Archive for June 5, 2020

Why Does BMO Use The Last For Digits Of Your Credit Card For Marketing Purposes?

Posted in Commentary with tags , on June 5, 2020 by itnerd

I became aware of something that I truly find bizarre. One of my PR contacts got some marketing material from the Bank Of Montreal, or better known as BMO. In that marketing material were the last four digits of her credit card number. She found that to be very odd which is why she pinged me on this.

But it doesn’t end there. When she reached out to BMO on Twitter to inquire as to why they were doing this, they said this:

“I can advise that with marketing offer, we ask that you provide certain information, so we can track who is taking advantage of the offers we send out. This information is only used by BMO and not provided to any third parties.”

Here’s my take.

BMO offers MasterCard branded cards and the format of the card number goes something like this:

5191-23xx-xxxx-xxxx

So if I were some sort of miscreant, having the last 4 digits of a credit card makes life a whole lot easier to guess what a card number might be. Sure it may take effort to get the full card number. And then you have to get the expiry date and perhaps even the CCV (the three digit security code on the back of the card) to exploit the card for fraud. So it would take some work. But it is possible to do. Beyond that, simply having the credit card number can be enough to grab personal information to commit some sort of fraud that isn’t related to going on a spending spree with someone’s credit card.

Both of those outcomes would of course be bad for the customer.

The other thing that I will point out is that there are many ways to track if a customer takes advantage of an offer or not. There are many tools like Pardot which is made by Salesforce for example that can do this transparently. And I am pretty sure that using a credit card number, even a partial one, is not a good way way of doing this. So I was very interested as to why BMO decided to go with using the last four digits to track if a customer takes advantage of an offer. So I decided to ask them.

If I get an answer, I will update this story. But on the surface, this sounds like a bit of a risk to customers. And perhaps BMO needs to take a second look at this, as we live in times where everyone should be risk adverse.

UPDATE: I have a screen shot of the piece of marketing that this person received. I have removed all the personal information and noted where the last four digits of the credit card number is located with the words “Last 4 Digits Of Credit Card Number Above” which of course I have removed.

Why The Time Is NOW To Stop Racism Of All Sorts Towards All People Everywhere

Posted in Commentary on June 5, 2020 by itnerd

This is a different sort of post than the ones I typically write. But I felt it was important enough that I decided to write it, and I hope that you will read it.

You know me as the IT Nerd. I’ve been doing this since 2008. I do tech reviews, share my opinion on the tech world, and offer up tech related advice.

But I am also a Black male. I came to Canada from London England when I was 7 years old. And I have been a victim of racism before I came to Canada, and since I came to Canada. And being silent about this is no longer an option.

What the world has seen in the last few days goes beyond just people for African decent. And it goes beyond just the United States. After all, Canada is a place where Missing and murdered Indigenous women is such a problem that a National Inquiry was established to investigate this. Canada is also a place where the Province of Nova Scotia has had numerous issues with how the Province dealt with people of Black decent. For example, there’s the story of Africville where this area of Halifax was neglected for decade and ultimately the residents of the area were forced out. I could go on, but the point is this. In short, this is a human rights issue. And by that I mean that that there are humans in places all around the globe that are the subject of racism and ill treatment. And it is beyond time for this to stop.

Nobody should have to deal with being called the “n-word” for simply walking into a major sporting goods store in Toronto, nor should they be placed in a situation where police in Toronto draw their guns and put a 14 year old in handcuffs because their dad had the audacity to drive a BMW while being black. And in case you are wondering, both of those things are two of many racist incidents that happened to me. But beyond me, or other people of African decent, Indigenous women shouldn’t be facing violence at a rate of seven times higher than that for other females. And beyond Indigenous women, visible minorities should not be forced into jobs because of the color of their skin, or because they come from a certain part of the world. Racism, in all its forms needs to end. And it needs to end now. Politicians from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, and yes, even US President Donald Trump among other politicians globally need to stop saying nice things and need to start taking concrete action to address this once and for all. There are people in the streets all around the world who want this issue to be addressed. Those politicians would do well to listen to them, and more importantly act on their concerns.

But more importantly, it is time for everyone, everywhere to act. Micro aggressions such as saying to Black people that “your parents must be so proud to you” which implies Black people don’t normally achieve should no longer be acceptable. Not hiring people because they don’t have “Canadian” experience which excludes new Canadians from a whole host of jobs should be unacceptable. And having White people take the step of standing with people who have legitimate and long standing concerns, and addressing those concerns should be the norm. This is the time to act. This is the time to make racism of all sorts and directed towards many, many people a thing of the past. The question is, will we all seize this opportunity to make this happen.

The ball is in all of our courts.

