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April 2019
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Data governance – making sure sensitive information doesn’t end up in the wrong hands

By Jon Fielding, Managing Director, EMEA Apricorn

Jon Fielding, Managing Director, EMEA Apricorn

Deciding how an organisation’s sensitive data should be protected and who is responsible for this is an important process. A wrong decision could not only cost a company its reputation, but also result in huge financial fines.

In the third quarter of last year, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) fined the Verso Group, a lead generation and data gathering company, £80,000 due to non-compliance with data protection laws. In the same period, data security incidents rose by nearly 20 percent, with general business, education and local government reporting the most occurrences. This comes as no surprise: according to recent news, Wigan County Council had experienced more than 80 data breaches over two years. With the impending General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) promising a no-holds-barred approach to data protection negligence, and risks continuing to evolve, what can organisations do make sure they are protecting their sensitive data?

Understand your data

Companies need to carefully monitor the data that is both being created and leaving their respective organisations. For government, healthcare, finance, and education industries that generate, store and move copious amounts of sensitive information on the network, the implications are dire if the correct controls are not in place.

Is some instances, mandatory designation of a data protection officer (DPO) is required as stated in Article 37. Where this is necessary, the DPO will not only implement a security policy and strategy alongside the IT team, but will also be responsible for reporting. The DPO will need to document exactly what data is collected and how it is processed, stored, retrieved and deleted throughout its lifecycle to pinpoint where data may be unprotected and at risk. This thorough analysis will then enable them to delete all unnecessary data and to identify appropriate technologies, policies, and processes to remedy any shortcomings, allowing for a proactive rather than reactive approach. This is especially important where employees use third-party devices such as USB sticks, the Cloud, and other external devices.

Create effective policies

With the GDPR coming into effect in May 2018, it is more important than ever for businesses to ensure comprehensive security policies are in place and enforced. Data security must not only be considered internally but also when data is taken out of the office and beyond the confines of the internal corporate network.

London-based consultancy Willis Towers Watson found that 90 percent of all cyber claims stemmed from some type of human error or behaviour and a survey by Apricorn also found that 50 percent of companies did not require employees to seek permission for external USB drive usage. These two factors are risk enough for any business to fall foul of a breach, but combined, they are merely an accident waiting to happen. A case in point was when personal details of more than 130,000 current and former US Navy personnel were exposed in a breach linked to the compromise of a third-party supplier’s laptop in November 2016. This is a prime example of lax security policy, and how it can leave organisations vulnerable to data compromise and attack.

With all this in mind, companies need to start taking control of their data by implementing foolproof security policies. These should include whitelisting of allowable removable devices and blocking of all non-approved devices.

Encryption safeguards the sensitive data of organisations and their employees both at rest and in transit, protecting from human error and aiding GDPR compliance. In fact, encryption is one of the very few technical mandates in the GDPR articles; specifically Article 32. The cost of standardising on encrypted USB drives to protect data is nominal in comparison to the financial consequences of a data leak – which under the GDPR could be 20 million Euros or 4 percent of the company’s global annual turnover, whichever is higher – and their deployment offers a simple step towards GDPR compliance.

Layered defence

In today’s business environment, it is critical that companies supply employees with secure devices, including hardware and software that can defend against data breaches and cyber attacks. While employees are often the weak link in protecting data, organisations also need to make sure they’re taking a multi-layered approach to security tools.

With remote working becoming more popular, there is now not only emphasis on protecting workstations and internal networks, but also emails, browsers and removable devices. Working through a secure VPN and storing information on cloud platforms is also becoming popular with employees who are used to storage platforms such as Dropbox and Google Drive in their personal lives. These platforms are easy to use and easy to integrate with personal devices, compared to corporate tools that are sometimes user-unfriendly. However, many businesses do not have policies to cover these cloud services, which leaves data unencrypted and at risk.

While there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” solution, organisations do need to invest time and money to establish the right security strategy for their needs. For example, using different vendors and products can increase the risk of exposing data due to incompatible solutions. Integrated approaches might not work for other organisations as they might not want to replace existing solutions or might not have the budget. Security and IT teams need to analyse the requirements of the company and implement toolkits that will make security processes easier and more efficient to follow. For example, providing employees with devices that include on-board authentication and encryption will help with data security, efficiency and cross-platform compatibility.

What remains the most important aspect of successful governance of sensitive data is consistency. IT teams, C-Suite and employees all need to be educated on, and adhere to, the policies in place to ensure that sensitive data doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.

Pivot Power to work with National Grid to future-proof energy system and accelerate electric vehicle revolution

World first 2GW network of batteries and rapid charging stations planned

Pivot Power today unveiled plans to build a world-first 2GW network of grid-scale batteries and rapid electric vehicle (EV) charging stations across the UK.

The £1.6 billion programme will provide infrastructure to support the rapid adoption of EVs and underpin clean air policies, while introducing valuable flexibility into the energy system to accommodate the demands of mass EV charging and higher levels of intermittent renewable generation.

Pivot Power plans to develop 45 sites around the country, installing grid-scale 50MW batteries at electricity sub-stations connected directly to the extra-high-voltage transmission system. These will give the electricity system operator National Grid a huge resource in managing supply and demand.

The battery network will be the world’s biggest, storing enough electricity to supply 235,000 average homes for a day. It will have the ability to release or absorb two thirds the power of the planned Hinkley C nuclear power plant in response to grid balancing requirements.

