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by Freddie Fulk
As companies compete for specialised professionals, discussions on the future of work are increasingly focusing on the advantages of blended...
As companies compete for specialised professionals, discussions on the future of work are increasingly focusing on the advantages of blended workforces. While many businesses have typically preferred permanent employees over contract labour, this is changing. More executives and hiring managers have discovered they need to explore beyond standard resourcing strategies in a tight employment market caused in large part by the pandemic.
The scarcity of available computer specialists is one of the most urgent challenges for companies. The demand for technological products and services is increasing in the digital age. However, according to IT Nation's People and Skills Report, IT job prospects have reached a 10-year high and now account for approximately 14 percent of the overall UK workforce. According to the Office for National Statistics, job opportunities in the UK will outnumber unemployment for the first time in 2022.
If you're having trouble hiring qualified permanent employees, is it time to consider how contractors can help your company? These choices may appear expensive on paper, but there is a wider picture to examine.
It is challenging to optimise the amount of employees in your workforce. It is about balancing the amount of employees so that they do not exceed the budget while also not becoming understaffed. Using contractors gives your company the flexibility to avoid these extremes.
Contractors will quickly assist you in meeting your needs. In the tech industry, you may be given enormous assignments or unique projects that require your organisation to rapidly expand up. Contractors provide your organisation with a one-of-a-kind opportunity to be flexible, which is critical in the tech era.
Some businesses are hesitant to engage with contractors because they believe it would prevent great talent, but this is not the case. Because of how quickly in-demand talents can change in the computer business, many highly talented individuals choose to work as contractors.
Furthermore, the tech industry often requires a fairly specific set of talents. These specialised skills are usually only necessary for a brief period of time. Using contractors to address these skill gaps within your company for certain projects and business goals is an easy option.
New Ideas and Abilities
Contractors generally have a lot more exposure to diverse firms and working settings because of their expertise working with multiple clients. As a result, they frequently add new perspectives and insights to the initiatives in which they are involved.
Their lack of ties to the company also provides them with the advantage of being able to examine an issue objectively and propose effective ideas that go beyond the status quo. A contractor's independence from a company also allows them to facilitate decision-making and adopt new methods without fear of internal bias.
Hiring a new permanent team member is a significant investment. In the fast-paced world of technology, finding and acquiring the appropriate talent can cost your company a lot of money. Even so, you can't be confident that they'll be a good fit. Utilise tech contractors to reduce the use of those resources.
A trial run will be important in determining whether or not that person is a good fit. It will also help you determine whether the position is something you will require in the long run. With the current increase in IT employment, how can you be certain that your firm has the correct tech position? Using contractors is a great way to test new positions you are considering acquiring for the long run.
Contractors are cost-effective resources for meeting project-driven demands as well as unforeseen upticks in internal operations and systems. Working with a contractor can help you save money on initial hiring costs if your budget is a barrier to employing fresh talent.
When compared to hiring permanent employees, outsourcing is an excellent way to save money. Take a look at the following:
- No holiday, sick, or overtime pay
- Only compensated for the exact set of hours you require them to work
- Reduced overhead costs
- Insurance covered by the agency
- Tax and pension dealt with by the contractor
- Controlled staffing budget
Many businesses have begun to reconsider their employment practises in the present economy, particularly in the fast-paced area of technology. Using contractors allows your firm to be more flexible, save money, gain access to a broader range of capabilities, and test the waters with tech jobs and people.
Has your organisation considered maximising on the trend by utilising contractors? Or do you require further assistance in navigating the world of contracting? Our team of recruiting professionals is ready to talk about the opportunities that contractors can bring to your firm. Contact us right away to learn more about how we can help you.
by Matthew Bell
The latest version of the OpenAI language model system, GPT-4, was officially launched on March 13, 2023 with a paid subscription. Overall,...
The latest version of the OpenAI language model system, GPT-4, was officially launched on March 13, 2023 with a paid subscription. Overall, GPT-4 appears to be more functional, responsive, and secure than GPT-3 or GPT-3.5. However, since Microsoft's Bing Chat uses the GPT-4 language model and the company has faced many complaints and criticisms about some of Bing Chat's strange responses, it's fair to say that these limitations dampen any expectation that GPT-4 represents an immediate "revolution".
Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, admitted in an interview that some users will be unhappy when the GPT-4 comes out, because it won't contain anything revolutionary. However, we believe the technology is on the right track and its capabilities across multiple business areas have the potential to both advance and transform a variety of industries. We are now in a time where opinions about AI development vary widely and are now being challenged by individuals and even AI experts.
What does the tool offer?
The latest model, unlike GPT-3.5, accepts input of both text instructions and graphics. For example, users can enter a hand-drawn sketch into the AI chatbot, which turns it into a usable web page.
The image processing function can also be used by companies:
- Improving customers' buying experience through customized visual searches and recommendations.
- Increase chatbot interaction to improve customer service.
- Improve your material and quickly flag offensive photos.
- Adding captions and improving accessibility in other ways.
Processing longer texts
The context window of large language models like GPT is limited. This context window is very restrictive as GPT makes it difficult to generate an entire novel at once.
The long form mode of the new GPT-4 model offers a context window of 32,000 tokens (52 pages of text). That's significantly more than the 2,049 tokens offered by the old GPT-3 API (three pages of text).
For example, you can enter a website's URL in GPT-4 and ask it to perform text analysis and generate interesting long material. Or you ask them to evaluate a 30-page lawsuit that you provide them with.
In addition, organizations can use GPT-4 to assess business planning, uncover vulnerabilities in cybersecurity systems, provide cost-effective medical diagnostics, and analyze financial data. The ability to follow the "system" message, which allows you to direct the model to behaving differently was one area where GPT-4 was particularly improved. With this you can ask GPT to do a similar task as a software engineer to improve the performance of the model.
According to OpenAI, GPT-4 is said to be more secure and responsive than previous versions. In the company's tests, it was "60% less likely to invent something".
However, there are certain limitations. Like its predecessors, GPT-4 is still capable of confidently providing "hallucinating" facts and committing several logical errors. This is problematic because consumers can assume that the model is correct in most cases.
I advise organizations to put in place reliable procedures to verify and validate data in GPT-4 generated content before publishing or distributing it to get around this.
Another limitation is the ignorance of developments after September 2021. Users are thus deprived of the most recent data. Those responsible in the companies must be aware of this possibility in order to be able to use the latest update efficiently.
How can companies use this technology?
In order for companies to compete with this or a similar AI technology, they need to build a team with deep AI skills to optimize the use of the tool. To compete in this AI-driven world, companies can do the following:
1. Stay up to date: As a company, keep an eye on the latest GPT-4 developments. To improve your overall performance, you're constantly experimenting with new features to see how you can get more accurate answers and integrate them into your business processes.
2. Prioritize users: Any customer-centric company places the highest value on the user experience. Therefore, make sure your AI chatbot has a simple, user-friendly interface that provides users with useful information. You can improve chatbot responses by using user feedback.
3. Check your work: Based on your clues, GPT-4 can generate accurate answers. With his improved mathematical skills, he is able to interpret results from data sheets. Have them examine papers and code to see if there are ways to improve your finished output.
On March 29th, in an open letter warning of possible dangers to society and humanity, Elon Musk and a group of artificial intelligence specialists and business executives are calling for a six-month freeze on development of systems more powerful than the recently released one GPT-4 by OpenAI. They want to ensure that there is enough time to ensure that these systems are secure and do not harm the security of society and its infrastructure.
"AI systems with human-competitive intelligence can bring profound risks to society and humanity."
"Powerful AI systems should only be developed when we are sure that their impact is positive and their risks manageable."
A number of authorities are already working to regulate high-risk AI tools. The six months proposed by the industry experts will be used by governments to develop security protocols and AI governance systems, and to refocus research to ensure AI systems are more accurate, safer, more trustworthy and more loyal. They also want to prevent the spread of disinformation and the potential for creating false narratives on certain issues that could be picked up by the AI systems. However, several people also liken the AI industry to temporary hype, arguing that both the potential and the threat posed by AI systems are massively overstated.
The IT industry is constantly changing, and in order to keep up with it, companies need to stay current. Whether it's about security or management, it's always important to secure the next hire in a beneficial manner.
If you're looking to expand your IT practice or strengthen your existing teams, don't hesitate to contact one of our many specialised consultants who have IT industry experts waiting for their next opportunity.
by Manuel Osaba
In my time recruiting for Franklin Fitch, I’ve largely specialized in server-specific roles. Whether it’s been cloud architects, storage...
In my time recruiting for Franklin Fitch, I’ve largely specialized in server-specific roles. Whether it’s been cloud architects, storage architects, virtualization engineers, or others, I’ve enjoyed learning about the technology. One of the components of the technical discussion that I’ve enjoyed having the most with my candidates is the difference between on-premises and cloud infrastructure systems.
Obviously, there are even hybrid cloud solutions for specialized security measures – these are especially present in healthcare storage solutions. On the whole, I thought it would be an interesting topic to explore and dive into: the differences in these infrastructure types.
On-premises infrastructure refers to a company's IT resources and systems that are hosted and managed in-house, while cloud-based infrastructure refers to a company's IT resources and systems that are hosted and managed off-site, typically by a third-party provider. Both options have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, and the right choice for a company will depend on its specific needs and goals.
One major advantage of on-premises infrastructure is that it gives a company full control over its IT resources and systems. This can be particularly important for companies that handle sensitive data or need to adhere to strict regulatory requirements. With on-premises infrastructure, a company can implement its own security measures and have full visibility into how its systems are being used. Additionally, an on-premises setup can be more predictable in terms of costs, as a company can more accurately budget for hardware, software, and maintenance expenses.
However, on-premises infrastructure also has several disadvantages. For one, it requires a significant upfront investment in hardware and software, which can be expensive. It also requires a dedicated team to manage and maintain the systems, which can add to labor costs. Additionally, on-premises infrastructure can be inflexible, as it is difficult to scale up or down quickly in response to changing business needs. Finally, on-premises systems are vulnerable to physical disasters, such as fires, floods, or power outages, which can disrupt business operations.
Cloud-based infrastructure, on the other hand, offers a number of advantages that make it attractive for many companies. For one, it is typically more scalable and flexible than on-premises infrastructure, as companies can easily add or remove resources as needed. This can be particularly useful for companies with fluctuating workloads or that are growing quickly. Cloud-based infrastructure is also generally more cost-effective than on-premises infrastructure, as companies only pay for the resources they use and do not have to worry about the upfront costs of hardware and software.
In addition, cloud-based infrastructure can be more reliable than on-premises systems, as it is typically backed by robust infrastructure and redundancies. This means that companies can experience fewer outages and downtime, which can be critical for businesses that rely on their systems to operate. Finally, cloud-based infrastructure is generally easier to manage, as it is the responsibility of the third-party provider to maintain and update the systems.
However, cloud-based infrastructure also has its own set of disadvantages. One major concern is security, as companies are entrusting their data to a third party. While reputable cloud providers have robust security measures in place, there is still a risk that data could be accessed or compromised. Additionally, while cloud-based infrastructure is generally more cost-effective than on-premises infrastructure, it can still be expensive, particularly for companies with large or complex workloads. Finally, companies may have less control over their systems with cloud-based infrastructure, as they are relying on the provider to manage and maintain the systems.
In conclusion, both on-premises infrastructure and cloud-based infrastructure have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. The right choice for a company will depend on its specific needs and goals. On-premises infrastructure offers full control and predictability but requires a significant upfront investment and is vulnerable to physical disasters. Cloud-based infrastructure is more scalable, flexible, and cost-effective, but carries security risks and may be less customizable. It will be intriguing to see what the larger trends will be regarding which industries chose to move into the cloud or on-site with the traditional options.
by Curtis Phillips
Imagine if Siri could write you a long essay or any other system was able to spit out a movie review in the style of poems. The options are endless....
Imagine if Siri could write you a long essay or any other system was able to spit out a movie review in the style of poems. The options are endless. OpenAI gave the public access to ChatGPT which does exactly this. The system has the ability to interact with users in an almost real-life manner through language processing tasks such as text generation and language translation.
The tool quickly went viral with it’s many natural language processing tasks and people quickly started using it across all industries. Users became transfixed by its abilities, and it quickly spread across multiple industries. But the language processing model also brought up a lot of fears. The outrage was triggered by concerns of redundancy on the part of people whose employment requires the ability to write workmanlike content. As the machine is able to mimic human-like conversation and text, one can only imagine how it could take over industries with ease.
But before analysing these concerns and the possibility of industry takeovers, it is important to understand the Nature of ChatGPT, what technology it offers and how it is applied.
