Providing Professional Services
- [#jobsneed]: Finding what is needed
Knowing how to use computers may be useful. Although, unless skills are matched to needs, those potential skills may be largely wasted. The effective way to prevent that problem is to identify what the needs are, and then to identify skills that match those. If skills don't match needs, an approach that may be useful is to identify what the needs are likely to be in the future, and then spend time improving skills so that in the future there is a match between the skills and the needs.
- [#jobpaths]: Career paths
See the section about career paths for details about options such as the following:
IT (software, hardware), programming, sales (since selling technology can certainly benefit from in depth knowledge), data entry, and some other tasks that may be less IT-specific, such as financial accounting, inventory control, managing facilities, legal, research, and more.
Reviewing this list of different areas of expertese may be worthwhile for anybody who has skills in a small number of areas and who is considering starting a new company to provide those services. Make sure that relevant tasks are sufficiently covered.
- [#findjobs]: Identifying specific jobs available
One method may be to have heard from another person such as a now-present or previous co-worker, a friend, or another known acquantance. However, there are other ways to become aware of what may be available.
The most effective ways to locate a potential job opening may vary over time and by location. One recommended action is to identify people who have successfully obtained a job in the field, and ask how they became aware of the position.
Fun fact: Organizations and people representing employers that are seeking additional help may often be referred to as headhunters. (The reference to the implication of more literal headhunting is well understood.)
The following have become known as being useful for the technology industry.
- Websites that may often help locate technology jobs
- Classified Ads
- Craig's List
Go to the page showing Craig's List sites to find one or more localized sites.
The most promising positions will generally identify the company in the ad itself, and preferably in the location which is shown as part of the title of the advertisement. It is common for the “Reply to:” address to show an E-Mail address @craigslist.org. (So, do not hold that anonymity against the company as if that is an unusual thing. It is not unusual.) Generally, feel free to ignore that address if the organization provides a more direct contact method, such as a website to visit. (Especially, ignore that standardized/automatically-created CraigsList E-Mail address if the ad provides different instructions about how to reply.) Ads which do not provide any information about the company are very often scams, so be extremely wary of those who prey upon the poor and needy.
If you are seeking more options (probably due to not having many results), you may be able to expand the search to additional geographical areas. This might only be worthwhile if you are prone to commute (travel) or relocate (move), although, in theory, you could potentially get lucky and find some sort or remote work. To check additional spots, check the box in the left frame which says “include nearby areas”. That will show a bunch of nearby areas (e.g., 15 of them). That list may be able to be expanded by clicking on more. (e.g., by choosing “show 3 more...”, and then “show 2 more...”, and then &lduqo;show 4 more...”, that list increased to 24 nearby areas). Each of those areas are checkboxes, so you can uncheck certain areas (like areas that are across a national border). After checking all of the desired boxes, use the “update search” button.
For IT positions involving supporting, setting up, and troubleshooting servers and workstations, in the “jobs” category, search for sub-categories called:
- internet engineers
- systems / network
- technical support
- software / qa / dba
Also, in the “gigs” category, the “computer gigs” section might have relevant offerings as well. (Usually the “services” section, such as the subcategory called “computers”, is more about organizations and people offering services. They may represent computer companies, but an ad in this section generally does not represent a company advertising a desire to hire a new employee.)
Warning: Craig's List has obtained a bit of a reputation of not having a reliable E-Mail system. Advertisers who request that responses go to the E-Mail addresses @craigslist.com seem to find that mail often does not go through. Some report(s) indicated that this may be due to some violation of some common standard(s) related to Internet E-Mail. The claims came from enough reliable sources that, although not independently verified, this warning has been issued. Check into this before just counting on such E-Mail communication to work. (This advice is meant to be given to both potential advertisers, and people who may want to respond to such advertising.)
In theory, another resource may be websites of companies that have published local newspapers. However, they may commonly be less supported than some of the other options.
