Cybersecurity and the cloud with Paul Tacey-Green

Welcome to the part two of our report of December 2019’s Leaders In Tech, Decoding Cybersecurity. This article is a snapshot of the talk by our second speaker of the evening, Paul Tacey-Green. As Head of Cloud at Amito, which runs Reading’s largest data centre, Paul’s had many years’ exposure to the security elements of cloud services and therefore has a unique perspective of cybersecurity in his field. Paul’s talk looked at how views of cloud have changed over the last ten years and the key security questions that tech leaders need to ask before taking the plunge and picking a provider. 
According to Paul, 95% of today’s Fortune 500 businesses are using cloud. And it doesn’t look as if the popularity of cloud is likely to wane anytime soon. He cites a study that claims 66% of UK-based organisations intend to use more cloud services in the next 12 months – but what proportion are giving serious thought to cybersecurity? For Paul, this is an issue that’s more important than ever. However, as cloud use has grown, it seems complacency has as well. 

Back in 2011, when Paul’s Amito business was just getting started, it was a different story. 
“People’s views of cloud were fairly negative,” says Paul. “They were fearful and cynical. People were comfortable with having physical servers, often on premise. So, when we first launched Amito, we were teachers, educating on the benefits and features of cloud.”
Just under a decade later, and the landscape has transformed. Today, Amito serves 350 clients in countries including Australia, the USA, Germany and Russia. It manages over 20,000 virtual machines and has 650 racks of equipment live (just in Reading). In short, organisations have embraced cloud and continue to do so enthusiastically. There are a number of reasons behind this shift, according to Paul, from the development of more robust technology to herd mentality. “However,” says Paul, “I don’t think that the risks have really changed.” His recommendation? To return to the more wary, questioning mindset of 2011. 
“Cloud is still just servers in a data centre. We still need to be considering all the things we did before.” 
 
The cloud and cybersecurity: the questions you need to ask
To help our tech leaders minimise the risks associated with cloud services, Paul laid out the questions they need to ask in order to keep businesses operations and data safe. Below is a summary of the most important points for on-premise, public and private cloud operations. 
On-premise private cloud
If you plan on keeping cloud operations on-site, have you thought about physical security? Are windows and access points secure? And how are staff vetted? Can you trust the people who access your cloud site – including cleaners and third party contractors? 
Public cloud
When it comes to public cloud, Paul’s questions centre more on data and systems: for instance, how does the provider encrypt data over the network, in storage and on backups? And how long is data retained after a VM is deleted? Crucially, will the answers to such questions change in the future? Businesses need to consider all the above before committing to a provider. 
Private cloud
Paul has a host of questions for would-be private cloud providers too: will hardware be continuously upgraded to mitigate legacy security issues in firmware? And is there enough budget allocated for off-site back up and disaster recovery services?   
By getting the full picture from providers, tech leaders can choose the safest option and minimise risks – which could save an organisation from costly cybersecurity breaches. Finally, Paul gave our tech leaders some tips on getting into a more security-focused mindset. We hope you find his insights as useful and interesting as we did. 

Revisit the questions you would have asked back in 2011. Don’t be afraid to interrogate providers on security the way you would have done in the past.

Support the stakeholders. Make sure they feel comfortable about what they’re agreeing to.

Let the business set its own level of acceptable risk. Every business is different and will be striking different balances between security, budget and ease of use.

Become a secure business. There are frameworks out there to help, such as ISO27001 and Cyber Essentials (an entry level accreditation).

Get confident asking questions and getting answers.

We’re very grateful to our fantastic guest speaker for sharing his wealth of experience. Many thanks to Paul Tacey-Green and to everyone who made it to December’s Leaders In Tech | Reading.
Look out for details of the next event on our social media channels.
 

Lessons from a CISO

Last month we were lucky enough to welcome not one, but two awesome guest speakers to Leaders In Tech. The first was Cath Goulding, CISO at Nominet, and the second was Paul Tacey-Green, co-founder of Amito. Both had plenty of fascinating things to say about that evening’s topic, Decoding Cybersecurity. So, we’ve decided that each talk deserves its own article. First up: Cath Goulding.
If anyone knows the cybersecurity arena, it’s Cath Goulding. She’s spent the last 20 years in the industry; 15 with GCHQ and 7 with the .uk domain registry, Nominet. Cath kindly agreed to share the valuable lessons she’s learned with our tech leader guests. Like them, we were all ears.

