Your shout: IT strategic importance, Vista, compliance

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Computer Weekly readers' give their views

Strategic importance of IT is still misunderstood

I found the improvements in how IT is seen and valued (Computer Weekly, 9 May) instantly uplifting; yet reading further, I was incredibly disheartened by the figures on security and business continuity.

With 66% of IT staff saying that IT security is not adequately funded, and a further 33% suggesting that their business continuity plans are not robust enough, should we not be seriously concerned that two of the IT department’s most fundamental functions are being neglected?

With staff denied the funds to ensure that failsafes are in place to keep the network running, it appears there is still some way to go before ensuring board-level understanding of the strategic importance of technology to businesses. The CIO must spearhead that understanding.

Steve Withers, Radware

Hardware is key to a practical view of Vista

Eric Doyle’s article on Vista’s graphics capability (Computer Weekly, 16 May) raises an important point regarding the hardware that will be required to run Vista effectively – especially for corporate users. Many corporate PCs cannot support Glass – I am an IT professional and only two of the nine machines on my home network could run Glass. One of those used to run Glass, but no longer does so with the latest beta build.

Another important hardware issue is Ram. Although Vista runs fine on my boxes with 2Gbytes, few corporate deployments I am aware of are providing more than 256Mbytes in most XP boxes.

Finally, there is the important issue of user training. Vista is very different in places. IT pros are going to need a lot of retraining, since many of the base technologies we need are new.

While Vista brings some great new features, I am not sure how important Vista is, early on at least, for many corporates.

XP SP2, is pretty stable, well known and relatively easy to troubleshoot. With many of my customers either planning or part way through their XP SP2/Office 11 roll-outs, Vista is simply not relevant in the near future – they can wait for Vista SP2.

Thomas Lee, chief technologist, QA

VoIP security issues must not be ignored

With respect to your article “VoIP ‘not secure enough’ warn bank chiefs” (Computer Weekly, 2 May), to date, attacks on IP telephony networks have been scarce. However, as more and more companies begin to deploy the technology, it is important that people recognise the risks.

IP telephony systems run on the same hardware and software that hackers and viruses are currently exploiting, and are subject to the same security risks as all other internet-based communication, plus all the existing voice scams, such as redirecting calls to premium rate numbers.

It is important to ensure that VoIP is covered by an appropriate security policy, that it is designed, implemented and integrated properly, and is secure at the application, system and service layers, to make sure that it does not undermine existing security measures and weaken the entire infrastructure. To ignore VoIP security is to leave your company open to attack.

Harry Archer, head of business technology solutions, BT Global Services

Compliance is catalyst for profitable use of data

Regarding your article “Cashing in on the value of compliance” (Computer Weekly, 23 May),
I agree that more businesses should use business intelligence systems, not only to meet compliance regulations, but also to gain a competitive edge.

Managing unstructured data has always presented a challenge for businesses. What is interesting is that it was never a top priority for board directors until regulatory compliance requirements such as Sarbanes-Oxley came into force.
Now directors are realising that they need more than just numbers and statistics to obtain a complete picture of their business. Being able to view the history of products sold, what people think of a certain product and what customers think of your business gives a completely different perspective that ploughing through figures could never have achieved.

Firms are starting to appreciate that it is far more complex to manage and interpret unstructured data than it is to store, simply because it is greater in volume. That said, once companies feel in control of unstructured data and are confident that they can access it easily and at any time, they will not only find more out about their customers, but more about their business too.

Nakis Papadopoulos, IMGroup

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