The 5 Core Issues Facing Database Administrators

Every data centre manager, be it at a Fortune 500 or a small startup, must face five core issues during his or her database management. Two fundamental keys of databases themselves are exacerbated by three other forces that require attention in order to have a robust, functional, and powerful database system.

The nature of DBA is simple: ‘If you’re doing your job well, nobody will notice. If you screw it up, everyone will notice.’

=== DB Fundamental: Accessibility

To be useful, a database must be accessible. Otherwise it is just a store of information that no one can retrieve. In database management terms, the value of data is measured by how much it costs (in dollars and/or machine function/processor time) to store and retrieve it. The less it requires to get to the data, the cheaper the data is by these metrics.

This means that the easier it is to find data, the cheaper that data is to the overall scheme. For example, in 2005, Cisco estimates that it spent $25.2 million on data retrieval just for regulatory compliance purposes. After upgrading and improving their processes, they cut that cost by 97% to $1.8 million the next year. Not insignificant.

So accessibility is perhaps the top priority for nearly every DBA and her team.

=== DB Fundamental: Change Management

Two types of change management occur in a database. The first is management of the data’s changes themselves – how they are accessed, changed by users, and stored. The second is how the business around the database changes, affecting the database itself.

The first DBA concern is user management and this ties in closely with security (below). Most DBAs realize the importance of keeping date-stamped backups of original data so that if something is changed and the changes must be reversed, they can be. That’s the basics of change management in data.

In business, changes are constant and for the DBA, this means new hardware, changes in software, upgrades to client machines, and more. All of these can affect the DB, so the administrator must keep a fluid system capable of growth or alteration. Managing the lifecycle of your hardware, for instance, can mean 30% in savings over a year thanks to lowered replacement and disposal costs.

=== DB Forces: Compliance

Likely the most important (and hated) aspect of database management is compliance. There are whole volumes of legal books dedicated to document and data storage requirements as well as retrieval needs for those legal documents the company stores. Literally every department of a business will have compliance requirements for the DB. Often these must be preserved for long periods of time as well.

Balancing the data storage needs of the company with its retrieval requirements is often the most demanding thing a DBA does.

=== DB Forces: Security

If the news is any measure, data theft and losses are on the rise. While this has been a core issue for DBAs since the days of DBA 101 classes in school, it’s becoming a forefront subject as well as the impetus for many changes happening in the business today.

=== DB Forces: Disaster Recovery

‘Backup once, then backup regularly’ is the mantra of all IT workers. In DBA it’s said twice. Nothing is more disastrous for a company than having its database lost and irrecoverable. The ability to quickly restore lost data, change access accounts and passwords, etc. are paramount to both security and asset safety.

These five issues can be considered the core of what all DBAs face and should be what they focus on the most.

Can You Recover Deleted Text Messages From A Pre Paid Cell Phone?

By now just about every investigator understands the value of cell phone forensic examinations and recovering deleted text messages from a cell phone. The very recent introduction of cell phone forensic tools and services is probably the greatest advancement to the investigation industry since the invention of the magnifying glass. If an investigator can get consent or ownership of a cellular device they can obtain cal logs, call details, text messages, pics, videos and even voice mails. The amount of information that can be recovered is amazing. There is probably no better investigative tool available today.But not every investigator realizes that a cell phone forensics and deleted data recovery can be successful on prepaid cell phones.

People concerned with privacy will use a prepaid cell phone because you are not required to provide a name address or phone number when you purchase the phone or establish phone service. That is why prepaid cell phone, also known as throw away phones are so popular with drug dealers, criminals and unfaithful spouses. The entire process can be accomplished anonymously with cash leaving no paper trail to the identity of the user of the phone. This makes it very difficult if not impossible to run a reverse search on the phone number or obtain a customer name and address. But the internal memory of the phone is no different that any other phone and stored or erased data can still be recovered and reduced to a report.

There is no physical difference between a Blackberry on AT&T or a Blackberry on a prepaid internet service. Both phones can be submitted to a forensic data recovery examination and both examinations would return the same amount of data. Likewise you can subpoena the phone companies custodian of records and obtain all the detailed calling records for a prepaid number just as you would a normal monthly billed phone number.

In the case of a cell phone forensic examination to recover deleted text and phone numbers from a prepaid phone the investigator has the advantage over the owner of the device. Most people that use these types of throw away anonymous phones are unaware that a forensic examination will recover all the deleted information. Once this information is reduced to a report it can be submitted as evidence in court. The phone can be connected to the owner if it is in their possession at the time of seizure or in some cases phone numbers dialed or other identifying information can be found in the phone to connect it to the owner.

Copyright (c) 2011 Opperman Investigations Inc

Is it Possible to Retrieve Deleted Text Messages? – How to Go About Retrieving Deleted Text Messages

Are wondering whether you can retrieve deleted SMS? Need to know is It possible to retrieve deleted text messages? If so then you’re in the right place as in this article I will show exactly how to go about retrieving deleted text messages. So keep reading to learn how to get your lost SMS’s and other Sim Card Data back.

Firstly let me explain how it is possible to retrieve deleted text messages. You see a Sim card doesn’t immediately erase a file once you delete it. Instead it just frees up the space that was occupied by that file (massage) and lists its space as available re-usable space. However until that space is overwritten by new data, in your case new messages, phone numbers etc., your old deleted file is still there and can be recovered.

Now in order to get the deleted messages back you are going to need two tools. One of them is a USB Sim card reader and the other is a decent Sim Card recovery program.

Sim card recovery programs are very similar to Data recovery software but they are designed specifically for recovering data from Sim Cards. They are able to recover deleted text messages, deleted phone numbers, call logs and plenty of other deleted data from your SIM, and they can do it all at the click of a few buttons.

The good news is that most of these programs offer a free trial version for download, so you can check to see what messages are retrievable right now.

