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by Simon Nicholls 06.10.21
The importance of cybersecurity is increasing. Fundamentally, our society is more technologically reliant than it has ever been, and this tendency...
The importance of cybersecurity is increasing. Fundamentally, our society is more technologically reliant than it has ever been, and this tendency shows no signs of slowing. Technology's development and expansion have had a beneficial impact on human existence, but the ease has come at the cost of cyber-attacks. If you utilise a tech device for any reason, you're likely to be a victim of a cyber-attack.
You'll need to be secure, which is where cyber security comes into the equation. Whether you're a person, a small business, or a huge corporation, you rely on computer systems on a daily basis. When you combine this with the rise of cloud services, poor cloud service security, smartphones, and the Internet of Things (IoT), you have a slew of cybersecurity risks that didn't exist only a few decades ago.
The protection of electronic data and information is known as cyber security. It protects electronic systems on devices like as computers, phones, servers, and networks against harmful assaults. It is critical, regardless of who you are, to protect your data from unwanted access.
Cyber-security is at an all-time high, and we must all do our share to be protected. Everyone has a role to play. This does not imply that everyone should become a cybersecurity specialist; rather, we must raise awareness of the threats that your users encounter so that they are not caught off guard when they are attacked.
Here are some top, simple tips to kep yourself and your business protected against unwanted Cyber Attacks:
Many of your personal accounts may be accessed through your email, putting you exposed to identity theft.
Important security upgrades are included with software and app updates to help safeguard your devices from cyber criminals.
To ensure the security of your data, two-factor authentication is advised for email accounts.
Password managers can assist you in creating and remembering passwords.
With a screen lock, you can keep your smartphone and tablet safe and add an added degree of protection to your devices.
Back up your most valuable material, such as photographs and essential papers, to an external hard drive or a cloud-based storage solution.
by Richard Shayler 27.05.21
What do Bitcoin, Charlie Bit My Finger, and Beeple’s digital art all have in common? They’re all powered by blockchain – a digital...
What do Bitcoin, Charlie Bit My Finger, and Beeple’s digital art all have in common? They’re all powered by blockchain – a digital list of records that are linked together using cryptography.
Blockchain-powered tech has risen in popularity, most notably in the form of cryptocurrency. But more recently, the sale of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) online for often millions of dollars has created a new buzz around blockchain.
Blockchain was originally created in 1991 with the purpose of timestamping digital documents so that they couldn’t be tampered with. This new tech went mostly unused, until it was adapted by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009 to create the digital cryptocurrency Bitcoin.
A blockchain is a decentralized ledger that is open to anyone. The complex properties of a blockchain make it near-impossible to tamper with. Each block contains a unique “hash” – like a fingerprint, plus the hash of the previous block. If a single block is tampered with, the hash will change and won’t correctly match the hash of the next block – invalidating the chain. This makes blockchains a very secure way of storing data.
These days, blockchain is essentially a peer-to-peer network that enables trusted trade between individuals without the need for a mediator. Mediators can be anything from banks, online servers such as eBay or Amazon, or physical shops.
This is all well and good, but it sounds a bit hypothetical. Where is blockchain being used in our lives as of now, and where can we expect to see it in the future?
Like any new technology, its potential is still being unlocked. The most commonly known use for blockchain tech as of present is Bitcoin. Cryptocurrency uses blockchain encryption techniques to control the creation of monetary units and to verify their transfer between users of the peer-to-peer network. This removes the need for banks and even physical money.
In theory, blockchain can be applied to any sort of trade – be it goods or services, energy, or something like voting.
Most recently there has been a surge in the sale of non-fungible tokens, which are powered on the Ethereum blockchain. Non-fungible means something unique and can’t be replaced with something else – like a piece of art, or a song. Bitcoin, or a dollar, is fungible – one bitcoin can be traded for another bitcoin and it’s exactly the same.
The Ethereum blockchain is the cryptocurrency used to support NFTs – it stores extra information that makes them work differently. NFTs can really be anything digital, such as art, music, tweets, memes, videos, etc. A lot of the excitement surrounding NFTs is around digital art. Yes, artist Beeple did sell a piece of digital art at Christie’s Auction House for $70 million… The exact piece of art can be viewed online by anyone – yes anyone. But only one person “owns” it. The authenticity of this ownership is powered by blockchain.
