Author: eliinformationscienceblog

Key Data Visualization Principles

Data Visualization is a very important concept for individuals and businesses alike. Learning the proper techniques and principles can allow your audience to not only understand the point you are trying the make, but also allowing them to more easily reach conclusions of their own and apply what they have learned.

The reason data is often presented to an audience in the form of visuals such as charts, tables and graphs is because it make it much easier for the audience to understand and digest the data. For this reason, a good visual will simplify the data as much as possible for the audience without taking out any key pieces of information.

Additionally, visuals are often used to compare data such as sales figures from one period to the next. Accordingly, the data should be displayed in a way as to draw the attention of the audience to where that difference in data lies. Often a chart such as a bar chart, clearly attends to these differences making easily understandable.

Furthermore, good data visuals will allow the audience to draw their own conclusions while looking at the data in a way that they have not before, allowing them to learn something new from the data presented. Therefore the presentation is vital as to not make the audience strain to understand the data, but rather allow them to focus on the conclusions and implications of what information the data is relaying.

There are specific techniques for attending to certain attention biases in the brain that allow a visual to focus the audience’s attention to the main take-aways of the visual. Using color to pop out the most important parts of the visual, while fading the secondary details into the background with a lighter shade is a common and very effective visualization practice.

However if the goal of presenting your visual to the audience is to present them with your take- away from the data, and what you hope for them to see from it, then you should start by summarizing the data and presenting the conclusion that you hope the audience to reach in the very beginning, so that the message sticks with the audience.

http://www.tableau.com/blog/stephen-few-data-visualization

http://www.information-management.com/news/news/Eight-Principles-of-Data-Visualization-10023032-1.html

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Pareto Analysis and Little’s Law

Pareto analysis basically describes the fact that 20 % of the causes of something account for 80% of the problems, so by addressing those select 20%, most of the problems can be fixed. Pareto analysis helps determine which select portion of the causes should be addressed and where energy and resources should be focused and allocated. Vilfredo Pareto was the man credited with the 80/20 rule. Vilfredo Pareto created this rule to help explain the fact that in Italy, 20% of the population owned 80% of the land, which created a major wealth disparity at the time. This rule is not a definitive law, however it does accurately address a general trend in society.

To apply this principle to a business or certain operations for a business owner, first the business owner must first identify all of the problems facing the company. Then, the cause of each problem should be evaluated to determine how to address each problem and find the corresponding solution. Each problem should then be further evaluated in terms of how pressing importance. The more important the problem or issue for the daily operations of the company, the higher it should be ranked and prioritized. Then all of the problems should be put into groups according to the root cause of each problem in order to fairly evaluate which groups of problems need to be addressed first. After grouping and rating the issues of the company, the efforts and resources of the company should be allocated to fixing the problems that correspond to the group with the highest overall score in terms of importance to address. Thus fixing and addressing the 20% of the causes of the problems will address and fix 80% of the companies problems. Paretto’s law can be very effective for a company looking to improve its overall efficiency and correct deficiencies or pressing issues, with the knowing of where to allocate it energy and resources.

Little’s law similarly applies to systems and processes by examining the relationship between the work in progress, the throughput rate and the flow time. This relationship and formula applies to almost all processes. Little’s law also can help determine which part of a certain process is a bottle neck in the process and help determine areas of inefficiency and necessary areas of focus.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_analysis

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTED_01.htm

Machine Learning

Since the advent of the twenty first century, computer have been becoming more and more intelligent and sophisticated. Machine learning basically means that machine can learn and perform tasks and operations that were not specifically programmed into them. Machine learning is now becoming more in more prevalent in our everyday lives. Self- driving cars are definitely an example of machine learning since the car must use past data to make decisions on its own and apply what it already knows to new situations. Another example of machine learning is the way Amazon recommends similar products to the ones the customers has bought in the past: past knowledge and data is being applied to future customers’ shopping preferences to recommend to them similar products. Machine learning is definitely prevalent in detecting fraud, by using past data of which transactions for example were fraudulent, future fraudulent transactions  can be predicted and stopped.