Therefore if you were wondering is it possible to retrieve deleted text messages then wonder no more as it can easily be done with the right tools. If you have a USB SIM card reader and a good SIM Recovery Program then Retrieving Deleted Text Messages should be a walk I the park. Visit the link below to learn more about recovering deleted text messages and to download some Free Software…

The Acer D2D Erecovery 101

Disclaimer: First of all backup your system before launching you in any hazardous operation, some of the operations to come can cause data loss. Any modification and/or damage done on your laptop will be under your responsibility.

As you know now the Acer laptops and those of other manufacturers are now delivered with a restoration system installed in a hidden partition (PQservice for Acer)on your hard disk. Normally this system launches out while pressing simultaneously keys ALT+F10, but sometimes that does not function.

What’s the problem?

There are many possible causes, but most common are:

A The function D2D was disabled in the bios.

Solution: Enable the function by pressing F2 during the boot to access the bios menu and change the setting, then reboot and press keys ALT+F10 during the starting of the laptop.

Note: For all the following solutions take into account the Max advice, I quote Max now, a contributor in my site «But I want to mention the way I sorted out the thing, because it’s very rarely mentioned on the web. All the methods to repair the D2D Alt+f10 issue are knowledgeable and smart but all of them forget to say a fundamental thing:

first of all you have to rebuild with a partition soft the D:Acerdata FAT32 empty partition that almost everybody deletes cause is usually empty. Simply doing it, everything turned fine and the recovery worked perfectly.»

Yes much of attempts to restore fail because of this condition.

B An other common problem the Acer Master Boot Record (MBR)is damaged, or replaced by the MBR of another system. You can reinstall the Acer MBR if the partition PQservice is present or if you can have access to the necessary files.

Solutions:

FIRST

On a functional FAT32 Windows system the partition table values are OC or OB for installable FAT32 system files and 12 or 1B for Hidden FAT32 partition, for a NTFS system the known partition table values are O7 for installable NTFS files system and 27 for Acer custom hidden NTFS partition:

1. Go in the bios and disable the D2D recovery option.

2. Download partedit32.

3. Identify the PQservice partition by its size (there is an information box at the bottom of the partedit window) it is the small sized partition approximately 4 to 9 Go.Once made change the type of your partition into 0C(FAT32) or 07(NTFS) and save. Reboot and now you should be able to navigate inside the PQservice partition.

Search for these two files:

mbrwrdos.exe

rtmbr.bin

(The name of these two files can be different sometimes)

When localized open a command prompt windows as an administrator and enter this command “mbrwrdos.exe install rtmbr.bin”, to install the Acer MBR. Close the command prompt, reboot again your laptop, reactivate the D2D recovery in the bios. Now ALT+F10 should work and run the Acer Erecovery when the laptop start.

SECOND

Somebody who tried to follow the first method but did not succeed to find the 2 files found another solution to restore the partition.

Use partedit32 to locate the partition pqservice(on aspire 5920g,its the larger 9 gb partition)

Change the partition type to 07(Installable NTFS),reboot.

After reboot,go to the windows computer management and mark the PQservice partition as active then reboot again.

Voila!! You can now proceed to the road to recovery

THIRD

On a nonfunctional Windows system.

Download the Ultimate Boot CD(UBCD) run it choose in the menu:

-Filesystem Tools

-Boot Managers

-For me GAG functioned well, but you can choose any of the other boot loader, you will recognize the PQservice by it type(hidden).

Just install any boot loader and use it to boot into the PQservice to start the Erecovery restoring process.

C The last problem: You replaced your hard disc( in this case PQservice is not present any more) or your partition was erased or damaged.

Solution: I hope that you burned the Acer restoration CD/DVD when it had been asked to you at the time of the first use, cause if you did not previously make a backup of your laptop by making a disc image, it will not be possible to use the Acer Erecovery.

Let us give the last words to Max:

«Problem Sorted Alan. And you’re right that an external drive for data backup it’s all important. Yes I have it and backed-up my data before starting messing up… »

Rob Sheffield PS3 Lights Fix Review

Having PlayStation games at house is a real paradise for children and teens. PS games are turning out to be a favorite hobby among teens nowadays. Though playing these PS games are truly overwhelming; they are inclined to several bugs, which are quite recognizable to the gaming society. These errors are well-known as “Yellow light of death”, “Red Screen”, “Flashing Red Light” and so forth. Well, it is pretty daunting to manage these bugs and the only way out of this seems to be transferring the unit back to the company. Sadly, they insist more bucks to repair them and take quite a lot of weeks to send the unit back to you. Another bothersome fact is they use refurbished version to put back your unit, which seem to be in a worse condition. Even worse than that scenario, they empty the hard drives completely, so your data is vanished.

All these stuffs can be a real frustration for anyone using PS3 at home. Well, don’t have anymore worries when you have PS3 Lights Fix in hand. Rob Sheffield, a proficient technician is a professional whose only work is to correct PS3s. Rob Sheffield wants to share with you the knowledge he earned from fixing PS3s that would undoubtedly end your annoyance. You can save tons of dollars by fixing your PS3 rather easily at home now. Well, PS3 Light Fix would offer you the complete knowledge perfect for fixing known PS3 bugs without any hassle. Besides few errors like the yellow light of death, this fix as well with more than 100 error codes like Blu-ray drive, errors while reading a disk and so on. Rob Sheffield has devised a special course including all the instructions Sony uses to repair its products.

PS3 Light Fix is available both as eBook as well as video format, which allows you master the methods quite easily. All that you require is an internet connection; toothpaste, screwdrivers and that’s it, you are set. Rob Sheffield has come up with this guide in such a way that even newbie’s can fix the bugs without having to hire a professional for doing the same. Together with the PS3 Light Fix, you can avail two extra applications, that includes how to take away a disc stuck inside you PS3 and the means to set up Linux on to PS3, which allows you use it just like your PC.

External Hard Drives – History and Developments

When you think of a computer, chances are good that you imagine the case; the computer as a whole. However, what would you identify as the most important part of the computer? Would you point to the motherboard? Perhaps you would say that the processor is the most important part of a computer.