ChatGPT can be used for a wide range of natural language processing tasks. Some of which are:
Language translation : If provided with a text prompt in one language and through specifying the target language, the model can generate accurate and fluent translations of the text.
Text Generation : Generates human-like text responses to prompts. This can be useful for costumer service or generating responses to online forums or even creating social media posts for marketing purposes. The options are limitless.
Text summarization : When given, the processing system is able to summarize long texts or documents.
Sentiment analysis : ChatGPT is even able to analyse a text and determine the overall tone and emotion of the piece of writing.
Overall, ChatGPT can be used for many language processing tasks. The specific applications of the model will depend on the needs and goals of the user.
ChatGPT is based on the GPT-3 architecture, which is a model that uses self-attention mechanisms to process and generate text. As of earl 2021, GPT-3 is the largest neural network ever produced. As a result, GPT-3 is better than any prior model for producing text that is convincing enough to seem human. However, there are limits to the system. Even though it is powerful, its biggest issue is that it is not consistently learning. It is pre-trained and doesn’t have an ongoing long-term memory that learns from each interaction made. There is also a lack of the systems' ability to explaining and interpreting why certain inputs result in specific outputs.
There are further concerns about GPT-3 revolving around machine learning bias. Since the model is trained to observe internet text, it similarly exhibits many human biases that are shown in online text. This can lead to texts and discourses being predominantly linked to theorists or even white supremacists. This indicates that the system can be abused and used to create hate speech, or fake-news articles which can take the media by storm and cause distress.
ChatGPT disrupting industries
New AI systems such as ChatGPT consistently create disruption in several industries. The key to adjusting is figuring out how to redesign our economic systems to fully engage these systems and the working population. We may soon have machines that can take over the work of writing out ideas fully. This will enable millions of people to now write well and upskill themselves. But in retrospect, it also calls for change and industries have no choice but to adjust to these rapid changes.
These recent advances in AI will surely usher in a period of hardship and economic pain for some whose jobs are directly impacted and who find it hard to adapt — what economists euphemistically call “adjustment costs.” However, the forward march of technology will continue, and we must harness the new capabilities to benefit society. To do so, we must ask what new systems can be built with these new tools and how can we implement it.
Being specialised IT consultants, we surround ourselves daily with the changing industry and new opportunities being created according to technological advances. If you want to stay on top of your game and stay ahead of the job market, then don’t hesitate to contact one of our many recruiters. Discuss the current job market and industry trajectory, or discuss new opportunities to further your career.
by Gareth Streefland
We have experienced remarkably high volatility over the past three years, including supply chain disruptions, historically high inflation,...
We have experienced remarkably high volatility over the past three years, including supply chain disruptions, historically high inflation, geopolitical unrest, and of course an unprecedented worldwide pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns.
It has never been more difficult for many business leaders and entrepreneurs to navigate this environment. Fortunately, new technological solutions are being developed in concert with these issues to support forward-thinking executives in positioning their firms to succeed in the tumultuous years to come.
Knowing the top tech trends expected for 2023 is probably the most important step you can take to make sure your company is prepared for near-term success. After all, if you don't start preparing your business for the newest technological advancements as soon as the year starts, you'll already be behind!
In light of this, let's examine some of the major technological trends for 2023 as identified by Gartner Research, and consider how you may use them to prepare your company for a better, more prosperous future.
1. Digital Immune System
The past few years have seen an unparalleled focus on risk, both in the physical and digital world. Cybersecurity concerns are increasingly acute, as data breaches and other cybersecurity concerns are becoming increasingly sophisticated.
Fortunately, methods for protecting against online criminals, spammers and other unwanted online pests are improving in sophistication as well. Through observation, automation and the latest developments in design, a robust digital immune system can significantly mitigate operational and security risks.
As the utility of these tools becomes more established, expect to hear many more questions about the health of your organization’s digital immune system in the year to come, and what you’re doing to strengthen and protect it.
2. Applied Observability
The 2010s saw an abundance of tools and methods of capturing more data than anyone knew what to do with. Thus, with seemingly endless quantities of client data now available, it’s likely that the next step will be toward creating new uses for data that’s been collected.
Applied Observability uses Artificial Intelligence to analyze and make recommendations for greater efficiency and accuracy based on an organization’s compiled data. It optimizes data implementation by placing more value on use of the right data at the right time for rapid response based on confirmed stakeholder actions, rather than intentions. This can lead to real-time operational improvement, and a tangible competitive advantage for your business.
3. AI Trust, Risk and Security Management (AI TRiSM)
We’ve all heard a lot about AI over the past several years, but believe it or not, many industries are still in the early stages of AI implementation.
With the focus on risk throughout every industry post-pandemic, it’s no surprise that AI Trust, Risk and Security Management (AI TRiSM) will be a major focal point in the tech space next year. AI TRiSM combines methods for explaining AI results, new models for active management of AI security, and controls for privacy and ethics issues, all in support of an organization’s governance, reliability, security, and overall health.
4. Industry Cloud Platforms
Cloud adoption has been a major component of digital transformation for over a decade, and 2023 will almost certainly prove to be another year for more sophisticated, industry and organization-specific cloud adoption strategies. By combining SaaS, PaaS and IaaS with customized functionality, Industry Cloud Platforms may prove to be the most consequential step toward cloud adoption to date.
5. Platform Engineering
As adoption grows and digital platforms mature, expect to see an increased emphasis on customization. That’s what platform engineering offers: a set of tools and capabilities that are developed and packed for ease-of-use. For development teams and end-users alike, this could mean increased productivity and simplified processes.
6. Wireless-Value Realization
We’re still only beginning to scratch the surface of the value gained by the integration of wireless technology through a broad, interconnected ecosystem.
In the coming years, we’ll see wireless endpoints that are able to sense, e-charge, locate and track people and things far behind traditional endpoint communication capabilities. Another step towards optimization of collected data, wireless-value realization networks provide real-time analytics and insights, as well as allowing systems to directly harvest network energy.
Combining the features of an app, a platform and a digital ecosystem within a single application, superapps offer a platform from which third parties can develop and publish their own miniapps. An end user can activate micro or minapps within the superapp, allowing for a more personalized app experience.
8. Adaptive AI
Using real-time feedback to new data and goals, adaptive AI allows for quick adaptation to the constantly evolving needs of the real-world business landscape. The value provided by adaptive AI is apparent, but implementing these systems requires automated decision-making systems to be fully reengineered, which will have a dramatic impact on process architecture for many companies.
As noted above, you’re likely familiar with the term “metaverse” by now thanks to Mark Zuckerberg. However, if the lackluster performance of Meta’s stock is any indication, you’re one of the many who has yet to be sold on the benefits of the metaverse.
Regardless, metaverse technologies that allow for digital replication or enhancement of activities traditionally done in the physical world should certainly not be dismissed. There is far too much at stake, and the possibilities are far too intriguing for too many people to write off metaverse technologies quite yet, even if the pilot versions fail to impress.
10. Sustainable Technology
Until recently, the tech world has been single-mindedly fixated on boosting the power of new technologies. But as tech becomes increasingly integrated into every facet of our lives, we’re seeing new investments in energy efficient tech and tech that promotes sustainable practices.
Emissions management software and AI, traceability and analytics for energy efficiency are all allowing both developers to build sustainability-focused tech, and allowing business leaders to explore new markets and opportunities for sustainable growth.
by Heather Wilkins
Even though the split between women and men in the tech industry has become a lot more diverse, there is still an obvious divide. The main cause of...
Even though the split between women and men in the tech industry has become a lot more diverse, there is still an obvious divide. The main cause of this is a lack of diversity, awareness, and unconscious biases. The awareness of the IT profession among students and unconscious biases are just the start of a deep-rooted issue. This issue must be overcome before women's representation in software development teams can improve.
Discussions about diversity in the IT industry, include the challenges to greater gender diversity, and how having role models, and support systems, and building both competence and confidence is vital for women to succeed in the tech industry.
The lack of role models is a key challenge that has to be focused on to increase the number of women in Tech. There are many successful and respected male software developers and men in IT. Seeing the lack of women makes one think, are there even actual career paths for women that will last 20 or 30 years? Especially when you look at company hierarchy, and how the amount of women in positions decreases drastically when moving higher up the cooperate ladder, it is shocking how few women you find. Archana Manjunatha, executive director and head of platform transformation and DBS Bank, explains that it gets lonelier at the top because there are even fewer women as you climb the corporate ladder. Having more role models means that other females won't feel so lonely and don’t feel that they can’t do it. To some extent, it is hard to become what you cannot see. Because that is how people choose careers and paths – when they see somebody, then it's easier for them to say “I want to become like this person”.
At the moment, when you think of an engineer or a similar role, most of the time you will think of a male in such positions. This mindset needs to be replaced with more female images so that women entering the industry are not deterred at all. However, even though this backward mindset is still very much present, there are a lot more movements and initiatives today to highlight female role models and encourage women to enter the IT industry.
Another challenge is an unconscious bias that sets in early, where even primary school children view math and science-related fields as being more suited for men. Through changing education by families and schools, this mindset could be changed. A lot of people also identify the path to a tech career as exciting and sudden. This is because most people don’t think of this field from an early age. If it is implemented properly, it can become an extremely rewarding field for several women.
Have support systems
Another challenge for women is to thrive in their careers through the different life stages, where they have to juggle bringing up children and work, or even taking some time off for family before re-entering the workforce. Support systems in these instances will help women through these difficult stages. Most of the time, people are also very open to giving you the help and support that you need. Just have the courage to ask for it and you’d be surprised how much help you will be given. This will help you be able to not drop off entirely, but give you the opportunity to make a comeback at a certain point in time.
Key elements to succeed
Regardless of gender, it all comes down to competence and confidence. Building competence is extremely important, and with that competence comes confidence. When someone is an expert in a subject matter, the agenda is almost invisible at the table because people are listening to you for your expert opinions, and your knowledge in the area. In return, respect will be gained. This means that women still are encouraged to upskill themselves. Technology is constantly evolving. What may have gotten you into technology, will not be there the next day. So one always has to keep themselves up to date. The growth mindset and the ability to want to keep learning are very important in the IT industry.
To show skills and benchmarks, certification can be completed which will help not only secure a position but also required to show your acquired skills.
Through the further integration of women into the tech industry, it is noted that there will not only be a more balanced gender representation in tech teams, but there will also be better delivery of code, products, and technology. We are definitely living in much better times, but there is still a long way to go. If there are only 20% of women are trying to solve the problem, it won't be solved or will take longer. The remaining 80% must become part of the solution. Otherwise, it's just women talking about needing equality and not taking any action.
While challenges exist, many opportunities exist for women in the tech industry. It is understandable that a lot of women feel unsure about getting into the industry due to self-doubt. But instead of asking if you are smart enough, put in the hours, be willing to learn, really try, and give it a go!
by Lauren Greene
When you, as an IT leader, are able to foster innovation, it not only benefits IT itself, but the business it serves and you personally. It...
When you, as an IT leader, are able to foster innovation, it not only benefits IT itself, but the business it serves and you personally. It shows that you are an internal agent of change and a valuable asset. Companies that recognize this build their culture and processes in a way that encourages innovation. You have realized that waiting for prompting is not the right way to move forward.
Put simply, innovation is what your business needs to bridge the gap between where it is now and the future you envision in which it will thrive. So how can you encourage this innovation and drive it forward in the workplace? Below we give you some tips on how to do just that and increase the success of your teams and your company in the innovation process.
1. Define your definition of IT innovation and recognize the opportunities
First, you need to determine if there is a culture of innovation in your company. Whether your employees can come to you with new ideas or whether suggestions are perceived as annoying. When employees have the opportunity to innovate and contribute to your organization's mission and goals, their engagement increases. They feel part of a whole and see how their work advances the company. That's a great motivator.
But you can't just go to your employees with a vague idea to innovate. That's too broad a spectrum to give to anyone. You will not feel motivated or encouraged. Asking a team to innovate is like asking an athlete to play better. So if you want your employees to innovate and encourage that culture, you first need to define what IT innovation means for your business. It can be anything: the successful development, implementation, extension, or improvement of a technical process, a business process, or a software or hardware product. It can even revolve around cultural factors that reduce costs, increase productivity, increase the company's competitiveness or bring any other business benefit. As you may be able to tell, the range of IT innovations is very wide. So we encourage you to expand your goal and pitch this idea to your IT teams.
