I’ve had a number of jobs where time tracking was required, usually because the time was on-billed to a final customer. In these cases, managers were often keen to see as many hours as possible recorded as billable, even if time being spent was a business overhead. As I type that last sentence, I realise it’s probably a topic for another discussion that focuses on ethics! It was in my current job, with a view to improving my ‘leanness’ and stop myself working so many extra hours, that I started collecting data around what I was working on. Yes, I chose to add time-tracking to my day!
In light of the current situation in Ukraine, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) is urging all Australian organisations to adopt an enhanced cybersecurity position.
As the 2021 working year came to a close, I was reminded that the last run of the day — or in this case, the last change you make in a day — is often one you should walk away from without doing. The day was like any other but around lunchtime I had reached an impasse. I was stuck waiting on other people to complete some tasks and the work I was doing involved a cold shutdown of a production database — something you definitely don’t want to do on a Friday afternoon, as we all know how badly that can go. I decided instead to finish off some physical work that was in progress, electing to decommission and unrack some old sleds (servers that sit in a shared chassis rather than being standalone). Plenty of planning had already …
Australia’s telecommunications landscape is a mess. After a brief ray of hope when the then federal Labor government announced a majority FTTP National Broadband Network plan in 2009, to the eventually implemented ‘multi technology mix’ NBN that we have now, the digital divide for many Australians has continued to become more fractured. Fast forward to 2021 and there are a multitude of technologies (and associated problems) that Australians must live with in order to obtain what should be a basic utility — internet access.
Those of us in IT managed services operate, live and work in a world surrounded by huge — often cloud-based — third-party systems which, by their internal nature, are opaque to both users and to each other. While these often unintegrated systems hold vast amounts of data, the UI, authentication, authorisation and logging of each varies wildly. We (generators of the data) and our clients (owners of the data) have little influence on how these systems integrate and little ability to apply business rules to the data. Yet, it is exactly this integration that is necessary to realise productivity efficiencies in the IT MSP industry, to provide opportunity for improved service outcomes to the end-customer.
What happened to standards development — where vendors would collaborate to provide a base level of interoperability between products so end users could pick and choose the best products for them? It seems to be a thing of the past, leading to unavoidable lock-in. Let’s look at some recent examples and the issues they present.
Getting started with SASE Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), pronounced ‘Sassy’, is a cybersecurity concept originally described by Gartner in its August 2019 report ‘The Future of Network Security in the Cloud’. Gartner’s 2021 Strategic Roadmap for SASE Convergence report recommends security and risk management leaders develop a roadmap for adoption of SASE.
Now that the dust has settled on the 2021–22 federal Budget, here is a brief overview on what is in it for the tech sector. While there were many positives in the federal Budget 2021, I will gladly support the more cautious and collective shrugging of the shoulders by the technology sector. The technology industry received $1.2bn funding support — from this around $500m goes to two federal government projects. That leaves $700m for everything else. Considering how much everything costs in the tech sector, it is a relatively small funding pie.
It’s a truism that you need to keep learning, growing and challenging yourself. Information technology (IT) provides more opportunity for this compared to other fields — it seems every time you turn around there’s a new service, API product, business model and more. Sometimes the changes are incremental, and other times they force you out of your comfort zone. I have been forced out of my comfort zone many times over the years — Linux, Windows Vista (that wasn’t just me, right?), and in more recent times the shift to the cloud, to pick a few. All these changes and developments required me to learn and adapt — to find out the best way of working with these new tools, or new paradigms?
I was recently invited to participate in a panel discussion for CISO A/NZ, which including touching on the subject of this article. Wearing my hat as the Vice President of the Information Technology Professionals Association (ITPA), I joined other seasoned experts to provide input on how to best address strengthening culture around IT and cybersecurity. With the ever-increasing cyber footprint, as well as new technology evolving at pace, we need to ensure professionals in our industry maintain a high level of standards and implement best practices.