  Since we prefer to talk by electronic means, problem resolution is extended my an order of magnitude.  People consistently misunderstand one another, leading to sore feelings and wasted time.  Instead, I've asked my teams to use the "one in, one out" rule, meaning, a basic question and answer exchange by e-mail is allowed, but no more.  If it goes beyond "one in, one out," they must stop the e-mail exchange and meet in person. 

How many times have you been engaged in a prolonged e-mail debate?  As it persists, more and more are CC'd.  It's less and less clear which person is being addressed.  After countless back-and-forth, everyone becomes frustrated and confused until someone finally says, "hey, let's meet and work it out."  Then, the whole thing is resolved in five minutes.  Have you seen this in action?  I have, and that's the point of my mandate. 

E-mail-based troubleshooting has value, but most practically when the parties are geographically dispersed and/or in widely separated time zones.  It has virtually no value between parties in the same building, on the same floor and perhaps even in the same pod of cubes.  

I've specifically asked my staff to refrain from troubleshooting by e-mail and engaging in prolonged e-mail debates.  I'm pretty confident it's improved efficiency.  I think it's contributed to better morale.  There's no question it's made us better communicators. 

My Professional Biography

A recognized technology leader known for crafting the requisite strategic vision to achieve business goals, Matthew Coy has a proven record of executive acumen, team-building and IT solutions that deliver strong ROI and operational improvement.  A seventeen-year veteran of the IT industry, Matthew has a broad range of experience in technical, managerial and business matters. 

At Safe Auto Insurance Company of Columbus, Ohio as Senior Director of IT Infrastructure, Matthew has built a responsive and innovative IT Infrastructure organization that consistently delivers results by aligning technology engagements with business goals.  Recruited to Safe Auto in 2007, Matthew has been a leader of a number of significant strategic initiatives. 

With a reputation for judicious use of resources, Matthew’s work has been instrumental in providing Safe Auto Insurance Company with stable, cutting-edge network, database, client-server and voice technologies that provide meaningful business value.  His most notable achievements include the construction of two data centers, the successful implementation of a new network infrastructure, and groundbreaking work with storage and virtualization technologies  These endeavors have significantly improved system uptime, contributed to increased revenue and reduced overall corporate expenses. 

At Safe Auto, Matthew has also been effective in implementing audit-tested policies and procedures through which the organization has achieved full regulatory compliance, a significant milestone for the organization. 

With an emphasis on strategic alignment with Safe Auto’s corporate goals, Matthew has developed a mutually beneficial relationship with key technology and business partners.  Matthew views strategic partners as an extension of the organization, and through this philosophy, his teams and technologies have remained highly efficient and productive.

Previously, Matthew was Technology Manager for Babbage Simmel and Associates, a leading Microsoft partner in the Central Ohio region, and held technical roles for Safelite Glass Corporation and UUNet.  

Matthew has a BA from The Ohio State University and an MBA from Mississippi State University.  He is active in IT executive management networking circles and holds numerous technical and professional certifications. 

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