The Support Group Blog

Four Steps (Maybe Five) to Improve Your Workflows

What is a workflow

Simply put, a workflow is a process. And a process is a series of steps that ultimately accomplish a specific task. These steps are systematically organized and repeatable. Recently the term "workflow" has grown increasingly popular because running a business efficiently pretty much depends on workflows. Think about it, when you order something online there is a process of reviewing an item and specifying certain criteria about the item, i.e. color, quantity, size, etc. Then you add the item to a cart so that you can go on to provide your billing and shipping information which will ultimately submit an order. And yet, the business transaction does not end there, the company from which you ordered is obligated to fulfill the order. And so there are a number of steps in the backend of the process that will hopefully result in a package arriving at the address you specified. This is a very high-level overview of a workflow. In order to optimize or improve your workflows, you must understand the detailed steps within the workflows.

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FileMaker Security Best Practices

Security is a very sensitive topic these days. Data breaches, privacy violations, malicious attacks, etc. seem to dominate national and international news stories. As we become more connected, our data becomes more attractive and consequently more vulnerable to hackers. So, we need to take proper precautions to mitigate those threats.

Company databases are particularly susceptible to threats because data is the new oil. We rely on data to make important business decisions that ultimately impact revenue and overall business success. Therefore, we must take the time and effort to establish appropriate safeguards for our data resources. 

DATA PRIVACY STANDARDS & REGULATION

In light of the fallout from Facebook's privacy breach and the impending General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), data privacy warrants particular attention. Since extra data about people can be a liability when it comes to security, it's best to be conservative and only collect the data you need. Secure the data in your custom app according to industry standards and within your contact's expectations. For example, if you're in the healthcare field and you collect medical information from patients, you may want to audit your system’s architecture for HIPAA compliance. And you should always consider HIPPA before adding new data points to the database. If your data is accessible to third parties, you have to let your contacts know and confirm their consent before sharing their information. Whether you're engaging with folks in the US or the EU, be aware of the specific laws that protect different users/contacts and be sure you can adequately respond to questions about your data privacy procedures.

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Seven Tips for FileMaker Scripts

We’ve been writing FileMaker scripts for over 25 years now (ever since FileMaker Pro 2.0, when the ScriptMaker first appeared) and we’ve developed our own set of best practices in terms of managing them here at The Support Group. Every FileMaker developer has his or her own set of methods, preferences, styles, etc., but we all agree that writing and maintaining scripts properly can save you a lot of time and frustration in the long run. Whether you're an experienced FileMaker developer or new to development, you should find these seven scripting tips useful.

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Life Lessons: Backing Up

There’s an old adage that shows up in many forms:

Smart people learn from their own mistakes; really smart people learn from the mistakes of others.

I’d expand that to include learning from one’s successes and the successes of others, as I’ve endeavored to teach my children many times over.

I’ve been in this business over 25 years and worked at Apple for a few years before that. Over that time, I’ve seen a lot of interesting customer experiences, good and bad, with some providing major life lessons the hard way. Most of these are simple in nature but reinforce what many of us know intuitively. The stories I want to share today relate to backing up.

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