Protection. SECURITY ISSUE #199
Support. Award-winning online security for consumers and small businesses plus the best partner programme in the industry, has made BullGuard the channel’s favourite software vendor – and PCR’s Company of the Year.
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PCR’s 30 Under 30 list is back in July, where we’ll be showcasing the most talented individuals under the age of 30 working in the industry! From retail, marketing and PR, to IT services, distribution and manufacturing, nominations are open to those working in all areas of the UK IT and Tech industry. Your nomination must include all of the following in a single email to Laura Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org Your name (if nominating yourself) or your nominee’s name (if nominating a colleague) – The work email of the person you are nominating – A high-resolution headshot of the nominee – Company name and full job title – A paragraph on why you/they should earn a place in this year’s 30 Under 30 – Age (must still be under the age of 30 on 1st July 2020) Please provide all the information above by Friday 12th June 2020. Incomplete applications will not be considered, and those featured in 2019’s PCR 30 Under 30 list will not be included.
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TheEditor Don’t sit on defence
ell, it seems our annual security issue has just so happened to land right in the middle of a pandemic. Just when you thought we had covered everything you need to know about cybersecurity, Coronavirus happens and the world is presented with a massive influx in remote working. The result? A whole new playground for cybercriminals to mess about in, as businesses, employees, and the general public, try their best to continue working safely – in the cybersecurity sense as well as the physical sense. It certainly hasn’t been easy to adjust. IT departments up and down the country have had to do their best to get things up and running remotely as quickly and as safely as possible. But with an increase in targeted attacks at both consumers and businesses over the past few months, there is always more insight to gain from the security experts. And this month’s magazine should help you get that insight. In this issue you’ll find opinions, commentary and interviews with some of the biggest names in security, including BullGuard, F-Secure, ESET, BlackBerry and more. Stay safe and enjoy!
“Just when you thought we had covered everything you need to know about cybersecurity, the world is presented with a massive influx in remote working”
Laura Barnes, Editor
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16 June 2020 06 Retail Analysis: Are you prepared for the 'Returns Tsunami'? 10 Industry opinions 16 The Big Interview: BullGuard's Paul Lipman 22 Securing future tech 28 Retail's post-Covid-19 silver lining 30 Interview: ESET 35 Sector Guide: Security Hardware 40 Crowdfunding Corner 42 Sector Guide: Security Software 46 Life in the Channel: BlackBerry Cylance's May Mitchell 49 Logging Off
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Are you prepared for the ‘returns tsunami’?
s we’ve noted over the past few months, the current pandemic has caused more and more consumers to shop online while high streets are closed down or offering reduced services. Research from Kantar Worldpanel found an increase in “silver surfers”, with over 65s spending 94% more on home deliveries in April than they did last year. And market research agency Mintel found that 37% of over-65s have increased the amount of online shopping they do since the
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outbreak started. ONS reported that while the monthly retail sales volume fell sharply by 5.1% in March, online sales as a proportion of all retailing reached a record high of 22.3%, as consumers switched to online purchasing following the pandemic. Finally, BRC and KPMG’s retail sales monitor for April 2020 found that online non-food sales increased by 57.9% in April. All great news for those retailers that have managed to make the most of their online offerings, but now that there
With the Covid-19 pandemic forcing many retailers to make temporary changes to their returns policies, industry experts believe businesses large and small need to prepare for a glut of returns once things start to return to normal. Laura Barnes investigates...
small and medium-sized retailers most at risk. And with 70% of firms worried about the growing impact of returns on their bottom line, it’s clear that the issues around return policies, and what customers expect from them, have been causing quite the headache for retailers. That was last year, but with the current circumstances that we find ourselves in today, the industry has seen more and more people shopping online than usual. And so, Brightpearl warns that this is likely to lead to an even larger tsunami of returns that will no doubt have a major impact on the already fine margins of retail businesses. “Unfortunately, the Coronavirus pandemic has forced retailers large and small to make significant, temporary changes to their return practices. Since March, retailers have handled returns in two ways, generally, either extending return times, allowing shoppers to send back items, 60, 90, or even 180 days after purchase, or stopping returns altogether,” Nick Shaw, chief revenue officer for Brightpearl, explains to PCR. “The latter speaks to inflexibility both in policy and the systems to manage returns and should be avoided because it may alienate customers with legitimate reasons for returning a purchase.
“Now that there seems to be an end in sight for lockdown, some industry experts believe that businesses are going to get a shock in the returns department”
seems to be an end in sight for lockdown, some industry experts believe that businesses are going to get a shock in the returns department. In 2019, omnichannel retail management system Brightpearl conducted a study, which found that 90% of retailers did not have the systems in place to manage the ‘Returns Tsunami’ likely to be caused by the adoption of ‘try before you buy’. It also showed that more than half of all retailers claim margins are being squeezed by returns, with
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“In both cases, there could be a glut of returns – an accelerated ‘returns tsunami’ – after stores reopen and after ecommerce operations come back in full force,” he warns. With almost two thirds of retailers not deploying any technology solutions to process returns, Brightpearl says businesses are still not set up to manage the volume of returns or absorb the costs associated with them when that event happens. “This pressure is then further compounded by the consumer expectations, who on average want their return to be fully processed in 3-5 days. “If you’re processing this manually, without additional charge to the customer, three days is an incredibly quick turnaround, and it’s likely to lead to headaches for brands and their customers,” Shaw tells PCR. So, what will happen if retailers do receive a glut of returns once they open back up properly? “At this point I don’t think it is a question of, if, just when,” insists Shaw. “The returns tsunami study found that
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25% of respondents had bought multiple items with the intention of sending them back. Now, if we take this in the current climate, where we find a huge increase in online shopping, as well as extended returns policies, there is bound to be a second wave. “The average returned purchase now passes through seven people before it is listed for resale, and the onus is upon the retailer. That’s seven points throughout the returns journey at which something could go wrong. If a business does not have the correct infrastructure in place, i.e. a solution that enables them to automate large chunks of the returns process and gives visibility over their supply chain, then they will be overwhelmed.” As customers become frustrated with lengthy wait times, the more likely they are to leave a bad review, which Shaw says could damage brand reputation and sales over the long-term. “On average, 77% of negative reviews arise from issues that occur beyond the buy button, with a large proportion directly related to returns,” he explains. “On the flip side of that, 96% of shoppers said they would give a retailer repeat business based on a good returns experience. “The onus should be on delivering excellent return experiences, especially given the sudden influx of businesses into the online space that potentially offer viable alternatives to your customer.” Preparing for the tsunami So how can retailers best prepare themselves for this ‘returns tsunami’? Shaw points out that returns haven’t been a priority for retailers who have been more focused on
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“Providing a strong returns experience is imperative in an age where there are so many retail options for consumers” Nick Shaw, Brightpearl improving the front end buying experience, such as the ecommerce user experience, and they must now prioritise their return strategies – including a focus on technology investment. “Providing a strong returns experience is imperative in an age where there are so many retail options for consumers. Implementing the correct technology is integral to riding this wave safely to shore,” he says. “To prepare for the returns tsunami, retailers have to build a single source of information around the customer returns, which is doable with a digital operations platform. If you know what items have been returned in the past, this will help with the accuracy of inventory forecasting. If you’re able to centralise the data, then retailers can process and preauthorise the returns, giving customers their refund faster – an essential component in this climate.”
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COVID-19 has accelerated the move from ‘cloud first’ to ‘cloud now’ Justin Augat, VP Product Marketing at iland, looks at how companies are evolving the way they support their business operations…
otal spend on cloud infrastructure services reached $97 billion in 2019, up 38% year-over-year, according to data from Synergy Research Group. Whereas total spend on data centre hardware and software hit $93 billion in 2019, an increase of only 1% compared to 2018. This means that many companies that have historically owned, maintained, and managed their own IT operations in their own data centre are now evolving how they support their business operations by transforming their IT to cloud. The key reasons underpinning this shift are based on the modern organisation’s need for greater agility and flexibility. There has never been a better example of this demand than demonstrated during this COVID-19 pandemic, as companies have hastily decamped employees to home working. Likewise, employees today want the ability to work from anywhere and to collaborate with colleagues as easily as they would in person. Even before COVID-19, a growing number of business leaders understood the importance of flexible working. Globally, 50% of employees work outside of their main office headquarters for at least 2.5 days a week, and more than 16% of companies worldwide now only hire remote teams. The cloud enables this freedom to work remotely. However, until recently organisations have historically looked at only new application development and deployment for cloud, taking a ‘cloud first’ approach. But now, many are pivoting towards a ‘cloud now’ approach. We will likely see more organisations embracing agile working and digital technologies, now they have seen a cloudenabled workforce in action during the pandemic. ‘Cloud now’ means that companies are now looking at cloud for more than just new applications, they are considering cloud for all their applications. The reason for this is that companies are focused on reducing costs and eliminating the dependency on the physical data centre. For as long as customers have been buying technology to support business, they have been using it to reduce costs and speed up timeto-market inside the data centre. Technology capabilities including server and storage virtualisation have improved IT’s ability to respond quickly to lines of business. But, over time, the ability of new technology to further reduce costs and time-to-market is diminishing.
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This is a result of the growing customer demand for more application resources, better performance, and increasing frequency of administrative tasks such as patching various components, and planning for end of life or performance upgrades. With a global and increasingly remote workforce needing access to their applications from anywhere, this is fuelling demand. As businesses have reached this inflexion point of diminishing returns, they have turned their strategy to the cloud as the next frontier of IT efficiency. But today there are hundreds, if not thousands, of cloud services available to organisations. In many cases, the capabilities of the service, adjusted for cost, are what matter most to the decision makers versus the infrastructure itself. As an example, the underlying infrastructure that supports common business software such as Salesforce, Microsoft Office 365, is rarely scrutinised, as the products are trusted solely based on the brand’s reputation. In the case of organisations moving their existing applications to the cloud for production hosting (IaaS), backup (backup as a service) or Disaster Recovery (DRaaS) the underlying platform must be vetted to ensure the application needs will be met. To do this, organisations must examine the capabilities at the platform level. This is where the technology resources that have been purchased come together to deliver the application performance, security, compliance and connectivity, and more, of the selected service. Ultimately, it is these consumed resources that directly impact the cost of the service. The main cloud platform types available to customers at scale are public cloud, private cloud, and bare-metal cloud. They all have their merits and downsides and choosing the right cloud will very much depend on the customer’s requirements. Ultimately, as more customers embrace the cloud for more of their workloads, the varying requirements of these workloads can lead to trade-offs in cost versus performance, which defeats businesses’ main objectives when moving out of the data centre and into the cloud. As a result, customers need to understand a cloud provider’s overall capabilities early to avoid missed expectations in the future. So, as organisations embark on their ‘cloud now’ approach, they should undertake due diligence upfront to thoroughly consider their own requirements and what type of cloud IaaS provider will best meet their needs both now and in the years to come.