- “Careers 2.0” site by StackExchange
For instance, the System Administrator careers section of “Careers 2.0”.
The “Careers 2.0” site by StackOverflow may seem to be programming-related, but the ServerFault site has had a hyperlink to System Administrator careers. Career 2.0 launches describes some of the features of the site.
- Dice.com - Job Search for Technology Professionals
This company has been around for quite a while, and now even owns some other companies (such as Slashdot).
Their job search page has once (October 1, 2013) shown the stats of 3,724 tech jobs and 2,131 other jobs. That is over 63% of jobs being classified as being a “tech job”.
See: CyberCoders jobs.
- LinkedIn may not be limited to the technology profession. However, the technology field did adopt and use LinkedIn before many other professions followed the lead.
Other resources may be less specific to technical jobs.
Monster may be a more general-purpose site for job location. By “general purpose”, this simply means that it is not IT specific. The focus of this site is for locating jobs.
For IT jobs, go to Monster Advanced Job Search and choose the “Category” of “IT/Software Development”. Type in a location, and search.
If that provides too many results, head back to Monster Advanced Job Search and start limiting things, like checking one or more boxes in the “Job Type” section, and choose an “Industry” such as “Internet Services” or one of the “Industry” options that starts with the word “Computer”.
This site provides more than just job searches: Reviews by existing employees are also available. Go to GlassDoor.com and click on “Jobs”. (This may bring you to: Jobs @ Glassdoor.) There is a textbox for a keyword to search for (e.g. a visitor can type “computer” when searching for jobs related to working on computers), and the website also allows visitors to specify a location. Additionally, some levels of filtering are also available, so companies that are not top-rated (by employees) can optionally be filtered out.
Indeed has been known to have a rather large selection. Be careful what you search for. Default selections may limit things to very recent postings, like postings from within the last 7 days. If a search like that is not providing enough results, check for options to widen the criteria.
This site has been around for a while. Forbes's May 26, 2009 article about job-seeking websites listed this site as number one. That stability suggests being more promising, for those who are actually hoping to successfully find a job, than some of the newer sites which may not have attracted as many employers yet.
Forbes's May 26, 2009 article about job-seeking websites quotes Chuck Schilling as saying “Simply Hired came out of nowhere”, and took on a significant presence.
- Some others
Forbes's May 26, 2009 article about job-seeking websites (page 2) (and s subsequent pages) lists some others, like SnagAJob. As the article continues to be old, details may be outdated but perhaps some of those resources may still be useful.
Forbs: 10 best websites for careers says “We’ve included” ... “Idealist.org because it’s the best job board for non-profit jobs and volunteer opportunities”.
- Government web sites
A perfect example may be USAJobs.gov, which is a website run by the United States of America national (“federal”) government. People who do have jobs working for the government have stated that this site is essential to getting access to many jobs. Although signing up may be a tedious barrier of entry, those who succeed get opportunities that are not experienced by those who don't. Of course, some positions may provide more compensation than positions that don't pay.
Cities will typically have a “Chamber of Commerce”. This department of a local government may be aware of businesses in the area that have certain types of jobs available, as well as other potentially interesting information such as what employers in the area have large numbers of employees.
Goverments may provide some “unemployment benefits” to citizens. Trying to get something for nothing (meaning trying to get paid without providing work that is useful to society) is not the only reason why people contact this sort of government agency. Even in a location that may have such programs designed to try to positively affect the welfare of citizens, such government agencies may have information about offerings for employment. Such offerings may be less commonly useful/desirable than some of the other websites, but they may also be more likely to come from an organization that doesn't try to hide unscrupulous headhunting activities from the government.
As an example of resources varying by location, Washington State Employment Security Department refers to a resource by the state government called WorkSource. WorkSource (Advanced Job Search) may be an excellent resource (for private jobs, not just for government offerings), although such a resource is likely not going to be useful for someone wanting a job located far away from Washington State. People in other locations may want to see if their government have similar offerings.
