Information Security Panel Dinner – 23 March 2022

As one of the four pillars of the WCIT, fellowship is very important to the Information Security Panel. In response to the pandemic restrictions of 2020, we supplemented our formal quarterly meetings with monthly online meetings intended primarily to help members continue to feel connected and update each other on their various activities. The Panel also has the singular distinction of enjoying the very last dinner in the WCIT Hall before the first lockdown, and the very first after restrictions were lifted in September 2021. 

Returning to its usual Spring schedule, the Panel hosted its 2022 dinner on 23rd March. The guest speaker was investigative journalist Geoff White, co-host of the Lazarus Heist podcast, the UK’s Number One podcast with a staggering 8 million listeners, and author of the forthcoming book of the same name. Geoff entertained and informed with tales of the exploits of the Lazarus Group of cybercriminals, reported to have stolen many millions of US dollars from banks around the world, and to be responsible for some of the highest profile cyber-attacks in recent years. Geoff’s extensive research and thought-provoking consideration of what can be done both to prevent and combat cybercrime prompted a lively and very productive discussion, with many of our members bringing their own professional expertise to bear on the subject. 

In addition to Panel members and their guests, we also welcomed a number of prospective freemen and journeymen. Ticket sales and a raffle on the night raised a very handsome £900 for the WCIT Charity. 

Celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) 2022 at the WCIT

 WCIT members have come together to show our commitment to IWD by striking the #BreakTheBias pose (the IWD 2022 theme), calling out bias, smashing stereotypes, breaking inequality, and rejecting discrimination. Happy International Women’s Day 2022! 

New Freemen’s Dinner – 16 February 2022

 On Wednesday 16 February, one of the best-loved events of the WCIT calendar year took place – the New Freemen’s Dinner. 

The purpose of the New Freemen’s Dinner is to welcome those who have joined the Company in the past year (or in this case the past two years as COVID had cancelled last year’s dinner). 

The evening is an opportunity to get all new Freemen up to speed with the guidelines and traditions involved in a traditional City dinner, from a sung grace to the ever-popular Loving Cup ceremony, now in its more COVID-suitable format. 

Past Master Stefan Fafinski did a stellar job of stepping in and explaining the Rose Water ceremony – complete with “bunny ears”, and the traditional toast by a chosen New Freeman was beautifully delivered by Suzanne Harkins. 

The evening was rounded off with an entertaining after-dinner speech given by Alderman and Sheriff Nicholas Lyons.  Our own dear Beadle was back to full strength after his encounter with the pandemic, completing his duties with even more gusto than usual – many mentioned their ears continued to ring in the taxi cab home! 

Guild of Young Freeman Inter-Livery Quiz – 11 February 2022

WCIT put together a stellar team of intellects for the Guild of Young Freemen Young Livery Inter-Livery Quiz. The stunning six stepping up to the plate were made up of Tamzin Kerslake, Byron Glover, Alex Arnold, Elliot Brooks and two guests Jess Herbert and Ben Platten. Together, they were the Worshipful Company of the Partially Informed.

Hosted in Bakers’ Hall, they battled angry anagrams, came head to head with some cruel cryptic crossword clues, and triumphed in the music round with a very eclectic taste between the team.

With only one question contested regarding the technically of a ‘Password’ versus a ‘Passcode’, our heroic squad stumbled into a rather respectful joint fifth position. It went unmentioned that the Young Freemen and the Hosts took podium positions, but they graciously tipped their hats to the winners, the Coopers, and drowned their sorrows in The Hung, Drawn and Quartered – promising to be back next year with vengeance.

A huge thank you to the Worshipful Company of Bakers, the Guild of Young Freemen and Quiz Coconut for a wonderful evening.

Student visit to WCIT

Members of WCIT were delighted to welcome students from the Lilian Baylis Technology School to the Information Technologists’ Hall on February 8. 

28 pupils from Year 9 enjoyed a two-course lunch at the Hall, where they had the opportunity to discuss careers and routes into IT with WCIT members.

As a former student of the school himself, Court Assistant Steve Smith was pleased to host the event: “I always see these events as a longer term investment. You rarely know if the event has had a positive impact, but we are sowing seeds. Today I experienced one of those rare moments and was delighted to hear a student tell his teacher that he felt inspired by the breakout session and is now really interested in a career in IT.”

Later in the day, a dozen 6th form students – all of whom are studying an IT-related course – took turns to present their thoughts about how remote learning during the pandemic had changed the way they collaborated with others. They were also asked to consider how technology could make hybrid working for businesses most effective. Their presentations were made during a three-course dinner hosted by Liveryman and Chair of the Charitable Operations Committee, Richard Pone.

Richard, who is also a Governor for the Lilian Baylis Technology School, was impressed with the standard of presentations. “The students were thoughtful, articulate, and challenging in presenting their views, and were utterly engaging in the Q&A session. The future is in good hands.”

Both the lunch and dinner were funded by the WCIT Charity, which also supports students from the Hammersmith Academy.

109th Business Lunch – 26 January 2022

A sold out 109th Business Luncheon, held at Founder’s Hall, was a celebratory event reflective of the partnership between Lifelites and the WCIT.

