Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Are Sys Admins and Network Managers Police Persons?

Having spent the last eighteen months in the IT security business (I'm originally a tech marketer from the imaging industry) I'm constantly surprised at the range and responsibility of the jobs Network Managers and Sys Admins are required to undertake - especially those that work in education with all the attendant responsibilities that looking after other peoples' kids entails.

A recent post caught my attention about qualifications in e-safety for those hard-pressed information system plumbers - I don't mean that in a disparaging way either to plumbers or techs - if the information stops flowing, starts leaking, gets backed up ... do you have the skills, knowledge and stomach to unblock the u-bend? - I certainly don't.

I digress - back to the post from the BCS - their core premise is that e-Safety should be taught as a part of the national curriculum (I agree) but there hasn't been a structured way to teach it (I agree) and that the IT department usually ends up having to carry the can for a myriad e-safety problems and incidents (I agree).

To quote The BCS directly:  "You wouldn’t send someone who came into a school with a knife to the design technology department, but with internet issues, people usually get directed to the IT department - and the issue is bigger than that."

The creation of a structure to teach e-safety to our kids can only be a good thing - especially if it's delivered by properly qualified teachers.  The reclaiming of the teaching environment from the techs by continuous education of all teachers in IT related subjects (not just as 'users' of tech) is an important step in this process.  

This also raises the issue of where responsibility (and accountability) lies in hard-pressed schools and LAs for delivering e-safety (and the attendant tech paraphernalia that it requires).  In the eyes of the law it's pretty clear (teachers, employers and Governors) but in practice it all seems to be all over the place - with the IT function getting dumped on because it's 'computer or internet related'. If you read some of the threads in Dr. Brian Bandey's e-Safety Law in Education LinkedIn group they illustrate the complexity of this evolving problem. 

So - going back to the title of this piece - Are Sys Admins and Network Managers Police Persons?  In my personal opinion they should be exactly that - they should provide a safe infrastructure on which to base education.  They shouldn't be considered as policy makers, judges or arbiters of standards just because a computer is involved in the process.  These functions lay with the educators, policy makers and legally accountable members of the education community - who (again in my personal opinion) should step-up to the challenge and properly understand some of the (seemingly transparent) technology that they currently use and rely on to keep them out of the law courts.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Smoothwall at TechMesh EXPO

Our friends at TechMesh are putting on a regional showcase of IT & Telecoms talent to showcase the region’s techie assets - and we'll be there!  The all day event, which is being held at the Royal Armouries in Leeds on the 13th October should prove to be a worthwhile day out with some interesting speakers lined up.

To add to the fun we'll be doing our thing demonstrating our latest tech in the Interactive Zone - a sneak preview of our pitch >>>

Social Notworking - Who's coming to work to play?

  • How to see exactly who's doing what and when on your time and network?
  • The Dangers of Web 2.0
Web Filtering - Why Bother?
  • What web filtering really means and how doing it properly benefits your business?
  • How do you filter the web?
  • What are the key technical benefits
  • What are the productivity benefits
Protecting yourself, your business and staff from web borne threats
  • Malware vectors - it's not just email viruses
  • What can happen after an e-safety incident
  • Cost of fixing the damage
  • Legal implications
We think that the expo provides an insight into how the world of technology is changing - and that Yorkshire and Humber have a great deal to offer the world techwise.

In summary - the guys at TechMesh have put together a great programme of over 40+ exhibitors; a techpanel – a seasoned panel of experts; an interactive zone where visitors can watch, listen and play with the very latest in technology and a SME surgery for one to one advice from industry experts. There will also be members from all the local business groups milling around - so the networking opportunities will be fantastic.

Date: Thursday 13th October 2011
Time: 9am – 4.30pm
Venue: Royal Armouries, Armouries Drive, Leeds, LS10 1LT

Cost: FREE please visit to register