Sites have been chosen near towns and major roads where they can also power rapid EV charging stations. These will be fed directly by the transmission system, and so will be able to offer mass charging at competitive rates, supporting up to 100 rapid 150KW chargers. They will also be able to support rapid 350KW chargers when they are available in the UK.

It will also be the world’s largest network of rapid charging stations, addressing the three biggest barriers to EV adoption identified by the Department for Transport: availability of chargers, distance travelled on a charge, and cost.[1] By offering affordable charging it will also lower the costs of car ownership for the next generation, the third biggest barrier.

Graeme Cooper, National Grid Project Director for Electric Vehicles, said: “We expect the use of electric vehicles to grow rapidly. This innovative solution will help accelerate adoption by providing a network of rapid charging stations across the country enabling cars to charge quickly, efficiently and as cost-effectively as possible.

“It will also give the system operator more choice and flexibility for managing the demands in the day to day running of the network, and also help mass EV charging”.

Pivot Power aims to have operational batteries at 10 sites within 18 months. Each will provide a hub that can support a variety of infrastructure such as public rapid charging stations, electric bus depots and bases for large transport fleets. A site on the south coast could be operational by the middle of 2019, subject to planning approval, and more details will be announced in the coming months.

CEO Matt Allen said: “We want to future-proof the UK’s energy system and accelerate the electric vehicle revolution, helping the UK to clean up its air and meet climate targets. Big problems require big solutions, and we are moving fast to put in place a unique network to support a clean, affordable, secure energy system and embrace the low-carbon economy.

“We are keen to hear from anyone who shares our vision and wants to ‘go electric’, particularly partners with large fleets such as local authorities, supermarkets and logistics companies.”

Pivot Power has financial backing from Downing LLP, a UK-based investment manager which has funded over 100 deals into renewable energy investments since 2010, totalling more than £500 million. Pivot Power is already in talks with institutional and strategic investors, and potential partners, such as car manufacturers, charging providers, and technology and energy companies.

Downing has provided financial support for the initial phase of the project and plans to provide further funding as the rollout of rapid charging stations progresses.  Members of the public including EV drivers will have the opportunity to invest alongside institutional investors through the Downing Crowd platform.

Colin Corbally, Partner at Downing LLP, said: “The prospects of a future ban on petrol and diesel vehicles, coupled with the threat of a potential energy crisis in the UK, mean Pivot Power is extremely well-positioned to help UK investors benefit from supporting the low-carbon transition. Through our partnership with the Pivot Power team, we have developed an exciting but robust business plan to seize this unique opportunity to play a pivotal role in the battery and electric car revolution.”

Michael Liebreich, founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, an advisor and investor in Pivot Power, said: “Renewables, batteries and electric vehicles are going to completely transform our power system, not just because they help clean up our horrible air quality and meet our climate targets, but because their costs are falling far faster than people realise. Pivot Power were quick to understand the scale and nature of the opportunity and have positioned themselves brilliantly.”

The core of Pivot Power’s strategy is connecting batteries and rapid charging stations directly to the extra-high-voltage transmission system. This will give it a competitive advantage over existing batteries and charging stations linked to the lower voltage regional distribution system.

  • It will be able to buy power at lower cost and it is committed to keeping prices as low as possible for drivers.
  • Its rapid charging stations will have access to abundant power – each will have a 20MW connection, enough to supply a town of 10,000 homes.
  • Combining batteries with EV charging maximises the value from each grid connection, and economies of scale should drive down building and operating costs.

Each site offers a range of revenue streams. The batteries will earn money from providing a range of services to National Grid, from sales of electricity to chargers, and from energy trading. They could also potentially provide services to energy-intensive industries. Rapid charging stations will earn income from EV drivers.

Pivot Power has assembled a high-calibre team with the specialist planning, financing, development and management skills to build this business. It was founded and is led by:

    • Matthew Allen, Chief Executive Officer. Previous experience as Global Commercial Head, Bloomberg New Energy Finance; Director at Good Energy; Chief Commercial Officer at Tempus Energy.
    • Michael Clark, Chief Technical Officer. Previous experience as Head of Network Optimisation, Tempus Energy; Low Carbon London Programme Director, UK Power Networks; Principal Electrical Engineer at Engineering Services Partnership.
    • Matthew Boulton, Chief Operating Officer. Previous experience as COO at Solarcentury and European Supply Chain Director at Sony Electronics.

[1] Public attitudes towards electric vehicles: 2016 (revised), Department for Transport.

Public sector cloud and hybrid IT adoption: research finds with great risk comes great reward

Paul Parker: SolarWinds Chief Technologist for Public Sector

Cloud and hybrid IT will be one of the top five most important technologies for U.K. public sector IT professionals in the next three to five years. This is the view held by 88% of the industry surveyed in the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2018. Further insights from the report uncover that, even with challenges implementing cloud services, the sector remains positive about the opportunities the cloud presents, both today and in the near future.

Despite cloud and hybrid IT representing one of the top challenges in rollout and performance (with 62% of respondents ranking it in the top three challenges), the public sector continues to see the benefits of the cloud, primarily for creating efficiencies (72%*), ROI (81%*) and productivity (79%*).

Barriers to success

At the same time, over half (58%) of public sector respondents say their IT systems are not performing at optimum levels, and a further quarter (23%) are not sure. Three quarters (73%) of public sector IT professionals spend more than 25% of their time reactively working to optimise performance, while just 47% spend a similar amount of time proactively optimising. When asked what was causing barriers to performance, nearly half (44%) cite inadequate infrastructure, while a staggering 56% cite a lack of organisational strategy.

