It is a long time since I have been to Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United. So long in fact that I ended up at the Cricket Ground. Fortunately they are only a short walk away. The last time was when I went to see Newcastle United get beaten two nil but that could have been many a season. This was in the days when football violence was still common and I have never run so hard as I did getting away from the ground. I lived to tell the tale.
I had come down to Manchester to speak at Noord Group’s IT and Digital Leaders Dialogue. I had spoken at a previous conference that they had put on and had agreed to give it another go. This time it was to talk about ‘Addressing the IT skills gap and promoting cultural change.’ That was right up my street.
Getting across Manchester was an interesting experience, partly due to my inability to get out of Piccadilly Station and onto the trams. When I finally arrived at Old Trafford I was asked by security to open my bags to be searched. I was also frisked as well, if that is the right expression. I must admit to being surprised. I wondered how they managed the rush from earlier on in the day yet recognised that Manchester United must be high in the minds of anyone wishing to do bad things. They are high profile, they draw enormous crowds and they generate polar emotions in different groups of supporters. I was glad that they are taking security seriously.
Their approach continued when I registered at the conference desk and asked for the WiFi password. (Remember this is the second rule of IT, the first is to steal electricity although this is less of a problem now with battery life improving.) I was offered a list of single use passwords. I needed two, one for my phone and one for the chromebook. Again they are taking security seriously, not just physical but cyber as well.
The only problem was that it didn’t work. The WiFi was up and down like Newcastle United’s form. I don’t know if it was the Faraday Cage in which the conference was being held or the large number of people that were trying to log in but in a conference these days it is as much a requisite as electricity.
At least it was secure.