In the era of Industry 4.0, automation has been one of the most effective apparatuses driving efficiency for manufacturers. Leveraging automation in manufacturing and advanced technologies, like robotics and ERP solutions, are enabling even greater gains in productivity to be made each day. In this article, we focus on the physical components of automation present on the factory floor.

Modern Manufacturing

Since the industrial revolution,manufacturing has been a notoriously dirty, dull, and dangerous business. However, with each new leap in advancement, the associated processes become more refined, the work becomes less dangerous, and the competition drives improvements in quality. At a high level, modern manufacturing’s goals can be summarized as:

  • Attempt to achieve sustained growth and earnings through building customer loyalty
  • Create high-value products
  • Weather disruption in very dynamic global markets

These are not listed in order of importance, nor are they easy business components to juggle all at once. This is where automation can deliver significant ROI. By offloading repetitive and manual tasks to automation, skilled employees can dedicate more time to higher-value and revenue-generating operations. Imagine making fewer mistakes, adding value to customer relationships, and innovating at every opportunity. Automation is making that a reality for businesses every day.

In some cases, automation takes the form of physical robots and machinery on production floors. In others, “robots” is a term that can assigned to the software processes that can complete data entry and conditional logic in administrative and business management software. The two work together in tandem to make the physical parts of managing a manufacturing business safer, more productive, and more valuable to customers.

Industry 1.0 to Industry 4.0

To talk about automation and modern manufacturing. It’s important to understand how the concepts and practical applications of automation have evolved over time.

Industry 1.0 introduced mechanization. Also known as the first industrial revolution, Industry 1.0 consisted of water-, steam-, and fossil fuel-powered systems that replaced animal power with machine power.

Industry 2.0 introduced mass production. The second Industrial revolution saw the arrival of Aviation, Radio, and Assembly-line manufacturing, with electricity powering it all.

Industry 3.0 introduced digitization. Industry 3.0 was a massive accomplishment in how productivity was achieved. This was due largely to the invention and adoption of such technologies as computers, the internet, and Information Technology. These tools provided the framework required for modern automation, mass production, and robotics.

Industry 4.0, where we are now, features cyber-physical systems (CPS) in the manufacturing environment. These systems consist of machines, their computer-controlled protocols, and their users working together in unison.

a conceptual graphic representing industry 4.0

Keep in mind that Industry 5.0 is not far off and modern manufacturers can expect exciting new technologies and process improvements to emerge in the coming years.

Connectivity With The IoT And IIoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of connected devices that communicate data to a central system that makes sense of it all.

This network consists of an enterprise’s connected edge devices, terminals, and input/output points. The data captured through this network provides an understanding of what is successful and what is not in terms of operations and processes.

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) puts a focus on this interconnectivity and data provided by the terminals, sensors, and other systems on the factory floor.

These data-fueled factories become “intelligent” environments, which are capable of informing enterprises from the top down. They provide visibility regarding the efficiency of factory processes and performance both in real-time and over time.  In short, the data enables manufacturers to refine and improve operations with relevant and up-to-date data.

Types of Automation On The Factory Floor

Automation can be thought of as the mechanization of processes in such a way that procedures can be followed and products can be created without human involvement.

There are several types of automation used on the factory floor. The type of automation utilized by a manufacturing operation will be implemented considering the products being produced, the machines required, and the resources available.

In the case of industrial automation, control systems, like computers or robots, and information technologies are utilized to handle different processes and pieces of machinery to complete a task. It can be applied most readily to data collection, data processing, and performing predictable physical work. This includes tasks like welding, soldering, painting, food prep, and packaging.

Fixed (Hard) Automation

In this example, the application is usually simple and will involve a process or assembly that is dictated by programmed commands. It is relatively difficult to accommodate changes in the product design in a fixed automation process, which is set up with one purpose or process per application in mind.

an image of fixed (hard) automation in manufacturing on the factory floor

Examples include:

  • Mechanized assembly
  • Machining transfer lines
  • Automated material handling

Advantages:

  • High production rates
  • Low unit cost

Disadvantages:

  • Relatively inflexible in accommodating product variety
  • High initial investment for custom-engineered equipment
  • High vulnerability to failure
  • Obsolescence