2. Know the difference between project management and research and development
IT projects are inherently very project management oriented. This means they are clearly defined by deadlines, specific cost estimates, deliverables, and calculated/expected returns on investment. However, with research and development, you cannot plan into your plan that the big discovery and breakthrough will happen on a specific day. Instead, the big breakthrough will come when it does, or possibly not at all. Therefore, it is difficult to calculate the return on investment for this type of project. As an IT executive, you must decide whether the project is worth investing in or whether you want to use project management techniques instead.
3. Building an innovative/productive pipeline
Building an innovative culture is not only people-oriented but also process-oriented. You need to develop a formalized process that identifies, collects, evaluates, and implements innovative ideas. Without this process, great ideas and potential innovations die in the bud. It must also be recognized and understood that innovative ideas can come from many directions, e.g. B. from your employees, internal business partners, customers, suppliers, competitors, or through accidental discoveries. The reason it is important to define the most likely sources of innovative ideas is that you can develop idea-collection processes for each source.
4. Accept the unfair expectations of others of IT
Any software or service you develop will be compared to purchased software and services. It's not fair, but people do it anyway. Consequently, the evaluation of new processes and software must be done in this unfair sense and expectations must be set accordingly. Incorrect or excessive expectations can damage the IT team's overall reputation and make it difficult for the business to agree to fund the team's innovative ideas.
5. Note form and content
This doctrine states that all outcomes, no matter how large or small, must have both form and content. The shape means how it looks. The content is what it says or how it works. This applies to documents, systems, processes, and everything else that is shared with others. A form with no content is a new system that looks perfect but doesn't do what people want it to do. Content without form shows that the person or group delivering it offers too little and doesn't take pride in their work to make it look good. From the point of view of promoting innovation, all implemented ideas must follow this doctrine, otherwise, the new innovations will not be well received by your department and thus jeopardize your entire innovation goal.
6. Create a safe environment when innovation fails
When you are presented with an innovative idea, good or bad, commend the person's effort, interest, and initiative. When good ideas are presented, they are included in the aforementioned innovation pipeline. Less attractive ideas can become lessons in which you explain to the employee why they won't work and give them hints about which ideas are more likely to win. And should you approve an idea and allow the employee to spend time implementing it, and it fails, praise the effort and don't blame the employee, or they may never propose an innovative idea again.
But how do you get your employees to be creative, innovative, and risk-taking? And what exactly does it mean to be creative or innovative? These terms are thrown around so often that it can be difficult to keep track. As a result, many leaders don't know how best to encourage their employees to look at problems and processes differently. Here are some tricks to motivate your employees throughout the innovation process.
- Be clear about what you want
- Show employees that it's worth taking the risk
- Celebrate successes and learn from failures
- Provide mentoring and training
- Create a culture where people care about each other.
If you have experience in the IT industry or are new to this field and want to explore possible ideas, you can get in touch with us and have a confidential interview with one of our recruiters! If you are looking for new vacancies, follow the link to the current vacancies page.
by Gareth Streefland
Today, cyberattacks are attempted every 40 seconds, and the number of ransomware attacks is increasing by 400% annually. That's why it's...
Today, cyberattacks are attempted every 40 seconds, and the number of ransomware attacks is increasing by 400% annually. That's why it's imperative that companies and businesses take cybersecurity very seriously. But have you checked off all the boxes on the checklist to make sure you are truly secure? Do you know which data assets/systems are most vulnerable, and do you know the potential financial cost of a security breach? These are questions that need to be asked in a business of any size. That's why every company should conduct an IT risk assessment.
What is an IT risk assessment?
A risk assessment is about identifying the threats to which your information systems, networks and data are exposed. By assessing the potential consequences a company could face, it is able to prepare in advance in the event of a security breach. These assessments should be conducted on a regular basis, such as annually or when the company experiences a major change.
Cyber or IT risk can be defined as any risk of financial loss, disruption, or damage to an organization's reputation due to a failure of its information technology systems. Examples include theft of confidential information, hardware damage and resulting data loss, malware and viruses, compromised credentials, corporate website failure, and natural disasters that can damage servers.
Why do you need to conduct an IT risk assessment?
Smaller businesses in particular may think that conducting an IT risk assessment would be too big a task. But in reality, it is something that should not be missed. In order to ensure the well-being of a business, it is always good to take extra measures and make sure that it is protected. Some reasons to conduct a risk assessment are:
- It gives you a detailed list of vulnerabilities that need more attention and resources.
- It increases productivity because your security team can respond directly to problems, rather than just reacting to random issues that arise. Risk assessments also show you which areas your team should focus more on and which can be completed at a later date.
- It improves communication across the organization because the security team has to interact more with other employees in different areas. Not only does this foster collaboration, but it also creates an understanding among other employees of the importance of cybersecurity and how they can contribute to security and compliance goals.
How to conduct an IT risk assessment: a comprehensive overview
To start, you can conduct either a quantitative or qualitative risk assessment. However, it is most effective if you use both to achieve the best results.
1. Identify and prioritise assets
First, create a comprehensive list of all the company's information assets. This includes servers, customer data, sensitive documents, trade secrets, etc. As a technician, you must communicate effectively with upper management to determine which assets are important and which are not. After creating a list, gather all the necessary information about software, hardware, data and other relevant information for each asset. This will create a detailed list of all the items to focus on.
2. Identify threats and vulnerabilities
A threat is something that can cause harm to your organization. There are 3 types of threats:
- Natural disasters.
Some natural disasters can destroy data, servers and devices. Pay attention to whether any of these risks apply to your assets and whether they need to be changed to ensure security.
- Hardware failure
No matter how large or small your business is, hardware failure should be considered. Make sure all assets are up to date and not at risk of crashing.
- Malicious behavior
Disruption, interception and impersonation can target your data and servers. Determine which areas are most at risk from outside malicious behavior.
3. Analysis of technical and non-technical controls and determination of the probability of an incident.
Technical controls include encryption, intrusion detection mechanisms, and identification/authentication solutions. Security policies, administrative measures, and physical/environmental mechanisms must also be analyzed and fall under non-technical controls. These controls must be used to assess the possibility that a vulnerability can be exploited. This can be assessed using simple categories that rank the potential occurrence from high, medium, and low.
Assessing the impact the threat could have also helps prioritize your security risks across teams. You are now able to delegate which issues require immediate action and which can wait until they are resolved.
4. Design controls
Once you have prioritized and detailed all of the potential risks, you can begin to create a plan to mitigate the most pressing risks. Senior management and IT should be heavily involved in this part of the assessment to ensure that the controls address the risks and align with the overall plan and goals of the organization. You may also need to engage professional services to develop a new set of controls. Don't be afraid to enlist the help of IT and security experts!
5. Document the results
Risk assessment reports can be very detailed and complex, or they can be a simple overview of risks and recommended controls. Ultimately, your report will reflect both your audience and your organization's information security posture. Documenting all findings and their analysis is intended for senior management to communicate the issues and methods to address them in a clear and concise manner.
It should also be noted that a risk assessment as such should not be a one-time exercise, but an ongoing process. As your system environment changes, so do the chances for potential security breaches, data loss, etc.
by Ben White
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, has chosen to scrap the plans to repeal the Off-payroll IR35 Reforms, which Kwasi Kwarteng previously...
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, has chosen to scrap the plans to repeal the Off-payroll IR35 Reforms, which Kwasi Kwarteng previously announced in his mini-budget on 23 September 2022.
The Growth Plan had set out steps to take the complexity out of the tax system and identified the necessity of repealing the 2017 and 2021 off-payroll working rules (IR35 Reforms).
The Conservatives Growth plan indicated that repeal would "free up time and money for businesses that engage contractors, that could be put towards other priorities." And that it "also minimises the risk that genuinely self-employed workers are impacted by the underlying off-payroll rules."
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, has chosen to scrap the plans to repeal the Off-payroll IR35 Reforms, which Kwasi Kwarteng previously announced in his mini-budget on 23 September 2022.
The Growth Plan had set out steps to take the complexity out of the tax system and identified the necessity of repealing the 2017 and 2021 off-payroll working rules (IR35 Reforms).
The Conservatives Growth plan indicated that repeal would "free up time and money for businesses that engage contractors, that could be put towards other priorities." And that it "also minimises the risk that genuinely self-employed workers are impacted by the underlying off-payroll rules."
Hunt, who took up the role of chancellor on Friday, said this morning that the IR35 reforms would be going ahead. “The government has today decided to make further changes to the mini-Budget,” the Chancellor said. “We will reverse almost all the tax measures announced in the growth plan three weeks ago that have not started the Parliamentary process.
“We will no longer be proceeding with the reversal of off-payroll working reforms [IR35] introduced in 2017 and 2021.”
In moves announced via a pre-recorded video instead of parliament in a bid to calm markets, the newly installed chancellor announced that most of its financial plans had been dropped. This includes the planned lowering of the basic rate of income tax from 20 to 19 per cent, set for introduction in April. Hunt said this will now not be introduced until “economic conditions allow”.
It had already been announced that planned increases to the rate of corporation tax and abolishing the highest rate of income tax would be dropped.
Hunt said today that a Treasury-led review will be carried out into the government’s support package for household and business energy bills beyond April next year.
Reforms to IR35, introduced in April 2021, require operatives routinely working with the same contractors to be counted as PAYE staff, or face action from HMRC.
The changes were introduced as a crackdown on tax avoidance, but critics claimed they would force many out of self-employment and reduce incomes.
They were also linked to a Whitehall drive to increase the number of direct employees in the construction sector, driven by the government and the Construction Leadership Council.
However, they were criticised for hitting the income of the self-employed and adding to the burden on employers.
Reversing the reform was one of the leadership campaign promises made by prime minister Liz Truss. The 2021 reforms will now remain in place.
Hunt said the government changed its tax plans “to ensure the UK's economic stability and to provide confidence in the government's commitment to fiscal discipline”.
He added: “Instability affects the prices of things in shops, the cost of mortgages and the values of pensions. There will be more difficult decisions, I’m afraid, on both tax and spending as we deliver our commitment to get debt falling as a share of the economy over the medium term.”
Departmental spending will be cut, he added, in order to “protect the most vulnerable” and help the government deliver “our mission to go for growth”.
Andy Chamberlain, director of Policy at the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), slammed the “spineless decision”.
“Today’s announcement will be a huge blow to thousands of self-employed contractors and the businesses they work with,” he said. “The reforms to IR35 have created a nightmare for businesses seeking to engage talent on a flexible basis, while simultaneously forcing individuals out of business altogether.”
He added: “Businesses that were looking forward to an era of less complexity and less cost will have had those hopes dashed today. Our fear is this decision will lead to yet more work being offshored to other territories and more people being forced to work through unregulated umbrella companies. The supposedly pro-business Conservative government has sent out a clear message today – it does not support people who work for themselves.”
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by Dafydd Kevis
To say that cloud adoption has been accelerating might be an understatement. Enterprises want the speed, agility, simplicity, and lower...
To say that cloud adoption has been accelerating might be an understatement. Enterprises want the speed, agility, simplicity, and lower costs that the cloud offers. The days of running a costly data center are long gone.
Despite the fact that IT managers appreciate the benefits of the cloud, surveys reveal that a genuine concern for many businesses is vendor lock-in—being forced to stay with a vendor who no longer meets their needs. And with each passing year, this anxiety increases, which can prevent you from moving with the agility and quickness you need to succeed.
What is the greatest method to alleviate these concerns? Implementing a multi-cloud approach.
Businesses used a variety of database providers even before the cloud was established. This approach is nothing new; we are simply transferring it to the cloud.
There's a good chance that your company already employs cloud computing for IT infrastructure updates, automation, cybersecurity, and other functions. However, you are not required to choose a certain cloud server or provider. In fact, you can use multi-cloud solutions for your business and benefit from them for years to come.
Nevertheless, implementing and optimising many clouds can be challenging, especially if you don't have a strategy in place beforehand. Let's examine a straightforward yet efficient three-step process for moving to several clouds today to avoid severe issues.
Step One: Map Your Cloud Zoning Policy
Create a map of your cloud zoning strategy and plan as your first significant step. In a word, the cloud zoning decisions you make can affect your obligations, expenses, and even how well the multi-cloud configuration will ultimately work.
The processes and apps that will operate on each specific cloud server or provider are mapped out as part of your cloud architecture. In essence, you choose what must run on numerous clouds at once, what data must be transferred between clouds, and what applications are locked into one cloud.
Want an example? A cloud zoning policy may specify whether you should maintain your data analytics and web browsing on the same cloud servers or with different cloud providers.
Regardless of whether you put everything up yourself or use a service, you should outline your cloud zoning rules. In the latter situation, providing a read-to-go zoning map will facilitate the service's work and reduce the likelihood of errors and/or hiccups.
