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Lucy Sherriff

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Are your secrets safe with SaaS providers?

There are plenty of opportunities for people to disclose, steal or sell sensitive company data. After all, anyone who really wants to swipe information needs only the intent and a USB stick. Admittedly, truly nefarious types are in fairly short supply. But the every day threat to any company’s data comes from the unintentional …
Lucy Sherriff, 20 Jul 2011
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Cloud changes shape in a crystal ball

“The mark of a successful technology,” says Simon May, tech evangelist at Microsoft, “is that it vanishes.” By that measure, cloud computing has a way to go, as it is surely the most visible technology out there – if you are counting headlines, at least. So it is interesting to speculate when it will fade from our discussions …
Lucy Sherriff, 19 Jul 2011
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The cloud and the incredible shrinking office

Those in the know say that cloud computing will fundamentally change the way we office creatures work. “I am slightly too young to remember the workplace before the arrival of the PC,” says Jacqui Thomas, director of Comms at the UK and Ireland chapter of the Cloud Security Alliance. “But cloud is the same kind of game changer …
Lucy Sherriff, 15 Jul 2011
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Data ownership becomes fuzzy in the cloud

If Facebook has taught us nothing else, it is that people can be cavalier about protecting their data. The social networking giant has forced consumers to think differently about their data: have I just handed over the rights to the photos of my kids? Am I going to appear on my friends' pages endorsing fashion leggings thanks to …
Lucy Sherriff, 13 Jul 2011
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Software as a service: Separating the bells from the whistles

The most obvious attraction of software as a service (SaaS) is that it gives small firms access to software they could not otherwise afford. In exchange for handing their data over to the care of someone with a huge data centre, they also benefit from economies of scale. But since there is no such thing as a free lunch, these …
Lucy Sherriff, 24 Jun 2011
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Make sure your data finds a safe harbour

The drive to buy local is very much in vogue, even though the note of nationalism in the Buy British slogan may not sit comfortably with some. And despite the many good reasons to support one’s local economy, there are limits: this writer is not buying local bananas until well into retirement on Mustique. Outsourcing is also a …
Lucy Sherriff, 23 Jun 2011
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Be happy in the cloud with the right SLA

Cloud services are not perfect. They are run on computers, by technical people, for customers: a triumvirate of imperfection. It is easy to get very excited by the possibilities of the cloud, so when Flickr accidentally deletes 4,000 photographs, or hotmail and gmail vanish email data, it serves as a useful reminder of the …
Lucy Sherriff, 16 Jun 2011
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DeepZoom rises to royal occasion

To celebrate a recent Royal Event you might have heard of, developers at Shoothill were asked to build an application that would add to the red-white-and-blue fun. The idea was that people could upload pictures of themselves to be stored in a giant photo montage portraying the faces of Prince William and his bride. …
Lucy Sherriff, 13 Jun 2011
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Can cloud save the NHS?

As the scope of cuts to the UK public sector becomes clearer, the holy grail becomes finding places where money can be saved with no impact on frontline services. No one wants fewer hospital beds, cuts to school meals or mothballed paramedic crews if we can make do with fewer email servers and fat terminals. Socitm logo The …
Lucy Sherriff, 10 Jun 2011
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Mind the GAP: Alert system saves lives

Case study Some time in the not-too-distant future, a brave, if chilly, soul will send the following tweet: “on #K2 summit. v tired. awesome view. cu @ basecamp”. You will have the UK firm Active Web Solutions (AWS) to thank for it. AWS has developed a Global Alerting Platform (GAP) based on Microsoft’s Azure cloud service that will …
Lucy Sherriff, 09 Jun 2011
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Data encryption and the Cloud

Survey after survey finds that IT professionals’ number one concern about cloud services is security. Some may say that concerns are overblown and that IT managers are more worried by loss of control than by real security risks. In some cases, the argument goes, security may even be better with a cloud deployment. That may be …
Lucy Sherriff, 02 Jun 2011
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Cloud in 2011: A bright new dawn...

