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BT invites SMEs to help secure the nations economic security

BT Invites SMEs To Help Secure The Nations Economic Security

Nearly all IT decision makers in large multinational corporations have experienced a cyber-attack

BT launches a competition to find innovative new ideas from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) aimed at protecting the UK s critical infrastructure and keeping public sector and business data secure. BT SME Award 2017: Securing the Nation will give SMEs the chance to showcase their new technology and product ideas within three award categories: Cyber Security; Data collection, mining and analytics; and Digital Innovation . The winning entrants are expected to demonstrate how their new ideas will address key challenges in securing data for businesses and public sector organisations. For the data collection, mining and analytics category, BT is searching for SMEs with ideas for solutions that can help the Police and the Home Office tackle modern slavery and human trafficking.

Not enough effective data

There is currently not enough effective data and insight to tackle this growing crime, and so innovative, new solutions have the opportunity to make a real impact . The competition is an opportunity to demonstrate that technology can be used for good, and SMEs with digital technology experience, who may never have thought about how technology can be used to combat trafficking, are encouraged to apply. There is a total prize pot of 30,000 across all three categories . The judges will award each category winner a cash prize of 10,000, plus six months flex membership at TechHub s sold out London start-up space which includes access to the London and all global TechHub spaces, plus the opportunity to network with the community of members all working on technology products.

All three winners will have the opportunity to work with BT to explore technical and commercial partnerships to bring their solutions to market with BT. The issue of cyber security is increasingly forming part of board level discussions at large companies because of the rapidly escalating and evolving nature of the threat . Recent research from BT and KPMG reveals that 97 per cent of IT decision makers in large multinational corporations have experienced a cyber-attack, with half of them reporting an increase in the last two years.

Companies remain unprepared

However, only a fifth of respondents are confident that their organisation is fully prepared against the threat of cyber-attacks . The latest BT Infinity Lab competition is aimed at developing new innovative ways of helping organisations of all sizes to address the threat. Ben Gummer, minister for the cabinet office and paymaster general, says, Small and medium-sized businesses make a huge contribution to our economy and account for over 99 per cent of all private sector businesses .

Entrepreneurs, risk-takers, family businesses and start-ups have created more than 2.7 million jobs and launched almost a million new businesses since 2010.

But there is more we can do which is why the government is committed to spending 1 in every 3 with small businesses by 2020 . By doing so, we will harness the knowledge, skills and experience of our SMEs and use them to improve our public services. Colm O Neill, MD major and public sector at BT, says, Cyber security is a really important issue for the UK public sector and businesses of all sizes . BT has developed world class capability through protecting its own and its customers networks and we recognise that some of the most innovative ideas often come from our diverse SME community.

This initiative aims to provide a platform for these ideas, and an opportunity for SMEs to develop them into solutions that will tackle real world challenges, including the issue of modern slavery . We are really excited to see the results, and to work alongside these organisations to ensure the UK continues to lead the way in security.

Elizabeth Varley, co-founder & global CEO of TechHub, says, This is the fourth year of TechHub s partnership with BT to provide a boost to growing technology companies .

We are proud to join BT in supporting those startups that could make a big impact to securing our world in the future.

Further reading on BT cyber security

37 new businesses backed by start up loans in south west …

South West Bedfordshire MP Andrew Selous has welcomed new figures that show the Government s Start-Up Loans Scheme has helped 37 people in South West Bedfordshire set up their own business helping to provide growth and jobs for hardworking families across Britain.

Businesses are an essential part of building our communities, bringing jobs and economic security to towns and cities across the UK. Encouraging business creators is a vital part of our long-term economic plan to secure a better future for Britain.

The Start-Up Loans scheme provides loans and mentoring support to people who want to start their own businesses. Across the country, 25,000 Start-Up Loans have now been awarded, worth a total of nearly 130 million and generating more than 32,000 new jobs.

Andrew Selous commented:

The Government backs the small businesses which bring jobs to our local communities, and our long-term plan is aiming to make Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a business.

Today s figures show that Start-Up Loans are helping us to do that here in South West Bedfordshire, 140,573 has been lent to 37 people.

This is helping more businesses create more jobs and crucially, it means that potential and ideas don t go to waste.

If the Conservatives win the election, we will go even further tripling the number of people who will get Start-Up Loans to 75,000 by 2020, so even more people have the support they need to grow their businesses and create jobs.

