On The Horizon | July 2020

July 01st, 2020 Daisy Smith

We’re coming off an exciting week for WesTech. For those who were able to attend the Deliverability Summit, I hope you found the sessions valuable. Please be on the lookout for a follow-up survey this week. One of our biggest goals in the Learning & Development space is to better measure the value of our programs from your perspective and use that insight to continue to improve. We can’t do that without your feedback.

For those who weren’t able to attend the sessions, you can find them here. We’re proud of the way this came out. We heard from a few people that it really helped to drive home the importance of this topic, and we hope to see that your teams are able to apply their new knowledge to your deliverability efforts.

Now, here’s what’s happening with the rest of WesTech.


  • Shadow Apps
  • Support Update
  • ELI5 | Mimecast
  • Data Literacy Initiative
  • Strategic Solutions & Automation
  • Deliverability Summit
  • Vendor Score Card







We’ve all done this. Sometimes you find an app that seems to be user-friendly, ties into your workflow nicely, and may even be free to use. And if it’s not free, you may even get your manager’s buy-in so that your team can use the tool. These are called “Shadow Apps,” which means they are not supported by IT and InfoSec at the company.

Although shadow apps can improve productivity and collaboration with little or no financial cost to your team or company, there are risks involved. Most importantly, you’re keeping the teams who work to keep our systems secure (within IT and InfoSec) in the dark. These applications may not have the right secure procedures in place, they may be blocked from our systems, or could alter the other systems we depend on. In some cases, we may already have this application on our systems or have an application that has the same capabilities, but require a bit of training.

We want to make sure you have the right systems in place to get your job done, so when you find a new application or have been using a tool that we did not provide, feel free to reach out to sysops@14west.us. We’ll do the research (if we haven’t already) so you don’t have to.

  • 14 West System Operations team 




Support has been focused on our continued evolution in both enhancements and purpose of the team. Here are the top initiatives we have for you.

INCREASED TRANSPARENCY | You should now be receiving monthly Support Summaries that offer a data-focused recap of the month. In addition to providing more visibility, we have worked to establish a consistent feedback loop with the Product teams. If you have any feedback or enhancement ideas, please continue to send them our way or reach out to me directly. As we continue to expand our vision and initiatives, receiving feedback is critical to our success and allows us to provide consistent and needed support.

UPDATED SLAs | We have made several adjustments to our existing SLAs and will send a document outlining all of our SLAs and the adjustments once completed. In the meantime, we’re pleased to let you know that we’ve decreased 6 of our existing SLAs, ensuring a quicker turnaround time for you. We’re also up and running with our Blueshift support and have now established the first of many Blueshift-centric categories. This is something we regularly keep watch of and will make further adjustments as we focus on our own in-house efficiencies.

  • Brent Quickel, Manager of MarTech Support




It has been over a year since we switched our email security gateway to Mimecast, so we wanted to give a refresher on what Mimecast has been doing and highlight one of its key features.

On average, Mimecast analyzes over 50,000 email messages per day for spam, misleading links, and phishing attempts. The protection this service offers has been a gamechanger and has kept large volumes of unwanted emails from reaching users. Email security will always be a fight because, as defenses improve, so do attacks that attempt to circumvent them. Mimecast has allowed us to be proactive and prepared for anything new we may encounter.

One way that we have adapted our security to confront current and future risks is by instituting Mimecast’s URL Protection policy, which could affect the links you create with false positives.

This policy has been active since we implemented Mimecast, and has provided an extra layer of protection and visibility for incoming emails. URL Protection applies to all emails that were sent to an internal mailbox from an external source (for example, from gmail.com to 14west.us).  If the message meets that mail flow criteria, Mimecast will automatically scan the message for hyperlinks as it comes through. It will then “hijack” all links within the message and redirect them to a Mimecast landing page for the user to investigate.

The purpose of this landing page is to explain to the user that the link leads to an external source and shows the exact URL that the link is pointing to.  A common practice of phishing emails is to provide a link that appears to go somewhere legitimate, but it instead leads to a malicious website used to steal credentials or force a download with payloads attached.

Spoofing a hyperlink is very easy, as I was able to do here in about 30 seconds:  www.google.com.  If you notice in that link, despite it saying “www.google.com,” the link actually points to “https://bing.com.” Had this message been sent from an external source, Mimecast would’ve hijacked the message and showed that it was pointing somewhere different than the message stated.  Once you have reviewed the link and determined that the destination is what you expected and safe to visit, you can then continue to the original link that was sent without the Mimecast landing URL appended to it. While Mimecast does hijack the link at first, nothing about the link is changed if you decide to continue past the landing page.

Since we have a high volume of messages being sent from third party services and other external sources, false positives are inevitable with this system.  To combat these false positives, we have a separate URL Protection “whitelist” that we can add domains and URLs into.  This whitelist currently features all of our internal domains as well as a large number of known subdomains.  Other URLs can be added into this list for business purposes if needed.  In the event that you have an internal URL being hijacked that is causing business disruption, send an email to help@14west.us to create a ticket and it will be addressed quickly.  We want URL Protection to function as much as possible, because unfortunately there are dangerous emails that will slip through the cracks of our filters.  URL Protection gives that extra padding to ensure our users do not fall victim to these attacks and help increase awareness.

