Category Archives: Book Reviews

Book Review: Securing the Cloud by Vic Winkler

As someone that works for a cloud provider, I anticipated finding this book, Securing the Cloud: Cloud Security Techniques and Tactics by Vic (J.R.) Winkler,  boring or not to contain any insight I would carry forward. I found out I was wrong just in the first two chapters. The goal of the book is not to tell you what cloud provider or form of solution to pick, but how to get to that choice.

The author works hard to simplify and break down each general area so the Securing the Cloud book coverseasoned IT professional or the CIO can easily digest each section. The structure and flow of the book takes you from the initial introduction to exactly what cloud computing and offerings exist and then blends into the differences in architecture before addressing security.

Legal aspects are not a deep topic in chapter 3. Each subsection could almost be a book of it’s own if someone wanted to write the very specific nuances each area required like HIPPA and EU Safe Harbor. Instead, the author highlights key and common risk issues and what should be evaluated and asked of yourself and the provider.

The middle chapters 4-6 work through the architecture, data security techniques and techniques for deployment in a secure fashion. Even though the chapters are about 30-50 pages each, the detail was perfect. I found the summary to be the place I started to understand what I was about to cover and then I read the chapter. It might be a personal preference but I like a higher overview right away to get a feel for where we are headed and stop points I can take.

Chapter 8 builds a checklist you need to begin the cloud provider selection process. Standards, verifications and even plain old claims are addressed. The author does well providing some basic criteria to start your own investigation into choosing a provider.

The two end chapters anticipate you have chosen a provider and now want to begin the basics operating your cloud security and architecture. These chapters are shorter than the middle ones where the meat of the book is anyway.

Overall I plan on reading this book again and making more bookmarks and notes. I wish I had gotten the digital version to make that whole process easier and I can see where the author can take subsections and additional writings as the interest in the cloud continues to grow for companies.

I suggest you get your hands on this now before making the leap into cloud technology to save a lot of time and effort after the fact.

Disclosure: the links for the book are all Amazon affiliate and I was not compensated to write any form of review for this book.

Book Review: Social Media Business Equation by Eve Mayer Orsburn

The book Social Media Business Equation by Eve Mayer Orsburn had great Social Media Business Equation coverpotential. However, it did not make it for me. (Kindle edition).
As I get deeper into social media work, I often look for these types of books to review.  I received the 188 page book only to learn the last 45 pages were simply a list of 35,000 of the author’s Twitter followers.  The content was a bit light in actual defining the equation in my opinion.  There are six chapters to the book itself.

Throughout the book are case studies on different companies, including the author’s own company,  I found those to be quick and helpful bits, often more than the chapter they are included with.  She makes some basic points clear, but it seemed to stop there, at the basic.

I often grade a book on how many pages i bookmark, this one only has three pages marked.  The title section of the book hits on page 115, breaking down what the author considers the social media business equation and how to calculate your efforts.  it is helpful, I had only wised the 100+ pages before it had the same effect.
Disclosure: The above links are Amazon affiliate links.

Book Review: Smart Policies for Workplace Technologies

I anticipated getting my hands on the book Smart Policies for Workplace Technologies as every company now faces having inadequate guidelines and policies  surrounding new technologies being brought into the workplace.

Throughout the book, examples of case studies (with links) are given and then a sample portion of a policy that could have addressed the issue.
Then all of the policies are included on a CD inside the back cover in .rtf format to be used with any word processing format.
While I did find a few technical errors in the book (references to the way a technology functioned or a mention something didn’t exist that does), the real content is in the legal and policy documentation instead of the technical examples.

After I got past the first chapter, which seemed to repeat itself over and over in different wording, the reading took off.  The chapters broke down major areas of technology:
  • Computers and software
  • Email
  • General Internet use
  • Instant Messaging (IM)
  • Blogs and personal postings on Internet
  • Company sponsored social media
  • Cell phones
  • Portable computing devices (both company and personal)
  • Cameras and camera phones
Each chapter concludes with a “Putting it all together” section and sometimes longer samples.
The entire book does reiterate the fact that an Acknowledgement letter should be signed by employees as you implement these policies.  They include a sample letter for you as well on the CD.
The author of the book is NOLO, the first time I had seen mention.  They supply legal books, software and forms in an attempt to make it accessible for everyone.  They also have updates and a bunch of free content on their website.

I recommend this book for the samples and examples for any size company to implement their technology policies.

Disclosure: The link to Smart Policies for Workplace Technologies is an Amazon affiliate link.

Book Review: “21 Recipes for Mining Twitter” by Matthew Russell

The book 21 Recipes for Mining Twitter is an add-on to another book I am reviewing by Matthew Russell, Mining the Social Web.  

This small, yet incredibly useful, book covers 21 tips and accompanying code for mining Twitter data.  There is no fluff in this 60 page book with page 1 diving right into OAuth access.

Each of the tips (recipes) start with the problem , a brief solution and then the lengthy solution and code samples to bring the two together.  Everything in the book is written in Python with much of it being made accessible via easy_install.

While the majority of this book is code, it is an incredible companion to get you moving in pulling data, trends or just about anything from Twitter.  Creating and analyzing graphs becomes easier, discovering friendships and cliques, pulling geo-data and even finding a retweet’s source.

Much of the metadata we produce via Twitter gets lost instantly, since no one digs and mines the underlying data. This book can help you build some product or service you want around Twitter and hands you basic code to get you started. The book  21 Recipes for Mining Twitter is a great resource.

Disclosure: The links above are Amazon affiliate.