Author Archives: Florence

CloudCode: A Code of Conduct For Cloud Computing Providers In New Zealand

CloudCode: A Code of Conduct For Cloud Computing Providers In New Zealand

Because cloud computing is a relatively new industry, it is but expected that it is unregulated. With the influx of cloud services providers and organizations which earn a lot from this industry, there is a thus a need to offer security measures. Thus in New Zealand, these cloud computing groups got together and tried to create guidelines for those entities offering cloud computing in the country.

A fundamental code of conduct for cloud computing providers was put together by the New Zealand Computer Society and named it CloudCode. The code of conduct, however, is voluntary but it’s a start to screen out those providers offering bad services. A CloudCode facilitator, Joy Cottle, said that the code of conduct is not prescriptive but proactive. It aims to be the answer to vendors and consumers needs. It can also be adopted easily by the suppliers and understood easily by the customers.

In coming with CloudCode, the proponents hopes to empower the professional cloud computing providers to demonstrate and benchmark their ethics, processes, and practices through a reputable 3rd party in order to build a trusting relationship with potential customers. This purpose is achieved by adherence to CloudCode. The code of conduct also helps consumers by letting them create informed decisions through the disclosure of practices of such cloud computing service provider thereby empowering them to gain confidence on the providers’ ability to meet their requirements.

CloudCode also demonstrates trust in the Cloud Computing Service Industry by offering a format which can be depended on by both customers and suppliers. Also, the providers of cloud service has the option to increase their compliance level by undertaking extra compliance modules which can offer a higher compliance level in areas of Jurisdictions, Data Formats, HR Procedures, Business Continuity, Service dependencies, Data Transportability, and Security. The drafting of New Zealand’s CloudCode was created by more than 150 IT individuals from all over New Zealand and other countries.

The code of conduct is based on core principles which can be applied to succeeding cloud code practices:

  • CloudCode is banking on existing work on Computing Code of Practice not only in New Zealand but in other countries as well. As much as possible, it prefers any established work rather than create a new one. It is not bent on reinventing the wheel.
  • CloudCode aims to be consistent with Global Structure and Practice so much so that it has taken steps to research any established approaches to resolve core issues in other countries so that the results are consistent with other countries’ practices.
  • CloudCode was developed based on arbitrary approach in order to establish demonstrable good decisions and practice.
  • The project teams and the New Zealand Computer Society only acted as facilitators in the development of the code of conduct in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders.
  • The resultant CloudCode is a product of consensus with the intention to obtain a broad support from a wide range of stakeholders
  • The steering committee ensured the process and principles all adhere to evidence. It didn’t, however, take any part in CloudCode’s development.
  • CloudCode doesn’t require any unnecessary compliance process or cost on those providers which desires to adhere to CloudCode. Only necessary costs and processes are required in order to maintain the integrity of the code of conduct.

The objectives of CloudCode include:

  • Improvement of cloud computing services standards.
  • Set a disclosure standard with the Cloud Computing Industry.
  • Create impartiality between customers and suppliers with regards to privacy, sovereignty, and data protection.
  • Strengthen cloud computing’s integrity in New Zealand.

CloudCode was created for cloud computing service providers which provide IT services which are remotely hosted, whether within New Zealand or from New Zealand, which meet the Cloud Computing’s definition. It doesn’t, however, provide legal obligations for any party adhering to the code of conduct. However, if a provider is found to be falsifying information then they will have to be punished under New Zealand law.

By Florence de Borja

The Prospects Of Finding Employment In The Cloud Computing Field

The Prospects Of Finding Employment In The Cloud Computing Field

Employers, who are looking for new hires, are searching for people with basic foundations in technology. Aside from that, they also want that applicant to possess people and business skills. Thus, if you’re somebody who’s trying to find work, you must ensure that you have these skills. The modern office environment is being invaded by mobile and cloud technologies. Therefore, job hunters must be familiar with such technologies to increase their chances of being hired.

A cloud expert is one who is familiar with Platform-as-a-service because it is utilized to develop applications running in the cloud environment. Since more and more companies are expected to move to the clouds, it doesn’t hurt if an applicant knows PaaS because such knowledge and experience are important to these organizations. If you’re an employee seeking work in an administrative capacity in a cloud technology provider, your knowledge of Puppet will definitely increase your chances of being hired. Puppet is an application which aids organizations in getting administrative work done over a centralized environment.

