News & Events

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


New Years Resolutions

Business Insider came out with an article last week about the most popular resolutions your coworkers are making in 2017. In it, they discussed a survey CareerBuilder’s did, which states that 35% employees’ resolutions for 2017 is to leave their current job (out of 3,400+ surveyed). If you’re not happy in your current role, what’s new-year-articleholding you back? Why did you stay so long? This year, make it a goal to follow your PASSION. I know the interview process is overwhelming sometimes, but won’t the end result be worth it? I love my job, and at this point in my career, I know it is exactly where I’m meant to be. But I wouldn’t have gotten here if I didn’t have my counselors help, the support of my parents, and doing A LOT of research on what kind of career I wanted to have and what goals I wanted to accomplish. These articles from Business Insider should help you create your New Years resolutions:
  • Save more money
    • Almost half (49%) of respondents plan to put more of their paycheck into savings this year.
  • Be less stressed
    • About a third (38%) want to decrease their stress levels in 2017.
  • Get a raise or promotion
    • Another third (30%) would like to move a step up on the ladder over the next 12 months.
  • Eat healthier at work
    • More than a quarter (28%) plan to consume less junk food at the office.
  • Learn something new
    • Just over a half (26%) resolve to take more courses, training, or seminars in 2017.
How about for your New Years Resolution you make yourself, your work, and your year better than ever? Here are some ideas to help improve all of the above…
  • Do your best, every single day. I think we’re all guilty of coming to work some days, exhausted, and just not giving it our all. This year, let’s change that. If you’re not putting your skills to use at work, maybe it’s time to find a new job opportunity. Do you know what’s expected of you at work? If not, find out. 
  • Give yourself more credit. People who receive praise for their work are more happy and productive, so give compliments at work, and you’ll get them back. Give yourself a pat on the back when you deserve it. Stop and assess your success after each project you complete. 
  • Do something for YOU every day. On your lunch break, go for a walk, get yourself some Starbucks, leave work a little early to do something you’re passionate about. 
  • Network. Make professional contacts and network; even if you’re shy! Try to find professional groups or meetings to go to monthly or quarterly. I joined the American Marketing Association when I moved to a new town, and met my now very best friends, as well as meeting great contacts for the future. You’ll definitely benefit from branching out and meeting new people too.
  • Take yourself a little less seriously. Everyone loves a good laugh right? Especially when you’re having a tiring work day, don’t sweat the small stuff. Smile when employees are telling stories, enjoy their little quirks, take time to laugh – believe me, it will make the work day fly by. 
To read “How to Set and Achieve Goals” click here.

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.

Why does your company need a consultant?


Why do YOU need a business consultant? To provide solutions to specific challenges, to constructively criticize, to facilitate new systems, to implement new business ideas, or to bring in an experienced outsiders evaluation and point of view? Maybe your company is working on a challenging problem or project and needs an unbiased opinion. Our consultants will not let you down.

A company normally comes to consultants because they are great at these 5 things:

  • Separating people from the problems
  • Focusing on interests, not positions
  • Generating a variety of possibilities
  • Creating evaluation criteria
  • Solving problems

Consultants generate options before deciding. Sometimes clients jump to conclusions because they have been in the industry for many, many years, or because “it has always been done that way”. Consultants are more willing to start with a blank white sheet of paper and begin brainstorming.

Consultants are really good at generating options because they spend the time getting the data and really thinking through the problems at hand. At the beginning of a project, consultants look at all potential scenarios, and look for hypotheses everywhere.

▪  They brainstorm new ideas; at this stage no ideas are ruled out

▪  They interview people up & down the org chart

▪  They keep asking “why” until they get to the core reason

▪  They dig until they get to the root causes and find out what the real drivers are

▪  They reach out to industry experts who know the larger trends

It’s very common for consultants to structure multiple options for the client to choose from. This acknowledges that there are multiple potential solutions, but there are trade-offs.  It really depends on the clients’ time frame, appetite for risk, budget, and opinion. There is often 1 primary recommendation, but multiple implementation options.

There are many different types of consultants, whether you’re a small or big company, there is someone out there who will help you get to where you want to be. Here at Fidelis Companies, we specialize in Engineering, BioPharma, and IT. SiteSuite came out with 4 main types of consultants:

  1. Specialist – world class capabilities in selected area
  2. Game changer – game changing answers that no one else can provide
  3. Vendor – adequate performance + low cost + no hassle
  4. Total solution provider – total package from a reliable supplier

Creativity in the Workplace

 “If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play.” –John Cleese



In our world today, the demand for creativity in employees is rising with the crazy technological advances daily. Some people think creativity is a trait we’re born with, but I think it can be learned and developed. If employers want those working for them to think outside the box, they should start rewarding creativity. Ask employees for suggestions, set goals, or give recognition. Employees are scared to take risks because they don’t know how their boss will support creativity. Be open-minded and less judgmental.

There are companies which encourage creativity in their employees, like Google, but it is very rare to give your employees this freedom. Google set up a “20% policy” where developers get to spend 20% of their working hours on side projects of their choosing. This has made Google a top place to work, with hundreds of thousands of people applying everyday. Many millennials looking at jobs research “culture” before an interview, to see if the opportunity will lead to innovative and exciting ideas. Zappos is another company known for their wonderful, laid back culture. All you have to do is type in a company on and you’ll get lots of results on how employers treat their employees.

What are the benefits of a strong culture? A strong culture helps companies attract and keep committed employees, it strengthens the company’s brand, and it can be leveraged to execute strategy. According to this article, Culture: Why it’s the Hottest Topic in Business Today, “culture” was the most popular word of the year in 2014. Creativity is rapidly changing from a “nice to have” to a “must have” quality for successful organizations. 


Read: 4 Ways to Stop Worrying and Embrace Creative Risks


Megan Butz