Why ransomware is still a big issue Ryan Weeks, Chief Information Security Officer at Datto, warns businesses to toughen their defences now before it becomes too late...
n the current global health crisis, unprecedented numbers of organisations are letting staff work from home, prompting new cyber security concerns. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) recently issued a warning that the Coronavirus pandemic is being exploited by malicious cyber actors. Businesses must stay alert to emerging threats or risk falling victim to an attack. This is particularly true for ransomware, still the most common threat to SMEs. Recent research by Datto amongst over 150 European MSPs highlights the extent to which ransomware affects businesses, and the impact it can have is bigger than ever before. According to the survey, 61% of MSPs reported ransomware campaigns against their clients in the first half of 2019 alone. Roughly two in five SMEs were affected; some of them even suffering several attacks in a single day. The Datto research revealed that costs related to ransomware attacks now amount to an average £108,000 per incident. At the same time, business downtime caused by ransomware has grown by as much as 300%. The impact on small businesses can be devastating, with over half of surveyed MSPs believing that ransomware attacks have the potential to take entire companies out of business. In line with this, one in five SMEs reported that ransomware had damaged their reputation. More than 50% saw a dip in business productivity after being attacked, alongside decreased client profitability. Worse still, the effects of ransomware could be felt long term: In around a third of attacks, the infection spread to other devices within the network – sometimes striking for a second time. The good news is that with regular backups and the right expertise, IT systems and data can be restored during a ransomware incident. However, the ability to do this – and the speed of the recovery – heavily depends on the quality and consistency of backups. MSPs often have to follow a whole range of processes to repair their clients’ IT environments after an attack. This includes reimaging servers, virtualising systems from a backup image and running clean-up software. The most important strategy for minimising damage caused by ransomware is to be prepared. This is why every organisation should have a robust, step-by-step remediation plan that clearly outlines everyone’s responsibilities in the event of an attack. Take the ransomware threat seriously. Datto’s research found that
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while 82% of MSPs are ‘very concerned’ about ransomware, only 8% reported that their clients felt the same – implying that some SMEs don’t fully appreciate their risk level. Remember that no matter how small, no business is immune to an attack. Beware of phishing. Phishing emails are still the starting point for nearly two thirds of successful ransomware attacks. Other risk factors according to the survey are weak passwords, poor access management and gaps in security training. So make sure users have a good understanding of security risks and best practices. All employees should receive regular security training. Implement two-factor authentication. Strong identity and access management is the best defence against intruders. Ensure strong patching practices. To fix any known software vulnerabilities, make it a number one priority to install software patches as soon as they are released. Don’t rely only on your antivirus software. Yes, antivirus, email filters and endpoint detection are essential elements of any security strategy, but successful attacks have proven that on their own, they don’t provide adequate ransomware protection. You need additional measures – such as a strong continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) strategy. Install a reliable BCDR solution. Taking regular system backups is one of the best defences against ransomware. When planning your BCDR strategy, focus on how to minimise downtime and restart operations during an attack. Protect your cloud data. Ransomware is designed to spread across networks and applications – and your cloud is at risk. Around one in five MSPs reported ransomware attacks on SaaS applications such as Dropbox and Office 365, so use endpoint and SaaS backup solutions that allow fast recovery. Find a strong MSP partner. According to Strategy Analytics, SMEs who don’t outsource their IT are at bigger risk from attacks. Unless you can employ qualified in-house staff for 24/7 cyber security monitoring, engage an MSP who has the resources to do the monitoring for you. Remember that MSPs can also be targeted by attackers, so select carefully and make sure your chosen partner has appropriate insurance. One thing is clear, the ransomware threat is not going away any time soon. Internet of Things (IoT) devices and social media accounts will likely become new targets of future campaigns. Be prepared and toughen your defences now before it is too late.
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Times are changing – and so is cybersecurity Mike Smart, Forcepoint’s EMEA Security Strategist, discusses the top security priorities for businesses...
p until recently, there was a focus on threat-centric responses. Businesses built a wall around their digital perimeters – a robust defence that controlled access in and out of their infrastructure. If there was a problem, action would be taken straight away. Threat centric responses were easy to implement, relatively cheap and worked – or at least it used to. But times are changing. Today, traditional defences are becoming obsolete. Businesses need to shift their focus away from building walls, and instead embrace visibility. And at no time has this been truer than during the current global situation we find ourselves in. Flexible and remote working has overnight become the norm, with most global workforces forced to conduct business from their living rooms. This is causing major security complications. With working patterns disrupted, businesses could suffer a concerning lack of visibility and control. Security risks may not be able to be comprehensively assessed. In this new environment, the shift to cloud-based, remote working has become an immediate necessity rather than a long-term goal many businesses were working towards. We’re not just thinking about devices and how they access the network. Data is also flowing inside, outside and through enterprise perimeters. Gartner predicts by 2021, 27% of corporate data traffic will bypass perimeter security, and flow directly from mobile and portable devices to the cloud. This is compounded by the sheer volume of data that businesses hold and process. The result? Organisations no longer have the eagle-eyed line of sight they once did – leaving them subjected to vulnerabilities and compliance violations. A new security vision Managing and supporting a fully remote workforce isn’t a one-time problem – it’s the new way of working. Furthermore, the challenge is compounded by companies’ existing struggles to fight insider threats to their data and security. Whether threats are internal or external, a major paradigm shift in security is needed – and fast. The value of threat-centric approaches has become limited as a result. They overwhelm IT teams with false leads – to the point where genuine threats can slip through the cracks. This isn’t helped by the fact cybersecurity teams are often understaffed. With today’s high demand for remote working, IT teams are struggling to investigate these security threats, without direct access to employees’ computers and devices. Security needs to move to a model where humans are the new perimeter, looking towards how people and data come together and cooperate – rather than focusing on specific external threats. Only then, through analysing human
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behaviour with big data, can it deliver insights into enterprise risk and identify compromised users already operating inside the organisation. Humans are the new perimeter Through adopting a human-centric view of risk, businesses can identify compromised insiders more rapidly. This means successful data breaches and outages are more likely to be foiled before the real damage is done. Additionally, human-centric, behaviour-based cybersecurity, is tailor-made for the era of mobility and cloud. This is because it enables enterprises to detect and respond faster to risk than legacy systems which focus only on protecting infrastructure. This continuous monitoring and assessment approach, observes how people interact with critical business data and IP – understanding why these interactions occur and the risk they pose. With a clear understanding of user risk, security teams can take immediate action to adapt security policies dynamically, reducing risk and better protecting the user and critical data. A SASE vision Research firm Gartner has identified a new technology architecture, named Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), which is being considered as a modernised solution for cybersecurity. It recommends converging networking and network security capabilities into a unified, cloudnative service. This would make it easier and less expensive for enterprises to safely connect people and offices all over the world. SASE is not a product, but an architecture reference model to help enterprises re-architect secure edge connectivity. So, for usage outside of the traditional perimeters, SASE architecture will address the limitations of current networks and security design approaches. The SASE framework will open the door to enhanced security features. It represents a new approach designed to help security and risk management leaders address the changes posed by digital transformation. So, between now and this vision of the future, what should organisations do when it comes to choosing the right security approach? Fortunately, several intelligent and integrated security solutions already provide visibility into user behaviour. But, it’s important to remember that no matter how advanced technology gets, human nature is human nature. A business is only as strong as its weakest link. That’s why ensuring proper governance, a cyber-savvy culture, and defences that truly understand, and keep human behaviour at its core, must be a top priority.
Growth in gaming provides a perfect opportunity to sell cybersecurity Steve Hicks, Head of Global Sales at BullGuard, discusses how consumers can still enjoy high-performance gaming and be fully protected at the same time...
especially for FIFA 20, Borderlands 3 and The Elder Scrolls 6. omething like 35 million people in the UK play online games. So why do so many gamers turn off antivirus protection when It’s a phenomenal number given that the total UK population gaming or don’t run protection software? In short, it slows gaming is estimated to be 66 million and illustrates just how much down and they want the best performance possible. BullGuard gaming has become an everyday facet of life. During the has addressed this issue with the inclusion of its bespoke patented lockdown we wanted to take the pulse of gamers to get a sense of Game Booster feature in BullGuard Internet Security and BullGuard how they were coping with the restrictions. We partnered with Premium Protection. Tests revealed that Game Booster actually system and gaming rig builder Chillblast to carry out a survey and increases the speed of gaming, delivering more frame rates per discovered that for nearly half, gaming alleviated anxiety and for second (FPS) during games. It even delivers a faster FPS than most it helped them deal with the current Covid-19 situation. games that are running on computers without antivirus We also discovered that 84% of gamers are using protection. antivirus, enabling them to stay one step ahead of During the test carried out by Chillblast, cybercriminals who are taking advantage of the “Gamers are a BullGuard Game Booster performance was pandemic. This is encouraging and shows measured against five other software security good awareness of the threats posed to financially juicy target for suites; Norton Internet Security, McAfee gamers. However, 20% either don’t have cybercriminals. They spend Internet Security, Kaspersky Internet antivirus installed or turn it off when Security, AVG Internet Security, and gaming. That’s 13 million potentially lots of money, often on Windows Defender. BullGuard beat them vulnerable people which is clearly a in-game purchases. In all by a significant distance, with a score worryingly large number. of 6650 and beating a second-placed 2019, 12 billion credentialFlipping this on its head, it’s also computer running without AV which an opportunity for resellers to educate stuffing attacks were scored 6574. This is proof that gamers can their customer base about the need for still enjoy high-performance gaming and be carried out against gaming cybersecurity. UK gaming has experienced fully protected at the same time. a significant growth in recent years and websites” BullGuard’s Game Booster automatically according to recent estimates, is the largest in detects users’ gaming sessions and pulls both user Europe. A study by investment bank Liberum processes - such as applications opened or in use by revealed that the gaming sector is growing on users like Word, PowerPoint, Chrome, and Winamp - and average 30% year-on-year and is set to be worth £10 system processes onto 1 or 2 CPU cores, leaving the rest of the CPU billion by 2023. cores to handle the game. This completely removes random game Gamers are a financially juicy target for cybercriminals. They spikes which negatively affect the user experience. In short, Game spend lots of money, often on in-game purchases. According to Booster ensures uninterrupted gaming at a faster pace. the Akamai 2019 State of the Internet/Security Web Attacks and This provides vendors and system builders with a great Gaming Abuse Report, 12 billion credential-stuffing attacks were opportunity to boost their revenues by bundling BullGuard carried out against gaming websites, that is, platforms that gamers Internet Security for free onto their systems as a BullGuard partner. use to access games. To put this in context, across all industries there BullGuard partners become members of an industry-leading were 55 billion credential-stuffing attacks. programme that provides first-class support and substantial Malware is also an ever-present danger. Research from early June financial rewards. A whopping €19 million in revenue share has been 2018 to early June 2019 revealed that 930,000 gamers were hit by paid to partners since 2010 thanks to a 25% share of online revenue fake games that actually spread malware. from all renewals for the life of the product. With over 85% of The fake games emulated some of the most popular games at customers repeatedly renewing their license, it’s a significant income the time, such as Minecraft, GTA 5, and Sims 4. Spoofs, containing generator. malware, of at least 10 pre-release games were also detected,
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West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has appointed Mark Stansfeld, co-founder and former chairman of Giffgaff, to chair the West Midlands 5G (WM5G) board of directors. WM5G is delivering the UK’s first region-wide 5G testbed, and Stansfeld joins at a pivotal time for the organisation with WM5G entering its next exciting phase of delivery. Replacing the outgoing former Nokia chief, Igor Leprince, Stansfeld’s 30 years’ experience in the telecommunications sector and local knowledge of the region are expected to bring real value to the role. In his role as chair, Stansfeld will assume responsibility of overseeing WM5G’s programme of activity and report into the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). “I am pleased to be joining West Midlands 5G at such a crucial point in its journey. Never before has connectivity been so important to our society, keeping us close to our family and friends amid unprecedented times,” commented Stansfeld. “WM5G has the potential to make a real and positive difference to people, businesses and the public sector in the region and I’ve seen firsthand in my work with Worcestershire 5G, how the technology presents endless opportunities.”
