List: As we prepare hungrily for Pancake Day, what should tech companies give up for lent? IT & tech pros tell CBR what they think should be given up for 40 days and 40 nights.
Pancake traditionalist with lemon and sugar, or more continental with a Nutella approach? The CBR news desk has been brimming with excitement for Pancake Day, with arguments over the best toppings dominating conversation – there was even a controversial topping suggestion of clotted cream, as well as orange juice instead of lemon(!)
There is, of course, more to Pancake Day than toppings and pancake flipping. Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, is a tradition of Lent, where people eat rich and indulgent foods before fasting begins on Ash Wednesday.
Usually people give up chocolate, crisps, caffeine and other unhealthy or indulgent things for 40 days and 40 nights – but what should businesses give up for lent?
CBR asks the tech professionals what they would like to see given up for the next 40 days and 40 nights – but the question is, could your business stay the course and really give up the below for lent?
Give up email (well, not completely)
Martin Lentle, UKI Managing Director for Red Hat, thinks IT organisations should consider moderating their use of email, "lent is traditionally a period of fasting and moderation, I think all of us in IT could benefit from a more moderate use of email as a tool to communicate.
"Eye contact and open discussion goes a long way to getting things done quicker and more collaboratively. It isn’t practical to cut email out of our working lives completely but internally we gel better as a team using BlueJeans and speaking openly."
Give up treating security as an afterthought
Chris McIntosh, CEO of ViaSat UK, told CBR: "For lent, tech companies need to give up treating security as an afterthought, which only comes into focus after things have already gone wrong. Instead, a complete approach is needed to ensure that data is secured, from point to point, so that it can’t be exploited. This means that all sensitive information should be encrypted, and ideally deleted as soon as it is obsolete.
"Tech companies need to make sure employees become responsible with data usage and storage. They need to educate staff to ensure that best practices are not only mandated, but followed diligently. When organisations accept that a data breach is not only likely, but inevitable, and encrypt information accordingly, only then can they avoid headaches long after the Easter chocolate has all been scoffed."
Give up Apple Macs
Alex Tebbs, Director at VIA, said: "I would love to see tech companies give up their Apple Macs for Lent. In my eyes, Microsoft Windows will always reign supreme! I also think more organisations could benefit by switching their handsets for headsets, it is a more effective way to work. The development of highly efficient Unified Communications platforms like VIA Voice also means that tech companies could give up commuting for Lent. Remote working will continue to grow in popularity over the coming years."
Give up a bad storage habits
Doug Rich, VP EMEA at Tintri, told CBR: "This Lent, organisations should give up their use of storage logical unit numbers (LUNs) — a bad storage habit. LUNs weren’t designed for virtualized workloads so it actually shouldn’t be that big of a sacrifice. Instead, try VM-aware Storage (VAS). By making the switch, IT professionals will no longer experience the pain of bottlenecks and will have the ability to clone, replicate, snapshot, automate and analyse at the VM-level.
"A tip to all your IT admins — don’t give up beer or chocolate when there’s something far easier to leave behind. Give up LUNs and gain back all the time you used to spend shuffling, tuning and troubleshooting.
"VAS will be such a game-changer in your storage management infrastructure that you won’t go back to LUNs, even when Lent is over."
Give up ignoring tech talent without degrees
Tom Roche, VP Technology Products Group and Exec Sponsor for Apprentice and Graduate Programmes at Fujitsu, told CBR that tech companies should stop ignoring non-graduates: "For lent, tech companies should give up ignoring the young talent pool around us who may not have degrees. The lack of apprentices within tech is a constant surprise to us. It’s especially strange because tech companies can so clearly benefit from the input of young people.
"The ideas, enthusiasm and digital-native knowledge they bring are vital to the drive for innovation. Business look to graduates for the same reasons – why ignore the hundreds of thousands of young people who don’t go to university? Any tech company which is not running or at least considering implementing an apprenticeship scheme is missing out. We have long-standing scheme and we’ve reaped the rewards for over 20 years now."
Give up the storage staus quo
Steve Wharton, Office of the CTO, Enterprise Solutions EMEA at SanDisk, told CBR: "Although Lent resolutions often fall to the wayside, when it comes to technology, there are a number of changes that companies can take that will have positive and long lasting effects. By giving up the storage status quo and increasing the adoption of flash, companies can enable their teams to adopt new workflows and platforms that accelerate the speed at which they take raw data and transform it into business insight. This allows them to respond to emerging market opportunities and threats with new speed and agility.
