This post was originally published on the LSC Technology Blog in January of 2014. LSC is Legal Services Corporation, my employer. At LSC, we’ve been taking a critical look at our web site, to see if we can make it a more useful web site by factoring in all of the ways that people might want to view or use our information. In these days of big data and small screens, we realize that we have to be much more attentive to the ways that we present data than we have in the past. Identifying the different visitors who frequently use our site, we took a closer look… Read More »Making Your Website More Useful For More People
Internet culture addicts like me have taken gleeful note of Mashable’s campaign to rid the world of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer version 6. Anyone who develops public web pages (and cares if they are compatible with other and/or modern browsers) is sympathetic to this cause. The hoops that we have to jump through to make our pages look acceptable in IE6 while taking advantage of the nearly decade old CSS positioning commands are ridiculous. When I was doing web consulting a few years back, IE6 compatibility coding generally took up about 20% of the total project time.
The credit card industry is doing the right thing by consumers and enforcing proper security measures regarding the handling of credit card information. You might have heard about this – a number of the popular vendors of donor databases are recommending upgrades based on their compliance with these regulations. The “Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard”, commonly known as PCIDSS, is a set of guidelines for securely handling credit card information. The standard has been around for about four years, but early enforcement efforts focused on companies with a high volume of credit card transactions. Now that they’re all in compliance, they’ve set their sites on smaller businesses and nonprofits. So, what does this mean?
The technology trend that defines this decade is the movement towards open, pervasive computing. The Internet is at our jobs, in our homes, on our phones, TVs, gaming devices. We email and message everyone from our partners to our clients to our vendors to our kids. For technology managers, the real challenges are less in deploying the systems and software than they are in managing the overlap, be it the security issues all of this openness engenders, or the limitations of our legacy systems that don’t interact well enough. But the toughest integration is not one between software or hardware systems, but, instead, the intersection of strategic computing and organizational culture.
My esteemed colleague Michelle Murrain lobbed the first volley in our debate over whether tis safer to host all of your data at home, or to trust a third party with it. The debate is focused on Software as a Service (SaaS) as a computing option for small to mid-sized nonprofits with little internal IT expertise. This would be a lot more fun if Michelle was dead-on against the SaaS concept, and if I was telling you to damn the torpedos and go full speed ahead with it. But we’re all about the rational analysis here at Idealware, so, while I’m a SaaS advocate and Michelle urges caution, there’s plenty of give and take on both sides.
Michelle makes a lot of sound points, focusing on the very apt one that a lack of organizational technology expertise will be just as risky a thing in an outsourced arrangement as it is in-house. But I only partially agree.
My friends at Blackbaud referred me to this excellent post by Jay Love, CEO of ETapestry, once a small donor database service, now a subsidiary of the mother of all donor database companies. Jay’s timely caution to nonprofits is that they be skeptical about all of the for-profit folk answering their employment ads in the face of the poor economy. People from that side of the dollar fence are generally unprepared for the culture of nonprofits. His story about vendors trying to break into our sector with no experience or research into our needs is fascinating. But I have a different take on hiring people from the for-profit world, and while Jay seems t be saying “don’t do it”, I’m on the “be sure to do it – in moderation” side.
An article appeared in the NonProfit Times this week regarding a recent ruling in Nevada requiring that all personal information be securely transmitted, e.g. encrypted. The article, States Push To Encrypt Personal Data is by Michelle Donahue, and quotes, among others, me and our friend Holly Ross, Executive Director of NTEN — it’s a worthwhile read. The law in question is a part of Nevada’s Miscellaneous Trade Regulations and Prohibited Acts. I’ve quoted the relative pieces of this legislation below, but I’ll sum it up here:
This article was originally published at Idealware in January of 2007. Is your organization drowning in a virtual sea of documents? Document management systems can provide invaluable document searching, versioning, comparison, and collaboration features. Peter Campbell explains. For many of us, logging on to a network or the Internet can be like charting the ocean with a rowboat. There may be a sea of information at our fingertips, but if we lack the proper vessel to navigate it, finding what we need — even within our own organization’s information system — can be a significant challenge. Organizations today are floating in a virtual sea of… Read More »Better Organization Through Document Management Systems