Programmable Automation

Programmable automation is used most often when manufacturing products in batches. It allows for customization and frequent changes throughout the manufacturing process. In this case, the operation is controlled by a program of instructions that are read and interpreted by the system. New programs can be prepared and entered into the hardware to produce new products at any time.

an image of programmable automation in manufacturing on the factory floor

Examples include:

  • Computer Numerical controlled (CNC) machine tools
  • Industrial robots
  • Programmable logic controllers (PLC)

Advantages:

  • Flexible and able to deal with design variations
  • Suitable for batch production

Disadvantages:

  • High investment in general purpose equipment
  • Lower production rate than fixed automation

Flexible (Soft) Automation

Utilizing multiple tools that are linked by a material handling system, A flexible automation system is capable of producing a variety of parts with virtually no time lost for changeovers from any one part style to the next. The same is true when reprogramming the system or altering the physical set up.

an image of flexible (soft) automation in manufacturing on the factory floor

Examples Include:

Robot arms that can be programmed to assume multiple tasks, such as insert screws, drill holes, sand, weld, insert rivets, and spray paint objects on an assembly line.

Advantages:

  • Continuous production of variable mixtures of products
  • Flexible to deal with product design variation
  • Offers Medium production rate

Disadvantages:

  • Requires High amount of investment
  • High unit cost relative to fixed automation

Totally-Integrated Automation (TIA)

A philosophy pioneered by Siemens Automation and Drives, rather than a concrete system of machinery and components, TIA includes three core concepts:

  • A common software environment
  • A common data management system
  • A common communication method

TIA implementation is ideal for many industries, including:

  • Automotive
  • General machine construction
  • Special-purpose machine manufacturing
  • Standard mechanical equipment manufacture, OEMs
  • Plastics processing
  • The packaging industry
  • Food, beverages and tobacco industries

Defining Characteristics:

  • Facilitates shorter time-to-market
  • Higher productivity
  • Lower life-cycle costs
  • Reduced complexity
  • Greater security of investment

Preventative Maintenance (PM) Versus Predictive Maintenance (PdM)

In Preventive Maintenance, tasks are completed when the machines are shut down. Predictive Maintenance activities are carried out as the machines are running in their normal production modes. Both are essential in saving manufacturers money and maintaining production quality.

More recently, special focus has been placed on Predictive Maintenance. Qualities like real-time condition monitoring allow longer periods of operation between preventative maintenance tasks, resulting in less downtime for essential machinery.

Mobile Control Of Automation in Manufacturing

Mobility is the future of your workforce.

This is visible in the increased interconnectivity between applications and hardware we use in our daily lives. Mobile control is flexible, intuitive, and powerful. The concept has taken a prominent focus within manufacturing and a call for new industry-wide standards to be adopted has come from automation’s research and engineering professionals all over the world.

Mobile apps are already being relied on as fast and user-friendly means of accessing plant information with a tap of the finger or swipe of the hand. Mobile-access can save substantially on costs, time, labor, and maintenance. The practice also enables operational problems to be identified and addressed remotely.

The Growing Pains Of Automation In Manufacturing

While it’s true the application of automation upsets work roles and employment demographics within the industries where they are applied, the real pains are felt in the short-term transition process.

“The distinction between work and learning might need to become more amorphous. We currently have a dichotomy where those who work need not learn, and those who learn do not work. We need to think about getting away from the traditional five-day working week to one where I spend 60% of my time doing my job and 40% learning on a regular basis.”

– Bhagwan Chowdhry, professor of finance at the University of California, Los Angeles

In the quote, Bhagwan Chowdhry, a noted professor of finance at the University of California, Los Angeles, explains his reasoning for the necessary shift in thinking when it comes to working and learning.

Basically, it’s understood that, while robots and automation are being used to scale operations, your workforce and their skill sets need to be scaled alongside to maintain these processes and equipment.

This enables workers to learn about and take ownership of the most technical concepts and roles within a given manufacturing operation.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


When it comes to factory operations, being reactive only addresses issues after they’ve become problems. If you want to stop issues dead in their tracks before they have an opportunity to snowball into problems, being proactive is the only way to go. Leveraging cutting-edge ERP solutions can give you the insight you need to see hiccups long before they interfere with operations. ERP solutions excel at feeding your trained eyes the data they need to identify anomalies on the fly. Streamline operations and refine your processes with a predictive approach that reduces downtime and boosts your bottom line. Control downtime events, get real-time condition monitoring, and more when leveraging the modern tools available to manufacturers.

