Up at Networks Telecom, the trade show for the professional who knows his structured cabling from his waveguide, where I'm chairing a panel about computer security and the small business. It goes surprisingly well: we have a copper from the high-tech crime unit, a consultant from Logica and a legal eagle from a big law firm, together with someone from IntellectUK -- the industry group for high tech companies.
The crowd listen dutifully through the handy three-minute guide to working out your security needs, the promotion of Intellect's published guidelines -- http://www.cssa.co.uk/home/reports/websecfinal.pdf -- and tales of legal responsibility, but really perk up when Tony Neate the e-Plod gets stuck into some stories of badness from beyond the firewall. Everyone agrees that the biggest thing to get right in corporate security is to make everyone aware of what it is, why it matters, and their part in its success. From the chief executive to the tea lady, is the cry -- although how many small and medium-sized enterprises have tea ladies isn't discussed.
Given the reaction of the crowd, I think that what computer security really needs is an Inspector Morse of the modems: it's a bit tricky to see how to make a Web site hacking seem as interesting as a good, juicy murder, but in the hands of a sympathetic, talented writer I bet it could be done. Ten tales of computer crime, each with a pearl of wisdom surrounded by the oyster of misdeed -- it'd do more for awareness of the problems than any number of well-intentioned panel discussions. Not to say it wasn't worth doing -- it was -- but if you weren't at Networks, it did you no good.
Time to sharpen the pencils...