strategic IT insights from the week

Strategic Insights: Transformation Success in Manufacturing

January 18, 2021

Strategic Insights: Transformation Success in Manufacturing

Next Dimension curates the most practical and useful tools and strategic IT insights from the web.  This week we shared articles across our social media talking about Transformation Success in Manufacturing.

1 in 5 Manufacturing employees would fall for a phishing email.  How many staff do you employ?

Canadian Manufacturing says 22% of employees in the manufacturing industry would fall victim to a phishing email.  That’s 1 in 5.  Solarwinds is a network monitoring tool used by many MSPs (not Next Dimension), which means, if they get hacked, all MSPs and their clients have also been exposed.  SolarwWinds verified that 18,000 if its 33,000 clients were in fact compromised.

How did the hackers do it?  They create a fake software update, and those clients that went through with the update subsequently loaded the malware onto their network.  The malware was not designed to seize the network, instead, the hackers were able to sort through clients’ personal data files.

How do you solve this lack of training?  We have partnered with KnowBe4 to create a free online course to help protect your employees.

SOURCE: CANADIAN MANUFACTURING

What new tools are you adopting in 2021? Let us know!   

There are plenty of new technology categories emerging as employees continue to work remotely.  While video conferencing isn’t new, Virtual Whiteboarding and other solutions are trending to start 2021.  Change had to be made rapidly in 2020.  Now it’s about taking the best changes and making them sustainable regardless of employee location.  With new technologies comes new exposure and new potential security vulnerabilities.  Safeguarding corporate data while simultaneously adopting new solutions is no small task.  Here are some tips to remain successful in 2021 and beyond:

Consider creating a hybrid work playbook

Consider adding tools like the virtual whiteboard, efficiency tracking software

Be mindful of how new technologies may increase the security vulnerability of your organization

Focus on generating trust between management and employees, aside from log on/log off tracking

Kicking off the year with the right corporate mindset will keep your business focused on the right tactics to boost productivity and profitability.

SOURCE: CIO DIVE

THERE’S NO TIME TO WASTE: Digital transformation in the Manufacturing sector must happen now.

While production didn’t grind to a halt as originally feared, there were declines for the manufacturing sector in the spring of 2020.  Successful organizations used that time to ramp up their efforts to join Industry 4.0.  Continuing this effort, Forbes listed six trends they believe will hold strong in 2021:

Move to Globalization
Shift to the Edge
Surge in 3D Printing
Supportive IT Infrastructure
Human Centered AI
Increased Investment in IIoT

In the next year, investments in smart manufacturing technology will continue to grow, and adoption of these technologies will continue to transform how organizations operate.

SOURCE: FORBES

70% of Digital Transformation initiatives do not reach their goals. Avoid these pitfalls in your own journey:

The Digital Transformation journey is fraught with pitfalls as many organizations are taking this journey for the very first time, and are doing so under the duress of outside pressure.  Medium.com’s writer inVerita says these are the five dangers to be weary of in your own journey:

1. The absence of a digital savvy leader
2. The imbalance between technology and business strategies
3. Relying only on in-house members
4. Losing track of the client experience
5. The project is not thoroughly planned

Next Dimension offers a Digital Leadership and Transformation strategy with useful workshop tools right on our website.

SOURCE: MEDIUM.COM

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Looking for more great resources? Visit our Learning Academy.


strategic IT insights from the week

Strategic Insights: Digital & Operational Efficiency

January 12, 2021

Strategic Insights: Digital & Operational Reliability

Next Dimension curates the most practical and useful tools and strategic IT insights from the web.  This week we shared articles across our social media talking about Digital and Operational Reliability.

Cyber crime could cost the world $6 Trillion by the end of 2021. [SIX STEPS] Cybersecurity protection strategies are right here:

It’s no secret. They way we do business has changed, and we are still deciding on new remote and hybrid strategies that work best for our companies.  One element that cannot be compromised is safety from cyber crime.  Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that the cost of cyber crime could reach $6 Trillion worldwide by the end of 2021.

To that end, Forbes has shared their six ways to protect your organization in 2021:

1. LEARN

2. CREATE A CYBERSECURITY FRAMEWORK.

3. ENACT BASIC CYBER HYGIENE

4. BE VIGILANT LOOKING FOR SOCIAL ENGINEERING ATTACKS

5. PREPARE TO SAFEGUARD IOT

6. CONSIDER OUTSOURCE SECURITY SERVICES

Nothing can every fully protect your business from the data loss or productivity loss of cyber crime, but these six steps can drastically reduce the impact of this crime against your organization.