How to Determine Optimal Cloud Zoning
It can be challenging to determine how to best utilise cloud zoning. Identifying your specific areas of focus is the most effective approach to do this. Instead, think about how your multi-cloud approach will actually benefit your company.
Say you want to ensure that your service is always available for your customers or visitors, even in the event of a service interruption or a data breach. In this situation, you can configure your cloud zoning strategy to distribute the data load evenly among several clouds at once.
Or, say you want to guarantee that your users are accessible worldwide, 365 days a year. In that situation, you can configure your cloud zoning regulations to ensure that users can access your information or websites whenever they want from any location in the world.
In essence, decide what is most important to your business and what you want from multi-cloud optimization, then zone your cloud apps and rules in accordance.
Step Two: Architect the Multi-Cloud Environment
The multi-cloud environment's architecture is the next crucial step. This entails taking a close look at the environment's high-level design and building a solid base for multi-cloud servers.
At this point, you should at least have a rough understanding of how your company will expand and how the multi-cloud architecture will help it meet its resource requirements. You must be aware of:
• The locations where your apps for data science and machine learning should be
• The market that your product application targets
• The location of your data warehousing
• Location of the cloud security server
• How each of those processes develops in conjunction with the others
Cloud-agnostic projects and apps don't need to be portable; instead, they can rely on managed services or proprietary IT infrastructure from your company. You need to identify these projects and apps during the architecture phase of a multi-cloud setup.
How to Set Up an Ideal Multi-Cloud Environment
You should adopt a flexible and containerized approach to get the most out of a multi-cloud environment. This not only saves money but also enables you to configure your multi-cloud system as adaptable as possible.
You may collaborate with almost any infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) provider if you construct or plan your multi-cloud architecture so that it is flexible and containerized. As a result, you are free to choose between different cloud hosts or service providers as needed, depending on your budget or other considerations.
Make sure you conduct extensive forecasting to achieve this. You need to determine how much data storage you'll need for computing, how many databases use your business will need, how many computer nodes you'll probably need, and so on.
Additionally, containerization in a multi-cloud setup makes it less likely for other servers or processes to fail as a result of a ripple effect if one goes down.
Step Three: Prep for Contracts and Forecast Costs
Taking care of the financial side of the multi-cloud transition for your company is the final phase. Along with projecting expenditures, you need to get ready for contracts and commitments. Forecasting is essential during this stage because you'll be choosing different cloud services and getting ready for contracts.
As a result, you need to be aware of how flexible your budget is in comparison to your infrastructure needs. You must specifically match the costs to each multi-cloud forecast and create a budget for your total resource and financial consumption. Basically, you should be aware of:
If your response to the third question is "no," you might need to choose a more reasonably priced option or change the design and zoning rules of your multi-cloud system. You won't encounter a crisis scenario where you already have your multi-caught environment up and operating but can't pay for it, requiring you to scurry as a result, if you project costs in advance.
Minimize Commitment Risk
Fortunately, there are strategies to reduce commitment risk and prevent financial catastrophes. You can, for instance, use variable commitment alternatives like those offered by AWS or commitment buy-back guarantees. These include computer savings schemes, which have relatively low savings rates and use cloud resources globally.
Of course, you can and should also exercise very rigorous budgeting and accounting. You'll have a better idea of how much money and other resources you really need once you make sure that your commitment costs and savings are attributed to the correct services, server resources, applications, etc. This will help you avoid overcommitting to a provider who is too expensive and giving them an unreasonable amount of money.
When you carefully arrange your application migrations between various providers, you can further reduce the risk of commitment. Budgetary expenditures may rise sharply if moving programs and data between providers takes longer than expected or encounters unforeseen difficulties. As a result, you must ensure that your migrations are simple and rapid, or that a cloud service provider gives assistance during this time (possibly as part of a deal to get you to sign with them in the first place).
As you can see, switching your business to many clouds just takes a few months. Even if you flawlessly execute the aforementioned processes, keep in mind that your commitments, performance, and prices won't be optimised to their fullest extent. However, with the correct planning and preparation, you can position your business for long-term success and the advantages of using several clouds.
You will receive more help and support throughout this process from the correct cloud services provider, and you will be able to utilise the extra resources swiftly and simply from a multi-cloud configuration.
by Dominik Bart
According to a report published by Dell Technologies and authored by the Institute For The Future (IFTF) and a panel of 20 tech, business...
According to a report published by Dell Technologies and authored by the Institute For The Future (IFTF) and a panel of 20 tech, business and academic experts from around the world, states that 85 per cent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven't even been invented yet.
"The pace of change will be so rapid that people will learn 'in the moment' using new technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality. The ability to gain new knowledge will be more valuable than the knowledge itself," Dell Technologies said in the report Given the rapid pace of change in the workplace, particularly when we consider all of the things that have changed over the last ten years, such as social media, artificial intelligence, and automation, it, it doesn’t seem an unlikely statistic.
The work human beings do will continue to shift as some jobs become obsolete and new jobs emerge as technological advancement will replace outdated positions and produce new ones that combine human and machine collaboration. Moreover, the expertise and skill set we'll require in the future varies greatly from those we currently require. Soft skills will grow in importance as the demand for the thing’s machines can’t do continues to increase. However, the ability to understand and work confidently with technology will still be critical.
With that in mind, here are four digital skills you need to cultivate to thrive in the new world of work:
Digital Literally refers to the abilities required to learn, function, and get around in an increasingly digital world. We are able to interact with technology effortlessly and confidently when we possess digital literacy skills. This entails abilities like:
● Keeping on top of emerging new technologies
● Understanding what tech is available and how it can be used
● Using digital devices, software, and applications – at work, in educational settings, and in our everyday lives
● Communicating, collaborating, and sharing information with other people using digital tools
● Staying safe and secure in a digital environment
The fourth industrial revolution, which is presently underway, is characterised by numerous waves of new technologies that merge the digital and physical worlds. Consider the abundance of "smart" everyday items like watches and internet-connected thermostats that are available on the market.
Data literacy is one of the crucial talents we'll need in the future because all of that new technology is based on data.
A fundamental understanding of the significance of data and how to transform it into insights and value is known as data literacy. You'll need to be able to access the right data, work with it, interpret the results, share your findings with others, and, if required, challenge the data in a business setting.
Today, "technical talents" encompasses a wide range of abilities; future employers won't just require IT and engineering expertise. A wide range of technical abilities remain of utmost value even as the nature of work changes and processes become more automated.
Technical skills are essentially the practical or physical abilities required to do a task successfully. Although it is true that coding, AI, data science, and IT skills are in high demand, there is a far wider market for these skills. Being a plumber requires technical expertise. The same is true for truck drivers, nurses, carpenters, and project managers.
As new technologies emerge, we will require increasingly specialised technical skills in every business. As a result, you should be ready to constantly learn and concentrate on your professional development through a combination of formal education, training, and on-the-job training.
Digital Threat Awareness
The world is becoming increasingly digital, and cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated and smarter This implies brand-new dangers that could significantly affect both our personal and professional lives.
Digital threat awareness refers to being aware of the risks associated with utilising digital devices and the internet, as well as having the tools necessary to protect your company and yourself.
Our digital fingerprints are bigger than ever since so many of our activities—from scheduling doctor visits to placing takeaway orders on Friday nights—take place online.
Digital threat awareness means understanding the biggest threats in our everyday lives, including:
● Digital addiction
● Online privacy and protecting your data
● Password protection
● Digital impersonation
● Data breaches
● Malware, ransomware, and IoT attacks
In order to reduce the dangers posed by these cybersecurity threats, we should all strive to have healthy relationships with technology and educate people on how to get the most of technology without letting it take over our lives.
by Jasmine Ellis
Virtualization is a process of creating a virtual environment. It enables users to run different operating systems on a same computer. It creates a...
Virtualization is a process of creating a virtual environment. It enables users to run different operating systems on a same computer. It creates a virtual (rather than physical) version of an operating system, a server, or network resources. Virtualization can be considered as part of a broader trend in IT environments that will govern themselves based on perceived activity and utility computing in many organisations. The most crucial goal of virtualization is to reduce administrative tasks while improving scalability and workloads. However, virtualization can also be used to improve security.
In today's work context, virtualization offers numerous advantages. Running many workloads allows physical server resources to reach their full potential. Operating system instances are able to be divorced from the underlying hardware and move freely between several hosts in a cluster setup without causing any negative consequences.
High-availability mechanisms that were never before possible, such as the ability to restart virtual machines on a separate server if the primary host dies, are now possible. By abstracting the network from the underlying physical network switches, wiring, and other devices, virtualized networking provides many of the same benefits to network traffic.
In this article, we will see how virtualization technology is improving security by means of innovative ways security problems and challenges are being met with virtualized solutions.
Security is of Primary Concern
Organizations today are quickly recognising how critical security objectives are, regardless of the project or business activities involved. However, security is being scrutinised more than ever before, particularly with regard to technology infrastructure. Large-scale, high-profile data breaches that make significant news headlines are not the type of attention that companies want. Ransomware attacks that disrupt business-critical systems are equally alarming. Today's businesses must have a razor-sharp focus on security concerns and how to effectively address them.
With any plans to integrate new technologies or go forward with new infrastructure, security cannot be an afterthought. It must be built into the project as a required component to ensure that essential aspects of the security thought process are not overlooked. The virtualization era has altered the way businesses think about security and privacy. Many of the security boundaries that existed in the strictly physical world have been broken down because to virtualized technology.
After installing new technology, many companies consider the security concerns. Virtualization has numerous advantages, making it simple to sell in IT architectures. Virtualization can help you save money, improve business efficiency, reduce maintenance downtime without disrupting operations, and get more work done with less equipment.
The following are the few ways to minimize risk and improve security through virtualization:
Sandboxing is a security strategy that isolates running applications from untrusted third parties, vendors, and websites. It's commonly used to run untested code or programmes. Sandboxing's major purpose is to increase virtualization security by isolating an application to protect it from external malware, destructive viruses, and stopped-running apps, among other things. Put any experimental or unstable apps in a virtual machine. The remainder of the system is unaffected.
Since your application can be attacked maliciously while running in a browser, it's always a good idea to run your apps in a virtual machine. Virtualization and sandbox technology are closely related. Virtual computing provides some of the advantages of sandboxes without the high cost of a new device. The virtual machine is connected to the Internet rather than the corporate LAN, which protects the operating system and apps from viruses and other malicious threats.
Server virtualization is the process of dividing a physical server into smaller virtual servers in order to maximise resources. The physical server is divided into many virtual environments by the administrator. Hackers nowadays frequently steal official server logs. Small virtual servers can run their own operating systems and restart independently thanks to server virtualization. Stable and compromised programmes are identified and isolated using virtualized servers.
This sort of virtualization is most commonly found on web servers that offer low-cost web hosting. Server utilisation manages the complex aspects of server resources while enhancing utilisation and capacity. Furthermore, a virtualized server makes it simple to detect dangerous viruses or other harmful items while simultaneously safeguarding the server, virtual machines, and the entire network.
Network virtualization combines network hardware and software resources, as well as network functionality, into a single virtual network. Virtual networks, which use network virtualization, reduce the impact of malware on the system. Furthermore, network virtualization produces logical virtual networks from the underlying network hardware, allowing virtual environments to better integrate.
Isolation is an important feature of network virtualization. It allows end-to-end custom services to be implemented on the fly by dynamically combining various virtual networks that coexist in isolation. They share and utilise network resources received from infrastructure providers to operate those virtual networks for users.
Segmentation is another important element of network virtualization. The network is divided into subnets, which improves performance by reducing local web traffic and enhancing security by making the network's internal network structure invisible from the outside. By generating single instances of software programmes that serve many customers, network virtualization is also utilised to develop a virtualized infrastructure to fulfil complicated requirements.
This lets users to generate, change, and delete photos while also separating the desktop environment from the computer that is used to access it. Administrators may simply manage employee computers with desktop virtualization. This protects people from attacking computers with viruses or gaining illegal access.
Additionally, the user gains additional security from the guest OS image for the desktop environment. Such environment allows the users to save or copy data to the server rather than the disk, thus making desktop virtualization more secure option for networking.
On the security front, virtualization is possibly one of the most effective strategies that businesses can use to combat harm and criminal intent. These principles demonstrate how virtualization can help your firm reduce risk and increase security.
Regular upgrades and vulnerability scans are required for all technology-based systems (virtualization included) to reduce the chance of weakness, and the adoption of hardened virtual machine images is strongly recommended.
by Jasmine Ellis
DevOps culture and procedure are critical for enterprises to keep up with the pace of cloud-native software development, especially when code...
