I've Got Brain Ache

I'm very busy on the work front at the moment, both in my day job and with the internet business.

In my day job I'm involved in a major, very complex, government PKI project. PKI stands for Public Key Infrastructure and is basically a set of systems that can be used for issuing and signing digital certificates that can be used for encryption, authentication and other security type things. The thing about PKI is it's all about trust. If you're going to use a digital certificate to encrypt your communications, or use it for authentication (such as to gain access to a website, or even to a building by putting the certificate on a building access card) both you, and the owner of the systems, need to have confidence that the certificate hasn't been compromised in any way.

What this means is that every aspect of how the certificate is created, issued, renewed, revoked, used, and stored has to be managed in a way that covers all the potential security risks.

My job is to create a framework of rules around the entire PKI, covering everything from the physical security of the buildings and servers which will host the PKI, the security procedures for the operation of the PKI, the HR procedures to ensure the people operating the PKI can be trusted, to the technical security controls of the particular systems.

The framework has to be specific enough so it covers all the risks, but generic enough so that the PKI can be future-proof and used for multiple different purposes.

I've also got to write the audit procedures so that they can get an outside auditor to come in and carry out annual audits of every Certificate Authority that wants to operate under the PKI (of which there may be many covering multiple government agencies) in accordance with the procedures I've written.

To say it's making my head hurt is an understatement. There's particular international standards that I need to make sure it complies with, as well as fitting in with government standards around authentication and identity management.

My little brain is struggling to cope!

As for our internet business. IPChitChat is doing pretty well. We've had some good feedback on the new site, and most importantly, revenue was up for last month considerably from Sept 2007. We're still some way from making a full-time living out of it but it's growing, slowly but surely.

We've also launched EzeeQuit, which is more of an experiment than anything else. Probably won't be a long term venture but it demonstrated we can now react to new opportunities and get an e-commerce site up relatively quickly.

We've also changed the name of our company. We originally registered the company as Autonomy Business Solutions Ltd when we had the idea of creating an IT Managed Service for medium to small businesses. Our business model has changed considerably since then and we're now concentrating on building internet-based brands.

We're really interested in the whole new phenomenon of cloud computing, the whole idea of applications moving away from the desktop to being purely web-based. With that in mind we've now changed our business name to NetCloud Ltd, which we believe better reflects the ethos of the business. We couldn't get netcloud.co.uk so our domain name for NetCloud Ltd is www.netcloudgroup.co.uk. This is ok as NetCloud will effectively be a group of companies under the netcloud banner. There's not much on that website yet but it will grow as our underlying businesses grow.

So our existing websites are keeping us busy, there's day-to-day management of the site, marketing and development of more features, as well as troubleshooting the odd issue that comes up here and there. I'm currently putting together the next newsletter for IPChitChat which you can sign up for on our site.

And of course there's the development of our next sites. The social networking site I've mentioned previously has been completed (to some degree) by the developers we hired in India, and I'm now working on developing features and content. Not sure when we'll get this one off the ground as it's a major project but it's certainly an exciting prospect.

We also have a couple more ideas for e-commerce sites that we're investigating.

All in all life is busy on all fronts.