“With these results, we see continued public sector commitment to the cloud and hybrid IT,” commented Paul Parker, chief technologist of federal and national government, SolarWinds. “However, what is most striking for me is the amount of time IT professionals spend retroactively fixing their systems. I would liken it to trying to fix a car as you drive it down the motorway – trying to maintain systems while they are still in use is near impossible, and ineffective in the long run. Without having the time, strategy and budget to get core systems working first, it is no surprise that public sector entities are taking longer to adopt and benefit from the Government’s Cloud First policy than perhaps was originally hoped.”

The promise of emerging technologies 

Alongside their focus on the cloud, public sector respondents also voice interest in emerging technologies. While automation and AI prove more popular among for-profit organisations than the public sector, there is still strong interest in embracing these advances. Over half (56%) rate automation as a top three technology with the greatest potential of improving productivity and efficiency, and a third (33%) see the same potential in AI.

When it comes to Software Defined Everything (SDx) and big data analytics, the public sector is more optimistic than its for-profit counterparts; over half (56%) of public sector respondents think SDx is one of the top three technologies in terms of ROI potential, while a similar percentage (51%) rank big data analytics among the top three technologies with the greatest potential to provide productivity and efficiency benefits. This is compared to equivalent responses from for-profit organisations, where just 17% rate SDx, and 34% rate big data analytics similarly.

Further findings from the research are as follows:

  • 77% of public sector respondents think the cloud is the most important technology in their IT strategy today, compared to 62% of U.K. for-profit organisations
  • 72% of public sector respondents consider the cloud to be one of the top three technologies for creating and increasing efficiencies, and 79% consider it among the top three in terms of productivity benefits
  • In the next 3-5 years, the public sector expects AI to be one of the top five most important technologies in their strategy, according to 51% of respondents
  • 81% rate cloud and hybrid IT as one of the top three technologies in terms of ROI potential, compared to just 60% of for-profit organisations

*percentage of U.K. public sector respondents who rated the cloud as one of the top three technologies with the greatest potential in these areas

The SolarWinds IT Trends Report is now live: IT Trends Index

Zonafide: Why the public sector is ready for blockchain technology

Paul Worrall, Founder, Zonafide

Blockchain. Bitcoin. Cryptocurrency. These are just some of the buzz words that have been seen widespread usage on the front pages of mainstream media in recent months. Despite the increasing noise around these terms, the practical applications and uses of them has been hotly debated.
Within this context, few are talking about how the public sector fits into this equation and how this technology can bring new opportunities to provide value and generate revenue from existing public services.

At Zonafide we see significant scope for public sector organisations to embrace blockchain technology and are excited about the future having already developed a first use case with Local Government Register Services.

Zonafide: a Digital Wallet leveraging blockchain and collaboration technology to ensure a person’s Activities are secure from fraud and cybercrime
In 2013 after we and people within our wider community experienced various forms of identity theft. I started thinking more closely about how people share their personal information and how they had to interact with organisations and companies around this sensitive data.

It was also clear that this was a growing and increasingly costly problem. According to the ONS, there were a staggering 6 million fraud and cybercrimes in England and Wales in 2015/16 with a total cost of £11 billion to the UK economy. Moreover, this trend showed no sign of abating with the cost implications for individuals, companies and organisations set to rocket further.

Looking at this growing phenomenon it was evident that the current relationship and the principle of trust between individuals and organisations needed to be readdressed.

Historically, different organisations have different ways to identify people making it harder for customers to manage their credentials. Verification processes are fractious and inefficient in and between organisations, as well as the fact people have to trust organisations to secure their information. Evidently, from the number of data breaches and cyberattacks this is proving hard for organisations to do – the case of Equifax and the breach of 143 million consumer’s data being one of the most high profile recent cases.

In short, legacy technology and centralized systems are vulnerable to attack and aren’t able to guarantee the job they set out to do.

In response to this issue and drawing upon my thirty years of experience in software development and distributed computing in investment banking, we have developed a digital wallet to help users secure Activities and take back control of their personal information – we call it being self-sovereign.

An Activity is something important people are doing, such as a house purchase payment or changing credit limits with a bank and takes the form of an Ethereum-based smart contract. By using a digital wallet, users can securely share their Activities to prove they’re legitimate.
In addition, as the blockchain network is decentralised, it avoids the inflexibility, inefficiencies, costs and weaknesses embedded in centralised systems.

The public sector and blockchain: opportunities to provide value and generate revenue. So how does Zonafide and its blockchain based technology fit with the public sector?

We have identified and developed a first use case with Local Government Registers Services for life events, such as births, deaths and marriages.
Specifically, we have developed a Newlywed Name Change Service where Registrars can help couples looking to change their name do so efficiently and securely. No longer does a recent bride or groom who needs to change their name with multiple service providers – think utility services, banks, insurers – have to go through the laborious and time intensive process of contacting them separately, sending off different paper work and having to follow their different verification process. Through the Zonafide app, this can be achieved through a few simple taps.