DevOps culture and procedure are critical for enterprises to keep up with the pace of cloud-native software development, especially when code deployments happen multiple times per day. The capacity to construct, populate, and grow cloud apps and infrastructure in real time, frequently through code, offers for extraordinary agility and speed. Security, on the other hand, is frequently left in the dust when things move so swiftly.
The reality is that many businesses have yet to figure out how to effectively secure the cloud. A lack of cloud security knowledge, along with legacy security regulations that do not cover the cloud and a scarcity of cybersecurity expertise relevant to cloud systems, is a problem. And thieves are eager to exploit these flaws: according to a 2021 research, nearly half of the more than 2,500 publicly publicised cloud-related vulnerabilities were discovered in the recent 18 months.
Security must be integrated at every level of the DevOps life cycle, also known as DevSecOps, due to the flexible nature of cloud technology. Any firm that uses the cloud must adopt a DevSecOps approach, which necessitates new security guidelines, policies, procedures, and technologies.
There are two primary goals of DevSecOps-
1. Secure Code
2. Speedy Delivery
Advances in IT like cloud computing, shared resources, and dynamic provisioning requires application security in every stage, and DevSecOps entails the same.
The Cloud is a Vulnerable Platform
Data breaches are one of the most pressing risks for any company today. The methods employed by attackers to enter cloud settings differ from those utilised in on-premises environments. Malware attacks are rare; typically, attackers take use of misconfigurations and other flaws.
Another important worry is that most firms employ multi-cloud, which might result in a lack of visibility. It can lead to cloud workloads and traffic not being properly monitored, allowing attackers to exploit security flaws. DevOps teams also have a habit of giving people considerably more privileges and permissions than they require to do their jobs, which increases the risk of identity-based attacks. According to studies, identity-based assaults were used in roughly 80% of cyberattacks to compromise legitimate credentials.
Installing cryptominers onto a company's system is another option for attackers to profit from cloud vulnerabilities. Cryptocurrency mining necessitates a significant amount of computational power. Threat actors will employ hacked cloud accounts to carry out this operation and make as much money as possible while draining the company's resources.
Security Shifting to the Left
Protecting the cloud entails safeguarding an ever-increasing attack surface that includes everything from cloud workloads to virtual servers and other cloud-related technology. Attackers are continuously on the lookout for weak points in systems, especially susceptible cloud applications. With more organisations turning to the cloud than ever before to fulfil the needs of a remote workforce, the number of cloud apps available has grown.
Traditionally, security is applied to code as the final step before it is released. When vulnerabilities are discovered, the release is either postponed or the development team is forced to hustle to fix each security flaw while the security team scrambles to review the updates. Shifting security left for DevOps teams guarantees that vulnerable code is found as it is built rather than during the testing phase, lowering costs and resulting in secure cloud apps.
Shift left security is a critical component of the software development life cycle, and getting it correctly should be a top concern. Organizations can accomplish DevSecOps and greatly reduce security issues surrounding cloud-native software and application development by incorporating security into the early phases of the development process.
Cloud security that is effective can enable DevSecOps
DevSecOps technologies and techniques can help companies develop a strong and secure cloud foundation. Cloud security requires a unified view of multi-cloud environments and constant intelligent monitoring of all cloud services. That unified visibility must be able to detect misconfigurations, vulnerabilities, and security threats while also giving developers and DevOps teams with actionable insights and automated remedies.
Additionally, it's critical to have the correct security policies in place that enforce cloud security standards throughout the entire infrastructure to satisfy (or exceed) industry and government regulations. This encompasses everything from multi-factor authentication to general security best practises for all employees, as well as a robust incident response system that guarantees the organisation is ready for an attack.
Up-to-date threat intelligence, on the other hand, should always be at the heart of any good cloud security strategy. Adversaries are continuously devising new techniques to attack the cloud and looking for flaws to exploit. It's critical to have the most up-to-date information about threat actors and their techniques, and then apply it to breach detection. Threat intelligence allows security teams to anticipate attacks and properly prioritise protection, mitigation, and repair in order to avoid them. DevSecOps provides enterprises with the prevention, detection, visibility, and reaction tools they need to defeat attackers by delivering all of this functionality from and for the cloud.
by Lewis Andrews
Jira and Microsoft Azure DevOps are two of the most popular project management platforms for DevOps professionals.
Many tools and techniques are...
Jira and Microsoft Azure DevOps are two of the most popular project management platforms for DevOps professionals.
Many tools and techniques are used by developers to manage and track an IT project. The most commonly used tools are Azure DevOps and Jira. Azure DevOps is a collection of development tools that can be used by developers and software teams. Jira, on the other hand, is a project management tool that can be used by software teams to manage various tasks.
Azure DevOps is a collection of Microsoft Inc.'s cloud-hosted DevOps services. It also includes a number of tools that can be used with any coding language and on any platform. It enables you to manage various test plans via the web, code versioning via Git, and solution deployment to a wide range of platform's CI/CD systems. Furthermore, it is a tool for applying the DevOps lifecycle to a business process.
Atlassian created Jira, a project management tool that aids in the tracking of bugs, issues, and other project processes. Jira Software, Jira Core, and Jira Service Desk are among the services available. All of these serve different functions for various users. It is now more than just an application; it is a platform with a suite of products built on top with customization capabilities. Furthermore, customers can select the services and products that best suit their needs from a wide range of options.
Below, we'll look at the similarities and differences between Azure DevOps and Jira to help you decide which software is suitable for you.
Azure DevOps :
Azure DevOps is a set of cloud services that includes collaboration tools that work on any platform, as well as a tool that helps businesses execute the DevOps lifecycle. It gives you a ready-to-use framework for converting your idea into software. It comes with Agile tools to help you manage your tests, version your code with Git, and deploy projects to cross-platform platforms. Visual Studio Team Service (VSTS) was the previous name for Azure, which provided a better software development lifecycle with current services.
Features of Azure DevOps :
Jira is a project management programme created by Atlassian, an Australian startup, in 2002. It's a robust application that helps with issue tracking, bug tracking, and numerous project management processes. Jira has evolved into more than an issue tracking platform for organisations, supporting Agile development or general task development, and the majority of apps are now built on top of it. It caters to a wide range of clients and offers Jira Core, Jira Software, and Jira Service Desk as well as other versions of the product.
Features of Jira:
Head-to-head comparison: Jira vs. Azure DevOps
There are cloud and server versions of Jira and Azure DevOps. Jira is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS), whereas Azure DevOps is hosted on Microsoft Azure. Server versions are only required for customers that have higher security requirements or who demand complete data control for special collaboration needs or other purposes.
Users can personalise the dashboards in both DevOps services to display the information that is most relevant to their projects. Different tools are referred to as gadgets in Jira. The Azure DevOps team offers a similar collection of tools called widgets. These modules are quite similar and may be readily added to highlight what information is most crucial when users first log in, as their names suggest. Custom filtering of each gadget or widget is also possible with both DevOps tools.
Product Road mapping
For a long time, Jira has had built-in roadmaps, and these tools are really well optimised and developed out. This capability was just added to Azure Devops, although it is not as integrated as it could be because it requires two distinct programmes, Feature Timeline and Epic Timeline, both of which are accessible as DevOps plugins on the Microsoft Marketplace.
If product roadmapping is a major priority for you, Jira easily outperforms Azure DevOps. Jira's DevOps functionality is more integrated and easy to use than Azure DevOps.
Jira vs. Azure DevOps: Which is the better DevOps tool?
Jira obviously outperforms the competition in terms of customisation and scalability. Jira is the more flexible of the two due to its ability to add services on the fly within projects, as well as other features. With these additional customising options and possibilities comes a more difficult learning curve. Azure DevOps is the preferable tool if you merely want to get something up and running quickly. Jira, on the other hand, will provide the tools required for those who know exactly what they require.
In terms of traceability, Azure DevOps takes the lead. The traceability capabilities in Azure DevOps reveal relationships between work items from the beginning to the finish of a deployment.
Both of these project management systems are nearly identical, with the only meaningful differences being built-in roadmapping, traceability, and extensive search capabilities. If one of the aforementioned functions is a key priority for you, then making a decision based on that need should be simple. Aside from those essential responsibilities, these two systems should suffice for the vast majority of project management teams.
by Dafydd Kevis
Cloud computing has existed for nearly two decades. Cloud computing has grown in popularity among IT and business professionals over the years....
Cloud computing has existed for nearly two decades. Cloud computing has grown in popularity among IT and business professionals over the years. Businesses are more aware than ever before that cloud computing is the way of the future and want to incorporate it into their operations. Public cloud services from Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and others are seeing a major rise in usage as the pandemic validates the necessity for cloud. According to Gartner, this trend will continue, with public cloud services expected to rise by more than 18% in 2021 and continue to grow at a steady rate through 2024.
What is the Cloud?
The cloud, in simple terms, is a collection of servers that host databases and software and are accessible over the internet. These servers are spread across the globe in data centres. Businesses can reduce the need for duties like server maintenance and administration by using cloud computing. Cost effectiveness, security, ease of management, scalability, and reliability are all advantages of cloud platforms.
The epidemic of COVID-19 has accelerated cloud migration. Many businesses have already made the switch to cloud platforms and are seeing increased productivity and profitability, and others are starting to gradually shift.
What's the bottom line? Digital transformation and cloud migration are critical in today's complex business world.
What is a Private Cloud?
A private cloud is one in which the servers are owned by and dedicated to only one business (referred to as the user or tenant). A private cloud can be developed on-premises, using hardware that you control and operate, or hosted by a third party in a data centre. The fact that the servers are inaccessible to other users is the most important distinguishing feature.
The owner is in charge of server management and maintenance, as well as future capacity and performance planning to suit organisational needs. Long lead times are frequently required for provisioning extra hardware and services (power, broadband, cooling, and so on) to satisfy future demand. It's popular among businesses that manage sensitive data and value the adaptability and scalability it provides.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Private Cloud
A private cloud, like any other technology, has advantages and disadvantages. A private cloud can provide a better level of security and service to industries with highly specialised demands, such as government and defence. Companies outside of these areas may nevertheless benefit from a private cloud if they have data-intensive customers in highly secure fields.
Here are some other vital advantages that are offered by the private cloud:
Security- Since organisations can physically secure their servers and access data through private networks, private clouds provide a high level of security.
Control- Private clouds give businesses the freedom to control their data and customize their core architecture as they want. It also makes monitoring easy and effective.
Customization and Reliability- The private cloud allows organisations to customize the components of their infrastructure in order to improve performance. Private clouds can also be trusted and are incredibly reliable.
Performance- Public clouds suit companies with powerful computing needs since they offer space for upgrading the infrastructure.
Latency is Minimal- Because resources are closer to users, data stored in an on-premises private cloud may be served rapidly, avoiding latency (i.e. delays in data transfer).
Despite having a plethora of advantages, the private cloud has its own dark side. Here are some disadvantages of private clouds:
Cost- Private clouds are expensive compared to public clouds. Components such as software licenses, hardware, network infrastructure, and labour costs contribute to the increased costs.
Maintaining and Deploying- The business needs to hire a qualified team to maintain the infrastructure which increases the cost of operation. However, you can overcome this challenge by hiring a managed cloud service provider to do the heavy lifting.
Limited Remote Access- Due to its security-first approach, remotes access is limited, which tends to reduce performance in some cases
What is Public Cloud?
A public cloud is a cloud architecture provided by third-party cloud vendors via the public internet that shares resources among multiple unconnected tenants. This strategy allows businesses and developers to have affordable access to high-performance computers, storage, infrastructure, and software.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Public Cloud
Using a public cloud as well as private cloud storage has advantages and disadvantages. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages can help you decide if the public cloud is right for you.
Here are some other vital advantages that are offered by the public cloud:
Cost-Effective. In contrast to building a data centre, you do not need to invest money upfront to accommodate public cloud; you can use pay-per-use model.
Fast setup. Further, most public cloud services are designed to be easy to start, though there are exceptions.
Reliability. Public cloud platforms are reliable because backup data centres are always there in the event of failure.
Scalability and stability – Public cloud services allow you to scale up and down as needed, and they are simple to set up and manage.
Here are some of the disadvantages and challenges you may face when using the public cloud:
Security Limitations — This is the main concern for businesses that want to integrate cloud computing into their workflow. Defence contractors and banks, for example, may require a higher level of security protection. A private cloud makes it easier to meet these security standards.
Limited customization capabilities and poor technical support: The public cloud's multi-tenancy prevents users from personalising certain components. In addition, most public cloud providers provide inadequate or no technical support, which might limit performance.
