Blackthorn Trace is one of the UK and Europe’s leading technology recruiters with specialist teams covering engineering led roles within Cloud, Data and Cyber Security.

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A new life on the graveyard shift

April 02, 2019

For many people, the notion of working nights is completely alien. There’s a perception that nightshift workers lead a lonely, lopsided existence, sleeping in the day and working at night. Yet qualified professionals who are willing to work nights are very much in demand in cyber security, particularly for SOC roles. Being a shift worker doesn’t mean that you’re suddenly separated from the rest of society, or have to live the kind of life normally reserved for students or vampires. It just means that you need to become accustomed to a different way of working. If you can do that, working nights actually has a number of benefits that you don’t get in your average day job.

Fitting work around your life

How often have you had to take time off work so you could make a daytime appointment? There’s no such problem when you work nights. With the whole day in which to fit any appointments, chores or other tasks that you can only get done in the daytime, you simultaneously free up your weekend for more fun activities. Working nights also gives parents the chance to spend more (awake) time with their families and take their young children to school.

Avoiding the rush

Imagine not having to squeeze onto a hugely uncomfortable tube train (not to mention the peak-time fares) or sit in a traffic jam just for the privilege of getting to work. The quality of your journey to and from work can really have an effect on both your mood and your productivity, so don’t underestimate the importance of a pleasant commute. Working at night means no more rush hour.

Getting things done

Whether it’s the post office queue or the dentist’s waiting room, everything’s quieter during the daytime when most people are at work. It’s also so much more pleasant doing your shopping on a quiet weekday morning rather than on the weekend, along with everyone else. Working nights means you don’t have to squeeze each of these things into an hour’s lunchbreak, effectively missing out on a lot of your downtime.

Dodging distractions

Although it’s nice having colleagues to chat and collaborate with, everyone needs a little quiet time. With fewer people in the office to ask you for assistance, drag you into meetings or distract you in other ways, shift work provides you with a calmer environment where you can actually focus.

A new social life

Working antisocial hours doesn’t mean that you can’t have a social life. In fact, it opens a brand new world of activities that might otherwise have passed you by. There are parts of London that almost never sleep. Many events at renowned venue Printworks start during the daytime and run through the early hours, allowing night owls to do their socialising before work. Similarly, events hosted by Ministry of Sound often finish when most people are getting ready for their workday, which leaves plenty of hours for a nightshift worker to pop along while others are skulking away.

Increasing your earnings

Although there’s no law that nightshift workers should be paid more than their daytime counterparts, some employers will be willing to pay their people more in exchange for working antisocial hours. This is something you can agree with an organisation when discussing a potential role. If you’re planning to work shifts only for a limited time, this could be the ideal opportunity to get your earnings up.

Signing up for a night shift doesn’t mean you’re signing your life away. It’s a new experience, a chance to see a different side of life and learn your trade from another angle. 

Whether you’re an early riser or a night owl, Blackthorn Trace recruits for cloud and cyber security jobs of all levels. To talk to us about our current opportunities or about your career, contact one of our experts now.


The 5 Cs: challenges facing cloud computing in the coming year

March 04, 2019

Believe it or not, cloud computing is set to get more complicated. With new legislation coming into force and increasing numbers of organisations adopting multi-cloud environments, the challenges facing IT teams will be varied and considerable. Here are some of the major cloud computing challenges organisations will encounter in the coming year, along with a few solutions:

Crossing over

Moving the bulky contents of massive on-premises databases such as Oracle, Azure and Microsoft SQL into the cloud can be a difficult task. Imagine moving house with nothing but a wheelbarrow to transport all your worldly belongings.

By adopting data integration software such as MuleSoft, Dell Boomi and SAP Data Services, you can move this data a lot more efficiently. Your IT team will need to carefully map out which data sets to sync across the on-premises and cloud environments, and decide how often this process needs to take place.


One of the perennial concerns about cloud technology is security. According to Logic Monitor’s Cloud 2020: The Future of the Cloud Study, 66% of IT professionals say security is their biggest concern in adopting an enterprise cloud computing strategy. From an uninitiated organisation’s point of view, they’re moving their much-valued data from a safe place under a nearby rug to an intangible location in the ether, where any savvy cyber criminal might care to get at it.

The report also claims that 83% of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud by 2020, 41% running on public cloud platforms and another 22% on hybrid cloud platforms. That’s an awful lot of potential for security breaches. It’s therefore even more important that you put basic governance in place, keeping track of who has access to what, ensuring all users have the right permissions and preventing unauthorised access to sensitive data. In particular, make sure you check a user’s permissions when they change roles, or shut them off when someone leaves the company.


In 2019, companies will have to ensure that their data practices fully comply with the requirements of GDPR. With more and more organisations likely to move to the cloud this year, cyber threats are also likely to increase. Cloud compliance under GDPR won’t be easy, so make sure you understand how the legislation will affect your cloud services and give yourself the best possible chance of riding the storm.

With GDPR, the answer may well lie in the challenge: the law requires many organisations to appoint a data protection officer to oversee data privacy and security. Rather than looking at this as another cost or an enforced hiring burden, view it as an opportunity to place this considerable challenge into the hands of an expert. Hiring the right person can ensure you meet any legal or statutory obligations – and besides, the cost of a breach may well dwarf the cost of the hire.

Cost management

Moving workloads from on-premises to the cloud is often much more expensive than organisations expect, usually because they didn’t consider things like data transfer, networking and storage costs. Then there’s the possibility of application overruns in the case of those using serverless platforms. It can also be harder for organisations to keep track of costs when they use a mix of public cloud platforms.