Connect with the Board
Cath began by looking at what can be the most frustrating element of a CISO’s job: explaining to a Board why investment in cybersecurity is essential. Her three cast-iron reasons came down to the following: (1) to avoid security incidents and disruption to the business, (2) to meet the ever-growing list of compliance and legislation, and (3) to build trust in the business – to build a reputation as a safe, secure brand. “Some security professionals say that Boards just don’t understand,” says Cath. “But Boards understand risk. You just need to translate it for them. Explain the impact of an incident and how likely it is,” she advises. “It’s an opportunity and should be sold that way.”
Think differently about recruitment
For Cath, the biggest risk to security is lack of qualified professionals: “Ever since I started in this field, we’ve been short of people.” Her solution is a practical one – to hire a broad mix of talent, from techies to business-orientated professionals. “After all,” says Cath, “there’s no such thing as this unicorn, the security professional who knows everything.” She also advises tech leaders to think differently about recruitment by looking at people’s potential. For example, an Auditor could have the skills to make a good CISO.
Do your best to measure
If the biggest risk to cybersecurity is people, the hardest part is measurement. Although Cath doesn’t have all the answers, she suggests a useful tool: the Capability and Maturity model. This helps CEOs understand their organisation’s position. “They can use it to make informed decisions,” says Cath, “and then you’re likely to get more budget!”

Don’t believe the hype
Cath’s next tip? Beware of the cyber hype. Infosec is a huge marketplace – with many snake oil salesmen. If you have to venture into this arena, Cath recommends a sceptical mindset. “Ask what the product or service actually does and get proof of value.”
Be prepared
Cath’s next lesson came from the book of common sense: when it comes to cybersecurity, prevention is better than cure. She highly recommends two-factor authentication, on personal email accounts as well as business systems.
Think about culture
Finally, Cath stressed the importance of workplace culture in cybersecurity. She illustrated her point with a story about how she got her team to switch to more secure working practices through a competition. “If you have a positive culture and environment, it will make you as an organisation much more secure,” says Cath. “Training and the human aspect are massively overlooked.”
In summary…
To finish, Cath gave a list of questions that tech leaders should be asking CISOs:

Do we know what to do if there’s a major breach?
Is our most important data backed up?
Is our infrastructure fit for purpose and future proof?
How confident are we in the security of our products and services?
What are our top three risks and what are we doing about them?
How well do trust our suppliers?
How are we measuring the effectiveness of our cybersecurity?

We hope you’ve found Cath’s lessons as useful and interesting as we did. We’re very grateful to our fantastic guest speaker for sharing her wealth of experience. Many thanks to Cath Goulding and to everyone who made it to December’s Leaders In Tech | Reading.
Look out for details of the next event on our social media channels.

From getting down with the kids to moving up the pay scale read about the last three talks from the latest Djugl get-together

In our two previous blogs, we gave you a rundown of the first seven Lightning talks at our recent Djugl event. Now we’re onto the final three – and like those that went before, they were diverse and fascinating. Our speakers hailed from Amazon, Beamly and our lovely hosts, Potato. Here’s what these very different speakers had to say…

Working less and getting paid more
This talk certainly had the audience paying attention: David Smith, of Amazon Web Services, explained what Coders need to do to break through the salary ceiling. In his opinion, great technical skills are all very well. But when it comes to moving up to higher salary brackets, soft skills are essential. Using a typical unsuccessful project as an example (and some very amusing gifs), David illustrated how lack of communication leads to a rushed product – and an unhappy customer. It’s at this point technical folk need to step up and make things better by talking to the other teams including Sales and Creative. David says this is how Developers increase their impact and access more senior roles. We saw a lot of the audience taking VERY detailed notes…

Getting involved with work experience
Michael Strutt left us with a warm and fuzzy feeling, as he explained how Potato has been giving back to communities by providing work experience. Surprisingly, not all schools now include work experience as part of the curriculum. For those that do, it’s increasingly difficult to find organisations prepared to participate. Michael talked us through Potato’s experience, sharing the two-week programme the business created and the impact it made. Feedback from the children showed that it was a formative – and in some cases, future-defining – experience for them. Michael also showed the audience how their businesses could follow Potato’s example, with a simple guide to running work experience.

Mind the gap…
The last talk of the night was Transitioning from Web Development to Data Engineering, with Beamly’s Dami Onajole. Having worked in both arenas, he was well equipped to compare and contrast the two different professions. Dami described the parallels between NVC and ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) before going on to highlight two key tools he’s been using as a Data Engineer. The first was Airflow, which allows you to schedule tasks and manage dependencies between tasks. The second was Pandas, a Python library, which according to Dami, is to Data Engineering, what Django is to Web Development.
 