The event was full of buzz as many attendees shared how pleased they were to attend a face-to-face event and the opportunity to network and catch up with members whom they had not seen since prior to the pandemic.

Speaker Simone Enefer-Day delivered a powerful message as she hands over as Chief Executive after 15 years including several emotional stories of how technology can help children and their families within hospices, reminding all who attended of the positive impact we as technologists can make.

WCIT Celebrates Burns Night

44 WCIT members and their guests gathered to celebrate Burns Night in Information Technologists’ Hall on Tuesday 25 January. 

A splendid supper, including the traditional fare of Haggis, neeps and tatties, was prepared by Liveryman Chris Haden and accompanied by the customary wee dram of whiskey. 

Past Master Sir Kenneth Olisa’s‘ Address to the Haggis’ was a masterpiece enjoyed by all and we were privileged to have Piper Georgie Hilleary on hand to entertain us.

Ruth Bagley OBE responded on behalf of the lassies and gave us an insight into her career in local government and the challenges of managing complex issues.

Congratulations to all those involved in the organisation of the evening, and we are already looking forward to celebrating in 2023.    

Financial Services Technology Panel roundtable with ISITC

The European Commission’s draft Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA) was published on the 24th of September. Just before lockdown, the UK’s regulators, the FCA and PRA, published Consultation PS21/3 proposing measures to improve the resilience of the UK’s financial sector. The five pillars of DORA are ICT Risks, ICT Incident Risk Reporting, Digital Operational Resilience Testing, 3rd Party Risk Management, and Information & Intelligence Sharing. Each presents challenges that the Financial Services sector will have to tackle to minimise the impact of failures and embed learning from failures to prevent outages. Similar yet slightly different to DORA, the UK’s authorities aim to bolster operational resilience and the ability of firms and the financial sector more generally to prevent, adapt, respond to, recover, and learn from operational disruptions, so delivering much of what DORA is seeking to achieve.

Our Round Table, guided by our expert panel, concluded that DORA is likely to be different, bringing the technology vendors into the tent with an increased focus on risk specificity versus flexibility and the ability to match risk appetite with impact tolerance in practice.

Firms need to demonstrate actions by 31 March 2022, followed by a 3-year transitional period. Each industry must find its level and benchmark and ask what it means. And there will be some sort of enforcement.

The oversight framework critical to the ICT third-party services providers must demonstrate its ability to ensure the provision of financial services in case of a large-scale operational failure. Experts were clear –the ultimate responsibility lies with the business ownership of the firms. It cannot be handed on to 3rd party providers, meaning that financial services institutions must test every possible scenario to be agnostic and need to plan extensively. The conclusion – DORA requirements will result in businesses becoming less profitable. The role of 3rd party providers is critical; compliance to the regulatory frameworks will be a wake-up call in the industry.

Keeping DORA simple in navigating the regulations will be a success, though the industry is not precise is what it means to be “good at operational resilience”.

WCIT at the Tower of London

A select party of WCIT members were given an after-hours tour of the Tower of London on the 15th of November 2021; this was organized by Freeman and Oarswoman Sabia Sultan. This was the first in-person event for several new Freemen of the Company.

Yeoman Warder Spike Abbott gave a fascinating tour of the floodlit Tower, showing Traitor’s Gate, where many prisoners came to the Tower who never left again, the Bloody Tower, where King Henry VI was murdered and the Princes in the Tower vanished. We saw the White Tower, one of the most iconic castle keeps in the world, then went via the private execution ground, where Lady Jane Grey and Anne Boleyn were beheaded, to the chapel of St Peter ad Vincula (St Peter in Chains).

This is the parish church for the Tower of London.  Many people who were executed on Tower Hill and in the Tower itself are buried there; Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, Sir Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell, to name a handful of them. It is also the chapel for our fellow Modern Livery Company, the Worshipful Company of Security Professionals. It is a small chapel, with many impressive monuments to officials who worked at the Tower, as well as a long list of people who were executed and who do not have individual monuments.

From the Chapel we went to the Yeoman Warders’ private club, The Keys. One of the beers on tap there was “Treason”.   “I would like to try ‘Treason’ tonight” is a risky thing to say in the Tower, given all we had learned on the tour!

We then watched the Ceremony of the Keys, one of the oldest military ceremonies in the world, where the gates are ceremonially locked by a Yeoman Warder accompanied by a military escort. There is a challenge by a sentry to ensure that the keys are actually the Queen’s keys, and the Last Post is played, after which the soldiers are dismissed and the Keys are taken for safe-keeping. 

WCIT at the Lord Mayor’s Show

The Master Information Technologist Alistair Fulton, the Deputy Master Mark Holford and the Beadle Alan O’Connor were proud to represent WCIT in the Lord Mayor’s Show on Saturday 13 November 2021. 

The event was particularly special as it had not been held since 2019 due to the pandemic.

WCIT was delighted to feature prominently in the television coverage including a mention by former Lord Mayor Sir Andrew Parmley and consort of Past Master Information Technologist Wendy Parmley.