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IFSM 201 Professional Memo

Attached is the instruction and the memo template as well as the PDF file for the presentation section. please let me know if you need more information

IFSM 201 Professional Memo

Before you begin this assignment, be sure you have read the Small Merchant Guide to Safe Payments documentation from the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) organization . PCI Data Security Standards are established to protect payment account data throughout the payment lifecycle, and to protect individuals and entities from the criminals who attempt to steal sensitive data. The PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) applies to all entities that store, process, and/or transmit cardholder data, including merchants, service providers, and financial institutions.

Purpose of this Assignment

You work as an Information Technology Consultant for the Greater Washington Risk Associates (GWRA) and have been asked to write a professional memo to one of your clients as a follow-up to their recent risk assessment (RA). GWRA specializes in enterprise risk management for state agencies and municipalities. The county of Anne Arundel, Maryland (the client) hired GWRA to conduct a risk assessment of Odenton, Maryland (a community within the Anne Arundel County), with a focus on business operations within the municipality.

This assignment specifically addresses the following course outcome to enable you to: • Identify ethical, security, and privacy considerations in conducting data and information

analysis and selecting and using information technology.


Your supervisor has asked that the memo focus on Odenton’s information systems, and specifically, securing the processes for payments of services. Currently, the Odenton Township offices accept cash or credit card payment for the services of sanitation (sewer and refuse), water, and property taxes. Residents can pay either in-person at township offices or over the phone with a major credit card (American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa). Over the phone payment involves with speaking to an employee and giving the credit card information. Once payment is received, the Accounting Department is responsible for manually entering it into the township database system and making daily deposits to the bank.

The purpose of the professional memo is to identify a minimum of three current controls (e.g., tools, practices, policies) in Odenton Township (either a control specific to Odenton Township or a control provided by Anne Arundel county) that can be considered best practices in safe payment/data protection. Furthermore, beyond what measures are currently in place, you should highlight the need to focus on insider threats and provide a minimum of three additional recommendations. Below are the findings from the Risk Assessment:

• The IT department for Anne Arundel County requires strong passwords for users to access and use information systems.

Professional Memo 1

The IT department for Anne Arundel County is meticulous about keeping payment terminal software, operating systems and other software (including anti-virus software) updated.

Assessment of protection from remote access and breaches to the Anne Arundel network: Odenton Township accesses the database system for the County when updating resident’s accounts for services. It is not clear whether a secure remote connection (VPN) is standard policy.

Assessment of physical security at the Odenton Township hall: the only current form of physical security are locks on the two outer doors; however, the facility is unlocked Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm (EST), excluding federal holidays.

Employee awareness training on data security and secure practices for handling sensitive data (e.g., credit card information) are not in place.

The overarching conclusion of the risk assessment was that Odenton Township is not fully compliant with the PCI Data Security Standards (v3.2).

Note: The Chief Executive for Anne Arundel County has asked for specific attention be paid to insider threats, citing a recent article about an administrator from San Francisco (see Resources). Anne Arundel County wants to understand insider threats and ways to mitigate so that they protect their resident’s personal data as well as the County’s sensitive information. These are threats to information systems, including malware and insider threats (negligent or inadvertent users, criminal or malicious insiders, and user credential theft).











Effective Professional Writing: The Memo

Adapted from a presentation by Xavier de Souza Briggs,

Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

IFSM 201

Licensing Information This work “Effective Professional Writing: The Memo”, a derivative of Effective Professional Writing: The

Memo, by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-

NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. “Effective Professional Writing: The Memo” by

UMGC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-

ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

“To do our work, we all have to read a mass of papers. Nearly all of them are far too long. This wastes time, while energy has to be spent in looking for the essential points. I ask my colleagues and their staffs to see to

it that their Reports are shorter.”



Writing Memos

The context of professional writing

Why write memos?

How to write them?

How to make them better?


The Context

The workplace or field:

◦ Time is precious.

◦ Information has substantive as well as political implications.

The decision-maker as reader:

◦ Busy and distracted (attention “spread thin”), not necessarily patient while you get to the point.

◦ Info needs are varied, unpredictable, fluid.

◦ Decision-maker sometimes offers vague instructions.


Academic vs. professional writing

Differences (when writing concisely)

◦ The academic reader often demands nuance and relevance to established lines of thinking, while the

professional reader wants the “so what’s” for their decision making emphasized (relevance to their


◦ An academic assignment assumes a small and benevolent audience, but professional documents can be

“leaked,” end up in the hands of unintended readers.


◦ Strong essays and strong memos both start with your main ideas, but essays usually build toward

conclusion and synthesis. The memo’s conclusions are usually right up top.

◦ In both, persuasive argument = clear viewpoint + evidence

◦ In both, addressing counter-arguments tends to strengthen your case.


Top mistakes in memos

Content: ◦ off point or off task (major substantive

omissions, given the request);

◦ impolitic (risks political costs if leaked);

◦ inappropriate assumptions as to background knowledge;

◦ no evidence.

Organization: ◦ important info “buried,”

◦ no summary up top, format confusing, not “skim-able.”

◦ Sentences long and dense,

◦ headings an after-thought.

Style: ◦ language too academic, too “preachy,”

or too casual;

◦ sentences long and/or dense.


Why write memos?

Professional communication

◦ Efficient

◦ Persuasive

◦ Focused

Two types of memos:

◦ Informational (provide analytic background)

◦ Decision or “action” (analyze issues and also recommend actions)


Consider Your Message in Context

Purpose Audience



Use a Clear Structure


◦ Summarize the entire memo

◦ Highlight major points to consider


◦ State the context


◦ Prove it, analyze it, address counter arguments (if any)


◦ Outline Next Steps or Next Questions


Action Memos: Recommend Decisions


◦ Summarize the entire memo, clearly, but more importantly, concisely

◦ State the broad recommendation(s)

◦ If the decision-maker reads only this section/paragraph, will he/she know what the situation is/recommendation(s) is/are (without necessarily knowing specific action steps)


◦ Provide the context


◦ Prove it/Analyze it, perhaps with pros/cons by option (if there are multiple options)


◦ Outline next steps, don’t merely restate recommendation(s)


Tip: Construct a Clear, Concise, Coherent Argument

In your opening summary, you may use more than one sentence to describe overall goals or

recommendations, however, as an exercise it typically helps to try to state your argument in one

sentence. Expand on the sentence as needed as your construct your opening summary.


◦ In order to recreate the organization’s image and reorganize our internal structure in the next 6 months,

we should focus on X, Y and Z.

◦ While the company is in compliance with State of California Privacy laws with respect to X, Y and Z, there

are two areas that still need to be addressed to reach our goal of 100% compliance: A and B.


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