In the USA, another resource may be the SCORE Association. (SCORE used to stand for “Service Corps of Retired Executives”, but Wikipedia's page on SCORE says they are “now recognized as SCORE”, “Counselors to America's Small Buseiness”. This has been known to be a platform where people provide resources for new businesses, such as older (retired) and successful business people providing free classes for people wanting to create new businesses. They have been financed by the USA Federal Government's Small Business Association (SBA). Even for people who are not trying to start a business, SCORE might provide some networking opportunities to meet people who might be in a specific, desired industry.
For additional options, consider checking with people who are in the business of helping other people get hired. For example, if areas where local governments supply resources to try to drive down the unemployment rate, then try to talk to somebody in such a location, even if there is no current intention to sign up for a government program. The people working there may have some feedback about what typically works, and may be a good way to identify new resources (like a new website that is doing a good job for people).
- Trade Shows
Trade shows can be excellent for a prospective employee to meet with employers. Their biggest problem is often just that they don't exist: any really good ones are often temporary and then they simply aren't active until the next time that the organizers run such an event again. This type of resource may also be less useful for those who live in more rural areas and aren't as exposed to what may be available.
If going to a trade show to try to seek a job, do prepare. Wearing a T-Shirt specific to the organization may look classy. Dressing up professionally will probably look classier.
Often, when employers recognize a need for an additional employee, they also look at how useful the employee is likely to be. See also the (upcoming) section, about how to market one's self.
- Company Types
This list is absolutely not all-inclusive.
An IT MSP may have numerous IT technicians, while possibly having one webmaster (or outsourcing the role of webmaster). In contrast, a web design company may have multiple people who work on web content, while having far fewer people who handle IT/networking (and possibly even outsourcing that role).
This section is meant to have information about different types of companies. (This is different than the prior section that discusses different types of job paths, as mentioned in the earlier section. Different types of companies may often have proportions of how much need there is to fulfill different specific roles.
- [#showself]: Marketing one's self
Looking for more money, but don't have a job? Lacking other responsibilities like school or military deployment, but not finding a method to accumulate finances so that ends may meet? Consider methods on how a person may deliver a positive presentation about that very same person.
- Setting expectations
How much requirements should be quoted? For example, if a location's general manager asks how long it will take to accomplish a certain task, how much time should be quoted?
Plan to add to the expected requirements for things like the amount of time required, and if possible/applicable, budget. The amount to add may vary considerably, from ten percent higher than what is expected, to three hundred percent of what is expected. This may sound dishonest, but on the contrary, experience may show that this is actually more honest. Honesty is a paramount virtue to always implement, even if it is a goal that seems to be unachievable without exerting great effort striving for that goal. Never compromise good morals. Amazingly, once predicted amounts of costs (in terms of time and/or budget) are determined, this section about appropriately padding those calculated numbers is all about being more honest, not less.
How can extensive padding result in things being more honest? The simple answer to this conundrum is due to two simple facts:
- IT staff members are not omniscient. They may not be able to predict every little detail with accurate precision. A key reason for this is the second reason:
- The amount of resources needed to accomplish a task, such as the amount of time required for tasks to be accomplished, can vary, even if the basic characteristics of the tasks seem identical up front.
Appropriate padding of numbers is basically just to account for anticipated variances that are fairly likely to exist. Because it should be expected that such variances may well occur, including allowances for such variables is the more straightforward and honest approach. As an excellent side benefit, having a nice buffer zone makes it less likely that problems will disrupt a schedule, and means that things typically go extra well whenever random things tend to work well for people. When things go well, this may have some positive results such as people happy to make some nice things happen, such as long term pay increases, bonuses, praises, etc. However, as nice as these things are, morality is the more important. A failure to address these things may often end up robbing the IT staff of a good experience that could have occurred, and affecting robbing the business owners as well by robbing them of a better experience that could have occurred. Expectations that are too small may rob the IT staff of self-satisfaction when things don't go well, rob the IT staff of satisfaction by others, and can rob the IT staff of credibility since people were expecting things in a low timeframe. For these very important reasons, it is essential that appropriate, reasonable expectations are set, even if discussions about such expections are difficult.