On the other hand, if you’re searching work as an applications developer, it pays if you have knowledge in mobile applications such as iOS and Android mobile platforms. Knowledge of HTML5 is also being required because it is now considered as a mobile device industry standard. You can search for training courses online for such new technologies so you can add those new skills in your resume.

In the long run, you must have a basic foundation in technology so that you can easily adapt to new technologies because eventually these new technologies existing today will be old technologies in the near future. It pays to know real basic technical stuff like how the network switch or processor works, as well as how an application works. Knowledge of the physical infrastructures currently being implemented in data centers is also a great plus. A working knowledge of the basics will surely differentiate you from the other applicants.

Aside from technical skills, you must possess excellent people and business skills. Although imbibing these skills can take a long time, people who work team players are always welcome in any organization. The skills are your passport to your new job because employers will be confident that you will try to resolve every customer with their problems and that you can clearly communicate the IT protocols to your new company because you will be working with other employees with various levels of IT competencies.

The demand for people with cloud computing knowledge will steadily grow as more and more business organizations are trooping to the clouds. Because of this potential demand, there are institutions which have started offering cloud computing certifications in order to boost the chances of job applicants. Some of these organizations are even offering cloud computing training for free.

Cloud computing skills are being demanded by many business organizations but not much of these applicants are equipped with such skills. In the United States of America, Canada, and some countries in Europe, many businesses are posting job advertisements. There are crucial positions being offered by these companies for people who have the IT, business, and people skills. However, these open positions aren’t currently being filled because a lot of people don’t have the requirement skills. Thus, it pays for an individual to exert all efforts to upgrade his skills so that the new job openings will eventually be filled.

By Florence de Borja

How To Implement Cloud Computing Security

How To Implement Cloud Computing Security

You may not realize it but your company may have adopted cloud computing. Your company may have subscribed to other miscellaneous services like the ones being offered by Salesforce.com or you may be using a hosted email. Your organization may even be implementing an internal private cloud. With all the uncertainties and fears of using the cloud, one must accept the fact that cloud computing will be here for a long time.

It is but expected that everyone will have security as their number one fear when a new technology is introduced to the market especially when media tends to play up the security inconsistencies of cloud computing. But when you really look deeper into the problem, you’ll realize that these security breaches happen because the organization allows them to happen. Cyber criminals often look at cloud computing loopholes and attach those which have loose controls in place.

When an organization decides to move to the clouds, it must first determine its foundational controls which form the backbone of the company’s security principles. Plans must be laid out in order to secure the company’s assets so that when the company subscribes to cloud computing, all the needed security controls must already be in place.

Also, the company will have to be workload-focused instead of cloud-focused. When moving to the clouds, the organization must take into consideration each workload so that it will be able to enforce a security program which is focused on the workload with a possibility to implement non-traditional security measures.

More often than not, a company decides to move to the clouds because higher management has decided it. Because not all parties are included in the decision process, some security measures may not have been considered. When this happens, the organization may face usability and integration challenges. Concerned departments must be included in the decision making so that people working with the affected departments will know what to expect when cloud computing is finally implemented.

A plan must be enforced to mitigate the risks. It must have a documented plan so that employees will be able to quickly resolve cloud computing issues when they arise. Training, education, as well as documentation and management of risks must be included in the risk mitigation plan.

A major advantage of cloud computing is that it is capable of virtualization and because of this advantage an organization must have a management process for its storage image implemented. This will guarantee that the required images are made available when needed. The images must also be appropriately managed and identified so that image sprawl will be avoided.

Before a company migrates to the clouds, it must first check the cloud computing provider’s infrastructure and applications for any security hazards so that controls can be set in place in order to ensure that the transfer to the clouds are secure. The company must also take note of ethical hacking so that they can use it to check their own cloud applications for the usual security vulnerabilities.

There are also security services available in the market which can help the company obtain the best security without the traditional overhead expense. These services include security event log management, identity and access management, and intrusion prevention which transfer the strain of implementing them from the organization to the security services provider.

A resiliency program must also be considered when adopting cloud computing because cloud technologies are not perfect. Critical workloads must be restored quickly in case of attack or catastrophe. Restoration must be done quickly and responsibly so that there is less impact on the business process.

