Upcoming article: SME disaster recovery: Hyper-converged or the cloud

In this follow up piece for Computer Weekly, we’ll be looking more deeply at disaster recovery for the SME sector. The piece will cover:

• The key requirements for disaster recovery

o Why is it simpler than ever for SMEs to achieve effective DR

o What are the key choices (platforms, hardware and software)?

• Plus:

What are the key characteristics of disaster recovery using hyper-converged infrastructure? Who plays in the space and what doing they offer?

• What are the key attributes of the use of the cloud for DR?

• What are the pros and cons of each for SME customers?

For this piece I am open to input from analysts and systems integrators and consultants. We will also consider input from vendors, especially customer examples – but they must be SME, private sector projects.

The deadline for leads is Friday 18 October, 12 noon London time. Please contact me by by email, as ever.

Upcoming article: can the cloud replace tape?

My next article for Computer Weekly will look at whether the cloud will finally see off tape, as the enterprise’s main backup medium.

For years analysts and vendors have predicted the demise of tape, but it lives on. Compared to disk-based backup, tape retains some advantages. And recent ransomware attacks have also caused organisations to look again at tape.

Could the cloud, though, finally see off tape backup? This article will examine the key cloud alternatives as organisations seek to move away from tape, and consider what they mean storage architecture. We will discuss:

  • Tiers of storage are there and how do they relate to each other
  • Difficulties in the (continued) use of tape
  • The key types of cloud products that can be seen as tape replacements
  • How do tape replacement cloud offerings fit with on-premises architectures?
  • Who are they key vendors of cloud tape replacement products and what do they offer

The deadline for submitting spokespeople’s names is 1700 London time, Wednesday 09th October. The deadline for submitting comment is 1700 London time, Monday 14th October. However please do not submit comments without contacting me first.

We welcome input from analysts, consultants and also senior end user IT architects, business continuity or archiving specialists.

Please contact me by by email in the first instance.

Speaking opportunity: Security Culture TV

I am looking for guests to appear on a new series of Security Culture TV.

The show welcomes guests from both the IT and cyber security industries, as well as experts in related fields, such as physical security and data privacy. In fact, security convergence is one of our themes for the shows.

The first episodes will be filmed at a studio near London on September 25th and 26th. If you are interested in taking part, contact me via email with some background info and some ideas you would like to talk about on the show.

Please note that guests will need to appear in the studio in person, there is no option to dial in for the next series.

More information about SCTV below:

About Security Culture TV 


Security Culture TV is a regular video show and podcast hosted by industry expert, author and keynote speaker Kai Roer.

In the show, Kai asks guests from around the world to share their perspectives, ideas and experiences on building and maintaining security culture. Kai welcomes CISOs, practitioners and experts on security, to discuss topics including how to engage employees in security, best and worst practices, measuring security culture, and much more.

With his experience, deep knowledge and evidence-based approach, Kai explores and challenges the industry status quo. 

The show’s producer is security journalist and broadcaster, Stephen Pritchard.

About Kai Roer

Over the past 25 years, Kai has become the global go-to-guy on security culture. In 2012 he created the Security Culture Framework, which was adopted by ENISA as their Cybersecurity Culture framework. In 2015, Kai created the innovative company CLTRe (culture), where he researched and built a measurement instrument for security culture. In 2019, CLTRe was acquired by KnowBe4, the global leader in phishing assessment and security awareness trainings. Kai is currently focusing on his security culture research, and on sharing his knowledge around the world.

Upcoming article: the top 5 storage deployment pitfalls

For Computer Weekly I am investigating the greatest pitfalls for deploying on-premises storage hardware.

The piece can cover flash storage, storage arrays, hyper-converged, or software-defined storage but it needs to be in house, not cloud based.

I am looking for examples from CIOs and IT directors and experienced analysts and consultants – but not vendors.

If you would like to comment for the article please email me with a brief description of your (or your client’s) credentials in this area, and I will reply with some questions.

The deadline for initial approaches is September 9th.