An awful lot has been written about cloud computing in recent months. Big vendors are climbing over each other to claim an understanding of cloud and 2011 is the year it is supposed to go mainstream. Cloud computing will save us money, it will simplify our IT systems, it will transform the way we interact with government, it …
Lucy Sherriff, 28 May 2011
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Student books Vegas trip with Twitter mood detection app

Ben Waine, a self described "student ninja” who scooped first prize at the PHP Benelux Azure coding contest on May 21, has announced his victory on Twitter in a fittingly dignified and restrained manner: “Vegas baby yeeeeeeeaaaaaahhhhh!!!! Thanks to the @PHPAzureContest team who gave advice and support. #dpc11” But before we …
Lucy Sherriff, 24 May 2011
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Read-only nation: can Open Source change the British way?

Workshop We asked if open-source software had a part to play in increasing technological innovation in the UK. It seems that for a nation with such a great engineering heritage, we have too easily passed the tech leadership flag over to the US and to the emerging economies. Steve George from Canonical speculated that open-source software …
Lucy Sherriff, 21 May 2011
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Desktop Linux: the final frontier

Depending on who you talk to, 40 to 75 per cent of the world’s web servers are Linux-based. That is some serious market penetration. But even in organisations running Linux on their servers the operating system is on just 20 per cent of desktops. Despite its success in the back office, Linux has not yet made such an impact on …
Lucy Sherriff, 20 May 2011
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Getting data in and out of a cloud service

Two problems with getting data in and out of a cloud service: the technology, meaning bandwidth and networking protocols, and contractual obligations. There are limits to what can be done to download terabytes of data faster, but the right tools can certainly make things simpler. And as usual when taking on contracts, cloud …
Lucy Sherriff, 17 May 2011
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Skilling up the cloud: What it means for infosecurity pros

In its 2011 Global Information Security Workforce Study, Frost and Sullivan argues that cloud computing “illustrates a serious gap between technology implementation and the skills necessary to provide security”. The analyst firm’s survey of more than 10,000 information security professionals worldwide found widespread use of …
Lucy Sherriff, 20 Apr 2011
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Research scientist: Cloud is good for IT pros

“Cloud computing does not mean the end of the IT professional.” So says Professor Marin Litoiu, research professor at York University in Canada, erstwhile IBM research director and now one of the world’s foremost thinkers on cloud. This may seem a strange statement - coming from a man who has predicted that cloud computing will …
Lucy Sherriff, 14 Apr 2011
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Open source and the sluggish UK public sector

Workshop Confronting their rapidly shrinking budgets, public sector bean counters must imagine that someone somewhere has been casting Chinese curses about living in interesting times. Because when money gets tight, things sure do get interesting. You would think that at times like these open-source deployments would be the obvious …
Lucy Sherriff, 13 Apr 2011
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Belt, braces and external security standards

If you are about to hand the day to day running of your company’s technology and handling of data to a third party, you had better be sure they know what they are doing, and that what they are doing matches your requirements. The business case for adopting cloud computing is already clear for many: it can save a lot of money, …
Lucy Sherriff, 08 Apr 2011
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UK is a closed source 'stronghold'

Workshop The UK lags behind the rest of the world in deployments of open source software. Steve George, vice-president of business development at Canonical, believes this is a mistake that compromises not only our economy but also our global competitiveness. In China rural communities are receiving millions of PCs running Linux. In India …
Lucy Sherriff, 25 Mar 2011
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Let’s get commercial

Workshop IT people already know the benefits of open source software. A fair number of them run Linux at home (not least, according to one chief technical officer, so they can deny all knowledge of recent editions of Windows to friends and family wanting off-duty technical support), and persuading them to use it at work is not a hard …
Lucy Sherriff, 23 Mar 2011
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Cutting the cost of innovation

Workshop Open source software might be free to download, but it ends up costing as much as traditional software because of the complexities of supporting it, or inflexible licensing structures. Or so the argument goes. You would expect to hear this from Steve Ballmer, Larry Ellison or any of the other grand old men of proprietary …
Lucy Sherriff, 22 Mar 2011
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What did happen to all those London mayoral votes?

Last week, the nation turned out in record numbers (45 per cent) to decide who would run their local councils. In London, that meant voting Boris Johnson into what Ken Livingstone probably thought was his office for life. Some time earlier, the Open Rights Group had called for volunteers to be part of an election observation …
Lucy Sherriff, 07 May 2008
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How scanners and PCs will choose London's mayor

Very few politicians are recognisable by their first names only, but next week, two such larger than life characters will face each other in the closest battle for the office of London Mayor since it was re-established in 2000. The polls have the Labour incumbent Ken Livingstone running neck and neck with the Tory contender, …
Lucy Sherriff, 30 Apr 2008