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What Can Businesses Learn from Schofield’s Laws of Computing?

What Can Businesses Learn from Schofield’s Laws of Computing?

May 17, 2023

We frequently write about topics in relation to business IT, but one that we have yet to cover is Schofield’s Laws of Computing. What are these laws, and what can businesses learn about them?

Introducing Schofield’s Laws

Jack Schofield was born in Yorkshire on March 31, 1947, and he was a writer for The Guardian until his passing in 2020. His work was popular in technology media outlets, but one of his better-known works includes a collection of best practices published through The Guardian. These Laws of Computing are over two decades old, but they still contain valuable lessons that businesses can learn.

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.

We can learn a lot by looking at these laws of computing. Let’s dive in.

Protecting Data Portability

One of Schofield’s Laws of Computing concerns data portability. Let’s say you are working with a service provider and they raise their prices or make changes to your terms of service. This law protects your right to have that data transferred elsewhere if you don’t want to accept those terms of service.

This principle states that businesses should be able to remove their data from any software or service, for any reason, in the above specified conditions.

Endorsing Data Redundancy

Redundancy is a term that you hear a lot in business technology, and for good reason. Schofield claims it’s a necessity, and we’d argue the same. You should have at least one copy to rely on in case your primary data cannot be accessed (of course, we would say you need at least three), and there are so many reasons why you might lose access to your original data that it’s almost mind-boggling.

Consider the possibilities of malfunctioning devices or infrastructure, user error, criminal activity, and so on. These are only the tip of the iceberg. Schofield mentions some other, less common situations, like issues on the provider’s end. What do you do when your cloud data is lost, or if the provider goes out of business?

Raging Against Cybersecurity Challenges

There’s a reason why we take security so seriously, and that’s because it’s more important than ever in today’s ever-online and ever-connected world. Cybercriminals have more opportunities to steal your data, and while your accounts and information might be more accessible and convenient than ever before, the same holds true for criminals.

Simply put, security measures like multi-factor authentication are inconvenient, but they are necessary to preserve your data’s security.

Let Us Help You Implement Security Best Practices

Managed services like those offered by First Column IT can help you best utilize your business technology, including leveraging the best practices of these laws to your advantage. To learn more, call us at (571) 470-5594.

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