Leave the Stone Age (and Spreadsheet) Behind

When I asked RSA Archer® VP David Walter who was their competition, he told me earnestly it was the simple spreadsheet. I believe him, especially after what I have seen what people do with spreadsheets over the years that I have been a tech reporter.

Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston invented the electronic spreadsheet with VisiCalc for the Apple II in 1979. It wasn’t long after that when I began using it on an HP 85 running CPM to build mathematical models working at various jobs in DC. That was a sweet machine, with its three-inch monochrome monitor and all 8K of RAM. Then Lotus 1-2-3 and the IBM PC came along making spreadsheets the go-to general business tool.

It has surprising staying power, given the software has essentially had the same user interface for more than 30 years. People have been using spreadsheets for all sorts of applications, regardless of whether they were appropriate or not. Including using them for risk management. At the RSA Archer Summit 2018 this week, a mention of replacing spreadsheets by product manager Emily Shipman got some cheers from the audience.

Emily Shipman at RSA Archer Summit 2018

I have seen spreadsheets used for formatting a resume, running a presentation, as a (very) rudimentary word processor, drawing pictures of a network’s infrastructure connections and for creating maps. The presentation doesn’t sound too bad until I heard that it had a separate worksheet for each slide. You can only imagine the horror. 

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*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from RSA Blog authored by David Strom. Read the original post at: http://www.rsa.com/en-us/blog/2018-08/leave-the-stone-age-and-spreadsheets-behind.html