New businesses are the lifeblood of a healthy local economy, helping to create the growth and jobs that provide security and peace of mind for hardworking taxpayers.

That s why as part of our long-term economic plan we will keep supporting hardworking people who aspire to start their own businesses.

Vote No on New York State Propositions 1 and 3, No on Both Suffolk …

All propositions passed or, in the case of NYS 2 and 3, they are poised to pass.

Both Suffolk propositions passed.

The school technology will be long gone by the time we finish paying for it. Double digit school taxes aren t enough, now Suffolk is passing propositions to give them more.

The Suffolk County proposition eliminating the Comptroller position will give all financial power to the Democrats. Since Steve Levy left, Steve Bellone has run Suffolk into debt.

He now has a free hand.

h/t Natalie

Update at the end

There are three New York State propositions and two Suffolk County propositions on the ballot this Tuesday. Only one sounds reasonable. Newsday wants people to vote yes on each except for the school technology proposition.

We have a different perspective.

NEW YORK STATE PROPOSITIONS

STATE PROPOSITON 1 VOTE NO ON REDISTRICTING

THIS BILL DOESN T GO FAR ENOUGH AND WE D BE STUCK WITH IT.

Rather than end partisan gerrymandering and incumbent protection, the constitutional amendment would enshrine it in the constitution.

Voters should reject this constitutional amendment. Then they should demand that their leaders go back to the drawing board before the next census in 2020.

If approved, the vote would change how New York redraws state and congressional political boundaries every 10 years. Since 1978, the Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment has helped state lawmakers redraw the lines.

That task force is controlled by the lawmakers, who ultimately approve the new political maps. Generally, the boundaries have been drawn to give incumbent legislators an advantage and help them win elections.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo campaigned four years ago for a more independent system.

What state lawmakers agreed to was this: ask voters to approve a new system with a 10-member commission to draw the lines, which lawmakers could, in the end, reject entirely.

One difference between the old task force and this proposed commission is that two members of the 10 must be people not enrolled in the two major political parties. Another difference is that the state Legislature must vote to reject two versions of the commission s maps before taking the process out of its hands.

Lawmakers could feel more political pressure to accept maps they don t like rather than take two public stands against the commission s recommendations. Right now, most of those rejections happen behind closed doors.

STATE PROPOSITION 2 ELECTRONIC VERSIONS OF BILLS IN ALBANY

We should consider voting yes.

This proposal would help modernize the State Legislature.

Lawmakers cannot routinely vote on bills until they ve been printed and made available in final form for at least three days.

The idea is to give legislators time to read them. The constitution s 1938 requirement that they be printed has been taken literally to mean ink on paper.

Proposal 2 would amend the constitution to allow bills to be distributed in electronic form accessible by computer. Albany votes on more than a thousand bills a year.

Printing them electronically would be more efficient, and the savings should be considerable. Vote yes on proposal No.

2.

PROPOSITION 3 VOTE NO ON BOND ISSUE FOR SCHOOL TECHNOLOGY!

The technology will be long outdated before the bill is paid.

This Election Day, Nov.

4, New Yorkers will be asked to approve Proposal 3, which will allow the state to borrow another $2 billion in the form of general obligation bonds. The money is supposed to go to school districts to buy electronic tablets, such as iPads, and other computers; expand high-speed and wireless Internet capacity; install high-tech security features ; and build new classrooms for pre-kindergarten programs.

The language voters will see on their ballot under Proposal 3, A Proposition is laced with Madison Avenue marketing spin, starting with the title ( Smart Schools Bond Act of 2014 ) and including highly debatable promises that the $2 billion will equalize opportunities for children to learn and lead to high-quality pre-K.1 The ballot languagedoesn t say that the $2 billion will cost New York taxpayers about $500 million more once you figure in the interest.

Annual debt service payments will add roughly $135 million to $165 million to the state budget for the next 15 to 20 years.21

Here are three reasons to think long and hard before supporting Proposal 3:

  1. New York s debt burden is already enormous.

When you add up all the loans state and local governments are paying back already, it comes out to more than $17,000 for every woman, man and child in New York. That s the highest total in the nation.3

Besides that, New York State will come closer to hitting its debt limit if Proposal 3 passes. Meanwhile, Albany still has to fill the funding gaps in long-term capital plans for basic infrastructure like mass transit, roads and bridges.

