News in brief

Short takes on this week's news

Data is safe with Indian suppliers, says FSA

The Financial Services Authority has given operational offshoring to India a clean bill of health after investigating concerns about the safety of customer data. The regulator visited 10 outsourcing suppliers in India to study their operations. Most of the firms provide services to UK retail banks and insurance companies. After investigating their governance and data control systems, the FSA said offshoring posed no greater risk to customer data than in-house operations.

Sheffield is Euro centre of smartcard excellence

This month the European Commission will name Sheffield a European centre of excellence for smartcards. In 2003 Sheffield issued 175,000 smartcards, 100,000 of which are being used in education. The councils plans to expand the scheme to include libraries, leisure facilities and eventually transport. Sheffield's e-government and ICT unit will manage this UK resource hub for e-government research, project management, consultancy, accreditation and training.

Scottish MPs to keep in touch via Blackberries

Members of the Scottish Parliament will be able to get wireless updates and conduct business on the move after the Parliament decided to supply members with the latest Blackberry handsets. A spokesman said the devices have military-strength encryption.

Birmingham Council opts for Documentum

Birmingham City Council has implemented EMC Documentum's Enterprise Content Management platform to handle documents for planning applications and construction and refurbishment projects. The roll-out, which began in December 2004, allows the council to scan, store and index paper documents as PDFs. It plans to add voice files, photographs, video recordings and Autocad images in the future.

Security and compliance spending increases

Companies spent the bulk of their IT budgets on security, compliance and business intelligence projects during the first quarter of 2005, according to research from analyst company IDC. European IT spending is expected to increase by 4% this year, with worldwide spend hitting 6% according to the IDC Worldwide Black Book 2005.

Message gateway cuts hospital's spam burden

Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust has dramatically reduced calls to its IT helpdesk by upgrading its anti-spam defences, installing Proofpoint Messaging Security gateway hardware. The trust said it has eliminated complaints from its 5,500 e-mail users about unsolicited messages reaching their inboxes. The system intercepts 100 spam messages per hour but allows genuine e-mails containing medical terms to pass through, the hospital said.

Sun Solaris open source release later this month

Sun Microsystems is planning to make Solaris available as an open source operating system by the middle of next month. It has already released a Solaris-based utility called D-Trace, which is designed to improve application performance, and is speeding its open source efforts to help boost the number of Solaris users.

US legislators to block RFID people tracking

Law makers in California have introduced a bill to make it illegal for government agencies and other bodies to use RFID chips in state identification documents. The bill, believed to be the first of its kind, will outlaw the use of the chips in driving licences, student badges and other documents. The bill follows attempts by a California school to introduce badges to automatically track students, which have been denounced by civil liberties groups.

IBM introduces info management technology

IBM has launched a Federated Records Management system to help companies manage and access data in different repositories. The product combines IBM DB2 Records Manager and IBM Websphere Information Integrator Content Edition to simplify the management of record-keeping policies for distributed content throughout an organisation.

Network access standard introduced

Standards organisation the Trusted Computing Group has developed a specification to authenticate and enforce security policies on client devices that connect to corporate networks. The specification is backed by Intel, Microsoft and IBM. The standard aims to set rules to manage and restrict network access from PCs, laptops or other mobile devices according to their security status.

Read more on IT risk management

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