Latency. Most businesses don't care about fractions of a second, but in other industries, even little delays in transferring or retrieving data to and from the cloud can cause performance issues.
You don't have to choose between a private or public cloud; you can also adopt a hybrid cloud strategy. The presence of various deployment types (public or private) with some form of integration or orchestration between them is referred to as hybrid cloud.
A hybrid cloud makes sense in a number of situations:
To improve disaster recovery time: A hybrid cloud is a solid solution for storing backups and using them in a disaster recovery situation for firms that value speed and dependability. In this case, the strategy is to have a "warm disaster recovery" service on standby in case of a calamity and then switch to it when needed.
To comply with legal obligations: Some laws compel you to keep data within a certain geographical footprint. One method to achieve these needs is to use a hybrid cloud.
For data-intensive tasks: Companies or departments that operate with significant amounts of large files, such as media and entertainment, can benefit from a hybrid cloud strategy. They can use on-premises technology to get fast access to huge media files and use a scalable, low-cost public cloud provider to store data that isn't accessed as frequently—archives and backups, for example.
Choose the Best Cloud Model for Your Needs
Both models have advantages and disadvantages and work differently in different contexts The most essential aspects in choosing a cloud for most businesses and organisations will be affordability, accessibility, reliability, and scalability. Your type of organisation, laws, budget, and future plans will determine whether a private or public cloud, or a combination of both, is the right answer for your needs. The good news is that there are numerous options to suit almost every use case or budget.
If you're looking to hire into your team within the cloud space or looking for a role within this industry, please contact one of our team to find out more.
by Matthew Bell
Cloud computing is massively on the rise in the current day and age. In fact, 81% of companies with 1,000 employees or more have a...
Cloud computing is massively on the rise in the current day and age. In fact, 81% of companies with 1,000 employees or more have a multi-platform strategy.
Cloud technology has redefined the way in which companies store and share information. It has transcended the limitations of using physical devices.
Cloud Technologies provides many benefits such as better scalability, better storage options, better collaboration with remote users and highly affordable for a lot of companies.
But what does the future of cloud technology look like?
Matt Riley CEO & Co-Founder of Swiftype commented “A decade from now, every business will be operating primarily from the cloud, making way for more flexible — yet more productive and efficient — ways of working. Hardware won’t be the problem in a decade — software will.”
The future is bright for cloud computing. Analysts at IDC estimate that the field will evolve rapidly in the coming years, with almost 75% of data operations carried out outside the normal data centre. Moreover, 40% of organizations will deploy cloud technology, with edge computing becoming an integral part of the technological setup. Also, a quarter of end-point devices will be ready to execute AI algorithms by the year 2022.
Cloud Computing trends on the rise - automation
The automation tools available to us have proved to be very important when it comes to addressing errors in business processes, meanwhile streamlining them to generate fruitful results.
For instance, developers can make changes to their websites hosted on the cloud before going live. If anything goes wrong, they can restore an older version of the website without affecting the sales process or user experience. As soon as the website goes live, it starts getting traffic.
Opting for cloud means there will be more data consumption involved. Managing applications and routine tasks can become tedious. Developers can use automation to get rid of the manual process they have to use to carry out daily operations.
The serverless paradigm is the next revolution in waiting, according to the CTO of Amazon. The concept of serverless paradigm relates to the fact that it facilitates cloud to execute a code snippet without any hassles for the developers.
Using this approach developers can divide software into chunks of code to upload on cloud to address customers’ desires, thereby delivering valuable experience. This practice ensures faster release cycle for software. Amazon Web Services (AWS) has already started using the serverless paradigm to its advantage.
As cloud computing continues to make inroads in enterprise worlds, all stakeholders are looking forward to the evolution of the model. As things stand today, almost every significant innovation such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, AR/VR, robotics, and IoT rely on cloud computing technology.
It’s not just computational power, networking speed, or storage capacity that makes cloud computing great. Those are just operational metrics that better technology would eventually change and replace over time. The real value of technology is what it does, not what it’s made of.
by Lauren Greene
Who, what, where, when, why?
Despite common misconception, the concept of a metaverse isn’t a new one. First introduced in 1992,...
Who, what, where, when, why?
Despite common misconception, the concept of a metaverse isn’t a new one. First introduced in 1992, sci-fi writer Neal Stephenson coined the term 'metaverse' to describe a 3D virtual space. This idea was then realised for the first time in 2003 through an online multimedia platform called “Second life”.
Since then, there have been numerous examples of gaming platforms exploring the potential applications of this concept. For example, in 2020 the immensely popular video game Fortnite conducted a virtual Travis Scott concert within the game, and 12.3 million people worldwide tuned in. A more general example is any game within the MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer On-line role-playing game) genre such as World of Warcraft, where thousands of players can inhabit the same virtual space, with players logging in and out continually, and able to interact in various ways.
The Covid 19 pandemic has been a large extrinsic motivator for the growth of this industry, accelerating and driving the convergence of physical and digital. Companies invested heavily within collaboration and messaging technologies such as Teams, Zoom and Skype, and have now created a digital hiring, onboarding, and remote working world.
Meta, the rebrand of Facebook, and Microsoft, are leading the path for the metaverse alongside other large names in the tech industry which are all racing towards securing their name and real estate in the 3D VR world that will soon become a reality.
The evolution of emerging technology and digital transformations will see a huge transition for the main 3 pillars of human activity: Work, Education and Entertainment.
Over the years, Retail as an industry has taken a huge, and successful move onto online platforms, saving money for physical resources, allowing mediation of our activities remotely, and putting products in the hands of consumers worldwide. The metaverse could be the next evolution of this journey, allowing consumers to get that physical feel whilst they shop online from the comfort of their own homes.
Many companies are already looking at being a part of this virtual world and benefiting from a dedicated virtual space in which they can conduct interviews, doctors’ appointments and try on clothes without moving a muscle.
On a larger scale, geopolitics will see an impact, which could be both a help and hinderance to have present governing bodies for smaller counties but to also create communities transcending borders in reality.
Understanding how the Metaverse will be accessed
To first give a broad understanding of how the metaverse will be accessible, you first need to understand the different tech behind it. Extended Reality (XR) covers both Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) where VR enables you to fully immerse yourself in a 3D platform with the use of a headset whilst AR will overlay images onto the real world.
Whilst the metaverse doesn’t have to exclusively exist in XR, it’s the version of it that does that’s getting the most attention. This is because more immersive, experiential environments are central to the whole concept – something that XR interfaces lend themselves to very well.
Meta is focusing heavily on the VR aspects through its well renowned and recently bought hardware brand Oculus. 3D environments, avatars, and gamification – three fundamental aspects of the concept – all fit well with VR interfaces. And AR, too, with its potential to blur the distinction between virtual and real worlds, is another idea that meshes well with the metaverse concept.
2022 should see the release of Meta’s Horizon platform as an expanded VR world, this will be the first step into giving people a sensation of what the metaverse could become, and VR will be the window through which they experience it.
How will it ‘feel real’?
As a running trend for technology becoming smaller and more powerful, over the next few years we will also see this for VR which is a huge benefit for lighter headsets.
First seen in CES 2022 was the rebrand of the chunky VR sets to sleek and easily wearable AR devices which will be made available to buy over this coming year. HTC also made a device called the flow which is a slimmer stand-alone model making this device easier to use which focuses on entertainment and mental health.
AR devices will get lighter, too – California start-up Mojo-Vision has already demonstrated the potential for AR contact lenses that project information directly onto the retina.
Other innovations will attempt to solve the problem of enabling realistic movement within virtual environments (which will always be a problem if your actual environment doesn’t match the size and proportions of your virtual one and isn’t free of hazards that might cause you to trip over!). Proposed solutions to this problem include both boots, as offered by Ekto VR, and treadmills, like the one developed by Virtuix.
Another technology known as haptic feedback will attempt to solve the problem of providing sensations of touch in XR environments. One example is the Teslasuit that provides tactile feedback through electrostimulation. The suit currently costs around $20,000 and, among other uses, is used by NASA for astronaut training, but we can expect to see smaller-scale consumer versions on the market in 2022.
We can also thank the 5G rollout which is picking up pace in 2022 to become a mainstream proposition with speeds 20 times quicker than existing networks for data transmission. In addition to increasing this differential, the benefits also include different types of data and services. This is likely to include the large data volumes needed to run XR, making wireless and cloud-based VR and AR a possibility. Plutosphere, for example, and other start-ups offering similar services, let users stream VR games from cloud servers. This will dramatically lower the barriers to entry for many businesses wanting to deploy XR solutions without making large infrastructure investments.
How will this impact us?
Within education, XR technologies make it easier for students to visualize concepts – from the numbers used in accounting to historical events or even the inner workings of reality exposed through quantum physics – in interesting and engaging ways. Evidence suggests that when we learn through experiencing in this way, rather than simply reading dry facts, we can improve our knowledge retention by 75 to 90%.
Examples in a working environment include VR being used for training and to simulate operations in dangerous situations, such as the FLAIM system used to train firefighters to tackle wildfire and aircraft fires. AR is increasingly being used to provide real-time inputs to trainees during on-the-job learning, such as using computer vision-equipped glasses and headsets to recognize and warn of potential dangers in the work environment.
For businesses, AI will be able to inform target audience creation, creative optimization, and inventory forecasts.
In the agricultural world we have seen a ‘bovine’ matrix for happy cows testing in Turkey, where cows will experience a virtual open field and sunny setting rather than cooped up in a milking parlour which has proved results in higher quantity and quality of milk. Despite the positive results for farmers, the process raises serious questions about ethical farming. Would more milk be worth putting animals in a bovine matrix where they have no perception of the real world (a cooped-up milk farm with tens of other cows)?
Complexities and challenges of a new reality
Regulators will need to be put in place with facial expressions, blood pressure etc. being tracked for digital rights. On top of this if this is a pixelated replica of our universe, will this face balkanization as seen in our world where the internet already operates in different parts of the world.
Even more of a frightening thought is with a Metaverse containing so much private information, what risk is there for digital espionage and how much technical support will the Infrastructure and Security of a platform of this size need?
Control of data will also be the control of market. The opening advantage in the metaverse will go to those with the data to make the new virtual activities relevant to the user. The result is no different from the present online world in which those with the data hoard it to control the market.
Facebook algorithms are programmed to maximize user time on the site to maximize the number of advertisements that can be sold. As the algorithms are programmed to maximize engagement this means the algorithms send to each user news that is in line with their pre-established views, not news that creates a shared foundation. Even worse, is that one of the best ways to hold engagement is to create conflict and outrage, regardless of the veracity of the claim. This brings us around to the development of government-overseen behavioural standards protected consumer, workers, and competition in the industrial revolution—while simultaneously enabling a vibrant and growing economy. Where the digital revolution requires similar government-overseen standards. Facebook is currently discussing behavioural standards for the metaverse, but it is not sufficient. Many people are looking to distract from our current challenges with the shiny new metaverse, however we have yet to resolve the challenges in the current online universe—problems that will simply metastasize into the metaverse if not dealt with.
by Charlotte Robinson
Microsoft launched Windows 11 on the 5th of October 2021 as a free upgrade. Throughout the previous 3 months, I have had many interesting discussions...
Microsoft launched Windows 11 on the 5th of October 2021 as a free upgrade. Throughout the previous 3 months, I have had many interesting discussions with candidates on whether Windows 11 is as good as it has been made out to be. Throughout this article post, I will discuss some of the benefits and disadvantages of Windows 11 and everything you need to know to make the decision on whether it's time to upgrade.
Microsoft has made it clear that Windows 11 is available to all. There is no additional cost associated with installing Windows 11. However, it is not available to everyone because the update is only compatible with a Trusted Platform Module 2.0 and an Intel Core 8th generation processor that was released in 2017. As a result, most PCs older than four years will be unable to download the update. Since Windows 10 will only receive one upgrade per year until 2025, when it will be retired, this is a major issue for businesses using older technology. Companies have only three years to change their computer hardware as a result of this.
Despite the fact that the update is difficult to obtain, it has its advantages. For gamers, it features automatic HDR, which enhances the vibrancy of game pictures, and direct storage, which allows the graphic card and the Solid State Drive (SSD) to communicate more quickly.
Additionally, given Microsoft has chosen a new MacOS-style taskbar, it should be easier for MacOS users to navigate Windows 11. Unlike MacOS, which allows you to pin the task bar to any of the four corners of the screen, Windows 11 only allows you to pin it to the bottom, which could be inconvenient. Furthermore, customers have been perplexed by the fact that they are unable to see their live programmes on the task bar, making navigating more difficult.
