Merry Christmas from eSpida

Our support times over the Christmas period are:

24th December: 08:00 – 14:00

25th – 28th December: Closed

29th – 30th December: 09:00 – 16:30

31st December: 09:00 – 15:00

1st – 3rd January: Closed

4th January Onward: 08:00 – 18:00 (Normal hours resume)

Many thanks for your business during 2021. We look forward to working with you in 2022 and beyond.

We all here at eSpida wish you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.


Due to the rapidly developing national and international situation around COVID-19, Waterdale, including CPiO Limited and eSpida Limited, has been updating its business continuity policy in line with the changing advice coming from the UK Government and Public Health England.

Waterdale is committed to the service of our customers whilst balancing the safety of ALL stakeholders. As a business we have invested heavily in business technologies allowing all of our employees to work remotely should there ever be such a need. In these unprecedented times, we are prepared for our entire workforce to work from home with minimal disruption to business.

Your contact via the Support Team will remain unchanged. You can continue to contact them via normal channels.

Prepare. Manage. Respond

Waterdale has a duty of care towards all of its employees. We are carefully monitoring the situation with regard to customer sites and are asking all customers to divulge any confirmed or potential COVID-19 cases. We reserve the right to ask further screening questions or refuse to attend site should we have any concerns over the safety of our staff. We have already restricted the gathering of large meetings, choosing to meet via our online conferencing facilities. Where possible, customer meetings have been scheduled using these same facilities.

As you would expect, we have taken what precautions we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19 amongst our workforce including the undertaking of additional cleaning, hand sanitisation and requesting that any member of staff with any form of respiratory-tract illness to remain at home and self- isolate for a period of 14 days. We are also monitoring all staff movement such as travel during working hours or personal leave.

Waterdale would like to assure you that we are monitoring the situation closely and will respond to any changes appropriately.

Smart city concept

A smart city is essentially the term given to a metropolis that gathers data via electronic data collection sensors with the aim of managing assets and resources efficiently.

The benefits to residents that smart applications can provide are widespread, from transportation to health and public safety.

The key smart city applications that will benefit citizens are listed by smart city application provider, Telensa as:

  • Traffic management
  • Smart streetlights
  • Smart water
  • Smart energy
  • Waste management
  • Safer buildings
  • Supply chain control
  • Health management
  • Smart education

The IESE Business School in Barcelona has released the data for the world’s smartest cities for 2018. It might surprise you to know London holds second place only to New York and actually took the top spot in 2015.

The capital has been at the forefront of technological innovation for some time. Recent innovations include:

  • mobile apps which make payments easier and provide information on real-time travel information, events, roadworks and disruptions
  • body-worn video cameras, which enable the Metropolitan Police Service to gather evidence in real time and reassure the public about police accountability
  • air quality sensors, which are being rolled out across the capital to provide a more accurate picture of atmospheric pollution
  • London’s innovative Oyster and contactless card ticketing system which has revolutionised how Londoners and visitors get around the city since it was introduced in 2003.

How do smart cities work?

By integrating information and communication technology (ICT) with physical devices which are connected to the network (the Internet of things or IoT), the city can be monitored and the efficiency of operations and services optimised.

Emerging trends such as the Internet of Things, blockchain, artificial intelligence and digital twins are driving smart city adoption.

Internet of Things

The internet of things, or IoT, is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction[i]


In simple terms, a blockchain can be described as an append-only transaction ledger. What that means is that the ledger can be written onto with new information, but the previous information, stored in blocks, cannot be edited, adjusted or changed. This is accomplished by using cryptography to link the contents of the newly added block with each block before it, such that any change to the contents of a previous block in the chain would invalidate the data in all blocks after it.[ii]

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems. These processes include learning (the acquisition of information and rules for using the information), reasoning (using rules to reach approximate or definite conclusions) and self-correction.[iii]

Digital Twins

Digital twins are software representations of assets and processes that are used to understand, predict, and optimize performance in order to achieve improved business outcomes.  Digital twins consist of three components: a data model, a set of analytics or algorithms, and knowledge.[iv]

These trends are just an example of how big data coupled with information technology can generate streams of valuable data.

