Think about the vast information you have stored on your
phone; contacts, family pictures, passwords, emails, and your favorite apps.
What would happen if that information was left vulnerable for hackers to
obtain? What if the manufacturer sent out an update to protect your phone from
potential hackers, but you did not to install it because your phone was turned
off? All of your precious and personal
information would be left vulnerable to hackers wanting to steal and use that
data. This same scenario is what companies combat every day except on a larger scale.
Companies at every level have to combat the possible attacks
of hackers. In today’s world, the potential of your company being hacked is not
a question of “if” but of “when”. According to a 2015 study by Duke University and CFO
Magazine Global Business Outlook Survey, hackers have successfully infiltrated
more than 80 percent of U.S. companies.
Smaller organizations are more prone to breaches as they have fewer
resources to allocate to potential threats.
Businesses are often more susceptible
to these attacks because proper measures have not been put in place to
effectively combat and protect against significant attacks such as malware or
ransomware. In relation to the various attacks that companies may see, there
are two major levels of cyber-attacks.
Breaking down what’s out there
Cyber-attacks can range from
soft/medium grade attacks such as phishing or hackers receiving information
from a disgruntled employee to hard attacks which requires hackers to get
direct access to the information through breaking in or hacking the firewall.
There are specific gatekeepers
to each level that can help identify and prevent potential hacks. All in all a
lot of the responsibility comes down to how you manage your electronic
Soft/mid-grade attacks are the
more common form of hacking that companies face. The gatekeepers for this level
of attack include the employees and the IT department. With this type of
attack, hackers are able to enter into a company database through phishing or
exploiting a known password schema to gain access into the system. These
attacks can also happen due to insider information from disgruntled employees given
Forrester’s 2016 Global Business Technographics® Security
Survey revealed around 49% of global network security decision-makers reported
that they had experienced at least one breach over the past 12-months. Soft/mid-grade attacks can be avoided by the implementation
of employee education such as online security courses that require a refresher
every year. Other measures to stop such attacks include a vigilant IT, having a
strong rotating password in place, and ensuring that any suspicious emails or
activity is addressed immediately.
The second and more extreme level of cyber-attacks are known
as a hard attack. Malware, Ransomware, and Denial-of-Service (DoS) viruses are
examples. These attacks are more
difficult to engineer as they require more leg work. Hackers are searching through code, looking
for various security holes and may even necessitate physical access to company
buildings in order to retrieve the information they need.
In a recent Forrester study found that software
vulnerability is responsible for 42 percent of attacks. These threats can inflict significant
monetary damage to a company. The majority of these threats exploit known
software vulnerabilities. For this level
of cyberattacks, it is vital to keep the company’s software updated. Immediate
and frequent updates of security software, application of security patches, and
better physical security are the best precautions a company can take to deter
these intrusions. The immediacy of these
updates can sometimes be the difference between a small or non-issue and a major
issue; it is crucial that IT departments have the tools to update their
Becoming more proactive
Although educated employees and a strong IT department are crucial
to keeping hackers out of the company’s data, these best practices and
solutions, such as anti-malware, virus-protection, and firewalls, are useless
without the proper implementation. The
real security holes are found when IT cannot update or have not updated their
equipment. Machines that are in a low
power state are typically unreachable and, as a result, unavailable for an
emergency security update.
Enterprise-wide, effective wake solutions are an investment
that companies should make in order to ensure their networks are effectively
executing software patching updates. Machines that are powered down will not
receive or process updates sent out by IT departments until they are awakened. Implementation
of wake software allows machines that are powered down to be awakened and
alerted to the updates so that their systems can adapt and download the changes
that help to lessen their cyber vulnerability.