While these are certainly vital aspects to an operating computer, the disk drive is just as important. Over the years, they have undergone numerous changes and have evolved considerably. The first hard disks were technically “external” devices, because they sat outside the case, contained within protective covers. However, these would barely qualify as hard drives to modern users, as their capacity was measured at just 5MB.

The Earliest “External” Drives

The very earliest hard drives were external for all intents and purposes. This is because they were not mounted within the computer frame. These devices debuted in the late 1950s, could store 5MB of data and shipped with the first commercially available IBM systems. Over the next few decades, things did not change very much, as computer use was largely relegated to commercial interests and the home PC had yet to be invented.

Almost 30 years after the debut of those systems, IBM brought out the first gigabyte drive. This device was the size of a household refrigerator, and was a separate unit from the computer. It retailed for a whopping $40,000.

The Intervening Years

Between the debut of the personal computer and the release of what a modern consumer might recognize as an external hard drive, there were several innovations. However, most of these were strictly for internal drives, as the need for an external drive was not particularly great with early systems.

One of the first systems to make use of an external hard drive was Apple. Their computers often had drive bays that were difficult to access, and some had no hard drive within them at all. In an age where consumers were beginning to demand safer storage for their data, this could not work. Therefore, Apple introduced the ProFile in 1983. It worked by connecting to a special port on the back of the Apple II. This hard drive offered 5MB of disk space, though a 10MB was offered later as an upgrade.

It was during this time that internal drives began to take on their standard form factors. In fact, the shape of the hard drive stopped changing early on with the development and standardization of IDE technology, with a size and shape that any modern consumer would recognize. The most popular form factors have included 5.25″, 3.5″, 2.5″ and 1″ consumer form factors.

Additionally, any of these drives could be setup as an external drive, so long as power and data cables were able to be connected to the drive outside the computer case. Of course, these were not what most people would consider “removable media” in the sense of modern external hard drives, flash drives and other storage devices.

1998 and Beyond

The year was 1998, and a revolution was brewing in the computer industry. This was the time when the USB interface was introduced to computers. This ground-breaking technology enabled any type of device to connect directly with a computer from the outside, using the same type of interface. Previously, hard drives made use of a 40-pin connector and a power cable (internal types and most external types). However, with the advent of USB technology, this was to change.

This single technology allowed different external hard drive designs to proliferate. It also enabled the birth of other removable media, such as the flash drive (thumb drive). Of course, the first external USB drives were bulky things, due to the technology available in 1998. However, as the new century approached, technology became better and better.

As more efficient power sources and cooling solutions were developed, the size of external drives shrank. Once clunky and cumbersome, these drives became streamlined and small. Today, you can find myriad different sizes on the market. The most popular type (for consumers, at any rate) is a bit larger than a thick paperback book. However, these solutions are not intended to be portable. Manufacturers designed these for backup and storage where the drive stays in one place, and might hold several terabytes of data.

Portable external drives were soon to hit the market. These offered storage capacity in the hundreds of gigabytes, though they did not rival larger drives in terms of storage. Portable drives became extremely popular, particularly with those who used the drive at work and at home, as well as with students who needed their data available to them on numerous computers in different locations.

An interesting development that has coincided with the growth of home networking is the ability to store data on an external drive connected to the network. These drives must be connected to the home network router, but they do not have to be connected to a computer in order to function. The router acts as a gateway, enabling data transfer between the computers and other devices within a home and the hard drive. This is an excellent solution for homes where media is used heavily, and many drives have specific built-in servers for different media types, including iTunes, games and movies.

A Glimpse of the Future

In the future, the external hard drive is expected to assume more and more a central role in home computer use. As computing devices shrink and “tablets” and netbooks come to the fore as preferred technology, external drives will need to be available for immediate access to stored data and to provide immediate backup, as well. Consumers will come to demand that these devices be able to integrate with their network, and new advances in technology will likely provide some innovative solutions. Some examples include integrated router/hard drive units, as well as central server/hard drive solutions for media and entertainment purposes.

Corruption in USN Journal or NTFS Log File May Damage the NTFS Volume and Cause Severe Data Loss

The USN journal (or Update Sequence Number Journal) is a new feature introduced with NTFS v3.0. that is responsible for keeping track of all the changes that occur to the files, streams, and directories present on the NTFS volume. It also records changes in their attributes or security settings. The ‘$Logfile’ is another functionality that is added to the NTFS file system. It is basically an NTFS log file that is used to record any meta changes to the NTFS volume. If these files become corrupt due to any reason or contain some invalid records, it may cause NTFS volume corruption. If the damaged volume is your boot volume, then it may make your system unbootable which would further result in losing all the vital data stored in your system. To recover back your lost data from the corrupt NTFS volume, you need to go for Windows partition recovery through a reliable third party utility.

For instance, you are using a Windows 2000-based computer. When you try to access your NTFS file system-based volume, you may come across any one of the following error messages:

“The disk structure is corrupted and unreadable”

OR

“There is not enough space on the disk. “

If the damaged volume is your boot volume, you may also receive an error message on rebooting your computer:

“stop 0x0000007B (0x00000000, 0xC0000032, 0x00000000, 0x00000000)

Inaccessible_boot_device “

Cause:

The $UsnJrnl file or the $LogFile file contains some invalid records.

The STOP error will render your system unbootable and prevent you from accessing the precious data stored in the system. In such situations, you can use a backup to recover partition data. If you don’t have a backup, follow the below mentioned resolution steps.

Resolution:

You should follow these steps to resolve the STOP error:

Use a Windows XP operating system CD and restart your Windows 2000-based system to the recovery console.

Click ‘Run’ in ‘Start’ menu and then type ‘Chkdsk.exe /r’

Click ‘OK’ and reboot your system.

However, if the ‘Chkdsk’ tool is unable to detect the errors and you are not able to access your NTFS volume, you should take help of an efficient Partition recovery software. These software can easily recover lost, deleted, or formatted data from the corrupt NTFS, FAT, or exFAT file system-based partitions.

Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery is an advanced tool that can recover lost, deleted, or formatted files, documents, photos, emails, videos etc. from corrupt partitions in any situation of data loss. It helps us to perform a customized recovery of files based on their file types. 

How to Retrieve Deleted Text Messages From a Samsung CDMA Cellular Device

Have you noticed some changes in your relationship or marriage that make you feel uneasy? You may have even caught your husband deleting text messages from his cell phone when he realized you seen him texting. These are just a very few of the many signs that usually occur when an innocent individual is involved with a cheating spouse of partner. Unfortunately, far too many people eventually just resolve to the fact that they will never be able to catch their cheating partners that are engaging in infidelity. The good news is there is another option available, when you rely on an expert to retrieve deleted text messages from your partners Samsung CDMA cellular device.

Consulting with a professional in cell phone forensic investigations is a service that can provide you with a variety of helpful information when you would like to confront a spouse that is having an affair. They have the ability to retrieve deleted text messages and other information such as the data that is listed below:

– File system

– NV memory dump

– EEPROM/ROM/Flash memory dump

– Device properties

– Calendar

– History of erased calls that were made and received

– Detailed phone book information

– NAND memory dump

– SMS text history

– Other erased data

Before you think about trying SIM card readers that you can purchase over-the-counter, it would be advisable to speak with a professional first. These readers are well known for the damage that they can cause to the data that is on cellular devices. To make matters worse, you will generally never be able to retrieve deleted text or data after it has become damaged. It is much better to let an expert perform a cell phone forensic investigation. They have the specialized equipment and the knowledge to perform investigations on Samsung CDMA cellular devices in as little as 48 hours.

There are many different reasons why there are more individuals than ever before that are depending on investigators that know how to retrieve deleted text messages and other forms of important data, and a few of the most common reasons would include the following:

– Employers trying to catch employees who have engaged in theft

– Innocent individuals that are faced with the need to catch cheating partners

– Parents that suspect their teenager is partaking in various actions that include the use of illegal drug substances, bullying teenagers or other children, and sending or receiving sext messages (sexting)

Copyright (c) 2010 Ed Opperman

A digital marketing task by Kelvin Scotts, top social media agency singapore that provides complete social media marketing singapore services.

Human Resource Information System – HRIS

Human Resource Information Systems

The purpose of this paper is to identify other companies who have faced similar human resources issues in regards to information technology. Through benchmarking different companies we can learn how other companies have handled certain human resources issues related to information technology, information systems, new technology, and data security. An overall analysis has been completed using research on IBM Europe, Ameriprise Financial, Terasen Pipelines, Shaw’s Supermarkets, CS Stars LLC, IBM, WORKSource Inc., and Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. This paper also includes eight synopses of companies facing similar issue to those in the reading.

New Technology

With the changing world and constant new technology that is available, managers need to be aware of the technology that will increase effectiveness in their company. Human resource information systems (HRIS) have increasingly transformed since it was first introduced at General Electric in the 1950s. HRIS has gone from a basic process to convert manual information keeping systems into computerized systems, to the HRIS systems that are used today. Human resource professionals began to see the possibility of new applications for the computer. The idea was to integrate many of the different human resource functions. The result was the third generation of the computerized HRIS, a feature-rich, broad-based, self-contained HRIS. The third generation took systems far beyond being mere data repositories and created tools with which human resource professionals could do much more (Byars, 2004).

Many companies have seen a need to transform the way Human Resource operations are performed in order to keep up with new technology and increasing numbers of employees. Terasen Pipelines moved its headquarters from Vancouver to Calgary to be closer to the oil and realized a major growth in employees. In the past recording keeping was done on paper and with spreadsheets. Mangers at Terasen realized that there was a need to change to a more computerized system and looked into different HRIS vendors. By making the move to a HRIS system, Terasen is able to keep more accurate records as well as better prepare for future growth. Another company that saw the benefits of keeping up with new technology is WORKSource Inc. To meet the challenge of handling 100 new employees, WORKSource Inc. acquired Web-based technology programs from GHG Corp. like electronic pay stub, electronic timesheet software, time-off system, and human resource information system (“Tips,” 2006). By adapting these new programs, WORKSource was able to reduce waste and cost.

The Internet is an increasingly popular way to recruit applicants, research technologies and perform other essential functions in business. Delivering human resource services online (eHR) supports more efficient collection, storage, distribution, and exchange of data (Friesen, 2003). An intranet is a type of network used by companies to share information to people within the organization. An intranet connects people to people and people to information and knowledge within the organization; it serves as an “information hub” for the entire organization. Most organizations set up intranets primarily for employees, but they can extend to business partners and even customers with appropriate security clearance (Byars & Rue, 2004).

Applications of HRIS

The efficiency of HRIS, the systems are able to produce more effective and faster outcomes than can be done on paper. Some of the many applications of HRIS are: Clerical applications, applicant search expenditures, risk management, training management, training experiences, financial planning, turnover analysis, succession planning, flexible-benefits administration, compliance with government regulations, attendance reporting and analysis, human resource planning, accident reporting and prevention and strategic planning. With the many different applications of HRIS, it is difficult to understand how the programs benefit companies without looking at companies that have already benefited from such programs.

One such company is IBM. IBM has a paperless online enrollment plan for all of its employees. Not only has the online enrollment saved the company 1.2 million per year on printing and mailing costs, the employees enjoy working with the online plan. “Since we began offering online enrollment, we’ve learned that employees want web access,” Donnelly [Senior Communications Specialist] says, so they can log on at home rather than through the company intranet. So the company has been working to put in place a web-based enrollment system that employees and retirees can access from anywhere (Huering, 2003). By utilizing the flexible-benefits application HRIS has to offer, IBM was able to cut costs and give employees the freedom to discover their benefits on their own time and pace.