Exertis has appointed Vishal Chhatralia to the newly created role of chief digital officer, reporting to both Tim Griffin, managing director of DCC Technology and Paul Bryan, managing director of Exertis UK&I. Chhatralia will be responsible for devising and implementing the distributor’s digital strategy, focusing on customer experience, marketing, digital services and operational efficiencies to “drive frictionless trade and expansion of digital technologies” across the organisation. “I am delighted to welcome Vish to the Exertis team. This is a key role for the Exertis Group as we look to exploit opportunities to deliver projects that create value by improving our customer engagement and loyalty, driving additional revenue and achieving new operational efficiencies,” commented Tim Griffin, Exertis Group’s managing director. Chhatralia joins Exertis from RS Components, where he spent fifteen years in senior roles across category management and digital, most recently as global senior vice president for innovation. At RS, he was instrumental in successfully leading their digital transformation strategy across the globe.
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This month’s movers and shakers in the tech industry...
Citrix has announced the appointment of Darren Fields to the position of vice president, networking EMEA. Previously regional vice president, United Kingdom & Ireland at Citrix, Fields started his new role at the beginning of April, 2020. Reporting to Sherif Seddik, senior vice president and managing director Citrix EMEA, he becomes responsible for the company’s networking business across the region. “Over the past three years, a key part of my role has been to help accelerate the Citrix growth strategy through increased cloud adoption – driving improved customer experience and a loyal partner ecosystem. I look forward to focusing more on our core networking business as the backbone of the continued transition to the cloud of businesses across EMEA,” said Fields. Joining Citrix in 2017 to take care of the company’s business in the United Kingdom and Ireland, under Fields’ leadership, sales have grown significantly during the company’s transformation into a subscription-based business. Before joining Citrix, he was responsible for the Cloud and Security division at Vodafone in Northern Europe.
Cohesity has announced the appointment of Andrew Fitzgerald as sales director for Western Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa. Based in the UK, Fitzgerald will lead the company’s business development strategy across the European and African markets while empowering customers and partners to embrace the company’s modern data management capabilities. Fitzgerald brings to Cohesity more than 30 years of IT solution sales experience across major enterprise IT businesses including Palo Alto Networks, NetApp, IBM, Sun Microsystems, and Hitachi Data Systems. Fitzgerald has a deep understanding of the data management sector which will play a key role in helping companies address mass data fragmentation challenges, where data is trapped in silos that make it hard to protect, expensive to manage, and difficult to analyse. Cohesity unifies these data silos onto one platform, simplifying backup and management while making data much more productive on-premises and in the cloud. “Cohesity is disrupting the data management industry. I’m looking forward to working with customers and partners to really unlock the capability of the data they own and keep it safe and recoverable.” said Fitzgerald.
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Forward-thinking security Laura Barnes chats to BullGuard CEO Paul Lipman about the cybersecurity company’s recent win at the PCR Awards, its new product launches, and how it is helping to keep remote workers safe...
n what can be an overcrowded market, BullGuard has firmly secured itself as a stand-out security vendor. With an attractive revenue share programme, and an ability to identify emerging markets and create security solutions tailored to those sectors, the cybersecurity company has proved that its finger is firmly on the pulse of the tech and IT channel. At the PCR Awards 2020, BullGuard took home not only the award for Software & Services Vendor of the Year, but was also named Company of the Year. PCR caught up with BullGuard’s CEO Paul Lipman to find out why endpoint security and VPNs could become mandatory for remote workers, what partners can expect if they join its Advantage Programme, and why the cybersecurity company has been so busy during the current COVID-19 crisis. How has the past year been for BullGuard and how is the company doing amid the current crisis? BullGuard has had a record year in terms of channel revenue and customer and partner growth. Being awarded both PCR Company of the Year and Software & Services Vendor of the Year has underlined BullGuard’s ongoing commitment to our channel partners as we have continued to support and serve the industry. The recognition is testament to our leading revenue share programme, which can make a huge contribution to our partners’ bottom line, and our unwavering dedication to developing award-winning cybersecurity solutions for consumers and small businesses with regular enhancements and new features. As hackers raise their game so must BullGuard. With the onslaught of cyber threats during this pandemic, targeting unsuspecting online users in their masses, the importance of internet protection is greater than ever before. With BullGuard
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2020, we introduced advanced machine learning into our products to identify and block sophisticated zero-day attacks and new types of malware. Machine learning adds another layer of effective protection for our customers, bolstering our awardwinning multi-layered security technologies. Secure Browsing has also been incorporated into BullGuard Internet Security and BullGuard Premium Protection, adding yet another powerful new defence layer. Our bespoke Secure Browser protects users from vulnerable and malicious browser extensions, and safeguards against increasingly common attack methods specifically directed at browsers. Another significant development from BullGuard is the launch of BullGuard Small Office Security. This new, powerful, cloud-managed endpoint security service for the small business market addresses a gap in the market and meets an urgent need. Cybersecurity solutions for small offices are typically too complex and challenging for businesses to deploy and use because they are re-engineered from legacy enterprise solutions designed for organisations with thousands of users. This typically means that many small businesses do not protect themselves at all or try and manage each device individually which is difficult, time consuming and ineffective. Added to this, small businesses are more vulnerable to cyberattacks, given that cybercriminals are increasing their attention to the small office space due to the fact that these companies are typically not as well protected as their enterprise counterparts. The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly brought this issue into even sharper focus. In terms of operating during this crisis, we have been extremely busy. As a forward-thinking security company, our employees are well equipped to securely work from home, but for many businesses, who are perhaps also grappling with
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thebiginterview economic uncertainty, it has been an extraordinary and difficult time, and we have stepped in to fill the breach and help lighten the load of customers by meeting their cybersecurity needs. What products are you focusing on at the moment? BullGuard Small Office Security and BullGuard VPN are very much in high demand and we are ensuring that our customers and partners are able to take advantage of them. For instance, in early April we began offering a free, threemonth minimum BullGuard Small Office Security license in order to provide small businesses assistance with managing their cybersecurity in the wake of the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The free offer comes with no financial obligations and small businesses do not need to submit any form of credit card payment information to obtain the license. Given the sudden mass migration of millions of employees to working from home, this is how we identified we could immediately help, and the response from the market has been very positive.
“Home-working isn’t going to go away any time soon, if anything it is likely to become even more common. We are preparing for this shift in the landscape” Many small companies are vulnerable to being compromised by cybercriminals who are exploiting the coronavirus pandemic with predatory instinct. We want small business owners to understand that cybersecurity isn’t dauntingly complex, in fact, it can be simple and powerfully effective. And of course, BullGuard VPN is an important focus for us. A few months ago, many people thought VPNs were technically esoteric and complex and something they didn’t need. Today they better understand and appreciate how a VPN can provide online privacy and internet freedom. BullGuard took home two awards at this year’s PCR Awards. How did it feel to win and why do you think you were picked over the competition? It was an honour to have received the Software & Services
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Vendor of the Year award, and fantastic for us to know that we are delivering services and products that our partners both appreciate and really benefit from. To also receive the Company of the Year award was truly overwhelming. The PCR Awards are held with the highest esteem within our industry, and as such, we are truly humbled that our hard work and dedication is recognised. I think one of the main reasons we were chosen is because as a company we never stand still. We work hard to identify emerging market opportunities and create cybersecurity that is tailored to the needs of specific sectors. At the same time, we are committed and dedicated to our channel partners. Their success is our success, which is why we continuously offer top incentives and rewards to thank our partners for their ongoing support for the BullGuard brand. We also recognise that operating conditions can be tough for resellers and retailers and so providing hands-on partner support and customer satisfaction is extremely important and sets us apart. What are some of the latest cyber threats you’ve seen occur during the increase in working (and schooling) from home? Where do you start? A flood of scams under the cover of Covid-19 has been released by cybercriminals and they are unlikely to abate any time soon. Cybercriminals have crafted phishing emails that use every possible angle relating to the virus, whether it’s ‘information’ or the sale of hand sanitizer and masks, causing the number of phishing campaigns to grow significantly during the pandemic. We’ve seen Android apps that claim to provide access to real-time virus-tracking and information. There has been a huge spike in phishing scams targeting students and people working from home. Emails purporting to be from a student’s university or an employer urging the recipient to log on to their OneDrive or Office365 account, many claiming to provide updates about the coronavirus. These emails, and malicious websites, hide malware that is typical of an attacker’s arsenal, ranging from banking trojans and ransomware to spyware that steals passwords and login details. It’s a feeding frenzy out there and the piranhas are biting more wildly than ever. Unfortunately, it’s not likely to end anytime soon. BullGuard says it is currently looking to recruit new partners for Small Office Security. Can you tell us a bit about why this is so important as people continue to work remotely? Imagine you own a small law firm or accountancy practise. Your people are out and about every day, working from home, hotdesking, travelling up and down the country. Some are using computers from the company’s pool, others are using their own, for example, a laptop at home. How do you secure each device, how do you update each device, how do you lock down a device if it is lost or stolen? What do you do if a home user’s computer
thebiginterview especially while they face and tackle the ever emerging threats targeting mobile workforces which have accelerated during the current situation. Have you seen an increase in demand for your products as more people and businesses create proper working from home setups? In April of last year, we launched BullGuard VPN and there is certainly an increased demand and also much greater awareness among small businesses about the need for cybersecurity. As such, a lot of our endeavours have not only been about delivering cybersecurity but also about providing educational input and ensuring that we can meet the needs of our channel partners who are certainly experiencing a significant uptick in demand. What benefits can partners expect if they join your Advantage Programme? They become members of an industry-leading programme that provides first-class support and substantial financial rewards. Over €19 million in revenue share has been paid to channel partners since 2010 through a 25% share of online revenue from all renewals for the life of the product. With over 85% of customers repeatedly renewing their license, this is a significant income generator for partners.
BullGuard took home two awards at this year’s PCR Awards show in March, which was hosted by Claudia Winkleman
is infected with malware and they log onto the company network and a threat attempts to infiltrate the network? You might not realise what has happened until your client’s hacked information is used to carry out fraud or you are hit with a ransomware infection and the business goes down. This is why centralised device security provided by BullGuard Small Office Security is so important. You can update and manage all devices centrally, even users’ own devices, protect all of them at the same time, isolate a stolen or lost device, and all from an easy to use cloud dashboard. A recent survey we conducted highlighted a lack of dedicated business cybersecurity among small businesses, many choosing to install free, consumer security products, which simply do not cut it. As our recent accolades demonstrate, our route to market through our partners is extremely successful, and we aim to give even more partners the tools they need to help as many small businesses as possible to adopt the best cyber protection,
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What does BullGuard have planned for the rest of the year and beyond? Home-working isn’t going to go away any time soon, if anything it is likely to become even more common. We are preparing for this shift in the landscape. If endpoint security and VPNs aren’t already being used, they could likely become mandatory in some workplaces and for remote workers. Attackers understand that many people have poor awareness of cybersecurity and what they need to protect themselves, so even as the pandemic recedes, the threats won’t diminish, they will just take another form. We are continuously adjusting to help safeguard small businesses and home users in the future, ever ready to react to unexpected circumstances that fuel cyber-attacks. Technology has never before played such a vital and significant part in our everyday lives, so it is important to ensure that it is working correctly. Our devices are helping us to be entertained, remain productive, and to stay in touch with loved ones and friends while we can’t be physically close. It is BullGuard’s mission to continue to deliver the very best in cybersecurity so that people can go about their everyday lives, enjoying the use of technology for work and play without having to worry about cybercriminals trying to steal their identities, financial data or company information. We appreciate that people have enough to be getting on with and to think about, and with BullGuard security and privacy products, we aim to eliminate this burden.