  1. Schools didn t even ask for this money

When it comes to demanding more from taxpayers, New York s school boards, teachers unions and allied lobbying groups aren t exactly shy.

Their requests go into the billions every year. Yet none of these organizations identified technology purchases as a priority before the Smart Schools borrowing scheme popped up in Gov. Cuomo s State of the State speech in January.

The state Board of Regents, which annually sends the Governor a huge wish list, only wanted2 technology spending boosted this year by just $1 million a microscopic 0.05 percent of the amount sought by Proposal 3.

  1. The bond issue will force schools to spend more for purposes the new borrowing won t cover.

If schools tap into the Proposal 3 pot, they ll need to raise and spend more local tax money every year on computer support services like new staff or outside vendors to run the systems, answer users questions and fix problems.

Those nifty new high-tech smartboards, tablets, laptops and desktop terminals will be wasted unless districts also invest in tech-based curricula and teacher training.

Schools that choose to build pre-K classrooms will need to raise their annual budgets to hire staff for these programs. High tech security features will have to be monitored and maintained by new security personnel.

All this, at a time when many schools are cutting student activities and enrichment programs so they can keep paying for expensive teacher contracts while staying under the property tax cap.

And here are three more reasons why Proposal 3 is a bad idea:

  1. Albany already funds the purposes that would be covered by the bonding.

Over the past five years, the state has given school districts nearly $200 million in aid for computer hardware and technology enough to purchase hundreds of thousands of iPad tablets or laptop computers. What s more, the vast majority of school districts, even in the remote North Country, already can hook up to existing high-speed Internet lines.

The problem is that some districts can t afford to pay the monthly bill for premium connections, which Proposal 3 won t cover. As for classroom space, the state spends $2.7 billion a year more than the entire bond issue will raise just once on building aid3 to underwrite a large share of capital construction costs for most districts. The SAFE Ac4t of 2013 provided additional building aid for school security improvements.

In the construction category, Proposal 3 cash could be used only to accommodate pre-kindergarten programs and provide instructional space to replace transportable classroom units.

But that will be of little use to most schools which can t afford to establish pre-K programs and have not had to resort to using portable classrooms. In fact, in most districts, K-12 enrollment is falling.

  1. The classroom technology purchased with Proposal 3 bond funds will be outdated before the debt is paid off.

States and local governments legally cannot issue bonds unless the money will be paid back within the probable life (sometimes also called useful life ) of the assets and purchases they will finance.

Typical useful life estimates for computer hardware purchased by government agencies, colleges and universities range from as little as two years for tablet computers to five years for desktop computers. Likewise, the IRS allows regular taxpayers to write off the cost of computers and peripherals over five years.

Yet, to help justify long-term bonding for this purpose, Governor Cuomo and the state Legislature wrote Proposal 3 to assume that iPads, laptops and other devices paid for with bond funds will last eight years.

Bottom line: taxpayers will still be paying principle and interest on the loans for years after the computers purchased with the money are obsolete.

  1. Binge-spending on technology has a poor track record.

The Los Angeles Unified School District recently undertook its own initiative to expand the use and availability of personal computer technology in the classroom. Designed to put an iPad in the hands of every student by 2016, the program was abruptly suspended in August5. The first phase of the effort saw hardware go missing6, students accessing inappropriate content7 and allegations of ethical misconduct8.

Stolen hardware appears to be a common problem9 with school technology programs, with taxpayers on the hook for replacing devices that can cost more than $700 each.

1 The full Proposal 3 language can be downloaded from this useful online state Board of Elections ballot guide10.

2 The amount of debt service and total interest payments depend on average duration of bonds and interest rate, which in turn will reflect a weighted average of the useful life of the projects financed with the bond.

The estimates here assume an interest rate of 3.12 percent and an average bond of 15 to 20 years.

3 Data for total debt outstanding from Census Bureau 2011 State and Local Government Finances11. Includes debt of state and local public authorities.Even using a more limited measure of state government debt only, the state comptroller s office reported 12in January 2013: New York s State-Funded debt to Personal Income ratio, the State-Funded debt per capita ratio, the State-Funded debt service to All Funds revenues ratio and the State-Funded debt as a percentage of GSP are all significantly above peer and national medians.

