Mini-Rant: Spoofed Phone Numbers and Trust

I’ve seen this more and more over the last year: I receive a phone call with a number that indicates it’s coming from a town or city near me. For instance, I received a call where the number reported to Chapin, SC. Curious to see if it was a company trying to sell something, I answered it. Of course, it wasn’t from Chapin. The company was based in Oregon and the person who was on the other end was in a call center that probably wasn’t even in the United States. Many of you have received similar calls.

Yes, it was a cold-call by a company looking to drum up business for their products or services. However, business relationships, like any other relationship, have to have some level of trust. When a company initiates contact using a deceptive practice like exploiting the flaw in the initiation protocol for caller ID, they hurt any attempts at establishing that trust and building a relationship. Not to mention that such a practice is potentially illegal.

I understand the rationale: we’re more likely to answer the phone if we see that it’s a number near us. However, not only does this practice impact trust, but it is training us not to answer the phone unless we recognize the number. We are starting to move from a slight chance of answering the phone for a number we don’t recognize to absolutely no chance. Therefore, the practice is counter-productive. Yet companies are still doing it.

Maybe I’m naive, but I think a company has a better chance of establishing a business relationship by doing everything it can to establish trust from the initial contact onward. I want to trust the folks I’m doing business with. Therefore, if you start by showing me you are going to engage in deceptive practices, then I don’t what to work with you. I’m sure I’m not alone.

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Building Your Brand Right

I was interviewed yesterday by Stephen Wynkoop (twitter) for the upcoming SSWUG Virtual Conference on May 23rd. One of the questions was about how to keep management engaged on continued security efforts and countermeasures. The point of the question was simple: once an organization listens to its security folks and puts in the countermeasures and no breaches happen, how do security folks continue to get funding and project approval? My response back was it security’s continued success centers about trust and building the proper relationships.

When we build our own personal brands, whether intentionally or not, we establish what people think of us. Ultimately it boils down to trust and relationships. There’s a right way to build a brand and there are plenty of wrong ways. I like what Goldie Chan wrote in 10 Golden Rules of Personal Branding. Several of her rules are tied to the idea of trust. For instance: #2 Be Genuine, #6 Create a Positive Impact, and #8 Live Your Brand.

If you’re in IT, at some point you’re going to reach a point in your career where getting things done requires more than just excellent technical skills. Many of us are already there. You have to have solid “soft” or interpersonal skills. We can point to plenty of examples were shady people were able to advance, but at some point they get exposed. They key is to have a brand that people around you trust. If you aren’t doing at least those 3 golden rules of the 10 Ms. Chan listed, it’s going to be hard to gain that required trust.

Brand is about more than getting Microsoft to recognize you as an MVP. It’s about more than getting accepted as a speaker or being the “smartest person in the room.” Brand is also what people think of you. When you think of your personal brand, ask the question, “What do people around me actually think of me?” I can guarantee you that if you do this often enough, you’ll see the areas which you need to improve in. And here’s the thing about brand: if folks see you are striving to get better, especially in interpersonal skills, you will get the benefit of the doubt from a good number. They’ll give you some time to show that you can live up to their expectations and are worthy of their trust. That will eventually lead to another golden rule listed in the article: #9 Let Other People Tell Your Story.

Same Webcast, New Name: Introduction to Auditing Features in SQL Server

I’m giving another webcast through MSSQLTips.com. This one is on May 9, 2019, at 3 PM EDT. It’s called Introduction to Auditing Features in SQL Server. We renamed it to reflect the “this is how you get started” nature of the content. You can register here:

Webcast Registration Link (free)

Here’s a description of the talk:

SQL Server has many options to monitor activity. However, like any solid performing relational database management system (RDBMS), SQL Server only turns on the bare necessities by default for performance sake. In this webinar we’ll look at what we get out of the box after an install. We’ll talk about what information is captured as well as what’s missing. Then we’ll look at what other options you can activate with your SQL Servers to include additional auditing in order to meet your business needs. As we consider those additional options, we’ll also briefly discuss what the implications are for turning on those features, whether it’s the amount of information to sift through or the potential for a noticeable performance impact.

Midlands PASS – Next Meeting and Summit Discount Code

Midlands PASS is an official PASS chapter located in Columbia, SC, USA. Here’s an update about our schedule, as well as the PASS discount code.

No May or June meetings:
We are not having meetings for May or June. I was not able to line up a speaker for the May meeting and I will be out of town in June.
Our next scheduled meeting is July 2, 2019. As soon as I have a speaker lined up, I will email the meeting information.
2019 PASS Summit Discount Code:
If you’re interested in attending the PASS Summit this year, PASS has given us a local group discount code:
LGDISMO3U
This will take $150 off of your registration. In addition, it provides money to the chapter. For each first time attendee who uses this code, the chapter will receive $50. For those who have been to the Summit before, we’ll receive $25. Either way, that takes a chunk out of the food costs for each meeting. Therefore, if you’re going to go, please use the discount code for your and our chapter’s benefit!
By the way, this local group code is not exclusive to Midlands PASS members. PASS made it clear that we’re free to share this code however we want. Therefore, if your reading this and don’t have a discount code, you are able to use it. You’ll get the discount and Midlands PASS get the additional funding from PASS.

Webcast: Auditing SQL Server from the Ground Up

I’m giving another webcast through MSSQLTips.com. This one is on May 9, 2019, at 3 PM EDT. It’s called Auditing SQL Server from the Ground Up. You can register here:

Webcast Registration Link (free)

Here’s a description of the talk:

SQL Server has many options to monitor activity. However, like any solid performing relational database management system (RDBMS), SQL Server only turns on the bare necessities by default for performance sake. In this webinar we’ll look at what we get out of the box after an install. We’ll talk about what information is captured as well as what’s missing. Then we’ll look at what other options you can activate with your SQL Servers to include additional auditing in order to meet your business needs. As we consider those additional options, we’ll also briefly discuss what the implications are for turning on those features, whether it’s the amount of information to sift through or the potential for a noticeable performance impact.