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Securing future tech As the amount of connected devices continues to rapidly grow, we are facing billions of tech products entering the market in the next few years. But what does this mean for user security, and how can retailers be confident in the security aspects of new tech they sell? Laura Barnes asks the experts...
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ithin the next three years, it is predicted that there will be more than three times more networked devices on Earth than there are humans. That’s according to Cisco’s Annual Internet Report analysis and forecast, which reports that there will be 29.3 billion networked devices by 2023, up from 18.4 billion in 2018. With literally billions of new internet-connected devices in our very near future, cybercriminals have an abundance of avenues to explore. So how are security vendors and tech manufacturers ensuring new and future technologies are as secure as they can be? And which emerging tech is in need of the most robust security from the start? “Any technology that has the potential to touch the lives of humans needs to have security built-in by design, but if we had to single out one area it is the security of AI,” Fiona Boyd, head of cyber-security operations at Fujitsu EMEIA, tells PCR. “It is seen as an enabler for many things including cyber security, but there is a surprising lack of focus on the security of AI itself; AI security is a problem as AI models are still fairly insecure and therefore vulnerable to attack. Malicious hackers could conceivably exploit this to intervene in the training process of an AI device or system and use this to their advantage. For example, an AI system that analyses behaviours could be taught to ignore certain ones that it should be observing, potentially creating a fundamental flaw in a physical safety or security system.” Marcus Whittington, COO at SentryBay, agrees that AI is the one to watch, along with some other technologies it ties into: “There are so many emerging technologies and all of them are in need of security, but to pick out those we would want particular attention to be paid to: artificial intelligence, driverless cars, 5G, IoT, intelligent apps, robotic process automation and big data.” Tom Gaffney, principal consultant at F-Secure, explains in more detail why devices connected to Wi-Fi are such a fruitful target for cybercriminals. “We are in a transformative age, with waves of innovation in connectivity and computing. Faster internet connections are connecting cities, homes and communities with unprecedented speeds. The faster speeds are driving always-on connectivity for a panoply of new devices from industrial control to assembly lines and basic consumer goods like toasters and fridges,” he tells PCR. “The explosion in these devices was driven by several mega trends: 1. Ubiquitous connections, and Wi-Fi everywhere. 2. Improved silicon, that means computing devices fit on the smallest of objects and can include Wi-Fi chips, plus sensors and actuators. 3. Massive reduction in the cost of data storage and machine learning and that can process data on a massive scale. “This has led to a situation where there are more connected devices on the planet than there are humans. What makes it an issue in security is that many of these devices are not made with security in mind and they don’t have standard security practices,” explains Gaffney. “For example, a third of IoT vulnerabilities come from
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these consumer goods having either no password, or a default password, which users are not encouraged to change. Many of these devices don’t have a software update policy meaning vulnerabilities can’t be patched. “Hackers are targeting these IoT devices and we’re seeing the results. Our security cloud monitors attacks around the globe and the significant shift we’ve seen in the recent months is that, in terms of volume, there are more attacks coming from devices running Linux than Windows. This is a first and is directly driven by this explosion in IoT devices which use the Linux platform.”
“Any technology that has the potential to touch the lives of humans needs to have security built-in by design” Fiona Boyd, Fujitsu Security form the start
So, what are manufacturers doing from the start to try and keep these devices as secure as possible from the get go? Fujitsu’s Boyd says that the importance of cyber security in networked devices is being recognised by manufacturers and regulators; in fact, the UK government even recently announced plans to legislate minimum security standards. “Whilst this is a positive step, manufacturers wanting to implement effective ‘security and privacy by design’ need to ensure that the devices regularly prompt users to follow good cyber security practices,” she says. “This includes simpler processes such as regular prompts to change passwords, through to more sophisticated approaches that constantly update software to ensure the device is protected.” SentryBay’s Whittington agrees: “There are secure coding practices which are useful and are now widely used, but getting the architecture optimal from a security standpoint initially is the most important factor. If the application is to be used widely it often requires “interoperability” which in itself sometimes leaves vulnerabilities for attackers to exploit. This was a fundamental issue in Windows OS and a lot of other applications that are required to work alongside other software. “Unfortunately there is as much invested by highly talented and resourced cybercriminals in breaking technology as there
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“Retailers and resellers need to question what security practices and testing have been undertaken on a solution” Marcus Whittington, SentryBay
is by vendors in making it more secure. Fundamentally, if the architecture can be designed with security in mind, that is the best defence – then testing those defences regularly with penetration testing and white-hats is also important. “Because the applications often require input of data from end users from a multitude of sources/devices, and the fact that data is so valuable to cybercriminals, then there are often vulnerabilities that relate to both the data input as well as the application itself,” he says. F-Secure’s Gaffney notes that it is also important to focus on the security of the home network these devices will be connected to. “Historically, as an industry we’ve supported customers through point solutions on the device itself. This is still the best level of protection you can get but it doesn’t scale for the connected home devices. “We will never make anti-virus for a toaster, so we see the best answer is to provide protection through the home gateway by providing a security agent that runs in the router to protect the network in the home. “This, combined with endpoint security for personal devices (mobile phones, tablets and laptops) offers the best level of protection against the various threats,” he tells PCR. “And the seamless bit is the important here – the most important element is making it easier for customers to centralise security for the end-user by reducing the need to run multiple security products, to merge protection.”
Selling with confidence
With many examples of emerging technology being rushed to market without proper attention paid to security, what can retailers and resellers do to ensure the new tech they are selling to customers is as secure as it can be? “Often security is an after-thought, to be rectified in later versions of a product,” says SentryBay’s Whittington. “The IoT field has seen this pattern on many occasions. Retailers and
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resellers need to question what security practices and testing have been undertaken on the solution, and actually see the results of those tests. They need to understand what the roadmap is and whether the software is being developed with security concerns in mind. He adds: “They should also consider how the software is planning to be improved or adapted to deal with the proliferation of data; data input, storage and transfer; types of endpoints (and the implications of this on application and data security) and how users will use the application in every use case.” F-Secure’s Gaffney believes that the first thing retailers should do is ensure the products are coming from a reliable supplier. “Testing security solutions is complex but there are some good independent test houses (such as AV-TEST) that run transparent tests against security companies products and provide a reliably independent view on whether a security product is performing the job it’s supposed to,” he suggests. “Of course, references for the security are essential as well, the security market has seen a lot of innovation in recent years with many new entrants to the market, so one consideration should
“Faster speeds are driving always-on connectivity for a panoply of new devices, from industrial control to basic consumer goods like toasters and fridges” Tom Gaffney, F-Secure
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be looking at stability and funding of any potential supplier so you can have confidence the services will still be available in years to come.” Fujitsu’s Boyd points out that security and privacy are expected by consumers, noting that anything that a retailer or reseller wants to sell has to provide the necessary levels of security that a customer wants, and “perhaps has not even been considered”. “Retailers need to understand what levels of security the products they are selling offer across all aspects of usage. Wearable fitness trackers that monitor health are a prime example; whilst the physical hardware may be secure, that device does not fulfil its purpose without the cloud-enabled part of that offering. “The data being generated by that device can potentially be tied to an individual and reveal sensitive information such as the wearer’s location and the state of their health.” She warns: “If the cloud platform that holds that data is not secure and sensitive, then if data is leaked, retailers could be left with unwanted stock of the devices as demand is impacted.”
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Partner Content from
HANNspree’s HS9 Series monitor boasts a frameless design with ultra-wide viewing angles
Stay at home – work at home, with HANNspree
ovid-19 has presented extraordinary circumstances to which we have all had to adapt. One of the most profound changes in our white-collar world is the order to work from home full-time during the pandemic. Some may be lucky enough to have a dedicated workspace along with the necessary hardware to smoothly transition to their new lockdown office. Millions of other employees, however, have suddenly found themselves trying to carve a workspace in their homes and investing in essential equipment. In the first month of the UK lockdown, HANNspree experienced a huge surge in monitor sales. Market data backed this sales spike with evidence that computer monitor sales almost doubled in a week as businesses pre-empted the advice to work remotely and instructed staff to
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avoid the office. Martin Kent, UK Manager HANNspree, comments: “clearly, those setting up shop from home were either short of the right equipment to keep them productive, or the new everyday office environment and hours prompted many to upgrade.” Do not disturb Working from home is standard practice for many, whether its part of a contract, personal choice, or a necessity in order to put in some extra hours when the office closes for the day. The most obvious advantages of a reserved work area are, the ability to install fixed hardware, and locating where there are few distractions.