If you enjoyed reading about our Lightning talks and would like to come to the next event, follow Austin Fraser – we’ll be posting details online.
 

London Magento Users Group – F*&k Ups!

 
In our September instalment of London Magento Users Group, we will be hosting a F*&k Ups! Night. We will have speakers get up in front of a room full of strangers to share their own professional f*&k up. The stories of the business that crashed and burned, the partnership deal that went sour, the product that had to be recalled, we want them to tell all.
Agenda for the evening, as follows:
18:30 – 19:15 Arrive, network, eat and drink!
19:15 – 19:25 Introduction from Emma Gilder, Co-Organiser, Austin Fraser
19:30 – 19:50 Tom Robertshaw, Ecommerce Evangelist, Space 48
“Over the last 10 years, I’ve gone from being a Comp Science student to a developer, to an agency owner, to an ecommerce evangelist. This has given me the opportunity to fuck up in a range of roles and responsibilities! All that practice means I’ve now gotten the hang of how to royally screw up a situation. So whether you want to overwrite production DBs, get removed from client Christmas card lists, or offer two for one hot tubs to all your client’s customers, come and learn from the best in the business.”
19:55 – 20:15 Speaker to be announced shortly…..
20:20 – 21:00 Network and drink some more!
We are the proud sponsors of the London Magento Meetup and co-organisers for the last 6 years. We’re here to listen, advise, and ultimately, to help organisations perform better.
Get your free ticket here: https://www.meetup.com/magento-london/events/254207661/

Leaders in Tech Berlin: Liberating Structures and Unleashing Innovation

‘Leaders in Tech’ is a group of senior execs and thought leaders who get together to discuss current tech trends, share knowledge, learn new things and network. We have created thriving local communities in Munich, Stuttgart, Berlin and Reading, UK.
Our Berlin launch event was held at VW Digital Labs on 23rd November 2017. Eric Heymann, Vice President Engineering at FlixMobility Tech GmbH (FlixBus), gave an interactive presentation on the journey to a fully independent, agile team. 
Our next ’Leaders in Tech’ event on the 30th August will focus on Liberating Structures and Unleashing Innovation.
As a leader of so-called self-organised teams, you may be struggling to find the right balance between giving directions and letting the team find their own ways.
We all rely on tools and frameworks that help us to do a better job in our day to day, which in our case consists of leading complex team dynamics that cannot be influenced in a “command and control” management style.
So how do we deal with that?
The Liberating Structures framework provides you with 33 new tools you can rely on in case you want to allow a group of people the freedom to facilitate their own collaboration.
Join Thomas Strecker, Branch Manager at Codecentric AG and Marcel Wolf a leading trainer and coach in exploring the Liberating Structure concept.
Starting with key terminology and “design patterns”, we will be conducting a guided interactive ‘Liberating Structure Experiment’ to further understand best practices and key overall benefits to the business.
If you would like to find out more about maximising the productivity of you team, discuss this and other current trends with your peers, and expand your network, then register for the upcoming ‘Leaders in Tech’ Meetup —-> https://www.meetup.com/Leaders-in-Tech-Berlin/events/253124682/

16th in the Austin Business Journal’s Best Places to Work for 2018

16th place in the Austin Business Journal’s Best Places to Work for 2018
We did it! We placed 16th in Austin Business Journal’s Best Places to Work for 2018 and we’re super proud of our placing. Being recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in Austin means so much to us.
 
We are so proud of every team member for helping make this happen! When you work with great people around you, you can achieve extraordinary things.
 
It’s our third year being a finalist in this prestigious award and since last year’s nomination, we’ve become even better at listening to our people. We’re committed to creating exciting and rewarding career opportunities and building closer relationships with the communities we operate in.

DJUGL is back

DJUGL is back!
Our London based Python/Django community is busy preparing for the 3rd instalment of the year, being held on 17th July 2018. For full details about the event and to book your free place click here.
 
For those new to DJGUL, we’re linking up great companies and developers of all levels within the Python/Django space. We meet quarterly for engaging tech talks and conversation. It’s a fun social event for developers who are keen to expand their knowledge, share news, niggles and of course meet new people. Jamie Janner, Python Consultant for London, explains how being a part of this community can have a positive impact on your career: “It enables developers to experience a more 360 view of the community and understand new technologies, best practices & other roles & avenues available to them in their careers.”
 
