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The Knowledge Academy - we use our pioneering spirit to responsibly deliver Knowledge to the world and to nourish and delight everyone we serve. Governed by our relentless focus on quality and value for money for our clients, we constantly strive to implement critical initiatives required to achieve our vision. In doing this, we deliver operational excellence in every corner of the Company and meet or exceed our commitments to the many clients we serve.
We are a truly multinational organisation with a local connection to all our clients, we are different because we challenge training industry norms to extend professional qualifications to learners across the world regardless of geographical or financial position. If you have an interest in learning for yourself or for your teams contact us now and let us help you achieve your true learning potential with The Knowledge Academy.
25 Jul 2017
Due to the recent arrival of our new range of accredited SAFe® training courses, , we thought it necessary to provide you with a simple guide to SAFe®, to clear up any burning questions you may have. What is SAFe? You may be wondering what SAFe® actually is: SAFe® stands for Scaled Agile Framework. SAFe® combines the methodologies of Lean and Agile to integrate knowledge-base techniques for the purpose of large-scale software development. SAFe® has been constructed around helping customers provide solutions to their greatest scaling problems, so SAFe® aims to equip you with the ability to adequately lead the conversion of Scaled Agile Framework into your organisation. The striking thing about SAFe® is its suitability for a wide range of industry types, regardless of size. SAFe® can be applied to small businesses made up of under 100 practitioners, to vast enterprises which deal with substantial software solutions. As a result, SAFe® is scalable and pliable, and can be adapted to the specific needs of an enterprise. What SAFe® courses do we provide? The Knowledge Academy provides five SAFe® training courses in total, all focusing on different SAFe® aspects and of varying difficulty levels. The courses are: Certified Scaled Agile Framework Leading SAFe® 4.5 Training & Exam (2 Days) Implementing SAFe® with SPC Certification (4 Days) SAFe® 4.0 Release Train Engineer with RTE Certification (3 Days) Certified SAFe® Product Manager / Product Owner Training & Exam (2 Days) Certified SAFe® Practitioner for Team Training & Exam (2 Days) The first course, Leading SAFe® 4.5, is ultimately a Foundation level training course. Similarly, Implementing SAFe® with SPC Certification represents an Intermediate level course, so it acts essentially as a follow on course. The final three certifications can be defined as subsections of advanced courses, which are more specialised in nature, for example the final course listed above is designed for teams in particular. It is also highly recommend that a delegate possesses one of the Foundation or Intermediate training courses before attending some of the more specific courses. How can SAFe® help me? SAFe® can assist you and your business in keeping up with ever-changing economic and technological conditions. This is vital, because if you are unable to adapt quickly to fast-paced business environments then your organisation may dissolve, just like former market leaders Nokia, Blockbuster, and Kodak, for example. Whilst this is a notable advantage of SAFe®, many others exist: Enhanced quality of services/goods Increased productivity Deliver value faster Greater employee engagement Boosted transparency SAFe® in Practice One of the key components of SAFe®, Agile Release Trains (ARTs), which align teams to a common goal and technical mission, can be witnessed in an athletic relay team. ARTs ensure that SAFe® delivers value by organising people so they plan and perform together. ARTs are based on the Value Streams of an organisation, and exist to adopt improvements that will increase user value. Ultimately, deployment has the goal of achieving a continuous flow of value. Strengths are identified in terms of performance advancements, so in the case of the relay team, their ‘new functionality’ is their ability to improve their current personal best. The common mission for this relay team was to keep reaching this personal best, to identify what they were doing differently to achieve their score, and maintain this. Applying this in business terms allows for the effective delivery of value and solutions, whilst managing the risks and inconsistencies present within developments. Essentially, ARTs are multi-functional and possess the ability to identify, implement, experiment, and deploy new systems. If Scaled Agile Framework interests you, our SAFe® training courses are now available now. Book with The Knowledge Academy today, earn your certification and enhance your career.Read more
24 Jul 2017
