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In brief …. 18 February 2016



UK teams up with Israel on cyber security

Cabinet Office Minister Matt Hancock has announced an “academic agreement” between the UK and Israel in working on cyber security.

Experts from both countries will take part in joint research, and cyber security bodies CERT-UK and CERT-IL will share incident information, malware analysis, methodologies, policies and best practice. There will also be a competition to find ideas and people for research on protecting physical cyber systems.

In a speech given on a trade mission to Israel, Hancock said: “British-Israeli collaboration in technology and innovation has facilitated a multitude of business partnerships in areas such as fintech, cleantech, digital health and more. I want to see this partnership strengthened.”

Royal Cornwall Hospitals signs Hitachi

Hitachi Data Systems has landed the role of strategic technology partner for the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust (RCHT), following its support in the implementation of a new private cloud solution.

It created a private cloud environment based on the Hitachi Unified Compute Platform Pro across two data centres, providing support for VMware and containing Hitachi's Unified Storage VM and Content Platform technologies. This made it possible to manage the network across the trust's three acute and 12 community hospitals.

The trust’s current storage estate comprises around 70TB and it has two major projects in the pipeline: digitising patient records and clinical imaging. Both projects have data intensive workloads and need to take account of explicit retention periods over the course of a patient’s lifetime.

Environment Agency changes data licensing

The Environment Agency has made changes in the way it licenses its data in anticipation of making it all free of charge by April 2018.

blogpost from the Department of Environment and Rural Affairs' digital team says the default position will be open data, using the Open Government Licence wherever possible. But the agency will use a separate, conditional licence when its data contains someone else’s intellectual property which it has to protect, or where a simple condition allows it to share something it would otherwise need to withhold.

The latter will be styled in the same way as an Open Government Licence, but include a link to conditions shown in online metada. This will enable the agency to release data it would otherwise have had to refuse.

Both new licences will come into effect on 1 April.

Bluesky supports National Trust survey

An aerial laser survey is helping the National Trust create a 3D map of historically important details of the Grade I listed Lodge Park in Gloucestershire. It has used LiDAR (light detection and ranging) data to analyse the landscape, in part to study the work of 18th century designer Charles Bridgeman.

“Historic map evidence has been somewhat inconclusive in determining what of Bridgeman’s landscape features were in fact implemented and still remain,” commented Wendy Stott, consultancy manager, historic environment, for the National Trust. “Post war aerial photographs similarly record tantalising glimpses of surviving ‘lumps and bumps’. However, the LiDAR survey by Bluesky has proved to be most telling of all.”

In support of a specially commissioned National Trust Conservation and Management Action Plan, the LiDAR survey of Lodge Park has revealed an unexpected level of detail, confirming remnants that predate Bridgeman's work. Stott said: “The next stage will involve balancing these discoveries and agreeing priorities for future management and restoration of this rare and highly significant parkland landscape.

Enisa launches e-learning for cyber

The EU Agency for Network and Information Security (Enisa) has launched an e-learning platform for experts who are creating or implementing national cyber security strategies.

It deals with a process that involves the collaboration of a range of stakeholders, and provides interactive training courses in: designing a security strategy; implementing a national action plan; evaluating cyber security awareness; raising awareness of relevant topics; and offering advice to public bodies.

The platform can be downloaded from Enisa's website.

Thenue Housing gets 1st Touch software

Thenue Housing Association has begun to use mobile workforce software from 1st Touch to deliver more services through mobile operatives. It has integrated the software with its Aareon back office system, and is beginning with estate management and tenancy services along with pre- and post-void inspections.

Brian Gannon, head of housing at Thenue, said: “The main driver for us is the software’s ability to integrate with our existing back office Aareon QL system. With 1st Touch we can now have live real time data going straight from the mobile device into Aareon and that is a real step forwards.

“In addition, the system’s Smart Airtime feature will ensure that communicating this data is exceptionally easy, as the system doesn’t require a constant signal.”

Research highlights management shortfall

Almost half of public sector workers (47%) think their leadership team lacks the management skills for a period of massive change, according to a survey commissioned by public sector software supplier Civica and the Society for Local Authority Chief Executives (Solace).

In a report titled Invigorating the Public Sector Revolution, they say the sector's priority of balancing the books is still leading to significant spending cuts across the majority of services. Although there has been some headway in redesigning and integrating services, there is a need for a need for leaders to empower the wider workforce and create an organisational culture and structure that supports and drives transformation.

The research found that 34% of public sector employees at middle manager level and below believe leaders need to alter the entire organisational structure, with 30% claiming a lack of clear direction is holding the sector back from effective change.

Rise of the IoT officers

Half of UK businesses (54%) plan to employ a chief IoT (internet of things) officer in the next year, especially in the education (63%), retail (63%) and telecomms (64%) industries, according to new research commissioned by cyber security specialist Webroot and data centre organisation IO.

The survey of 500 senior decision makers was conducted by OnePoll, and also showed that 60% of UK businesses are increasing their investments in IoT projects, by an average of 42%. Network infrastructure is attracting the bulk of investment, with 71% of business leaders agreeing that this is a primary focus.

But there are barriers: 80% said worries about security impede innovation, 37% were specifically worried about data security, and 57% said it could be compromised if they innovate too quickly.

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