Cloud management tools such as Apptio, OneOps, CloudController, Cloud Cruiser or VMware's CloudHealth can help you monitor your usage and track your spending. Provider discounts like AWS Reserved Instances and Google Committed Use Discounts are particularly useful in keeping your costs down. AWS, Azure and Google also offer their own cost management tools and pricing calculators.


When organisations use a combination of on-premises and multiple cloud platforms, or adopt hybrid and multi-cloud models, managing IT processes can get seriously complicated. Errors can lead to service outages, security breaches and seriously disgruntled users. Imagine cooking a complex meal: the more elements you have on the go at once, the harder it is to keep track of them all and integrate them at the right times.

Sometimes, you can’t stop the chaos – but you can control it. By developing effective processes and investing in the right tools and technology – such as cloud management platforms and cloud service brokers – you can place that complexity into a configurable domain.

If you’d like to talk to us about finding the right people to overcome cloud computing challenges in the coming year, or you’re a professional looking for cloud computing jobs, please contact us.

Author: Ellie O’Shea.



Essential cyber crime movies for cyber security professionals

February 04, 2019

With the nights long and dark, what better way to spend an evening than huddled up in the warm with a good cyber crime movie, maybe wondering what the world would be like if it were real? Thriller, sci-fi, action, horror, espionage: the cyber threat has touched seemingly every cinematic genre, just as it’s become an increasingly big fact of life. Here’s our selection of cyber crime movies to get you through the next week.


While searching for video games, an adolescent Matthew Broderick inadvertently hacks into a military supercomputer, activating the US’s nuclear arsenal…and bringing the world to within a whisker of World War 3. Over three decades on, the message remains just as relevant: watch out what the kids are doing online.

Year: 1983

Quote: David Lightman: Is it a game...or is it real?

             Joshua: What's the difference?

Likelihood rating: You never know (remember Stuxnet, anyone?)

Die Hard 4.0

When high-tech terrorists take control of America’s technological infrastructure and hold the country to ransom, it’s up to everyone’s favourite rogue cop, John McClane, to team up with an ace hacker to save the day. Cue the barrage of one-liners and increasingly insane set-pieces (a juggernaut racing a Harrier Jump Jet on a collapsing flyover) and you’ve got yourself an old-fashioned action flick with a contemporary flavour.

Year: 2007

Quote: Matt Farrell: You just killed a helicopter with a car!

             John McClane: I was out of bullets.

Likelihood rating: More than you think.


When a group of chatroom buddies start receiving mysterious messages from a dead friend’s account, they write it off first as a simple glitch, then as a hacker. But when they start being gruesomely murdered, the group are forced to confront the part they each played in her untimely demise.

Year: 2014

Quote: Blaire Lily: Please, Laura we are not bad people...we are good people.

             Laura Barns: Really? Are you sure about that?

Likelihood rating: While cyber bullying is very much an unwelcome reality, you don’t often encounter the vengeful supernatural manifestations of former victims online.

The Matrix

Cyber criminal Keanu Reeves discovers that the reality we know is actually a computer simulation used by a race of super-advanced robots to enslave mankind. With a handful of other escapees, a load of guns and an unnecessary amount of leather, he sets about releasing humanity from its sleepy shackles.

Year: 1999

Quote: Morpheus: What is real? How do you define ‘real?’ If you’re talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by the brain.

Likelihood rating: Low (not that you’d be able to tell the difference.)


After a hard drive containing the details of undercover agents is stolen, MI6 comes under full-blown cyber attack – shortly before its headquarters are blown up. Bearing the weight of an alarmingly brooding backstory, James Bond duly sets out to track down the perpetrator, facing off against a creepy former MI6 agent-turned-cyber terrorist with a personal agenda.

Year: 2012

Quote: Raoul Silva: Destabilise a multinational by manipulating stocks. Easy. Interrupt transmissions from a spy satellite over Kabul. Done. Rig an election in Uganda. All to the highest bidder.

             James Bond: Or a gas explosion in London.

Likelihood rating: It’s hard to imagine a betrayed former employee putting so much effort into their revenge when they can just post a negative comment on Glassdoor.

Enemy of the State

Mild-mannered father Will Smith stumbles across video footage of a congressman being assassinated, at the order of a corrupt National Security Agency official who wants to pass controversial surveillance legislation. Subsequently framed for murder, Will forms his most crucial collaboration since Jazzy Jeff – in the form of an ex-intelligence agent – and sets about proving his innocence.

Year: 1998

Quote: Edward Lyle: The government's been in bed with the entire telecommunications industry since the forties. They've infected everything. They get into your bank statements, computer files, email, listen to your phone calls... Every wire, every airwave. The more technology used, the easier it is for them to keep tabs on you. It's a brave new world out there. At least it'd better be.

Likelihood rating: Pretty high (News of the World, WikiLeaks.)


A sadistic cyber serial killer posts live feeds of his murders online – and the more hits he gets, the faster they die. It’s up to an elite cybercrime division of the FBI to track him down before the entire country starts watching, sending his site stats – and victim count – through the roof.

Year: 2008

Quote: Owen Reilly: [Watching his victim in a tub filling up with acid] You know if no one was watching right now, you'd just be sitting in water. But the whole world wants to watch you die, and they don't even know you.

Likelihood rating: Very

If you’re looking to hire the right cyber security professionals to avoid these scenarios or you’re looking for a cyber security job where you can save the day on a regular basis, contact us now.


Author: Josh Keeley