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Non-Competes Hurt Worker Productivity

Jeff John Roberts at GigaOM writes about research published in Harvard Business Review that says non-compete clauses, which limit workers’ ability to move from one firm to another, may do more harm than good. The research suggests that workers are less motivated and perform worse when subjected to terms that limit their job mobility. The study

Project Manager Shortage Predicted

Organizations may soon find themselves short project managers, putting them at great disadvantage as the economy continues to recover according to David Weldon at FierceCIO. The article cites the recent ESI International ESI 2013 Project Manager Salary and Development Survey. The project management training company surveyed 1,800 project managers in 12 different industries in the

Limit Admin Rights to Close MSFT Holes

It’s been best-practice for a very long time: all users and processes should run with the fewest privileges necessary. This limits the damage that can be done by an attacker if the user or process is compromised. ZDnet says that running users without admin rights on Microsoft (MSFT) Windows XP was generally impractical. It is a

Useful Guide To Owning A Pet Dinosaur

 John Conway has illustrated The Dinosaur Pet Guide, which informs the reader on “the pleasures and pitfalls of today’s common dinosaurian pets.” Listing the pros and cons of owning various kinds of dinosaurs, this informative guides aims to help you decide the most suitable dinosaur pet for you. Taxi says the Tyrannosaurus may impress your friends,

More Fiber in the D

Fibertech Networks says it plans to install more than 750 route miles of new fiber optic cable in Metro Detroit – the company’s 30th U.S. metro network – including Trenton, Canton Township, Dearborn, Southfield, Warren, Troy and Chesterfield Township. “This is a major expansion for Fibertech and an important step in our development as one of the

Non-Competes Hurt Worker Productivity

Non-Competes Hurt Worker ProductivityJeff John Roberts at GigaOM writes about research published in Harvard Business Review that says non-compete clauses, which limit workers’ ability to move from one firm to another, may do more harm than good. The research suggests that workers are less motivated and perform worse when subjected to terms that limit their job mobility.

Future employment The study paid online participants to search matrices for numbers that add up to ten. The article explains that a sub-group of people subjected to a mock non-compete clause, 61 percent decided to drop out and forgo the money compared to 41 percent in a control group. The non-compete group also performed much worse at the task, making mistakes at twice the rate as the others. According to the authors of the study:

We believe that limits on future employment not only dim workers’ external prospects but also decrease their perceived ownership of their jobs, sapping their desire to exert themselves and develop their skills. The resulting drop in performance may be more damaging to companies than the actual loss of the employees would be.

Subject to non-complete clausesMr. Roberts concludes that the findings could carry big implications for the American work force, where more than half of engineers and 70 percent of executives are reportedly subject to non-complete clauses.

The study authors also say that existing research shows higher levels of innovation and productivity in regions that outlaw limits on worker mobility.

Silicon Valley and California stand out in this area. Courts there have explicitly banned non-compete clauses on public policy grounds, a situation that makes it easy for companies to poach each others’ employees.

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I’m not a lawyers, so get your own legal counsel, but I can google and it seems that enforcing or challenging the enforceability of a noncompete agreement under Michigan law invariably boils down to four issues:

  1. Does the agreement protect a legitimate business interest?
  2. Is the duration reasonable?
  3. Is the geographical restriction reasonable?
  4. Is the type of employment or line of work restriction reasonable?

Ralph Bach has been in IT for fifteen years and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow me at Facebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

Project Manager Shortage Predicted

Organizations may soon find themselves short project managers, putting them at great disadvantage as the economy continues to recover according to David Weldon at FierceCIO. The article cites the recent ESI International ESI 2013 Project Manager Salary and Development Survey.

project managementThe project management training company surveyed 1,800 project managers in 12 different industries in the U.S.and found, “Budget constraints, an aging base of professionals and a looming talent war all contribute to a talent crisis that should be addressed from the highest levels of the organization,” Mark Bashrum, VP at ESI told CIO.com. The ESI VP continued, “The growing needs of businesses demand a more strategic view of the staffing, development and promotion of their project managers since project execution impacts an organization’s bottom line and its ability to satisfy its customers.”

CIO.com says the study, identified three primary factors for the project manager shortage:

  1. As the economy rebounds, many organizations are growing. In and of itself, growth is a good thing for businesses, but growth means more markets, more products and more systems and that means more projects for which there aren’t enough PMs.
  2. Many project managers are reaching retirement age and leaving the workforce. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), 60 percent of their members are over the age of 40. “This is a real problem because these are the people who understand the business,” says Mr. Bashrum. “Over the years they have not only acquired project management skills, but also an understanding of their industry and their organization; knowledge which is not easily replaced.”
  3. Many organizations have stopped actively developing their existing project manager talent due to reductions in training budgets. “In many cases, this means they have very little in the way of ‘bench strength’ and do not have a qualified group of mid-level project managers ready to move up to the senior ranks as project demand increases,” he says.

http://i0.wp.com/rbach.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/mgmbehindscenes.jpg?resize=196%2C141The problem is especially severe for senior level project managers, either because companies haven’t hired enough in the job market, or haven’t developed enough among internal staff.

“Add to that the larger issues of shortsighted hiring practices, a lack of competency planning, and a reduced focus on training and development, and many company’s business objectives are at risk,” the article notes.

Mr. Bashrum says the survey found it can take up to 10 months to bring an otherwise experienced project manager up to speed in a new organization. Je also told CIO.com the specifics are different for each organization, but in general, Bashrum says business acumen and communication skills are at the top of the list. He adds that negotiation skills, critical thinking and problem-solving skills are also extremely important.

