Fidelis News & Updates

Cloud Security 2018

In a Forbes article earlier this year, Oracle’s Jeff Erickson listed 5 strategic priorities for chief security officer in 2018. Since the CSO can no longer keep employees and IT resources safe behind firewalls, they have to create new initiatives to keep their data and IT systems secure. Prioritizing the following 5 tasks can help organizations grow and keep an open understanding of risks.

  • Integrating security into development – embed security practices into the development lifecycle so developers do not treat security as optional
  • Automate IT processes to protect data – security alert overload for csos
  • Regulation & reporting – “almost as important as protecting the data is showing that you’re protecting the data”
  • Give your CEO and board clear security metrics – create easily understandable metrics
  • Protect the brand – when/if hackers strike, the hit to your brand rep could be more costly than the system outage, as we’ve seen with too many companies lately

The reality for current Chief Security Officers is the risk of a breach, from an article on based on “Strategic Priorities for CSO’s”. If CSO’s want to keep their company safe, they must be proactive and define appropriate technologies and processes to ensure security is embedded, says Akshay Bhargava, VP of Oracle. He explains how vital clear communication is within the business, across all levels of the organization. Not only should you (and your company) be proactive to protect your data, but you should also prepare for the worst, creating a plan of action in case a breach occurs.

In yet another intriguing blog article based off Oracle, principal analyst Alan, writes about if companies can trust cloud security in 2018. Since SO much of your cloud-based data is sensitive, you must protect it that much more. Who isn’t worried about getting hacked? Nowadays no one is safe. Which is why we can no longer rely on someone else doing it, we must protect our clouds and be proactive.

In a recent survey where 450 businesses were surveyed, 87% said they have a cloud orientation, which shows trust in the organization. 20% said the cloud is more secure than their on-premises environment, and 21% believe the cloud is less secure. 46% of respondents say between ¼ and ½ of their data is in the cloud. The more software is automated, the fewer human errors can ruin the system configurations. In the study, 84% say they are committed to increasing levels of security automation in their companies.

To conclude, the cloud shows a bright future for security in companies. As Akshay Bhargava, vice president of the cloud business group at Oracle says, “Hope for the best, plan for the worst.”

Lessons Learned in the Field

As a consultant, you want to provide added value to your clients. To do this, you must first understand the business problem they are trying to solve. Engage all project sponsors, team members, stakeholders and impacted business executives at the onset of the project. This will ensure that proper scoping can take place. A properly scoped project is a successful project!

Make sure you identify any gaps in the client’s understanding of the business problem and proposed solution. Discuss these gaps with both the executive sponsors and the impacted business executives to ensure total buy-in on the proposed solution.

Ensure there is an agreed upon understanding around the total level of effort required to achieve a true ROI on the project at hand. This includes:

    • Time commitments from client’s staff
    • Gaps in client expertise that will require outside consulting
    • Timeframe needed to complete
    • Associated impacts to other ongoing projects
    • Critical dates, scheduling, staff buy-in & associated change management planning
    • Training plan for full client adoption of proposed solution

If the proposed solution is not the right solution, offer options to get them to their goal. Discuss similar client challenges you have solved and the steps that were taken to get there, include the resources required, time to complete, challenges, project impacts, lessons learned and total ROI attained once the solution was in place.

Once the correct solution has been identified, ensure all involved team members, sponsors and impacted executives are in agreement and have signed off on the total commitment to achieving the solution.  Develop strong relationships with your client’s key project team members.  Ensure they are comfortable communicating openly and honestly about their ideas, abilities, concerns and challenges throughout the project.

Developing an effective communication plan is key: communication breakdowns are a killer. Review OR create a plan to achieve the solution.  The plan should include: proper resource allocation, realistic timelines, critical dates, associated impacts and associated costs. Ensure all parties are still in agreement and are 100% committed to the plan. Establish checkpoints/milestones along the way to identify and correct any issues promptly.

Make sure you keep a sense of unity throughout the project.  Ensure the impacted business executives, team members, technical staff, end users and any consulting resources are all continually championing the solution. If not, TIME OUT… Get the elephant up on the table and RESOLVE ANY CONFLICTS!