ITIL is a qualification that provides a detailed set of practices for IT service management, focusing on the idea of aligning IT services within the business in order to help measure improvements, as well as demonstrating compliance on a range of issues. Ultimately a business that implements ITIL practices is able to better manage their IT services and can ultimately transform themselves by pushing for business change and growth. Here, we’re taking a closer look at ITIL Foundation and why people are turning towards this particular qualification. What Is ITIL? Research has shown that many IT professionals have felt like their business is generally out of sync with the requirements of their IT projects. In fact, a huge 78% of IT professionals felt this way. Some businesses have been looking to change this point of view, with 45% of organisations beginning to invest in project management as a whole. With ITIL being the most widely accepted form of training for IT professionals and service managers, it’s easy to see why this approach is beginning to be adopted. Generally, ITIL is comprised of 5 different levels, from Foundation to Expert, and the concept behind this is that it helps to provide specialist processes for professionals to utilise depending on which stage of the service lifecycle they work in. These stages generally include design, development, delivery and support, and with some of the biggest brands in the world such as Boeing, IBM and Microsoft all using this framework, it’s easy to see how much of an impact ITIL can have on a business. What Does ITIL Do? Generally, ITIL is the key to maintaining quality of IT services, and with IT projects generally revolving around delivering services in an efficient and effective manner, there are a number of ways that ITIL can support this. Statistics show that 75% of IT professionals believe that their projects are ‘doomed from the start’ and this can lead to a lot of negativity within the workplace. In addition to this, 80% of professionals believe that they spend at least half of their time doing rework throughout a project, which is unproductive and not beneficial for the delivery of the project. Interestingly, this has led to 32% of organisations never or only sometimes completing their projects on time, and only 31% of projects managing to not exceed their budget. These statistics provide an idea of just how many problems organisations tend to face when it comes to IT project management. Other problems include inconsistency in approach, frequent changes to scope and poor resource management. ITIL aims to eliminate these issues and apply a framework to IT projects in order to help keep a consistent approach, offer clear goals and provide better resource management in order to ensure services meet the needs of end users. What Will I Learn In ITIL Foundation Training? ITIL Foundation is the first of the five ITIL certifications. It provides an introduction to the concepts of ITIL and IT service management, including the IT service lifecycle on which ITIL is based, as well as information regarding the principles and the fundamentals. By providing a full understanding of the basics of ITIL, ITIL Foundation can help IT professionals stand out in their field and prepare to work in a company which uses ITIL practices. While it is the most basic level of certification when it comes to ITIL, it provides an excellent basis for producing a much more streamlined and effective service management process within a business. Why Should I Learn ITIL? There are a huge number of benefits when it comes to learning ITIL for both business and personal development. For your business, ITIL provides a structured order of processes for improved planning and delivery for both the business itself and its customers. In addition to this, ITIL can help to better manage business risk and service disruption, ensuring a stable service even when services are in the transitional stage. ITIL encourages regular reviews and improvement of services, helping to better provide their customers with improved services and ultimately improving the business as a whole. ITIL can also improve the visibility of costs and assets for IT service managers, helping them to reduce their service cost and better use the resources that they have available. On a personal level, when it comes to professional development, ITIL qualifications provide improved employability, improved chances of a promotion, better pay and acknowledgement to employers that you understand how to work using the most used IT service management framework in the world. ITIL is a globally used service management practice, improving your business’ relationship with customers and helping to boost your professional development too. If you’re looking to learn ITIL, then make sure to contact The Knowledge Academy today to find out more about the ITIL Foundation courses that we provide.Read more
19 Jul 2017
