Thursday, 14 July 2011

Hidden pain becomes visible

For the second time in as many weeks, the company hosting the website of the AIB - and a range of other companies' sites - has been hacked. Instead of seeing the latest news from across the media industry, visitors to have been treated to the view of a cross-eyed penguin...

It's frustrating for us as people in broadcasters all over the world check for last minute information about the 2011 AIBs, our international media excellence awards, but thankfully our special awards site [] is hosted separately and has not been compromised.

These episodes have demonstrated the absolute vital need to maintain back-ups of back-ups. You simply cannot rely on a single back-up as we discovered on the first hacking. The server company's back-up took days rather than hours to decompress, crashing servers constantly. So we made a back-up in the office to make sure we had some level of additional security. We've used that to get up and running this afternoon.

All this comes when Britain's secret listening service - GCHQ - reveals that it is struggling to retain cyber experts. It seems that people with expertise in all things hacking and cyber are being lured by multinationals like Amazon, Google and Microsoft who offer somewhat higher salaries than GCHQ - so naturally they jump ship from the public to commercial sector.

Meanwhile, AIB is looking at what it should do with its online presence. The answer is probably to spread things around. Already we've migrated our e-mail to Google apps (which works extraordinarily well) and, as I mentioned earlier, our awards website is hosted by a different company to our main site. Diversity is key to everyone's longevity in cyberspace.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Entries from all over the world - there's still time to enter!

The AIB headquarters is inundated with entries to this year's international media excellence awards, the AIBs.

We've had entries from Indonesia, the UK, Canada, Australia, Qatar, the US, South Africa, France, Singapore and many other countries - everyone is eager to have their content show-cased in this year's AIBs.

The new People's Choice is moving forward, too. The subject this year is best coverage of pro-democracy uprisings, and the short-listed entries will be available on social networks and web platforms globally, thanks to a deal we're currently finalising with a major player that receives 50m uniques every month in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region alone.

If you have not yet entered, don't despair. The official closing date is Friday 15 July but we will offer flexibility to ensure that the world's best content is judged by our international jury.

And don't forget that as well as rewarding the best factual TV, radio and cross-media programming, the AIBs also celebrate the best on-air talent, the best broadcast marketing and the most innovative broadcasting technology.