Stories by Pete Loshin

Knowledge management

Rather than wax philosophical about what knowledge is, let's let it be any information that can further an organization's goals. If managing IT can be compared to herding cats, managing knowledge is comparable to ranching fleas on a cat herd.

Transaction Processing

Transaction processing is the unambiguous and independent execution of a set of operations on data in a relational database, which treats that set of actions as a single event. If any part of the transaction process fails, the entire transaction fails and all participating resources are rolled back to their previous state.

Relational Databases

Relational databases allow data to be stored in multiple flat-file tables that are related to one another by shared data fields called keys. Relational databases offer easier access to ad hoc reports (generally via SQL) and improved reliability through a lack of redundancy.

Simple Object Access Protocol

Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) is an XML-based protocol that defines a framework for passing messages between systems over the Internet. It's typically used for executing remote procedure calls. SOAP was originally intended and defined for use on top of HTTP to make SOAP more easily incorporated into Web-based applications, but other transport protocols, such as SMTP, can also be used.

Single sign-on

Logging on is hard to do, especially if you need to remember a different user ID and password (or pass- phrase) for each different system or resource. If you use passwords that are easy to remember or a single password for all of your accounts, security specialists wag their fingers: "Easy to remember" also means "easy to guess." The experts warn against reusing passwords and writing those passwords down anywhere that an attacker might find them. Oh, yes, they add that you should change each of your passwords frequently.

Cryptographic Turning Points

It's time to say goodbye to the Data Encryption Standard (DES). A replacement algorithm will be selected "late this summer or early this fall," says Ed Roback, acting head of computer security at the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Computer Security Division in Gaithersburg, Md.

Few Companies Use ASP Services

If you're getting set to jump on the application service provider (ASP) bandwagon, you better look before you leap; most of your peers are still waiting on the sidelines.