Monthly Archives: March 2014

Winter’s officially over

What’s going to happen to natural gas prices next winter? What are the indicators of a rising v. declining market?

Do you watch the natural gas inventories? Or the long-range weather forecasts?

A tried-and-true measure, now back in vogue, is the weekly rig count. But how do you figure in the wells already drilled but not yet in production?

“Rig Counts Offer New Clues on Gas,” Wall Street Journal, March 31, 2014 C6

How do you use all this (and other) information to make your decisions? How do others use it?

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Filed under Collect, Data quality, Information, Management, Use, Value

What if your trusted control is “bent”?

What does it say about your compliance culture when your person (or in this case, people) you rely on to prevent decal cations are themselves “bent”? And the people reporting to them follow instructions they know are at best questionable?

“Guilty Pleas of Dewey Staff Detail the Alleged Fraud,” Wall Street Journal, March 29-30, 2014 B3

The people knew it was wrong and did it anyway. At a law firm!

How can your company do better, on the big stuff as well as the small stuff?

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Filed under Compliance, Culture, Internal controls, Risk

Twice burned?

Navy 0, opponents 2.

The shooter at Norfolk had a TSA badge. As did the shooter at the Navy Yard in DC in September. They also both had problems that might have suggested that they were potential security risks. Mr. Savage, the shooter in Norfolk, had convictions for manslaughter and drugs. The shooter at the Navy Yard had other issues.

Is there something wrong with the controls designed to prevent bad folks from getting TWIC IDs (that allow them access to “secure” facilities)? What’s the backup when the primary control fails?

“Navy Killing Stokes Concerns,” Wall Street Journal, March 29-30, 2014 A5

Is this information controls, or some thing else? What else would you do?

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Filed under Definition, Internal controls, Privacy, Risk, Value

How many pecks?

How much information can you process, and how quickly? With the dramatically increasing volumes and multiplicity of sources, processing speed at the GUI (i.e., the user) is becoming a huge issue.

So today’s blurb touches processing speed. Not sure how to classify it.

“How Fast Can You Read This?,” Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2014 D1.

Apps to help you increase your reading speed without losing comprehension.

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Filed under Collect, Knowledge Management, Use

Information in use

Flight 370. The search for information continues. People scouring satellite feeds. Airplanes looking for debris. Everyone hoping to find the black boxes before the pinger stops. Under the watchful eyes of the media, reporting mostly nothing.

“Search Teams Grapple With Churning Seas,” Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2014 A10

How heavily do we rely on information to run our business? How do we prepare for when it isn’t available? In a crisis, how reliable are the early reports? Is one media outlet more reliable than another? Is one government source better or more believable than another? Why ?

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Filed under Business Continuity, Collect, Data quality, Risk, Use, Value

Not all information is equal

Is more information always good?

A proposed statistic to follow, perhaps. Slicing the onion even thinner. Comparing the performance of professional golfers based on how many shots they take to get from the tee to the green. This is in addition to comparing then based on how many putts they take.

“A New Statistic Goes For a Test Drive,” Wall Street Journal, March 22-23, 2014.

Does this statistic add value? Knowing who used a six-iron and who used a seven-iron is information, that can be collected and tabulated. But so what?

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Filed under Information, Use, Value

Policy not the last word

You believe someone is disclosing your proprietary information to a third party, using your email system. In the US, most companies reserve the right to monitor company email for these and other reasons.

Apparently, it gets trickier if your email system is also used by third parties.

Microsoft made address available for free, subject to terms of use that allowed Microsoft to look at a Hotmail user’s account “to protect [Microsoft’s] property.” Microsoft looked at one user’s Hotmail account and identified the leaker and the leakee. But other users went ballistic.

So Microsoft changed its policy. Slightly. Not sure what Google does.

“Microsoft to Change Policy on User Data,” Wall Street Journal, March 21, 2014 B5

Important reminder that your policy is not necessarily the last word.

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Filed under Business Case, Controls, Governance, Information, Ownership, Policy, Protect, Protect assets, Risk, Security

What risks do you face?

Does a labor union fund one of your critics? Could this affect your implementation of strategy?

“Walgreen Faces Inquiry on Patient Privacy,” Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2014 B3

You want to encourage pharmacists to be more customer-friendly. Now, the issue is whether your method of filling prescriptions compromises the privacy of your customers. Do you leave data exposed? Are prescription medicines left unattended? Those are hazards you have identified in advance and have controls in place.

But what if a consumer advocacy group, funded by labor unions who have an axe to grind with you, puts your practices under a microscope and reports back to the regulators?

Well, you should protect the privacy of your customers. And the fact that a critic points out when you don’t shouldn’t be a cause for complaint. But was it a risk you foresaw?

And why would the Journal point out who funds the consumer advocacy group?

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Filed under Compliance, Controls, Internal controls, Privacy, Protect, Requirements, Risk, Use

Two repeats

Both these have been topics of discussion in this blog before.

Value of information is based on its timeliness, accuracy, and availability. But can it be too timely?

Are special deals between high-volume traders and exchanges fair to all? Robinson Patman Act applied to information?

“Speedy Traders Face U.S. Scrutiny,” Wall Street Journal, March 19, 2014 A1

If you were in charge, would you watch what people with security clearances were up to? Listen to reports of goofy behaviors?

“Probe: Navy Yard Killings Preventable,” Wall Street Journal, March 19, 2014 A8

Security clearances should be fire-and-forget. Not.

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Filed under Business Case, Controls, Duty of Care, Governance, Interconnections, Internal controls, IT, Management, Protect, Risk, Security, Third parties

This is a timed test

Apparently, mining your Facebook posts or monitoring how long you take to fill out the loan application doesn’t necessarily result in reduced interest rates. Even if legal.

Startups try to leverage new information sources to compete for alternative to payday loans (which charge ~400% interest).

“‘Big Data’ Doesn’t Yield Better Loans,” Wall Street Journal, March 18, 2014

I guess 200% is “better.” Is default rate lower? Those who know aren’t talking.

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Filed under Business Case, Controls, Information, Legal, Management, Ownership, Privacy, Requirements, Risk, Use, Value