Partner Content from
HANNspree has a comprehensive monitor portfolio to give the modern home office a professional display solution. If you want to make a statement, the newest additions to the HS monitor series boast elegant, frameless designs, which also enable seamless continuity between multiple screens side-by-side ideal for multidisplay set-ups. “Even if you depend on the mobility of a laptop, a fixed monitor can extend your work area significantly,” says Kent. “Laptops are ideal for taking work on the move and between the office and home, but the display space is restricted. When you are suddenly working from a home office indefinitely, your display size could become a bit of a bugbear, so consider that bigger is likely better!” The HANNspree monitor portfolio has solutions up to 40inch. The larger display sizes make excellent backdrops for video conference calling during lockdown. Then comprehensive size selections of course enable you to choose a size that best fits into the office space available to you. “Alternatively, HANNspree’s new portable monitor solutions are ideal for extending your laptop or even your smartphone workspace. Using a single Type-C USB 3.1 connection, transferring data directly and acting as an energy efficient power supply, you can instantly create a second display. And because these monitors are designed to be mobile, they are a great investment for returning to work, for example, you can easily transport these specially designed portable monitors to client meetings to perform presentations.” Pass the salt! Working from home isn’t for everyone. The ritual of travelling to the office, socialising with colleagues and escaping the distractions of home life can be very appealing, so following government advice to stay at home is likely a shock to the system for some, even overwhelming. You may even be faced with challenges that make your working day extremely difficult and stressful. For many, the dining room table is likely moonlighting as a work desk, as well as a place for children to do their schoolwork, craft or play, in addition to hosting the family dinner. Working amongst Play Doh, Lego and baking paraphernalia can be tricky practically as well as mentally. “Setting up a moveable office is easy with our new portable monitor range,” says Kent. “You don’t have to be tied down to a single location to enjoy extra display space, and the plug and play set-up takes the stress out of being turfed out of one room into another as family life shifts around you. These portable monitors are also robust. With a toughened hard glass cover they are not only designed to withstand the rigors of travelling, they are also protected against dust, dirt, condensation, liquid spills and cleaning solutions.” When you are working at home with children and want to be able to share IT equipment, a touch screen display is the ideal choice. There is a wealth of touch-enabled applications for school age children that can help them to get to grips with home education until they can return to school, as well as make learning more interactive and appealing. “You can combine the benefits of touch technology with the
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“You don’t have to be tied down to a single location to enjoy extra display space” Martin Kent, HANNspree convenience of work-space relocation with the new portable HT161CGB. This monitor features 10 finger touch points enabling multiple users to collaborate or play at the same time. Parents can become more involved with their children’s lessons or simply encourage some much-needed down time together, such as multiplayer gaming or why not dabble at multimedia manipulation to create lasting memories of this history making moment in our lives.” Are you sitting comfortably? So, you don’t have your fancy swivel chair anymore. Your desk could now be a kitchen island or a swiftly erected home-made shelf in the unused space in the hallway. Whether you have a proper office desk or not, an ergonomic monitor can ensure your long hours at your screen are the most comfortable they can be. The ability to height-adjust, swivel and tilt can be the solution to avoiding back problems caused by awkward sitting positions while trying to get the best view of a computer display. The HANNspree HP series of ergonomic monitors also feature a 90° pivot manoeuvre which enables you to easily switch screen orientation to best suit the application you are working on. If space is limited, you could also consider wall mounting a monitor at eye level. Could working from home be the new norm? Despite government announcements slowly advising businesses to return to work, office staff remain safest in the comfort of their own homes and could potentially be advised to remain working from home for some time to come. Furthermore, how many businesses could now see the benefits of having staff working from home on a long-term basis? Savvy business owners looking to cut overheads have had an unexpected taste of a home-based work force, which could potentially trigger a new norm for whitecollar workers. “The most important factor to consider if you plan to, or are expected to, work from home indefinitely is are you able to remain productive? Consider your surroundings and your IT setup to ensure you are comfortable and well equipped to perform your job to the best of your ability,” says Kent. “It is also important to maintain your daily routine. Self-discipline is key. You certainly don’t want to get caught with your trousers down on a video call!”
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Retail’s post-Coronavirus silver lining While retailers start developing their reopening plans, Gekko’s Managing Director Daniel Todaro looks at the opportunities for the next generation of our high streets...
he story has been consistently bleak across the board since we locked down back in March and for non essential retail, the doors were firmly shut with zero footfall. However, consumer support for local independent businesses has increased and those retailers who adapted are learning that a good strategy will make them better placed to trade post Covid-19. There has been a 36% overall decline in store sales of non-food items in the last three months to April and I wouldn’t be surprised if you suggested that retail is a busted flush. Yes, the challenge is vast and it will be difficult but we do know that shoppers still crave the high street, and 55% of UK consumers want to support local retail businesses as a result of lockdown. Online sales have increased by a not very surprising 19%, taking the digital share of all retail sales to a new high of 23.8%. If I’m honest, it probably won’t reduce significantly after lockdown, which does mean that traditional retailers will need to work harder to ease the trend. Retailers must think digitally to survive, taking an omnichannel approach, whilst still maintaining a sustainable and collaborative
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business. This has never been more relevant than now. I’ve said it before, retail is possibly one of the most dynamic industries globally and the UK leads in this area of expertise in many ways. The high street has over the decades had to continuously adapt to changing consumer behaviours as well as the trends that drive the desire to shop by offering choices that appeal to every distinct generation and their character traits. Learning from this rather frustrating lockdown is an opportunity to move away from the chatter about the ‘failing’ high street and spearhead change with purpose. Change that requires a flair for dynamism to aid survival and create those meaningful connections through an omnichannel, eco-friendly, societal and technology-driven approach. Enhancing the customer journey and brand experience for all consumers who chose to shop with you is essential in creating long-lasting emotional engagements that convert into sales. What the high street is good at is evolving. So while we develop our reopening plans, the opportunity to think about the next generation of our high streets begins.
“Retailers must think digitally to survive, taking an omnichannel approach, whilst still maintaining a sustainable and collaborative business” Daniel Tordaro, Gekko We, like many retailers, adapted as soon as lockdown was official, and having anticipated its coming several weeks before, we started to innovate the manner we marketed high value technology products to consumers. In doing so, we met the brands and the retailers’ needs, whilst not forgetting the importance of a personal touch for consumers. It is true that beyond the brand awareness created through advertising, consumers do like to go into a store to experience the products they are considering buying. The ability to make informed decisions is achieved by being given a demonstration by people who are knowledgeable. That’s why shops like multiple retailer Currys and the hundreds of independent stores exist, providing a service you just can’t get online. The very essence of this service, potentially under threat post-Covid-19 through social distancing and operating whilst keeping people at a 2m distance, could erode the consumer’s desired experience. Whilst retailers are considering how they can safely and effectively open their doors, the consideration of how to maintain a semblance of customer experience for both retail and brands is also important. As a retail and field marketing agency, one of our core services is to provide in-store promoters who work on behalf of brands to create a curated customer journey. This extends to creating strategies that build relationships with Retail Sales Advisors (RSAs) to provide them with valuable training techniques to build knowledge and sales tips. In normal times, we would do this in person but very rapidly we adapted to achieve this through providing online training to RSAs. This is something that we will continue doing while innovating with retailers to create and deliver solutions that look to develop the channel, whilst meeting the required statutory guidelines. Never has something come along like this pandemic that has affected so many aspects of what we and brands do in traditional retail, however I remain immensely positive. The challenge ahead means never being scared of change again, and evolving. The dramatic 17% fall in sales across non-food retailers, forecasted to translate as £37bn in lost revenue, can be reversed, maybe not all but definitely in part. We’ve seen during lockdown consumers attempting to emulate the high street cafe experience by stocking up on coffee makers and it appears that many are also taking the opportunity to upgrade kitchens in the absence of being able to dine out and this
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trend is expected to continue. In addition, with more people being encouraged to continue working from home, some may ditch their shared workspace desk and will want to upgrade IT equipment to make those VCs come to life, or at least run better. This ‘upgrade’ opportunity should naturally extend from these across all other categories, making the home the ideal and safest place to go to work and have fun, which will need new or upgraded gadgets to make it so. So, the change begins and while making sure we look after our employees, keeping the retailers happy as well as keeping their customers and staff safe, we have to keep performing the very service that’s required from us as effectively as possible to drive knowledge, advocacy and sales. The back-to-work planning process is an extremely layered and complex situation to navigate with a multitude of stakeholders involved and a communal agreement needed. This ranges from queueing, managing social distancing, all the rules we are used to and are working very well for food retailers, but how do we make it translate to retailers selling considered purchases? Specialist technology and consumer electronic retailers are built on interaction, which in some cases is essential to achieve a sale. This extends to how we also engage with retailers and RSAs to sell or train a range of consumer electronics that must be understood. We must consider how we merchandise fixtures that must be cleaned after every touch, as do the demo products used to facilitate a sale. Solutions we innovate with must ensure we maintain the delivery of an experience that converts the shopper into a customer of a brand and more importantly that buys there and then. Encouraging the use of e-learning within channels by all RSA will enable them to develop their knowledge by learning about products and their usage. In addition we can develop the experience by coaching them to understand that every selling situation differs and therefore the approach must also. The challenge is creating and planning to devise a whole new way of training staff to sell in a manner which makes the consumer feel comfortable, also safe whilst not diminishing the brand experience. Proactively working with brand partners to innovate and help bring retail staff and consumers along on the journey, may be the key to success post Covid-19. Whilst the need to equip teams with masks, gloves, sanitiser and stores with demarcation signage is a necessary evil, in turn diminishing your ambience, the true challenge we must rise to defeat is converting those negative forces to see the potential. It can be done, and retailers have a unique opportunity to create and implement exciting new, fully-fledged plans that are actionable and not theoretical. Plans that innovate to work for your business, which are continually fit for purpose and future proof. Yes we must definitely follow the guidelines, we must also in the most effective manner possible, communicate our plans with staff and retrain to merchandise and sell with a new approach. We mustn’t be afraid, we must be brave, we must seek the silver lining to create new rules and ways of trading that work specifically for retail. Changes that innovate to resonate confidently with customers.
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“We may well be walking into a cyber pandemic” Jake Moore, Cyber Security Specialist at ESET, discusses the increase in “scareware” during the current COVID-19 crisis...
hat have been some of the biggest cyber threats that have emerged over the past year? The cybercrime market is constantly evolving. Typical tactics used by the creators of malware to spread infections are difficult to detect by antivirus products alone these days. Moreover, second generation malware can go undetected for months because malicious actors always update, evolve and improve their tactics to avoid detection as much as possible – as we have seen with large scale attacks, such as with BA.com. To enhance security, businesses should be using modern antimalware solutions focused predominantly on detecting new evolving malware. Threat intelligence software programs will identify threats and add value to cyber threat information by evaluating the context of its source and reliability. Traditionally, most companies use a prevention-based approach to cybersecurity, but recent advances in machine learning have enabled a trend towards active detection of threats due to the increase in artificial intelligent threats. Built in with the increase in deepfakes, we have not only seen more impressive threats over the last year, but this sort of cybercrime is thought to increase exponentially over the next few years too. How has the COVID-19 crisis affected consumers and businesses from a cyber security point of view? The most effective attacks play with emotions, hence phishing attacks have increased in the pandemic. When these phishing emails are coupled with the desperate need for the latest information around COVID-19, it makes huge numbers of people click where they shouldn’t and in turn, they forget what
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they’ve learnt before. Trust is at the heart of the pandemic and it’s what people are really in search for. Therefore, scareware has increased as the inevitable uncertainty rises. People have increased their searching for the most up to date and urgent information about the outbreak. Threat actors are well aware that businesses and people are currently looking for urgent advice and other information. Therefore, it’s at times like these where people are far more likely to click on unknown malicious links and rouge attachments. How are cybercriminals taking advantage of the current working from home situation? Working from home is nothing new, however, moving a large portion of your workforce to work from home at once inevitably comes with security problems. When each member of your workforce becomes their own IT department, many short cuts will be taken and companies need to accept this risk. Some companies have taken to monitoring software whilst at home, which I think is not the right way to go about it. Monitoring your staff acts as the complete opposite and effectively causes friction and a lack of trust up the chain. We may well be walking into a cyber pandemic whilst our priorities are diverted by COVID-19. Some cyber professionals are even suggesting that we are about to experience one of the world’s biggest cyberattacks. Seeing as we are not able to maintain the gold standard with our change to the world of working from home, it is inevitable that attacks increase and the magnitude could be catastrophic.
Here are some of the most interesting stats and facts from the tech channel…
In the UK, 1.2 million hours of LinkedIn Learning content was consumed in a single week. LinkedIn also found that time spent viewing LinkedIn Learning content increased by 73% during March.
The global managed services market is expected to grow to $329 billion over the next five years, according to NTT’s new 2020 Global Managed Services Report.
A new survey by BullGuard has revealed that 49% of gamers are finding that playing video games has alleviated lockdownrelated anxiety and stress. www.pcr-online.biz
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Almost a fifth of all unsolicited emails detected in Q1 came from the United States, followed by Poland, France, Japan and Germany, according to ESET’s latest Threat Report.