So whether you’re looking to upskill, speak in front of your peers or learn something new – join our community and become a Djugler.
 
Our London team of specialist tech Consultants have immersed themselves in this community. With their unrivaled technical knowledge they’ve been helping to run Djugl and support developers and companies who use Python and Django, since 2008. Austin Fraser’s own Python Consultant, Ross Lewis explains: “It allows us to be a face and have a presence within the communities we engage with day in day out. We are able to experience the industry through their eyes and hopefully learn more about the work they do. In doing this, we are able to connect on a deeper level”.

Jamie Janner – [email protected], Ross Lewis – [email protected] and team will be on hand during the event, so book your free place, grab a beer and slice of pizza and let’s talk.

Austin Fraser secures top 20 ranking in Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200

Austin Fraser secures top 20 ranking in Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200
Celebrations are set to take place across all Austin Fraser offices, following our second consecutive placement in the Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200. 2018 sees us come in at 20th in the ninth annual Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 league table, which ranks Britain’s mid-market private companies with the fastest-growing international sales.
 
Growing our international presence
How have we achieved this? In the qualifying two year period, we’ve seen exponential international growth, with revenue rocketing up over 115%. Global locations have doubled in the past 18 months, too, opening offices in Berlin, Denver and Dallas. And we have more ambitious plans for Europe and the US in place.
 
Strategic leadership
As many of you will have seen in the media, earlier this year, we announced a significantly expanded leadership team, with the aim to propel Austin Fraser’s organisation’s global growth. At the same time, the business has been developing deeper relationships across our specialist sectors across Technology, Automation, Aviation and Life Sciences industries
 
Strengthening our culture
International growth comes with its own set of challenges. So we were delighted to see other regional players like the Bullit Group and Westcoast in the league table.
We’re a people-led business to our core and have nurtured a culture that supports, fosters and rewards success. As a recruitment partner, our teams are genuinely motivated by a core desire to ensure both our clients’ and candidates’ success. We couldn’t be prouder of every team member for making this happen and look forward to celebrating and thanking everyone in person.

Austin Business Journal’s Best Places to Work for 2018

Austin Business Journal’s Best Places to Work for 2018
 
Hey y’all! We’re so excited to announce we’ve been recognized as a finalist for Austin Business Journal’s Best Place to Work for 2018!.
Our Finalist placing acknowledges that we go the extra mile for our teams.
 
Being recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in Austin is so exciting for us and is credit to our culture and belief that our people are at the heart of our business.
 
Our success is creating a truly inspirational environment for our teams to work in every day. Our offices are designed to encourage collaboration and innovation in the way our team’s approach their work, allowing our dynamic workforce the space they need to be brilliant.
 
We offer an exclusive incentives package to motivate and make sure our people love what they do. We never leave out the fun stuff, with our buzzing calendar of social events everyone can get involved! This is what creates a great place to work and progress, and together helps shape our Austin Fraser DNA.
 
It’s our third year being nominated for this prestigious award and since last year’s nomination, we’ve become even better at listening to our people. We’re committed to improving internal career pathways, building closer relationships in our communities and with our clients, we hope to smash our previous 6th place ranking and come out on top this year.
 
We’ll keep you posted on where we’re ranked when the finalists’ placements are revealed on June 22nd!

Next stop, Dallas: consolidating Austin Fraser’s US presence

Next stop, Dallas: consolidating Austin Fraser’s US presence
We’re delighted to announce our next new office opening in Dallas, Texas, scheduled for October 2018. This move will anchor Austin Fraser deeper in the US market, hot on the heels of our award-winning Austin, Texas office and Denver, at the start of the year.
We’d also like to congratulate Dallas team lead, Alina Brovko, who will relocate from Munich to build the new Dallas team and roll-out our growth plans.  Alina is a brilliant example of the career pathways available at Austin Fraser and our strong ethos of fostering talent from within.
 
How we evolve on the ground
As the fourth biggest technology market in the US, outside New York, LA and Chicago, and a concentration of established Austin Fraser clients located in the city, Dallas was the obvious choice for our third US office. With its flourishing start-up ecosystem of incubators, tech meet-ups and a strong Fortune 500 presence, it holds real potential for Austin Fraser. With our Austin team just three hours away too, it will allow for deeper collaboration, ensuring our networks and talent pools are harnessed for client success.
As with previous locations, it’s important to us that we are embedded in the local community. Our approach is about adapting and integrating, while staying true to our Austin Fraser DNA. We invest heavily in communities, creating longer-term relationships while developing an exceptional pool as well as new career opportunities internally.
 