SOURCE: FORBES

Forbes lists ‘Ways to Accelerate Digital Transformation’ in the following article. What would you add?   

Never before in the history of modern business has there been such a high level of digital adoption as there was in 2020.   Employees went home, customers went online, suppliers went scrambling.  Regardless of where you started 2020 on the digital adoption curve, chances are you’ve jumped right in to various digital transformation efforts.

Here are a list of three ways to accelerate Digital Transformation inside your organization:

Audit your current state of digital maturity

Analyze the disruption in your customer journey

Leverage technology that will pivot the business model

Taking this approach will help you keep an eye on where your organization started, what your customers need, and where your business needs to go.

SOURCE: FORBES

Don’t have a CIO on your team? Make sure someone is managing these 3 expectations in 2021.

The year is 2021.  Your business is forced to define new success streams and metrics while doubling down on backup and security plans.  The IT department must play well in the sand with all members of the boardroom to ensure a successful digital transformation across the entire organization.

Here are three collective goals that must be shared across the business in order to thrive in 2021 and beyond:

1. Grow revenue through digital channels

2. Optimize cost

3. Rethink business continuity.

While these are important for the acceleration of your Digital Transformation, please remember: Digital Transformation doesn’t happen without a culture shift!

SOURCE: ENTERPRISE PROJECT

[LOOK FOR THE RED FLAGS] Ransomware attacks are seldom “random” and are even less likely to be “uncalculated”.  Here are five red flags to watch out for:

Forbes says if we take a moment to “peel back the curtain” we’ll see signs of a planned, premeditated attack on business.  A calculated crime whereby the criminal knows exactly where to go to find the valuable data, and oftentimes knows exactly how much to demand to ensure their requests are met.  But if we know where and how to look, we’ll see red flags inside the organization well before anyone descends on your network:

1. A “Dry Run” of test attacks. Attackers will likely probe the edge of your network repeatedly.

2. MimiKatz + Microsoft Process Explorer. MimiKatz is a common hacker credential theft tool used to export logins and passwords.  Beware of MimiKatz!

3. Network Scanners like AngryIP and Advanced Port Scanner. Is there a presence of a network scanner on your network?  Can you trace it back to a viable source?

4. Security-Disabling applications like GMER, PC Hunter, Process Hacker, and more.  Again, these solutions on their own pose no risk, and may very well be on your network for good reason.  The important item of note is to ensure the software is on your network for legitimate purposes, placed by a legitimate source.

5. Repeated Suspicious Activities. IT teams remove suspicious malware detections all the time. The red flag? look for those that are repeatedly in your list even though they were removed. There’s likely a bigger issue causing malware to reinstate!

Monitoring these red flags will help you identify anomalies sooner.

SOURCE: FORBES

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter and never miss an update.  Prefer a weekly recap? Join our Community (on the right) and be notified when our Industry Wrap is published each week.

Looking for more great resources? Visit our Learning Academy.


become a digital leader

WORKSHOP RECAP: Becoming an Effective Digital Leader

January 4, 2021

Workshop Recap: Becoming an Effective Digital Leader

Does your company feel the pressure to appoint a Digital Leader? Where does the pressure originate? Is there a natural Digital Leader on your team? Is it you?  The first portion of this workshop focused on identifying the demand for digital leadership.  From there, we moved through the five steps to becoming an effective Digital Leader.  Finally, we explored the assessment tool “Are You a Natural Digital Leader?”.  Access the assessment tool.

become a digital leader

Here’s a snapshot of the 5 Steps to Becoming an Effective Digital Leader:

Reframe your Perspective

Define your Digital Leader Mindset

Change your Brain Monologue

Reinforce the New Mindset

Amplify Behaviours with Experiential Learning

Assessment Tool: Are You a Natural Digital Leader?

Next Dimension worked with a number of sources to create this free assessment tool.  A successful Digital Transformation begins with the identification and selection of your organization’s Digital Leader.  Is it you?  Assess your natural skills and abilities to determine how ready you are to take on this critical role.

Other topics in this workshop series:

Workshop #2 will help you assess your organizational readiness.  It will address the critical question of “Are you ready to fail fast?”.  Included in workshop is an organizational readiness assessment.  Our third and final workshop in this series will help you develop your roadmap to launch your digital strategy.