Power Management solutions that include enterprise-wide wake help solve
the waking issue as a complement to their function. Companies using this technology have seen
increased success in software updates, from about 60 percent before the implementation
of the wake solutions software to about 95 percent success after the use of
Being aware of the multi-pronged problems that arise as a
result of software not being patched or installed is a major step in protecting
yourself from an attack against your company and ensuring the security of your
Millions of people are using social media to network, sell
products, to extend influence and inevitably, complain about poor service. A
recent report on social media use reveals 1.59 billion people engaging with
Facebook, 320 million with Twitter and over 100 million people on LinkedIn.
Beyond these impressive numbers, do you really know the extent to which this
activity impacts on your customer service?
Before the rise of social media, if you had an issue with the
service you received you could complain face-to-face. Another option was to
ring the company later, or write a letter and wait patiently for your issue to
be resolved. All these pathways to customer service are still valid, though
each has their own problems. Face-to-face conversations can be confrontational.
With communication increasing via screens, confrontation is something many
people shy away from.
A browse through Facebook or Twitter reveals a world where even
the smallest everyday occurrences are shared publicly. For many people, it’s
not even a conscious decision anymore to let your social network know what
you’re up to. Any interaction with a business - good or bad - is likely to be
highly visible. Can you really afford to ignore this trend? As an enterprise
with ‘key stakeholders’ and ‘margins’, you really need to know what these
people, your customers, are saying aboutyou.
Doing the right thing
While some share complaints immediately, many customers still
choose to contact the company directly – via social media – to share their
concerns and look for an appropriate resolution. Industry research reveals the
alarming statistic that from January 2014 to May 2015 the use of social media
for complaints had increased 300 percent.
That represents a lot of complaint traffic. However, there’s no
reason for panic. Complaints aren’t new. As you already know how to provide
great customer service – why shouldn’t you be able to translate it into
excellent social media engagement? This is your opportunity to visibly do the
right thing in a very public setting, to promote outstanding customer service
and turn your critics into advocates.
Terms of engagement
To achieve an online presence that is proactive and
customer-centric, requires precise targeting. Adequate software to capture
complaints and analyze data is a must; as well as policies and procedures in
place for colleagues to exemplify good practice.
Equip your customer service team with the right skills to
respond. A badly-written response or negative tone may do as much damage in a
public forum – if not more – as not responding in the first place. All
employees should be aware of your company’s mission statement and objectives.
All levels of the business, from the boardroom down, should be engaged and
Ensure your customer service and marketing departments are
communicating effectively. Empower your employees to make good decisions. Once
they’re confident with their own judgement, you minimize risk. Technology is
available to add layers of protection, if required.
Great customer service looks the same on all channels. Customers
want the same things: they want a swift response; they want you to be honest
and acknowledge your mistakes; and they want a satisfactory outcome.
Are you genuine?
Train your staff to recognize genuine engagement: let them use
their own natural tone of voice; their own words; and their name to ensure that
personal touch. Placatory comments without substance, or using obvious cut and
paste templates should be avoided. One engaging, conversational response
addressing the customer’s concerns directly, offering an appropriate solution,
is much better than going through the motions. Reward colleagues who
demonstrate the best you have to offer.
A public apology and transparent ownership of mistakes show
customers you care. However, you could set a precedent for every customer to
demand the same outcome. You might even encourage unscrupulous people to make
false complaints if you offer public compensation. If you need to have a
conversation about sensitive data, let the customer know that you will contact
them privately. Avoid pushing the initiative back on to them to complain again
elsewhere, especially via a different channel.
Technology answers back
Invest in software to analyze your presence and feedback on the
main social media channels. It’s not just complaints - many people will share
positive experiences too, or even seek the answers to basic service questions.
Every customer who comments about you must be addressed; the one you overlook
is the one that will escalate and damage your reputation. Technology can help
you to catch negative feedback before it escalates. Have a system that alerts
you to a problem and aim to resolve it within a set time.
Some people just want to cause trouble. Identifying trolls and
dealing with them effectively is a key part of your strategy. Again, look to
your processes – do your employees know what to do? Make sure you teach them
how to handle potentially sensitive public situations.