"Increased flash adoption isn’t just about performance though. The ability to consolidate workloads onto flash enabled "building blocks" drives out costs and dramatically simplifies IT. The reduction in application performance firefighting will enable teams to create value through new, differentiating services that "close the gap" or "pull ahead" of the competition."
Give up shiny new gadgets
Cyrus Gilbert-Rolfe, CEO at Movvo, told CBR: "The answer is of course shiny new gadgets, and pizza. If I had £10 for every new toy someone had brought into the office, we wouldn’t need customers any more. It’s not just iPhones and watches that talk to satellites, it’s also drones, helicopters, pens connected to the Internet, Star Wars characters you can control with your iPad, and much, much more.
"I literally crowd surf over the sea of gadgets that surround the tech and sales teams in my office. The ideal lent experience for tech companies would be to have a nice salad and read a paperback book for two weeks."
Give up thinking ‘it won’t happen to me’
Guy Bunker, SVP at Clearswift, told CBR: "Give up… opening stuff from people you don’t know! Clicking on links from people you don’t know! Thinking "it won’t happen to me" as an excuse for not taking cyber-security seriously.
"For the first two, they will be like most Lent resolutions, where they will be broken in the first week – and then the guilt will set in. For the third one, this isn’t just about Lent, cyber-security is something people should think about and alter their way of working to keep critical information safe at all times."
Give up paper
Jesper Frederiksen, VP and GM of EMEA at DocuSign, told CBR: "For the next six weeks until Easter Sunday, tech companies should give up all things paper. Everything that you think has to be done by paper can be done digitally instead. This means giving up written to-do lists, printed documents and kicking the fax machine when it simply won’t send an important document.
"For some, it may feel like a bit of a step change, but once you go paperless you will never go back and it will make everyone’s job easier and more efficient. You could even add a charity element. During lent, using paper will mean a 50p charge, that way you would be doing good for your company and a charity."
Give up the ‘SEP’
Wieland Alge, VP & GM EMEA at Barracuda, told CBR: "There is one bad habit all of us IT security experts could and should permanently give up – the ‘SEP’ or ‘Somebody Else’s Problem’. As The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’s Ford Prefect described it:
"An SEP is something we can’t see, or don’t see, or our brain doesn’t let us see, because we think that it’s somebody else’s problem".
"It turns out that being universally treated as ‘obstacles to business’, ‘techies’ and ‘nerds’ has led to the wide adoption of SEP behaviour right across the IT security community. One common example:
"The business IT team moved some web applications into an IaaS cloud. As long as the applications were within your data centre, they were protected by both a proper Firewall and a Web Application Firewall. Now they are the business IT team’s problem – since they did not ask you BEFORE they were moved. Understandable perhaps, but also wonderful for any hacker.
"With so many opportunities for SEP, the real challenge is for IT security experts to both actively search for SEPs and fix them and stop any new ones occurring."
Give up popular public cloud services
Geraldine Osman, VP of International Marketing at Nexsan, said: "The one thing that businesses should be giving up this lent is the use of popular public cloud services when it comes to sharing confidential corporate flies. Security is top of the agenda for many CIO’s this year and while many of us may be sat at our desks thinking of sacrificing chocolate and crisps, businesses can re-evaluate the use of public cloud services in order to purify bad security habits.
"Public cloud services offer an easy and convenient way to share data but they leave the business with no control over visibility or privacy. Business should already have an IT policy in place that encourages secure data sharing – if they don’t this Lent is the perfect time to implement a secure solution.
"There are private cloud alternatives becoming available that can combine secure storage with the ability to share and sync files. So instead of trying kick those chocolate cravings let’s put a stop to poor data sharing habits this lent."
Give up bad passwords
Darran Rolls, chief technology officer at SailPoint, told CBR: "I’d love to see tech employees give up their bad password habits – I’m talking here about everyone who uses the same password for all their applications, and writes it down on a sticky note."
"Password management might seem old hat, but you’d be surprised to hear just how many organisations aren’t getting it right."
"As we watch cyber attack after cyber attack rock some of today’s largest organisations, you have to wonder: Why isn’t more being done? Even just simply having tools in place that make it easier to enforce stronger passwords – something critical to user access management – could prevent massive data loss.
"As today’s organisations house more and more sensitive data, everyone from the executive level down needs to ensure there is a collaborative effort from internal staff to protect that sensitive information and ultimately, the health and longevity of the company."
An honourable mention goes to Paul Crayston, Head of Communications at Market Invoice, who wants companies to give up using lower case ‘i’s at the front of product/business names; it doesn’t mean you’re the next Apple.
Something you are giving up not on the list? Tweet us @CBRonline and tell us what you are giving up this lent!