There are several types of machine learning processes. The two most popular of widely used of these methods are supervised and unsupervised learning. Supervised learning is when a machine is given sample inputs usually past on prior or historical events, and told what the outputs should be. The machine or system, adjusts its algorithm so that it correctly fits all of the past data. Then, it can apply this algorithm to future data to help make related decisions based on similar kinds of inputs. Unsupervised learning is when a machine is given no historical or past events to base it algorithm off of. It must make sense of the data on its own and come up with a pattern and some form of recognition and apply it to future events. Since the machine is developing an pattern while it is receiving data, it can compare the patterns it has established to future inputs and determine if any data points are outliers or anomalies- more formerly called anomaly detection.

Machine learning is becoming more and more important in today’s world with the vastly expanding capabilities of technology. Technology giants like Google, Amazon, Instagram, and Facebook are leveraging machine learning techniques to revolutionize the end user experience.

http://www.sas.com/en_us/insights/analytics/machine-learning.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anomaly_detection

 

Important Information Security Regulations

There are many different information security regulations that are important for companies to know about. However,  a given company should know and understand which of these major regulations apply to them and how to ensure that they correctly comply with them. There are sometimes severe consequences for not following major information security regulations ranging from a heavy fine to more severe penalties. Since certain companies can have several regulatory measures apply to them at once, companies should know how to properly address them in order to avoid overspending on these compliance efforts and potentially having duplicate efforts to meet these requirements.

The first of these important regulatory measures is HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability act) which basically was enacted to protect important healthcare information and privacy of specific patients. This Affects medical and insurance companies the most.

The Sarbanes Oxley Act is another very important act. This act protects individual investors and is as well as preventative measure to prevent accounting fraud occurring at certain companies but enforcing that financial records to kept for seven years.

The Federal Information Security Management Act basically outlines that all federal Agencies and bodies that are a part of the government must have a very secure way of ensuring that highly classified and important information cannot be accessed by any outside entity or individual. This requires that all federal agencies maintain very secure information systems as the welfare of the country and the state of out national security depends on it.

Next, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act was enacted to protect the individual financial information that is maintained by Financial companies and institutions. The companies that are most affected by this law are financial institutions. banks, or any company that deals with customer’s money or financial information.

Most companies have to follow these and other major regulations and information security laws since now only do the companies’ well being depends on their compliance with theses laws, but also the customers who entrust these companies with their private and important information need the confirmation that their information is secure. The loss of private client information can lead to lawsuits against theses companies and severe consequences for the clients.

 

http://www.csoonline.com/article/2126072/compliance/the-security-laws–regulations-and-guidelines-directory.html

http://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/sarbanesoxleyact.asp

http://jurinnov.com/information-security-compliance-which-regulations/

Fiber Optic, Copper Cables, and Wireless Connection

For modern day companies, the speed of their internet connection or their bandwidth, is a very crucial factor in determining the productivity of that business. A lot of companies have been using the same type of connection, and are not up to speed with the rate rate of technological change. It is vital for a business’s growth and productivity to have the right connection strategy to support all of the daily operations at the company.

First off, Copper cable connection is generally used for fairly short distances, and additionally do not offer a very fast rate of connection, or bandwidth. Another potential problem with copper cables is that they do conduct electricity making them more prone to catching fire.

Fiber optic cables on the other hand do not only offer faster bandwidth, but can also span over longer distances than copper cables can. Additionally, fiber optic cables are generally more reliable than copper cables and result in fewer connections being dropped over a short distance. Fiber optic cables also generally last longer and are more durable, so they do not to be replaced nearly as often as copper cables.

