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Industry news – Autumn 2013

GCHQ helps businesses deal with cyber attacks 

The UK Government's spy listening service, GCHQ, has launched a 'unique' scheme to help companies fight back against cyber attacks – a potentially huge requirement as around 90% of UK organisations suffered a data breach last year.

The new Cyber Incident Response (CIR) scheme will provide UK businesses and public sector bodies with a list of government-certified clean-up service providers who they can turn to in the event of a cyber attack.

But the programme has been launched while the first service providers are still in the final stages of being certified – reflecting the urgency of the cyber threat.

CIR is a twin-track initiative. A small government-run scheme will help critical ‘networks of national significance’ respond to sophisticated targeted attacks.

A second, broader scheme will help all commercial companies, the wider public sector and academia. This is being branded a ‘unique’ government-industry partnership because GCHQ has handed over the running to CREST (the Council of Registered Ethical Security Testers) – a not-for-profit organisation representing the IT security industry.

CREST president Ian Glover said seven clean-up service providers are now being audited for the industry-focused scheme, with the successful ones being approved by around the end of September.

He commented: “I’ve been in the industry for 36 years – this is the first time I’ve ever seen industry and government collaborate in this way. This is a grown-up, considered way of government and industry collaborating on a major issue. It is quite unique. It’s because of the importance of the issue and the willingness of the UK government to collaborate with industry, knowing they haven’t got the capacity to deal with the emerging threat.”

Cyber Security Minister Chloë Smith said: “We have to recognise that there will be times when attacks do penetrate our systems and organisations want to know who they can reliably turn to for help.”

The CIR scheme is part of the Government’s £650 million National Cyber Security Programme. This includes a 10-step programme to help companies avoid being breached in the first place – available at

GCHQ helps businesses deal with cyber attacks
Chloë Smith: times when attacks do penetrate our systems

Tech staff most embarrassed at career choice

Tech staff most embarrassed at career choice
TV shows like Big Bang Theory exaggerate techie characters

People working in technology are among the most embarrassed about their choice of career. Research by Randstad Technologies finds just 53% of tech staff feel proud to work in the sector – well below the national average of 58%.

In a survey of over 2,000 British workers, the happiest work in insurance – 90% are proud of their profession, while those in engineering, property, financial services and social services are also above average.

Randstad points that the low levels of IT employee pride are in stark contrast to the growth and opportunities that exist in the sector – pointing to a sector-wide image problem that needs to be addressed.

Randstad MD Mike Beresford explained: “Unfortunately many of the people in STEM careers are often depicted in the mass media in a highly stereotypical manner. Some people might associate a career in IT with the exaggerated, techie characters that exist in TV shows such as The Big Bang Theory. But the industry is booming and with the results to prove it in terms of growth and pay.”

Beresford added: “A good sense of professional pride isn’t just good for employees – it’s good for business,” explaining: “No-one wants to go to work each day without feeling proud of their careers – and the research proves that employees who fall into this category often spend less time each week at work. In order to attract and retain a talented, dedicated workforce, employers need to make their staff feel proud of what they do.”

NHS opens doors to commercial IT recruits

Up to 50% of new NHS IT jobs are now open to IT staff from commercial sectors – a big departure from a year ago when NHS experience was mandatory for the vast majority of IT roles.

The change has been caused by the emergence of around 200 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and 20 Commissioning Support Units (CSUs) who now buy health support services. IT recruitment firm max20 call it an “irreversible trend” that has “changed the NHS landscape for good”.

There has been “huge” NHS demand for business analysts, technical support managers and project managers with business backgrounds since the start of 2013, says the agency. It also reports a recent spike in demand for commercially experienced network engineers and desktop technicians to help with the new infrastructure required by CCGs and CSUs.

NHS opens doors to commercial IT recruits
NHS: “desperately needs” commercial IT skills

Max20 managing director Don Tomlinson predicts IT consultants with Windows 8 skills will be particularly sought-after during the rest of 2013.

He said: “Today the NHS does not have all the skills it desperately needs inhouse to meet its aims. There is a battle for skilled IM&T professionals from commercial sectors. We have something of a skills shortage as many non-NHS IT professionals are unaware of the changes and the growing demand.”
Some roles will continue to require NHS knowledge, such as trainers, Excel report analysts and some business intelligence roles.

“I see demand for talented IM&T professionals from the NHS being buoyant for the next two to three years,” Tomlinson added.

News in Brief

Big data staying immature, says Gartner

Big data technology will take 5-10 years more to reach mainstream adoption – much longer than previously predicted, admits analyst firm Gartner. The company blames the fact that big data “tools and techniques are being adopted ahead of learned expertise and any maturity/optimisation, which is creating confusion” and “the inability to spot big data opportunities by the business, formulate the right questions and execute on the insights”. Just last year, Gartner said big data was 2-5 years away from wide-scale adoption, but the firm still insists it is a potentially “transformational” technology.

CIOs must push BYOD to lure ‘Millennials’

Some 74% of ‘Millennial’ or GenY staff (those aged 20-34) used a smartphone for work in the last year, compared to just 37% of Baby Boomers (aged 50+), according to a report by CompTIA. And as Millennials are set to form the largest segment of the workforce in less than two years, CompTIA is urging CIOs to keep pushing BYOD (bring your own device) policies if they want to attract GenY tech professionals. CompTIA says it is clear that the practice of using a personal device or app for work “is far more prevalent, and presumably valued, by younger workers”.

IT volunteers teach charities about big data

Charities including Oxfam GB and HelpAge International were shown the value of big data by over 80 volunteer data scientists at an inaugural event in London this summer. Each charity at the DataDive event – held by not-for-profit organisation DataKind UK and sponsored by Teradata – was shown how to look at its data to solve specific project issues, from studying the drivers that affect local food prices, to understanding age-related impacts on health and wellbeing. More events are planned as DataKind UK grows and seeks charitable status (visit and @DataKindUK on Twitter).

IT Adviser 75 Autumn 2013 Home

Download the whole issue as a PDF: IT Adviser, Issue 75, Autumn 2013



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