News Scan: Women not making headway with senior IT positions; Employees abuse privileged access; more

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>>Women not making headway with senior IT positions

The gender gap in IT leadership positions hasn't improved over the past decade, and may even be worsening, a new study concludes. The 2014 CIO Survey by Harvey Nash found that of 3,211 CIOs it surveyed worldwide, only 7 percent are women. That represents a 2 percent drop from the prior year's survey by the firm. As noted in an article at NextGov, "while nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of CIOs recognize this gender imbalance and have implemented diversity programs, the proportion of women in IT over the past decade has remained 'stubbornly low.'" The report has bad news overall and good news individually for women with regard to IT careers. "While we do not yet see enough women entering the industry, if they do embark on a career in IT there is more chance that they could realize their full potential than many other sectors. If more women can be persuaded to enter the IT profession, it looks as though both they and the industry will benefit."

(Read more on women in IT leadership: Women in IT: How deep is the bench? / Women in IT: Suffer silently or be the bitch)

>>Employees with privileged access often abuse the privilege

Access has its privileges, but a new study finds that many employees with privileged access may be abusing their rights. Specifically, many users with such privileges say they peek at sensitive or confidential data in their organization merely out of curiosity, not because they need to for their job. That is the finding of a recent Ponemon Institute report commissioned by Raytheon. "That's the human factor: [the ones] where it's not their job to go exploring," Michael Crouse, director of insider threat strategies at Raytheon was quoted in an article at Dark Reading. "Over half are accessing that information just because they want to see what's out there. A person being curious and then exposes [data] could do damage to the company."

(Read more on privileged access: 4 ways to manage privileged access / Model privileged access agreement)

>>IT skills crisis now one of business alignment

There is a new skills crisis in IT, but it is one not caused by quantity of workers, but by alignment of required skills. That is the conclusion of a recent article at ZDNet, which says that "Listen to the technology market today. You'll hear a whole new body of concepts being batted about. Systems of Record are giving way to Systems of Engagement. User Interfaces are being updated to permit a better User Experience. Cloud solutions are displacing on-premises applications. Lighter, leaner IT groups are using utility computing (e.g., public) cloud solutions. Developers are building mobile and e-commerce apps. The list just goes on and on." There is both good and bad news in all of this, the article says. "The new IT is not what the old IT was designed to do. For some, the new IT will create opportunities; for others, soul-searching and less relevance."

(Read more on IT skills: The top 10 IT skills for 2014 / Top 11 highly requested IT skills)

>>New guide aims to help federal agencies with cloud procurement

A new report, "Cloud Buyer's Guide for the Federal Government," has been released by the TechAmerica Foundation to assist government departments and agencies with their transition to cloud-based service models. In an email to FierceCIO, the association noted that this is a strategic priority under the federal government's Cloud First Initiative. "The federal government continues to add new technology into its IT infrastructure and is dedicated to integrating it in the most efficient way possible," TechAmerica notes. "Recommendations that highlight cloud services best practices, learned from the tech industry's experience in the private sector, will make the transition easier and give employees the right tools to use the technology within federal procurement and IT systems."

(Read more on federal IT and the cloud: Federal Cloud Computing Strategy report (.pdf) / Federal agencies make 2013 the Year of the Cloud)