All Gone Mad…

September 22, 2007

Many of you will already be painfully aware of how difficult it can be to get any kind of fun out of 600 words on information security. But I fear I share TWL‘s disbelief that anyone would go to such tenuous extremes as to link Monty Python to BS7799.

All this headscratching comes from an article in BIOS, which opens with a corker:

Monty Python and The Holy Grail made Ben Hur look like an epic…

Well, as far as I’m aware, Ben Hur is an epic – and is so without the Monty’s help. But that’s just being picky. The real fun starts with this, and I’m sure you all recognise the scene…

Prince Herbert’s father is proudly showing his son the kingdom he will inherit. He tells the Prince: ‘All I had when I started was swamp…other kings said I was daft, but I built my castle all the same, just to show ‘em. It sank into the swamp. So I built another one…that sank into the swamp. I built another one…that burnt down, fell over and sank into the swamp. So I built another, and that stayed up…’

Now, there all all sorts of accurate analogies that can be drawn from that scene, about forward planning, about expectation management, well – about loads of stuff. And, according to Jason Holloway of ExaProtect, about IT security…

The lesson is to build the security fortress on solid foundations, using established security frameworks such as COBIT, COSO, ITIL, BS7799 / ISO17799 or the newer ISO27001. These help you implement robust IT and security management processes and determine your control indicators for ongoing security and governance procedures. So your security processes won’t sink into the mud at the first challenge.

It goes on (and on), finding parallels between The Knights who say ”ni” and access to log files, between Lancelot’s crusading flight to the castle tower and false positives from IDS/IPS systems…

At the time of this post, there were no comments on the article, the picture had already formed in my head of hundreds of IT professionals in front of their machines scratching their heads and double-checking that it’s not April 1st.

Sparks Fly

August 3, 2007

San Fran based tech PR agency Spark PR have landed in London. Apparently the US-headquartered independent agency has res­ponded to a demand for pan-European PR services from its client base, which includes both tech start-ups and large venture capital companies. Rachel Bremer (Spark’s Senior Director) says;

“there is a need for good PR firms with really solid tech experience in London”

Please choose the most appropriate response:

  1. There are currently no tech PR firms in London
  2. There are lots of tech PR firms in London, but none of them are any good
  3. Rachel Bremer hasn’t done her homework
  4. Rachel Bremer has done her homework, but has a secret weapon
  5. None of the above (please explain…)

Seems the video ad display for the iPhone, in this Apple store has a little secret…

Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed- interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose a three piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing spirit- crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked-up brats you have spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future. Choose life…

Spud can’t help thinking that, along with the unstoppable march of time, comes the seemingly unstoppable expansion of choice… Is there any aspect of everyday life that doesn’t involve a days worth of research to make an informed decision? A friend of mine is switching broadband providers, and asked my advice – so we sat down and tried to compare like for like providers and the services they offered. We were overwhelmed with choice. I personally went with BT myself, as I don’t believe that the swings and roundabouts of special offers and introductory deals brings no real benefit unless you’re willing to switch providers every three months or so. I know that some folk do, but me? Nah – pay for it, use it, that’s about as far as I get.

The problem that this particular spud finds increasingly frustrating is that with this expansion of options at every turn, the only decision that can be made is between the “easiest to understand” options, rather than between the most appropriate.

The good old days weren’t always good – and I’m not hankering after the old monopolies such as the one that BT enjoyed for so long, but it made life a hell of a lot easier when it came to choosing which phone line you were going to use…

Another League

June 21, 2007

Charles Arthur came up with a good idea the other day – although one that I’m sure was suggested in jest – a league table for PR’s and journalists. Works like this:

“If you’re not in the top league, you can’t pitch to national papers. You have to work your way up through the trades and so on. Like football – third division clubs don’t get to take on Chelsea or Man U or whatever. Fascinating idea. How do we implement it? Equally, of course, journos on trade papers and so on couldn’t ring up Max Clifford – but then, do they anyway?”

Now, I don’t know if anyone ever phones Max Clifford, and if they do I have no idea why, but what I do know is a good idea when I see one, and this is it. it would be great!

Imagine the scene – Charles being high profile ‘n’ all, would be talking to the top five all day – and I’d be talking to the International Journal of Cardboard Packaging Manufacturers – on a monthly basis.

What this particular idea highlights once again is the notion of status. That the size and “power” that a high profile agency has is reflective of the quality of the products that they’ll flog. It’s simply not true, at least not any more.

Let’s imagine an overseas client bringing a new product (or more likely a new version of an existing product) to the UK market, he will be face with an army of tech PR agencies vying for the right to promote its wares. The choice for the client is between the influence that agency x carries, and the retainer that agency y is asking for. If we add the league table to this equation then the lightweights are blown out of the water and the middleweights are once again scrapping on activity for the pieces.

I’m a long-standing reader of Technology Guardian, and I hope that one day I’ll work for an agency big enough and prestigious enough that I’ll be allowed to call Charles and pitch a client to him that he’s not already aware of – although I’m worried that because I work for the big agency, he’ll already know about my client, whereas while I was at the little agency I wasn’t allowed to call Charles and pitch a client that he hadn’t heard of.

Am I the only one not looking forward to a time when Charles’ writing becomes samey and dull, because he’s too far up the food chain to get news from the plankton of the PR world…?

From the BBC today:

US researchers have successfully tested an experimental system to deliver power to devices without the need for wires.

The setup, reported in the journal Science, made a 60W light bulb glow from a distance of 2m (7ft).WiTricity, as it is called, exploits simple physics and could be adapted to charge other devices such as laptops.

“There is nothing in this that would have prevented them inventing this 10 or even 20 years ago,” commented Professor Sir John Pendry of Imperial College London who has seen the experiments.

“But I think there is an issue of time. In the last few years we have seen an exponential growth of mobile devices that need power. The power cable is the last wire to be cut in a wireless connection.”

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been dreaming of this day for a long time now…