Application Security from the Inside Out: Part 2

Application Security from the Inside Out: Part 2

In my previous post, I addressed four coding policies that almost guarantee a data breach. This post will cover five solution strategies to shore up your application’s security. The guiding principle to correct these flawed policies (see Part 1) is to change the priorities that direct development and support of software applications.…

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Application Security from the Inside Out: Part 1

Application Security from the Inside Out: Part 1

The recent data breach at Equifax is an unfortunate reminder of a long list of hacked sites (Target Stores, OPM, Sony, and others) that were caused by vulnerabilities in the application code. These companies seemed just as surprised as their customers by the attack and had to wonder, “how did this happen?” They did not need to look further than their own unintentional coding policies.…

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Why You Should Blend Instead of Join in Tableau

Why You Should Blend Instead of Join in Tableau

Data blending in Tableau is the operation of combining multiple data sources into the same view by finding common fields between them to join on. Unlike an ordinary join, which combines data sources at the lowest granularity before any aggregation is done, a data blend can join data sources after aggregation is performed on the individual sources; ultimately limiting the number of records that...

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How to Prepare for the Tableau Desktop Qualified Associate Exam for Free

How to Prepare for the Tableau Desktop Qualified Associate Exam for Free

I recently took the Tableau Desktop Qualified Associate Exam and passed it without spending anything on preparation materials. Having taken other certification exams before, I knew that study guides issued by exam providers don’t always provide the most thorough methods of preparation. In preparing for this exam, I was unsure about the best approach for studying, and ended up exhausting the...

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Is Data Warehousing really dead?

Is Data Warehousing really dead?

Traditional data warehousing was pioneered by Ralph Kimball and Bill Inmon in 1970s to address growing problem of accessing data for reporting and analytics from multiple disparate data sources. Key drivers and goals of data warehousing are: Collect data from multiple sources into a single repository Expose data for reporting and analytics in a performant way Keep full history of data...

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Importance of Cybersecurity: Understanding Preventive “Medicine” to Maintain Cyber Health

Importance of Cybersecurity: Understanding Preventive “Medicine” to Maintain Cyber Health

Believe it or not, information security professionals could learn some lessons from the health and wellness industry. The practice of preventative care can and should be transferred to the information security profession. According to the American College of Preventive Medicine, preventive medicine is defined as “a practice by all physicians to keep their patients healthy“.…

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Isolating the Cardholder Data Environment with Network Segmentation

Isolating the Cardholder Data Environment with Network Segmentation

In a recent post, we discussed many of the challenges with attesting to PCI DSS compliance, including a description of some of the factors that are often overlooked when defining the cardholder data environment (CDE). See “Common Misconceptions around the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)” from our recent series of blogs on PCI DSS-related topics for more information. …

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What You Need to Know about Identity Access Management

Identity and access management – the process of ensuring the right people have the right access to information – should be a key component of any organization’s security infrastructure. A sound IAM approach will not only help protect your sensitive data, it will also save you time and money. However, implementation challenges such as business system complexities, lack of defined user roles and...

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Data for Good: Tackling the Open Data Movement

Last month, I had the opportunity to attend O’Reilly’s Strata Conference as a representative of West Monroe’s Advanced Analytics team. Strata focuses on trends in Big Data and Analytics, two of the hottest topics in the technology world today. At Strata, I was exposed to emerging Big Data architectures and design patterns, and had the chance to meet passionate and influential technologists in...

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Adopting DataGuard? Things to consider

As utilities continue to leverage innovative Smart Grid technologies to transform operations and provide customers with new and improved services, they also collect an increasing amount of customer data. This data is useful for many operational purposes and the utilities are just discovering ways to leverage this information. In January 2015, the White House and the Department of Energy...

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Quirky Queries: How to Avoid a De-Duplication Nightmare

I came across this query the other day, and it led to quite a bit of head scratching. The goal of the query was to de-duplicate data using a row ranking algorithm, however, every time I ran it it returned random and unpredictable results! Needless to say, I couldn’t keep running a faulty query, so I had to get to the bottom of it.…

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Identity and Access Management – The Cart or The Horse?

In my experiences with identity and access management (IAM) projects, there is always a moment when you begin having a “Are we putting the cart before the horse?” conversation.  This is particularly the case when you are, in parallel, having a conversation about how to “enable” IAM in the environment by either redesigning your current implementation of Windows Server Active Directory, creating...

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