Getting Control of Downtime Events

If you’re not leveraging the latest in predictive maintenance practices, you are already behind the pack. Factory floors have flourished with better visibility into how machines perform and more control over downtime events. The latter is an especially significant component of predictive maintenance. Even in the best scenario, poor maintenance practices cost manufacturers significantly in terms of energy, revenue, and component costs. We can’t forget to factor in customer satisfaction, which takes a hit when orders are not delivered on time.

By adopting a whether-or-not approach to maintenance, one that uses time and/or operation count to indicate when maintenance is completed, manufacturing ensure that downtime is determined they say it is.

Condition Monitoring with ERP

Condition monitoring is an approach to equipment upkeep that is simplified by modern technology and maintenance practices. These practices can be carried out periodically, during scheduled downtime events, or continuously, while machines remain in operation. The efforts are effective in combatting sudden downtime events and equipment failures, which can potentially cost manufacturers millions. Not to mention the resulting reduced confidence consumers have in the ability to keep up with demand.

ERP solutions are one tool you can use to capitalize on condition monitoring and control your maintenance cycles. This will bring downtime events to a minimum and maintain your position as a dependable manufacturer. Customizations and integrations like Epicor ERP’s Mattec MES offer real-time insights into machine performance along with a host of other beneficial tools that include, but are not limited to:

  • Real-Time Production Visibility
  • Increased Schedule Adherence
  • Improved Process Efficiency And Quality
  • Labor And Material Forecasting
  • Increased Production Capacity

Increased Safety And Productivity

Everything from vibration, voltage, temperature, and other performance indicators feed into sensing tools attached to machines. By utilizing this modern sensing technology in ERP environments, manufacturers are able to predict maintenance events, rather than react to them. This much you know by now. However, have you thought of the human component and how these practices benefit your workforce day-to-day? These innovative tools have proven their efficacy in reducing the instances of incidents, accidents, and breakdowns significantly, which saves far more money than it costs.

Beyond that, your systems can even be configured evaluate your materials on hand and make the necessary arrangements to ensure you are not caught between a rock and a hard place.

These intelligent and connected devices assist in setting data points that indicate when a part is reaching end-of-life.  Automated systems can be directed to order replacement parts if none are on-site and schedule the replacement or repair in such a way that minimizes production downtime.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


Summer Of Service

What a great morning at The Salvation Army of Greensboro Center of Hope! Thanks to this great team of alumni and a few volunteers from Encompass Solutions. We spent the morning packing bags of food and restocked the pantry shelves. A perfect end to a phenomenal Summer of Service!

an image of volunteers during summer of service at the Salvation Army Of Greensboro center of hope.

We are looking forward to many more volunteering opportunities like the Summer of Service in the Triad. These events give us the chance to repay the community that has worked so hard to maintain a quality environment for businesses and families. This is what makes Greensboro great and we couldn’t be more proud to be part of the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, the organization responsible for providing us with these opportunities to give back.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions, Inc. is an ERP consulting firm and Epicor Platinum Partner that offers professional services in business consulting, project management, and software implementation. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems or addressing the emerging challenges in corporate and operational growth, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. As experts in identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


In the last few years, automation has scaled with technological innovation exceptionally well. Manufacturing industries and consumers both are reaping the benefits every day. Hardware, like industrial robots, and enterprise software, like NetSuite and Epicor ERP, are working together more efficiently than ever before to refine processes for manufactures and deliver high-quality products to consumers. However, while production process efficiencies are making great strides, profitability control doesn’t receive the attention it should be getting. Expenditures and inefficient resource use are two of the most impactful factors for a business to consider.

Manufacturing Profitability Control

According to Federal Reserve data, Manufacturing in the US has risen for the second consecutive month. Factory production of machinery, vehicles, computers, and electronics all signaled a healthy ecosystem going into the second half of 2018. Some industrial production highlights include an increase in factory output of 0.3% and a total industrial production increase of 0.1%. Factory production was 2.8% higher than the same time last year, as well.

