Thursday, September 29, 2011

Las Vegas Identity Theft Case Ends After 15 Years - ABC News

Las Vegas Identity Theft Case Ends After 15 Years - ABC News

This article came to my attention on Twitter, and I would have to agree with one readers comment ( ) that "We need stronger protection for consumers and stronger penalties for businesses that allow our data to be stolen."

Worse than the identity theft, is the loss of time and energy spent trying to resolve this case with an unresponsive government that seems utterly clueless.  His case cannot have been unique.  Why did it take so long?

Until sometime in the future when we do not rely on this type of information we are all going to be potential victims.  Now is the time for businesses to batten down the hatches.  Invest in an audit and take the precautionary steps to protect the information your customers entrust with you.

Dolvin Consulting works with Cyber Security Auditors and Administrators (CSA2) to help businesses create and maintain a Written Information Security Plan (WISP).  We help you prepare for the worse, like a fire drill, in the hopes you never need to use what you know.  You cannot be too prepared and if the worse should happen you will have peace knowing that you did everything possible to prevent the breach and you have a solid plan to restore your customer’s faith your business.

Contact Dolvin today to see how we can help you prepare for future data breaches.  We have Forensic experts available if you have already been breached.   

Remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of pain.  We help you sleep better at night.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Why Passwords are not Strong Enough

The risks associated with the use of password-only authentication are not new. In 1995, the US Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) reported that approximately 80 percent of the security incidents they received were related to poorly chosen passwords. More than fifteen years later, two-thirds of organizations are still using just a password to secure remote access1.
With today’s threat landscape and the increased value placed on the information created and stored, systems that rely on static passwords for security are left vulnerable and at risk of being breached. In this paper, we will examine the need for strong authentication and explore the return on investment that can be realized in order to help organizations make an informed decision when contemplating their strategic move toward more effective security.

“One out of four employees write their passwords down on paper in order to remember them”. 

Okay, now we have to think.  Am I guilty of writing passwords down?  How do we keep track of so many passwords for so many sites?  So many companies that we do business with today have online sites that we use to improve our efficiency.

There are a number of tools and tricks to create and remember the passwords, but as we grow ever more dependent on technology, we will need new, better solutions.

In the mean time Dolvin Consulting works with security experts Cyber Security Auditors and Administrators (CSA2) to help your company prepare for and prevent data breaches.  Contact us today to schedule a risk assessment of your business.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Complying with the New FDA Food Safety Act Through Warehouse Controls

New FDA Food Safety & Modernization Act legislation is geared toward bringing Distributors and Manufacturers quality control standards to the level that currently exists in the food industry.

According to the new act, Distributors and Manufacturers will be required to keep control of their inventory recalls and know what products were shipped to which clients. Failure to comply with the new standards will result in severe penalties and a complete recall of all shipments for that period.
Today's software solutions can help businesses comply with the New FDA Safety Act Ruling by using lot control to track the shelf life date of all products, in both inbound and outgoing shipments.  If a recall ever occurs, the Distributors and Manufacturers will know exactly which customers received products from that lot number. Having the proper warehouse management solution can help control operational cost while meeting and exceeding customer expectations.

Join VAI's Free Webinar to Learn More!

"How VAI S2K for Food Helps Comply with FDA Safety Regulations"

September 27, 2011 2:00pm EST
Register Now

After registering for this informative webinar, contact Dolvin Consulting to see how we can help you manange your inventory and maintain compliance.

According to a recent survey IBM once again scored highly in customer satisfaction.

This white paper, featuring survey data from Technology Business Research, Inc. (TBR), highlights the results of a series of surveys where IBM continued to dominate in all areas of support and stability. From performance, reliability and efficiency to consistency and value, TBR determined that IBM consistently meets or exceeds customer expectations by scoring substantially above industry averages.

This survey looked at the x86 processor server base, but from experience IBM really makes the difference in all their server products including the Iseries, midrange server product line.   Organizations should by now be able to look at not only the upfront costs, but look more closely to the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) associated with any solution.  As the article points out “IBM Breeds Performance, Reliability and Efficiency”.