A SentryBay survey carried out amongst UK employees working remotely due to the Covid-19 crisis shows that 18% have had to tackle an actual security breach since lockdown.
June 2020 |
Tools for Remote Working Now more than ever, businesses need to have a quick option to enable their employees to be able to keep working securely whilst in lockdown or self-isolating at home. Brigantia partners can provide this to their end user customers.
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Brigantia is an award-winning, value-added managed services distributor providing a comprehensive range of cyber-security solutions complemented by secure, enterprise-class data communications and cloud services. Brigantia offers a layered range of managed services and communications tools that enable SMEs to keep their employees working securely whilst in lockdown or self-isolating at home.
Monitor security and productivity inside Microsoft 365 bluedog Microsoft 365 Monitoring offers protection against an organisationâ€™s fastest growing area of vulnerability, plus insights into user productivity inside the stack. All of this at an extremely low-cost and fully backed by an experienced SOC team 24/7/365.
Keeping it secure Ensure that the home computers which are being used are not going to cause security breaches on an employerâ€™s network. This is overcome by providing Heimdal Thor Premium to all employees who are going to work from home on their own computers.
Safely access work PCs from home ISL Online provides a secure link so that a member of staff can take over a work PCâ€™s desktop remotely. This means that everything that can be done on a work PC, can now be done securely from home.
Keep employees vigilant There has been a 667% rise in phishing since the start of the pandemic. KnowBe4 phishing simulations and new school training are required now more than ever before.
For more information please contact the Brigantia Partner Support Team by calling 020 3358 0090 or via email to email@example.com
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020 3358 0090
Security Hardware From encrypted storage devices to home security products and more, here are some of the best security hardware solutions available... Seagate SkyHawk Surveillance Hard Drives “Designed for AI Surveillance, the Seagate SkyHawk Surveillance Hard Drives have 24×7 workloads that can leverage up to 16TB with drives designed for DVR and NVR systems. SkyHawk surveillance drives are equipped with enhanced ImagePerfect and SkyHawk Health Management to help you sail through your toughest challenges.” Specs: Supports up to 64 HD cameras and 32 additional AI streams1 Now offering capacities up to 16TB Delivers zero dropped frames with ImagePerfect AI Enterprise-class workload rates at 550TB/yr for high reliability Contact: DVS, Oprema, Dynamic, ADI UK
Verbatim Fingerprint Secure Portable Hard Drive “Keeping your data safe and secure while on the move is a prime concern - not only for businesses, but also from a personal perspective. Imagine losing your personal files, leaving them on a train or in the back of a taxi, knowing that anyone can access them because they were saved on a standard hard drive. The Fingerprint Secure Hard Drive uses a combination of AES 256-bit hardware encryption and biometric technology for complete information security.” Specs: Access using the fingerprint from an authorised user 100% mandatory premium 256-bit AES hardware security encryption Up to eight authorised users plus one administrator (via password) Supports USB Super-speed (5Gbps) Contact: CMS Distribution, M2M Direct, VOW Wholesale
HANNspree HL407UPB Monitor Martin Kent, Territory Manager, HANNspree UK: “The HL407UPB is already a popular choice for the surveillance industry. The 39.5” screen with its plentiful visual area is ideal for security purposes, and can be wall mounted to free up desk space in typically small security offices. This monitor has an ultra-wide viewing angle and a high 5,000:1 contrast ratio delivering pin-point detail from different positions, while 16/7 operation ensures reliable, stable uptime in high-use environments. Furthermore, thanks to the USB media player with auto-play, it is both simple and efficient to replay surveillance footage from a USB storage device.” Spec: 1920 x 1080 178° /178° Ultra-Wide Viewing Angle 5,000:1 High Contrast Ratio VGA + 2x HDMI (HDMI CEC, remote included) Built-in 4W+4W Stereo Speakers Contact: Exertis, GNR Tech, Ingram Micro, Midwich, Westcoast www.pcr-online.biz
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WatchGuard’s Firebox T Series “WatchGuard’s Firebox T Series of unified threat management (UTM) appliances give users in home offices, small offices and distributed businesses ultra-fast internet speeds without sacrificing enterprise-grade security or controls. The T15 is designed with a broad range of security services to keep smaller sites safe and is simple to configure and deploy for networks with up to five users – making it ideal for home offices and retail chain locations.” Specs: Designed for small office, branch office and distributed enterprise locations with 20 to 35 users. Integrated 802.11ac adapters. Contact: WatchGuard
Kramer TC82PHG-M UHD DisplayPort/ HDMI KVM Combiner “Designed according to the highest security standards used by government, military and other high security applications, the TC82PHG−M is an 8−port 4K30 UHD DisplayPort/HDMI KVM combiner. The TC82PHG-M is a KVM switch, scaler and a multiviewer in a single device that enables users to securely share peripherals between networks with different security classification levels. The TC82PHG-M is designed to meet the strictest security requirements of EAL 4+ and Tempest Level II. It assures network isolation while allowing for full flexibility to the users by enabling them to view and interact with multiple networks on a single display, multiple displays, or on a video wall of up to 8 displays at full HD.”
Specs: Ports: HDMI x2 and USB–A x2 4K30 UHD 8 DisplayPort/HDMI connectors, 8 USB–B Supported OS: Windows, Linux, Mac Contact: Kramer Electronics UK
TP-Link Kasa Cam Outdoor KC200 “The Kasa Cam Outdoor is a full-featured weatherproof security camera that you can access from anywhere. A built-in siren and 2-way audio can scare away unwanted visitors. Use crisp 2-way audio to greet the delivery person at your front door or use the siren to scare away intruders. With motion and sound detection, the Kasa Smart app alerts you of activity that matters. Day or night, rain or shine, Kasa Cam protects what you love most.” Specs: Wide-angle 1080P video Manually zoom in 2-way audio Easy to follow DIY installation process in the Kasa Smart app Magnetic camera mount Stream live video to any Alexa or Google Assistant supported display Instant alerts straight to your smartphone IP65 rating to ensure your device will be protected against rain and dust Contact: TP-Link UK
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Kami Indoor Camera “Keep an eye on your home, any time, anywhere. Whether you’re away on vacation or just not home, you can use the Kami Home App to keep tabs on your sitter, check in on your pets, or simply monitor your house.” Specs: Smart Human Detection Automatically get alerted & start recording when unusual sound is detected 360° Auto-cruise – An entire room, from one location Wi-Fi Dual Band (2. 4/5 GHz) Contact: Exertis
Tenda 6-Port PoE Switch “TEF1106P-4-63W is an unmanaged PoE switch with 2 uplink ports designed for surveillance installations with NVR double Uplink ports and QoS. Compliant with IEEE 802.3at/af standards, it can identify PoE-powered devices intelligently. The switch supplies a maximum PoE power output of 63 W, and 30 W for a single port. Featured with 250m extend mode and QoS function, the TEF1106P-4-63W switch is the ideal solution for SMBs, supermarkets and restaurants with smaller video surveillance requirements.”
Specs: 6-Port 10/100 Unmanaged PoE Switch 30W output per PoE port 63W output across the whole device 6KV lightning protection Dual uplink ports for connecting a router and NVR Contact: VIP UK
EZVIZ C4W Outdoor Turret Cam “Introducing the EZVIZ Full HD Wi-Fi Outdoor Camera - This wall-mounted outdoor Wi-Fi camera uses a built-in strobe light and 100db alarm for aiding deterrence, whilst also offering two-way talk and durability in any type of weather. Furthermore, a new EZVIZ feature has been added that allows you to set customisable voice alerts to be activated when motion is detected and help deter suspicious activity, get creative!” Specs: Built-In 100db alarm and Light Deterrent Customised Voice Message upon detection Night Vision and FullHD Outdoor 24/7 Protection and weatherproof for all year round Security Two-Way Audio Contact: Nimans Distribution
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SEH Technology dongleserver ProMAX “The dongleserver ProMAX is the advanced solution for server rooms and provides access to software license dongles via a network. Compared to the dongleserver Pro, the dongleserver ProMAX offers additional reliability and redundancy with two built-in power supplies and two network connections. Parameters, passwords, and certificates are automatically backed up to an integrated SD card. The dongle server is also equipped with a multi-segment status and fault display for information at a glance. The optional telescopic slides facilitate device access in the server room. It has two installed power supplies and two network connections to ensure maximum reliability.”
Specs: 2 × 10BaseT/100BaseTX/1000BaseT (IEEE 802.3) 5 × USB 3.0 ports (SuperSpeed) 15 × USB 2.0 ports (Hi-Speed) 1 × SD card SEH UTN Manager for fast and simple installation Contact: Bechtle Direct UK
EZVIZ DB1 Video Doorbell “EZVIZ’s Video Doorbell has a 3MP Resolution camera and Weatherproof casing for Outdoor use. It’s 180-degree vertical viewing angle and 105-degree horizontal view, lets you see who’s there from head to toe and even talk to them when you are not home. Connect it to your smartphone via the EZVIZ app to keep your home safe. It also comes with 3 different angle plates and 3 different colour facia plates for optimum look and view.” Specs: 3MP Resolution for high quality video Two Way Audio 180 Degree View See who is at the door from anywhere via the EZVIZ app Weatherproof for Outdoors Works with Google & Amazon Video Screen Devices Contact: Nimans Distribution
TP-Link Tapo C200 Pan/Tilt Home Security Wi-Fi Camera “Tapo devices armed with advanced technology and reliable crafting are designed to enable users to live smarter, easier, and more securely. The Tapo C200 Pan/Tilt Home Security Camera delivers simple security at your fingertips, with a device that can be controlled through one simple app interface from anywhere in the world. Equipped with Two-Way Audio, Motion Detection and Privacy Mode, the camera helps users to protect their homes and keep track of their loved ones. An ideal partner for unlocking home security at an affordable cost.” Specs: 1080p HD video Pan and Tilt: 360º horizontal and 114º vertical range Advanced Night Vision: Provides a visual distance of up to 30 ft Motion Detection Trigger light and sound effects to frighten away unwanted visitors Two-Way Audio Locally stores up to 128 GB on a microSD card, equal to 384 hours (16 days) of footage Voice Control and works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa Contact: TP-Link UK
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Sector Guide Verbatim Store ‘n’ Go Portable SSD with Keypad Access “In today’s world, the security of your confidential data is of the utmost importance. The Store ‘n’ Go Secure SSD with Keypad Access is here for your peace of mind. The AES 256-bit Hardware Encryption seamlessly encrypts all data on the drive in real-time with a built-in keypad for password input. The SSD does not store passwords in the computer or system’s volatile memory making it far more secure than software encryption. Also, if it falls into the wrong hands, the SSD will lock and require reformatting after 20 failed password attempts. PC and Mac compatible and available in 256GB.” Specs: AES 256-bit Hardware Encryption. Built-in keypad for passcode input (up to 12 digits). SSDs use flash memory storage for faster speeds, higher performance and greater reliability. USB 3.1 GEN 1 with USB-C TM connection (plus USB 3.0 adapter). LED power / encryption status indicators. Combined aluminium / plastic enclosure. Contact: CMS Distribution, M2M Direct, VOW Wholesale
TCP Smart Wi-Fi Camera “Indoor Wifi Mini Camera with motion sensor alerts direct to your mobile. View live-stream from your mobile. Speak to your visitor from anywhere with two-way communication. Take pictures and record videos.” Specs: 1080p Full HD camera live streaming viewed on your mobile Motion sensor phone alerts Smart PIR sensor has low, medium & high sensitivity settings Night vision infrared mode turns on in low light Two-way communication Easy mount 3M tape with flexible body Supports memory card storage up to 128GB (not included) Contact: Exertis
HomeGuard GuardianEye Pro 1080P Wi-Fi Doorbell “HomeGuard GuardianEye Pro 1080P Wi-Fi Doorbell is a doorbell that detects visitors and alerts you instantly. With two way audio and a live video feed direct to your smartphone, tablet or PC utilising the free Homeguardeye app. Video footage is recorded on the rolling free 30 day cloud storage. Installation requires an existing hard-wired doorbell for utilisation of chime. Otherwise wired and connects to smart devices.”