With over 262,000 marriages across England and Wales annually (87% of which are performed by Register Services), this is a significant market. The wider births, deaths and life events market is also worth £600m a year, so again this one application has significant market opportunity.
We currently have Letters of Intent from four London Boroughs for the Newlywed Name Change Service. As part of their onboarding, we have also been the first private sector organisation to train public officials on a specific blockchain-based product and its benefits. Through Zonafide, there’s also the potential for Local Authorities to grow new revenue streams. Within the Zonafide ecosystem one of the key roles are the Authoritative Acknowledger Oracles (‘Oracles’). Oracles are specialists in their domain, for example in the Newlywed Name Change Service, and are responsible for onboarding the necessary parties to ensure an Activity is authoritatively Acknowledged. Oracles charge for this service, thereby earning revenue from playing a role within the Zonafide ecosystem.

Our ambition is to take this initial use case to councils across England and Wales, which collectively would translate into significant new revenue for authorities throughout the country.

Beyond Register Services the opportunities for adopting blockchain in the public sector are vast. From the NHS handling sensitive patient information, submitting planning applications to preventing electoral fraud and applying for a new passport, everywhere you look there are opportunities to make processes that involve the public sector organisations and individuals more secure and frictionless.

In particular, there is also the benefit with Zonafide for supporting vulnerable people, as they often need greater protection when navigating important transactions. By including family members in the Activity verification process, it will help add an extra layer of protection to ensure vulnerable people are not the victims of fraud and that potentially life changing actions don’t happen unless they are meant to.

The public sector and blockchain: the future

A few years from now I envisage blockchain technology being integrated with processes across both the private and public sector. However, the truth is that the technology and importantly, viable applications, are here now.

As Zonafide and its Newlywed Name Change Service shows, blockchain could provide the public sector with many opportunities for value creation and increased revenue from existing services.

By Paul Worrall, Founder, Zonafide

About Zonafide

Zonafide is a Digital Wallet that leverages blockchain and collaboration technology to ensure Activities are secure and legitimate. An Activity is something important that an individual carries out, for example, a house purchase or changing credit limits with a bank. Zonafide is one of the first business uses of blockchain technology and is designed to empower people to protect themselves from cybercrime and fraud.
Zonafide’s first use case is with Local Government Register Services for life events (births, deaths and marriages) which represents a market opportunity of c.600 million. The founder, Paul Worrall, has over 30 years’ experience in distributed computing and software development in investment banking.

For more information, please visit:

Wigan County Council reinforces the importance of data security to all its staff

Reporter: Stuart Littleford

Following the news that Wigan County Council have experienced more than 80 data breaches in the past 2 years, the council has reinforced the importance of data security to all its staff.

Brendan Whitworth, assistant director for legal services at Wigan Council told GPSJ: “Information security is a high priority for Wigan Council.

“When a data loss happens, officers from internal audit work with the council’s data protection officer to ensure the breach is properly investigated, that adequate remedial action is taken (including disciplinary action if required) and lessons learned are communicated widely.

Jon Fielding, Managing Director, EMEA Apricorn

“We continue to reinforce the importance of data security to all our staff with relevant training to support this.”

Jon Fielding, Managing Director, EMEA Apricorn told GPSJ today: “80 breaches over 2 years is significant and is rightly of concern to the council. However, in their defence, they have recognised this fact and are taking action in conjunction with their Data Protection Officer.

“This also tells me that the council is aware of, and taking steps to be complaint with the upcoming GDPR regulations that will require compliance in 2 months.

“They have caught the issue at the right time, i.e. before GDPR is in force, and I would encourage all businesses, whether they are in the public or private sector, to do the same.”

For more information on Apricorn please visit:


Reporter: Stuart Littleford

Zonafide, the mobile app leveraging blockchain and collaboration technology to ensure Activities are secure and legitimate, today announces a partnership with Atos to help combat identity theft and cybercrime.

The partnership will see Atos assist their clients in the use of Zonafide’s blockchain-based technology in order to drive efficiencies and improve security when processing life events such as marriage and deaths. Atos’ clients span all major industries and sectors, including £3 billion of UK Government contracts ranging from the NS&I to the BBC.

Zonafide helps prevent fraud and cybercrime by securing Activities – an important transaction such as a house purchase payment or updating personal details with a bank – using blockchain technology. Ultimately, Zonafide prevents things happening unless the individual wants them to, ensuring that Activities are secure and legitimate.

As well as helping fight identity theft and cybercrime, Zonafide reduces the friction in verifying transactions and increases efficiency.

Moreover, as Zonafide’s blockchain network is decentralised it avoids the inflexibility, costs and weaknesses embedded in centralised systems. All these advantages look set to benefit Atos’ clients who adopt Zonafide and its technology.

Commenting on the partnership, Paul Worrall, Founder of Zonafide said: “This is a landmark partnership for Zonafide. Atos provides our clients with the confidence that our blockchain-based solution has the commitment of established IT services companies. This partnership is also a recognition of the power of blockchain to disrupt traditional processes and legacy centralised systems currently used by most organisations.

“Whilst Zonafide will initially be used in Activities relating to life events in Register Services in UK Local Government, there are many more potential applications that we look forward to working with Atos on.”

Ivo Luijendijk, Group Industry Director Data Analytics, IOT & Blockchain at Atos added: “Discussions with Zonafide have been greatly appreciated by our clients and we have already identified a prospect. I think this will be a fruitful partnership for both Atos and Zonafide.”

In addition to providing Zonafide’s software, the firm’s founders will also be hosting blockchain-focused workshops with Atos’ senior management, to further embed their knowledge of the technology’s potential and to discuss commercial opportunities.

