Computer Weekly features: August 2022

I am working on the features below for Computer Weekly (for late August/early September publication). Deadlines for contributions noted against each article.

Data classification policy

How do you write a data classification policy, and more importantly, what should it cover?

In this feature we will look at:

  • What do we understand by data classification?
  • What is it used for? (eg for, backups, compliance, storage management and budgeting)
  • What does such a policy take into account?
  • What are the benefits of data classification?
  • What are the key elements of a data classification policy, and how would you start drafting one?

Deadline for contributions: Friday 5th August

How do we measure cloud storage TCO?

What are the key things to take into account when working out cloud storage costs as a total cost of ownership?

This piece will drill down into the main cost areas for cloud storage services. These could include capacity, storage tiers, AZs and egress costs, though that is not an exhaustive list. The piece will also compare these costs with the costs of on-premises storage technology.

In addition, we will look at which workloads are the most (cost) effective in the cloud, both for long term and “boost” usage and which, for now, are not.

Deadline for contributions: Friday 12th August.

Cloud bursting 

This piece is an “explainer setting out when, why and how firms will “burst” their workloads to the cloud. The piece will cover:

  • What is cloud bursting?
  • What are the benefits of cloud bursting?
  • What type of workloads can benefit from cloud bursting?
  • What are the limits / obstacles to cloud bursting?
  • What workloads are never (or almost never) likely to use cloud bursting?
  • How difficult is cloud bursting?

Deadline for contributions: Friday 19th August.

For all these articles please contact me by email in the first instance, if you are contributing to a specific article please note that in the subject line. If you are responding on behalf of more than one client, please use separate emails. Many thanks.

Computer Weekly: storage features, July 2022

I am looking for input for the following two features:

Backups and recovering from ransomware attacks

What are the benefits of having a good data protection strategy when facing ransomware. And what are the shortcomings of data protection and backup that cannot overcome the likely effects of a ransomware attack?

The piece will cover:

RPOs and RTOs. What could be the effect of ransomware attacks on how much data you can recover and from how long before the attack?

How useful as media to recover from are: backups, snapshots, cloud storage and backup and tape?

To what extent is it possible to air-gap stored data?

In what order should data be restored when recovering?

Deadline for submissions: Wednesday, 6 July

Unstructured data storage – on-prem vs cloud vs hybrid

What are the pros and cons of storing unstructured data on-prem vs in the cloud, and what is the role of technologies that allow for hybrids between the two?

The piece will cover:

What are unstructured data and why are they important?

How big an issue is storing unstructured data?

What are the pros and cons of:

On-prem: The ‘classic’ use of large-scale scale-out file storage, and the more recent use of object storage, and attempts to converge the two

Use of cloud storage

Hybrid approaches, including Snowflake, where unstructured data is given structure and on-prem can be a source.

Deadline for submissions: Wednesday 20th July

For all these articles please contact me by email in the first instance, if you are contributing to a specific article please note that in the subject line. Many thanks.

Computer Weekly features: June 2022

I am researching the following features for Computer Weekly, with deadlines in June:

Data gravity

What is data gravity, what implications does it have for data storage, and to what extent can it be mitigated

The piece will over these points:

  • What is data gravity? (for a definition see this TechTarget article)
  • What causes it? 
  • Give examples, large and smaller-scale perhaps, on-prem and cloud, any trends (eg, to edge?)
  • What impact does it have on data storage?
  • What impact does it have on cost, management etc.
  • What can be done, from a storage perspective, to mitigate data gravity?

Deadline for contributions: Monday 6 June.

Global file systems 

What are ‘global file systems’, who are the main vendors and what are the key differences between their products?

What are the common features of the ‘global file system’ products offered by vendors

What customer challenges do they solve?

How do they differ from file-and-sync services or just using the cloud?

Note, this piece will build on an earlier article (here) but will focus on the specific vendors in the space and their offerings. Please contact me directly for information on the vendors.

Deadline for contributions: Monday 13 June.

Backup maintenance

What do you need to do to ensure backups are maintained and reliable?

This is an advisory article setting out what should be done to ensure backups are maintained, and work. This will include cloud, virtualised and container environments.

Points we hope to cover include:

  • Ensuring all sources that need to be backed up are backed up
  • Ensuring backup targets are maintained and accessible
  • Potential areas of risk or failure, including hardware and human factors
  • Testing
  • Potential human, infrastructure etc failures
  • The need to keep backup software up to date.

Deadline for contributions: Friday 17 June.

For all these articles please contact me by email in the first instance, if you are contributing to a specific article please note that in the subject line. Many thanks.

Computer Weekly commissions: October 2021

I am working on the following articles, which will appear in Computer Weekly in October:

Cloud DR: DIY or Disaster Recovery as a Service

The cloud is now the main backup destination for a growing number of businesses. And the range of businesses offering disaster recovery as a service is growing too.

But is disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) always the best option? Or is it better to develop a solution in house, using off the shelf (cloud) technologies?

The piece will look at the benefits of DIY approaches, and the drawbacks, and compare these to the benefits (and drawbacks) of DRaaS. The piece will also summarise the range of DRaaS services on the market, and set out the best use cases for each.

I’d welcome analyst comment and/or industry case studies for this piece. Deadline for leads: Thursday 16th September.

Where next for the data warehouse, and what might replace it?