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The study seems to say that demand has steadily been increasing while supply has been flat which should mean higher salaries for all PMs, but even more so for specific industries and for senior PMs. 

Best Rookie PM Salaries
Best Senior PM Salaries
Energy/Utilities $65,220Energy/Utilities $147,600
Aerospace/Defense $58,970Aerospace/Defense $116,100
Federal Government $58,410Federal Government $113,000

Ralph Bach has been in IT for fifteen years and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow me at Facebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

Limit Admin Rights to Close MSFT Holes

Limit Admin Rights to Mitigate MSFT HolesIt’s been best-practice for a very long time: all users and processes should run with the fewest privileges necessary. This limits the damage that can be done by an attacker if the user or process is compromised.

AvectoZDnet says that running users without admin rights on Microsoft (MSFT) Windows XP was generally impractical. It is a much more reasonable and manageable approach on Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8, but many organizations still run users as administrator because it makes things easier in the short-term.

ZDnet cites a new study from UK software company Avecto which demonstrates the real world import of running with “least privilege”. In 2013, Microsoft released 106 security bulletins and updates to address the 333 vulnerabilities identified in them. 200 of the 333 total vulnerabilities would be mitigated if the user were not running as administrator. 147 of the vulnerabilities were designated critical; 92 Safe Computingpercent (135) of these would be mitigated.

Dark Reading says that the Avecto results also revealed that removing admin rights would also mitigate:

  • 91% critical vulnerabilities affecting Microsoft Office,
  • 96% of critical vulnerabilities affecting Windows operating systems,
  • 100% of vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer and
  • 100% of critical remote code execution vulnerabilities.

Avecto 2013 Microsoft Vulnerabilities Study: Mitigating Risk by Removing User Privileges

Avecto told ZDnet that non-administrator users can still be compromised, but it’s much less likely that they would be and, if they were, the impact would likely be greatly limited. Least privilege is most effective as part of a more comprehensive security architecture including prompt application of updates to patch vulnerabilities.

Paul Kenyon, co-founder and EVP of Avecto told Dark Reading, “This analysis focuses purely on known vulnerabilities, and cyber criminals will be quick to take advantage of bugs that are unknown to vendors. Defending against these unknown threats is difficult, but removing admin rights is the most effective way to do so.”

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Employees with admin rights can install, modify and delete software and files as well as change system settings making more work for the help desk folks. The report demonstrates that many companies are still not fully aware of how many admin users they have and consequently face an unknown and unquantified security threat. It is also conceivable that privilege management would have made high-profile attacks such as the recent one on Target if not impossible then much harder, by reducing the potential for the abuse of partner access, believed to have been at the heart of the breach.

 

Ralph Bach has been in IT for fifteen years and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow me at Facebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

 

 

Useful Guide To Owning A Pet Dinosaur

Useful Guide To Owning A Pet Dinosaur John Conway has illustrated The Dinosaur Pet Guide, which informs the reader on “the pleasures and pitfalls of today’s common dinosaurian pets.”

Listing the pros and cons of owning various kinds of dinosaurs, this informative guides aims to help you decide the most suitable dinosaur pet for you. Taxi says the Tyrannosaurus may impress your friends, it is definitely one of the more high-maintenance dinosaurs with “certain death” as the main pitfall for keeping it as a pet according to Mr. Conway.
The Dinosaur Pet Guide1

Ralph Bach has been in IT for fifteen years and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow me at Facebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

More Fiber in the D

More Fiber in the DFibertech Networks says it plans to install more than 750 route miles of new fiber optic cable in Metro Detroit – the company’s 30th U.S. metro network – including Trenton, Canton Township, Dearborn, Southfield, Warren, Troy and Chesterfield Township.

Fibertech

“This is a major expansion for Fibertech and an important step in our development as one of the largest and fastest growing metro fiber providers in the eastern U.S.,” said John K. Purcell, chairman and CEO of Fibertech, told  BusinessWire that the move was “an economic development initiative that we believe will help foster telecom competition, and business and employment growth.”

The company’s service offering encompasses both dark fiber and optical broadband options to area businesses that have predominately used traditional carriers and lines in the past. The company’s services include point-to-point and multi-point Ethernet service in speeds ranging from 5 megabits per second to 100 gigabits per second; DWDM; dedicated Internet access; and collocation.

FibertechIn addition to Detroit, Fibertech has networks operational in Pittsburgh, Pa.; Indianapolis; Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo, Ohio ; Providence, R.I.; Hartford, Bridgeport, Stamford, Danbury, New London and New Haven, Conn.; Springfield and Worcester, Mass.; Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, Binghamton, White Plains, and Albany, N.Y.; Wilmington, Del.; Montgomery County, Md.; Trenton, Newark and Atlantic City, N.J.; and Philadelphia.

Fiber“This new network expansion is a natural 2013 extension of our market footprint given our growing presence in the Midwest and, most recently, our extension into five new markets in Ohio including Toledo,” said Mr. Purcell.

Fibertech was founded in May 2000, has built metro-area fiber networks in 29 mid-size markets in the eastern United States, and is led by Court Square Capital Partners of New York City. The company owns and operates a fiber optic network of more than 9,500 route miles, which has more than 8,100 on-net locations with nearly 2,100 cell sites with its fiber-only network infrastructure.

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For the old-timers out there, remember Link-Michigan? Another failed broadband initiative from Lansing. Fiber networks are a key to economic development. If the State can’t do what is right for its citizens, then the private sector will. OMG did I just turn into a republican?

Ralph Bach has been in IT for fifteen years and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow me at Facebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.