Unifying communications and IT in the cloud can produce great benefits, but take care when sourcing suppliers

Joseph Blass, CEO, WorkPlaceLive

By Joseph Blass, CEO, WorkPlaceLive

Voice over IP, often known as VoIP, may no longer be a new story. Pioneered nearly 20 years ago and made famous by Skype, there are now many providers of this service which allows you to “speak over the internet”, with the quality of the calls and pricing packages making it a real contender for organisation-wide telecom solutions.

VoIP is a cornerstone of cloud-based Unified Communications [UC] which is changing how we work – and even holiday, for those who need to stay in touch when on a break. Many of us do. We also need to work away from the office at times; i.e. not just when on holiday.

UC is a descriptive term for integrated enterprise communication services: VoIP telephony, email, call control, instant messaging/chat and conferencing.

UC really scores when it’s combined with IT, especially when accessed via common hosted desktops. What this means in practice is that employees can work regardless of where they are based. All they require is an internet connection and access device [tablet, laptop, smartphone etc].

In the public sector, a solution like UC combined with IT should be at the centre of all processes, bringing together teams, enabling collaboration and offering scalability and integration with existing systems. In this sector, where procedure and process is necessarily stringent and time consuming – and price paramount – getting it right, including being able to work with trusted suppliers, is key.

The first step is to work with a UC provider who can offer you the best solution for your organisation’s needs and not just the solution that they can provide.

Bespoke services like VoIP can be designed to a precise need, but changes in IT can feel like a daunting move, in part because of the immense possibilities offered. So, when considering a move from the more traditional landline-based communcations services provider, how can you differentiate between the competitors in front of you?

The answer to this is two-fold.

First, you can look at how a “standard” package compares from one supplier to another. One supplier’s “Standard” may not be the same as that of another.  Consider the service, particularly functionality at basic package level, support, call quality and price. Can you get a testimonial from a current customer? Has the provider achieved accreditations to prove service standards? These headline questions will help you to whittle down your first tranche of possibilities.

Secondly though, what can really make a provider different from its competitors is when it can not only solve your telecom requirements but potentially unify all of your business IT, allowing an experience greatly superior to your current arrangements.

An enterprise solution will increase available functionality and combine all the benefits of a traditional system as well as all the benefits of a cloud-based phone and IT service.

Most organisations have dipped their proverbial toes into the cloud-based IT waters but what comes next is increasing the efficiencies they have already began to discover by allowing them to connect and integrate.

A great VoIP provider will enable your organisation to unify your IT system alongside your cloud-based phone service thus unlocking the benefits, functionality and efficiencies available from integrating those services. They will see past the standalone positives of VoIP and offer access to increased positives by allowing the solutions to work together for the benefit of your staff and working environment.

Hosted desktops (aka virtual desktops/Desktops as a Service) take your usual desktop experience into the cloud and allow your organisation flexible, secure access to all of its usual office data and software. “Working from anywhere” becomes a possibility. When you bring VoIP into the equation, employees, contractors or volunteers can login to their desktop and, using either a physical handset or “soft phone”, continue using their telephony in the same way, regardless of their location.

An extension number will connect to your mobile and follow you around without the caller needing to know you are not at your usual office location. User to user calling becomes free. One click calling via the desktop comes into play. The VoIP solution is a flexible reply to a need to work in a more flexible way than traditional services have allowed or, a sophisticated handset at your desk in the office, as you wish.

The insinuation here is that you should never be away from your day job. However, where you don’t want to incur roaming costs while abroad, or a contact to know that you are out of the office, the flexibility offered is clear.

Here’s how it can work

Consider you wanted to talk to a caller whilst away from your usual office desk. VoIP will allow you to take the call as if you were. Then, if your caller has questions about a specific subject, your hosted desktop will allow you to access all relevant spreadsheets, CRM or existing files without the need for apologies or excuses. Essentially, the unified communications will offer you a choice, never available with your previous non-hosted solutions.

This second comparison measurement, a step forward from the basic “cost” questions, is where you can truly identify whether you can go forward with VoIP or unified communications; where all your efficiencies are heightened.

The plethora of VoIP providers in the system (or on your shortlist) can be further reduced when you assess their capacity to answer just one of the possibilities available by internet telecoms or the complete range. It is worth considering whether a move to VoIP is good enough when technology has already moved past that and can offer so much more, and where VoIP is a cornerstone, not just a standalone.

That’s where UC, combined with IT in the cloud, comes into its own.

More at

Public can save lives after a terrorist attack

SP Services MD Steve Bray with the new Tourni-key

Reporter: Stuart Littleford

A UK medical supplier is supporting a nationwide campaign to save lives after a terrorist attack.

SP Services, of Telford, is ready to supply thousands of newly designed lightweight tourniquets for use in public places in the event of a bomb, shooting or knife attack.

The medical equipment has been specifically designed for people without medical experience by Brigadier Tim Hodgetts CBE, a surgeon who has worked in multiple war zones and is renowned for his innovations in dealing with combat injuries.

The brigadier, who served as the Queen’s Honorary Physician for six years, has accolades galore for his distinguished medical career which includes advising the Government as Medical Director of the Defence Medical Services.

Passionate about medical education, he helped set up the citizenAID charity to empower everyday people not to panic after a terrorist attack but to “know what to do” to save lives.