TBR, who performed the survey, has determined that IBM’s continually strong performance in their study can be tied to the interrelated effects of four underlying principles:

1.       Leading performance, reliability and efficiency:
When compared to its counterparts in servers, Dell and HP, IBM consistently delivers higher marks in customer satisfaction for hardware quality and reliability, services and support and energy efficiency – areas of key concern for x86 server customers both now and in the future as workloads within the data center increase.

2.       Consistency and stability of support:
Customers have also consistently rated IBM’s phone support highly despite the ups and downs of the economy. IBM phone support consistently scored highly throughout the economic downturn in 2009, when many customers kept their servers for longer than expected, and also in the exuberance period that followed in 2010 as companies replaced their servers en masse. Now, as customer satisfaction rates have returned to more normal patterns, IBM continues to retain leadership in this and many other categories.

3.       Continuing to meet high customer expectations:
System x’s consistent performance in meeting customer expectations over the past several  quarters has led to increased expectations from its customers – setting the bar even higher for IBM.  But despite having higher expectations than its rivals, IBM has continued to meet or exceed in most satisfaction categories in TBR’s study.

4.       Server value:
TBR believes that IBM’s innovations around areas such as memory capacity, server performance and virtualization is driving an ROI message that resonates with businesses – illustrated by higher-than-average customer server value satisfaction ratings over the past few quarters.

Every company today needs efficiency to remain competitive.  The Right Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution will do the same thing.  The challenge seems to be finding the right fit between your challenges and available solutions.  This is where Dolvin Consulting utilizes their industry knowledge and partnerships to help you when you make your technology decisions.  Contact Dolvin today and to see how we can help you achieve your goals.

You are not purchasing pencils, support after the sale is the most important piece of the technology puzzle to manage.  You success with a solution depends on the team you build to support your efforts.

Friday, September 23, 2011

5 Best Practices to Build an Intelligent Company

What's your company's Business Intelligence Quotient (BIQ) and how can this metric accelerate your time-to-insight?

This research package aims to introduce the notion of Business Intelligence Quotient (BIQ) and how it can be used as a metric for accelerating the time-to-insight. It enlists the five best practices companies can follow right now to graduate from being a good company to a great company and finally to an intelligent company.
The article lists the five things your company can do right now:
1.      Business Intelligence is everybody’s business.
2.      Data, data everywhere, but I cannot see it no matter how I do my search.
3.      Enumerate the potential of BI as an innovative invention of a superior customer experience.
4.      Right time information is the NEW BI imperative and it prevents the data burst.
5.      Consider BI as a strategic solution for your business.

This report gives some food for thought there is also an included Midmarket ERP Solutions Buyers Guide.

Personally, bullet #5 is the most important piece of the puzzle.  Business Intelligence is a strategic solution for business in today’s competitive market.   Management needs real-time answers to complex questions.  The dashboards give fast insight to the operational efficiency of the organization and drill down capability assures that the correct conclusions are made.

Bottom line, there is no reason to collect information if there is no way to access and use it.  Dolvin Consulting works with industry leaders to deliver integrated solutions that drive efficiency across the enterprise, reduce costs and help to make organizations more profitable.

Contact us today to see how we can help you with your challenges.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Senator to businesses: Protect data or pay

Senator Richard Blumenthal says his data breach legislation will deter data breaches. IT security experts have their doubts

Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., says his newly introduced legislation, the Personal Data Protection and Breach Accountability Act of 2011 will protect individuals' personally identifiable information from data theft and penalize firms that don't adequately secure their customers' information. Naturally, there are skeptics.

The bill would establish "appropriate minimum security plans" for businesses with 10,000 or more customers to safeguard their customer information and hold those businesses accountable through fines should they fail to meet those standards. The bill also calls for more public/private information sharing.

Click here or the headline above for the full article.

Certainly "larger" companies should already have and maintain a Written Information Security Plan (WISP).  They should already be allocating budget dollars to their security plan.  But what about all of the other companies that operate with information that should be kept private? 