Production has increased because of investment, innovation, and the incorporation of new technologies into operations. While modern tools have been leveraged to improve manufacturing productivity, maintenance practices, safety, and worker wellness are feeling the pressure that comes with the demand for increased throughput. Efforts to improve real-time monitoring, control, and maintenance improve safety and equipment reliability. This helps to take a lot of the plate of factory technicians and operators who bear the stress of stakeholders’ demands.

While automation, equipment, and personnel inch closer to harmony every day, efforts in profitability control can be expanded significantly.

Manufacturing Change Management

Dr. Peter Martin, Vice President and Edison fellow at Schneider Electric, uses the relationship between manufacturers and utility providers as an apt example to illustrate the speed at which change has been adopted directly into operations but been forgotten in other areas of the manufacturing process. It is in these areas and relationships that further profitability can be explored.

“Some 20 years ago, you’d negotiate an agreement with your electrical utility supplier to fix the price for, say, a year in advance. Today, with open power grids, the price might change every five to twenty minutes. The cost of other inputs such as natural gas and raw materials can vary just as quickly,” he states. “This variation is equally evident at the consumer end. Thanks to Google and Amazon, the price of a product can change between morning and evening.”

Following a thorough round of interviews with more than 1,000 executives, Dr. Martin and his team agree the pain is being felt across the manufacturing landscape and changes can be made to combat the problem, stating, “We realized that by using sensors in a plant we could model real-time accounting at each cost and value point in the process, and these measurements would allow us to provide profitability control, pulled together with efficiency, safety, and reliability.”

Manufacturing Visibility

In another example of the factors that affect manufacturing operations’ profitability, Dr. Martin explains “Here you have ore and electricity entering the crushing circuit, and ground materials coming out. Three factors affect profitability – energy and material costs at the time consumed, and the value of the final product at the time it is produced,” he adds “You need to calculate these three variables and put them into the control system. The traditional control algorithm will, say, open a valve or manage the speed. But with real-time accounting, an algorithm will calculate the production value at each stage for each particular time period and put that value into a historian for storage and future analysis. As a result, you have a day-long list of values at every point where cost is incurred.”

Think of this visibility and data management approach like a stock ticker for the value of a given stock throughout the course of the trading day. Manufacturers already taking advantage of automation on the factory floor or in business processes, with the help of ERP systems, can further supplement their operations with profitability control.

Using these costs and fluctuations throughout the day, managers can more accurately forecast, budget, and negotiate with real-time accounting tools. The focus shifts from a month-to-month approach to analysis that’s long outdated in favor of a second-to-second one. This provides superior control in terms of a manufacturing operation’s profitability and automation efforts already in place.

Profitability Control With ERP

Beyond offering invaluable insight into expenditures of capital and resources, ERP solutions bring a lot to the table.

One of the biggest game changers for discrete manufacturers and process manufacturers is the ability to reduce waste significantly. The waste of time, money, materials, and labor can all be addressed with better visibility of demand and quicker communication. This ensures that the right amount of products are being produced to fill orders and changes are taken into account. Error reduction fits hand-in-hand with unnecessary waste. Identifying process and material issues can reduce the cost of scrap or reworking orders, which controls costs and increases profitability.

Communication throughout the ERP system is fast and efficient, as well. This ensures the right information is on hand and users have access to information they need. As a result, time wasted in tracking down order details, erroneous data, and miscommunications are less likely to occur. When the entire organization is on the same system and working cooperatively, better productivity is the result. Consistency and reliability ensure higher customer satisfaction and brand loyalty, which further increases profits over time as the business grows.

Improving productivity and controlling costs should be among the highest priorities for a business. With ERP solutions, important in delivery in full and on time (DIFOT) metrics inform your organization of delivery performance in a supply chain. It also measures how often your customers get what they want at the time they want it. Stronger performance impacts your bottom line and ERP can help streamline all the processes involved.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions, Inc. is an ERP consulting firm and Epicor Platinum Partner that offers professional services in business consulting, project management, and software implementation. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems or addressing the emerging challenges in corporate and operational growth, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. As experts in identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


The South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. Supreme Court ruling has a significant impact on businesses all over the United States. The decision effectively overturned a longstanding physical presence rule (Quill Corp. v. North Dakota) for determining when a state can make remote sellers collect sales tax.