“He is a quite remarkable man and SP Services is very proud indeed to have been chosen as the sole distributor to work with citizenAID to supply medical equipment to public organisations,” said MD Steve Bray, who also supplies medical and humanitarian equipment to war zones and is a major supplier to the NHS and MOD.

The brigadier said: “Experience has taught us there is a predictable delay between an attack taking place and professional help reaching the injured. This means those within the incident, the public, are the ones who can make the difference in saving life from severe bleeding.

“Its unique design allows the tourniquet to be quickly secured. As a low-cost alternative, there is a realistic opportunity to make this life saving skill more widely available and to empower a critical mass of the public and first responders.”

The lightweight Tourni-Key is a 13cm long yellow plastic tool with a small hole at one end and a hook at the other. It enables the user to quickly apply pressure and stop profuse bleeding which can kill victims very quickly.

Brigadier Tim Hodgetts CBE

Security guards, shopping mall staff, event stewards and other public event organisers can quickly learn how to use the device with a tie, scarf or triangular bandage to help save lives of people bleeding severely from a wound to the arms or legs after a deliberate attack.

In the US, a tourniquet saved the life of country music lover Daisy Bautista (39) who was caught up in the Las Vegas shooting in October last year.

Controversy has surrounded its use in recent years with the belief that the injured can lose a limb if a tourniquet is applied wrongly by the untrained.

But more than 200,000 US police officers were trained to use it after the mass murder of schoolchildren at Sandy Hook in 2012 and they are now commonly available in shopping malls and airports next to defibrillators.

citizenAID has developed a free app giving the public advice on what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. The new Tourni-Key is available from SP Services (UK) Ltd, Hortonwood 30, Telford, Shropshire, or online

Brigadier Tim Hodgetts demonstrates to Steve Bray how the Tourni-key works

and talks about citizenAID here:

GDPR – Humanising Data Protection

Jon Fielding, Managing Director, EMEA Apricorn

By Jon Fielding, Managing Director, EMEA Apricorn

As the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) deadline looms, organisations are scrambling to find all potential vulnerabilities that could lead to sensitive data being lost or exploited. GDPR will ensure all countries comply with the same comprehensive controls over the personal data of European citizens, applying a consistent level of security and protection wherever it is processed. The new regulation is set to push organisations into taking appropriate steps to protect the data they house. Should a company be found in breach of GDPR, it could be subject to fines of 4 per cent of its annual global turnover or €20 million, whichever is greater.

Human Error

Organisations are investing heavily in new cyber security tools, adopting the latest software and threat intelligence in order to comply with the new legislation and avoid the consequences of a data breach. However, even with the greatest security systems in place, one of the biggest threats to intellectual property comes from the user and the risks posed by human error.

Human beings are typically the weakest link when it comes to data security. In a survey carried out by Apricorn, 48 per cent of companies said employees are their biggest security risk, and as many as 44 per cent expect that employees will lose data and expose their organisation to the risk of a data breach.

Human error and poor practice, such as PCs left unlocked or someone clicking on a malware-infected link in an email, can all lead to an attack and, ultimately, a serious data breach. Add to that the increase in employees using personal storage devices – such as USB memory sticks, smart phones, and tablets – and the potential to remove or copy sensitive information outside the corporate network has become a growing risk. The proliferation of mobile and removable devices has blurred the corporate boundaries, but GDPR requires that organisations should be able to trace all personal data and understand where it resides and how it’s used.

Organisations will need to document exactly what data collected and how it is processed, stored, retrieved and deleted through its lifecycle to pinpoint where data may be unprotected and/or at risk. Currently, however, 38 percent of surveyed organisations believe they have no control over where company data goes and where it is stored. This suggests a lack of policy and control over their data.

Policy and Education

The pivotal component of any organisation’s GDPR compliance framework is employee awareness and education. Employees at all levels must understand the critical importance of their organisation’s data and the need to comply with corporate security policy. Increased training and testing is key in educating employees about their responsibilities and their role in protecting sensitive information.

First of all, appropriate policies should be created and enforced. However, if employees do not recognise and understand the legislation and its consequences, the likelihood is that failings will ensue.

Corporate processes and policies aren’t always easy to implement and follow, and it’s impossible to secure against all lines of attack. Policies can be ignored, and advice disregarded, but with the right technology and education in place, businesses can reduce the potential impact and minimise the risks.

As part of the new GDPR requirements, organisations must demonstrate that authorisation and access to certain intellectual data and sensitive information is limited. They must be able to demonstrate who has access to information and the reasons why, whilst considering how data is protected outside of their central systems, both on the move and at rest.

To avoid the potential for human error when data is being transferred outside of the network or between systems, organisations need to research, identify and mandate a corporate-standard encrypted mobile storage device. In addition, the use of the device should be enforced across the organisation through policies – such as locking down USB ports so they can accept only approved devices. These processes will then enable organisations to identify shortcomings in their technologies and policies and provides a simple step toward GDPR compliance.

In fact, an organisation’s biggest liability within GDPR is at the point of breach and deploying encryption for mobile devices is a simple and quick win.  GDPR is generally non-prescriptive in terms of technology and the implementation of processes, policies and procedures is left to each business.  However, Article 32 requires “the pseudonymisation and encryption of personal data”.  Article 34 notes that, in the event of a breach if the data involved is encrypted, there isn’t a requirement to contact each individual affected, thereby avoiding the resultant administrative costs.

