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Tech trends: ICT in the UK today (2)


Security still biggest barrier to cloud adoption

More than half (58%) of UK business decision-makers say security remains the biggest barrier to public cloud adoption in their organisations. A survey of 200 decision-makers in large and medium-sized organisations by Censuswide for Centrify, a provider of modern privileged access management (PAM) solutions, also reveals that 35% of organisations that have adopted cloud are less than 80% confident that it is completely secure. Almost half (45%) said the largest exposure point was the increasing amount of machine identities and service accounts, such as those used by servers and applications. More than one in four companies (28%) have been targeted by a cloud hacking attempt in the last 12 months.


The high cost of careless email habits

More than half of UK employees (53%) have emailed a file attachment to the wrong person, often with disastrous consequences. In a survey of US and UK workers by human layer security company Tessian, 18% said that their business had lost a customer as a result and 17% had ended up facing legal action. The results for individual workers are equally alarming, with 23% facing disciplinary action and 13% losing their job. Nearly one third (29%) of documents shared in error contained customer or client information, with 26% containing financial information. Tessian has released the survey results to coincide with the launch of an industry-first solution that uses machine learning to detect attachment errors in real-time and alert the user before their email is sent. The new feature will be part of Tessian’s data loss prevention solution Guardian.


IT industry needs to do more to attract people from all backgrounds

Piers Linney

Former Dragon’s Den star Piers Linney is calling on more to be done to raise awareness of tech careers and improve inclusivity to ensure young people from all backgrounds benefit from the opportunities in ICT.

His call follows research by emerging talent and reskill training provider mthree showing that only one quarter of 18-24 year olds think the technology industry provides excellent career opportunities and only 32% think it offers a wide range of career choices.

This, at a time when 78% of financial services, insurance, pharmaceuticals and life sciences businesses continued to hire entry-level tech roles in 2020, with 92% planning to do so in 2021. In the wider jobs market, just 60% of private sector organisations recruited 16-24-year-olds in 2020, with only 43% planning to do so in 2021, according to the CIPD.

The study also highlights a shortage of applicants from under-represented groups, with 40% of businesses struggling to recruit diverse entry-level tech employees, despite a clear need to do so. Figures show that only 15% of tech workers are from diverse ethnic backgrounds, and just 19% of the tech workforce is female, compared with 49% of the total UK workforce.

Almost three quarters (71%) of tech workers aged 18-24 have felt uncomfortable in a job because of their gender, ethnicity, socio-economic background or neurodevelopmental condition.

Piers Linney said: “Tech’s diversity problem is well documented, so it’s understandable that lots of young people are worried that they won’t feel comfortable in the sector due to their gender, ethnicity or sexuality. However, there are many businesses that are genuinely committed to improving their diversity and inclusion, and they can only achieve this with greater numbers of enthusiastic applicants from under-represented groups. I would strongly urge young people to do their own research into the industry, even if they believe it’s not for them, as there is a good chance there’s a role they’re not aware of that could actually be a great fit and kickstart a really fruitful career.”


Cloud providers aim for carbon neutrality

Twenty-five cloud providers and data centre operators and 17 associations from across Europe have signed up to a new self-regulatory initiative to take steps to make data centres climate neutral by 2030. The Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact, developed in co-operation with the European Commission, sets measurable targets for energy efficiency, the purchase of 100% carbon-free energy, water conservation, the reuse and repair of servers and heat recycling. Signatories include Aruba, ATOS, AWS, DigiPlex, Equinix, Google, Leaseweb, NTT, OVHcloud, CIPSE, EUDCA, Cloud28+, Host in Scotland, ISPConnect and TechUK.


One third of SMEs in the dark about copper stop-sell

Zen Internet warns that UK businesses are at risk of a communications crisis following a survey that found 24% of businesses (and 33% of SMEs) are unaware that Openreach will soon stop selling PSTN and ISDN products and services.

It points out that the sale of such products is due to end in 2023, but ‘copper stop-sell’ trials are already underway in areas where Full Fibre networks are available. Stop-sell went live in December 2020 in Salisbury, with more areas to be announced this summer as part of a rolling quarterly programme.

One third of SMEs say they are unaware of the 2023 stop-sell deadline, with a further 10% saying they know about it but don’t know what to do next.

Zen says this highlights the need for greater support when the copper-based network is finally withdrawn from service, which it says will affect the use of essential functions such as card payment machines, security alarms and escalator phone lines.

Zen adds that some businesses could be bound to existing communication agreements after the stop-sell date and still be spending money on legacy communications systems and equipment; 13% of businesses questioned say the next possible point of contract renewal/termination with their traditional telephone third party supplier is more than three years away, with 15% saying the next possible point of contract renewal/termination for their telephony equipment is more than three years away. the-great-british-switch-off


Businesses failing long-time home workers

A new generation of long-term homeworkers created by COVID-19 is at risk physically and mentally through inadequate employer support, warns EIZO.

Its survey of 200 home workers who use a laptop or monitor at least one day a week found that 39% of homeworkers are operating without any employer-provided equipment, such as a laptop, mouse, keyboard, monitor or desk chair.

The most common items given to home workers are: *Laptops (received by 37% of survey sample) * Mouse (33%) * Keyboard (27%) * Desk chair (17%).

Only one third of home workers have a dedicated home office space, with 12% working from a sofa with a laptop on their knees.

EIZO CEO Colin Woodley said: “We know homeworkers want their employers to take action on these issues: almost a third (32%) who responded to our research would like them to provide more equipment, better equipment (25%) and discuss needs with employees on an individual basis (28%).

“At a minimum, this should include a desk and chair for posture, neck and back health plus a monitor for eye and neck health, space saving keyboards and computers with adequate audio-visual equipment to support the increasing number of online meetings.”

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