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E-waste disposal — the other data security threat?

With the current trend towards moving data and services into the cloud, what happens to the old infrastructure that once housed this data? Even with your own personal data set-up, how do you minimise or eliminate the risk that once you have disposed of your equipment, its content has already been securely erased, destroyed or made non-recoverable?


Process killed the innovation star

As IT professionals, we can sometimes, without realising it, limit our focus to a particular process or solution, rather than the desired outcome of our customer. This can be an easy trap to fall into, especially if you are working in an IT role that has some customer-facing element (which is the majority). Especially prevalent in larger and/or more mature organisations, technology platforms and processes have often existed for a significant period of time and have evolved to a point that they are often viewed as ‘cookie cutters’… requiring no additional consideration.


What does DoH mean for BYOD?

You wouldn’t think it, but when it comes to IT, security and safety aren’t always synonymous. Sometimes, the measures that increase technical security also remove the ability to provide safeguards for users. Firefox started rolling out DNS-over-HTTPS to users in the US recently. This is largely seen as an improvement in security, preventing alteration or observation of a user’s DNS queries by their ISP, which in the US no longer have limitations on selling this data. Governments can also use it to spy on their citizens, and ISPs (including in Australia and the UK) are often forced by law to alter DNS responses to block websites.


Perspective is a wonderful thing

I was told recently, regarding my job, “Sure, that’s great, but you’re not a brain surgeon or anything”. And while that’s true (I wouldn’t let me near anyone’s head with anything sharper than a tennis ball), it doesn’t mean that the role that I, or you as ITPA members, have is not worthy of praise, or that we are not important in our society.


The dark mirror of vendor support

Many of us are in support, whether we’re supporting end users, internal users, a public facing service… our families, friends. You’re supposed to know it all, right? Until that dreaded moment, where you need to escalate to vendor support. At this point, a gnawing pit of anxiety rises from the depths of your gut as you realise the horror that is about to unfold upon you. As an IT professional, I’ve found fewer experiences more frustrating than dealing with vendor support. Even when dealing with the hallowed ‘Partner Support Channel’ you still inevitably feel like you’re trapped in an IT Crowd script, turning it off and on repeatedly for person after person, only to finally give up in frustration and just do something totally different instead. So why exactly is it so frustrating? Is it inevitable? Let’s explore some of …


Another week, another privacy breach

It seems every week we’re learning of a new online privacy breach. The latest (as I write this) is the ‘accidental’ release of Myki user travel data. The Victorian Department of Transport released over 18 billion records relating to travel by more than 15 million users on public transport in Victoria over a three-year period, believing that they had anonymised the data sufficiently to protect people’s privacy.


The confusion of standards in IT

One of my biggest bugbears in IT is the implementation of standards between companies, be this in job titles, procedures, iconography, conventions and so on. Now, it’s understandable that not everyone will agree on definitions, and different people have different understandings of ideas and concepts. A good example of these differences comes from defining terms used within ITIL for service management (helpdesk): What constitutes a service request? What constitutes an incident? What constitutes a problem? When does a change request need to be generated?


Temporary visas need more thought for a fairer outcome

As you are aware, ITPA has made several comments on the impact of various visa classes on the IT industry in Australia. We have no issue at all with the hiring of foreign workers where local skills are genuinely not available and parallel efforts are made to skill up locals. But we do have concerns that the local market protections built into visa classes, which allow foreign workers to enter the Australian workforce on a temporary basis, are not enforced sufficiently to protect the local market.


Are ethics in technology dead?

It seems that every day there is yet another case of unethical behaviour related to the technology sector. Whether it is the alleged involvement of the Chinese government with Huawei or a case of an ‘insider threat’ (typically a trusted individual doing something that is ethically and/or legally questionable), bad behaviour appears to be rampant throughout our industry. Intuitively, as IT professionals, we turn to technological solutions to try to solve problems. Configuring (higher levels of) encryption, ensuring logical centralised management and updates are all part of the solution. In a perfect world, this would result in all devices being secure and very little ability for ‘bad actors’ to gain unauthorised access to things that they shouldn’t.


Security vs national security

The tug of war over which companies should be allowed to have their technology built into the heart of the world’s 5G network cores is spilling over to the wider tech industry, with firms such as Broadcom and even Google at risk of suffering business harm. 5G is going to become incredibly crucial to the very fabric of our modern society, so there’s a lot at stake. I’m sure you know the background, but just to recap. Under Chinese law, the Chinese Government can compel Chinese companies to provide access to their technologies and data. Huawei maintains that it would ignore any such instruction, but is that realistic? Can anyone really envision a Chinese firm not bowing to a diktat from their communist leaders in Beijing? This is at the heart of concerns in many Western countries.