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Specs: 1080p video streaming Smartphone/tablet controls Two-way talk Motion detection Wi-fi connect 2MP 150° ultra wide angle lens Contact: VIP UK
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GPD WIN Max Handheld Game Console The GPD WIN Max is an all-in-one product that combines the portability of a handheld and the graphics performance of a gaming laptop. As a product that is focused on gaming, WIN Max needs to be tough and durable. As such, it has an upper cover made of CNC magnesium aluminum alloy and a main body made of LG-DOW 121H aviationgrade anti-shock ABS synthetic resin. The product features a 1.3mm thick shell, has high temperature resistance, Class V-0 fire resistance, 109R Rockwell hardness, 26000kg/cm2 bending resistance, and an intact rate of 92% in 5m drop tests. On the back of the machine, there are L1 / L2 and R1 / R2 buttons on both sides, various ports in the middle (Type-C, Thunderbolt 3, USB A 3.1 × 2, HDMI), and nine air outlets below the hinge (to avoid hinge blocking air-flow). Other specs include an 8-inch H-IPS screen featuring the fifthgeneration Corning gorilla glass, Intel 10th generation 10nm Core i51035G7 processor, latest Wi-Fi 6 technology, Bluetooth 5.0 and a 65W super-fast charger supporting PD 3.0 protocol. For more information visit https://igg.me/at/gpdwinmax/x#/
Simplelink+ Two-way Magnetic 5K Cable By now you will have heard about many magnetic charging cables, and possibly used one of them before. They make life much easier when you don’t have to plug in and take out a cable every time you want charging or transferring. But they also only work one-way, which means there’s still half of the job left to do. And what if you want to use an HDMI cable as well, which can be hard to install between monitors? The Simplelink+ two-way magnetic 5K cable believes it is the answer. It has a 20-pin magnetic tip to attach the cable safely and firmly onto devices – both ways, making connections faster and more convenient. With Simplelink+ you can plug in the cable into any display device in just a few seconds. No searching, no fumbling, one clicking sound and all is done. But convenience doesn’t sacrifice any function. You can transfer a crisp and bright 4K signal @ 60FPS through the cable to get all your content displayed perfectly on your screens across different sizes. For more information visit http://kck.st/3bm77fd
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Amazfit X Curved Smartwatch With its extra-wide curved display, the Amazfit X fits more of the important stuff on your wrist, without all the scrolling to find it. It applies the continuous heart rate monitoring system to help reach your fitness goals and monitor your health effectively, wherever your day takes you. And with a lithium battery that can run for seven days on a single charge, the Amazfit X has the power to get you through your whole week worry-free. Even when you’re living around-the-clock. Intricate in its design, Amazfit X exemplifies the clarity with a 326 PPI HD resolution and enhances its expression through a 400 NIT highbrightness display. It’s designed with a 92° curvature that helps the Amazfit X rest comfortably on your wrist. Falling asleep wearing the Amazfit X is no problem — with all these curves, it is designed with “Do Not Disturb” in mind. Additionally, a titanium alloy uni-body makes the watch extremely lightweight and the design super sleek. For more information visit https://igg.me/at/UDcCN3ppo5M/x#/
With so much talent in the channel, it can be difficult to sift out the freshest gear and potential tech giants of tomorrow. Stay ahead of the curve with PCR’s Crowdfunding Corner…
MAONOCASTER Portable Podcast Studio The MAONOCASTER Portable Podcast Studio is exactly what you need when you want to get your podcast, radio shows or Twitch streams off the ground easily, but are not sure what gear to buy. It is so easy and intuitive to use that you can jump headfirst into podcasting within minutes, and focus on providing valued contents and interacting with your audiences rather than being distracted by the complicated operations. It offers four channels of audio mixing and easy connections to microphones, smartphones and other sources; uses advanced engineering that allows the user to control the sound levels and add live vocal and sound effects through a comprehensive set of tools to avoid difficult post production and editing. The MAONOCASTER features a 5000mah built-in battery which is capable of supporting at least eight hours non-stop podcasting. It also supports up to four presenters at the same time through easy connections to two mic for vocals, two audio sources such as smartphones, MP3 players and musical instruments, or any audioplaying devices with a 3.5mm AUX jack. For more information visit http://kck.st/2SSm95u www.pcr-online.biz
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Security Software Whether you’re looking to protect your consumer devices or a whole company, here’s our pick of the best cybersecurity software on the market… BullGuard Premium Protection “BullGuard Premium Protection protects PCs, Macs and Android devices with one license. It includes all the features found within BullGuard Internet Security but also features Identity Protection which safeguards all personal information, from bank account numbers to driving licence numbers, passport information, debit/credit card numbers, email addresses and passwords. Thanks to a unique algorithm, Premium Protection scans the Internet, including the dark web. If any of the information is detected the user receives an immediate alert and advice on what steps to take. A Home Network Scanner is also included which constantly monitors a network for any vulnerabilities, informing users if a smart device they have added to their home Wi-Fi network is vulnerable to hacking or the network they are using has vulnerabilities. It also features BullGuard’s award-winning Game Booster which delivers faster performance for gamers while keeping them protected. Advanced machine learning is another new addition; multiple learning layers analyse malware properties to identify and block malicious code without requiring virus updates. This ensures that zero-day threats are identified and nullified as soon as they emerge, keeping users safe from advanced types of malware. Safe Browsing also flags up websites that are hiding malware or are known to harbour malicious code.” Specs: Operating Systems: Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista Mac OS X 10.11 or later Android Tablets and Phones, Android 5.0 and higher Contact: Centerprise, Spire Technology, Target Components, VIP UK
WatchGuard AuthPoint MFA “WatchGuard’s AuthPoint is the only cloud-based, multi-factor authentication solution specifically built for small and mid-market businesses and distributed enterprises – eliminating the common barriers for MFA including large up-front costs, complex integration and burdensome on-premise management. AuthPoint is delivered entirely through the cloud and can be managed as a standalone service from anywhere using the WatchGuard Cloud interface, meaning there’s no expensive hardware to deploy and no need to install software upgrades or manage patches.” Specs: AuthPoint uses a push message, QR code, or one-time password (OTP) as an additional factor. Mobile device ‘DNA’ matches the authorised user’s phone when granting access to systems and applications. Contact: WatchGuard
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Kaspersky Total Security “Kaspersky Total Security provides complete protection from viruses and malware for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices. The software has a multi-layered protection designed to prevent and neutralise malware, stopping unauthorised access and hijacking of your computer and mobile devices. Kaspersky Total Security can also be used to help protect your child with powerful parental controls and guard your family’s privacy, passwords, money, confidential data and more. The product incorporates website filers to help block adult content, enabling parents to customise a list of sites your child can only visit with your permission.” Specs: Blocks viruses, cryptolockers and other threats Protects payments, with bank-grade encryption Secures passwords and images of personal documents Encrypts data you send and receive online through a secure VPN Stops webcam spies watching you in your home Helps guard kids through advanced parental controls Contact: Kaspersky
BullGuard Internet Security “BullGuard Internet Security provides award-winning malware protection that keeps users safe online. A next-gen triple layer threat detection engine and layered firewall provide outstanding protection against all sorts of threats, ranging from malware and banking Trojans to cryptocurrency mining malware. It is particularly effective in identifying zero-day threats and phishing attacks. Safe Browsing also flags up websites that are hiding malware or are known to be used to harbour malicious code. It also features BullGuard’s award-winning Game Booster which delivers faster performance for gamers while keeping them protected. Cloud integrated back-up is another important feature enabling users to store and work safely in the cloud thanks to encrypted cloud transfers. Advanced machine learning is another new addition; multiple learning layers analyse malware properties to identify and block malicious code without requiring virus updates. This ensures that zeroday threats are identified and nullified as soon as they emerge keeping users safe from advanced types of malware.” Specs: Operating Systems: Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista Mac OS X 10.11 or later Android Tablets and Phones, Android 5.0 and higher Contact: Centerprise, Spire Technology, Target Components, VIP UK
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Norton 360 Deluxe “Norton 360 Deluxe provides anti-malware, firewall, spam and phishing, and cloud technology protections to help safeguard users’ devices and private information from existing and emerging threats – all in a single solution. All PC, Mac, tablet, or smartphone devices receive protection against online threats as users bank, shop and browse online. Personal information, when transmitted through the device, has protection both at home and on-the-go with Norton Secure VPN that adds bank-grade encryption to help block cybercriminals from accessing user’s personal information when connecting to Wi-Fi. Norton 360 Deluxe also includes 50GB of cloud storage as a preventive measure against data loss due to hard drive failures, stolen devices, and ransomware, and Password Manager that allows users to manage their passwords and logins. Norton Safecam for PC alerts and helps block cybercriminals from accessing users’ webcam without their consent. The additional and improved feature Norton Parental Control also provides easy-to-use tools to help parents keep their children’s interactions safe, allows them to set screen time limits, block unsuitable sites or monitor search terms and activity history.” Specs: Antivirus and malware protection PC Cloud Backup Smart Firewall Password Manager Secure VPN PC SafeCam Parental Control Supports up to 5 Windows PC, Mac, Android and iOS devices Contact: Exertis, Ingram Micro, Tech Data
BullGuard Small Office Security “BullGuard Small Office Security is a cloud-managed endpoint security service dedicated specifically to the needs of small businesses. Central to the platform is remote management from a cloud-based dashboard that makes it easy to manage all devices at the same time, which is particularly key with the surge in working from home due to the current pandemic. For example, all teleworker devices (PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones) are easily managed from the dashboard, enabling security updates to be applied simultaneously on all devices, and if a mobile device is lost or stolen it can be remotely locked down to protect sensitive data. An alert system also provides immediate notification about security events to allow instant remedial action, such as isolating a device infected with malware.” Specs: Operating Systems: Windows 7 and higher Mac OS X El Capitan and higher Android 5.0 Lollipop and higher Contact: Centerprise, Spire Technology, Target Components, VIP UK
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TP-Link HomeCare “TP-Link HomeCare provides a kit of features to help you create a personalised, secure network for the whole family. Available in specific routers, The solution delivers comprehensive antivirus protection for your router, keeping connected devices and users safe online. Whether you want to block inappropriate content, set daily time limits, see which sites your children are using or pause the internet, HomeCare parental controls can be used from the convenience of an app. Users can also prioritise devices or activities on the network in just a few taps with Quality of Service, making sure the right device is first in line for connectivity.”