A clear brand vision
Communication at all levels is vital. Align skills and knowledge
about best customer service practice. Possess a clear vision that is shared
throughout the business. Ensure marketing provides feedback and reports on
social media analysis and that customer service craft responses that reflect
this vision. If you have a separate complaints team bridge the divide by
creating one team, or by improving connections.
Effective social media management helps to develop and maintain
a healthy brand and improves relationships with your customers. Reinforce your
vision daily and show it working publicly through social channels. As your
customers are talking about you – you have nothing to lose, and much to gain –
by giving them a platform to talk to you. Most importantly – you remain in
Recently, I came across a
best-selling book on the history of physics and was intrigued by the many stories
of discovery over the centuries, but equally interested in the challenges of
what we have yet to understand. In the 4th century B.C., ancient
Greek philosopher Democritus postulated that the world is made up of atoms, particles
too small to be seen, which are the building blocks of all matter. The next 2,300 years were filled with
competing ideas about the nature of the universe, but it wasn’t until the 20th
century that this “Atomic Theory” was finally confirmed.
The beginning of the last century
was the dawn of a new revolution, unlike others before. Industries were
developing methods of mass producing goods and delivering to market more
efficiently to drive down the cost per unit. Governments were finding new
ideologies, nations were preparing for war, and technology was developed to
gain strategic and tactical advantages. It is clear that science was moving
beyond millennia of observation and intuition into an age of experimentation
and measurement. It was in 1905 that a young Swiss patent clerk’s ideas would fundamentally
change the way we understand the universe.
This young man was Albert Einstein
and, he did what no one over the millennia has been able to do: confirm that
atoms in fact existed. Until this time, scientists could not figure out how to
measure an atom, much less view one. Einstein’s solution was simple. He would measure
the amount of wiggle that particles like pollen or dust exhibit while in a
fluid. Basically, these molecules vibrate and drift while in suspension, and - by
measuring this amount of movement or drift, you could calculate the size of an
atom based on their collisions, thus confirming 2,300 years of intuition.
As a result of Einstein’s
confirmation of the atom, photoelectric effect, and the theories of general and
special relativity, quantum physics emerged as a new field with a focus on
understanding sub-atomic particles. At this smaller-than-the-atom perspective,
things do not occur intuitively. In fact, much of classical physics principals
no longer apply, as observation and logic alone could not be used to understand
this quantum level. Measurement and
mathematics emerged as the best way to unlock further understanding.
Likewise, in the second half of the
20th century, Japanese engineers were developing methods to improve
efficiency in their manufacturing plants in order to rebuild their war-torn
nation’s economy. Lean manufacturing, as we know it today, is the combination
of those techniques and the use of quantitative objective measurements by American
engineers focused on understanding and refining manufacturing processes. Years
later, Six Sigma methodology was born as an extension of these objectives to
control variation in processes. In more recent years, advances in technology
have provided teams of operational leaders with the tools needed to understand
what is happening on their shop floors. Gone are the days of using intuition to
determine whether or not you had a good day.
Today, tools like Factory MES provide you with real-time metrics
captured directly from your operation.
In order to remain competitive and
continue to improve your complex manufacturing processes, it is essential that
you have the data readily available to make informed decisions and drive
actions. Now, when you want to know whether you had a good day, you simply pull
up a report and, based on your predefined criteria, you no longer have to guess….you
know. Intelligent, real-time action can be taken, problem solving activity can
be launched, and countermeasures deployed, all with the use of data captured
from your shop floor.
Let Aptean partner with you to ensure
that your Factory MES application is optimized and providing you with the
critical information you need. Over the more than ten years of working with Factory
MES at customer sites across the globe, we have developed a gold standard of
what system and user configuration looks like. We have examined what strong
users are doing, developed modules and functionality where a need exists, and given
attention to new and creative ways the application is being used. We want to
hear your voice and engage with you and your team to make Factory work even
better for you.