International growth
This past 18 months has seen Austin Fraser double our global locations, with offices in Berlin, Denver and Dallas.  We scale our international teams with home-grown talent, while building a strong local talent pipeline.
As Alina explains “We’re seeing a lot of our clients with hubs across the US so for this market, it makes sense for us to support as many of those as we can, as we extend Austin Fraser’s presence.  Our business is about how we can help our clients grow. Being on hand, to build real connections and relationships really means that we can specialise as well as play an active part in the tech community here.”
Further expansion plans in the UK, Europe and the US are in place and we’ll look forward to sharing these later this year.

Thames Valley Tech Awards

Thames Valley Tech Awards 2018: Top Tech Employer

Thames Valley Tech Awards 2018: Top Tech Employer
 
We’re partnering with The Business Magazine to support the launch of the first ever Thames Valley Tech Awards, a celebration of all things tech in the area. We’re taking the lead on the Top Tech Employer as we have the pleasure of working with these game changers every day. If you think you have what it takes, please take a look at our criteria and follow the instructions below to apply.
 
Here’s what we’re looking for in the Thames Valley’s Top Tech Employer:
 
An innovative and inclusive culture
Tell us about the way you work, interact and collaborate as a business. How open are your communication channels, how approachable are the leadership team and what do you do to achieve this?
 
A clear brand identity
Are your employees aligned with your business values and how do the leadership team embody them? Are your people engaged in the work they’re doing and how do you know?
 
Investing in your people
People are the backbone of any organisation, how do you invest in yours? Do you support their personal and professional development with training and progression opportunities? How achievable is a work/life balance in your organisation? Do your people feel valued what are the levels of your staff retention in 2017?
 
Company benefits scheme
 
Do you just offer the standard benefits package or have you created tailored schemes to really differentiate yourselves from the competition? Are you regularly reviewing your offering or is it stagnated?
 
Giving back & creating a positive impact
 
How do you recognise your responsibility as an organisation to give back to the community and how do you engage your employees in this? Do you support charities and if so, how? Are you conscious of your impact on the environment and what do you do to minimise this?
 
Innovating in your space
What are you doing to implement creative working styles, are you using the latest tech to create the most efficient solutions for your business?
 
Talent attraction 
How strong is your employer branding? Do you value your candidate experience and how can you demonstrate this?
 
If you have a strong case for each of these areas, we’d love to hear from you.
 
Follow this link https://tvtechawards.co.uk/tech-awards-categories/ and download the Top Tech Employer Award application form (8th one down).
 
We look forward to receiving your applications and celebrating with you on the night.

2018, Brexit and the aviation industry

2018, Brexit and the aviation industry

As we enter the New Year the aviation industry is making operations planning decisions for the coming 12 -18 months and planning is made even more pertinent as Brexit negotiations continue. Clearly high on the government agenda, Brexit also rides high for the airlines of the UK and Europe owing to the fact that legal permissions that allow airlines to fly between the UK and the European Union are set at an EU level. As Christine Ourmières-Widener, Chief executive of Flybe recently said: “Although the UK will not leave the EU until 2019, there is a lot of work and negotiation to be done by governments on both sides,” she said.
 
According to a report in the Financial Times, towards the end of last year, if Britain left the single market, UK-owned airlines would automatically lose flying rights to EU airspace and would no longer be recognised for airworthiness certificates or parts. However, steps to alleviate such a significant shift in market dynamics which would place UK operators and service companies at a severe disadvantage are already well in train. The EU withdrawal bill (although not yet finalised) seeks to transfer much of the existing legislation across from the EU to the UK statutes. Nevertheless, there remains a challenge for UK aviation if the mutual recognition of certifications is not upheld.
 
Over and above all this, other significant challenges for the aviation industry this year include the rising cost of fuel and the ongoing issue of Air Passenger Duty. Nevertheless, traveler numbers overall continue to rise and the demand for both business and leisure travel overseas remains strong.
 
2018 will be a year of challenge for the aviation industry. Being agile and fleet of foot will be a key requirement. Will we know the definitive impacts of Brexit on Britain’s aviation industry by the end of 2018? We doubt it very much, but hopefully, the mists will be clearing. Those businesses who are able to adapt, cross-skill, develop and recruit great staff will be the ones to ride out the storm. Regulatory consultants who are able to advise and influence policy will certainly be one of the skill sets that are required.