As well as the new tool bar, Windows 11 will also come with a “Microsoft Chat” App, very similar to iMessage and Facetime from Apple. The Chat App uses the users Phone Number or Email-ID to enable the chat feature.
One of my favourite new features will be the various Window Sizes; by that, I mean that Windows 11 has "Snap Layouts" that allow you to have multiple applications or documents open on your screen at the same time. As someone who works in a second language, I find that online dictionaries are my closest friend. Having a dictionary and a document open on the same screen at the same time will help tremendously. Individuals will be able to get more work done as a result of this feature, as they will be able to view a greater variety of jobs they are working on. Home office plays a key part in our working lives at the moment with not all of us having access to multiple screens, “Snap Layouts” provides us with an alternative. On the other hand, having more tabs open may lead to more distractions because you are not focused on a single job.
"Edge Browser" is the preferred browser for Windows 11. Sleeping tabs are available in this browser, allowing you to save memory and Central Processing Unit (CPU) usage. This means you have the ability to re-open the apps you had the previous time you turned on your computer. This has the advantage of allowing you to pick up just where we left off, but it also implies that if we want to start fresh the next day, we must ensure that all apps are closed at the end of the day.
I am really excited to be able to use the new Windows 11. I look forward to using the new taskbar, the “Snap Layouts” and the setting to have my last opened applications open again when I start in the morning.
by Chris Burnett
When it comes to IT, companies must make critical strategic decisions all the time. In doing so, it is essential to keep an eye on industry trends...
When it comes to IT, companies must make critical strategic decisions all the time. In doing so, it is essential to keep an eye on industry trends and developments. Looking ahead to 2022, there are several themes that have emerged because of the pandemic, as well as some that come up year after year.
In this article, we've compiled a list of our top IT trends for 2022, as well as looking at the overall direction in which the information technology market is moving.
With more staff working remotely and the cloud becoming the norm, it's critical for businesses to start thinking about network security in new ways. Cybersecurity mesh is a flexible architecture that combines best-of-breed, stand-alone security solutions to improve overall protection. It enables organisations to separate policy decision-making from policy enforcement: a cybersecurity mesh creates security perimeters around individuals rather than just the company. Organisations will be better equipped to protect data and information using this mesh technology, including what's inside the facility walls as well as what's on the outside.
Data is one of a company's most valuable assets. To be able to carry out operational and transactional activities reliably and cleanly, it is vital to maintain excellent data quality. The "cleaner" the data, the more accurately, solidly, and confidently it may be examined and used to make business decisions."Data fabric," according to Gartner, is a design idea that acts as an integrated layer, or fabric, of data and processes. Data fabric makes use of both human and machine skills to access data that is already in place or to facilitate data consolidation when necessary. It allows for the flexible and reliable integration of data sources across platforms and business users, ensuring that data is available wherever it is needed, regardless of its location.
Gartner defines PEC as featuring three technologies that protect data while it is in use. These technologies include:
- A trusted environment where sensitive data can be processed or analyzed.
- Performs processing and analytics in a decentralized manner.
- Encrypts data and algorithms before analytics or processing.
With this trend, organizations are empowered to conduct research securely across regions and with competitors without betraying their confidentiality.
According to Forbes, PEC allows different parties to extract value and achieve significant results from data in untrustworthy environments, letting them to interact without disclosing personal or sensitive data. According to Helpnet Security, as privacy and data protection legislation become more prevalent, more breakthroughs in data privacy have been created. PETs uses privacy-protection to extract value from data in a safe manner without jeopardising confidentiality, using a data-driven approach to security and privacy.
For a long time, Hyper Automation has been spoken about in aspirational terms, with the technology being dubbed '"the next frontier for organisations globally" by Deloitte. It's been featured on Gartner’s top 10 key technology trends for 2020 and 2021 and according to Gartner, during the next year, 85 % will enhance or maintain their hyperautomation investment strategy. Hyper automation is a method for quickly identifying, vetting, and automating as many business and IT activities as possible. The faster provisioning and utilisation of IT infrastructure saves time, people resources, and money. Employees will be able to focus on more critical / strategic duties as a result. Additional benefits include reduced error rates and faster scaling of various IT infrastructures, whether on-premises, in the cloud, or hybrid.
Cloud computing surged in 2020 and 2021 as businesses turned virtual to adapt to the worldwide pandemic by focusing on digital service delivery. In 2022 we will undoubtedly witness further rapid acceptance and growth in 2022, with predictions from Gartner, global spending on cloud services is expected to reach over $482 billion in 2022. Cloud-native platforms take advantage of cloud computing to provide enterprises with elastic and scalable capabilities that allow them to respond quickly to digital change. Cloud-native solutions are an improvement over the typical lift-and-shift approach to cloud, which loses out on the benefits of cloud and adds complexity to maintenance.
Every day, the world generates approximately 2.5 quintillion bytes of data, and this figure is growing at an exponential rate. However, the effectiveness of that data is limited by the processes in place to manage, control, and assess it. Because this massive effort is practically impossible to complete manually, businesses therefore turn to artificial intelligence (AI). To make AI delivery more efficient, AI engineering automates data, model, and application upgrades. AI engineering, when combined with robust AI governance, will operationalize AI delivery to assure its long-term economic value.
By addressing common business challenges, the top strategic technology trends will advance digital capabilities and generate growth. Different trends will have different impacts on people organisations. Because most of the trends are tightly intertwined, different combinations of technology are likely to be necessary to compete at different stages of the company growth cycle.
by Matthew Bell
At nearly 18 months into the pandemic, numerous lockdowns, multiple vaccinees and a completely new way of working – it’s safe to say that...
At nearly 18 months into the pandemic, numerous lockdowns, multiple vaccinees and a completely new way of working – it’s safe to say that the world has changed quite drastically.
Technology has been a huge enabler of this change. Microsoft’s Brad Smith said two years of digital transformation took place in the first two months of the pandemic.
As England emerges from lockdown with a promise of a return to “normality”, which of these tech innovations will stick?
Perhaps the most notable “new tech” is the increased use of video calling, not only as a work tool, but also to stay connected to our loved ones. So much so that Zoom became a verb.
While Zoom-fatigue did hit hard and the thought of another virtual pub quiz is a little sickening, it’s clear that video calling is is a welcomed tool in the workplace, if not in our personal lives.
Unsurprisingly, in-person interactions with friends and family are preferred to virtual ones, but the use of Zoom, Teams and other video conferencing tools have facilitated the new era of flexible working. It’s safe to stay that Zoom is here to stay, whether we like it or not.
Cyber-criminals have had a field day since the pandemic started. Businesses globally were forced to adopt a remote working model where employees were often working from personal PCs, laptops and phones with limited antivirus software.
The ever-growing amount of data breaches means an ever-growing demand for cyber-security professionals. The unemployment rate in cybersecurity has been at 0% since 2011, so the responsibility lies with businesses, organisations and educational programmes to upskill people in the skills needed to fill the gap.
There will always be people looking to exploit a situation. As users of tech, we must remain diligent to phishing attacks, while keeping our devices updated and secure.
Fitness and wellness apps
As gyms remained closed for large parts of the pandemic, people looked for new ways to remain fit and healthy. Apps such as Strava and Nike Run Club were downloaded in mass.
Strava went from just over 2 million sessions each week pre-pandemic, to over 6 million sessions by May 2020. This figure remained even with the reopening of gyms.
While the gym isn’t going anywhere yet, it’s clear that people’s exercise habits have changed. Perhaps it was the efficiency of a home workout vs going to the gym that has kept the momentum going.
Awareness around mental health rose in 2020 as months in lockdown took their toll. Mindfulness and meditation apps such as Calm, which raised new funding at a $2 billion valuation in December 2020, were downloaded globally to combat the lockdown-lows.
The fact that these apps have held on to their users throughout the past 18 months points to a shift in the way we manage our fitness and wellbeing.
With so much uncertainty around what the immediate future will look like, it’s difficult to determine whether the tech we use today will be relevant tomorrow. Certain habits from the past 18 months were indeed welcomed and here to stay – many of which were enabled by technology.
written by Evangeline Hunt
by Leonie Schaefer
Once again, social media platforms are facing calls to tighten regulations on their platforms, following the hurl of racial abuse to members of the...
Once again, social media platforms are facing calls to tighten regulations on their platforms, following the hurl of racial abuse to members of the England football team. After losing to Italy in the final of the Euro 2020, certain players received swarms of abuse on social media, which critics say lies in the hands of these platforms to regulate.
London Mayer Sadiq Khan directly called on social media platforms to ‘act immediately to remove and prevent this hate’.
What kind of responsibility do these platforms have to prevent the spread of hate? Is there a way to leverage automation and machine learning to make this job easier?
Traditional media in the UK has an agreement with regulator Ofcom that makes them accountable for any form of abusive response to content. For example – a racist comment left on a BBC News article – the BBC would be accountable.
Ofcom doesn’t have this agreement with social media platforms because they aren’t considered to be publishers or broadcasters. These platforms remain self-regulating, so the question of accountability remains a grey area.
The difficulty these tech giants face is the huge volume of user-generated content, which swamps the efforts of human moderators employed by these platforms. It’s not expected that human moderators can sift through every piece of content, as soon as it’s posted, to see if it contains hate. The solution has to be automation.
We can already see social media platforms utilising automation to prevent misinformation around COVID-19. For example, Instagram immediately fags any content that contains information about COVID, and points users to the World Health Organisation for accurate advice. Critics have suggested this same technology be used to detect racist and abuse content.
Automation is already built into the algorithm in this way, such as a blanket banning of certain hashtags and words. But it can only do so much. Automation is currently unable to understand context, nuance, different cultures, etc. A certain emoji may not be offensive if said to one person, but when the context is different, the intention also changes. Instances such as this is where automation fails.
So what is the solution? Stopping trolls from posting hate on these platforms is of course, the ideal solution. But alas, an impossible ask. The more likely solution will take time – develop automation technology that is intelligent enough to detect the context of hate. Until then, there remains some power in the hands of users to report hate content when they see it.
by Gareth Streefland
Several major websites went down on Tuesday morning, following a software bug on cloud-computing company Fastly.
Fastly said the bug was triggered...
Several major websites went down on Tuesday morning, following a software bug on cloud-computing company Fastly.
Fastly said the bug was triggered by a customer configuration change.
The outage lasted 49 minutes, affecting some popular websites including Amazon, the Guardian, Reddit and even the UK gov website.
The problem originated with the cloud – more specifically the content delivery network (CDN) operated by Fastly. The Fastly CDN is a global network of servers, used by organisations to deliver content as quickly as possible (oh the irony).
Fastly were quick to recognise, apologise and resolve the issue. ‘This outage was broad and severe’, said Fastly’s Senior Vice President of Engineering and Infrastructure, Nick Rockwell. ‘We’re truly sorry for the impact to our customers and everyone who relies on them.’
Although the global outage was dealt with quickly, it does highlight how dependent many organisations are on cloud services and service providers.
This didn’t turn out to be a cyberattack this time. But it does raise the question as to what would happen to any of these providers if they fell victim to a cyberattack. The consequences would be far worse than a 49-minute outage.
by Leonie Schaefer
As we approach the halfway point of 2021, it’s a good time to reflect on the trends that were predicted for the year. Most of us were relieved...
As we approach the halfway point of 2021, it’s a good time to reflect on the trends that were predicted for the year. Most of us were relieved to say goodbye to 2020. A year full of uncertainty and change. Not all of them were bad – the past year pushed engineers into a new way of collaboration to build, deliver and manage IT Infrastructure.
This digital transformation has become crucial for business success. As a result of the challenges of the past year the following DevOps trends have gained more attention:
1. In 2021 Service Mesh has increased and become one of the key components of the dedicated infrastructure layer built into an app as that’s how parts of an application can share data with another. Service mesh is used to facilitate service-to-service communications between services. Due to factors from choosing particular tools, people will be forced to use them. This means, as tools become a more and more inseparable part of other solutions, more service mesh will be used. On top of that, it will provide the features and standards within each application and therefore represent the platform for ALL kinds of applications.
2. DevSecOps is gaining more importance, ensuring security for businesses of any sizes as working with cloud-based technology is becoming part of our daily workspace. Vulnerabilities and security gaps need to quickly be noticed, detected and diminished by the DevSecOps team.
3. Kubernetes is an open-source container-orchestration system for automating computer application deployment, scaling, and management. It was originally designed by Google and is now maintained by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. The use of Kubernetes continues to grow in 2021 as they are needed to build complex cloud-native infrastructures for automating computer applications. As these are difficult to understand, in 2021, cloud operators and practitioners create new supporting tools and will benefit the tech community. These tools focus especially on data science, visibility and secret management.
