Seasons Greetings from eSpida

Seasons Greetings from the team at CPiO. Our festive support hours are as follows:

23rd December: 08:00 – 14:00
26th – 27th December: Closed
28th – 29th December: 09:00 – 16:30
30th December: 09:00 – 15:00
2nd January: Closed
3rd January onward: 08:00 – 18:00 (Normal hours resume)

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year.

More and more IT leaders are switching on to the fact that traditional SD-WAN doesn’t address the complete needs of the modern organisation. If you are looking at your current SD-WAN architecture and asking ‘what’s next?’ then we invite you to join us for a 60-minute webinar exploring the key differences between SD-WAN and SASE.

Join Cato Networks and its SASE-specialist partner, eSpida to understand more about the differences between SD-WAN and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). We will talk you through everything you need to know to understand why Gartner predicts that 60% of SD-WAN users will have implemented a SASE solution by 2024.

8th December 2022, 12.30pm

Register here

As a ‘thank you’ we will send you a complimentary Christmas lunch hamper to say thank you.

The Cyber Resilience Centre logo

eSpida, a leading technical consultancy and UK Cato Network Partner has recently become a platinum member of the Cyber Resilience Centre for the West Midlands (WMCRC).

As a Cyber Essentials accredited security consultancy, eSpida was approached by the WMCRC to join its growing network of specialists in order to improve awareness and build strong cyber strategy within the Midland’s SME market.

The WMCRC provides relevant resources and protection for businesses and third sector organisations and communities in this digital era. Using a combination of police officers and cyber talent, WMCRC supports and helps to protect small businesses, SMEs and supply chain businesses in the region against cybercrime.

As a leading provider of cyber security advice and technology solutions, eSpida was well placed to join the network. Rebecca Bradley, Commercial Director of eSpida commented, “ Cybercrime is a growing threat to the average SME. Companies are not always equipped to understand the mix of technology, people and policy needed to affect a really strong cyber strategy. We are really excited to become a platinum member of the Cyber Resilience Centre for the West Midlands as we are passionate about good security practices

Also commenting on the partnership, Vanessa Eyles Detective Superintendent and Director of The Cyber Resilience Centre for the West Midlands said “It is my pleasure to welcome eSpida to the growing number of businesses who have registered to become members of the WMCRC.

“Our mission is simple, we exist to help businesses of all sizes (although we do have a focus on SMEs, micro-businesses, and sole traders) to better protect themselves in the fight against cybercrime. It is collaborations such as this one with eSpida that will provide us with a wider platform, to further raise awareness of how following basic cyber security steps can have a significant effect on an organisation’s ability to fend off cybercriminals.

“I am delighted to be working with the team at eSpida, and I look forward to exploring how we can reach businesses across the whole of the region in the coming months to tackle the threat of cybercrime.”

To find out more about the Cyber Resilience Centre for the West Midlands or how eSpida can help you to devise and implement a robust cyber security plan contact or visit

Advert for Cato Networks webinar June 29th 2022


Join Cato Networks for a session dedicated to the question so frequently asked: what’s the difference between SD-WAN and SASE?

On 29th June Eyal Webber-Zvik, Vice-President of Product Marketing at Cato Networks is in the hot seat answering all of your questions related to SASE including how you can transition from an SD-WAN based environment to SASE.

You can register your interest here.

People in an meeting on 4 components of SASE

Gartner defined the 3rd generation of network architecture: Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). Here are the 4 key components of a SASE model:

SASE Cloud: the SASE cloud is a globally distributed cloud service built for all traffic and security requirements and from all edges – physical, mobile and cloud. It’s a single entity and its internal structure entirely transparent to end-users.

Point of Presence (PoP): A specific network interface point between communicating entities. SASE PoPs are symmetrical, interchangeable, multi-tenanted and built to serve any enterprise edge connected through them.

SASE Edge: The SASE edge is designed to connect to the SASE cloud. SASE clients include SD-WAN appliances for branches, IPSEC-enabled firewalls, routers and device agents for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Linux.

SASE Management: A cloud-based console that provides a single-pane-of-glass management solution to manage, configure and analyse all policies, security and devices.

The components of SASE are not all new, but they are converged into one unified, cloud-native solution to produce a powerful network and security architecture. Understand the power of SASE

Ladies in an office - SASE Blog

“If it is not broken, don’t fix it” applies to a lot of things, but unfortunately, not to IT networks and security in the age of digital transformation.

Your network is bound to face new challenges. In today’s business climate, standing still is the kiss of death. IT departments must be prepared to change and change quickly to the demands being placed on it.

Even if an earthquake doesn’t strike, COVID-19 doesn’t resurge, or there isn’t some other major disaster driving the change, remaining competitive is keeping business leaders awake at night. The pace at which our commercial landscape is evolving is eye-watering. Driven by the proliferation of cloud-native applications, the continued hybrid workforce and the ongoing demands of BYOD, the IT team needs better control over ‘shadow IT’. With tighter budgets and skill shortages, complex network architecture, expensive connectivity and increased malware actors, the typical IT team is becoming too reactive and blind spots appear.

Today best practice calls for a unified management approach that can cater for the performance demands of cloud applications and varying access parameters such as location or device type. SASE delivers just such best practice.

By taking the very easy steps to implement a phased approach to introducing SASE to your IT department you can re-take control of your entire network of locations from your HQ to the home office. Secure, available, guaranteed performance regardless of location or device type.

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.