Financial Services Technology Panel picks its next big issue for the sector and hosts a roundtable with ISITC on the “Digital Operational Resilience Act” (aka DORA) and its UK equivalent – 16 November 2021

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 – 15 November 2021

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, 13 November 2021

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.

Government Panel – 27 October 2021

Following the success of a recent deep dive into the challenges the Royal Navy faces in an ever-changing digital landscape, in October 2021 the Government Panel successfully hosted a second event into how the various branches of HM Armed Forces are tackling the technological challenges of the battlefield of tomorrow. Describing the challenges and steps the British Army are taking to ensure the modern soldier is a “Digital Soldier” was Brigadier Marc Overton TD VR and former Army Officer Colonel Willem Buckley. Marc is currently chief advisor to the Deputy Chief of the General Staff and the Executive Committee of the Army for the digital transformation of the British Army (Project THEIA).  He is also Chief Solutions Officer for Sierra Wireless, an industry leader in the Internet of Things (IoT) and Enterprise Networking Solutions. Willem was a former Colonel in the Parachute Regiment, having served on the staff in multiple operational theatres at the highest levels, before continuing his career within Defence Consulting.

The meeting was opened by Geoff Sadler, Chair of the Government Panel, before passing on to Marc who proceeded to talk through the MOD’s Digital Strategy. Marc then went on to discuss Project THEIA and explained how THEIA was a series of multi-million pound Digital Transformation programmes commissioned by the British Army.  These aim to embrace the new technologies and approaches used to enhance operational effectiveness and improve the management of business. Marc outlined THEIA’s aims to:

  • change digital culture and behaviours, equipping our people with digital skills and promoting new digital ways of working;
  • integrate all information from command and control, intelligence, sensors, effectors and platforms across domains, partners and allies;
  • deliver better data and enable improved operational and corporate competitiveness, efficiency and effectiveness.

Marc then closed the segment with observations from his industry background and drew numerous parallels on how success in industry could be applied to the Army’s programmes.

Willem was then able to take the context of the digital soldier further and talked about the different challenges facing a modern soldier who is required to integrate into asymmetric warfare across multiples domains. He went on to discuss the specific challenges the Land domain presented, and how the technology was being integrated into the modern soldier in order to provide a battle-winning edge. Willem concluded his observations by delving into some of the factors that sat behind the need for change, including military culture and the effort needed to increase digital literacy at all levels of command moving forwards.

This spurred a number of thought-provoking questions from a large audience that were expertly answered by Willem, before Geoff closed out a highly successful and informative discussion.

Stay tuned to Government Panel updates for the final deep-dive into how the various branches of HM Armed Forces are embracing technology to be able to operate effectively in the 21st century.

WCIT Golf Society at the Puttshak – 3 November 2021

On November 3rd, the WCIT Golf Society hosted an evening of indoor golf at Puttshack, a high-tech crazy golf venue in the heart of the City of London.

The group of eleven players were given a trackable golf ball to putt around the challenging course with the number of shots and targets struck being automatically tracked and scored.

The winner on the night – by a significant margin – was Crystal Metcalfe who took home her first ever golf trophy, presented by Dave Robertson, secretary of the WCIT golf society.

Promoting Equity within the City – 19 October 2021

On Tuesday 19th October the Equality Committee held a face-to-face event in the hall titled ‘Promoting Equity within the City – a Diversity in the City’. 

A number of our members and guests attended what proved to be an insightful evening ‘Promoting Equity within the City’ during Global Diversity Awareness month  We were be joined by our new Master, Alistair Fulton, as well as Past Master Sir Kenneth Olisa OBE who supported our event (via video).  Our main speaker was Common Councillor Shravan Joshi who has been awarded his MBE for his diversity activities in the City.

The event was also an opportunity for members to invite those outside of the Livery to encourage a wider and more diverse participation and membership within WCIT.  It was a good opportunity to discover more about the Livery, its traditions and ethos, as well as to understand how prospective members could be involved in all aspects of the four pillars of the Company (Education, Industry, Charity and Fellowship).

CITO Cup – 30 September 2021

Golfers from the WCIT and Royal Signals took to the fairways at Calcot Park on September 30 to play the inaugural Cito Cup match.

Six matches were played and the Signals were triumphant with a final score line of 5-1. Despite the score, the matches were hard-fought and most went to the wire.

Both teams agreed it was a successful event and a rematch is planned for next year.

Gordon’s Cup – 2 October 2021

Master Mark Holford and Signaller Turner of 11th (Royal School of Signals) Signal Regiment.

The Master and Liveryman Nick Claydon (our Relationship Manager for the Royal Signals)  visited the Royal Signals at Blandford Camp on Saturday 2 October for the annual Gordon’s Cup.  This is a military skills competition and tests this year included an Assault Course, Pistol Shooting, Shelter Building, Stalking, Communication repairs, and a Bayonet Course.   Despite challenging weather conditions, the day started with breakfast at 5.30am and ended with a prize giving in the field.  The Master presented the WCIT Cup for the Best Shot to Signaller Turner of 11th (Royal School of Signals) Signal Regiment.

Journeymen’s Dinner – 23 September 2021

Journeymen’s Dinner 2021 – WCIT Information Technology Hall, Livery Room

On a warm autumnal evening in September, some 20 members of the company gathered at our own Livery Hall to celebrate and recognise the achievements and involvement of our younger members. Gloriously supported by our resident Beadle, the atmosphere was charged with excitement. For some in our number, this was the first-time meeting since the beginning of 2020. For some, it was the first-time meeting anyone in the Company in person, having joined during the more solitary days of the pandemic.

With a well-stocked buffet of foods and ample pours of wine, the evening was expertly arranged by recent Journeyman, now Freeman Tasha Morrison, and Mellissa Maher.

Still feeling the impacts of the pandemic, we couldn’t indulge in the livery traditions of the Loving Cup, nor the Rose Water Ceremony. However, the silver lining was that this gave us more time to hear from our speakers. Appropriately, the theme of the evening was “Your Journey” and we were fortunate to hear from of the Master, Mark Holford, Liveryman Eileen Brown and Liveryman Matt Eglin on how they came to be seated around the table.

It was a wonderful insight into the different paths people had taken into Livery, and indeed Information Technology. With journeys taking routes through insurance to shipping, it was clear that there are many paths that lead here! The evening was also an opportunity to introduce the Company to prospective new younger members, and we had the pleasure of hosting two such guests for the evening.

Fed and watered, we retired to the Hand & Shears for a traditional nightcap before heading in our separate directions home. An excellent evening was had by all and we will continue this event in the coming years as our population of “Young WCIT” members grows.

108th Business Lunch – 15 September 2021

Master Mark Holford pictured with Pinkerton Award 2020 finalists Freeman Anders Skjøt Kongsbak, Journeyman Alex Bilbie and Journeyman Sonia Green

WCIT was delighted to hold  its first in person formal event on 15 September 2021 – our 108th Business Lunch in the stunning surroundings of Butchers’ Hall. The Master welcomed over 100 members and their guests, and paid tribute to the Company’s achievements during the pandemic. Special recognition was given to Liveryman Frank Joshi from Mvine for the website support provided to the Company over the years; to our 2020 Pinkerton Award finalists and to Gary Phillips who has retired as Headteacher at Lilian Bayliss Technology School after 22 years.  On behalf of WCIT and the WCIT Charity, Gary was presented with a specially commissioned piece of glass called Binary.