He told me that he was holding things together by working various IT support contracts for local area businesses - with an emphasis on maintaining the systems of private practice physicians. I know that since his wife has a pretty good job his job loss was a hit but not a fatal blow that would cause them to lose their house.
He told me that he had just learned that the last night one of his medical offices was broken into by some "Street Pirates" and they stole a computer work station (third break in - I don't recall the time interval he mentioned). I told him that there are certain regulatory requirements that must be followed with such a theft IF the machine had any confidential medical records on them.
I pointed to his 3 HVAC units and said "To you those are $2000 each. To a thug - that is merely $30 worth of scrap metal that he can sell. That hard drive in that machine will cost that physician a lot of money - even if the smash and grab robbers only want to sell it on the street for $100 and wipe the hard drive clean - not caring about the contents".
He assured me that all of the data is on a secured server in another office and nothing was at risk.
We compared notes on our particular specialties and agreed that we need to hook up to plan out a strategy. I told him how "cloud computing" is going to make advanced software affordable and thus accessible to more small businesses. As I talked certain light bulbs went off in his head.
I told him that this technology will allow him and other people to draw from the talent pool in Atlanta to make "software as a service" solutions that could be sold anywhere around the world. I told him about a company that paid a software development firm more than $300,000 to develop a software application that they run their business on. They are still paying $3,000 per month in licensing fees (for the last 8 years) and are effectively trapped into the agreement because they did not ask for the source code and the software is too complex for them to easily drop this other group and go a different direction. This company has already made spent its money on developers now they are collecting licensing fees as the customer in question is stuck with few options.
My friend could position himself to take such business away and then to lock in new customers as his "monthly cash flow" - which pays for his staff.....just like this other company.
"We definitely need to talk" - we agreed.
Checking Out The iPad 2
About 2 hours later I made my run through all of the local cellphone carrier's stores to see their latest smart phone line up and to check out the iPad 2 in the partners which carry it.
I went to:
- Best Buy
As I was checking out the iPad 2 - impressed with the evolutionary design changed I saw a White male and a Black male come up to the display separately. The Best Buy agent came by as well.
The Black male indicated that he was a physician and wanted to know the main differences between iPad 1 and iPad 2. He told the agent that his real interest was in printing documents from the tablet. He already has computer terminals in his examination rooms but they lack the mobility that he is seeking.
The Best Buy guy told him about the new HP printers that do mobile printing and that they could print from an iPad. The other guy who had also walked up detailed for him how he might purchase a WiFi hotspot to allow his iPads to connect into his network and print.
I shut up and listened to their conversation.
Little did they know that this is what I do all day long as a security consultant - who just happens to have an emphasis in health care.
They all talked for 5 more minutes and everyone disbursed aside from the physician.
I told him that I was listening to his requirements and that I was not so sure that an Apple tablet PC is the best solution for him. While there are a lot of iPhone and Android applications AND while both are growing in popularity in the medical space - you should focus on your requirements and allow them to direct you toward a solution. It might be toward a laptop or even a touch screen "tablet PC" running MS Windows.
He said "You know - I was thinking the same thing. While an iPad might 'walk out of my office' - a laptop might be a bit more difficult to steal." (That made me think about the Street Pirate heist last night).
I told him that he should also think about the ability to 'remote wipe' a stolen device and encrypt all data that is stored on the device.
We exchanged contact information. He told me that his practice was merging in with another partnership and forming a larger network. They could use some expert guidance on how to work through their computer challenges.