Security today

When I started out in the IT world there were a couple of things I learned very early on.
1. Do things correctly the first time to save money and hassle on having to correct them. This meant also designing in the features I wanted not adding them later.  This was particularly true of security.
2. Don’t computerize paper systems – it never worked. Always review what the system or process is designed to do and then design an automated process to make it work. Often the paper-based version was slower for good reason, perhaps for authorization reasons, but with automated systems this can be speeded up very significantly.

Recently there have been two occasions when I felt like saying very loudly “Have you learned nothing in the last 40 years of IT development?” because they seem to have forgotten these two basic lessons to produce potentially disastrous results.

The first was the Rural Payments Agency who seem to have tried to computerize a paper-based system (now scrapped at great expense) and secondly a project to digitize democracy. Talk of allowing voting on a phone is great but misses the key point that there are real systemic problems with our version of democracy and they need to be solved before we do anything else!

I hope the relevant authorities can work out how do learn from their errors and the errors of others!

About Author: Andy Taylor

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