Archive for the 'Blogging' Category

Organisational communication strategy

How does your organisation work? Does it promote informal communication, blogging and wikis? Do you spend your free time doing most of your research/blogging to help you be a better employee for your organisation?

Do you engage in the community, without backing from your team/department?

There’s some interesting research out there on this particular topic, you’d be right in thinking that Google operates as a type 4 organisation (see below) and that some of the less successful IT companies are type 1 and 2. I’m proud to say that mine is somewhere in between 3 and 4 and hopefully becoming more 4, and given some more time a 5.

Types of organisation (… and typical retention of talent and empowerment profile shown in Figure 1)

  1. Formal organisation
    • Communication top down
    • Communication mediums are controlled top down
  2. Forums, wikis and chat
    • Enablement of online knowledge transfer between workers
    • Efforts to take control of the knowledge capital by structuring top down
  3. Blogging tolerated
    • Value of the voice of the workforce appreciated outside the organisation
    • Blogging code of conduct is defined
  4. Internal social interaction space exists but no funding
    • Internal blogging space supported
    • No official funding for user generated content
    • No top down direction on its use
  5. Social capital integrated into organisation strategy
    • Empowerment of employees is written into company strategy
    • The infrastructure is provided and funded top down.

Figure 1: Empowerment of the employee journey. Adapted from Karen Lawrence, published in BCS ITNOW May 2009

Measuring social capital in the workplace

A way of getting buy in from the owner/CEO/shareholders is to present information as metrics. Lots of metrics are out there, but this is a good basis for a good argument for moving to become a type 5 organisation.

Employee Social Capital (ESC) = Employee * Weighting1
Weighting1 = Knowledge Capital * Linkage * Relationship Building * Information Seeking * Information Sharing
Employee Knowledge Capital (EKC) = Employee competencies * Weighting2
Weighting2 = Intellectual property created * Project specific knowledge * Internal knowledge
Team Social Capital (TSC) = ESC * # team members
Employee worth of Social Capital to Team = ESC / TSC

A team with lots of social capital is going to more successful and content. This is only a taster, and I’ll have to buy the book like everyone else to get the big picture.

Read Karen Lawrence’s book: Virtual Shadows: Your Privacy in the Information Society – I haven’t got a copy myself yet!

Further research in other fields can be found on this topic. A particularly interesting one is an investigation into the correlation of workplace social capital and depression.


Worming tablets required

I think our IT department learnt a very valuable lesson today!

Most of our servers are behind a fortress of firewalls, VPN connections and yet, today, we find ourselves ashamed of what has happened!

The Conficker grade E worm (Worm:Win32/Conficker.E: identified by the MMPC on April 8, 2009) made its way onto our network. It matters not how it got there, but does point the finger at our inadequate antivirus products, or perhaps it was more complacency…. no single machine is directly linked with the outside world, we use linux and unix based firewalls… it couldn’t affect us… could it?

Well it did… the investigation is on… my detective hat is on, and my finger is pointed at a small section of the network that has an un-patched server infrastructure. The reasons for not patching them almost outweigh the hassle it is to deal with today’s attack… for antiquated pieces of software/hardware that we can’t replace/rewrite* simply don’t run on operating systems with a patch! I’m sure there are other organisations out there with similar problems.

Have a read of what it does: here

It is rather nasty, and has the ability to block access to certain websites, certain applications and certain system administration tasks! (am I the only one to think it is rather clever?… not that I applaud the application of this genius in any way!)

As most of what you’ll read on the internet is about solution to it, I thought I’d share one of the most annoying symptoms

  • Account lockout policies being activated.

This one was a huge issue for us! With just under 7000 active directory users in the entire organisation, roughly 2500 were locked out… and this number kept rising all day. As you’d imagine, frustrated users were on the phone to the helpdesk, and some people, because of this issue did not deliver the service that our customers expect.

So fed up of the issue, and not being able to do our normal tasks today (the source control system went down, all our SharePoint boxes were down to be patched/checked), a colleague and I wrote a windows form application in C# that periodically queried our active directory to look for locked out accounts.

ad_accounts_locked Figure 1: Locked out user account tracker

The progress bar in Figure 1 shows the amount of users affected by this worm. A significant number!

The vet has been called, and a dose of software patches are on the way. Look in the research URLs below if you are yourself scrabbling for a solution. Good Luck :-)


* We could replace/rewrite them but it would be far too expensive and disruptive to the business!


Removing autorun might help prevent spread of the worm
F-secure FAQ on conficker
F-secure technical description of conficker
Conficker Worm: Help Protect Windows from Conficker

Individuals with information about the Conficker worm are encouraged to contact their international law enforcement agencies. Additionally, Microsoft has implemented an Antivirus Reward Hotline, +1-425-706-1111, and an Antivirus Reward Mailbox,, where tips can be shared.

Claim your blog on Technorati

Thats what I’m doing right now

Technorati Profile

See… that was painless wasn’t it… for more information on claiming your blog, go to TECHNORATI.COM


All themed up :-D

As you may notice (if you aren’t reading through an RSS reader…) the site now features realistic Spitting Camels…

Many thanks to the Lights on a stick editor for producing the eye catching graphics :-)


Getting through to the K2 Consultants

The place to look is the PitchBlack forums.

Right now is a really interesting post on how to create a custom security provider for K2 [blackpearl] with screenshots and code snippets. Well worth a read.



I’ve just discovered technorati…. yes I know I’m about 6 years behind the curve…. but now I’ve seen the light.

This nice Swiss army knife of blog reading allows you to search all blogs written by absolutely anyone in one hit.

See all the K2 blog posts here

A nifty automatically updated chart showing the number of K2 [blackpearl] postings over the last 30 days!


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