The need for smart cities

The primary objective of a smart city is to boost the quality and performance of services and improve business and resident’s quality of life via smart technology.

According to Visual Capitalist ( ) globally, there are 1.3 million people moving to cities each week – and by 2040, a staggering 65% of the world’s population will live in cities.

At the same time, the 600 biggest urban areas already account for 60% of global GDP, and this will only rise higher as cities become larger and more prosperous. In fact, experts estimate that up to 80% of future economic growth in developing regions will occur in cities alone.

With this in mind it is essential that cities become “smart” to preserve sustainability and efficiency.





A Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) boot storm is the loss of service that ensues a simultaneous start-up and shutdown of a large number of virtual desktops, which overwhelms the network with data requests and typically creates a “storm” that cripples legacy system storage.

A typical office working day sees employees logging on to the system at around 8:30am and off at roughly 5:30pm. A typical server can handle usage throughout the duration of the day. However, the issue occurs when too many virtual desktops are booted up within a short period of time, for example between 8:30am and 9am. This commonly unavoidable synchronised start up overpowers the systems resources and storage, leaving users unable to fully access the system until there are enough resources made available.

Whilst a boot storm can be highly damaging to a VDI environment; draining performance and hindering productivity, it can be prevented with the correct solutions within the appropriate architecture, especially if storage requirements are measured and allocated to both average and peak requirements. This ensures your “sums” are correct during the design stages.

How to Prevent Boot Storms

Don’t be fooled with the illusion that increasing your volume of storage will resolve boot storm problems. Typically, this is just one of several elements of VDI delivery that is given inadequate consideration and adds little value; not only to the user experience, manageability and flexibility, but also ultimately to any ROI & TCO attributes. Widely it is ineffective and can be a costly mistake.

The most basic way to prevent a boot storm is to stagger the start-up times of virtual machines or set timed start-ups for before employees arrive to work. This can be set up from several user templates and can be broken down into various user types, for example, power users, standard users and basic users. Depending upon your business needs, the appropriate users’ templates could be ready and waiting to be accessed. However, controlling when users can bootup a desktop VM can be difficult.

As today’s technology reflects end-user expectations of a near instant response time from desktop and application availability, affordable options exist to relieve the performance issues that previously affected VDI implementations.

Desktop Images

When deploying VDI technology, it is critically important to qualify end user computing resource requirements to support and ensure optimal end user experience. Miscalculations at this early stage can denote the difference between a successful and optimised desktop implementation and a failed project.

A common solution to the boot storm is to issue persistent desktop images, also referred to as a one-to-one desktop deployment. A persistent desktop image gives each user a consistent, single desktop image with a desktop profile, together with the company’s common applications and user-specific applications.

When persistent desktops are set up for timed “wave” boot up, the boot storms that occur when the majority of users show up for work and initiate their VMs can be avoided. However, the administrative overhead of persistent desktops is almost as painful as managing each individual user’s laptop and desktop.

Thankfully, advances in technology make non-persistent desktop images, which are refreshed and ‘wiped-clean’ daily once restarted, a more practical and preferable option.

A non-persistent desktop image is a clone of a master image called a template. Upon desktop initiation each user receives their dedicated template of the master image which is paired with the user’s individual profile, presenting them with their applicable services and applications.

Caching Technologies

Software providers can provide caching technologies such as image “warm-up” and boot waves to prevent non-persistent desktop boot and logon storms.

Shared image bits can be cached for quick access leaving only the user’s unique profile requiring minimal movement from the storage disk area, whilst correspondingly reducing the CPU cycles spent waiting for disk I/O. Common applications are kept in memory along with the standard desktop image which boosts initial start-up performance even further.

Possibly the most preferable solution to IT professionals though is flash (SSD) arrays for image booting. Solid-state drives (SSD’s) have received considerable attention due to their high performance in delivering notable increases in IOPs and resilience. As the price of enterprise-level flash drives continue to fall, an ever-increasing number of organisations are considering it as a viable VDI boot storm solution. Significant improvements in performance can be achieved with storage tiering and the ability to allow faster access to popular applications via the increase in IOPs when implementing a rise in the number of ‘spindles’ via SSD’s,

Hardware refreshes

Even with a number of fixes available, at times the only way of resolving a boot storm issue is via a hardware upgrade, particularly if the current equipment is very old or if the business has experienced growth and it can no longer cope with the demands of the organisation.