Monitoring is also important when the organization moves to the clouds. If the company fails to oversee the implementations in cloud computing, there is a great possibility that there will be security, satisfaction, and performance issues. A monitoring program must be actively implemented so that security threats are properly identified.

By diligently ensuring security measures are in place, the company can be a step in allaying fears of security breaches. Security plans must be reviewed regularly because new threats may be just lurking around the corner and as such the company must be prepared to deal with them.

Florence de Borja

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“Choosing a Cloud Provider with Confidence”

Cloud computing is rapidly transforming the IT landscape and the conversation around adopting cloud technology has progressed from “if” to “when”… Free Download Report 

Steps Accounting Firms Can Take To Move To Cloud Computing

Steps Accounting Firms Can Take To Move To Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is changing how accountants do their business. It is a rather simple and uncomplicated model of how technology continues to find solutions in improving business functions. Cloud computing providers have already provided a lot of services to cater to the needs of accounting firms and accountants. Most of these services deal with internal accounting firm applications and solutions where accountants can work with their clients.

When an accounting firm decides to take advantage of cloud computing, it is highly significant to consider the internet connectivity because the internet plays a vital role in cloud computing systems. Once you avail of cloud computing, you also have to move to a higher bandwidth internet subscription. As much as possible, you have to buy the internet service offering the best bandwidth availability you can afford. As your accounting firm grows, your bandwidth needs will also grow. Also, you may have to inform your internet service provider about the significant rise in bandwidth usage during the usual accounting busy season.

You don’t need to be locked with bandwidth contracts for a long time because technology is continuously evolving which drives internet service providers to offer more services at a lower price. You may also consider blocking some media sites which stream huge amounts of information to end users. Instead of blocking these sites, some companies initiate internet acceptable use policies which determine acceptable and unacceptable utilization of your company’s bandwidth. However, for better management of bandwidth, you can implement both. You can have an internet acceptable use policy and, at the same time, block sites which stream a lot of data.

When an accounting firm first migrates to the cloud, it is expected that it has no knowledge about which applications to migrate first. Although a lot of accounting applications can be migrated to the clouds, the best and easiest application to migrate is the applications for tax preparations. Tax applications on the clouds offer accountants flexibility because tax returns can be generated anywhere and anytime. This move will greatly benefit those accounting firms who want to improve their employees’ work-life balance. This also benefits the younger generation of employees who desire to work differently than the previous generations ahead of them. More importantly, updates to the tax software become the responsibility of the cloud computing provider.

The next phase of migration must move document or content management of the accounting firm. Document management becomes a breeze with cloud computing. An accounting firm employee will just need keywords or phrases to be able to search voluminous data hosted in the clouds. Recovery of information is faster with cloud computing than physically going through file cabinets for the needed information. Data is also protected and secured from unauthorized access by other employees.

Aside from tax and content, the accounting firm can then migrate other practice areas like CPE and Education Tracking; Employee Evaluation; Electronic Workflow; and Practice Management. Aside from migrating applications specific to the accounting profession, the accounting firm can also move other solutions common with other industries like e-mail. Applications used to collaborate with clients can also be migrated to the clouds. There are applications available which lets an accounting firm bill a client and provides a way for that client to pay online. Most of these applications can even be integrated to the current accounting system being used by the accounting firm.

Moving your applications and data to the clouds may not necessarily decrease overall spending. Although the clouds provide reduced spending on on-premise infrastructure, an accounting firm may need to spend more money on internet service, space allocation subscriptions, and storage. In essence, cloud computing does offer a lot of benefits to accounting firms. However, extreme caution must be exercised in choosing the right cloud computing vendor in order enjoy all benefits the clouds can offer.

Florence de Borja

Why You Should Consider Hybrid Cloud Computing For Your Business

Why You Should Consider Hybrid Cloud Computing For Your Business

Hybrid cloud computing was introduced in 2008 and it wasn’t accepted with open arms. With public and private clouds in place, cloud computing believers felt they already have enough. But then, as time goes on, hybrid clouds are inching their way to the forefront to be recognized. They are now being regarded as important and valid for businesses. The challenge now for hybrid cloud computing is to get past the initial resistance of cloud computing providers who are now promoting extensively the use of public clouds. Needless to say, these cloud providers are barring the cloud computing improvement and progress. In fact, most small and medium scale businesses have doubts about public clouds.