Once the solution is in place, test it thoroughly. Does the solution work for all applicable scenarios? Train and document, and verify the solution has been fully adopted by all parties. Ask yourself:

  • Are the users of the solution able to understand it and apply it effectively?
  • Do they feel their problem has been solved?
  • Was the ROI achieved?

Once full adoption has taken place and you are exiting the client, follow up at critical points to ensure they are self-sufficient – after all, a happy client is the only kind of client.


Michelle Cessnun

Megan Butz


Cover Letters and Resumes

Every door can be unlocked,” the wise words of Ellen Fondiler. But in the business world, the first step of unlocking those doors to employment is by a strong cover letter and concise, but intriguing, resume. This is your first impression on a potential employer, and your main point of differentiation from other applicants.superior-essay-writing-11
After my last internship, my boss gave me the responsibility of reading through the huge stack of resumes and cover letters applicants sent in, and I had to narrow it down for her to then interview them. The cover letters that were very generic and seemed like the applicant took less than 5 minutes to put together, she said to toss out. Do not bore the person who gets to read these; make yourself stand out and immediately highlight your strengths, or why you would be a good fit for the position. The goal isn’t just to tell them that you’re qualified, it is to seem more qualified than other applicants. BE MEMORABLE!
Cover letters are meant to explain your resume, so don’t be afraid of adding personality to it. When listing your skills (applicable to the position), also list examples of how you’ve used these skills in the past. Here are some good examples of how to start off your cover letters:
·          “In my three years at ____, I increased our average monthly sales by ___%.”
·         “I would be a great fit for your company because after reading through your mission statement, ____.”
·         “I’ve wanted to work in education ever since my third grade teacher helped me discover a love of math.”
While I was job hunting, I made sure each resume I submitted was personalized for each company. Do your research! Do NOT make your resume longer than a page; adjust margins if you have to, but most employers will only look at the first page. The goal is not to include as much information as possible; you must choose your most relevant experiences and skills for the job you’re applying for.
You can make your resume stand out by doing these few things:
1.       Incorporate industry keywords and buzzwords into your resume,  
2.       Tailor your resume to the job you’re applying for.
3.       Use a modern, professional format (Don’t overdo it with the creativity).
4.       Make sure it is error-free and easy to read.
5.       Describe accomplishments, not responsibilities. also has some helpful tips on how to make your resume stand out, click here.

Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support

GEN301_logo_2President & CEO of Fidelis Companies, Karen Richards, attended the Genesis Annual Luncheon on May 5 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, TX to support one of her many philanthropic events. Genesis hosted an Annual Luncheon to celebrate 30 years of “Safety, Shelter, and Support”.

Mission Statement

“Our mission is to end domestic violence against women and children by stopping victimization and reducing the devastating impact of family violence through safety, shelter, and expert services to battered women and children.”

Annual Luncheon

The keynote speaker at this inspirational event was Maria Shriver, mother of four, NBC News special anchor, and Emmy-winning journalist. She enjoys reporting on the shifting roles, emerging power, and evolving needs of women in modern life. Maria is dedicated to influencing people to make an impact on our world. 

It is because of the generous Dallas community that Genesis can continue to offer life-saving and life-changing services at no cost to clients.

“Thank you Dallas for your support over the past 3 decades.”


  • Females age 18-34 experience the highest rate of relationship abuse
  • 1 in 4 women aged 18+ in the US have been a victim of physical violence
  • On average, 24 people per minute are victim to rape, stalking, or physical abuse

Join the conversation: #GENESISAT30

The Path to Success

teams_building_scuccess_w640What makes one succeed? Is it the money which motivates them? Is it their need for achievement? Is it their passion and drive, or maybe their positive attitude? Here are some helpful tips to succeed in your career:

1. Take Responsibility. Do not blame others and start owning up to your mistakes (or those of your company). The best leaders are those who take responsibility and do not point their finger at somebody else. If you want things to be better, make them better. Like discipline, responsibility is one of those words you’ve heard so much from authority figures you’ve developed a bit of an allergy to it. Yet, it is still one of the most important things to learn in life. Without having responsibility as a foundation, nothing else here will work.