Wireless connection on the other hand does not require the installation, removal or maintenance of any cables or wiring, thus making it a simpler solution for some. Wireless connection for businesses that require that minute difference in speed, will provide that essential difference over fiber optic. The dishes and the receiver dishes need to be positioned in the right place so that connection is not blocked by any building or obstacles. Since fiber optic cables are usually wired underground, or at ground level, the connection speed over longer distances will be a bit slower than wireless given the intricate path the information has to travel. Wireless connection with the right positioning can allow the information to simply travel in a straight line from point a to point b, making it the go to choice for businesses that require the fastest possible connection speeds. Both Wireless and Fiber optic connections are definitely a great bandwidth solution for most businesses,  thus integrating both solutions can provide the benefits of both solutions. Companies need to definitely keep up with the rate of technological change and pick the right solution for them to keep their business up to speed with the rest of the world.

 

https://smallbiztrends.com/2015/08/fiber-optic-copper-wireless-internet-transmission-methods.html

http://www.stephouse.net/2015/07/compare-fiber-vs-wireless-services/

Encryption

Data and information security is now more important than ever. Data encryption is a widely prevalent tool for protecting information from the time it is sent to the point that it is received. Only the person or computer with the decryption key can see that message as it was written, making it very difficult to break or intercept.

There are two different types of commonly used encryption methods. One of them is symmetric encryption. Symmetric encryption basically has to know between which two computers the message is being  relayed to, and thereby sending both the sending and receiving party the key to decoding the message. Public key encryption is also known as asymmetric key encryption. Here, the private key is known by your computer, or the sending computer, while the public key is given out to the computer that it is in correspondence with. In order for the receiving computer to decrypt the incoming message,  it must use both the public key that it received as well as the private key from the sending party. Both keys are needed, thus making it still very secure regardless if an outside party has access to the public key. The two keys together are based on prime number, and since there are an infinite number of prime number, the system is very secure. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a popular implementation of asymmetric encryption. To know if you are using a secure protocol, then in your browser at the top write where the url is, http might be replaced by http, or there might to a green lock symbol to relay the fact that there is extra security measures which is typically seen will secure sights such as when accessing bank account information. A lot of systems use a combination of symmetric and asymmetric encryption since asymmetric encryption uses a lot of computing power. At the end of each session, the computer discards the symmetric key that was used in that session and generates a new one. The strength of the encryption is based on the size of the key, so the larger the key, the stronger the encryption. However large keys use up a lot of computing power.

 

http://computer.howstuffworks.com/encryption3.htm

http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/encryption

Best Ways to Protect your Computer

In the modern world, with the ever expanding capabilities of technology, it is now more important than ever to take the right cautionary measures to ensure that your information is safe and secure. Our computers can single handedly provide us with the biggest information security threats. It is paramount that one take proven safety measures to prevent hackers and other malicious behaviors from stealing your information.

The first way to protect yourself is by installing a firewall which helps block out outside unauthorized programs an intruders from entering your network and using your system.

Antivirus software is another important way to prevent malicious software and online programs from manifesting itself on your computer and possibly tampering with your data storage and information. Viruses can be very dangerous in terms of identity theft and the overall performance and speed of your computer. Therefore, installing and maintaining antivirus software is a very necessary step to protecting your information and your computer.

One of the most overlooked components of information security but probably the most vital to data protection, is the fortitude of the password. Hackers nowadays have immense hacking capabilities, therefore, weak and relatively simple passwords can allow hackers to break into your computer or other valuable information stores relatively easily. Most people these days use password that are easy to remember and passwords that they use for practically everything else, making their data and private information far from secure. Some simple protective measures to ensure that your password is secure and capable of holding up against hacking attempts are: keeping a password storing application such as Last Pass where you can record and keep all your password, thereby allowing you to maintain more complex password without the worry of forgetting them. Additionally, passwords must be over six characters long, should not be lowercase, and should contain numbers or other symbols to increase their strength. Additionally, being aware in places where there is a wifi hotspot is mightily important given how easily someone can spy on your internet activity simply by creating a dummy wifi network and naming it similar to the actual network, and intercepting the incoming traffic that connects to that network.

 

5 Simple Steps to Protect Your PC from Hackers

http://www.pcworld.com/article/237027/best_free_software_for_protecting_your_pc_and_your_privacy.html