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Noreen Seebacher News & Analysis

Discussion Point: What's the Big Problem With Big Data? [Video]

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Ask 100 people to define big data and you'll get 100 answers, including no answers at all. In theory, big data can help organizations make decisions faster, easier and more accurately. But in practice, faster and easier is just an unrealized goal — and creating business value is often even more elusive.

Riddled with hype and inflated expectations, big data has been nothing more than a nebulous concept for many organizations. 

Rather than successfully analyze a complex set of datasets to discover information that could help teams make better decisions or find new patterns, floods of data often overwhelm the people struggling to make sense of it.

Lost Your Phone? You're Probably a Guy [Infographic]

2014-25-September-battle-of-the-sexes.jpgIn the spirit of everything politically incorrect, let's talk about the superiority of women over men. OK, that's a stretch.

Let's talk about the documented, somewhat scientific finding that men can be much more irresponsible than women when it comes to losing their electronic devices.

That's the conclusion from TeamViewer, a provider of remote control and online meetings software. The company just announced the findings of its airbackup Employee Behavioral Study, which examined the behavior and attitudes of American office workers and how they affect on-the-job data loss.

Based on a sponsored Harris Poll of more than 2,000 American adults last month, men just can't keep their phones in their pockets.

Nearly half of employed men (46 percent) admit to being likely to lose the electronic device they use for work and all the important company files on it, compared to only 27 percent of employed women. And young men are the worst — with a whopping 60 percent of men ages 18 to 34 years-old owning up to likely device loss, compared to 30 percent of women in the same age group.

'Lizard Squad' Targets Sony in New DDoS Attack

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Today brought more hacker woes for Sony's PlayStation Network (PSN) and Sony Entertainment Network in the form of a crippling distributed denial-of-service (DDoSattack from a vandal collective known as "Lizard Squad.”

In addition, the FBI is investigating the diversion of a flight carrying a top Sony executive amid reports of a claim that explosives were on board. An American Airlines flight carrying Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley from Dallas to San Diego was grounded because of a bomb threat.

It appears that the same group behind the current PlayStation Network outage is responsible for the bomb threat on flight 362, which was safely diverted to Phoenix. The group, in fact, retweeted Smedley's tweet: 

Cyber Criminals in Russia Might Know the Password You Forgot

2014-08-August-broken-padlock.jpgIs the notion of online security as passé as the illusion of privacy? Maybe.

Just this week, we learned that a small group of hackers in Russia amassed a database of 1.2 billion stolen user IDs and passwords.

Hold Security, the Milwaukee, Wis.-based company that disclosed the incident, described the incident as "arguably the largest data breach known to date."

The Russian cyber gang targeted websites indiscriminately, hitting Fortune 500 companies and mom and pop sites alike. Hold Security reported the thieves "amassed more than 4.5 billion records, mostly consisting of stolen credentials. 1.2 billion of these credentials appear to be unique, belonging to over half a billion e-mail addresses."

How to Build Company Culture - and Keep Great Employees

2014-4-August-crowd-of-people.jpgRazor Suleman knew he had a problem when he lost 40 percent of his employees in rapid succession. "I dramatically threw my keys on the desk of my second in command and tried to quit," he recalled. 

That was back in 2006, before Suleman transformed what he describes as "one of the worst places to work" to one of the best.

Nothing like a mass exodus of talent to force senior leadership to confront the obvious: You can't buy cool, you can't fake happy and a company can't survive without great employees. Just ask Suleman, founder of Achievers, a Toronto, Ontario- based employee success platform.

Achievers boasts that its cloud-based software helps companies "engage, align and recognize their employees, resulting in higher retention and improved business results." Engaged employees lead to happy customers, which are the key to continued revenue growth and profits, Suleman said.

Googlebot Imposters Attack, Hack and Spam Your Site

2014-24-JULY-SPIDERBOT.jpgContent producers spend a lot of time worrying about Google's search algorithms. But maybe it's time to think less about how frequently Google crawls your site -- and more about the potential damage from evil Googlebot imposters, who assume Googlebot’s identity to gain privileged access to websites and online information.

According to new research released today by Incapsula, a web security firm, millions of these “evil twins” are used for distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, hacking, spam, content theft and other shady activities on a daily basis.

Marc Gaffan, Incapsula’s co-founder and Chief Business Officer, shared a disturbing statistic. "For every 25 Googlebots that visit your site, you will also be visited by a fake Googlebot," he said.

Why worry? Because more than 23 percent of these fake Googlebots are designed to wreak havoc on your website.

Cloudwords Offers New Solution for Global Marketers

Marc Benioff-backed Cloudwords is continuing its quest to help global marketers manage multi-lingual content. The cloud-based translation management application today announced Campaign Manager, an enterprise-ready solution designed to help marketers "plan, execute and track" the localization and translation of marketing content for global campaigns.

Benioff, the CEO of salesforce.com, was one of the original investors in the San Francisco-based company. 

Cloudwords was founded in 2010 by "individuals who gave birth to cloud computing," including Scott Yancey, a key architect on the salesforce.com platform, and Michael Meinhardt, a consultant who advised numerous enterprise customers on their global translation strategy, including Cisco Systems, Hitachi Data Systems, Apple and Symantec.

Here's Why You Should Take Good Care of Your Customers

2014-9-July-hot-air-balloon.jpgNew research confirms what many marketers have already suspected: It’s harder than ever to attract new customers and retain existing ones.