Why Change PRINCE2? Now that the PRINCE2 2017 updates have been released, there is a fair amount of uncertainty regarding how project management might have changed. While we have briefly addressed what the PRINCE2 2017 update will mean, there are many professional project managers that are in some confusion in terms of what this most recent update entails. As with any project management methodology, PRINCE2’s value lies in its relevance to modern projects. Unless project managers are capable of keeping up with contemporary industries and forward-thinking competitors, a project’s success holds little value. No matter how many targets have been met successfully, the main indicator of success should be what the organisation gains as a result of a successfully completed project. This is precisely why PRINCE2 has undergone this most recent update. AXELOS’ Future Project Management Professional report released in January 2017 was eye-opening in terms of the difficulties that project managers are facing and will likely continue to face in developing industries. You can view our full summary of the report here. Paraphrasing the survey’s findings, a majority of the project managers taking part in this survey strongly believed that professional projects are likely to go through a lot of changes in the future and that more focus will be given to effective project management than ever. It is for these reasons that PRINCE2 requires regular updates and revisions. With the last major update being in 2009, it was only a matter of time before PRINCE2 was updated again, and what we’re seeing now is the inevitable modernization of one of the materials outlining the most widely used and successful project management methodologies. How is the new PRINCE2 2017 update different? While the methodology itself won’t be undergoing any extreme changes, the study materials and examinations have undergone a revision to make the methodology easier to apply to different styles of projects. The most notable changes that have been made to the guidance are those that aim to make the PRINCE2 methodology more tailorable and relevant to modern projects. It was often found that, while PRINCE2 remains highly relevant to modern projects, there seems to be a lack of understanding amongst project managers in terms of how they might implement the methodology when tackling more complex projects. As a consequence, this latest update for the PRINCE2 guidance will aim to rectify this problem by providing more examples, tips and guiding information on how project managers can apply the methodology to different types of projects. It also aims to help project managers to identify the aspects of PRINCE2 that are relevant to their project, improving the methodology’s agility. This improved agility has inevitably lead on to another change in the PRINCE2 guidance, which is to include more information that links PRINCE2 to other project management methodologies that are more broadly used for complex projects today, such as Agile and PMP. The exams similarly have been changed to give more focus to project managers’ understanding of how to effectively apply PRINCE2 to different types of projects. Questions will focus more on the core of PRINCE2 and the tailoring of it. While a number of questions and general grading has been changed, this is mostly due to the different content of the questions and these changes have been put in place to ensure that the difficulty of the PRINCE2 examination doesn’t change. What does the PRINCE2 update mean for me? While a fair few changes are bound to occur, professionals with a PRINCE2 certificate have nothing to worry about, and neither do project managers that have yet to enrol in PRINCE2 training. Careful measures have been put in place to ensure that the difficulty of the PRINCE2 exams do not change after the update has been introduced. AXELOS have also made sure that current holders of a PRINCE2 certificate are not put at a disadvantage. Rather than current qualifications becoming outdated, old PRINCE2 certificates will remain valid until their expiry date, which is 5 years after the certificate was received. To ease the transition between the two qualifications and to ensure that no one that has currently bought a place in PRINCE2 training projects has their plans to qualify derailed, the old version will be available in the UK until the first day of 2018. However, elsewhere around the world, different dates have been set to complete the transition from the old version to the updated version of PRINCE2. One of the most common questions that we have been asked regarding the PRINCE2 update is whether or not people that want to become qualified should wait until after the update is available to enrol in PRINCE2 training. While the current version of PRINCE2 is similar in content to the newly updated version, the PRINCE2 2017 update has some unique advantages and benefits. To start, the new version of the PRINCE2 guidance contains more tips, guides and examples, which make learning the course material quite a bit easier. In addition to this, while certificate holders of the old and new PRINCE2 will have the same level of knowledge regarding the methodology, professionals that studied the PRINCE2 updated version will likely be better at applying it to their projects and using it in conjunction with other frameworks like Agile. Overall, it seems that this update of PRINCE2 may ensure its longevity as a highly effective and adaptive framework within a range of industries, and we may see many more professionals buying a seat on PRINCE2 training courses in the next few years.Read more
12 Jul 2017