Human error is one threat to non-compliance, but GDPR imposes many different standards for data protection and it is an organisation’s responsibility to demonstrate how they are complying with each of the principles.

Among other action points, organisations should prioritise the following in their strategy:

  • Ensure up to date security systems are in place, particularly encryption and authentication technologies. This should include implementing appropriate monitoring and controls to evidence GDPR compliance.
  • Develop defined organisational policies and procedures covering how data is captured, processed, managed and disposed of, and check regularly that these are complied with.
  • Ensure processes are in place to manage the rights GDPR bestows upon the citizen – the right to be forgotten, the right to receive data in a portable format, and explicit consent and understanding for the collection of data, etc.
  • Ensure employees receive training on the cybersecurity policy and when to report incidents.
  • Restrict access to personal data only to those who need it.

Organisations should see GDPR not as a threat, but instead, use it as an opportunity to batten down the hatches and ensure their data is secure through best practices.

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Cradlepoint Brings Software-Defined WAN Benefits to LTE Mobile Networks for First Responders, Transit Operators and Other Fleet-Based Organisations

NetCloud Service Includes New Ruggedised IBR1700 Router, Combining Enterprise-Class Management, Security and SD-WAN Functionality with Fleet Management Capabilities

Cradlepoint, the global leader in cloud-delivered 4G LTE network solutions that provide a pathway to 5G, today announced a solution package for its NetCloud service that includes the new IBR1700 mobile router.  The new NetCloud Solution Package for Mobile brings the benefits of software-defined wide-area networking (WAN) to first responders, transit operators, and other field force and fleet-based organisations that rely on simple-to-manage, reliable, and secure in-vehicle and mobile networks with always-on 4G LTE connectivity.  Today’s announcement is the third since Jan. 16, 2018, that introduces Cradlepoint NetCloud Solution Packages for new router endpoints for branch, mobile or IoT networking.

First responders and related organisations that depend on distributed field forces and fleets to provide products and services need reliable and secure mobile networks with always-on 4G LTE connectivity.  Their people and passengers must have access to mission-critical applications and the Internet from anywhere – with data flowing from onboard telemetry, sensors, surveillance cameras and other devices.  However, managing and securing roving communications hubs is a challenge for IT teams as traditional mobile solutions fail to provide enterprise-class visibility, security and control capabilities of fixed branch networks.

“Cloud, mobile computing, IoT, and 4G/5G wireless technologies are converging to create new solutions that improve the productivity, safety, and management of field workforces and fleet operations – including public safety, field service, utility, and transportation organisations,” said Lee Doyle, Principal Analyst at Doyle Research.  “The resulting proliferation of mobile networks will stretch IT teams as they seek to replicate the reliability, security, and management attributes of their branch networks, making the wireless WAN the next frontier for SD-WAN technologies.”

The new Cradlepoint NetCloud Solution Package features the company’s newest ruggedised, all-in-one mobile router – the IBR1700.  This new package, delivered as a service, combines the enterprise networking, security and management features that IT teams demand – including SD-WAN for LTE – with the Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) and telematics capabilities required by fleet managers.

Purpose-Build, All-in-One Mobile Solution Delivered As-A-Service

Designed to withstand extreme environments, the IBR1700 replaces multiple standalone boxes with an all-in-one mobile networking solution ideally suited for installations within a wide range of vehicles, including police, fire, ambulance, and other first responder vehicles such school and metro transit buses, light-rail and commuter trains or mobile command trailers.  The IBR1700 comes standard with the following networking features:

  • Integrated 600Mpbs LTE Advanced modem and optional, field-installable modem
  • Five WAN/LAN switchable Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Advanced 802.11ac Wave 2 WiFi

Built-in fleet management features enable a wide range of location-based and telematics applications, such as AVL, asset tracking with geofencing, safe driving programs and proactive vehicle maintenance:

  • Active GPS with dead reckoning
  • ODB-II port connection
  • Ignition-sensing
  • Multiple General Purpose I/O (GPIO) ports

NetCloud Perimeter is included in the base package and uses Software-defined Perimeter technology to provide secure and persistent connections for in-vehicle IoT devices, such as sensors, cameras, PoS terminals and digital signage.

Cradlepoint’s all-inclusive NetCloud Solution Packages are delivered as a service and simplify the way customers buy, deploy, manage and evolve their edge networks, facilitating rapid deployment, time-to-value and customer success.  Each package is tailored to the needs of branch, mobile or IoT networking, and combines NetCloud services, purpose-built hardware with a lifetime warranty, and comprehensive 24×7 support in to a single 1-, 3-, or 5-year subscription.  The new mobile solution packages provide cloud management, SD-WAN functionality that dynamically steers traffic between two active 4G LTE cellular networks for optimal performance in all conditions, as well as unified Internet security with firewall, IPS/IDS and web filtering with pricing starting at $1,199.

“For many fleet-based organisations, their cars, trucks, buses, trains, and boats are essentially roving branches that share many of the same IT challenges as fixed sites in terms of reliability, security and management,” said Todd Krautkremer, CMO at Cradlepoint.  “Cradlepoint is the first to extend the benefits of SD-WAN to these mobile networks, making it quick and easy for IT teams to always keep their field forces connected, secured, and productive – and their fleet managers in control – without adding more staff or more hours in their day.”