4. AI & ML driven DevOps approach: nowadays, traditional organisations need to handle a massive amount of data that is being generated with immense speed, variety and volume. To be able to analyze and compute this data of any scale and size, organisations work with AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (machine learning) as they are the boosters to transform the workflow of teams. ML helps to understand where blockages or capacity issues that occur in the delivery lifecycle and therefore improves developing, deploying, delivering and managing applications properly.
5. Observability or monitoring is the question. As systems are transforming into more complex, cloud-native and open source microservices running on Kubernetes, more engineers will be mindful of observing and monitoring the application to identify and respond to outages and events. This deeper insight into downtime is an approach to monitor, analyse, trace events to investigate the specific causes and pinpoint the impact on the company.
Excited for the second half of 2021? Well, if you weren’t yet, then you should be now. The fact that DevOps is the best solution to increase quality, save time and money for companies hasn’t changed. But still, a new era is well underway in this cloud-centric and all-digital world. Therefore, upgrading and integrating techniques and tools are required for the rapidly changing market needs.
written by Sophie Finsterer
by Gareth Streefland
Businesses around the world are waving goodbye to datacentres in favour of the cloud, in order to innovate and grow to meet demand. As an IT...
Businesses around the world are waving goodbye to datacentres in favour of the cloud, in order to innovate and grow to meet demand. As an IT infrastructure professional, having experience/certifications within cloud is going to make you more employable as cloud computing continues to rise in popularity.
AWS, Microsoft Azure and GCP are the three biggest cloud platforms used globally. IT professionals looking to upskill themselves should consider training in one of these three platforms – but which one will be the most valuable? We ran a poll on LinkedIn to ask that question – the results are as follows.
What is your preferred public cloud platform?
AWS = 55%
Azure = 38%
GCP = 8%
(218 people surveyed)
It’s no surprise that AWS gained the most votes – it is the market leader and the oldest established cloud service. According to Canalys, AWS owns 31% of the market as of July 2020 – with Azure at 20% and GCP at 6%. This is to be expected considering the seven-year head start that AWS had without any real competition.
But AWS isn’t just the oldest cloud provider, it also has the most services to offer. Its enterprise-friendly features make AWS a solid option for large organisations – such as Netflix, AirBnB, Nike and the Royal Opera House.
Microsoft’s Azure is closing the gap towards the market leader as it builds up its platform. It gets a lot of business from tech companies that already have a relationship with Microsoft, or who already use their programs such as Office365 or Teams. Microsoft can make it easy for these companies to transition to the cloud seamlessly, which is an attractive feature.
While Azure initially struggled to work with open source technologies, this has recently changed with around half of its workloads running on Linux.
GCP is the “new kid on the block”, which explains why it came in third in our poll. Yet it appeals to certain companies due to its strengths in big data, machine learning projects, and cloud-native applications. Despite this, Google has more work to do if it wants to compete with the likes of AWS and Azure.
So which cloud platform should you consider upskilling yourself in as an infrastructure professional?
‘AWS is still the market leader and the most popular, but Azure is catching up and so many businesses partner with Microsoft that it will make you really employable if you have skills in Azure’, says our Cardiff Consultant and cloud expert Gareth Streefland. ‘Plus, it’s probably the most approachable for engineers starting out with cloud.’
Upskilling yourself on any platform will improve your employability and job prospects. If you are experienced in cloud computing and are looking for new opportunities, feel free to get in touch – we would be happy to help.
Can you see a shift occurring in the preferred public cloud platform as time goes on? Or will AWS remain the market leader for the foreseeable? We would love to hear your thoughts.
by Curtis Phillips
When starting out in IT Recruitment you are confronted with numerous job titles that sound very similar at first but have distinct differences when...
When starting out in IT Recruitment you are confronted with numerous job titles that sound very similar at first but have distinct differences when you take a closer look. So, I found myself asking the question: “What’s the difference between a System Administrator and a System Engineer?”
What is a system administrator?
The branch of engineering known as system engineering is responsible for the conceptualisation, design, development, and technical administration of various systems or computers. A system engineer is someone who works with many teams and experts to create an effective system that will produce the desired results.
In this multidimensional digital environment, they play a crucial role and frequently collaborate with the project manager. A system engineer will be deeply knowledgeable about contemporary systems and networking and will be involved in every stage of the systems' development.
Here are some major duties and roles of the System Engineer:
Top Skills and Tools Needed for Systems Administrators
As one of the most versatile roles working with computers and servers, Systems Administrators can set themselves up for success by gaining experience within a wide range of software and tools they might be called upon to utilize. These include:
What is a system engineer?
A System Administrator is an Admin who administers and maintains the System, as the name suggests. The abbreviation for the system administrator is Sysadmin. The system administrator is concerned in the continuing maintenance of those systems and networks, whereas the system engineer focuses on developing and building systems.
They oversee system security, uptime, and make sure that needs align with available funds. A bachelor's degree in IT or software engineering is required to work as a system administrator. And you should continue to advance your technological knowledge.
Roles & Responsibilities of a System Administrator
Top Skills and Tools Needed for Systems Engineers
The technical elements of IT are a must-have for any Systems Engineer, in addition to the skills that come with leading a cross-functional team. Some of these top skills include:
Here are the key differences between a system engineer and a system administrator:
In short, a system engineer is a creator, and a system administrator is a manager. Both technical positions involve a close relationship and in small organizations, a single person does both jobs.
by Gareth Streefland
The vision for the development and implementation of Cloud Computing is clear: a world in which you can source...
The vision for the development and implementation of Cloud Computing is clear: a world in which you can source computing capacity automatically and without limitations. We are gradually seeing this vision take shape, as companies, large or small and irrespective of sector begin to embed the technology in their infrastructure. With successful use of the cloud, gone will be the days of companies having to sit their data on their own infrastructure or on one physical premise. However, we’re not quite there yet. Most cloud strategies are still in their infancy, with only a small amount of enterprises running significant workloads on the cloud. As with any emerging technology, the talent pool is slim, and knowledge and expertise in the market needs time to catch up to the concept and drive forward development.
The Cloud is seen to be the future platform for the implementation of cutting-edge new technologies and services. Utilising the Cloud fully will pave the way for disruptive technologies that are too expensive to run in our current physical infrastructures. Technologies and innovations including AI, serverless computing, virtual reality and more will all be made possible through the greater resources afforded by the Cloud. Alex Hilton, chief executive of the Cloud Industry Forum states that “Cloud is the generator for the next wave of technologies, the enabler for all the exciting developments”. Research suggests that as cloud usage increases by 2022 companies will spend no more than 12% of their budget on legacy technology.
Motivation for companies to invest in a cloud strategy is high, take a look at just a few of the benefits of cloud computing listed below:
1. It’s cost effective
All businesses share two common goals, make money and save money. A key factor of any business when adopting a new technology is how much it is going to cost them and whether this investment will be returned. Cloud promises savings across the board, everything is hosted on your provider’s servers, meaning no expensive hardware is needed, and costs of running said hardware no longer exist. Before the cloud, large organisations would store their data in massive datacentres. Datacentres need a great deal of space, power, security, and air-conditioning to maintain. Cloud computing removes the need for all of this.
2. Increased, scalable resources
Without the cloud, if additional resources are required, you’ll need to buy, install and configure an expensive new server. Cloud computing allows companies instant scalability. If extra resources are needed due to a peak in traffic, computing capacity can be increased with immediate effect. This affords companies unprecedented freedom and allows tech teams to react to issues quickly.
3. Deployment time
Applications integral to the growth and success of a system or a company can be deployed with virtually zero delay. This offers a huge strategic advantage over companies that are still operating with physical infrastructure.
4. Level playing field
Smaller companies, normally at a disadvantage against large companies with more in-house capacity and the ability to afford massive datacentres can now contest and find themselves able to operate on the same playing field without having to invest heavily.
5. Zero Downtime
Downtime is one of the biggest issues faced by companies as the reliance on applications to run operations rises. Cloud hosting fixes this issue, removing the possibility of server failure and guaranteeing 100% uptime.
Due to the strict security regulations, cloud providers are required to comply with, cloud- hosting services to ensure that businesses are protected against hacking, infection and internal data theft.
7. Flexible working
With a bigger push for companies to adopt modern working practices, especially amid the Coronavirus pandemic, flexible working is a topic of paramount importance. Cloud Computing affords businesses the capability of allowing employees to work from home, ensuring they can access their files anywhere. This, in turn, cuts costs as companies can reduce their need for office space.
8. Environmentally friendly
With environmental concerns at an all-time high, companies are under pressure to demonstrate the measures they’re putting in place to reduce their carbon footprint. The lack of need for a data centre means no powering servers, lighting or air conditioning. The scalability of the cloud allows companies to operate more efficiently, and only use what they need, ensuring far less energy is used than if the systems were on-site.
How can you ‘future-proof’ yourself?
The move to cloud is inevitable and as the saying goes, “if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em”. Now is the time to ensure you don’t get left behind in the datacentres of old, gathering dust among the server racks! The benefits outlined above are simply too tempting for any business to resist. Take every bit of cloud exposure and knowledge you can get your hands on and you’ll find yourself just as desirable to employers as the cloud services themselves.
If your current role is lacking cloud exposure and you’re worried about being left behind, contact one of our team here at Franklin Fitch and we’ll be sure to point you in the right direction.
by Steven Ewer
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
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 Anthony Ham
Since the advent of Uber’s cheap ride-hailing service in 2009, fears over the replacement of traditional jobs with technology have been...
Since the advent of Uber’s cheap ride-hailing service in 2009, fears over the replacement of traditional jobs with technology have been steadily increasing. Whilst Uber’s rise doesn’t wholly depend on automation (one-tap-app wizardry notwithstanding), it brings into focus the important question of whether the evolution of technology, and with-it self-healing networks, comes at the cost of well-established jobs.
At first glance, the idea of a ‘self-healing’ network seems to logically imply that fewer engineers are needed; after all, if it can fix itself, what’s left for the engineer to do? According to Michael Bushong, Vice President of Enterprise and Cloud Marketing at Juniper Networks writing in NetworkComputing.com, the answer isn’t quite so simple. “Automation is about growing, not cutting,” he says, adding that the goal of automation is to grow and support scalability. As the company grows, it will in turn need to increase its headcount, not reduce it.
Technology is changing, and engineers need to change with it
David Mihelcic, the Federal Chief Technology and Strategy Officer for Juniper Networks writing in Nextgov.com, says the move to automation will redefine a network specialist’s remit to focus on software programming rather than network management. In effect, technology is changing, and engineers need to change with it, he says. This might not be palatable to everybody though, for the obvious reason that many specialists are happy with their role as it is. But network engineers, of all people, are used to technology constantly adapting - obsoletion is a core part of the industry, so they should be happy to go with it.
It goes without saying that the shift to a software focus is massive. Those who wish to remain more hands-on and hardware focused will still obviously have a place, however, as these upgrades can’t be performed by AI. The competition for these roles will arguably be lower, too – network specialists who wish to pursue a more software-defined track, and even those on the fence, will be won over by the inevitably higher rates and salaries on offer. SDN and machine learning specialists are in high demand, and understandably companies are willing to pay more for such skillsets.
Somebody still needs to automate the job
So, the answer to the question of whether engineers will still have a job once networks are fully automated is most likely yes, they will. As Bushong points out, a business’ ultimate goal is to scale up, and when the business scales the network will too – and that’s something that can’t be automated. The goal of automation is to aid scalability, and scalability entails more jobs. Another factor is risk: in an enterprise-scale network, there are a lot of variables that can and will go wrong. According to Gartner, network downtime can cost on average $5,600 per minute. 10-20 minutes of downtime, and a fully automated company will likely be rethinking whether it was a good idea to cut back on network engineers.
With all that said, the spectre of automation is not unique to IT. A study by PwC estimates that 30% of jobs are at potential risk of automation by the mid-2030s. This only suggests that the job could be automated, however. Somebody still needs to automate the job, and to remain on hand to make sure the automation goes smoothly - lending more fuel to the fire that an engineer may need to shift their focus, not necessarily be replaced.
To date, we’ve managed to keep Skynet (the fictional AI supercomputer from the Terminator movies) at bay. It seems that, at worst, engineers will be forced to adapt and take a more software-centric approach to networking, picking up some programming along the way. Fears of automation are spread across every industry, but perhaps the theories of job replacement can be mitigated by adaptation.
by Charlotte Drury
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
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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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