Rising cyber security threats in manufacturing

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Cyber professionals say that companies involved in the manufacturing industry are more exposed to cyber-attacks. This was revealed by a number of studies produced by the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI). According to MAPI; 40% of manufacturing firms experienced a cyber-attack within the last year. Of those attacked, 38% of them suffered over $1 million in damages.

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Helping our frontline in 48 hours: 5,000 NHS GPs, clinicians and key staff connected to work from home through Exponential-e's Remote Access Service solution

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The UK has found itself in an unprecedented situation over the last few weeks with COVID-19 forcing people and businesses into near enough lockdown, and the number of employees needing to work from home is continuing to skyrocket.

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Customer communication: Exponential-e’s latest update for the Coronavirus (CovID:19) situation: 24/03/2020

Customer communication: Exponential-e’s latest update for the Coronavirus (CovID:19) situation: 24/03/2020

​ As the situation across the UK continues to develop following the additional "stay at home" measures announced yesterday, we would like to share with you the latest updates and how these may impact you.

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How the landscape for remote working will never be the same again

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The current challenges being faced by all businesses regarding the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) are unprecedented in our history.
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10 top tips for working from home

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Working from home can at times be compared to Marmite - you either love it or hate it. You have people that regularly work from home and find themselves far more efficient and productive doing so, and then you have people that are generally office-based and fear the loss of the structure of the day and the social interaction. 

With the majority of office workers now being asked to work from home, we've spoken to some of our regular home workers to get their 10 top tips for working from home, and how to get the most out of it and still feel connected to the wider team.

1. Do have a good working environment

Sitting up in bed or on the sofa sounds nice, but your back won't thank you as the day goes on. You should try to create a suitable working environment where you can sit up properly and have your laptop at the correct working height. Whether it's sat at the kitchen table or in your study, try and create an area clear of clutter. Why not try re-arranging some of your house plants to make your 'office' more inviting?

2. Do make healthy choices  

Stay hydrated - drink water and don't overdo it on the caffeine! Why not keep some fruit or healthy snacks nearby to reduce the temptation of biscuits, chocolates and crisps?  You'll thank yourself for it at the end of the day!

3. Do use video, it's good for all parties

Much of communication is non-verbal. Seeing your colleagues, clients or suppliers on video encourages interaction and engagement. But don't forget, everybody else can see you – make sure you're dressed appropriately and you've not just got out of the shower!

4. Do remember you can blur your background when on video calls

Using Microsoft Teams? You can blur your background on video calls, meaning that the pile of your kids' toys in the corner won't be visible. Handy right!? If you're using Zoom, there is a great feature that allows you to create a 'virtual background' – video call while on the moon, anyone?

5. Do remain focused and productive

Don't be tempted to start that new season on Netflix; plan your activities for the day in small sprints with what you want to achieve and deliver on it. This will help get you into a working rhythm and give you a sense of achievement.

6. Do schedule in 'virtual coffee breaks'

Why not schedule 20 minutes in the morning and afternoon to have a short social period with your team? You can all jump on a video call while you recharge your batteries with caffeine and talk about anything but work. Being able to keep some of the social side has a lot of benefits for all involved.

7. Do stay active and get away from your laptop

It's important that you look after your physical and mental health while working from home. Take the dog for a walk, or go for a run, at lunch. Take some scheduled breaks to do something different to help stay active and let your mind reset.

8. Do have some background noise if it helps you focus

If you're the sort of person that finds sitting in silence mind-numbingly boring, why not turn on the radio? Keep the volume low so you can still focus on your tasks and not get distracted. Just like in the office, if you find yourself drifting away from work due to the noise, make sure you refocus yourself.

9. Do have a routine

It's easy to slip into a 'lazy' way of working, potentially even be tempted to stay in your dressing gown all day, but it's important to still have a routine and set your mind up for the day. Try to keep the routine you had when going into the office - wake up, shower, have breakfast - you'll feel far more ready to tackle the day ahead.

And finally, the one that many people dread…

10. Don't worry about the kids/pets coming into the room

Cat jumped up on your keyboard? Your kid asking if they can have some crisps? We're all human and these things happen. Embrace them if they happen to you, and help others feel comfortable when it happens to them - everybody understands the situation that we find ourselves in. We'll all have stories to tell about 'those' moments in the coming weeks!

Now, most of these points will be stating the obvious for those of us that work from home on a regular basis. The challenges that we will all face in the coming weeks are some of the common challenges faced by regular home workers. Once this all dies down, and we are all able to return to the office environment, why not reach out to your colleagues that work from home to make sure they feel part of the team?

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How resiliency is key in the current climate, including our Education system.

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Over the last week, school leaders have risen to the challenges of the current crisis.It is a reminder of the responsiveness and resilience of our education system, and for those that are living on another planet (or wish they were at the moment!), the government is closing schools as of today to the vast majority of students. Children of key (critical) workers are still able to attend to ensure medical and transport staff can remain at work, but what does this mean for the other students?
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Customer communication: Exponential-e’s latest update for the Coronavirus (CovID:19) situation: 20/03/2020

Customer communication: Exponential-e’s latest update for the Coronavirus (CovID:19) situation: 20/03/2020

Following on from our update on Tuesday, we wanted to share with you the latest updates and how these may impact you.

We can confirm that Exponential-e's main support functions continue to operate business as usual; our teams are ready to support you with any advice, guidance, support or changes you may require in this current situation.