You can read more about URL Protection policy here.

If you have any questions about the URL Protection, or any other Mimecast policies, please contact the InfoSec team at security@14west.us and we will be happy to assist.

  • Steve Graziano, Sr InfoSec Engineer




The BI and L&D teams have been hard at work this past month launching our data literacy initiative called, Data: Drive with Confidence. We want everyone to understand data concepts and to have the confidence to read, work with, analyze, and argue with data.

As part of our awareness campaign, we have gone live with our first podcast series. Each episode digs into why data matters and how it can be instrumental for companies in the midst of digital transformation.

Each podcast is 15 minutes or less and perfect for in between meetings. If you haven’t gotten to listen in yet, you can start here.

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO HEAR NEXT? | We are taking suggestions for topics for our next podcast series to launch late summer.   Provide suggestions and feedback here.

A QUICK NOTE | Data: Drive with Confidence podcast series is hosted on our new LMS platform, Evolve. If you have any questions about Evolve or have issues with access, please email evolve@14west.us and one of the LMS experts will quickly assist you.

COMING SOON | On demand Data Literacy learning modules for all new hires and all current employees, interactive micro-learning opportunities, and on demand tools training.

  • Bojo Bauer, Manager, BI Customer Success
  • Beth Oertel, Instructional Designer, L&D




Some of you already know about Michael Bresler’s latest initiative, Strategic Solutions & Automation. The goal of this team is to identify gaps and pain points, then turn them into opportunities to increase our value to your businesses.

For WesTech, we have found that there are certain ideas and areas to strategize that we may miss or have on the backlog. On many occasions, the answer could be intelligent automation (i.e. robotic process automation, chatbots, and/or business process automation), which is going to be a huge part of Michael’s work as he gathers more feedback on business processes and opportunities.

Working with Client Services, Michael will serve as a key listener to conversations with affiliates to truly understand pain points, and the solutions that could help their businesses. Michael will also be working in lockstep with Project Management as well as L&D to gather intel on the intake process, the strategy taken for projects, and to align with solutions needed in order to build our value.

GLOBAL PORTFOLIO SERVICES | The GPS team will continue to run under Michael, but the delivery and team lead will be Tori Longo as Product Owner. You can still depend on Lenny Kardelis as Track Record Analytics and Compliance Owner, Brian Buschling who is in charge of Track Record Support, and Morgan Cammack who handles Customer Success.

If you have any questions about Strategic Solutions & Automation make sure you reach out to Michael directly.




Thank you for those who were able to join at least one of the virtual sessions for our first ever Deliverability Summit last week. For those who didn’t, we have each session located in the Email Deliverability Workspace here. If you have any issues with access, please reach out to the L&D team here.

The presenters and teams involved in this event are strong thought leaders on the subject of Deliverability today, so we hope you found the sessions insightful and possibly even had a few aha moments that you can apply to your own business strategy.

For any questions or feedback on this summit, you can reach out to me directly.

  • Matt Estes, Manager of Learning & Development 




With ThoughtSpot, you can now analyze mailing data down to the individual subscriber.  This level of granularity allows us to ask questions of our data that were not possible to answer before, and all within seconds of asking.

If you are already in ThoughtSpot, you’ll notice that a pinboard called the Vendor Scorecard has recently been shared with you. This pinboard helps you evaluate new lead sources by highlighting engagement rates during subscribers first days on your list. The pinboard looks at the unique percent of engaged subscribers during their first seven days on file to their first thirty, so that you can decide early on if a source of names is going to be good for your business.

For more information, or if you are not a ThoughtSpot user, please reach out to BI at intel@14west.us and we’ll get you started.

  • Rachel Kozloski, ThoughtSpot Product Owner




Daisy Smith

Assistant Director, Communications

"Don’t take yourself too seriously.”

I found myself at 14 West after 18 months of traveling and teaching in Bali, Thailand, and Australia. And now 5 years later, I’ve learned and grown with my team in extraordinary ways. I think that’s due in large part to the fact that I’ve been encouraged to approach my work and explore my potential in the same ways I’ve explored other parts of the world. I’m constantly asking questions, seeing and doing new things. And learning A LOT. I didn’t expect to find an experience like this in “an office back home.”

I love my position at 14 West because I’m invited to take on a diverse range of responsibilities. From running our Wellness Program to brand development and brand marketing to writing, I have a broad range of interests. And my role allows me to develop my skills through work that truly excites me. I have a hard time saying no to new projects, even when I already have a full plate. But when I take on too much, the leaders here are there with the support I need to get the job done. At the same time, I’m given the creative freedom to feel real ownership over my projects, which only motivates me more.

What is one thing you have to do every day in the office? Gotta have my essential oil diffuser going. Five of us share an office and we’re all hooked on the diffuser now, but it’s my job to create the perfect oil cocktail each morning to set the tone for the day. I’m obsessed.