AXELOS’ recently released PPM Benchmark Study provides a valuable insight into current trends and issues within project and portfolio management. For the busy professional, however, it can be difficult to find time to digest everything it contains. In this week’s blog, we summarise its key findings and what they mean. Introduction To create their study, AXELOS sought responses from individuals within not just project management but also portfolio management. They have also chosen to make the survey global. By expanding the scope beyond last year’s 2016 PRINCE2 Report, the survey provides a more in-depth look at the changing attitudes faced in today’s projects, and allows a look at not just the state of projects, but the maturity of project portfolios. You can read the full study here. Today’s Pressures For this section of the survey, respondents were asked to rate their agreement with a number of statements about the changing global economic climate. The results show that a vast majority of people agree that the business environment is becoming more competitive, with budgets reducing and timelines shortening as a result of this. 58% also identify higher levels of project risk, but with only 36% employing more project managers, this is not being balanced adequately. Of particular interest was what was said about technology. 70% believe that evolutions in technology have increased client and stakeholder expectations, and 55% believe that technology has made projects more complex to deliver. It’s clear that technology’s potential must be balanced with its capabilities so that it is not thought of as a magic solution to everything, and expectations of its effects remain realistic. Key findings: 76% agree that the business environment has become more competitive 74% agree that budgets and timelines are tighter as clients/ stakeholders look for more value from projects 70% agree that evolutions in business practices and technology has meant that clients/ stakeholders expect projects to deliver greater competitive advantage 65% agree that we are expected to deliver more projects over a shorter time frame 58% agree that project risk has increased 55% agree that advances in technology has made projects more complex to deliver 48% agree that profit margins have reduced 42% agree that we have delivered more projects over the last 12-months compared to the previous 12-months 36% agree that we now employ more project managers 32% agree that the strength of our economy/ currency has made us more competitive Project Management Maturity In this section, respondents were asked to rate the maturity of the project management function in their organisations. There were also questions about when end-of-project reviews take place, whether Project Management Offices are used, and how they function. The survey reveals that there is still much improvement to be made in this area. Just 17% rated the maturity of their function as the top level, with established processes in place and ongoing improvements introduced following feedback and evaluation. The majority of respondents, 31% and 28% respectively, said their organisations either had established processes with ‘no monitoring or evaluation’ or ‘routine monitoring and evaluation’. People were also divided about how project management affects their organisation. 53% agreed that it was ‘influential’ on organisation strategy and 47% agreed that it was aligned to organisational objectives. More worryingly, only 54% agreed that their organisation’s objectives were clear. When it came to PMOs (Project Management Offices), 50% of those surveyed had one, with the rest split between, not having one, planning to implement one, and having had one in the past but not currently. Key findings: Maturity of project management function 17% have established processes in place, with ongoing improvements and innovations introduced, based on feedback from monitoring and evaluation 28% have established processes in place, with routine monitoring and evaluation 31% have some established processes in place, but no monitoring or evaluation 14% have some very basic processes in place, but no monitoring or evaluation 10% are a little disorganized, with no clear or consistent processes in place How often do end of project reviews happen? 18%- Always 26% - Most of the time 30% - Sometimes 21% - Rarely 6% - Never Description of project management function 53% agree that PM is influential when it comes to organisation strategy 47% agree that PM is aligned with organisation’s objectives 54% agree that organisation’s objectives are clear PMOs 50% had a PMO in their organisation 66% were able to say how long in years a PMO had been established for 39% were able to say their PMO was either fully or partially integrated with the organisation Challenges affecting project management success and failure In this section, respondents were asked about the problems they faced during their career and whether these led to project failure. The most important issues were found to be over-ambitious timeframes and changing briefs and expectations. Most interestingly, the next issue, poor communication, was far behind these main three in importance, as were lacking the right staff