Is paying $70 million for a piece of digital art crazier than buying a tweet from the founder of Twitter for $3 million? I can’t decide…
What makes blockchain so interesting is that its potential is only just being unlocked. Until recently, we wouldn’t have thought that it was possible to “buy” a tweet – but apparently it is. Who knows where this exciting new tech will go next… any ideas?
written by Evangeline Hunt
by Richard Shayler 13.05.20
The question of outsourcing your recruitment to a consultancy or not is something that most businesses consider when looking to hire...
The question of outsourcing your recruitment to a consultancy or not is something that most businesses consider when looking to hire new talent. The common reason not to is the cost involved – most recruitment agencies charge a percentage of a candidate’s annual salary.
This may seem an unnecessary cost for many businesses who believe they can source talent themselves. Yet despite this, the best recruitment agencies will save you money (and time), as well as giving you access to the best possible candidates.
Recruiters can get you the most suitable candidates, faster
Internally sourcing your talent can be very time consuming. Posting a job advert on a job board might attract a lot of applications, which then need to be looked through. Often these applications are unsuitable or don’t have the right qualifications, making the whole process a waste of time. And of course, you’ll have to pay for the job board.
This is one of the main benefits of a recruiter – they source suitable candidates for you, taking out the most challenging and time-consuming element.
A great recruiter will have taken the time to understand you and your business and then fine-tune applications to a targeted number of candidates who match your company’s needs, meaning you waste no time reviewing irrelevant applications.
The time saved by using a recruiter can be huge. This equates to money saved in the short term, as you waste none of your precious time. While also ensuring the best possible candidate, who you are more likely to retain for the longer term, therefore further reducing the true cost of hiring.
The best recruiters are specialists and only recruit in your industry
Most recruitment agencies have a large pool of specialised talent specific to your industry, meaning they only introduce you to professionals that fit your criteria and they know them and their skills inside out. At Franklin Fitch, we focus on IT Infrastructure alone, meaning we are experts in our field and your job market.
We understand the technology on the job spec, meaning we’re able to ask candidates all the right questions to ensure they’re the right fit for your job. We also get to know our candidates to the same level of detail to ensure there is a great cultural fit.
Our knowledge gives us a very good overview of market trends, which can be a helpful addition to the hiring process.
In addition, recruiters are able to source the so-called “passive” candidates who wouldn’t be looking on job boards. This unlocks a cohort of the best possible talent, who wouldn’t normally react to a traditional job advert.
Recruiters can present your opportunities to the right candidates
Hiring is a two-way street, and often the best candidates aren’t on the market for long. Recruiters have skills in sales and persuasion and can encourage the best candidates to take your role over other offers they might have received. As long as it is right for both parties.
They also speed up the hiring process, meaning less time for the ideal candidate to be lost to a competitor or another company.
The relationship built between the recruiter and the candidate fosters trust and honesty, so you know exactly what you’re getting with each candidate.
Good recruiters want to foster a long-term working relationship with you
The best recruiters aren’t just focussed on today’s hire but hope to establish a long-term working relationship in preparation for future collaboration.
By establishing this partnership from the get-go, it creates efficiences in your entire hiring process meaning improved hiring techniques, cost savings and enabling you to have more time doing the job you’re employed to do!
Recruiters are able to support you in the entire recruitment process, from screening candidates, facilitating interviews, and following up once the candidate has started. Almost like an extension of your HR and internal recruitment department.
We’ve only scratched the surface of the benefits of working with a recruitment consultancy. If you have a vacancy within IT Infrastructure that you’re struggling to fill, or even if you’d just like to find out more about industry trends feel free to get in touch!
by Steven Ewer 19.03.20
Video calls and online chats are important social tools for many of us, so why not use them for business too? At a time when meeting face-to-face is...
Video calls and online chats are important social tools for many of us, so why not use them for business too? At a time when meeting face-to-face is being discouraged in a bid to contain the outbreak of Covid-19, many firms are doing just that and using virtual methods, such as video conference calls, to encourage business continuity.
In the recruitment business, interviews are key. They are the chance for candidates to meet their potential employer, get a feeling for the people and the business, and also to showcase who they are and what they can do. For employers, they are the chance to meet the potential employee, get a feeling of whether they would fit in with the office culture and obviously, to quiz them about their skills and experience. Doing this over the phone or by video link rather than face-to-face is a very different proposition.