- Examples of why padding is entirely appropriate, required, and more honest
If it takes about sixty-five minutes to install an operating system, then why quote something closer to eighty-five minutes? Because there will often be little problems that were too small to foresee, such as:
- Unexpected requirement (like a driver download/upgrade)
- Less than ideal conditions (such as a remote network site going slower than expected) which may be out of the control of the internal IT department
- Unanticipated staffing issues (such as somebody being slightly sick, and so trodding through things at a slower speed than when that person is working top-notch and is multitasking well)
- Traffic issues: heavier traffic than anticipated, unfavorable randomness such as red lights, wet roads, or a police officer pulling over a vehicle (upon noticing a broken headlight or, gulp, something more substantial)
Conversation issues: If something is needed, such as access to some equipment or information, the person being talked with may provide a simple, short answer. However, the person may also decide to provide extra information or ask more questions which may be best to answer (particularly if someone bothered to bring up the questions).
In some cases, accomplishing the job in a timely manner may require intentionally trying to politely end a conversation, perhaps so the topic can be brought up again at a later time. This may be more likely to be true with common end users, volunteers, and/or guests who may not have a lot of technical or business experience and/or, for whatever reason(s), may not be very fully aware of the time requirements that are likely to exist. For example, such an end user may want to talk about a television show. Acknowledging such a topic is often recommended, simply to be polite. Engaging in such a conversation may or may not be appropriate, depending on various factors: If both people are waiting on a computer then there really might be no compelling business reason why such a conversation is inappropriate. Clearly, though, a business can benefit by having somebody ending an unproductive conversation instead of allowing such a discussion to interfere with business.
However, even with people who are well aware of things such as time constraints, such people may provide short answers to things, or they may try to provide more information that they think is useful. Such information may actually be useful and end up saving considerable time. Other times, the information may not be applicable, whether due to a mistake or because the information was only meant to apply to a certain circumstance which might have existed but didn't end up existing.
Also, in reality, many people look more impressive when they are feeling happy about how well things are going. Time pressure may help somebody to stay on track, but severe concerns about time can be a substantial distraction which is ideally avoided.
So, as shown, many little things can go wrong. They may not be major problems that triple the amount of time that something takes, but experience may show that the same task can vary by thirty percent quite frequently. Therefore, if a task probably takes an hour, quoting that extra half an hour makes it more likely that a good experience will be obtained. An excellent side benefit is that making such allowances may frequently make life easier after the completion of any possibly rough negotiations. However, this is simply a matter of budgeting things accurately.
Of course, not everything needs to be padded as much. As an example of overpadding: if a shipping carrier says something may take up to 3 weeks to ship a package across one of the massive American continents, but the company shipping the item believes it will be delivered in about 4 days, then experience may show that statistically the item will probably arrive within 4 days. (However, if the item is destroyed while shipping, even the long term estimate may be exceeded, because the item must be re-ordered, possibly from a different company.)
- How to present requests
So now, again, a review of how to present this in an ethical, honest, straightforward fashion. The key to pulling this off, while still genuinely feeling honest about what is being stated, is to provide an answer to the desired question (and being clear about what information is being provided in the answer). If the actual question being asked is “how much time is required”, the desired question is, “how much time is a reasonable time to plan for?”, so try to get away with answering that.
Business Manager: How much time do you need?
IT Staff: I would recommend scheduling eighty-five minutes to make sure that it goes smoothly.
You may notice in that example that the IT staff person did not answer the question: The amount of time which is absolutely needed suggests looking for the minimum amount of time. Unfortunately, often the questions are a bit misleading, because the questions reflect the information that the asker of the question thinks is the information desired. If time is being paid for (such as if a staff person is getting paid an hourly rate), in order to keep expenses low, the person asking the qeustion probably thinks the desired information is going to be a nice low price. However, what the person is really probably more interested in receiving is an honest, straightforward answer that provides the information needed.
