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  • Blog Post: New academic year brings fresh new technology to Havant Academy

    I recently spoke to Richard Markey IT Director at Havant Academy , formerly Sport Staunton Community Sports College, to understand a bit more about how and why they refreshed their IT Infrastructure to meet the changing needs of their transition to become an Academy. “Good communication is a base component...
  • Blog Post: How Microsoft uses the Windows Server 2008 R2 features to enhance our own security

    The Microsoft IT team publish case studies of how we've used our own products within our own infrastructure - sharing their real-life experiences. This month there's a case study about the way that we've implemented the security features in Windows Server 2008 R2, along with Windows 7 on the desktop...
  • Blog Post: The TES writes a scary Information Security headline

    People are definitely getting concerned about the need to secure data in schools. On Tuesday, in the "When too much security means less security" post I mentioned that there are new stricter penalties faced by organisations for losing/disclosing personal data, with fines up to £500,000. And...
  • Blog Post: When too much security means less security

    In December, my local BBC News station showed an interview with a head teacher, who’d had to crawl across a sloping playground, covered in black ice, to send out a text to let parents know the school was closed. Which surprised me because he was using one of the systems that allows you to send out the...
  • Blog Post: A plain English Guide to Data Protection

    I keep an eye on the Information Commissioner’s Office press releases on their website ( in the hope that we’re not going to see schools appearing too often ), where I suspect they have a busy Press Officer producing a constant stream of news (last 2 weeks : Recruitment firms fined; mobile phone customers...
  • Blog Post: Microsoft SQL Server Data Management Conference – Sept 29 in London

    This is probably something for local authorities, who’re running big datacentres, but there are likely to be readers of this blog that are either in that role, or are running big datacentres in their school. And given the size of some of the transactional databases in schools today, this might apply...
  • Blog Post: The Data Protection Act and exam results

    One of the websites I read via its RSS feed is that of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). And you need to read today’s release before your students! Students receiving exam results this summer can find out more about their grades by using their rights under the Data Protection Act. Guidance...
  • Blog Post: Information Security in Education and Two-Factor Authentication

    This is just a quick one for Monday morning. Last week, when I talked about Information Security, and Becta’s guidance, at the Learning Gateway Conference, there was quite a bit of interest in the two-factor authentication that would be required for all teacher access to sensitive data from outside the...
  • Blog Post: Information Security presentation from the Learning Gateway Conference

    At today’s Learning Gateway Conference, I talked about the Becta Information Security guidelines. My perspective was “here’s the Becta official advice, and here’s my take on an action plan for you”. Even though the subject was Information Security, and it was after lunch, the hour seemed to whizz by...
  • Blog Post: Information Security – how the other half live

    This Friday, my colleague Ian McKenzie, is hosting a Live Meeting on “Information Governance and Assurance in the Public Sector”. It’s one of a series that he’s been running, and I thought it would be worth telling you about this one because it has relevance to your challenges. And the good news is that...
  • Blog Post: A question of security

    I was at a conference yesterday (sadly covered by Chatham House Rule so no juicy snippets) which looked at security of public sector ICT systems, and there was a session which was about malware. Although it was delivered in a matter-of-fact deadpan way, it left me feeling just a little bit nervous (and...
  • Blog Post: Information Security – the detailed guidelines

    If you’ve been following the story so far , you’ll know that Becta have published new guidelines for Information Security in schools. It has happened in a few stages, with the detailed information finally being published in the autumn. This included information on the various protection levels that applied...
  • Blog Post: Improving Information - and controlling it - Capita’s One Conference

    Yesterday, Jason Burton and I went along to the Capita One conference in Leicestershire to talk about “Business Intelligence” and “Information Rights Management”. In real English, that means "how do we turn this mass of data into real information” and “how do we keep some control over how people...
  • Blog Post: Excellent BitLocker deployment advice

    As you may know, I enabled Windows Vista’s BitLocker encryption on my laptop a couple of weeks ago, and since that time I have been reassured to know that should something happen to my laptop, all of the data on it is fully encrypted and secure. The whole process was very smooth – I simply enabled it...
  • Blog Post: BitLocker’d up

    To the famous Diana Ross tune I’m Coming Out * I’m BitLocker’d up, I want the world to know, Got to let it show, I’m BitLocker’d up, I want the world to know, Got to let it show… I don’t know why it took me so long to get started. My new laptop has a TPM chip in it, and even though...
  • Blog Post: Making sure you buy the right version of Windows

    With the news this week on Information Security guidelines for schools – and the obvious need for encryption on teachers’ laptops from now on, I think it would be timely to remind you how to ensure that you buy the right licences for Windows Vista – so that you get the licences for BitLocker, which is...
  • Blog Post: Information Security – all the guidelines are out

    And, boy, do they take some reading. We’re rocketed from ‘ worry, but I can’t tell you why’ to ‘ this is what you should really worry about’ , in a mere 125 pages. How does that make you feel? For the minute, if you want all of the specifics on the Becta Data Handling guidance, you’re going to have...
  • Blog Post: Information Security – it’s not black and white

    I’m continuing to read the new Becta guidance documents on Information Security, and think about the consequences. After a few discussions with people, and comments from others here and elsewhere, I thought I’d try a to create a visual way of understanding where we are. This is by no means definitive...
  • Blog Post: Ed The Fed says "Stay safe out there"

    I have a colleague, Ed, who’s a legend around here. He’s the Microsoft UK Chief Security Advisor. Obviously that’s a bit of a mouthful, which is why we call him “Ed the Fed”, because of his career history – which obviously makes him an ideal person to ask about Information Security. ( I was going to...
  • Blog Post: Information Security – more, but not yet enough, advice from Becta

    The Becta Information Security advice page for schools has been updated, and they provide a more detailed document ( Keeping data safe, secure and legal ) which goes further than their previous advice, but not yet far enough. In fact, if you take the report at face value, you’re going to lock up your...
  • Blog Post: Where will your laptops be this summer?

    According to recent research , 900-1000 laptops go missing every week at Heathrow ... that is 52,000 a year. Worldwide, 800,000 laptops are lost or stolen at airports every year. Even more incredibly, the survey also reveals that many travellers fail to take any steps to protect the information contained...
  • Blog Post: Microsoft’s Information Security Symposium Event

    The steam roller of Information Security continues to run down the hill towards education. Becta’s in the driving seat, and they haven’t really started the engine. By the time the new term begins, there will be new guidance on what you should be doing ( read my previous posts on this blog ). So it is...
  • Blog Post: Information Security

    This page contains the latest article on Information Security from the blog. For all previous articles , please take a look here. 15th September 2008: The Becta Information Security advice page for schools has been updated, and now provides a more detailed document ( Keeping data safe, secure...
  • Blog Post: Information Security – a week on

    It wasn't a slow news week last week - which must have delighted those people who weren't looking forward to the reaction from publication of the reports on Wednesday into data losses at HMRC, MOD etc. It being a fast news week (is that what a non-slow news week is?) the reports didn't make it onto the...
  • Blog Post: Information Security - it's all go now...

    Yesterday I pointed out that the updated Becta advice appeared to ban schools from removing student data from the school, but that the advice wasn't very clear. Since yesterday, they have updated their advice to schools, and now give much clearer, and much stronger, guidance. Firstly, they have...
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