4 Keys to Building an Independent Support Team

Recently I was on a call with a customer where one of my Team Leads and the Support Agent did most of the talking. Part way through the call, the customer asked me why I wasn’t saying anything. My response was that both my Team Lead and Support Agent had a plan that made sense and could speak to that plan. On top of that they had the ability to make decisions and adjust the plan without running it by me. Finally, I had complete confidence and faith in their abilities. The fact that I was willing to put that much faith in my people and give them that much latitude was surprising to the customer. And it’s likely surprising to you as well. But I see making the people who report to me as independent as one of the keys to having a world class support organization.  To that end, here’s what I do to encourage independence within the Tech Support organization at WinMagic.

The 6 Point Security Spring Cleaning Checklist

As an enterprise, you should not need an occasion to ensure that your security practices are up-to-date, fine-tuned and resilient. However, when immersed in the day-to-day it’s easy to overlook or neglect some of the standard best practices to securing your environment. The first signs of spring seem to trigger an inherent need to clean, and it’s no longer isolated to the garage or the cottage. It’s easy and worthwhile to apply the concept of spring cleaning, an annual event, to getting your security house in order too.

Here’s a 6 point checklist to get you started!

BitLocker Or [Fill in the Blank] – But Do You Really Have to Choose?

Throughout our 20 years of experience in the endpoint encryption market, who do you think our biggest competition would be? Symantec? McAfee, maybe? Wrong, and wrong again. Native crypto solutions like BitLocker and FileVault 2 dominate the endpoint encryption market. After all, why wouldn’t they? They’re free, they’re integrated into the operating system, and they do their job well. But are they really our competition?

2017 International Cryptographic Module Conference and FDE cPPs

From May 17th to 19th, I had the pleasure of attending the Fifth International Cryptographic Module Conference (ICMC 2017) with my colleague, Alexander Mazuruc.   Alex usually attends this conference which focuses on cryptographic modules  and FIPS 140 type issues,  but this year there were 8 tracks on related subjects such as Quantum-safe crypto (yes, that is a thing), and Common Criteria.  The conference had about 35 different sponsors including the Trusted Commuting Group.  Overall I found the conference very informative and a good place to network in the community.

Are Companies Safeguarding Their Customers’ Personal Identifying Information? Survey Says, “No,” in Many Cases.

As data privacy concerns and supporting regulations escalate, are companies really prepared to ensure protection of their customers’ personal identifying information (PII) and to quickly and accurately report a breach should one occur?  WinMagic recently conducted a survey of IT decision makers in the U.S., UK, France and Germany to assess their companies’ capabilities in these areas – and the findings should raise some red flags.

The Requirement for Security Independence in a Virtualized (or Cloud) (or Virtual) World

As we evolve more and more to complete self-contained services like the mainstream Cloud services of Microsoft, Amazon, IBM and Google, I often express concerns about the Cyber aspects being coupled.  Enterprises and users are, if they haven’t already, getting more and more comfortable with giving up their physical/virtual servers, applications and storage but are not, and should not, be comfortable giving up control of their sensitive data.  The shared responsibility models of Cloud Services Providers (CSPs) delineates between the physical aspects (network, disks, memory, etc.) and the responsibility of what resides in the storage and computer.

4 Building Blocks of an Exceptional Customer Experience Foundation

Since I became Senior Manager of Technical Support at WinMagic about seven months ago, my mandate has been to take the support organization here to the point where they were consistently delivering an exceptional customer experience. To do that, I needed to build a solid foundation using the skills and observations that I have acquired from elsewhere. My first step in this was to audit the technical support team and identify areas where improvement was needed or more focus needed to be applied. Through observation, looking at the metrics that were being gathered, and even learning the product so that I could take customer calls in the interest of seeing firsthand what customers experience was, I was able to come up with these key building blocks as part of my foundation for exceptional customer experience. Since February 1st, we’ve been tracking these key items:

SEDs, Sleep and Hibernation

I have written about the security implications of using sleep with encrypted drives in the past  and have offered both short term and longer term solutions that would allow users to use sleep under some conditions and not risk (too much) a data breach.   Today I am writing to offer another, common sense, alternative: Just don’t use sleep because you don’t really need it.

Coaching: The Key Tool for Successful Support Teams

I’m passionate when it comes to coaching and developing a Tech Support team. Because when you make a sincere effort to coach and develop Tech Support agents, it results in a more engaged agent who delivers world class support. One who will go above and beyond not because they feel they have to, but because their efforts are validated by those that they report to and by the customers they assist. This is important because a Tech Support team talks to customers more often than any other part of an organization such as WinMagic which makes what they do very crucial to the success of that organization. I use a number of tools to make sure my coaching is effective as possible.

5 Questions Security Professionals Should ask as they Move to the Cloud

Have you heard of the great migration of Modern IT to the Cloud? It’s not new, revolutionary or innovative, and many enterprises are doing it.  But what we are seeing is, regardless of industry, migrating to a cloud solution is occurring for a myriad of different reasons – from strategic reasons, to the flexibility, productivity and cost-savings gained by moving workloads and storage from on-site to the Cloud.

So, why did I join WinMagic?

Just imagine that day one at WinMagic started with the arrival of an innocuous letter from yet another company who had “lost” my personal data. How ironic!

I’ve known about WinMagic for two decades, most of that time I considered them a deadly competitor – in the data protection space, my company, SafeBoot and WinMagic were two of the “big four” leaders – yet despite vying for the same customers WinMagic and SafeBoot had a cordial relationship, in fact I must confess I was always envious of their ability to launch new features way faster than I could, and in exchange, in the early days the WinMagic team were envious of my sales reach.

How do IT leaders manage encryption the smartest way?

Today’s IT leaders have to ensure that desktops, laptops, and tablets  are secure, which is not any easy feat when they all run on different operating systems – and that is just the beginning. As most organizations move to the cloud, there is a new set of security considerations to tackle. An organization needs to ensure that every confidential piece of data is protected no matter where it resides.

Encryption Challenges in a Changing Tech World

There are many Encryption Challenges in the Tech world today. We know that encryption is one of the fastest emerging data security options today.  An increasing number of organizations worldwide are adopting encryption to address the growing concerns of data safety and data privacy for compliance regulations. Data Encryption is a time-tested tool that can severely hinder attackers in their goal to steal confidential user and customer data, trade secrets, and more.  In addition, to the complex regulations, the increasing adoption of new technologies such as mobility, cloud and virtualization have also found the need for encryption more than ever before.

Proactively Secure Your Cloud Deployments And Keep Control Of Your Data

When you move into a new place, one of the first things you do is change all the locks. It’s important to your sense of security that you control who has access to your home. Changing the locks just makes logical and practical sense. This same logic should also be applied to your business thinking when you are looking to secure your sensitive information in a new environment or an environment you don’t fully control.  

IT Decision Makers have their Head in the “Clouds”

Years ago, tech experts predicted that a new wave of technology would hit the scene and completely rework the way we, well, work. Cloud computing was viewed as the future of the enterprise – at the time, this mysterious yet highly intriguing concept promised to dramatically increased efficiencies that would enable companies to reduce costs and increase business flexibility.