Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Human Error is the Weakest Link

Even at the height of technology, human error is still the weakest link. According to a study referenced by George Hulme in "The Danger Lies Within" (Informationweek.com), roughly 1/3 of all network outages are caused by human error.

A Yankee Group survey of 229 business and government administrators, managing more than 50 networked devices, found that 31% of network outages result from human error. Many of these resulted from unauthorized network changes (50%), shared-password access control (70%), and a lack of automated methods to correlate network downtime with configuration changes (83%). Changes in these areas could improve overall functioning.

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Distributed Computers Put to Work

According to a report by Marianne McGee in "All in the Name of Science" (informationweek.com), distributed computing has allowed 40,000 idle home computers to be linked and used to map the folding sequence of proteins. This information gives valuable insights into diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Without the use of this method, expensive supercomputers would be needed to complete this research, according to Christopher Snow, a Stanford graduate student and project scientist. This type of research may soon be used to examine cancer mutations.

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Keep Yourself Important

Perceptions of various components of a business were reported by Ewalt in "Tech Bull's-Eye" (informationweek.com). According to a survey by Fujitsu Services, employees ranked IT systems (25%) as the most effective thing in their work environment, compared to the 19% that rated their bosses as most important.

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