Remote interviews can save time and stress
“Remote interviewing is nothing new,” says Steven Ewer, head of Franklin Fitch’s UK and US operations, adding that many of his clients have been using it for the initial interview stage for a long time. “Collaboration tools are so strong that actually there is no reason why the quality of your interview process needs to change.”
In reality, remote interviews can save time and stress both for the candidate and the company. Individuals need to set aside less time as they don’t have to travel and can fit a video call into a lunch break or even before work. Similarly, companies can schedule more interviews if they don’t need to spend time showing each person into the office.
That however, is a concern for some people. Steven says he has clients who are concerned that candidates want to see what the office environment is actually like and there is also the issue of how you check technology knowledge that would normally be tested in the confines of a controlled environment. In actual fact, he believes the company culture is the people and you can get a good feeling for that from a video call.
Treat it the same as any interview
“You need to treat a video interview in the same way you would a face-to-face interview,” says Steven, adding that many people forget they can be seen and can become easily distracted. He believes a video interview is preferable to a phone-only interview as it not only helps concentration and focus but you also get a better sense of the individual’s character. He does point out however, that it can be harder to gauge reaction and that body language is hyper-exaggerated on screen – not a big issue, but something to be aware of.
“And if you really want your candidates to see the office, the technology is there,” he says. “You can do virtual walkthroughs if you want and thanks to Google it is now even possible to see into buildings.”
“You don’t miss much by interviewing remotely,” he says. “It’s more of a mental issue.”
Companies need to adapt their hiring processes
Given the current situation – many European countries and much of the US is on lockdown and the majority of office-based staff are working from home, face-to-face interviews are a no go for the time being. Companies that want to hire – and there are still plenty of them – will have to change their recruitment processes and adapt.
There are signs this is already happening. Global downloads of business apps that facilitate remote interviews and working such as WeChat Work, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Slack have risen nearly five-fold since the start of the year, according to data from app analytics firm Sensor Tower. In the first week of March there were 6.7 million new users across the App Store and Google Play, compared with 1.4 million in the first week of January.
So, gone are the days of being judged on your pre-interview handshake. Now, if you get it wrong, it’ll be the quality of the video backdrop that you’re remembered for. So don’t forget to move away from the drying washing!
We're still hiring
For anyone looking for a position in IT infrastructure or companies with roles to fill, we are still here and busy making the most of the technology on offer to continue hiring both for ourselves and clients as normal. Give us a call on 0203 696 7950 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remote interview advice for candidates:
Remote interview advice for interviewers:
by Claire Shoesmith
by David Annable 17.03.20
It’s official, the coronavirus is here. Yesterday the UK Prime Minister advised people to avoid non-essential travel and where possible to work...
It’s official, the coronavirus is here. Yesterday the UK Prime Minister advised people to avoid non-essential travel and where possible to work from home to help slow the spread the of the Covid-19 virus that has already killed thousands of people around the world. Many European countries and parts of the US are already on lock-down. At Franklin Fitch we are heeding the advice and from today, most of us are working from home.
Thanks to technology such as Skype, Microsoft’s Teams and Zoom Video Communications, to name but a few, remote working is relatively simple. Provided you have access to a computer and an internet connection, most people can continue doing their job in the same way they would in an office. Meetings, document sharing and even interviews (we will return to this in a separate blog) can all be done remotely online – it just requires a bit more planning and perhaps a little more discipline from the individual workers to ensure they remain engaged and motivated.
It's about collaboration and communication
Some companies had already made the decision for their employees to work remotely before yesterday’s announcement, but it was one that was not taken lightly at Franklin Fitch. Ultimately we are a business built on collaboration and communication, and while this can be successful at a distance, it is something that David Annable, the firm’s founder, believes is even better done face-to-face.
“We are all about collaborative working,” says David. “And what’s the easiest way to achieve that? – to sit at a desk with other people.” For him, there are huge benefits to sitting in an open-plan office surrounded by colleagues doing a similar job. As well as the collaborative aspect, he believes the learning and emotional support provided by nearby colleagues is very important.
“Being present in the office means you are more aware of what is going on with your colleagues and are able to see the visual clues to help you provide the right emotional support at the right time,” he says.
People can work just as well remotely
Still, the government advice is very clear and we fully support the move to reduce close contact in the office, especially when our employees can do their job just as well remotely. We will continue to offer the same level of training and support to our staff and engagement with our candidates and clients via email, phone and video conferencing.