If the question asked then is “what is really the bare minimum timeframe that is expected to work if everything works ideally”, then that sort of question may be answered because it needs to be answered. However, do try to get in the information that the person really needs, even if that isn't what is being asked for. For example, consider the following answer: “This may be accomplishable in sixty-five minutes if everything does go smoothly, although variances in time do indicate that this could take longer, perhaps ninety-five minutes.”
(Why did we just estimate 95 minutes now, when we estimated 85 minutes in the previous example? Because the customer appears to be the stubborn and demanding type. This means the customer may not be as cooperative, which may mean that the experience will go less smoothly for one reason or another. Also, the customer is more likely to be watching results closely and being picky about what those results are, and so having expectations that are more likely to be beaten, or to at least be closer to matching reality, will be essential to desired end results.)
Although any generalization is likely to be too general and not always applicable, here's a guideline that may help: For time, quote an additional thirty percent above. So, for example, if the expected schedule is going to be four days, try to quote six days.
In some cases, certain details are required by an organization's documentation policy. In other cases, those same sort of details might not be needed, and a preference may be to not include them.
The precise requirements regarding specfically what must be in the documentation may vary based on who is expected to be able to review the documentation. (Whether or not such a person does actually read the documentation may not matter so much as whether the person should have the ability to review the documentation.) If non-technical customers, possibly business owners or managers, are expected to be able to read the notes and understand what was done, that may impact how much some steps get abbreviated.
Specific documentation requirements may vary in different situations, such as what organization the services are meant to be pleasing.
For example, if it took a while to determine the password for a server, the person who is paying for the work to be done is not necessarily authorized to be gaining access to passwords that let the person control the machine. In that case, writing down the fact that it took some time to obtain the password may be okay, but the technician is required to be careful enough to avoid putting the password in those notes. For other notes that will only be used by fellow technicians employed by the same company, sufficiently documenting that same password may be required. Any sort of guidelines that are very specific about what the document may be too specific to work in all sorts of scenarios. (Therefore, this guide may be a bit generalized instead of being specific.)
The main things to point out are the things which would be difficult to determine without notes (such as the name of a machine that could be remotely connected to), things which may change (including IP network addresses). If time is being accounted for, it may be worthwhile to document things which did take a while to figure out.
Be familiar with shorthand, especially CIDR notation (for IPv4 addresses). Partial documentation may also be most time-efficient. For instance, notation like 192.0.2.27/24 DG=.1 may indicate that the default gateway's last octet is a 1 (and the first octets presumably match the other machines in the same subnet, including the address just documented).
- Legal matters
- Computer Forensics
This section is primarily written for those who have not had training in computer forensics, and is fairly simplistic compared to the complexity of being more involved with the legal community.
The items of primary importance are to make sure that evidence remains untainted, meaning that it remains unchanged and that the documentation is as good as possible regarding who, throughout as much of the process as possible, had access to potentially perform criminal activity such as making unauthorized changes to data.
It is important to realize that there are different roles, and people having these different roles will have different amounts of esteem. From worst (the lowest amount of esteem) to best (meaning the highest amount of professional esteem among the law enforcement and/or judicial communities), here are some categories:
- Criminals who are clearly involved with the crime would be in the least esteemed position. A step above them may be those who are known to regularly engage in criminal activity, but who are not suspected of being involved in a specific crime that may be investigated.
- Uninterested Civilians
- This would include most of the world's population. Note that people in this category may also be described by some of the later categories, such as the category of “professionals”. However, although a person may be a professional expert at fixing automobiles, that expertise may have little to no weight in a case involving home construction. Even if a person has some level of professionalism, they probably fit into this broad category of unaffected civilians if they have no involvement, nor any specific skills that are applicable to the incident.
Experts in a field that is related to the topic being investigated. As an example, a computer network engineer who knows how devices communicate with each other.
