Do you remember the WannaCry attack from May 2017?  How about the NotPetya attack in June 2017? While the WannaCry attack made national headlines, other attacks may have slipped your mind. But the $300 million lost by pharmaceutical giant Merck to NotPetya won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

It goes without saying that businesses of all sizes need to be cautious of ransomware, but what should they do when faced with an attack?

Featured on Digitalisation World, Nigel Crockford, Business Development Manager of Birmingham based IT consultancy eSpida, explains the steps to take.

The article is available in full here.

Retail outlet

TheWorks.co.uk is set to continue growth in its ecommerce business as well as the number of physical stores it operates. Following a successful transition to a new IT infrastructure with the help of IT consultancy eSpida, TheWorks.co.uk was able to move to a new head office in Warwickshire at the start of 2017. The success of the project can be viewed in a short film on the case studies page.

As part of the milestone move in 2017, eSpida helped TheWorks.co.uk automate its warehouse operations to improve distribution to its network of over 400 physical stores and ecommerce business. The move was managed using a phased transition, which involved all-round upgrades to virtual servers, storage and security, which has subsequently resulted in a 60 per cent improvement in productivity.

“Since the project was delivered by eSpida at the start of 2017, we’ve seen some drastic improvements to our business,” explains Tom Scott, IT Director at TheWorks.co.uk. “We’ve been opening one new store per week for the last three years and we needed a new platform to help us do this.

“Our ecommerce business is now handling 30 per cent more transactions like-for-like compared to the previous year. eSpida helped us to make crucial upgrades to our IT infrastructure to improve our capacity and our ability to deliver fast, accurate distribution and stock management to our network of 440 physical stores, up from 280 stores three years ago.

“We are now 60 per cent more productive with the same size of team. Where our IT infrastructure team was previously spending 80 per cent of its time on support activities and only 20 per cent on new business development, we’ve been able to flip this so that 80 per cent is now spent on new development projects.

“The increase in capacity means we can spend more time as a business thinking more strategically. It has given us better use of a new development environment for testing new software; we’ve been able to upgrade our email system and roll out better encryption in preparation for new general data protection regulations (GDPR).”

Better automation helped to free up much of this capacity. The warehouse, for example, uses an improved order-picking system where the WiFi controlled picking is better managed through handheld terminals.

“It’s not always easy for companies to instigate change in their organisation,” explains Nigel Crockford, Business Development Manager at eSpida. “Many companies find it difficult to go from their ‘as-is’ status-quo to their desired ‘to be’ status where they can offer valuable growth and improved efficiency to their bottom line.

“Peak seasonal events such as Black Friday can put any business under strain. However, we helped TheWorks.co.uk manage this easily by making key improvements to their communication network across their shops and back to the centralised data centre, as well as better disaster recovery and improved bandwidth.”

With the help of eSpida, TheWorks.co.uk has also been able to increase the amount of time available to the IT staff after the day to day running of IT is dealt with, giving them greater proactive management capacity.

“We can now log on in the morning and access up-to-date sales data that helps us to quickly and easily analyse the previous day’s performance,” explains Scott. “This not only improves stock management, it allows us to deliver customer orders faster and puts us in good stead for our growth plans for the next three to five years.”

eSpida has produced a short film about its project with TheWorks.co.uk, which can be viewed at https://www.espida.co.uk/2017/08/14/working-with-infrastructure-specialist/. This video will help anyone considering upgrading their ageing infrastructure and explain how a specialist such as eSpida can help to safely and securely manage this change.

Cybercrime prevention with Forcepoint

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is being dubbed as “the greatest change in data privacy regulation in over 20 years”. It will replace the Data Protection Act 1998 and comes into play on May 25th 2018.

With only a third of businesses said to be currently prepared for GDPR, many organisations are reportedly rushing to hire data protection officers. Whilst companies with more than 250 employees or public authorities are required to appoint a Data Protection Officer; those below the threshold are not obliged to do so.

However, all businesses are required by law to comply.

When the new regulations are enforced, businesses must have recorded consent before they can use personal data or risk severe penalties. A data breach can result in administrative fines of up to 4% of annual global turnover or €20 million – whichever is greater.

So how can technology be used in the quest to become GDPR compliant?

Data policies
Look at the way data flows through your business, review your data model and implement an end-to-end data protection strategy to meet GDPR regulations.

Data Classification
Consider the types of data flowing through your business:

• Is it freely available?
• Does it contain personal information?

Data should be protected by the authority in a data classification system.

Encryption
Encryption translates data into code, so that only people with access to a key or password can read it. At present it is one of the most widely used data security methods in the protection of data and its confidentiality across all devices.
By encrypting information, businesses can take control over their data by validating users and ensuring data authenticity when data is used and transferred.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
Data loss prevention software uses detection techniques to recognise sensitive data. It enables businesses to determine why and how information is being used and therefore identify any data breaches or misuse. It is highly recommended to protect businesses from insider threats.

Two-factor authentication (2FA)
Most standard online security procedures involve a username and password. With the ever increasing level of cybercrime, an extra layer of security is recommended to ensure data is adequately protected.

Two-factor authentication, also known as 2FA involves the use of a traditional username and password as well as a piece of information that only the user knows, such as a PIN or fingerprint.

Anti-virus/Anti-ransomware
With more than half of UK businesses already being affected by Ransomware, it is said to be a case of not IF, but WHEN an attack occurs. This is a scary prospect for any businesses, regardless of size which is why antivirus & anti-ransomware software are so important. By scanning systems, the software wipes out any identified ransomware attempts.

Device management
Device Management enables IT teams to control the security, monitoring, integration and management of devices such as laptops, mobile phones and tablets in the workplace to ensure the network and its data is fully secure and GPDR compliant on all devices throughout the business.

Access/identity management
Many businesses do not validate employees’ access rights and permissions to use data. To achieve GDPR compliance, businesses will need to take a much more controlled approach to minimise unauthorised access to critical information using stronger and more centralised access and identity management

Backup
With the increase in cybercrime coupled with the new laws, data backup has never been more important than it is now. Backups are vital in the event of information being destroyed, be it accidentally or maliciously.

Exploit prevention
An exploit attack is designed to slow down your computer, cause sudden application failure and/or expose your personal data to hackers.
Exploit prevention protects the applications and files that are prone to these attacks and cleverly mitigates the methods attackers use to exploit software vulnerabilities.

Patch Management
Patch management involves keeping software on computers and network devices up to date and capable of resisting low-level cyber-attacks. With older software versions, companies are far more vulnerable to cybercrime and leave obvious gaps for hackers to intercept.
It sounds basic, but the simplest technological solution in the fight against cybercrime is good patch management. By keeping software up to date and capable of resisting low-level threats, businesses are far less vulnerable to cybercrime.

For further details on GDPR I recommend visiting eSpida’s dedicated GDPR page where you can find information on preparing your business for GDPR, useful links as well as our ‘Preparing for GDPR’ whitepaper.

Our webinar brings you an update on IT security.

With cybercrime on the rise, keeping your security strategy up to date is imperative to the protection of your organisation. And with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) May 2018 deadline looming, data security is now critical to legal compliance.

Watch our webinar with our resident IT security expert, Nigel Crockford to learn:

  • The changing landscape of IT security
  • The security challenges facing your organisation and its leadership team
  • GDPR and the practical implications for business
  • How to build robust security strategy to meet tomorrow’s threat

For more information about data security and how we can help you to protect your business, please get in touch on 0344 880 6145 or email [email protected]