Competition for customers is heating up — or as London-based Ovum, a global research firm, puts it, "hotting-up." Colloquialisms aside, the fight for customers appears to be kicking into high gear.

And the reason is clear. Customer relationship management (CRM) and e-commerce will be the fastest growing enterprise applications through 2018. According to the global analyst firm’s newly launched software forecasts, customer-engagement systems will be the fastest growing enterprise application between 2013 and 2018.

Smoke, Fire and American Apparel: Avoiding Social Mistakes

2014-07-July-house-on-fire.jpgThe scariest words an executive can hear just might be "Your brand is trending on Twitter."

Absent a viral video, strategically planned marketing campaign or the spontaneous heroism of an employee, a global cacophony of disturbing tweets can mean only one thing. 

Somebody screwed up.

Somebody said or wrote or posted something racist, sexist, ageist, insensitive, political incorrect or, perhaps worst of all, simply stupid. 

And you have to look hard to find an example of greater stupidity than American Apparel's latest mistake — confusing an image of a space disaster that took seven lives with a fireworks display.

5 Things Marketers Can Learn on the Fourth of July

2014-4-July-fireworks-in-Hobokan-NJ.jpgIndependence Day is an uniquely American holiday, replete with examples of exactly what happens when you give freedom to a rag-tag group of descendants of fanatics, misfits, debtors, dreamers and people relocated against their will.

There's Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, held at the fast food restaurant's original location on New York City's Coney Island every year since about 1972. The world hot dog eating record is held by Joey Chestnut of San Jose, Calif., who ate 69 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes — a feat that at best can be considered bewildering.

Guess Where Workers Have New Rights to Work from Home?

It's time for CEOs Marissa Mayer and Meg Whitman to eat their words — or at least rethink their strong stances on workplace inflexibility at Yahoo and Hewlett-Packard, respectively.

Telecommuting took a giant leap forward today — at least in the United Kingdom.

Just 16 months after Mayer sent shockwaves down the spines of telecommuters everywhere with her mandate to Yahoo workers to get back to the office and just eight months after Whitman followed with a slightly less strident request, it appears workplace flexibility is making a comeback. And that includes the right to work from home.

World Cup Website Hacked: Is Yours Vulnerable, Too?

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Hacktivists have delivered on their promise to take down Brazil’s official World Cup website, effectively disrupting this year’s competition and adding significant weight to their ongoing global threats to use of computers and computer networks to promote political ends,

This is no surprise, according to Incapsula, a cloud-based website security and performance service. Last week, Incapsula Co-founder and Chief Business Officer Marc Gaffan warned the FIFA site was at risk in the wake of two other incidents.

On June 11, feedly announced it was under attack by a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack refusing to pay the ransom demanded. At the same time, Evernote announced it too had been struck by a DDoS attack.

This Tiny Restaurant Knows More than You About Customer Experience

Thumbnail image for 2014-18-june-Joe's-HomemadeIf you want to learn about customer experience, forget the next overhyped, overcrowded, tech-focused conference. Just eat at Joe's in Savannah, Ga.

Joe's Homemade Café, Catering and Bakery is the best of 750 restaurants in Savannah, at least according to TripAdvisor, a travel site that offers "trusted advice from real travelers." The 510-square foot gem of a restaurant is known for its sandwiches, salads, desserts and exceptionally warm and friendly service.

And while the food is delicious, it begs a customer to ask a question: "How did this tiny space with eight employees in a city of landmarked, exotic restaurants win the hearts of more travelers than any other?"

Don Holland, shown left, who co-owns the business with Ted Paskevich, shown right, doesn't have to think long when asked. "We believe that a strong commitment and delivery of quality food and exceptional service makes us appreciated by our customers," he said.

Oh, and one other thing. "We're big believers in social media."

5 Ways to Keep Employees Focused and Productive

2014-13-June-Trying-to-escape-by-Asa-Aarons.jpgWhether it's the World Cup soccer tournament or just beautiful weather, there's a world of distractions for employees struggling with work-life balance. And if you add "time to play" in with those increasingly co-mingled concepts of work and life, it really makes you wonder how any business gets work done. 

How do you maintain morale and productivity in The Era of Constant Distractions — and real or imagined ADHD?

"We used to ask employees to leave their mobile phones in a basket by the door to the conference room. But that just seemed to make them more anxious and distracted. So now they can bring their phones into the meetings. The only rules: They need to be on silent and they can't stare at their phones," explained one team leader at a digital marketing agency.

We have some other advice for keeping meetings on track, too. But first things first. There's a major sporting event in play, so let's figure out how managers can get the best out of their workforce in spite of it.

Talkin' Trash: Curbing Comment Spam and Crazy People

2014-11-June-upside-down-man.jpg.jpgNothing like the illusion of anonymity to give the nastiest, angriest, most disagreeable people on the planet a voice. From slanderous, libelous and racist comments to the simply offensive and juvenile, trash trolls and link baiters create never-ending challenges for content producers.

Addressing comment spam is a frustrating and time-consuming task for organizations. Typically, companies are required to manually edit spam out of content after it has been posted or rely on moderators to filter individual posts to ensure they are legitimate, Internet security firms concur.

And every decision to delete a comment creates at least a momentarily struggle between conflicting goals. What's more important: free speech or the overwhelming desire to stomp out stupidity?

Yes, content producers have a difficult job — and it extends far beyond the challenge of finding writers who actually know how to write. Now a new report from Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Imperva reveals 80 percent of comment spam traffic is generated by 28 percent of attackers.

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