Cyber security and improved user experience… meet Jeremy, head of IT
Published 12 Dec 2019 • By Louise Bollecker
While overseeing Carenity's IT team, Jeremy corrects errors, updates our site and ensures its cybersecurity. He agreed to sit down with us to talk about his job and how he keeps the site looking great and running smoothly! He also gives us his tips for limiting risks to your personal data while navigating on Carenity!
Hello Jeremy, what is your role at Carenity?
I've been overseeing the technical aspect of Carenity's operations for the past 5 years. That means I supervise site evolution and corrections, cybersecurity and manage the servers. To get all this done, I depend on my team which is made up of three developers. Together we take care of both the website and the mobile application and we tend to Carenity's internal IT needs as well.
Can you tell us about some of your daily tasks?
I make sure everything is running smoothly on the platform: everyday we make sure the site is accessible, the connection is good and all of the features work properly. We keep an eye out for potential issues and try to identify areas where the site could be improved. I also organise any necessary developments to correct any problems we've discovered and make improvements as necessary.
When it comes to Carenity's internal IT needs, I make sure our internal tools are working correctly and are up to date, whether it's the platform used to publish articles in the Health Magazine or the platform we use to put patient surveys online.
How do you deal with technical bugs when they arise?
There are automatic tools that send an alert to our team whenever there's a system malfunction or a connection issue. The Carenity team members who operate the different platforms also let us know if they discover a problem or if one of the members points out an issue. Once we identify the problem, we evaluate it to determine how urgently it needs to be corrected. When a correction impacts the website directly, we have community managers test and validate it before making it available to the community as a whole. We try to disturb the members and their activities on the site as little as possible.
What is the procedure to roll-out an update?
Beyond the technical updates necessary to keep the site functional and secure, which my team sees to continually, new features are usually the result of joint brainstorming. We regularly organise workshops for Carenity team members, whatever their role, to encourage them to think about new features and share ideas. We choose a theme for these workshops either from a forum member suggestion or a Carenity team member's idea, especially the community managers who are in daily contact with the members.
Improvements are prioritised and defined according to the positive impact they are likely to have on the users of our site. Some improvements are immediately visible, like the makeover of the Health Magazine. Others are harder to spot, like the new functions for responding to surveys, but all improvements have one thing in common: giving Carenity members a better user experience. Making the survey tool better allows us to refine our results analyses to make sure a patient's opinion gets to the exact person or people it needs to. Getting detailed and exact analyses of the needs expressed by patients and their loved ones is also a priority for us.
Is the site still accessible during updates?
Most of the time, the site is still accessible and we try to work in such a way that our actions impact members as little as possible. But, sometimes we have to put the platform offline for maintenance. We try to keep it as short as we can and choose times of day when there are fewer members on the site. This includes behind the scenes technical updates that the members don't necessarily know about.
What sorts of improvements will soon be available to members?
Before the end of the year, we're going to update the Carenity forum! The idea is to allow members to navigate more smoothly between discussion groups. They'll also be able to put discussions into their favourites, so all their favourite threads will be in one place. This is a project that involves not only IT, but the community managers as well.
As the head of cybersecurity on the site, what advice would you give to members using Carenity?
In general, we follow all official recommendations on cybersecurity and we are regularly audited by companies that specialise in that field. Still, every member should develop good security habits! For example, when you connect to the site, you can click on "Remember Me" so that you can automatically log-in every time you connect to Carenity from the same telephone or computer: but you shouldn't use this feature if you're not on your personal telephone or computer, because anyone who comes in after you could gain access to your account.
You should also avoid choosing an easy-to-guess password and it's better not to use the same password for all the sites you regularly log into. Putting capital letters, special characters and numbers into your password will help make it more secure. If you need help remembering complicated passwords, you can take a look at Dashlane's password generator by clicking here.
Besides that, there's the Firefox Monitor site (founded by the Mozilla Foundation) which you can access here. You can enter your email address into the search field, and the site will tell you in a secure way whether any sites you are subscribed to have been the victim of a data breach. If you do find a site has been compromised, it's highly recommended to change your password on that site.
Finally, you should remember that it's never a good idea to post any data on the forum that could allow you to be identified such as your e-mail address, your telephone number or your bank account information...That could put your anonymity on Carenity in danger and you never know who might read it!