Specs: Antivirus protects every device on your network. HomeCare blocks new malicious URLs within 15 minutes. An active database protects every connected device from external threats. Simple, intuitive parental controls make it easy to keep children safe online. Simple controls let you prioritise bandwidth for specific applications and devices. Create personalised network settings for each family member. Available in specific routers – cannot be purchased as a standalone product. Contact: TP-Link
NETGEAR Armor “NETGEAR Armor protects your connected home from Internet threats. Armor’s multi-layered cybersecurity is built into your Wi-Fi router to protect your smart devices, smartphones, and computers. NETGEAR Armor includes Bitdefender’s award-winning anti-virus, antimalware, and data protection for an unlimited number of devices.” Specs: Advanced cyber threat protection at home & on-the-go. Unlimited device protection. Active vulnerability scans on your connected devices. Anti-theft protection if your devices are lost or stolen (includes Android and Windows devices). Web protection helps you browse safer by alerting you and blocking potentially harmful webpages. Bitdefender VPN encrypts your internet connection to keep your online activity private even while you’re on unsecured public networks. Instant alerts when threats are detected & blocked. Armor’s Protection Level gives you an overall security rating. Recommendations help you improve your security and Protection Level. Award-winning cybersecurity by Bitdefender. Contact: Exertis
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“Our mission is to be the world’s leading provider of end-to-end mobility solutions that are the most secure and trusted.” 46
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LIFE IN THE CHANNEL
BlackBerry Cylance’s May Mitchell May Mitchell, Vice President of Global Channel Sales and Field Marketing at BlackBerry Cylance, discusses the company’s 35-year history, its mission for 2020, and why it is so commitment to innovation... Tell us a bit about your experience in the channel and your current role at BlackBerry? I am vice president of worldwide channel sales, alliances and field marketing at BlackBerry. Among my numerous responsibilities, I lead programs aimed at driving business growth and customer retention through the partner ecosystem and sales channels across all customer segments and verticals. All told, I have worked in various channel and sales roles for over 20 years. Be it go-to-market, channel or sales in industries such as cybersecurity, cloud, mobile, infrastructure solutions, I have seen it all! I have mainly worked within the Enterprise and SMB markets during my career at companies like Symantec, IBM/ MaaS360, McAfee, Forcepoint, IronKey and Computer Associates. During my time in the industry, I have been involved in over 20 successful mergers and acquisitions and 150 product launches, many of which included developing cooperative strategic alliances with Microsoft, Cisco, Dell and IBM. I joined BlackBerry in 2016 and have worked as vice president, global field and partner marketing before stepping into my current role in 2019. I am proud to say that I have also recently been recognised as one of the top 50 Women in CyberSecurity by CyberScoop and was also included in the Power 100 Women in the Channel and Channel
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Chief for seven consecutive years by CRN. Here’s to many more! BlackBerry is probably best known historically for its range of smartphones, but the company has evolved a lot since those days. Can you tell us about the areas BlackBerry is most focused on today? For over 35 years, BlackBerry has been managing and securing endpoints across mobile, IoT and automobiles. We may have come to prominence due to the success of our mobile devices, but we have become synonymous with security, privacy and trustworthiness. There is a reason governments and businesses globally chose BlackBerry devices and now they trust and believe in the security products we create today. BlackBerry now provides organisations with software to secure the IoT devices they use, the products they make, the data they share and their communications. We are constantly developing new products and technologies to better serve our customers. We are leading the way with a single platform for securing, managing and optimising how intelligent endpoints are deployed in the enterprise, enabling our customers to stay ahead of the technology curve that will reshape every industry. Our mission in 2020 is to be the world’s leading
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provider of end-to-end mobility solutions that are the most secure and trusted. That is a big mission, but it is one we believe in and work towards every day.
threats are unfortunately to be expected so businesses and individuals need to be as vigilant as ever to minimise the risks of an attack.
How is BlackBerry helping organisations and workers adjusting to remote working during the COVID-19 crisis? We approached the current crisis in many ways in order to support our customers, partners and employees. Firstly, from a partner and customer perspective, we urgently provided 60 days’ free unlimited usage of our work from home solutions like BlackBerry Desktop which allows employees and customers to set up a containerised solution to corporate email, calendars and data using any device without the need for VPN. This was done to help protect workers and ease the burden on IT and security teams globally. We also practise what we preach. From a corporate
How does BlackBerry work with the UK tech and IT channel? Currently, BlackBerry has over 800 unique partners in the EMEA region. These combined solution and distribution partners cover the UK, Ireland, Benelux, DACH, Southern France, Spain, the Middle East, Turkey and Africa. For BlackBerry, our sales coverage models to support our partners are very similar across the US and EMEA. This gives our partners the resources to jointly plan, train, market, sell and support through global programmes that enable real and predictable growth. These programmes are in place for our national and regional solution providers, MSSPs, Alliances, OEMs and distribution partners.
“Without the right endpoint security measures in place, remote workers are targets for cybercriminals looking to steal information.” perspective, in early March we implemented a global employee work from home policy while also restricting travel. Our sales, marketing and support departments quickly and efficiently pivoted to working remotely. It is important to us that we are continuously providing updates and support to our partners, customers and employees. We have an ongoing dialogue with all our stakeholders and will continue to advise and provide solutions, training and advice on working from home where we can. What are some of the biggest cybersecurity threats you’re seeing in the current climate? As we see time and time again with large global events, threat actors are fielding the COVID-19 pandemic to their advantage by targeting critical infrastructure such as hospitals with ransomware as well as employing sophisticated phishing campaigns that pry on a user’s insecurities. Without the right endpoint security measures in place, remote workers are targets for cybercriminals looking to steal information. With large portions of the global workforce currently working from home, these
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What does BlackBerry have planned for the rest of the year and beyond? The biggest update for us is the unification of the BlackBerry and Cylance partner programmes following the announcement of the BlackBerry Spark Suites in May. As you may know we acquired Cylance in 2019, so it has been an intricate process of integrating it from a product and business perspective. We are currently on track to complete unification by September 2020. This process means we are reviewing our contractual obligations at distribution and reseller levels and we have already begun to migrate our toplevel BlackBerry resellers to a new unified partner programme structure. This unified programme will offer new discount structures for solutions and services across the BlackBerry Spark portfolio as well as deal protection and incumbency benefits. We continue to commit to our partners with driving growth in business, innovation and continuous enablement. We remain committed to improving and innovating, so look out for even more product and business updates later in 2020 and beyond.
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< Softcat helps ‘Feed the Nation in Isolation’ > Over the past month, Graeme Watt, CEO of Softcat, has been appealing to the IT industry to support a charitable campaign intended to raise money to ‘Feed the Nation in Isolation’ – specifically the homeless, the ‘food poor’ and those who normally rely on free school meals for their children. The ‘Feed the Nation in Isolation’ initiative has been created by Josh Littlejohn, founder of charity Social Bite. In response to the COVID-19 global crisis, Social Bite has re-purposed their entire organisation to create a nationwide food delivery service. Their kitchens, cafes and teams have been entirely re-deployed to produce and deliver food and supplies to those who need them most for the duration of this outbreak. Working with partners, they are ensuring that food and essential supplies can reach homeless people, families that were relying on free school meals and now have no access and those who have been made redundant due to the crisis and are now in food poverty. This campaign started in Scotland but the charity is keen to raise more funds to support food banks throughout the UK as well.
Watt commented: “Softcat has a long history of supporting charities which work to improve the lives of people in the local community but the Social Bite campaign is one that really moved us. All of us have had to sacrifice something as part of the government lockdown but food is a necessity. “Our Softcat team are getting right behind it and we already have Cisco and other big industry names on board and committed to supporting it and our ambition is to make it go viral across the industry and the whole country. It is such a fun, simple yet effective campaign so I am urging all our IT colleagues to unite with us and support Social Bite to help ‘Feed the Nation in Isolation’.” There are three key steps in supporting the initiative: 1. Make a meal with 5 ingredients and share a pic to social media. 2. Donate £5 to the Social Bite JustGiving page to help feed those in need here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ joshua-littlejohn 3. Nominate 5 other people to do the same.
“Our Softcat team are getting right behind it” Graeme Watt, CEO of Softcat
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<Logging off>\\| Out and about in the industry
<Biggest tech news from… June 2010> Now you’re up-to-date with the latest issues in tech retail, let’s take a trip down memory lane to some interesting stories from yesteryear… Dell slammed in ‘hall of shame’ listing
England game caused internet surge
10 years ago this month, computing giant Dell entered into the Forum of Private Businesses’ ‘hall of shame’, after extending the time period it must pay suppliers by 15 days. Dell cited ‘current economic conditions’ as the reason for extending payment terms from 50 to 65 days, according to a release from the organisation. Argos, United Biscuits and Carlsberg were also identified as ‘poor payers.’ “Small businesses continue to suffer from the blight of late payment, which devastates cash flow and forces firms into administration. Companies like Dell have a responsibility to pay promptly – failure to do so can mean the whole supply chain seizes up,” said Forum spokesman Phil McCabe at the time.
Ten years ago, England’s match against Slovenia caused a number of ISPs to re-evaulate the impact of football events on their networks after seeing a large increase in internet. According to Thinkbroadband, the surge in usage was caused by the match taking place within office hours for most people. Easynet Connect reported that its business broadband services saw a 226 per cent increase in web traffic compared to a normal day, while another business broadband provider Fuidata, saw its net traffic double as soon as the game started. Meanwhile the London internet exchange point LONAP doubled its traffic levels and set its own record of 29.5Gbps, and according to the BBC, the total number of streams totalled 800,000.
Acer revamps Predator desktop
Smartphone text-input revolution
In June 2010, Acer refreshed the gaming enthusiast-focused Predator desktop with a new colour scheme and updated hardware. It was two years since the Predator first hit the US gaming market, at the time the striking looks were well received by gamers looking to stand out from the crowd. The drop down fascia and the jaw-like DVD enclosure underneath were noted as interesting features. The new Predator was equipped with a 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 930, Nvidia GTX 470, 1.5TB hard drive and a 12GB of DDR3 RAM. The brand is still going strong today, with the recent Predator Triton 900 equipped with the new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 GPU and a 4K IPS1 display with NVIDIA G-SYNC technology.
Ever since the introduction of mobile text messaging, the industry has been innovating systems to ease typing on devices without full qwerty keyboards. An early example is the T9 system which added predictive language capabilities to the familiar numeric keypad cycle-click system in order to greatly accelerate the speed of text messaging. In 2010, a brand new system caused a stir in the smart phone area, which discarded the traditional individual key taps in favour of a continuously drawn gesture where the operator drags their finger from letter to letter. At the time, PCR wrote: ‘It may be tempting to think of these new gesture-based input systems as being a passing gimmick, but the signs are that this is anything but.”
NEXT MONTH JULY – 30 Under 30 The next issue of PCR will feature our annual 30 Under 30 list, highlighting the brightest young guns in the UK IT and tech industry. We will also be covering the topic of sustainability in the channel. The July issue will also feature the following sector guides: – Storage Hardware – Networking Hardware If you would like to get involved in this issue, here’s how: For editorial enquiries contact Editor Laura Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org. For advertising opportunities, contact Sales Manager Sarah Goldhawk at email@example.com.
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