Throwback Thursday: Wireless Networks, 8 Years On

“A wireless LAN can enable your employees to do their jobs more quickly and efficiently, allowing them to be more responsive to customers. Convenience is a major business reason for using a wireless network, says Craig J. Mathias, a principal with Farpoint Group, an independent wireless advisory firm. “Getting access to information and acting on it in a timely fashion is one of the last competitive differentiators,” he says.

In 2006 I wrote “Seven Steps to Wireless” for Cisco’s iQ magazine. Hard to believe how much has changed since then; wireless LANs (WLANs), then a relative rarity, are ubiquitous now. Eight years ago, organizations actually needed advice such as “Evaluate network infrastructure. Can your switches and routers handle wireless access point traffic?” and needed to be coached on various flavors of wireless security. (Well, they probably still ought to think harder about security, but rightly or wrongly that onus increasingly falls on users.)

My eight-year-old piece is perhaps timely today given the revelations from the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi that the Russian security apparatus can spy on wireless communications, including WiFi and mobile phone networks. In such a case, the dilemma facing users is daunting but age-old: Armor up, increasing complexity and reducing convenience for the sake of personal privacy? Or suck it up and let them snoop, in exchange for speed. I’m interested to see what visitors to Sochi will choose, and if we’ll even know what they choose.

Throwback: Not All In The Family

For a few years I had a great gig as a columnist for Cisco’s iQ Magazine, writing about theย growthย challenges facing small and medium businesses (SMBs) in a column called “Growing Pains.” I got to interview small businesspeople, ย consultants who helped them, and academics who studied them, and try to give SMBs practical insight and advice for common challenges.

This piece from 2006, titled “Not All In The Family,” talks about the challenge of bringing ย an outsider into a business that had, previously, been run by family members. (The linked file is a three-page PDF; the article is no longer online.) Making this transition for family businesses was, and remains, a common challenge, particularly when family ownership enters the third generation. The column holds up well, I think, and is full of interesting stats. Plus, I had forgotten until I re-read it to post here that I had interviewed Nick Parham for it.

A favorite snippet: “But family businesses are at a crossroads. Many of these companies were originally created after World War IIโ€”veterans were as adept at creating businesses as they were at building families.”

If you have worked for or with a family-owned business — or owned one yourself — please share your experience.