Networkshop44: cybersecurity, collaboration and capability

Tim Kidd, executive director of Jisc technologies, previews Networkshop44, the annual forum for network managers in academia.

Every year technical managers and staff from UK further and higher education look forward to Networkshop, Jisc’s annual conference on the challenges, emerging trends and developments in network infrastructure and technology. Here, Tim Kidd, executive director, Jisc technologies, gives readers a preview of what they can expect at Networkshop44.

Since the first event in 1977, Networkshop has become an annual highlight for university and college network managers and engineers, technical staff, IT operations and security specialists, with 350 people attending each year.

This year is no different. Taking place from 22-24 March, the conference is travelling north to the University of Manchester. Although the location has changed – as it does every year – the format remains the same, featuring a mix of keynote speakers, presentations, workshops and discussions about the biggest IT topics in UK education and research.

The programme has been carefully put together to reflect the changing needs and requirements of our customers, and to help them make the most of their Janet connection. It covers a broad spectrum of topics, but you may notice some key themes appearing across the three days.

It is a fact of today's internet that cyberattacks are taking place with increasing sophistication, so naturally cyber security will be a focus. We’ll be hosting sessions on everything from how Jisc security experts respond to threats, solutions being developed to protect the network, and the steps organisations can take to protect themselves and minimise the potential impact if an incident should occur.

Data storage and management is another issue facing many technical professionals, who are tasked with providing flexible and agile data centre services that support collaboration. There will be several talks exploring data centres, including configuration and network services when outsourcing requirements, that will offer case studies from the national shared data centre agreement Jisc has established for education and research.

We’ll also be looking at professional development again after receiving much positive feedback from network managers last year. As well as development advice for junior staff and engineers, this time we'll be including sessions on recruitment and retention. The future success of our sector is dependent on being able to source, develop and keep talent, so we expect these to be popular.

On top of this, external speakers including Arthur Clune, University of York, Jon Warbrick, University of Cambridge and Professor Rahim Tafazolli, University of Surrey, will share their expertise on a range of issues, world-leading vendors will be exhibiting, and as ever, there’ll plenty of time for networking. It's a rare chance that everyone has to get together, share their experiences and learn from each other, and we know that many find this to be valuable.

If you would like to attend, ticket information and a programme can be found on our Networkshop web pages.

Tim Kidd, executive director, Jisc technologies, is responsible for bringing together Jisc’s digital technology related people, organisations, strategy, services and operations. He ensures our digital IT capabilities and expertise are applied cost effectively and imaginatively – making a real and sustained difference to research and education in the UK.