After university, I worked in London for a few years, doing Information Management in the financial sector. But I never really cared about turning a profit for the shareholders. I needed to work for an organisation that does something worthwhile. I get plenty of thatin GCHQ – and I also get to work on some brilliant IM problems.
Information Management in an intelligence service is still IM – just with the volume turned up on some things. We make information findable – but here, our analysts need to know they’ve found everything that could help, and the price for missing somethingcan be high. We protect information, in line with the rules about who can use what, for what. And we manage how long information is kept for, and when to dispose of it. But here, our legal compliance depends on getting all that absolutely right.
I work on the standards – the architecture – which help us achieve those things across all the different types of information in GCHQ. Our information is really diverse; the challenge is to find the principles that are common to everything, and then figure out how to apply them in different parts of the business, and in different technical setups.
Our information also needs to move around – both within GCHQ, and to and from the people we work with. A lot of my work is about how our standards relate to those of other people. That means getting to know a whole range of different organisations, elsewhere in government and beyond – finding out how they work and how they manage their information, and making sure everyone’s needs are understood and catered for.
We’re a very dynamic organisation, so there are plenty of opportunities here. And it’s full of exceptional people, doing critical jobs to protect our national security. I can’t think of a better place to work.