For many, flexible working is nothing new – in fact, according to a study by business payment advisers Merchant Savvy, 61% of global companies already allow their staff to work remotely for at least some of their working week. But for those who usually travel into an office each day and not only enjoy the company of, but also learn from, the colleagues sitting around them, the isolation of home working can be difficult. We at Franklin Fitch are very aware of this and will be keeping in close contact with all our employees, candidates and clients to ensure that not only business continues as usual, but also that their health, both mental and physical, remains strong .
We are open for business
Contact us on 0203 696 7950 or email email@example.com
by Jamie Fitzgerald 03.03.20
Looking for a career in cybersecurity? Well you’re in demand - provided you get in there before the robots do. Oliver Tattersall, head of...
Looking for a career in cybersecurity? Well you’re in demand - provided you get in there before the robots do.
Oliver Tattersall, head of the German cyber and information security team at Franklin Fitch, believes that the majority of small and medium-sized businesses are vastly underprepared for the threat of a cyberattack and are leaving themselves open to billions of pounds/euros of financial damage. Whether it’s a lack of funding or ignorance that it won’t happen to them, the need for skilled cybersecurity specialists has never been greater.
“There is a distinct lack of awareness of cybersecurity in SMEs,” says Oliver, adding that even if the awareness was there, there is the added complication of finding people with the right skills. “It’s a very candidate-short market at the moment, particularly in cybersecurity, and this is making it very hard to find the right people.”
The potential damage from an attack is huge
Failing to implement the right cybersecurity measures can have a devastating impact on a company that falls victim to an attack both financially and in terms of reputational damage. While allocating funds for appropriate security at a time when many companies are cutting spending is not ideal – the average mid-sized company spends tens or even hundreds of thousands on cybersecurity - the outlay is small by comparison to the damage that could be caused.
So, what cybersecurity-related skills are most in demand and how can potential specialists get the job they want and help these companies stave off an attack?
“Candidates need to be able to communicate, get stakeholders on board, be hungry for knowledge and have good technical skills,” says Oliver.
Companies need to innovate to attract skilled workers
He is currently seeking to fill an array of cybersecurity roles in Germany, particularly in the areas of embedded security, defence analysts, cyber analysts and risk specialists. While he is quietly confident that eventually he will find the right person for each role, he also believes that German companies need to be prepared to be more flexible if they want to attract the best people. “There are many highly-skilled workers outside of Germany that could add great value to these companies,” he says, adding that now is the time to think outside the box when it comes to recruitment in order to attract the best talent.
In addition, Oliver believes there is an increased tendency nowadays for skills to cross over. It is harder to draw a line between the infrastructure and software sides, meaning that people with a certain skillset might now be able to carry out other jobs too.
How can AI help?
In the future Oliver believes that some of the pressure on the sector may be relieved by Artificial Intelligence (AI). “AI not only removes the human element, which is itself open to risk and manual error, but it can help to identify data and pinpoint where there’s a possible threat,” he says.
Already some cybersecurity companies are teaching AI systems to detect viruses and malware by using complex algorithms so AI can then run pattern recognition software. AI systems can also be used in situations of multi-factor authentication to provide access to their users. It is worth pointing out however that while AI may be great for processing large amounts of data or replacing autonomous manual tasks, it will never be able to replace a security analyst’s insight or understanding of a problem.
In reality, the likelihood is that jobs will change and while some of us may indeed end up working alongside an automated colleague, we will still be needed, but for alternative functions.
Anyone interested in a role in the cybersecurity space in Germany should contact Oliver by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Charlotte Drury 20.01.20
A new year, a new you, or so the saying goes. For some this will mean a new job, for others it will be new resolutions, but for the remainder, it...
A new year, a new you, or so the saying goes. For some this will mean a new job, for others it will be new resolutions, but for the remainder, it will simply be a continuation of the same, picking up where they left off sometime before Christmas. Even if it’s the latter, there’s no room for complacency. The IT world is constantly changing, and so should you if you want to keep on top of your game and get the most out of 2020.
Whilst we at Franklin Fitch have many skills, unfortunately crystal-ball reading isn’t one of them. However, being involved in two of the fastest moving industries – IT Infrastructure and recruitment, we have no doubt that 2020 is set to be an exciting year. So, what do we expect the first year of the new decade to bring, and more importantly, what can you do to ensure you stay ahead?
Here we look at the five top trends we expect to be dominating the market over the next 12 months and how we believe you can use them to your advantage.