Hybrid clouds can enable enterprises to tap public clouds for some IT infrastructure while the rest of the IT infrastructure can be left on site. In some instances, it is still best to keep the enterprise data on site while the processing and applications stay in public clouds. Hybrid clouds provide value to businesses because it provides an opportunity to combine various resources, which can be provided on demand and highly scalable, with local infrastructure. Enterprises can opt to locate their data and applications on the best platforms then distribute processing among the resources. Not everything must be located in public clouds due to security restrictions, performance requirements, and compliance issues. The hybrid model, so far, is the best option for enterprises.

Cloud computing provides scalability and server virtualization but there are some instances where it is not possible to adapt. Virtualization, on the other hand, draws the line for network security boundaries for deployments and business service. It is able to define which can elements can be moved or placed. Basically, it can offer network security layer. It can also offer an abstraction of the application tier over boundaries of cloud deployment. Because virtual private cloud technologies and cloud computing are evolving, enterprises can now match the infrastructure to the application needs inexpensively and efficiently.

When entities build a hybrid cloud strategy, they have to consider management, deployment, and automation for optimal results to their business services. Anybody wishing to implement hybrid clouds must have thorough knowledge of each deployment schemes like hosted, internal, and public clouds so that these schemes can be linked efficiently and effectively through traditional deployments in a virtual private cloud. Deployment expenses can be streamlined by creating a strategy which can best optimize the entity’s business services. IT service delivery must be provisioned quickly at very minimal costs.

There are enterprise architects who can be tapped to be able to obtain the best deployment model for the business. The enterprise architect will be able to suggest the kinds of deployments needed, and the parts of applications that can be deployed in different resources along with the corresponding data sets. Data protection must also be of utmost consideration. The enterprise can tap the services of risk management and security experts for better judgment regarding deployment of applications. A policy must be created for every application development experts so that they can be guided regarding the utilization of cloud resources. Current hosting providers of the company can also be consulted regarding their future plans on cloud computing so that you can plan accordingly. Some of these providers are already offering cloud services. When planning a cloud computing strategy, it is best to understand what these hosting providers are currently offering or planning to offer, what configurability degree can be provisioned by them, and what virtual private cloud services they can provide between their clouds and the enterprise’s data center.

A hybrid cloud strategy may be the smartest move any enterprise can make because it is able to mix and match various elements of hosted, internal, and public cloud computing.

Florence de Borja

Why You Have To Take Advantage Of Cloud Email

Why You Have To Take Advantage Of Cloud Email

In general, when an entity has its own server, it is but expected that it will also have its own email system. With the popularity of web based services, instead of having the domain name as the suffix of the email address, the service name becomes the suffix. Thus, yourname@yahoo.com or yourname@gmail.com has become popular. A lot of cloud email service suppliers can now provide domain name as your suffix in the email address. Therefore, when you take advantage of such service, your email recipients will see yourname@domain-name.com as your email address even though the email came not from your server but from the server of the cloud email service.

When you host your emails in your own server, you can choose the features you want. Any private data you have will be kept in your own server. You can utilize open source and free software for better transparency. Migration to a new system is also easier. However, when you subscribe to cloud email service, you don’t need to maintain or upgrade the software and neither will you worry about spam emails. When you buy from good email service providers, you can enjoy speed and functionality which you may not enjoy when you host your email to your own server. Also, you can easily change your setup or rebrand when you have cloud email. The choice of email hosting is usually dependent on the kind of technical support you need, how large your user base is, and your budget for the service.

If you have a dedicated server, a lot of ways are available for you in accessing and storing your emails. POP3 is a method wherein your email client from your computer will communicate with the mail server. The mail server will then authenticate the request for the email client to download any recent email messages you have. In general, the administrator can set whether or not the mail server will delete the messages from the server once they have been downloaded by the email client. The IMAP, on the other hand, doesn’t delete the messages and allows you to access the emails remotely. IMAP still uses an email client but the messages are not stored on your computer because only headers are downloaded by IMAP. When you click an email from your inbox, the IMAP then retrieves that email for you to read. Because of this, you can use different computers to access your emails and in all those computers you’ll see similar messages.