SUFFOLK COUNTY PROPOSITIONS

SUFFOLK PROPOSITION: VOTE NO TO ELIMINATE TREASURER JOB

Treasurer Angie Carpenter is the only person who stands between Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and our pockets. Eliminating the job would give tax-and-spend wastrel Steve Bellone unfettered access to the treasury via the Democratic Comptroller.

The position provides much needed checks and balances, especially with a spendthrift like Bellone in power.

SUFFOLK PROPOSITION: VOTE NO ON REPAYMENT TO WATER-SEWER FUND

The LI Pine Barrens Society and Group for the East End want you to vote yes. If they re for it, I m against it. They are self-appointed environmental dictators who think no cost is too much to further their agenda.

Newsday said that if approved, it would return, via bonding, $29.4 million diverted from the drinking water protection program fund.

The bonds must be issued by 2018 and spent by 2020. In return, County Executive Steve Bellone would be allowed to re-borrow from the fund for three years, with mandatory repayment by 2029, to help balance the county budget.

That really need not be the case. Just don t do the projects.

We can t afford it. Suffolk is deeply in debt.

Updated: 11/03/14: The following comments were posted in Newsday and were written by Suffolk County legislators.

Everyone loves open space and wants to protect our drinking water, but Proposal 5, which is on ballots in Suffolk County on Election Day, is about cash flow “Yes on repayment to water fund,” Editorial, Oct.

16. It s wrapped in pretty packaging, but this proposition would divert resources from water quality.

The proposition would permit Suffolk County to raid more than $100 million from a sewer reserve fund to pay the county s bills.

It would also authorize the borrowing of nearly $30 million, primarily for open space.

Opinion: What I learned in Chennai, India13 The county executive s budget states that 70 percent of the nitrogen pollution in our water comes from unsewered residential homes. Additionally, we spend millions of dollars annually on open space preservation and will continue to do so for years to come regardless of whether this proposition passes. Why then would we allow the depletion of the sewer reserve and borrow more money for more open space?

If most of the pollution stems from the absence of sewers, wouldn t we want to use the sewer fund to address that problem?

This is simply a way to balance the budget this year while pushing off paying our bills to our children and grandchildren!

Proponents of Proposal 5 say that the $30 million would repay money taken from the open space program. That s a lie. The bottom line is that $30 million was taken out of the sewer fund, not the open space fund.

If anything, we should be repaying that fund, not purchasing more open space. Using money in the sewer fund to expand sewers would protect our environment and promote jobs.

Whatever money we use in the sewer fund must be paid back by 2029. Not surprisingly, there is no plan in place to repay the $100 million-plus that will be raided.

In 2013, the bonds for the Southwest Sewer District were paid off, but despite the fact that the sewer fund has collected more than $100 million in excess reserves, there has been no reduction in sewer taxes, nor has the reserve fund been used to make necessary repairs to the system.

When does the taxpayer get a break?

As if the deceit embedded in this proposal isn t enough, as a final slap to voters, the legislature has been asked to circumvent Election Day and pre-authorize the $30 million in borrowing.

A fund established to protect taxpayers and our environment should not be turned into an ATM.

Robert Trotta, Tom Cilmi, Kevin McCaffrey, John Kennedy

Hauppauge

Editor s note: The writers are Suffolk County legislators from, respectively, the 13th, 10th, 14th and 12th districts.

References

  1. ^ Proposal 3, A Proposition (www.elections.ny.gov)
  2. ^ wanted (www.p12.nysed.gov)
  3. ^ building aid (stateaid.nysed.gov)
  4. ^ SAFE Ac (www.governor.ny.gov)
  5. ^ abruptly suspended in August (www.latimes.com)
  6. ^ saw hardware go missing (losangeles.cbslocal.com)
  7. ^ students accessing inappropriate content (articles.latimes.com)
  8. ^ allegations of ethical misconduct (www.npr.org)
  9. ^ appears to be a common problem (www.google.com)
  10. ^ this useful online state Board of Elections ballot guide (www.elections.ny.gov)
  11. ^ 2011 State and Local Government Finances (www.osc.state.ny.us)
  12. ^ reported (www.osc.state.ny.us)
  13. ^ Opinion: What I learned in Chennai, India (www.newsday.com)