The Supreme Court ruled on July 21, 2018 and, as a result, South Dakota is granted authority to impose sales tax obligations on out-of-state transactions.

 

a picture of a gavel on a pile of money as the SCOTUS has ruled on South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc.

South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. will have far reaching implications for businesses operating remotely throughout the United States.

 

In short, sales tax makes up more than 40% of South Dakota’s revenue. The Supreme Court judged it to be unfair that e-commerce and remote sales should be able to avoid sales tax that can generate as much as $14bn for states annually.

The aim of the ruling is to level the playing field between non-collecting e-commerce and remote sellers and brick-and-mortar businesses.

Overturning Quill Corp. v. North Dakota

The decision of this 1992 ruling effectively prevented states from collecting any sales tax from retail purchases made over the Internet or other e-Commerce routes, unless the seller had a physical presence in the state. Due to the rapid expansion and increased prevalence of e-commerce and remote sellers, the decision to exempt these businesses from paying sales tax no longer made sense and worked to the detriment of states in which those businesses conduct sales.

“Because the physical presence of Quill is unsound and incorrect, Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, 504 U.S. 298, and National Bellas Hess, Inc. v. Department of Revenue of Ill., 386 U.S. 753, are overturned.” SOUTH DAKOTA VS. WAYFAIR, INC., ET AL. NO. 17-494. ARGUED APRIL 17, 2018 – DECIDED JUNE 21, 2018

Who Is Affected By The South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. Ruling

The recent decision directly affects several nationwide sellers. In particular, the decision affects remote sellers not currently registered with the state who meet threshold requirements. Those threshold requirements are:

  • Annual sales in excess of $100,000 or 200 transactions into South Dakota

The ruling does not affect any business already registered and collecting sales tax in South Dakota. Those businesses will be grandfathered in under the new ruling.

It is important to understand that this ruling applies to both online and offline sales. Anyone conducting cross-border sales with South Dakota is bound by the new ruling.

The ruling does not change what is or is not taxable, either. Rather, it is establishing that a physical presence is no longer the criteria by which the state decides who collects sales tax. Services, not just tangible goods and personal property, fall under the new rule. This ruling will apply to manufacturers and wholesalers who sell direct to consumers, too.

Exemption certificates will be available for those businesses selling business to business (B2B).

South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. Setting Precedent and Economic Nexus

To begin, understanding the definition of economic nexus will help businesses realize what this ruling does in terms of setting precedent for other states that choose to implement the same requirements.

an infographic map showing economic nexus states following the South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. ruling

Infographic provided by tax compliance experts, Avalara.

Economic Nexus is a tax collection obligation imposed on sellers based on their level of economic activity within a state. Unlike physical presence, it is based entirely on sales revenue, transaction volume, or both.

These rules vary from state to state. With the recent ruling setting a threshold in South Dakota, it will likely lead other states to utilize the precedent and use the same threshold at a minimum.

What You Can Do

First, don’t panic. Contact your SALT CPA or attorney tax advisor and seek counsel on all nexus related requirements and law. If you don’t have one, our partners at Avalara are among the best when it comes to tax compliance and they have an extensive directory of tax experts and SALT CPAs who are able to work with you to get things in order.

You can leverage Avalara Tax Advisory Services (TAS) to:

  • Determine where you have nexus
  • Get ongoing monitoring services to see when new nexus is established
  • Register in new jurisdictions
  • Navigate tasks related to establishing new nexus

For an easy reference, download this 2018 Mid-Year Sales Tax Changes whitepaper from Avalara. Inside, you’ll find many details surrounding recent tax changes that could directly affect your business as well as how you can address the best approach to resolve any identified issues.

About Avalara

Experts in all things revolving around tax compliance Avalara makes tax compliance easy and efficiently, enabling you to do what you do best without constantly worrying about rate changes or filing deadlines.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions, Inc. is an ERP consulting firm and Epicor Platinum Partner that offers professional services in business consulting, project management, and software implementation. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems or addressing the emerging challenges in corporate and operational growth, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. As experts in identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


Ransomware has emerged as one of the preeminent tools utilized by malicious actors who target the data of businesses around the world. In 2018, ransomware attacks have been on the rise. Following these critical guidelines can help mitigate the impact a breach will have on your business.