- Security officers
- Being similar to law enforcement, they will likely be perceived as having many of the same characteristics, such as being fairly neutral in the pursuit of what is right.
- Members of the legal community
- Biased participants
The two sides are the side of the prosecuting attourney and the opposide side which provides legal defense. The fact that attourneys participating in the case are fully biased may work against their favor. The fact that they are members of the legal community, however, may be a factor that makes them considered to be an important part of the legal process.
- Neutral parties
- Law enforcement
Members of law enforcement might not actually be personally unbiased. However, the legal structure may be designed under the assumption that they will act in a fair manner.
- There is a reason why attourneys will generally refer to the judge as “your honor”, or with the prefix of “the honorable”. The judge(s) generally have the position that gets treated with the most respect in a court case.
The above list may not be entirely accurate in all cases: in some cases, an attourney may be held with some higher esteem than a police officer, despite the bias. There are also additional sub-categories: an attourney may have legal assistants, and while the role of “law enforcement” would clearly match a government-paid police officer, a privately-funded security officer may or may not assist law enforcement. How that plays out in the heirarchy is something which is probably beyond the scope of what a technician to need to get involved with. So, take the above list only as very general guidelines which were understood during a college-level Computer Forensics course (which was primarily offered to IT students, not legal experts). This might not be the most authoritative advice (but might still be better than what many non-experts understand).
If you are working for a company, your position may be one of being actively engaged in an honorable professional activity. That is a position which is much more respected than some other roles that people may have, but not other roles. Performing certain actions may be viewed as unnecessary altering, and therefore tainting, evidence. Once someone with a higher position, such as a police officer, gets involved, that person is in a role which has more respect from the legal community. Asking for permission by such a person will help to make the actions be the results of decisions made by a higher position. For example, don't copy a file and tell a police detective, “I found the incriminating evidence!” Instead, telling a police officer that certain files “may” (<cough> <wink>) have some details about money leaving the company, and noting that it would sure be a shame if the only copy of such files got lost, and that you believe it would be prudent to make sure that such potential evidence be preserved so that it isn't overwritten before a copy is made. Such suggestions can be legitimate hints that are strong enough to convince a non-expert that an order should be given to have the files copied. Once such an order is made, the computer technician is no longer proactively performing the action, but is simply following orders from a person who is in a role to which the legal community generally holds in higher esteem. That does help to get the computer technician off of hook; actions taken may then be officially treated as being less biased because the person was officially just following orders from a less biased source.
Note that despite the general rule that one wishes to cooperate with the legal process, it may be wise to avoid becoming an “agent” of law enforcement. In many cases, law enforcement may be viewed as a being a bit biased towards the prosecuting side, as law enforcement collects evidence that will help the prosecuting attourney win a judgement against a criminal. Therefore, in some cases, even though there may be a desire to help law enforcement, a person's actions may be construed as being too proactive. (In such a case, that might not help the prosecution. A defense attourney may attack such proactiveness as indicating a bias towards helping the efforts that assist the prosecution. The defense might do such a thing in order to cast some doubt on how valid the evidence is.) In general, it will be desirable for a person to not be unnecessarily providing reasons to suggest bias.
As an example of how to avoid being an agent of law enforcement, do not make offers to perform actions, such as copying data, for law enforcement. It would be better to mention that such actions could be done. Even stating that in your professional opinion, the action of copying certain data may be vital to ensuring that important data is not forever lost or missed by the legal process, would be preferable to making a direct offer that could be documented by somebody (including the police officer) who hears the offer and writes down something like, “Computer technician, who was not in any specific official uniform, offered to copy data. Approved.”