2. Work Hard. Go above and beyond the call of duty; colleagues will look up to you, and it will get you far. Show that you are dedicated, passionate, and capable. Don’t say it “isn’t my problem”- it may not be your responsibility, but do what you can anyway. Take on more responsibility; suggest a program that can help your business or employees. Aim for better jobs and promotions; do whatever you can to succeed.

3. Goal Planning. Make a list of your short term and long term objectives. Begin executing your small objectives while keeping in mind the end goal. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. Always have a backup plan if things don’t go your way. Break your goal into steps; does opening an IT company seem impossible? Break it down, focus on getting funding, then move on to building a prototype, etc. Having a vision makes it possible to obtain your goals.

4. Live Optimistically. Get the negative out of your system; let go of things that drain your energy, you deserve to be happy. Feeding your mind positive thoughts is beneficial to the mind and body. If watching the news makes you sad, stop watching it! Indulge your passions, find positive people, follow your dreams, and of course, laugh.

5. Take Care of You. You surely do not want to put in all this effort and not be able to enjoy life because you haven‘t had time to take care of yourself. It is important to make time to relax and enjoy the little things. Start up yoga, exercise weekly, read a good book out on the porch, play with the dog, or splurge on that delicious looking ice cream cone.


“Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.”


Megan Butz 

New York, New York!

Our top producers for 2013 spent a weekend in New York City the first week of June as part of our 2014 President’s Club. While following many of them on social media during the trip, I thought their wonderful experiences should be shared with the rest of our fans as they were with us personally upon their return. They were each asked to share a highlight of their version of the trip, so below you will find personal stories and pictures from those who were able to make the trip. Enjoy!



I had a great time in NYC. We were able to see the WTC Memorial, Freedom Tower, SOHO, Little Italy, China Town, Canal Street, Hell’s Kitchen, The statue of Liberty, Wall Street and Central Park. In addition to all of the sight seeing, we were able to watch one of our own Fidelis employees get married in Central Park!  

 Michelle - Toy Story

The best part of the trip for me, outside of seeing the wedding, was going to see “The Book of Mormon” and getting a private boat tour around the Hudson and Statue of Liberty. The Statue of Liberty timing was perfect since it was the D-Day anniversary. We were in the water while they were dropping the 1 million rose petals, which was such an experience to see.  After the tour we ate lunch at The Liberty House and met both Ron and Kim, from Liberty Landings.  They are both amazing people and were so much fun to spend time with. The view of NYC from the Liberty house was incredible. Overall, this was probably my FAVORITE president’s trip to date.  Looking forward to next year!

Michelle - & Ryan 


My personal favorite experience was probably everyone else’s – the VIP treatment that became almost our entire day out to see the Statue of Liberty.

We happened to be in NYC on the 70th memorial of D-Day, along with the Puerto Rican Pride parade planned for Sunday, so the city seemed to be extra busy with tourists from all over.  Battery Park itself was jam-packed with people trying to board the ferries, so I think most of us were expecting to join the other tourists and stand in line like anyone else, buy our tickets, shuffle our way through the crowds and hopefully grab a seat or even standing room on the top deck so we could have a view.

Mike - DDayAlan, our co-owner, had made arrangements with a personal friend that owns some of the marina property in the New York and New Jersey area, which we all understood to mean someone from their office would join us and escort us on the ferry, out to the island and give us a personal tour and then we would have lunch and be on our way.  That turned out to be a bit of an understatement. We hopped on the subway down into the park and wandered around until we found Kim from Liberty Landings, which is when the surprises started happening. Within minutes we all had tickets in hand for the ferry, and next thing we know we’ve bypassed all of the lines – and we’re talking hundreds of people and who knows how long of a wait – and are now getting the backstage access treatment. We’re among the first in line now, and have easy access to the top deck.  We take off from Battery Park, and Kim starts in with the personal guided tour, filling us in on all of the history and interesting facts about our surroundings, which was really great.  We docked at Liberty Island and walked around the park; some of us went up to the pedestal of the statue while others just explored the park.  There was a commemoration ceremony on the lawn setting up about the time our ferry was scheduled to depart, so we all met back at the ferry and again made our way to the front of the lines and top deck. As we’re pulling away, a huge French military ship had stopped a few hundred yards off the shore, and another ship with several water cannons was blasting colored water in red, white, and blue.  We’re all trying to get pictures of the water cannon ship, and then three helicopters fly in and hover overhead and proceed to drop a million (literally a million) rose pedals which blew down over the statue and into the crowd observing the ceremony.  Pretty cool sights to see on their own.