Best practice in the industry suggest that all companies should be addressing their particular risk assessment.  For some smaller companies it is a simple process.  As the company size grows, so do the complexities of risk management.

Dolvin Consulting works with industry experts Cyber Security Auditors and Adminstrators (CSA2) to help companies of all sizes calculate their risk exposure and take the appropriate steps to safe guard their client and employee relationships. 

Think of this as a fire drill for a data breach.  You hope you never need it, but you will be prepared for the worse.  Contact Dolvin today to see how we can help you get a decent nights sleep.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Do you really need a new ERP solution?

Before you decide to let your frustration with your existing system lead you to a new and perhaps more complex system, including capital expenditures for new hardware, software, and implementation, you may want to ask your team a few questions.

What is it exactly that we hope to accomplish with a new system?  Will the new system allow us to be more efficient, more competitive with a reasonable Return on Investment (ROI).

Have you taken the time to calculate the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)?  A lot of new systems that run on smaller systems will actually require more in administrative overhead, maintenance and support.

Do you have consensus from top management?  How about the shop floor worker?  Do not underestimate the input and acceptance needed by all employees.  Most organizations have eliminated “extra” personnel, enough so that those that are still working are doing the tasks formally done by several people.  You are going to get pushback and delayed implementation and higher costs if they do not see how the new solution is going to make their efforts easier.

Implementing a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution can be complex.  A dedicated project manager and team approach is a necessary to make sure everything goes as smooth as possible.  Nothing is perfect and there will be bumps in the road.  Your organization needs to build a consensus that life will be better after this transition.

It will help to define clearly what specific problems you are hoping to solve with a new solution.  You really cannot be too specific or include too much detail during the analysis phase.  It is one of many criteria used to evaluate the multitude of solutions available.  Other considerations would include direct access to the software supplier, do you also have local support, and what hardware support will you have?  How long can you afford to be “down” before your business suffers?

Most technology processes have a “Best Practice”.  How well will the new solution fit?  How flexible will it be when you integrate your other existing systems?  Will you replace your other systems as part of the implementation?  Other systems may include credit card processing, Ecommerce and Supplier portal solutions, shop floor control, printing and labeling, and warehouse management just to name a few systems.

How well will the new system adapt to changes in your business?  Will it grow with you or will you outgrow it?

Dolvin Consulting works with industry experts VAI and IBM to understand and qualify your needs to make sure there is a good match between your challenges and available solutions. 

Do not wait, contact us today to see how we can help you navigate the constant flux of change.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Jail Time for Physician's HIPAA Violation Highlights Need to Redouble

A visiting cardiothoracic surgeon from China, working as a researcher at UCLA School of Medicine, became the first person sentenced to prison for unauthorized access to medical records in violation of HIPAA.

The jailing of the Chinese researcher highlights the fact that providers and employers no longer can be complacent about HIPAA compliance.
With so much information available to so many people, businesses need an advocate on their side.  Dolvin works with industry experts Cyber Security Auditors & Administrators (CSA2) to help you create a defensible position against the ever increasing tide of regulations, fines and breaches.
Contact Dolvin today for your risk analysis and assessment.  We are here to help.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Improved Efficiencies with Business Intelligence and Enterprise Resource Planning

The need to drive efficiency in the enterprise has never been greater.  Reduce costs, improve efficiencies, and sell more.  The road to recovery and a solid balance sheet depends on timely decisions based on facts.  Business Intelligence takes over where the canned reports in your ERP system leave off.  Dashboards with drill down capability allow management quick access to critical information.

Focus Research has posted a report from the Aberdeen Group that takes the reader on an analysis of Business Intelligence and how that information can build on top of Enterprise Databases.

Prompted by volatile markets and a troubled economy, the need to reduce costs is the top business driver impacting Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) strategies.  Combine this need with the ever-increasing need for transparency to both public and privately held companies and the marriage of ERP with Business Intelligence (BI) becomes the perfect storm, igniting improved performance and visibility.  This report serves as a benchmark to those companies seeking these results.