Another company that has taken advantage of HRIS applications is Shaw’s Supermarkets. In order for Shaw’s to better manage its workforce, the company decided it was time to centralize the HR operations. After looking at different options, Shaw’s decided to implement an Employee Self Service (ESS) system. The use of self-service applications creates a positive situation for HR. ESS gives HR more time to focus on strategic issues, such as workforce management, succession planning, and compensation management, while at the same time improving service to employees and managers, and ensuring that their data is accurate. With this solution, employees have online access to forms, training material, benefits information and other payroll related information (Koven, 2002). By giving employees access to their personal information and the ability to update or change their information as needed, HR was given more time to focus on other issues. Understanding the different applications HRIS has to offer will give companies the chance to increase employee efficiency and reduce costs.

Measuring the Effectiveness of HRIS

The evaluation should determine whether or not the HRIS has performed up to its expectations and if the HRIS is being used to its full advantage (Byars & Rue, 2004). One of the most significant challenges faced by public personnel executives today is measuring the performance of their human resources information system (HRIS) In order to justify the value-added contribution of the HRIS to accomplishing the organization’s mission (Hagood & Friedman, 2002). Implementing an HRIS program may seem a necessary stem for a company, but unless it will be an effective tool for HR operations, it will not help increase efficiency and may hinder it instead.

One company that implemented a HRIS system is Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. (TAMS). TAMS put all employee benefits information online and created an open enrollment option when TAMS changed healthcare providers. Almost immediately upon rolling out the UltiPro portal [new HRIS technology] to employees, TAMS began seeing improvements, with an estimated 70% increase in open enrollment efficiency (Wojcik, 2004). By determining the efficiency of the new program, TAMS was able to realize the benefits of the new HRIS system.

Security of HRIS

The privacy of employee information has become a major issue in recent years. With identity theft becoming a common problem, employees are becoming more sensitive about who sees their personal information, and the security it is kept in. By making sure employee information that is kept in the HRIS is relevant to the company and making sure there is limited access (password protection) to such information, companies can make its employees more secure with the safety of their information. Whether electronic or paper, employee files deserve to be treated with great care. Establishing security and end-user privileges calls for a balance of incorporating, HR policy, system knowledge and day-to-day operations (O’Connell, 1994).

One company that faced a major security issue was CS Stars, LLC. CS Stars lost track of one of its computers that contained personal information that included names, addresses and social security numbers of workers compensation benefits. The bigger problem was that CS Stars failed to notify the affected consumers and employees about the missing computer. Though the computer was retrieved and no information seemed to have been harmed, many employees lost their sense of security with the company. New York’s Information Security Breach and Notification Law, effective in December 2005, requires businesses that maintain computerized data which includes private information to notify the owner of the information of any breach of the security of the system immediately following discovery, if the private information was, or is reasonably believed to have been, acquired by a person without valid authorization (Cadrain, 2007).

Another company that experienced a breach in security is Ameriprise Financial. In late 2005, a computer that contained personal information on clients and employees was stolen. Because many of the employees at Ameriprise take their computers between work and home, the company determined there was a need to put more security into those computers. Ameriprise made sure all employees had the new security suite installed on their computers. By responding quickly to the need for more security, Ameriprise made sure all information is being kept secure. Making sure employees information is kept as secure as possible there will be more trust in the company and the HR employees working with that information.

Conclusion

IBM, Terasen Pipeline, CS Stars LCC, and Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. are good examples of companies facing issues similar to human resources information technology and human resources information systems. All of these companies know the importance of new technology, human resources information systems, and data security. The remainder of this paper provides synopses of more companies facing human resources issues, how the company responded to the issues, and the outcomes of the company’s responses.

Companies Benchmarked

IBM Europe

The Situation:

IBM is a global organization offering research, software, hardware, IT consulting, business and management consulting, ring and financing. It employs around 340,000 people, speaking 165 languages across 75 countries, and serving clients in 174 countries. In January 2007, IBM established a separate “new media” function within its corporate communication department. IBM main goal is to educate, support, and promote programs that utilize social media. IBM Europe decided to expand internal communication by blogging guidelines. The recognition was that blogging was already happening among IBMers, just in an unregulated way. In a similar way, institutionalizing a function to deal specifically with new media is not a corporate move, or establishing from scratch. It’s a response to the issues already emerging in the company. Now that those technologies are here, people are using them, they’re growing and there here to stay-we’re just going to put some structure around them so that we can try to optimize their use.” The users decide what technologies they want to use and how they want to use them. That main idea is that IBM understands that they must remember to respect the fact that social media are social. IBM had the need to connect its 340,000 global employees more effectively.

The Response:

IBM’s intent around social media has now been officially formalized. From January 22 2007, the company established a separate “new media” function within its corporate communication department. “Its remit: To act as expert consultants inside and outside IBM on issues relating to blogs, wikis, RSS and other social media applications. The main idea is to educate, support and promote programs that utilize these tools. IBM has a history of being a t the forefront of technology based corporate communication. From the multimedia brainstorming “WorldJam” that made news headlines back in 2001 in which 50,000 employees worldwide joined a real time, online idea-sharing session about the company’s direction. IMB has always prepared itself to use breakthrough technologies to establish a two-way dialogue with its employees. The need for social media was necessary and could no longer wait.

The Outcome:

In the last few years IBM has been recognized as being the vanguard of social-media use: IBM was on of the first Fortune 500 companies to get behind collaborative wikis, published internal blogging guidelines as far back as 2003, and is now moving fast beyond RSS and podcasts into videocasting and “virtual world” technologies like Second Life. The intranet search facility extends to all areas of the site, including new media aspects. When an employee logs onto their portal an executes a key word search, the results they get back not only come from the main intranet pages, but include results from IBM forums, wikis, blogs and podcast/videocasts tags. IMB has an understanding that employees are no longer staying in a company their entire lives. It’s just not like that any more. In Belgium for example over 50 percent of 2,300 employees have been there fewer than five years. The company has come to the conclusion that with an increasingly young and mobile workforce, the likelihood is that an employee population full of a younger generation, for whom these tools are part and parcel of life, is not that far away. In years to come IBM will have to deal with employee base for which blogging is just the natural way to interact over a web platform. IBM has created centralized platforms for most tools that fall under its remit, which includes wikis. For Philippe Borremans, new media lead Europe for IBM, has the potential business applications of a wiki cover two broad benefits: Collaborating and knowledge sharing. IBM has scored some notable successes on both fronts in the near 5000 wiki pages now up and running in the organization. The company has been a huge pick-up in interest in podcasting over the last 18 months writing can seem such a technical skill, whereas people feel they can talk more freely than they can write. One of the most consistently popular IBM podcasts, with over 20,000 downloads a week.