First Things First: Educating Employees

You probably already know not to open suspicious emails or click on links that look less than legitimate. That said, human nature prevails and it never fails that curiosity or carelessness get the better of some people in the line of work. Human negligence is one of the largest, if not the top, contributor to such compromising positions as viruses, malware, and ransomware. However, there are ways to mitigate risk if you should ever find yourself on the wrong end of a malicious data breach. Educating your workforce about certain email and filesharing policies can reduce risk before you encounter a breach. Conducting in-house phishing and penetration tests are other useful avenues to explore if you have the resources available. These can open up opportunities to have candid conversations about security in the workplace as well as work to identify shortcomings in your own security efforts.

An image concept of how to protect your critical business systems from ransomware. incorporating protective barriers can secure sensitive data.

Disconnect, But Don’t Unplug

One critical mistake Ransomware victims make time and again is rushing to shut down their machine at the sight of a ransomware prompt. This is a terrible response because it will make data forensics a much more arduous process for in-house or external teams attempting to unravel the source, extent, and possible resolution to the breach. In this case, disconnect affected machines from the internet, but do not turn them off.

Don’t Panic

This is a critical time and your response will dictate the course of your recovery from this unfortunate event. As with many stressful situations that emerge in life, panic rarely results in a favorable outcome. Keep your composure, collect the personnel necessary to evaluate the situation, and prepare to enact your response plan.

The Recovery Plan

You’ve been breached. This is the moment you prepared for. Follow the steps of your carefully designed plan and follow through on every step as you work towards a resolution.

There is no rubric when it comes to data breach recovery plans. Each instance is unique to each business. Sit down with your in-house security personnel or consult with an external team to develop the ideal plan of action should you fall victim to ransomware or another malicious incident targeting your sensitive data.

Evaluating Backup Data

If at this point in the scenario you have not prepared a recovery plan or create backups for your sensitive data, chances are you’re feeling uneasy about the future of operations, potential legal action, and your company’s reputation. However, this is only a hypothetical situation and you now have the idea in your head that creating a sound recovery plan in the event of a breach and backing up important files can’t wait until after the fact. Don’t wait until it’s too late to prepare your organization for a breach. Take steps towards preparing a disaster recovery plan and begin backing up your files regularly.

Call Data Forensics

Now is the time to perform an assessment with your in-house team or enlist data forensics professionals to determine the incident’s root cause, what, if any, data has been extricated from your systems, and if the malicious actor remains inside your system with unlimited access.

Contacting the federal authorities is another option that should be taken into consideration. Some cybersecurity consultants will tell you it’s a waste of time as the three-letter organizations get hundreds of reported ransomware events a day. Others will tell you it is imperative you contact federal authorities in the event you fall victim to ransomware. Alerting the authorities likely won’t have a detrimental effect on your status if you already found yourself the victim of a breach. Their experience and advice could put you on the right course to a speedy resolution.

Ransomware And Cybersecurity Checklist

  • Commit an incident response plan to paper and practice it regularly, updating as necessary alongside new threats and security technologies as they emerge.
  • Carry out ongoing penetration testing and vulnerability scanning. These are both examples of controlled probing of your own systems for chinks in your hardened systems’ armor.
  • Keep your applications and operating systems up to date with the latest patches.
  • Train your workforce in the best practices as they apply to cybersecurity. The largest contributor to breaches is human vulnerability.
  • Continuously monitor your network integrity. This includes your anti-virus and malware protection software.
  • Conduct quarterly or annual data audits and mapping to know where your sensitive data is, how it’s stored, and how best to protect it.
  • Audit your external groups and accounts for vulnerabilities. Chances are good that a third-party you conduct business with can present a vulnerability if they are not following the same cybersecurity standards as you.
  • Backup your data regularly and test your data recovery plan often. Simulated brute force, phishing, and attack scenarios can keep your teams on their toes and continuously aware of security.
  • Understand your liability, the data protection requirements, and necessary compliance regulations in your jurisdiction.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions, Inc. is an ERP consulting firm and Epicor Platinum Partner that offers professional services in business consulting, project management, and software implementation. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems or addressing the emerging challenges in corporate and operational growth, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. As experts in identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.