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Jon Collins

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Everything you ever wanted to know about private cloud

The idea of cloud computing usually suggests vast server and storage resources delivered by external providers. The benefits, we are told, are legion: you pay only for what you use, you scale up to what you need, procurement costs are minimal, operational overhead reduced, and so on. But many organisations remain concerned …
Jon Collins, 8 Mar 2012
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Seven lessons from the HP Touchpad fire sale

The unfolding saga surrounding the HP Touchpad contains a goldmine of salutary tales. So, just what can we learn from the last few days? Anyone who says they expected the fire sale of HP touchpads to turn into a global gadget grab is a liar. Fortunately nobody has yet, not publicly anyway – indeed, apart from a few bits of …
Jon Collins, 29 Aug 2011
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Pushing service delivery beyond the enterprise boundary

Workshop So far in this series we’ve been considering all things service delivery, with an emphasis on how the various elements of IT infrastructure can be managed as a single whole. IT infrastructure isn’t what it once was however, as demonstrated by the increasing range of ‘cloud-based’ options available from third parties. The word …
Jon Collins, 26 Nov 2010
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Monitoring for security effectiveness

Workshop In the last of this mini-poll series, we wanted to find out whether the security monitoring mechanisms you have in place are seen as effective. To kick off, we should introduce a couple of factors we thought might make a difference, namely whether you want to monitor, and whether you have to monitor against security breaches. …
Jon Collins, 5 Aug 2010
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How effective is your security monitoring?

Workshop Poll For many organisations, the litmus test for IT security effectiveness is whether or not security breaches are reduced as a result. Security monitoring should help, but modern environments are complex and multi-faceted, and it can be difficult to determine how much is down to the tools, and how much is down to other factors such …
Jon Collins, 26 Jul 2010
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Who cares about encryption?

Workshop Poll Results We're used to getting a hundred or so responses from the mini-polls we run, but the 383 responses to our recent encryption survey were indicative of just how important this area is to people. In it, we wanted to gauge the gap between aspiration and reality when it comes to encryption – what you think is necessary, versus what …
Jon Collins, 20 Jul 2010
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Identity management is a pain in the backside

Workshop Identity management in the corporate environment is complex - not to mention, at the coalface, a pain in the backside. In the real world in which you work, password resets are one of the most commonly cited causes of help desk stress – and that’s an identity management problem. People leaving the company and still having …
Jon Collins, 12 Jul 2010
Two designers sitting in front of a "conceptual" desk filled with buzzwords. Photo by Shutterstock

Let’s hear it for service centricity

An elderly lady attended a public lecture given by an astrophysicist on how the Earth goes around the Sun and how the Sun circles about with countless other stars in the Milky Way. During the question and answer session, the woman stood up and told the distinguished scientist that his lecture was nonsense, that the Earth is a …
Jon Collins, 29 Jun 2010
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Does business really care about security?

Workshop Poll Results I once read a book that said, among other things, “You can never truly give money away.” The point it was making was that the act of giving has a certain responsibility – if you hand a large wad of cash to a charity, for example, you will want to know that the money is being spent wisely. A good theory perhaps, but it doesn’t …
Jon Collins, 28 Jun 2010
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Everything should be encrypted, right?

Workshop Poll Here's the perfect plan to solve all those pesky security problems. Confidentiality and data leakage, secure backups, individual privacy, data integrity, identity and access management - all can be dealt with in some way by encryption. So why don't we all just use it then, and be done? Of course encryption is out there, …
Jon Collins, 4 Jun 2010
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The emerging cloud alternative

Poll Results If there’s one thing about the current furore about Cloud Computing that really gets our goats, it’s to do with the amount of unnecessary confusion that’s being generated. It's unnecessary because, behind it all, there’s actually a number of quite good things happening. Sure, it’s a tricky area as it cuts across so many things …
Jon Collins, 2 Jun 2010
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Understanding your information assets

Lab Information is power, right? Well, just how powerful must most organisations feel today, given the amount of information they are packing? The immediate irony is that the opposite is generally true – we create data with gay abandon, but our ability to keep tabs on everything that we create is showing itself to be increasingly …
Jon Collins, 24 May 2010
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Delivering a secure information infrastructure

Lab I recently had the task of writing an explanatory paper about Good Practice Guide (GPG) 13, a UK-government sponsored piece of guidance around "protective monitoring" – that is, being able to keep an eye on what's going on in your IT environment in order to spot when security breaches happen. Now, before you get all big …
Jon Collins, 18 May 2010
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What's impacting IT security today?