Ameriprise Financial

The Situation:

The Department of Justice survey estimates that 3.6 million U.S. households were victims of identity theft in 2004. Trafficking in personal date goes beyond U.S. borders: the New York Times reports that stolen financial information is often distributed among participants of online trading boards, and the buyers are frequently located in Russia, Ukraine, and the Middle East. One reason clients are concerned about data security is the widespread publicity generated by breaches at financial services firm. In late December 2205, an Ameriprise Financial employee’s laptop that contained unencrypted data on approximately 230,000 customers and advisors was stolen from a car. Other financial services firm, including Citigroup and Bank of America, also acknowledge large-scale customer data losses in 2005. President of NCS, Rita Dew, a compliance consulting firm in Delray Beach, Florida, says that the Securities and Exchange Commission requires investment advisors to have policies and procedures that address the administrative, technical, and physical safeguards related to client records and information.

The Response:

Ameriprise Financial had to fight back and had to implement “layers of protection.” It is important for employees who their primary business computer, and employees regularly transport the computer between home, office, and meeting sites. The vulnerability of this arrangement and the need for a safety software program is much needed.

The Outcome:

Employees who are transporting lab tops should install the Steganos Security Suite on their computer. This software allows employees to create an encrypted virtual drive on the laptop that serves as data storage safe. Employees stores all client related data and tax preparation software database on the encrypted drive, which employees has set up with one gigabyte of storage space. The best thing is that when an employee turns off the computer the information is stored “safe”, the software automatically encrypts the virtual drive’s data. The software also generates encrypted backup files, which employees store on CDs in a fireproof safe. This should keep the data secure if any employee’s laptop is stolen or if the drive is removed from the laptop. Other financial advisors are relying on encryption both in and out of the office. Other programs that are being used to protect client’s information are RAID Level 1 system to store data on the drives that are encrypted with WinMagic’s SecureDocs software. Encryption ensures that anyone who steals the computer will be absolutely unable to read the data, even by connecting it to another computer as a “slave drive. This has given many financial advisors the greatest peace of mind.

Terasen Pipelines

The Situation:

Terasen Pipelines is a subsidiary of Terasen Inc. located in Vancouver, Canada and is located in several provinces and U.S. states. In 2001 the company changed its headquarters to Calgary to be closer to the oil. With the big move, the company went through a growth spurt. With the company in many different locations and the growing numbers of employees, the HR department saw a need to find a new system to keep more accurate records.

The Response:

In the past Terasen had kept records on paper and with spreadsheets and with the growth of the company, this system does not work as well as in the past. In order to compensate for future growth, Terasen began to look into HRIS companies to help with the HR operations. After researching different companies, Hewitt’s application service provider model with eCyborg was found to be the right fit.

The Outcome:

Although there was difficulty adapting to a new way of recordkeeping, Terasen was able to find a system that will help support the current and future growth of the company. Fortunately, some of the HR staff had experience working with an HRIS and were able to help their colleagues imagine new processes, as aided by a system. One theme often voiced throughout this process was: “You guys don’t know how hard we’re working when we can make it so much easier with a system that could do a lot of this for us. You don’t always have to run to the cabinet for the employee file just to get basic information. It can all be at your fingertips.” (Vu, 2005). In order to help Terasen ease the HR burden of implementing a new HR system, the management of Terasen was convinced to look for a vendor to help implement and maintain a HRIS system. This system has helped Terasen better prepare for current and future growth.

Shaw’s Supermarkets

The Situation:

Shaw’s Supermarkets is the second largest supermarket chain in New England. With a workforce of 30,000 located at 180 stores throughout six states, Shaw’s HR staff is responsible for managing employees’ personal data. Their employee mix includes approximately 70 percent part-time employees, consisting of students, senior citizens, second-job part-timers, and career part-timers. One third of the workforce is made up of union associates, and Shaw’s staff oversees the company’s involvement with three unions and six separate contracts (Koven, 2002). In order to help manage the workforce, the HR staff became interested in centralizing its HR operations.

The Response:

In order to centralize HR operations Shaw’s decided to implement an ESS (employee self-service) solution. The use of self-service applications creates a positive situation for HR. ESS gives HR more time to focus on strategic issues, such as workforce management, succession planning, and compensation management, while at the same time improving service to employees and managers, and ensuring that their data is accurate. With this solution, employees have online access to forms, training material, benefits information and other payroll related information.

The Outcome:

Shaw’s has had positive feedback since implementing the ESS solution. “The reaction from our employees has been extremely positive,” Penney, VP of Compensation and Benefits, says. “We even had a significant increase in our medical coverage costs, and it was almost a non-issue because the online enrollment featured the plan choices, the employee cost, and the company subsidy. An employee self-service application makes it very easy for them to understand their contributions and coverage options. I received several e-mails from employees saying this was a great change and how easy ESS was, which the case is not often when employees are selecting their benefit options.” (Koven, 2002). By giving the employees more access to their information they are able to see the benefit choices available to them. Employees are also able to update their information online, which helps reduce the paperwork of the past. Shaw’s has also seen improvement in productivity because employees are updating information at home, not during work hours.