Webmail, which is locally hosted, can be accessed through various control panels of web hosting providers. There are also some sites offering free download and use of their control panel. Webmail of this kind takes advantage of the same IMAP technology. However, with webmail, you can use the web browser in logging to your email. You won’t need any software to install in your computer. With webmail, you still have to manage your mail server the same you do for POP3 or IMAP.

Cloud mail, on the other hand, takes advantage of cloud computing technology. This is very much the same service Gmail is offering you. However, there are some cloud email providers who can offer you email addresses with your own domain name for branding purposes. With cloud mail, your provider will be responsible for mail server and spam management but in essence your data is owned by them because it is hosted on their servers.
Because of the popularity of cloud computing, cloud email has become one of the options of entities today. This service can be setup and used easily. You don’t have to worry about viruses and spam because your cloud email provider will take charge of them. The service is also relatively inexpensive and can be accessed with any web browser from any device. Most users are also familiar with the service because of the popularity of Yahoo and Gmail emails.

Common disadvantages of cloud email include security and privacy. Since the email service is provided by a 3rd-party provider, you are dependent on them. Before obtaining cloud email service, you have to ensure that your data are kept secure and private by your provider. Otherwise, you’ll be facing various problems for your organization. Because the email service is owned and operated by your service provider, you just have to accept whatever applications they provide you. They can also change the applications any time they want.

Another disadvantage of cloud email is that you may have a problem if you want to terminate the email service with your current provider. Thus, before signing up with a cloud email supplier, you have to ensure that you can have your data in a format which is easily accessed by your new email provider so that you can still access your old email even if you have a new supplier. Costs can be both an advantage and disadvantage. Just as previously mentioned, subscription fee is relatively cheap. However, you have to pay the subscription continuously to avail of the email service. As long as the business or organization is still in existence, you have to pay subscription fee for you email service.

Florence G. de Borja

Fundamental Elements Of Cloud Computing Security

Fundamental Elements Of Cloud Computing Security

Cloud security or cloud computing security evolved from information security and includes a wide set of controls, technologies, and policies used to protect the associated infrastructure, applications, and data of cloud computing. It is not related to the cloud-based security software services or commonly referred to as security-as-a-service.

Security issues related to cloud computing can either be security issues experienced by end users or security issues experienced by cloud suppliers. In general, cloud providers must make sure that what they’re offering is secure and their customers’ applications and data are also protected. The client, on the other hand, must ensure that the cloud supplier has the appropriate security implemented in order to protect his data and applications. Because of virtualization, customers of public clouds have growing concerns regarding the clouds security primarily because virtualization has changed the relationship between the hardware and the operating system. Additional concern about the virtualization software, with a tendency to be compromised, makes users wary about the capability of cloud computing to be secured.

In general, cloud computing security fall into three general categories: Contractual or Legal Issues, Compliance, and Privacy and Security. For the contractual and legal issues, end users and cloud vendors have to negotiate about liability, end-of-service, and intellectual property. They must agree about the degree of liability of each party when data has been compromised or lost. They must also agree on how the applications and data can be returned to the client when the contract isn’t renewed. Cloud providers must also take into consideration how the records are kept because there certain statutes which require electronic records to be kept in a certain way. Public institutions which are utilizing the cloud and storage must consider the laws regarding record keeping.

With regards to data and storage to the cloud, there are various rules and regulations which must be adhered to such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. Cloud computing vendors must be able to provide their users to adhere to such rules and regulations easily. There must also be data recovery and business continuity plans so that service can be maintained in case of emergency and/or disaster. Whatever data is lost must have an assurance that it can be recovered. The clients must be able to review such plans so that they’ll have an assurance that their information is safe with the cloud providers. Cloud computing providers must be able to provide audit trails and logs and such items must be maintained, secured properly, and accessible in case a forensic investigation takes place. The cloud data centers must be maintain in such as a way that they adhere to compliance requirements.

In terms of privacy and security, every user must have his identity management system in order to access computing and information resources. The cloud providers must be able to provide such system to their users. Aside from securing access of data through the internet, the cloud providers must be able to assure their users that the physical servers are all secured and that access to such servers and even user data are all documented. They must also ensure that users can easily access their applications and data when and where they need them. In the production environment, cloud suppliers must be able to secure applications by implementing procedures not only for packaged or outsourced application but also an application security must be implemented.