In fact, this is so true, that it may be best to get above the level of law enforcement, even if law enforcement requests assistance. To do this, let the law enforcement officer know that you would like a subpeona to be issued. A respectable law enforcement officer should understand the value of a person wanting to get the order from a position higher up in the legal community. Getting a subpeona involved will restrict things even tighter, offering less flexibility in the whole process because the subpeona must be followed. However, there may be things which are more valuable than flexibility, such as a computer technician making sure that the technician is not being viewed as tampering with evidence. (Such a view could have negative repercussions for the evidence, and perhaps also for the technician.) A subpeona presumably involves a judge who is in a role that has even less reason (than the role of a police officer) to be biased towards the results of the case.
Be careful about making any non-reversable changes. Try to avoid that as much as possible. Even if changes are reversable, changes before the conclusion of an investigation are generally less desirable. If there is no compelling need to make changes (like defending against an ongoing attack), see if avoiding changes is a feasible course of action. (Even delaying the changes, until after evidence is recorded, can be helpful.)
Cisco's official guide to the CCNA Security certification examination (a book by Keith Barker and Scott Morris) suggests photographing things before making changes, including photographing equipment before it is unplugged. As a formality, such photographs might be officially considered to be worth more than a person's statement that they believe things were hooked up a certain way. The photographs can be evidence that exists even after changes are made.
Throughout the whole process, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- If the process is getting too intimidating, then it is advised to get legal help by somebody protecting your interests. This may mean getting somebody to help protect the interests of the organization you are working for, or it may even involve getting somebody to protect your personal interests.
- The process may get that intimidating very fast: at any time that things make you uncomfortable, or if there seems to be a development which is changing the situation in some significant way, if you haven't yet obtained a suitable expert who is working on your behalf, re-assess whether you may need additional legal assistance.
- Things can get quite problematic quickly. A person or organization who has control over a certain situation, such as who has possession of data or even multiple servers which are believed to potentially have the data, may quickly lose such control as someone else, such as a police detective actively investigating the case, may decide to change who has control over the situation.
- Even friends may become advesaries: a friendly police officer may receive an order such as a subpeona which says that certain actions need to be taken. In such cases, those actions may need to be taken even if that person had previously communicated something which indicates that person did not believe that action would need to be taken.
- Things may not go very quickly. A video, featuring the actor of Perry Mason, and shown to Washington State jurors for years, has explained that the legal community often moves slower than the fast pace of today's society, and does so intentionally. Article provides a timeline to “clone a suspect's hard drive, which takes several weeks to do”. (That seems funny since the act can take less than an hour, or several hours depending on the amount of data.) The article also says, “State Patrol officials say when computer crimes are involved they have to seize computer equipment first and ask questions later.”
- Reporting to legal authorities
In some cases, computer professionals may be required to report certain computer crimes. The exact laws may vary, applying only to certain crimes in certain locations. They may apply only to certain computer professionals, such as staff of Internet Service Providers. In many cases, the laws may not require that people search to discover evidence of criminal activity, but simply that crimes are reported when they come across.
Here are some examples of some laws that have been known to exist. This list is not meant to be all-inclusive, so even in the areas described below, there may be additional legal requirements beyond any summary that is provided here.
- In America, a nationwide code exists which applies to child porn discovered by IT staff who are engaged in interstate and/or foreign commerce. USC 18 Part 1 Chapter 110 Section 2258A
- In several American states, more localized laws may have similar requirements but without the same limitations of applying just to interstate and/or foreign commerce. At least some professionals may be required by law to report specific crimimal activity when discovering evidence of those crimes. National Conference of State Legislators website, web page about Child Pornography Reporting Requirements for ISP's and IT Workers describes requirements specifically about “child pornography”.
- Digital Lockers: WA state government site describes how the State of Washington takes this a step further to cover child abuse/neglect, a category which covers more than just child pornography. Some text of the law suggests this may be specifically applying to employees working for state/educational facilities.
- Canadian ISP staff may be required to report URLs, according to Bill C-58 (as reported by Suite101.com page about toughened Canadian laws.)
- ISP's in Australia, as well as ICH's (“Internet Content Hosts”), “have an obligation to report material they have reasonable grounds to believe is child pornography or child abuse material”.
