An All-Expenses-Paid Tour
Tired? Overworked? Bored? Sounds like you could really use a vacation. But between stuffing your belongings into a suitcase, encountering inevitable hassles at airports and car rental agencies, and shelling out for the exorbitant costs that come with a getaway, these retreats can be even more of an aggravation than your job.
Despair not: Certification Magazine is going to take you on a trip around the world—of IT, that is. The best part is, this little sojourn is free and you don’t even have to leave your home or office. Passports?
We don’t need no stinkin’ passports…
Every once in a while, you probably come in contact with a different breed of worker than those of the familiar IT species, whether it’s fast-talking, oh-so-slick sales-and-marketing types or chatty, frazzled administrative professionals. These encounters can sometimes seem strange and awkward, but that’s no reason to avoid them. On the contrary, these interactions can serve as learning experiences—an opportunity to gather information about other functions in your organization while beefing up your soft skills. In this month’s Career Development Community article, we’ll take a look at how brushing up on your company’s other departments can be a good career move. Check it out at www.certmag.com/careers.
CRM & E-Commerce
In just a few short years, the Internet has developed into a crucial means for promotion and commerce, and presently impacts many other facets of business as well. Thus, companies that comprehend the power of the Internet and implement a plan that harnesses its capabilities will have a decisive advantage in the marketplace now and in the future. This month, the CRM & E-Commerce Community feature will go over the best tactics for successfully running the virtual side of the business. Read the whole article at www.certmag.com/crm.
The open-source movement goes far beyond Linux, and perhaps no one understands this better than database professionals. MySQL, which has more than 6 million installations on every continent on Earth (yes, even Antarctica), and PostgreSQL, which has been around for more than 15 years, are a couple of the better-known open-source databases out there. We’ll examine these and other solutions in the Database Community, available at www.certmag.com/database.
Development & Design
Service-oriented architecture is nothing especially new, but Web services like XML and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) have breathed new life into this field. Many predict that Web services-driven SOA will vie with enterprise application integration in the coming years as a method of combining various IT applications into a cohesive whole. In the Development & Design Community, we’ll explore the current state of SOA. Go to www.certmag.com/development to find out more.
Help Desk & Support
Over in the forums, we’ve got the most amusing conversations and requests from end users and customers. CertMag.com member Ttech offered a couple of funny examples in a post. One of them included a help desk professional asking if the caller was at a desktop. “What’s a desktop?” the caller responded. Another instance involved a frustrated support staff member who couldn’t get the customer to speak. Finally, the caller replied, “I’m here, just give me a few minutes—my morphine is just starting to hit me.” Yikes—some things are better left unsaid. To read these, or to post your own contributions, go to the Help Desk & Support Community discussion board at www.certmag.com/forums.
Speaking of online discussions, in the Independents forum, CertMag readers have been talking about the pros and cons of joining a company of contractors. Michigan-based member HeWhoRoams said he’d gathered a group of independent IT professionals together under a limited liability corporation (LLC). “I prefer it because each member has his own specialty, but can operate and understand each of the others’ area of expertise,” he said. “I prefer to do my work, but have the ability to consult someone else.” Peruse this and other threads—or start your own—on the Independents discussion boards at www.certmag.com/forums.
“Copyleft” is a clever name for a principle that stipulates that users of certain software have the right to freely obtain any program or application they like, modify it any way they choose, then redistribute the revised version to whomever they wish, provided the finished product adheres to copyleft standards. Thus defined, it is more or less the opposite of copyright, which indicates singular ownership of intellectual property that can be sold for profit. The copyleft concept stems from the Free Software Foundation, originators of the GNU operating system project, which commenced in 1983. This month, we’ll take a deeper look at the history and meaning of copyleft, and how it’s influenced the open-source movement as a whole. Read it at www.certmag.com/opensource.
All good things come to an end, and that especially holds true for projects. These are inherently impermanent and goal-oriented processes: In a sense, the conclusion is the whole point of the thing. As projects approach their termini, managers have to formulate some courses of action to wind it down properly. These include devising a system of financial and performance indicators that demonstrate the project met its objectives, putting together a list of lessons learned and noting who your most valuable contributors were for future projects. CertMag contributor David Garrett will describe all of the crucial steps involved with wrapping up projects in this month’s community feature, which is available at www.certmag.com/projectmanagement.
In the Security Community forum, we’re discussing some of the biggest challenges to IT security professionals in the “Threat watch” thread. The original question posed was “What do you think are some of the biggest (and perhaps, not publicized) information security threats out there?” ITApprentice suggested it could be cyber-espionage against unsecure U.S. government information systems. Another member, germangiant, mentioned social engineering: “It doesn’t take much to break into a secure network when an uneducated employee gives out crucial information to an attacker.” Weigh in on this topic at the “Threat watch” thread on the Security discussion board at www.certmag.com/forums.
In addition, this month’s Security Community feature explores the subject of risk management and the role it plays in IT governance. Check it out at www.certmag.com/security.
When it comes to corporate communications, e-mail is now top dog. A great deal of this kind of correspondence is facilitated by Microsoft’s Exchange Server, which presents three distinct challenges: service continuity, protection of business records and litigation support. In this month’s Storage Community feature, Bob Spurzem of Mimosa Systems will explain how information storage professionals can employ e-mail archiving solutions to deal with all three problem