If a hardware refresh is a concern to the business, for example due to cost considerations or a lack of understanding, then Cloud computing could be an alternative option.

You can read more on cloud computing in our forthcoming cloud blog, coming soon.

If you are experiencing boot and/or logon storm issues or problems with system speed in general, eSpida can assess your IT architecture and help you to improve performance, achieve a fit-for-purpose IT environment that sits in line with your business strategy and truly future-proof your investment.

Laptop security

With GDPR now in place, what should businesses consider in order to set good policies around data at the different stages in the data journey, such as when it is at rest, in transit, in the cloud? And what will GDPR mean for this?

This blog, from Nigel Crockford, Business Development Manager at IT consultancy and data security specialist eSpida discusses data policies.

Data policies

A good data policy must clearly outline how data will be managed from collection through to storage, with an unambiguous set of procedures detailing how, why and by who. This is necessary for businesses to protect themselves under the new GDPR law. This includes a clear policy on the use of email as a method of storing and moving data.

The proliferation of email has meant that it is far too easy to embed malware into an email that will then sit in an inbox for weeks or even months. Organisations should start to adopt policies that take advantage of instant messaging for general peer to peer communications, to minimise the risk associated with over-reliance on email and email security.

The cloud

When multiple people have access to data, which is often the case with information stored in the cloud, there is a greater concern of loss, amendment or handling without necessary permissions. Businesses must have a procedure in place that not only ensures only authorised people directly handle data, but that every person who may process data in some way does so safely.

Data loss prevention (DLP) solutions help to form good policy to help identify, report and stop the movement of data in and out of your network.

IT security best practice

If a person’s device or computer has access to a system that holds data, any viruses that affect it or hackers that attack it can pose a potential risk to data security. It’s crucial that good IT security practice forms an integral part of business culture.

IT security best practice includes:

  • updating systems
  • upholding policies around patch management to ensure systems are kept up to date and protected against hacking
  • installing antivirus software
  • setting secure passwords
  • using more advanced security solutions such as two factor authentication

The introduction of GDPR has made such policies and best practice even more important.  If you feel your business is vulnerable, an IT consultancy offering IT security solutions and services such as eSpida can help.

Using SMS to prevent Cybercrime

2017 was the year ransomware hit the headlines hard and it seems the threat is also prevalent in 2018.

Security chiefs and CIOs need to be mindful of the risk surrounding their IT systems and data and take a proactive approach to IT security. While we consider today’s attacks, the cyber criminals are 10 steps ahead planning the attacks of the future.

So what are the security threats of 2019 that IT professionals should be paying particular attention to?

We’re only human

Ransomware exploits vulnerabilities and in today’s business environments, these vulnerabilities often occur as a result of human error. For many organisations, the risk of attack lies with a lack of education among employees about how to manage any information they receive and how this information is collected.

The widespread practice of using e-mail in our personal and work lives has made it the instrument of choice for malware attackers. This is because there is an attitude of complacency with regards to receiving e-mails; the sheer volume we receive and send can blind us to the threat of malicious embedded links or attachments that may come from a seemingly innocuous or familiar source.  The same is also true of malicious web pages in browsers, as we saw with the recent Coinhive attack.

Safer business communications

If businesses continue to use mature applications like e-mail to share information and data, then we can expect more businesses to be exploited by Ransomware in the future.

Since e-mails are a top target for malware attacks, we recommend that businesses employ instant messaging tools for business communication. SMS technologies like this are particularly effective against ransomware as they limit what your systems can be exposed to, reducing the risk of attack.

Rectifying a problem after it has struck in not an effective solution.  We must remain proactive and keep cyber crime at bay.

eSpida Limited partners with world leading technical brands such as ForcepointHuawei Enterprise and WatchGuard to provide best in class IT consultancy and IT security solutions.

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 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, 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 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 “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 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, 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, which can be viewed at 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 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.

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

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