To find out more, visit

Cyber Protect: Ground breaking initiative from not-for-profit London Grid for Learning to create a Centre of Excellence for Cyber Security in Education

Reporter: Steve Harrison

The London Grid for Learning (LGfL) has announced Cyber Protect, its ambitious and ground breaking initiative to create an online Centre of Excellence for Cyber Security for schools. The new centre, which will sit within LGfL’s existing site, will provide the best possible protection from increasingly complex and sophisticated cyber threats.

LGfL is acutely aware of the security risks posed to schools by criminals on the web. It is LGfL’s passion for protecting schools which led LGfL to commission its own dedicated fibre network, LGfL 2.0, for use with schools, designed to provide defence in depth through multiple layers of security and the delivery of one of the largest IP VPN networks for education in the world.

The new Cyber Security Centre for education will work with schools across LGfL’s grid to keep them safe through collaboration, threat management and partnerships with industry and government leaders.

As part of its new mandate LGfL will harness its scale to deliver ground breaking products to schools as part of its managed service offer. This includes InterceptX and Malwarebytes which are being provided free to London schools. The new Centre of Excellence will complement the pioneering work underway in LGfL on online safety where LGfL has established successful partnerships with ChildNet, the Internet Watch Foundation and more recently the NSPCC.

John Jackson, Chief Executive Officer at the London Grid for Learning told GPSJ: “LGfL and our partners have always shared a passion for security and keeping children safe. The rise in the frequency and complexity of security incidents on the internet has convinced LGfL that it is vital that we do all we can to proactively protect schools and ensure our children’s education is not interrupted. I am delighted that LGfL has made this a priority and I’m sure the schools we support will feel the same way.”

To find out more about Cyber Protect, please visit

Keep your nerve, CIoJ urges government

Reporter: Stuart Littleford

The Chartered Institute of Journalists is urging the government to keep its nerve in stopping local authorities in Waltham Forest and Hackney from publishing ‘Pravda’ style propaganda newspapers.

Both councils have persuaded the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to postpone a final deadline of closure that had been set for Tuesday February 6th on their fortnightly Waltham Forest News and Hackney Today newsletters.

Janice Shillum Bhend, who is to become President of the Institute in March, has played a leading role in campaigning against councils publishing PR papers full of their own press releases and political spin.

Speaking to GPSJ Janice said: “Councils should be buying local advertising and supporting an independent local press.”

She added: “The Communities secretary, Sajid Javid, needs to maintain a hardline. These council papers are biased towards promoting their own agendas and damage local democracy.”

A recent Greater London Assembly report on ‘The Fate of Local News’ said “Local newspapers have, in some cases, been negatively affected by local authorities regularly publishing their own newsletters.”

CIEH Urges Caution on Monthly Bin Collection Plans

An increased risk of fly-tipping

Reporter: Stuart Littleford

With news that local authorities in Wales are considering plans to collect domestic waste just once every four weeks, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has urged caution and asked for decision makers to consider the implications.

Under European Union targets the United Kingdom must recycle at least half of all household waste by 2020. The UK is currently set to miss this target. Although the recycling rate in the UK was just 11% in 2000, the current recycling rate has stalled at 44% for a number of years.

Some local authorities, in an attempt to increase recycling rates, are reducing the frequency of residual waste collections. It has also been claimed that this will generate savings at a time when many are struggling to balance their books.

Although three weekly residual waste collections are not uncommon, it now appears that there may be moves towards four weekly collections by some local authorities.

Director CIEH Wales, Kate Thompson, told GPSJ: “As an organisation we are committed to protecting the environment and to reducing, reusing, and recycling waste and materials.

While we appreciate that four weekly residual waste collections have the potential to increase recycling rates and reduce costs, we have concerns about the potential unintended consequences and the risks these pose to the environment and health.

There is a significant risk of increased fly-tipping as people struggle to fit four weeks’ worth of waste into one wheelie bin. Any missed collections will mean a staggering eight week wait between bin collections; an unsustainable situation for large families. There is also the risk to our wildlife and environment from uncollected waste, especially in warmer weather, coming from pests and insects.

We urge local authorities to consider these wider impacts in their decision making.

While we absolutely support the need to encourage increased rates of recycling, the questions posed by monthly collections suggest that this simply isn’t the answer.”


Reporter: Amy Wood

BakerHicks, the multi-disciplinary design and engineering company, has completed the move to its new headquarters at One Warwick Technology Park. The decision to move the headquarters from Stratford-upon-Avon to Warwick has been driven by a need to create a modern and fit-for purpose office and design space.

A modern landmark office building, One Warwick Technology Park is situated on an established business park with good connectivity to and from the southeast, southwest, Birmingham and the Greater West Midlands. The property has been comprehensively refurbished to a Grade A specification, including upgrading all elements of the M&E and HVAC systems.

The move follows on from the recent opening of the company’s specialist hub offices in Heathrow and Derby to service the needs of its aviation and rail clients. The company also has offices in London, Manchester, Motherwell and Switzerland.

The opening of its new headquarters comes one year on from the company’s rebrand to BakerHicks and 60-year anniversary. The interior design in the new headquarters continues to celebrate the company’s rich heritage and connection to the region, with wall art featuring key dates and characters from the company’s history.

Managing director, Martin Lubieniecki, says that BakerHicks remains committed to being a major employer in Warwickshire and the region: “We’ve enjoyed good growth over recent years and with further expansion forecasted, the new headquarters will provide us with an excellent base from which we can continue this trend. As a company, we’re committed to investing in our staff so they can continue to invest in our clients.”