Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Productivity for Academic Librarians and Researchers: Session 10 - Task Automation

This week’s Year for Productivity post was on task automation. I signed up to IFTTT ages ago but never really used it as I couldn’t work out anything I particularly needed it for. Despite watching all the tutorials, I’m still not convinced that this is an essential service for me at the moment, even though I think it’s very clever and I can understand why some people love it.

I’ve decided to make a bit more of an effort with it, however, and spent some time looking around the site searching for inspiration. I activated a couple of recipes and created one too – perhaps if I spend some time on it, I’ll learn some useful tips.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Productivity for Academic Librarians and Researchers: Session 9 - Security In the Cloud

Session 9 of the Productivity for Academic Librarians and Researchers programme looked at Internet security in the cloud. I enjoyed reading the blog post: I had been vaguely aware of the risks of open WiFi and cloud computing, but never really thought much about it. Though I use both Dropbox and Google Drive frequently, I don’t keep sensitive documents there, so if someone DID get their hands on them, it wouldn’t be a big deal.

I looked for my workplace’s IT policy but could only find a fairly basic one. I wouldn’t use cloud computing via Dropbox for work purposes in any case, as I could access my work filestore by setting up my computer to do so. In practice, however, I’ve never needed to access work files outside of work.

I read Emma Byrne’s three-part series about cloud computing in Forbes, and while a lot of it went over my head, I got the impression that cloud computing can be as safe or safer than other storage methods if it is managed in the right way. This seems fair enough, particularly given the number of news stories (at least in Britain) about USB sticks containing sensitive data being left on public transport. Whatever method of data storage you use, it needs to be researched and managed properly.