Has the conventional data warehouse had its day? And what could replace it? Conventional, on-premises data warehouse technology now competes with a range of emerging technologies, including data virtualisation, “data lakehouses”, and cloud data warehouses.

What role will these newer technologies play? Are they likely to supplant the conventional, on-premises, datacentre approach, and if so why?

I am keen to speak to analysts and consultants in order to form a market overview, but also CIOs whose preferences are either for the new, or indeed the conventional, technology. The deadline is Wednesday 22nd September.

For either article please get in touch in the first instance by email.

Upcoming article for Computer Weekly: disaster recovery for small businesses

In this piece, we will look at best practice for SMEs when it comes to disaster recovery.

The piece will look at the importance of an initial plan, how to assess risks and create a relevant RTO and RPO for the organisation, the DR options offered by cloud storage and applications, and the growing role played by disaster recovery as a service.

Contacts and supporting information needs to reach me by Friday 23rd July. If you can help, please submit any ideas or content by email .

I am especially interested in hearing from SMEs about how their DR planning works.

Filming and training update: COVID-19

Camera solo operator

With the Government mapping out the route out of lockdown, I have republished this post.

Once permitted, I will also be resuming face to face training services, including media training. There will be slightly different control measures for each, but one on one training, or training with small groups from the same workplace, should be possible from April 2021.

The global pandemic has restricted live events and filming.

But interviews and pieces to camera are still a cornerstone of programmes and corporate video.

Online video calling services are good, but can’t fully replace a profession interview.

To work with the current conditions, we have put together two new video packages.

These are designed to minimise the risks from COVID-19, but still allow interviewees or presenters to appear on camera, in person.

To do this we have:

  • picked a venue that is large enough for social distancing and flexible enough to allow different set-ups, including green screen
  • designed a single-person production workflow, reducing the people on set
  • provided links for communications teams and others to view the production remotely
  • put in place strict procedures for cleaning equipment and the set
  • limited bookings to two a week, so there is 72 hours between each client’s shoot

Our set up includes

  • Two 4K video cameras
  • Sound recording, via a boomed mic (no lavalier or handheld mics)
  • Lighting
  • Backdrops as required

The costs for filming interview content or a presentation are:

  • Half day: £625
  • Full day: £875

The above prices include the location hire and parking, we are located in SW London.

Footage can be supplied as .mov files uploaded to the client’s servers, or edited. Editing starts at £400 a day. 

If you would like to find out more about the service please email stephen.pritchard@ensmedia.co.uk or call 0207 099 4862 and we will call you back.

Note all costs exclude VAT at the current UK rate.

Upcoming article: where next for the EU and cybersecurity?

This month, Germany took over the EU’s rotating presidency.

For the Daily Swig, this piece will investigate the German Presidency’s plans to improve the EU’s cybersecurity posture.

One of the Presidency’s six priorities is strengthening security and common values. For security, this is focused on better cross-border collaboration, inn crime and counter-terrorism.

For cyber specifically, the Presidency wants closer cooperation on network and information security, especially for critical national infrastructure and “other enterprises in the public interest”. And devices sold in the EU will need a minimum level of IT security.

How will the EU achieve these goals? And are these the right priorities right now? The feature will ask whether the EU’s objectives will mean greater security for citizens, and also assess its impact on the cyber security community, including business, security vendors, the workforce and academia and research.

I’m keen to speak to experts from across the cybersecurity space, especially those who have worked on EU initiatives. Please email

your suggestions for interviewees, or background information, by 1700 BST, Thursday 9th July.

New podcast episode: securing home working

In the latest episode of my Security Insights podcast, I speak to Amar Singh about steps organisations can take to secure home working.

Amar is the CEO of the Cyber Management Alliance, a cyber security adviser and crisis management firm. Amar is well-known as a security practitioner, speaker, and former CISO.

The CMA recently issued a free-to-use checklist on the steps security and IT teams can take to ensure working from home isn’t opening up businesses to undue risks. To listen to the interview, go over to the podcast on the Security Insights page.

If you are, or know, an expert in security who’d be a good guest for the podcast, please drop me an email. The podcast sets out to address strategic security issues and thought leadership in both the physical and cyber domains.

Upcoming article: Latest government data breaches in 2019/2020

I am researching an analysis into security breaches in the public sector. We are looking especially at globally significant incidents.

In the piece, we will examine the trend – how did 2019 compare with 2017 and 2018?

Are there any notable changes in geography, or in the type of breach?

Which organisations are being attacked, and is that changing?

What size of incidents are we seeing? Are they larger, or having a greater impact?

The piece will then look at the cost of public sector data breaches, and their impact. And we will ask if there are specific steps public sector IT and security leads should be taking to protect their assets.

The piece will appear in The Daily Swig. This earlier piece in the series, on healthcare, is a guide for what we are looking for.

Submissions of content or suggestions for interviewees, by Thursday 6th February, by email in the first instance.

Upcoming article: a deep dive into DDoS

For The Daily Swig, I’m writing an explainer on DDoS attacks, and how organisations can prevent them.

The article will include:

– A definition of a DDoS attack, and why they happen
– How a DDoS attack works, including its various stages
– Types of DDoS attacks
– Their impact on businesses
– The legal status of DDoS attacks
– Actions organisations can take to prevent or stop attacks and how to mitigate their impact.
We are also keen to include details of recent attacks, and any up to date research on the topic.

The deadline for submission of ideas, leads or content is 1700, on Thursday 21st November.

As ever email is the best way to reach me.