- Washington State Attorney General's page: Take Action (archived by the Wayback Machine @ Archive.org) recommends filing a citizen's lawsuit. This can be done in response to “unsolicited commercial” E-Mail violating Washington's law. Additionally, the page notes, “You may want to consider encouraging your Internet Service Provider to take private action against a sender by whom you have been victimized.”
Note: The previous information simply describes some laws.
- Technical requirements
An organization may see benefit in making sure that its network and fall within the guidelines of certain requirements. These requirements may be the law of the land, or perhaps are just part of an agreement made with another organization. Such an agreement with another organization might be required to be able to use that organization's services, or may simply allow participation that provides additional benefits when certain requirements are being achieved.
- Credit Card
- [pcidss]: PCI DSS (“Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard”) (“PCI”)
(Unfortunately for computer technicians, this is often abbreviated to PCI which is the same abbreviation used for Peripheral Component Interconnect, a type of expansion card slot, and variations to the standard for PCI slots, such as the standards known as PCI-X and the newer PCI Express.)
- Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“SOX”, or “Sarbox”)
This act of law reform was named after Maryland's U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes, and Ohio's Michael G. Oxley from the U.S. House of Representatives.
(There is quite a bit of additional information available about SOX. However, not nearly as much of that information is available in this text at this time.)
- Health industry
- [#hippa]: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPPA”)
- (This topic may not yet be extensively covered. Perhaps some of the following resources may be helpful.)
- Additional way to increase income
- Adding specific website content
Have a web site? Refer to any products that people might be interested in, but which are not offered by the company? Consider becoming an affiliate. Basically this means signing up for an affiliation program, putting some web code (likely specially-formated hyperlinks) onto a web site, and providing the affiliate with some information about how the money should be delivered. Then, there may be various steps that can be taken to increase the amount of money received, including increasing the website's popularly by applying some “search engine optimization” (“SEO”) techniques such as improving the website's content.
There's a lot of junk affiliate sites out there: Sites that don't provide value. There may be some money to be made pursuing that route, but this website recommends going the more legitimate route: perform a task that actually helps the people who pay you. Do this by finding a way to actually help the affiliates, by getting their name/message onto a popular website. Do this by making a popular website. Do that by making a website actually be more useful to its visitors. That method is a lot more work than creating a site with a bunch of useless links, but it also benefits everybody else involved. This is, therefore, also a method that is less likely to be something that can't become, or remain, financially viable while continuing to act in ethical ways.
This site has some information about search engine optimization. Meanwhile, the other piece to this formula is to determine who is going to be paying for having the content added to the web site. The two basic methods are to find affiliates, who will typically pay for simple hyperlinks, and advertisers, who will typically want to actually use up even more pixels of the web visitor's browser area. An advantage to advertisers, though, is that they will typically pay for a user to express interest (primarily shown by having the user click on an ad, although perhaps even simply showing the advertisement is enough), while affiliates typically only pay when an actual sale is made. On the other hand, affiliates typically pay more when there is “success” (when occurs when an actual sale is made), compared to what advertisements pay when there is “success” (which occurs when there is a click).
- Web site Affiliation
- ... (No substantial details are currently here.)
- Showing web site advertisements
- Google AdSense
Wikipedia's page on AdWords states, “AdWords is Google's flagship advertising product and main source of revenue.” Google AdSense is essentially Google's program that allows others to share in that money making.
On a side note, for those looking to benefit from Google's offerings, Google has been known to advertise its Google AdWords advertisement program, including offering $75 in free advertising with Google AdWords limited time offer. Among the information available on the web page was a video on YouTube called “AdWords basics in 90 seconds” which described some of the features of AdWords.
Breno de Lima Sarmento's guide to using an Adsense Proxy documents how to use Google's proxy to show some test ads. It looks like this is legitimate in that it doesn't use a publisher ID so it isn't scamming Google, although further investigation may be needed to verify how it's working and/or if this is a great test, or problematic.