Upcoming article: why it pays to think about data stewardship

Can organisations benefit from a proactive approach to data stewardship? And are there financial or other advantages to staying ahead of regulations and legislation, and ‘doing the right thing’?

I am looking for examples of organisations that have gone beyond tick box data security and privacy, and taken a best practice approach. What have they done beyond the basics, what has it cost, and what has it done to boost the business?

We are looking at policies but also practical approaches, such as checking users’ security settings, and promoting education and awareness. This really should showcase security at its best.

I am open to comments from vendors, consultants and end user organisations. For the reputation part of the story, I’d like to speak to PR professionals or lawyers with direct experience in the field.

My deadline for leads is 1700, Wednesday 21st August, by email. No calls please.

The piece will appear in The Daily Swig.

Upcoming article: Who needs object storage?

This article, for Computer Weekly, will be an explainer on on-premises object storage. It will set out the key differences between object and block and file, and their pros and cons.

The article will ask:

  • What is object storage?
  • What are its key use cases?
  • What workloads need object storage?

The second half of the article will be a product section giving a vendor-by-vendor run-down on whether they provide hardware or software products, their architecture, scaling, speeds and feeds, data protection methods and other notable features.

There will also be a box out on cloud-based object storage.

Please submit background information such as white papers and case studies, product information, and suggested interviewees/experts, by 0900hrs Friday 19th July by by email in the first instance.

Please do not submit pre-written commentary or quotes.

New website section: recent work

I’ve just added a new page to the website, which links to a selection of recent projects.

These are mostly journalistic assignments; for reasons of confidentiality I’m not always able to share non-journalism work in public.

Do check back as I will add further links when I can.

The page is here:

Upcoming commission: unstructured data compliance

For Computer Weekly, I’m looking at the compliance issues around gathering, storing and processing unstructured data.

This article will examine the likely compliance risks in unstructured data, and suggest potential solutions. It will ask:

  • What is unstructured data? How does it compare to structured and semi-structured data types?
  • Why is compliance an issue at all?
  • Why is achieving compliance of unstructured data potentially problematic?
  • What are the key steps to achieving unstructured data compliance?

As businesses gather ever greater volumes of unstructured data, and develop new ways to process and analyse the information, compliance becomes increasingly important. This is especially the case when organisations start to combine data sets, and use advanced analytics to search for insights in the information. Does the original consent to hold and process the data carry over to this type of application? And what happens when unstructured data is mixed with other data sets?

For the piece I am keen to have comments from data scientists, compliance experts, academics, lawyers and end user IT organisations. As the deadline is quite short, please send pitches, initial comments and leads to me by 1200 London time, June 13th by email please.

Upcoming commission: storage for machine learning

Data storage is an often-overlooked part of machine learning and other AI deployments.

This article will appear in Computer Weekly. It will cover:

  • Definitions of machine learning/deep learning
  • Its storage requirements including
    • Sizing, capacity, performance (to match compute)
    • Scale
    • Media (SSD vs HDD, hybrids of the two)
    • Parallelism
    • Throughput vs IOPS
    • Locations – including use of the cloud

For this article we are open to comments from vendors, as well as analysts, consultants and other experts. Examples of ML use cases and how systems were designed to run it are most welcome.

Initial pitches and leads by Wednesday May 29th by email please.

Upcoming commission: virtual server storage

My next article for Computer Weekly will look at the best storage options for virtual servers, including SAN, NAS and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI).

Specifically, the piece will ask:

  • What kind of storage requirements virtual servers and their data have?
  • What are the characteristics of a) SAN b) NAS and c) hyper-converged storage? 
  • What are the pros and cons of SAN vs NAS for virtual machine storage? What are the management and performance issues?
  • What about scale? Is a SAN, NAS or HCI better suited to large or smaller deployments?
  • What impact do workloads have on storage choices? Are all virtual machine workloads created equal in I/O terms?
  • What other factors affect storage choices, such as the applications being used, scale of the deployment and even skills on the IT team?

First and foremost I am looking for background information, analyst research/ technical papers and case studies which will help to answer the points above. If you or your client has expertise in this area, please contact me by email in the first instance. The deadline for input is Monday, 13 May.