Mini Poll Okay, we've banged on often enough about how security shouldn't be about products - it should be about making sure our data is adequately protected and all such good ideas. But the question is just how practical is this? We know a whole load of change is coming to IT today, some internal and some external. We also know that the …
Jon Collins, 29 Apr 2010
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Organisational change and IT

Lab It is great to theorise about all the good things IT can bring. Indeed, a fortunate few have that as their jobs. Just imagine what life would be like, for example, if it were possible to provision virtual servers on the fly, or provide real-time business intelligence tools to everyone who needed them, or implement management …
Jon Collins, 28 Apr 2010
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Architecting for IT service delivery

Lab A few years back I was involved in a project that turned out far more interesting than I expected. The plan was to write a training course about a software development methodology. As you see, it did start from a reasonably low point in terms of interest – but it quickly evolved into a much more worthwhile exercise. The course …
Jon Collins, 22 Apr 2010

Should all hard drives be encrypted?

Workshop Given the origins of computing in the coding and decoding of messages, it’s fair to say that the heritage of encryption is as noteworthy as what we now call IT. Indeed the principles of algorithmic codification of data, and the maths behind them, go back way beyond the illustrious efforts of Alan Turing and his ilk in the Second …
Jon Collins, 19 Apr 2010
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What does YOUR IT crystal ball say?

Lab Here’s a question for you. Is change really afoot in the way your organisation ‘does’ IT? I know, dumb question, of course it is – but not in the way that some might think. For a start, business and IT are constantly about change, for better or worse. My corporate days used to be full of meetings, initiatives, reorganisations …
Jon Collins, 19 Apr 2010
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What’s new and improving about IT today?

Lab For anyone who has been in IT for a while, all that new and improved stuff can quite quickly feel like the same-old-same-old, repackaged for the latest generation of supposedly tech-literate masses. Still, the “I’ve seen it all before” game can be a dangerous one to play. It is too easy (for example) to look at social media and …
Jon Collins, 9 Apr 2010

Administrator access: Right or privilege?

Workshop Here’s a story, which may or may not be true. A long, long time ago, a UNIX sys admin was having a problem with some of his users, who thought it was really funny to download explicit photos from the then still-fledgling Internet and pop them up on other people’s screens. It wasn’t funny of course, but when the administrator …
Jon Collins, 8 Apr 2010
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Virtualisation and sorcery: We’re all apprentices now

Lab It’s funny to think what might be made of this virtualisation lab in a few years’ time. When we kicked it off back in December last year, we wanted to gauge where organisations large and small were really at – and after a barrage of questions and a solid level of feedback, we think we now know. Whatever the evangelists and early …
Jon Collins, 29 Mar 2010

Office IT: One size doesn't fit all?

Workshop “We are all individuals” – Brian “I’m not” – computer user 'One size fits all' might be preferable for IT departments, but from an end-user perspective, everybody thinks they have different needs. But choice can be a two-edged sword. I remember way back when, having been put in charge of IT, I was surprised that desktop …
Jon Collins, 22 Mar 2010
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Potholes on the road to server virtualisation

Lab While the broader question of what’s going to prevent server virtualisation going mainstream might be interesting, it's far more pertinent to find out what’s going to prevent virtualisation working in your own organisation. According to your feedback, virtualisation itself doesn’t seem to require that great a skill set to get …
Jon Collins, 17 Mar 2010
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Growing up with virtualisation

On Demand As many organisations are discovering as they move beyond server virtualisation pilot projects, there's more to it than just consolidating servers and dealing with workloads. In this on-demand webcast, Jon Collins of analyst firm Freeform Dynamics talks to Zane Adam, general manager of virtualisation and systems management at …
Jon Collins, 8 Mar 2010
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Will we stop talking about virtualisation?

Lab Well, it’s been fun, but we’re starting to draw this virtualisation lab series to a close. Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be wrapping things up, tying things down and otherwise leaving things neatly parcelled. While of course it is a free society, so you don’t have to pay any attention to the stream of editorial on this …
Jon Collins, 4 Mar 2010

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