CS Stars, LLC

The Situation:

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has announced that New York State has reached its first settlement with a company charged with failing to notify consumers and others that their personal data had gone missing. Cuomo’s office, which enforces the state’s 2005 Information Security Breach and Notification Law, charged CS STARS LLC, a Chicago-based claims management company, with failing to give notice that it had lost track of a computer containing data on 540,000 New Yorkers’ workers’ comp claims.

The Response:

The owner of the lost data, which had been in the custody of CS STARS, was the New York Special Funds Conservation Committee, an organization that assists in providing workers’ comp benefits under the state’s workers’ comp law. On May 9, 2006, a CS STARS employee noticed that a computer was missing that held personal information, including the names, addresses, and Social Security numbers of recipients of workers’ compensation benefits. But CS Stars waited until June 29, 2006, to notify Special Funds and the FBI of the security breach. Because the FBI declared that notice to consumers might impede its investigation, CS STARS waited until July 8, 2006, to send notices to the 540,000 New Yorkers affected by the breach. On July 25, 2006, the FBI determined an employee, of a cleaning contractor, had stolen the computer, and the missing computer was located and recovered. In addition, the FBI found that the data on the missing computer had not been improperly accessed.

The Outcome:

New York’s Information Security Breach and Notification Law, effective in December 2005, requires businesses that maintain computerized data which includes private information to notify the owner of the information of any breach of the security of the system immediately following discovery, if the private information was, or is reasonably believed to have been, acquired by a person without valid authorization. The law affects not only businesses in their dealings with their customers, but employers in their role as custodians of employees’ personal data. (Cadrain)

Without admitting to any violation of law, CS STARS agreed to comply with the law and ensure that proper notifications will be made in the event of any future breach. The company also agreed to implement more extensive practices relating to the security of private information. CS STARS will pay the Attorney General’s office $60,000 for costs related to this investigation. (Cadrain)

IBM

The Situation:

IBM’s paperless online enrollment system, introduced in 1999, has proved to be a winner for both the company’s 135,000 active U.S. employees and the company, according to Cathleen Donnelly, senior communications specialist at company headquarters in Armonk, N.Y. The company saves $1.2 million per year on printing and mailing costs alone, Donnelly says, and the employees’ can take advantage of a variety of technologies to learn about issues, research program information and access decision support tools from their desktop computers. (Heuring, 2002)

The Response:

One of those tools, a personal medical cost estimator, enables employees to calculate potential out-of-pocket health care expenses under each of the plan options available to them, Donnelly says. Employees log in personally and are greeted by name and with important information regarding their benefits enrollment, such as the deadlines and when changes take effect. They automatically get access to health plans that are available to them, and the calculator lets them compare estimated benefit amounts for each plan.

“Employees can select the health care services they expect to use in a particular year, estimate expected frequency of use, and calculate potential costs under each plan option,” Donnelly says. “The feedback that we’ve received from employees tells us that this tool has really helped them to make a comparison between plans based on how they consume medical services.” The calculator shows both IBM’s costs and the employee’s. (Heuring, 2002)

The Outcome:

“Since we began offering online enrollment, we’ve learned that employees want web access,” Donnelly says, so they can log on at home rather than through the company intranet. So the company has been working to put in place a web-based enrollment system that employees and retirees can access from anywhere.

Employees can get summary information on the plans, drill down into very specific details and follow links to the health care providers for research. Donnelly says the system has received high marks for convenience because employees can “get in and out quickly.”

WORKSource Inc.

The Situation:

To meet the challenge of handling 100 new employees, WORKSource Inc. acquired Web-based technology programs from GHG Corp. like electronic paystub, electronic timesheet software, time-off system, and human resource information system (“Tips,” 2006). These tools enabled CEO Judith Hahn to handling payroll procedures efficiently and effectively.

The Response:

WORKSource has eight workforce centers, with approximately 108 employees, located throughout a six-county region. Previously, payroll, benefits, and human resources for those employees were processed and managed by a Professional Employer Organization. The company also has 52 administrative staff in its headquarters office. When the contract with the PEO terminated on June 30, 2006, those 108 employees were immediately moved to the payroll of WORKSource, which meant Hahn’s workload more than doubled effective July 2006 (“Tips,” 2006).

Hahn, in an interview with PMR, said she relied on LEAN to help get a handle on what needed to change for her to manage the increased workload. Two years earlier, Hahn’s CEO had introduced her to LEAN, a Japanese management concept of eliminating wasteful steps and motion when completing processes. “I began to read as much as possible about LEAN and joined an HR LEAN focus group” (“Tips,” 2006).

The Outcome:

Mastering the concepts of LEAN led Hahn to develop and apply her own acronym of “REASON” to her department’s payroll and HR processes. Review the process: map payroll tasks from start to finish. Eliminate waste: determine how to complete a payroll task most efficiently without unnecessary steps. Analyze alternatives: research and evaluate the applicability of new technology. Sell innovations to management: document the return on investment of each innovation. Open the lines of communication: communicate openly—and often—with all stakeholders, including employees and top management. Never allow negativity: make change simple and fun. Give employees plenty of encouragement and time to learn (“Tips,” 2006). Judith Hahn was able to implement the right human resource functions using information systems.

Toshiba America Medical Systems Inc.

The Situation:

Lynda Morvik, director of benefits and human resources information systems at Tustin, California-based Toshiba America Medical Systems Inc. (TAMS), thought it would make sense to add a benefits communication component to it. By having all the benefit information online, the TAMS employee handbook would also be a living document, enabling Morvik to make changes when necessary. Such was the case halfway through the project, when TAMS changed health care plans from Aetna Inc. to United Health Group Inc (Wojcik, 2004).

The Response:

TAMS, an independent group company of Toshiba Corporation and a global leading provider of diagnostic medical imaging systems and comprehensive medical solutions, such as CT, X-ray, ultrasound, nuclear medicine, MRI, and information systems, had been using a payroll service bureau and an in-house solution for HR that didn’t include easy-to-use consolidated reporting or an employee portal. After evaluating UltiPro alongside several enterprise resource vendors, TAMS selected Ultimate Software’s offering and went live in September 2002 after an on-time and on-budget implementation. Almost immediately upon rolling out the UltiPro portal to employees, TAMS began seeing improvements, with an estimated 70% increase in open enrollment efficiency (Wojcik, 2004).

