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ACS Week in Review: 4 April 2014

Friday, 04 Apr 2014

ACS Week in Review: April 4, 2014

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The ACS Week In Review is a collection of key news items from the previous week, which may be of interest to ACS members and stakeholders. To view the full news item, simply click on the link in the headline.

Westpac boss Gail Kelly announces $100m education scholarship program

After a secretive build-up, Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly on Wednesday unveiled a $100 million gift, one of the largest philanthropic donations in Australian history, and emerged as an unlikely champion for IT geek girls nationwide.

The Westpac Bicentennial Foundation will offer up to 100 educational scholarships and awards each year, looking to address a lack of females in the IT industry, provide up to 40 places for undergraduate students to study in Asia and foster community leaders.

Mrs Kelly said the scholarships, some worth up to $330,000 over three years, would ‘‘have the potential to shape Australia’s future’’.

The size of the corporate gift, together with the tight control exerted by Westpac over its operation in partnership initially with the University of Sydney, University of Melbourne and University of Wollongong, is a significant development in higher education.

The ACS will be writing to formally congratulate Ms. Kelly and Westpac.

Billions spent on cyber security and much of it ‘wasted’

The global IT security budget runs into tens of billions of dollars but much of it is not being used effectively, say security experts.

ABI Research estimated that cyber security spending for critical infrastructure – the segments of defence, energy, financial, healthcare, ICT, public security, transport, and water and waste management – hit $US46 billion ($49.8 billion) globally last year. Gartner put overall security technology and services market at $US67.2 billion last year.

In the face of an evolving cyber-criminal "community", Art Gilliland, HP’s senior vice-president and general manager, enterprise security, said businesses needed to rethink their security budget.

“We’re spending something like $US46 billion a year on cyber security but the percentage of breaches is increasing by 20 per cent per year and the cost of those breaches is increasing by 30 per cent,” he told IT Pro.

Mobile services add billions to the economy, ACMA research shows

Australia’s love affair with mobile broadband services is leading to a significant bump in economic activity with new research from the communications watchdog showing that use of the services helped contribute $33.8 billion in the last year or more than 2 per cent of the nation’s total GDP.

The new research from the Australian Communications and Media Authority found that productivity growth from the mobile communications sector contributed $7.3 billion in economic activity and another $26.5 billion worth of time savings for the nation’s businesses.

Mobile communications represent only a fraction of the Australian economy, accounting for just 0.2 per cent of employment and 0.5 per cent of economic activity.

However by looking at data from 2006 to 2013, the research found that use of mobile broadband services has increased the growth rate of the Australian economy by 0.28 per cent each year.

CommBank seeks mobilised cloud

Cloud services should be as easy to switch between as it is for mobile phone customers to switch telcos, according to Commonwealth Bank CIO Michael Harte.

Speaking at the F5 Networks Agility conference on the Sunshine Coast yesterday, Harte said that as Commonwealth Bank began moving more and more of its operations into the cloud, the organisation was still spending about 85 percent of its IT funding on infrastructure, and only 15 percent on IT services that directly impact on the value offered to customers.

"When we look at the modelling of the thousands of applications and the millions of interactions between those applications, we're still only 15 percent computing for customers. Even after all of that effort," he said.

"Because the systems of record are still consuming all the compute and all the storage. And even on a daily basis when developers are building those maintenance routines, they're having to interface that with all the old legacy. So the money is still going to all of those old systems of record and not computing on behalf of the customer."