Lastly, cloud vendors must be able to secure every critical data like credit card numbers by masking and restricting access to such data. Credentials and digital identities must be secured just like any data which cloud providers produce or collect from their users cloud activities.

By Florence G. de Borja

Why Cloud Computing Is Better Than Grid Computing

Why Cloud Computing Is Better Than Grid Computing

Several web developers, especially the new ones, have continuously misunderstand grid computing and cloud computing as one and the same. Both concepts, when compared to other solutions, are relatively new concepts in computing. Grid computing is a component of cloud computing to work perfectly, along with thin clients and utility computing. It serves as a link among different computers so that they form a large infrastructure thereby permitting sharing of resources. Utility computing, on the other hand, allows a user to pay for what he actually used. Cloud computing allows for on-demand resource provisioning and takes out over-provisioning when paired with utility computing so that the demands of a multitude of users are met.

Cloud computing allows companies to scale instantaneously. These corporations do not need to buy infrastructure, software licenses, or train personnel. Cloud computing is of primary importance to small and medium sized enterprises because they can outsource the computing requirements to data centers. In some instances, large companies can also benefit from cloud computing when they desire peak load capacity without spending on enlarging their internal data centers. Cloud computing allows its users to access their data and applications through the internet. The users are also charged for what they actually use.

With cloud computing, users have the option to choose whatever device they want to access their data and applications. Aside from the personal computers, they can now use PDAs, smart phones, and other devices. They don’t own any platform, software, and infrastructure. They also have to pay less upfront costs, operating expenses, and even capital expenses. With cloud computing, users need not know about network and server maintenance. They can access different servers around the world without necessarily knowing where the servers are located.

Grid computing, on the other hand, is a backbone of cloud computing. It allows provision of on-demand resource. Actually, grid computing can also be implemented outside of the cloud environment. For system integrators and administrators, they are particularly interested in grid computing while users need not know about grid computing as long as they are assured their interfaces work when they need them. Grid computing is possible through software which can control all the computers connected to a grid.

With grid computing, tasks are divided into smaller ones and are sent to different servers connected to a main machine. Once a particular server is done with its computing task, the results are sent to the main machine. As soon as all the other computing tasks are received by the main server, the result is then provided to the user. Through grid computing, there is effective use of all processing power of connected servers. Processing time is also greatly reduced when the tasks are divided and assigned to various servers.

Both grid computing and cloud computing are scalable due to application load balancing. Network bandwidth and CPU can be apportioned and un-apportioned. Depending on how large the customer base is, and the amount of data transfer and instances, storage capacity can move. Both concepts can handle multitasking and multi-tenancy. They both guarantee uptime to as much as 99%.

Cloud computing and grid computing differ in the method they use in computing. For grid computing, a huge task is divided into smaller tasks and distributed to various servers. When the tasks are completed, the results are sent back to the main machine which will then provide a single output. Cloud computing offers various services to users which grid computing can’t offer like web hosting.

Cloud computing is also environment friendly as it reduces the need for more hardware components to run applications. Because of less servers needed, energy use is also reduced. Cloud computing also offers telecommuting opportunities which reduce requirement of office space, disposal of old furniture, provisioning of new furniture, and cleaning and disposal of office trash. Less carbon dioxide is also emitted because employees need not drive to work daily.

By Florence G. de Borja

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Beacons Flopped, But They’re About to Flourish in the Future

Beacons Flopped, But They’re About to Flourish in the Future

Cloud Beacons Flying High When Apple debuted cloud beacons in 2013, analysts predicted 250 million devices capable of serving as iBeacons would be found in the wild within weeks. A few months later, estimates put the figure at just 64,000, with 15 percent confined to Apple stores. Beacons didn’t proliferate as expected, but a few…

Technology Influencer in Chief: 5 Steps to Success for Today’s CMOs

Technology Influencer in Chief: 5 Steps to Success for Today’s CMOs

Success for Today’s CMOs Being a CMO is an exhilarating experience – it’s a lot like running a triathlon and then following it with a base jump. Not only do you play an active role in building a company and brand, but the decisions you make have direct impact on the company’s business outcomes for…