There are several reasons for this: unemployment is at its lowest rate for more than 40 years (the latest figures from the UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) released in December show the unemployment rate fell to 3.8%, its lowest level since 1974) and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Britain’s departure from the EU. The upcoming change to the IR35 legislation is also having an impact, but we will examine this in more detail in another article.
Finding individuals with the required skills and experience to fill roles in cutting-edge sectors, such as serverless and cloud technology, DevOps, containerisation, networking and cyber security has never been easy, but it’s now harder than ever. Not only are there not enough Britons out there seeking these positions, but we are now faced with a likely shortage of skilled migrant workers thanks to the uncertainty around Britain’s future immigration policy. While there is much talk of an Australian-style point-based system, which would allow those with the necessary skills to take these roles, David Annable, Franklin Fitch’s founder, says that all the uncertainty is reducing the attractiveness of the UK as a place for non-Britons to work.
While the tight market makes it more difficult for businesses looking to hire highly-skilled security architects, network engineers or chief information (security) officers, it is also an opportunity for the UK’s top technology talent.
The knock-on effect of a shortage of candidates is obviously an increase in salaries. With fewer people to fill the roles, particularly in the highly-skilled areas of networks, servers, security or data, it goes without saying that those individuals capable of doing the job will need to be paid more to attract them to, and keep them in, the role.
Another feature of a tight employment market is that it places the power very firmly in the hands of the candidate. Employers will need to work harder to attract and retain the right people, says Annable.
Training and development will be key to ensuring employees remain engaged and hopefully prevent them being enticed away to other roles. In our 2019 Market and Skills Report, the opportunity to progress featured highly, just behind salary, in the rankings of what candidates consider to be most important when choosing a new job.
Getting the right work-life balance has long been a talking point. While no definitive solution to the age-old challenge has been found, organisations have become much more open to alternative ways of working, including flexible hours, job sharing and the option to work from home. This is understandably not an option for all roles, but in today’s tight job market, organisations are going to have to pay more attention to the requests of individual employees and seek to accommodate their demands to attract the top talent. Again this offers a great opportunity for job seekers.
Improving diversity and inclusion is not just a box-ticking exercise. Organisations are at last starting to realise the benefits of a diverse workforce. According to the latest figures from the UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS), just over half of the 6.5 million Britons working in professional occupations are women. While this is indeed progress, it has unfortunately not filtered through to the IT and telecommunications’ sectors, where the ratio is just one in six.
However, the IT sector fares better when it comes to ethnic diversity, with the latest ONS figures showing that of the 1.84 million professionals who work in science, engineering and technology, 85.1% are white, compared with 87.6% across the UK workforce as a whole.
While the debate rumbles on as to how to achieve increased diversity in gender, ability, ethnicity and sexual orientation, you can expect organisations to try their own variations of quotas and targets to help achieve their goal. For some individuals, this will be an opportunity.
To conclude, there is no doubt that the tight employment market offers highly-skilled IT candidates the chance to shine and move ahead of the curve, but they aren't the only ones. The market situation also creates a significant opportunity for recruiters to face up to the challenge of finding the right person for the right role in a market where organisations themselves are likely to struggle.
If 2020 is looking like a good year for candidates, then it's also not looking too bad for recruiters.....
by Leonie Schaefer 20.06.19
Diversity and inclusion are very important topics for businesses across all industries. We want to shine a light on the topic specifically for those...
Diversity and inclusion are very important topics for businesses across all industries. We want to shine a light on the topic specifically for those working within IT Infrastructure.
We’ve seen a lot of women in tech initiatives over the years yet still only 10% of participants in this market and skills report were female. Although we were hoping that this is not a representative number, day to day conversations with industry specialist show a similar result.
We are supporting events like CYBERWOMEN 2019 in Germany and hope that initiatives like these will give women and girls the confidence to take on a career in IT Infrastructure.
Although we are huge fans of initiatives encouraging women and girls in tech, we think that this is not enough. Diversity & Inclusion is not only about the female-male divide. It is about tackling biases based on gender, race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexual preference and age (just to name a few) and ending discrimination completely.
We would like to provide a platform for those working within or interested in IT Infrastructure to share their experiences with us and to come up with possible solutions together.
We are conducting interviews with industry experts who are willing to give us their opinions and insights on diversity and inclusion within IT Infrastructure.
Interested? Contact Leonie Schaefer for more information +44 203 696 7950, email@example.com.
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