Business decision-makers sit on massive amounts of operational data. Unfortunately an ERP system alone is not the tool to bring order to the chaos. Consider how you can improve business performance and enhance the visibility into your organization by adding a BI module to your ERP system. Hand-picked by Focus editors, this complimentary white paper will help make all that data meaningful:

This report provides:
·         A benchmarking study of Best-in-Class companies that have implemented BI.
·         Insight into the impact of integrating a BI module with an ERP system.
·         Specific recommendations on how your organization can achieve Best-in-Class results.

Overwhelmed with data you're not using effectively? Looking for ways to get the most out of your ERP system? Business Intelligence might be the answer for your business.

Dolvin works with industry experts to bring solutions to your business.  Contact us today for an evaluation of your needs.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Distribution Management Software

Distribution Management Software has emerged as a leading cost-cutting measure for today's most competitive businesses. 

The integration of your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and long term growth strategies will ensure your future success.  Newer systems empower customer service, reduce costs, and deliver significant return on investment.

Improvement of Inventory Control, Warehouse management, Purchasing, Contact Relationship Management, Business Intelligence or the integration of E-Commerce solutions all lead to superior efficiency for your business with a lower Total Cost of Ownership and fast Return on Investment.  A comprehensive solution will let you manage and analyze virtually every aspect of your business.

You need a trusted advisor to help navigate the confusing media surrounding ERP solutions.  Each supplier has their specialty niche.  Determining if that niche fits your business model is the key to successful solution.  There simply is too much information available in today’s electronic age. 

A Google search for ERP solutions gives about 6 million results.  Where do you start?  How do I know if the person I am talking to just wants to sell me what they have or are they truly interested in my business’ success. 

Contact Dolvin today to see how the integration of your enterprise will help you compete in today’s complex business environments.  We understand that as your advisor we have a vested interest in your business.  Your success is our success.  We build our reputation one relationship at a time.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Former waiter charged with stealing credit card numbers.

Former waiter charged with stealing credit card numbers.

A former waiter at a TGI Fridays restaurant in Laurel was indicted on charges he copied and sold the numbers of 73 credit cards, Prince George’s authorities said.

It really should not be any great surprise that we see these types of reports.  Apparently this guy’s mistake, which led to the discovery and his arrest, was not realizing who he was stealing from.  A couple of Secret Service agents ate at the restaurant and noticed the unauthorized charges.

What may surprise many more is how common this type of theft is and how often it occurs.  Sometimes a credit card is stolen and the offender charges up a storm.  That is relatively easy to spot on your statement or alert from your credit card company. 

What is much more prevalent are small, but numerous charges.  Small, like less than $9.  You read that correct, small charges are unlikely to be seen and even if they are discovered, they are too small to prosecute.  Why bother to steal a small amount?  Credit Card theft is a high volume low margin theft.  Steal lots of card numbers and charge lots of small amounts.  This adds up and ultimately makes everything more expensive.

There are many aspects to crimes like these.  First and foremost, the business management has public relations issue to contend with.  Will customers choose another establishment?  For how long?  How much business will be lost?  After the bad press settles a good many people will forget the incident, unless they were the one of the one’s affected.

In general a significant percentage of breaches are due to human error or negligence.  Until there is a time when having the information is of no value, people without will take from those who have.  Business tries to build a better mouse trap and the mice get smarter.

Dolvin Consulting and Cyber Security Auditors and Administrators (CSA2) work with companies to help them determine their risk exposure and build a Written Information Security Plan (WISP) and store that plan and other critical documents in a secure WISP-Vault.  You may never be able to eliminate all risks, but you can be prepared.  Perhaps as punishment or perhaps as a revenue stream, Government regulations are becoming more stringent and the fines are growing. 

You need someone knowledgeable on your side to help you manage your risk.  We would like to help you before trouble comes a knocking, but we also have experts in post-breach situations.  Do not wait, Contact Dolvin today.

What's the right MRP solution for your business?

