Don't rely on suppliers to protect against disaster
The recent test performed in The City of London to assess the vulnerability of communications links has highlighted the importance of ensuring network resilience and availability in the event of a disaster (Computer Weekly, 30 November).
This will have an impact on the rest of the UK as London serves the heart of the UK infrastructure, with most carriers routing through it. Should London be wiped out, the UK would lose 90% of its infrastructure.
The comment made by Neil Robinson that "risks are outside companies' control", is misleading, as there are numerous ways to back-up communications channels.
If you normally use a leased line, back it up with a dial-up connection or consider wireless technology. Use more than one ISP for bandwidth. Many companies may think they are using more than one provider, but ultimately rely on the same one because telcos buy bandwidth from the same small number of carriers. Organisations must request route maps from their carriers to give an insight into points of presence, closeness of fibre and proximity of one carrier to another.
Although companies should expect their communications providers to be more rigorous in their approach to customers and network service, there is an onus on organisations to assume some responsibility for network resilience and availability issues.
Keith Tilley, UK managing director, SunGard Availability Services
HR staff are not creative enough about IT skills
We are told we must not expect a job for life, that we must be flexible and find ways to utilise our skills in new situations.
However, no-one seems to have told this to HR staff. As far as they are concerned, if you have skill A on machine X, there you must stay - you can never use skill A on machine Y or develop skill B on machine X.
My IT career has previously contradicted this, moving platform several times, but now no-one seems prepared to let me try. Is this because current HR practice is just to tick boxes?
Treat printers like all networked devices
Your article describing how hackers could target printers for network attacks (Computer Weekly, 23 November) provided a useful and well-needed insight into the latest challenges facing network security.
As the technology employed within printers becomes as sophisticated as desktop computers, many of the network attacks that were once targeted at computers will undoubtedly be launched at network-attached printers.
Attacks can be prevented by treating the printer with the same degree of caution as a traditional workstation. It is good practice to ensure printer passwords are in force, and that access permissions are strict and robust. Any firewall or intrusion defence system must be configured to successfully identify unwanted access via the printer. It is also good practice to focus on the authentication of network-attached devices to minimise the risk of these intrusions.
When one considers how promptly new IP-enabled devices have been hijacked, the question of where the next vulnerabilities in the network will occur - and how - leads the imagination to run wild. In theory, IP-enabled telephones, faxes and CCTV systems are all potential risks.
IT departments will need to constantly survey their environment to identify the latest hazards and put the necessary infrastructure in place to safeguard their networks.
Gerry Carroll, Enterasys Networks
Is the army about to be offshored?
As a serving IT support engineer with the armed forces, I am concerned by a recent job advert for a large UK-based IT group in Computer Weekly. The ad, headlined "We enhance the military capability of the British armed forces" showed soldiers carrying American M16 assault rifles, boarding a US army Huey helicopter. Does this mean my job is about to be offshored to the US?
No women in IT? They're all disguised as men
I would like to point out that, in the article "Be prepared for that crucial first interview" (Computer Weekly, 30 November), the author has assumed the reader is male: "Wear a suit and tie regardless of the post you are going for and the company's code of dress"
I do not meet many other women working in IT; perhaps they're all cross-dressing more successfully than me.
Bridget Kenyon, IT development officer, University of Birmingham