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Exponential‐e joins forces with at‐visions to become hospitality’s one‐stop digital shop

Exponential‐e joins forces with at‐visions to become hospitality’s one‐stop digital shop

Organisations partner to deliver enhanced connectivity and seamless services for Europe's leading hospitality venues.

Exponential-e has partnered with at‐visions, the specialist global provider of Guest‐Facing Technology for the hospitality and leisure industry, to form the one‐stop shop for all hospitality technology requirements under a single, fully managed, service umbrella.

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Exponential-e acquires specialist critical infrastructure and IT solutions supplier Vysiion

Exponential-e acquires specialist critical infrastructure and IT solutions supplier Vysiion

​ The acquisition will combine Exponential-e's innovative connectivity, cloud and security portfolio with Vysiion's significant sector expertise and relationships

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Customer communication: Exponential-e’s planning for the Coronavirus (CovID:19) situation

Customer communication: Exponential-e’s planning for the Coronavirus (CovID:19) situation

In light of the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in, we wanted to provide our customers with an update on Exponential-e's current position and how we are using our well-established business continuity management systems to protect our staff whilst continuing to run our operations. Our ongoing priority is to minimise any risk to our customer's services whilst we all navigate these challenging times together.

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Coronavirus Lockdown: The Digital Workspace in action

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With the current global situation, the past week has shown the importance of being able to create the Digital Workspace to provide flexible working solutions for your workforce. 

I decided to write a blog around how Microsoft's Teams, a Unified Communication as a Service (UCaaS) solution, has enabled my productivity to not slip despite the whole of my team now having to work from home thanks to Coronavirus.

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Why successful Unified Communications must be addressed from both a technological and cultural perspective

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Twitter, WhatsApp and other means of consumer service technology are becoming part and parcel of communicating at work alongside Unified Communications (UC) technologies. As a result, the boundaries between our work and personal lives are becoming increasingly blurred.

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Natilik moves Barratt Developments plc to the Cloud with SD-WAN technology

Natilik moves Barratt Developments plc to the Cloud with SD-WAN technology

Natilik is delighted to announce it is extending its relationship with Barratt Developments with a five-year Wide Area Network contract, built on Cisco's industry leading Software Defined Wide Area Network technology.

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Cyber crime: ransomware attacks

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 Ransomware is malware that encrypts an individual's files so that they no longer have access to them, and subsequently demand payment for the files to be released. Usually the payment is asked to be made in an untraceable cryptocurrency form, such as Bitcoin. The most common way ransomware ends up on an individual's computers is through email spam, which individuals will click on and open.

Unfortunately, the files cannot be decrypted without a mathematical key which is only known by the cyber attacker, and the reason why many individuals tend to pay up. However, many find that despite paying the ransom, their files remain encrypted.

When looking at which countries were affected by ransomware attacks the most, the UK was found to have the highest percentage out of Europe:

  Figure 1: Cybercrime Tactics and Techniques: Ransomware Retrospective Report, Malwarebytes

Despite the NHS facing one of the worst ransomware attacks in May 2017 - the WannaCry ransomware attack - which cost the NHS £92m and caused more than 19,000 appointments to be cancelled (The Department of Health), this chart clearly highlights how organisations in the UK still need to invest more into their Cyber Security solutions to stay protected from ransomware attacks.

At Exponential-e, we help organisations that have been affected by ransomware attacks. Our Head of Cyber Consultancy, Mark Belgrove, discusses a real-life cyber attack in the video below, and shares how Exponential-ehelped mediate the situation. 

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Phishing: attacks and prevention

Phishing-attacks

Phishing is the fraudulent use of electronic communications to try and obtain sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by posing as a legitimate institution. Phishing attacks attempt to get individuals to click on a malicious link and enter confidential information to steal their identity, funds or to be the first step in a serious cyberattack against an organisation.

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The importance of securing your data - Part 2: Data Loss Prevention tools

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All organisations store data, and regardless of whether it's a recipe or an algorithm, this data is an organisation's most prized asset, which is why hackers make it their target. The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2019 from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) found that 32% of businesses identified cyber security breaches or attacks in the last 12 months, which have cost an average of £4,180 in lost data and assets

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The importance of securing your data - Part 1: Privacy and compliance

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Cybercriminals are only getting more cunning and skilful with their cyber attacks, which is bad news for organisations when it comes to meeting privacy and compliance regulations. There can be significant legal implications for organisations if their data is not secure and regulations are not met. For instance, since the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) came into effect in May 2018, data protection regulators have imposed 114 million euros (approximately 97 million pound) worth of fines under the GDPR regime (GDPR Data Breach Survey 2020 by DLA Piper).

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AI and Big Data

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In 2019, we worked with a customer who owns and operates a mine in Mozambique to help them identify their key business objectives and advise them on how to succeed on these. Throughout our discussions with them, we defined the below key objectives:

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How your organisation can be more flexible

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In today's competitive environment, being flexible is a fundamental part of any business strategy to survive. To be flexible, organisations must make the necessary changes needed to respond effectively to the changing market. One simple way organisations can increase their flexibility is by using the innovative technology solutions and services that are available.

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How technology enables organisations to be more agile

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Although 'agile' has become a hype word, it is an important concept that organisations should strive to achieve in a world of continuous change and uncertainty. Being agile enables organisations to be more adaptive and reactive to the changing market, allowing them to respond quickly to customers' demands to keep a competitive edge.
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