In addition to selecting a trusted advisor, you can start a top level search with many online resources including the comparison chart on INSIDE-ERP web site.  This five page PDF lists many, but not all ERP solutions. 

This certainly is not a one-stop solution to your challenges.  You will need help matching your challenges with possible solutions.  Not all solutions will require a new system, however, it is sometimes easier to replace everything with a new unified system.  It is this integration and unification around a central repository of information that drives efficiency. 

I would suggest starting with the column entitled “Target Manufacturing Industries”.  This information will allow you to narrow this list to solution providers that target your industry.  The next column to watch is “How to Buy”.  Why? Because, where you get your support after the sales is an important as the pre-sales.  Will you be dealing directly with the software provider or a third party or both?

The report will give you fast facts on the market leaders, product types, pricing and target industries, including:
·         Side-by-side assessment of the latest MRP solutions
·         The basics on pricing, product types and environment
·         Highlights on how to buy the right solution for your business

Next step, contact Dolvin for advice on how to interpret the report and find out if the right solution for your business is included in the report.

Monday, September 5, 2011

What do I need in ERP and a Trusted Advisor?

I had an interesting conversation with someone new recently and they wanted to know what I do, how I do it and finally what they needed.  Most interesting and importantly, they wanted to know about my company and the business relationships that I maintained (first).  They knew there was so much information available and needed someone to help them wade through those waters.  They also knew that the person they asked for help needed to respect their interests first and foremost.

It is not uncommon today to have many choices in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions.  Gone are the days when Henry Ford was in charge and cars came in any color you wanted as long as they were black.  Sometimes for smaller companies ERP is simply not the answer.  There can be some significant upfront costs associated with any new solution and ERP is no exception.  For smaller companies an ERP solution may not be affordable.  A Return on Investment (ROI) and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) analysis should be run and reviewed.

It is never an easy decision to add to already overworked people the implementation of a new solution.  An existing solution may not be perfect, but it functions at some level.  Top management needs to learn and know what is coming down the line, manage expectations, and get buy-in from all levels in the organization.  Yes, ALL levels.  Everyone in a company is responsible for making your customers happy, including the guy that pushes the broom.  A company needs to operate as an integrated well oiled machine.  That is the key in an ERP solution.  All departments and people working together utilizing a unified repository of information that drives efficiency across the enterprise.   

There are so many choices out there.  There are many modules to sort through.  What do I need?  What do I want in the future?  Will the software work with my organization?  What is my competition doing?  Do I purchase them all up-front or do I implement the basics first, and then add more modules as I grow?

An organization really needs a trusted advisor that has their best interest at heart.  Someone with experience in their industry and with ERP solutions.  Someone that is willing to put your organization ahead of their own profits. 

The majority of the people and companies that Dolvin works with come from referrals.  This is our highest form of complement.  Someone respects our efforts well enough to give our name to someone else.  We are not perfect, but we always do our best.  You are our customer and our responsibility.  That is not something we take lightly.

Contact us to see how we are different than the organizations you are now working with.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The 2011 Focus Experts' Guide to Business Intelligence

"The reason that BI is fundamentally about data analysis and experience has shown that those who quickly understand their customers, their prospects and their performance then take actions accordingly have a big ongoing advantage in follow-on revenues, spend efficiency and effectiveness and flexibility over those who don’t."

  • BI solutions, their features and the market in 2011
  • Key solution, cost and vendor considerations
  • Our recommended BI solutions for different buyer types


Business Intelligence (BI) software has gone from an afterthought to a driver of competitive advantage for both large enterprises and midsize firms. It should be among the top few applications that help run your business, but not all BI solutions fit every situation -- and they are often pricey.

Figure out what stage of BI "maturity" you are in and then what features you need and what vendor choices you have at that stage. If you need to pick the right BI vendor and solution, this Experts' Guide is a must-read!

After reading this guide contact Dolvin to see how we can help you decide which, if any, solution is right for you at this point in time.  We are happy to help you navigate the complicated waters of business intellegence.