The Outcome:

In an effort to expand the usage of the Web beyond the benefits enrollment process, TAMS has posted a library of documents and forms on its HR portal, including the benefits handbook, which garnered a 2004 Apex Award for publication excellence. That same year, Business Insurance magazine also gave TAMS the Electronic Benefit Communication (EBC) award for outstanding achievement in communicating employee benefits programs over the Web. To continue elevating its use of Ultimate Software’s HRMS/payroll solution, TAMS modified the UltiPro portal to meet the imaging company’s unique needs (Wojcik, 2004). It was completely integrated with several proprietary applications created to address compensation and performance management issues so that TAMS employees have a central location for comprehensive workforce and payroll information from a Web browser that they can access with a single sign-on (Wojcik, 2004).

References

Byars, Lloyd L. & Rue, Leslie W. (2004). Human Resource Management, 7e. The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Cadrain, Diane (2007). New York: Company Settles Data Breach Charges. Retrieved June 3, 2007 from [http://www.shrm.org/law/states/CMS_021505.asp#P-8_0]

Clarifying IBM’s Strategic mission for social media (2007). Strategic Communication

Management. Retrieved June 1, 2007 from

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Friesen, G. Bruce (2003). Is your client ready for eHR? Consulting to Management, 14(3), 27. Retrieved June 3, 2007 from ProQuest Database.

Hagood, Wesley O. & Friedman, Lee ( 2002). Using the balanced scorecard to measure the performance of your HR information system. Public Personnel Management, 31(4), 543-58. Retrieved June 3, 2007 from ProQuest Database.

Heuring, Linda (2003). IBM: Laying Outing Enrollment Options. Retrieved June 2, 2007 from [http://www.shrm.org/hrmagazine/articles/0803/0803heuring_paperless.asp]

Koven, Jeff (2002). Streamlining benefit process with employee self-service applications: A case study. Compensation & Benefits Management, 18(3), 18-23. Retrieved June 2, 2007 from ProQuest Database.

O’Connell, Sandra (1994). Security for HR records – human resources. HR Magazine. Retrieved June 3, 2007 from [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m349] 5/is_n9_v39/ai_16309018

Protecting Client Data (2006). Financial Planning. Retrieved June 1, 2007 from

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&VName=PQD.

Tips on Using Technology to Streamline Payroll Processes – and Cut Costs (2006). Payroll Managers Report, 6(10), 1-9. Retrieved June 2, 2007 from EBSCOhost Database.

Vu, Uyen (2005). Contracting out HRIS easy call at Terasen Pipelines. Canadian HR Reporter, 18(4), 5-9. Retrieved June 2, 2007 from ProQuest Database.

Wojcik, J. (2004). Toshiba Employee Handbook Goes Online. Business Insurance, 38(49), 18.

Retrieved June 2, 2007 from EBSCOhost Database.

A viral marketing task by Kelvin Scotts, top social media agency singapore that provides full suite digital marketing services.

Make Your Computer Run Faster for Free

Many people ask “How can I make my computer run faster for free?” The answer to this question is not as complicated as you think. You don’t need to buy anything to get your system running faster. I’ve discovered that Windows has an enormous amount of tools to make my computer faster. But lets explore why computers lose their speed in the first place. There are a few culprits that may be killing your PC speed. Things like errors, a fragmented file system, excess programs, low disk space, high CPU usuage, and spyware. In most cases, these problems can be repaired with ease. Here are several ways to make your computer run faster for free.

1. Defragment

This is awesome way to make your computer run faster. Defragment helps your computer organize its hard drive. The more fragmented your hard drive, the longer it takes for your hard drive to locate programs and files. Click Start > Click Computer > Right Click your hard drive > Click Properties > Choose Tools > Click Defragment Now.

2. Disk Cleanup

This tool can instantly award you a boost in speed by cleaning up your junk files. Disk Cleanup eliminates all the junk data that the computer is longer using. Your computer keeps all the old downloads, deletions, and uninstalled data in a temporary folder. You can purge this cumbersome data and make this free space available for your PC to use. Click Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup.

3. Enable ReadyBoost

This is probably the most underrated tool that’s packaged in Windows 7 and Vista. Readyboost really helped me make my computer run faster. This is a great tool that helps give your computer a significant boost in speed by alleviating the stress on your RAM. If you have a low amount of RAM, you will see a significant boost. ReadyBoost gives your computer more memory for use. Insert removable media > choose Speed up my system> Dedicate the device to Readyboost.

4. Adjust Visual Effects

Windows has a beautiful interface with all the bells and whistles. However all that bling comes at a price to your PC’s performance. Fading windows and translucency eat up tons of RAM. You can customize your graphical options to give your computer the best performance. Start > Control Panel > System > Advanced > Performance > Settings > Visuals Effects > Adjust for best performance.

5. Remove Spyware and Viruses

This danger extends beyond just performance. Malware can also steal personal data from your computer. There are tons of good free anti-malware programs out there to help remove these menaces from your computer. Make sure your antiviruses updates during your off hours. Simply allowing the security software to update while you are sleeping will allow you to make your computer run faster.

6. Scan for Errors

Errors can cause massive slowdowns to your PC. Conflicts with applications and sudden restarts are also common signs of errors. Windows does a good job of repairing errors. If you are the administrator, you will be able to use SFC command. This administrative tool allows Windows to try and repair itself. It will scan all system files and replace any that are damaged or missing. If repairs are needed, you will need to supply the Windows CD.

Click Start > Right Click the Command Prompt or type cmd in the search bar > Type sfc/scannow into the command prompt >The tool will scan for damaged files. When prompted provide the Windows original disk for repair.

A online marketing blog post by Kelvin Scotts, top digital marketing agency singapore that provides complete social media in singapore services. More information, check here.