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How Schofield’s Laws of Computing Can Benefit Your Business’ Security

How Schofield’s Laws of Computing Can Benefit Your Business’ Security

There are quite a few platitudes that we support, in terms of business IT. Some that we haven’t really touched on, however, are Schofield's Laws of Computing. Let’s fix that today by reviewing where they came from, and what these laws entail.

So, Who’s Schofield, and What are His Laws?

Jack Schofield, born in Yorkshire on March 31, 1947, spent decades writing for The Guardian until his passing in 2020. His work appeared in numerous tech-centric media outlets throughout his tenure, but his best-known contribution is the collection of best practices that he published while working for The Guardian, which he referred to as his Laws of Computing. While the first of these laws is about two decades old at this point, they still offer critically valuable advice for businesses.

These laws are as follows:

  1. Never put data into a program unless you can see exactly how to get it out.
  2. Data doesn't really exist unless you have two copies of it. Preferably more.
  3. The easier it is for you to access your data, the easier it is for someone else to access your data.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these tenets.

Schofield’s First Law of Computing Protects Your Data Portability

Let’s say that Jane Q. Businessperson works with Initech for her business’ cloud services, which help support her organization’s extensive data storage and software needs. However, one day, Initech is bought out by ACME, resulting in changes to the terms of service and the pricing structure. According to Schofield’s First Law, Jane Q. Businessperson should have no issue migrating her data out of Initech if she does not accept ACME’s new terms.

This principle of ensured data portability covers any reason a company would want to remove their data from a given software or service, from end-of-service events to those we highlighted above.

Schofield’s Second Law of Computing Endorses Data Redundancy

While “redundant” isn’t usually seen as a positive attribute, Schofield posits that your data absolutely needs to be—and for more reasons than we would normally emphasize, too. Naturally, data that is redundant means that you have at least one other copy to fall back on if something were to happen to the original data…and that “something” could be caused by an alarming variety of circumstances.

There’s the usual suspects, of course—lost or malfunctioning devices/infrastructure, user error, and criminal activity—but Schofield also referenced other possibilities, such as issues on the provider’s side. What if the cloud provider hosting your data goes out of business?

All of this is to say that the more copies of your data you have in different places, the better.

Schofield’s Third Law of Computing Explains Why Cybersecurity Has Become So Irritating

We’re not going to pretend that today’s necessary cybersecurity measures are any fun. They aren’t. However, with alternative means of storing data now available, and more data than ever presenting value for cybercriminals, it is important to keep in mind that the easier you find it to access your data, the more likely it is that someone without authorization will be able to as well.

Are the countless multi-factor authentication prompts annoying? Absolutely—but “annoying” doesn’t begin to describe how a successful cyberattack against your business would feel.

We’re Here to Help Ensure Your Business Adheres to All Best Practices Where Your IT is Concerned

Through the managed services that we here at 415 IT offer, we can ensure that your business’ technology follows all of these laws, along with many different compliance requirements and otherwise sound business security and productivity practices. Give us a call at (415) 295-4898 to learn more, and to set up a complete technology evaluation.

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