Mike - Day Group

Then, we arrive and dock on the Jersey side where we’re still following Kim to wherever she had planned for lunch. We wound up at a restaurant with probably the best shot you can get of the entire New York City skyline. We had a full panoramic view overlooking the Hudson River from Jersey City on our left, spanning from the upper west side and down to Battery Park. We could tell this was somewhat of a hot-spot because as we’re sitting there, a state senator and a notable surgeon are greeted by Ron, who is the VP of the Marinas, and has now sat down with us for lunch.  Ron is the kind of guy who makes things happen. In fact, he told us that’s their motto. He had asked us about our plans for dinner, and when I mentioned that we had missed out on reservations for the most famous steak house in town, he says “you wanna eat there? One of my closest personal friends owns the place,” which turned out to be the story with several other restaurants or bars when we asked for recommendations about the best places to eat or hang out. 

I suppose when all of your customers are the type of people with 100ft yachts in New York City, you’re likely to have some pretty good connections, which leads us to maybe the coolest part of the day. Ron discreetly took a call or two during lunch, grabbed a few of our phones and took several pictures of us and then had one of the waitresses take a few more. We follow him down the marina to an empty dock where we’re expecting to find some way back to the city, but instead Ron says “there’s your ride.”  Up pulls a federal park police boat that proceeds to load all of us up and provide a personal (and extremely fast) escort up the Hudson into the Ground Zero area. The boat itself, we were told, is the fastest on the water and can stop from full speed in less than 10 feet! We rode through the area that “Sully” landed the commercial airliner in the river, stopped up-close by the Intrepid, which is a warship converted into a Sea, Air & Space museum on the water, and then cruised a bit further up to ground zero. The 911 memorial was our final stop with Kim, where she shared some personal perspective of how that day unfolded, which when you’re there on the site, was also a pretty incredible thing to imagine.

All told, we were just blown away with how the day went; the VIP treatment was completely unexpected and absolutely amazing.



We had a fantastic time in New York City for our annual President’s Club trip.  It was fun to see all of the places we have become familiar with such as Radio City Music Hall, Grand Central Station, Macy’s and the Statue of Liberty. Central Park is amazing and I can only imagine the beautiful scenery as the seasons change throughout the year.

Nancy - & Tammy

I love the energy NYC has; it is almost sensory overload. Times Square is filled with people 24 hours a day and the billboards flash at you from all directions. The sounds of traffic, the architecture of the office buildings in Manhattan, the smell of delicious food and the mix of different languages spoken all combine to embrace you in the feeling that is the New York Sate of Mind.

Nancy - Broadway

I cannot imagine a more appropriate place for our top producers to celebrate their success! At the end of each day we would gather together and discuss our day trips and rave about the sites we had seen and the camaraderie was amazing.  It was truly a pleasure to be included in this once in a lifetime experience.

Karen - & ALan 


The Fidelis President’s Trip always drives home what a remarkable group of people that I work with. Regardless of where we go, whether we are eating together, people watching or on a more traditional adventure, every trip has several “perfect moments” that remind me that I am surrounded by a smart, interesting, and unique collection of characters.

Nancy - Tamay & Elizabeth 


Karen - Tom & Becky

The 2014 President’s Trip was awesome. NYC was a very busy place with tons of things to do. Some of the highlights of our trip included: The Book of Mormon, Statue of Liberty, 70th Memorial of D-Day, a guided tour Central Park, drinks in the Upper West side, Top of the Rock and the very profound 9/11 Memorial. I look forward to these President’s trips every year. Regardless of the destination, the people we work for and with are incredible, they make going on the trip something to look forward to each and every year.