Learn more about all available Digital Leadership workshops here.


become a digital leader

WORKSHOP PREVIEW: Become a Digital Leader

December 8, 2020

Workshop Preview: Become a Digital Leader

On December 15th at 1pm EST we will kick off our Digital Leadership Series.  The first interactive workshop will engage in How to Become a Digital Leader.  Do you have a Digital Leader on staff? Do you consider yourself the one who’s been thrown into that role? This Digital Leadership workshop series will take you through the Five Steps to Becoming an Effective Leader workplan.  Once we’ve reviewed the five steps, you will have the opportunity to take a blank workplan and customize it to your own business needs.  Reserve your spot to claim your copy of the workplan.

become a digital leader

What’s in the workplan?

Effective digital leadership begins with a shift in your mindset, followed by a shift in culture, and finally a shift in how your organization views, relies on, and leverages technology.

The workplan will give you practical tools and instruction on how to shift your mindset, and influence your organization’s culture.

Who should attend?

Influencing the culture of your entire organization must be a team effort.  Those invested in the operations, efficiency, security, and the technical infrastructure should all consider attending.  We know that’s not always feasible, so we will be recording the workshop and making it available as a self-paced recording.

Are there other topics in this workshop series?

Yes!  This is the first in our interactive workshop series.  Workshop #2 will help you assess your organizational readiness.  It will address the critical question of “Are you ready to fail fast?”.  Included in workshop is an organizational readiness assessment.  Our third and final workshop in this series will help you develop your roadmap to launch your digital strategy.

Learn more about all available Digital Leadership workshops here.


strategic IT insights from the week

Strategic Insights: Digital & Operational Efficiency

December 7, 2020

Strategic Insights: Digital & Operational Efficiency

Next Dimension curates the most practical and useful tools and strategic IT insights from the web.  This week we shared articles across our social media talking about Digital and Operational Efficiency.

With threats on the rise, gaining visibility into the OT environment is crucial.  Conducting regular architecture reviews will help ensure devices are up to date.

ZDNet says Industrial Control Systems (ICS) at greatest risk for new cyber threats on the shop floor.  Industrial Control Systems pose a particularly challenging risk – they’re connected to almost everything.  What’s worse?  They’re likely connected to every location as well.  Worst case scenario?  Production is halted long enough to impact an entire industry.

This is why ICS protection has quickly climbed the ranks to the most important element in Operational Security.  It’s not the amount of threats in the market, it’s the severity of the impact if threats materialize.

What can you do?  Gain the ability to see.

“Gaining visibility into the OT environment is very crucial – you can’t protect what you don’t know exists”.  Not sure how to get started?  We can help.

SOURCE: ZDNET

Agile decision making relies on collaboration between IT and the Boardroom.  The business, and its technology, must work together to complete the transformation.   

BusinessLive shares great insight about the cohesiveness that must exist between IT and the Boardroom for a successful Digital Transformation.  To truly evolve, the organization must consider what’s best for staff, customers, and suppliers.  Every decision maker needs to be on the same page.  Here are 4 NON TECHNICAL gaps that must be addressed for a successful transformation:

1. Gaps in existing leadership capability

2. Gaps in digital mindset

3. Gaps in operating models

4. Gaps in skills set

BusinessLive prioritizes changing mindsets and reskilling and upskilling as critical first steps to transformation success.

SOURCE: BUSINESSLIVE

Operational Technology on the shop floor is at risk as team are overwhelmed by volumes of security and data.  

IT and OT Convergence will continue to soar through 2021 and beyond.  As integration increases, so does the need for secure and reliable connections between devices, plants, and networks.  Teams are overwhelmed by the volume of data, and the requirements to secure that data.  These challenges can no longer be solved by IT alone.  Once again, articles like these are clearly defining the problem;

MANUFACTURING ORGANIZAITONS LACK THE VISIBILITY NEEDED FOR EFFECTIVE THREAT DETECTION AND RESPONSE – ESPECIALLY WHERE OT ASSETS ARE CONCERNED.

SOURCE: PRNEWSWIRE

Entrepreneur says 67% of the worlds largest organizations are likely to invest more in technology than staff development in 2021.  Which way are you leaning? 

With the addition of connected devices, paired with the plethora of new technology solutions available, your organization’s tech budget can get blown before 2021 even begins.  Business operations need to be more safe, and more readily available for not only remote staff, but also remote customers.

Now is the most critical time to dispel the belief that your company’s digital transformation must be a long, expensive, and arduous process.  There are many solutions that can help you improve and automate your processes, and better and more safely connect with customers, without the need for massive investments or vast in-house technical knowledge.

SOURCE: ENTREPRENEUR

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter and never miss an update.  Prefer a weekly recap? Join our Community (on the right) and be notified when our Industry Wrap is published each week.

Looking for more great resources? Visit our Learning Academy.