Citrix Survey Shows IT Leaders Preparing For The New Work Order

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 5, 2020 by itnerd

The coronavirus has challenged IT organizations around the world in ways unimaginable. But new research conducted by Citrix, along with Censuswide, surveyed 3,700 IT leaders from seven countries, including 503 from Canada. IT leaders reported on their responsibilities for keeping employees connected and working from home, and how they believe the corporate world is now changed post-Covid-19. The full study can be found here. But here’s the highlights from a Canadian perspective. The results provide a look at how Canadian IT leaders are rising to the occasion, accelerating their digital transformation efforts on average by 1.3 years to accommodate more flexible ways of working after the pandemic subsides. Over three-quarters believe a majority of workers will be reluctant to return to the office as it was, while 61 per cent say they are expediting their move to the cloud as a result.

INCREASED PRESSURE DUE TO SECURITY CONCERNS

  • From those interviewed, 75 per cent agreed they were concerned about the security of their data as the result of employees working from home. 
  • This stems from respondents agreeing they have seen a spike in employees installing unsanctioned communications channels/ software/ software in business operations/ communications 53 per cent. 
  • The rise in use of shadow IT/ unsanctioned channels/ software is an alarming 68 per cent, with 57 per cent agreeing shadow IT is a significant risk to the organization’s data compliance. 
  • 45 per cent of IT leaders report having 40 per cent or more of its employees working from home using personal devices rather than corporate devices
  • 75 per cent have seen an increase in security-related queries as the result of home and remote working in response to COVID-19.
  • Canadian IT leaders are under extreme pressure as provinces begin to reopen, topping the list as one of the most stressed, alongside the UK. 

ADAPTING TO THE NEW WORK ORDER 

  • Prior to COVID-19, 24 per cent of companies did not have a business continuity plan that considered having the majority of the workforce working from home, while only 42 per cent did. Only 29 per cent of companies had a pandemic business continuity plan.
  • Only 31 per cent of organizations allowed a majority of their workforce to work remotely three days or more of the week. 
  • Canadian IT leaders are now at the forefront of digital transformation, rapidly introducing new software/ applications to enable working from home. 
  • 52 per cent have implemented cloud-based document collaboration software, 42 per cent are using public cloud services, while 35 per cent have implemented digital workspace platforms. 
  • While rushing this process is not advised, 68 per cent say the pros outweigh the cons as a protective measure to ensure business continuity. 
  • Rapid digital transformation does not come without its share of challenges. The leading factors right now resulting in organizational challenges when transforming are:
    • IT hardware (Availability) (80 per cent)
    • IT software (Ability to scale) (80 per cent)
    • Corporate culture (64 per cent)
    • Corporate policies and procedures (70 per cent)
    • Lack of employee training (67 per cent)
    • Regulatory restrictions (66 per cent)
  • However, respondents are also saying there are added benefits like an increase in innovative approaches to teamwork and project collaboration (62 per cent), with 69 per cent hearing back from employees that the use of informal channels for communication and operations (i.e. Slack) are helping their teams be effective in working from home. 

OUR NEW CORPORATE SAVIOUR

  • Canadian IT leaders are finally getting the recognition they deserve with 80 per cent agreeing that the IT function/ department is more valued than it has ever been before. 
  • Respondents also say:
    • My visibility and status at my organization has increased (71 per cent).
    • Contact between IT and my organization’s leadership team has increased significantly (76 per cent).
    • IT is seen as business critical to my organization right now (81 per cent).
    • My organization has now realized how critical IT is to the operations of the business (77 per cent). 

Additional Facts:

  • 64 per cent agree that it has been surprisingly easy for the majority of the company to work from home. 
  • 36 per cent of respondents stated that “old school” leadership wanting people to be present at the office at all times, held back the digital transformation of their company.
  • 70 per cent think their organizations should have invested more in the software that enable employees to work from home.
  • Some unexpected humorous challenges the workforce has reported while working from home are:
    • 28 per cent report children and pets making a guest appearance on professional calls/ videos.
    • 23 per cent have had video conferencing clashes where meeting participants accidently joined calls not meant for them.
    • 22 per cent having tech equipment damages due to domestic dramas (children spilling drinks on laptops or pets chewing through power cables, for example).
    • 25 per cent of employees not muting themselves when on a work call as they visit the bathroom or have other personal moments.
    • 16 per cent of employees failing to dress appropriately for video calls, causing corporate embarrassment.

About the study

This study was based on interviews conducted in April/May 2020 with 3,770 IT decision makers within medium and large organizations from the following seven markets: USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, France, the Netherlands. Respondents work in the following sectors: Financial Services, Healthcare & Life Sciences, Telecommunications / Media Technology, Professional Services, Manufacturing, Retail, Other. The research was conducted by Censuswide (www.censuswide.com) on behalf of Citrix.