and unrealistic budgets. It’s clear from this that the most affecting issues come from a misunderstanding of the challenges of projects, possibly from a senior level. There is a disconnect between expectations and reality which is leading to project failure, as what is proposed is simply not feasible. What’s most worrying is how these issues link with project failure. For example, of the 59% of managers who faced projects with unrealistic timeframes, 47% of the time this led to project failure. Likewise, significant changes to project brief and expectations led to project failure in 48% of projects. Risks not being understood properly led to failure in 44% of projects. Project failure also heavily affects projects which are not regularly reviewed, with 48% of project managers who either rarely or never conduct reviews having experienced failure in the past 12 months. Key findings: Top issues faced by project and portfolio managers Over-ambitious timeframes Changing project brief/expectations Poor communication Lacking the right people for the task Unrealistic budgets Inefficient work practices Project management does not have enough influence Issues and failure 59% experienced projects that couldn’t be delivered within a certain timeframe, and this led to failure 47% of the time 56% experienced significant changes to the project brief and expectations, leading to failure 48% of the time 51% found risks were not properly understood, causing failure 44% of the time 50% have found that projects didn’t have the right people in place, leading to failure 43% of the time Never or rarely conducting reviews led to failure 48% of the time Project management methods In this section, respondents were asked about project management methodologies and certifications, both what they had heard of and what they had accreditations for. Top here, unsurprisingly, was PRINCE2 with 86% having heard of it and 60% having undertaken it. The other project management heavyweight, PMP, had surprisingly less recognition than other methodologies like AgilePM (Agile Project Management) and Scrum, at 76%, but did have the second highest uptake rate, at 48%. AgilePM, despite an 83% rate of recognition, only has a 21% accreditation rate, making it the least studied methodology after Lean. Respondents were also asked about the methodologies which mattered most to their organisation. Once again, PRINCE2 was at the top here, with 31%, followed by PMP and ITIL. Key findings: Methodologies people have heard of PRINCE2 – 86%, of which 60% had training or an accreditation AgilePM – 83%, of which 21% had training or an accreditation Scrum – 79%, of which 23% had training or an accreditation ITIL – 79%, of which 42% had training or an accreditation PMBOK/PMP – 76%, of which 48% had training or an accreditation Lean – 66%, of which 17% had training or an accreditation Methodologies which most matter within organisations PRINCE2 – 31% AgilePM – 9% Scrum – 6% ITIL – 14% PMBOK/PMP -22% Lean – 5% MSP – 6% COBIT – 1% MOR – 1% IPMA – 4% MOP – 1% Agile In this section, respondents were asked about their and their organisations’ views towards agile. Reactions to agile were overwhelmingly positive, with 77% seeing value in working in a more agile way and just 2% seeing no value in it at all. However, personal interest in agile is not matched by organisations. Only 46% said their organisation was interested in agile techniques within their project management function, and only 39% said there was interest at the organisational level. Although these numbers aren’t great, they are better than the results from last year’s AXELOS PRINCE2 2016 survey, with the gap between individual and organisational appetite narrowing from 37.1% to 28.1%. Respondents were also asked to give their definition of agile. Some of the best of these included: “An iterative approach to planning and guiding project processes” “A different way of managing IT development teams and projects” “A new way of management and organisation to deliver value incrementally” Although it’s good to see such positive comments, there is a lack of consistency in how people see agile. AXELOS suggests that this could be why organisations are more hesitant to adopt it, as they don’t have a clear understanding of what it is. There were also a number of criticisms towards agile, including: “My customers are clearer about their goals (with waterfall methods)” And “Our customer base is still looking for time and cost commitments that agile is unable to provide.” These suggest that for some, agile is still catching up to the capabilities of traditional waterfall methods. Key findings: Appetite for adopting agile techniques in project management Huge appetite (5) – 14% (4) – 29% (3) – 32% (2) – 16% No appetite (1) – 9% Appetite for adopting agile techniques in organisation Huge appetite (5) – 12% (4) – 27% (3) – 32% (2) – 20% No appetite (1) – 9% Learning and Development In this section, correspondents were asked about their interest in continual professional development (CPD) and what, if anything, was stopping them from pursuing it. Of the 75% of respondents who do CPD, motivations for doing so included “wanting to do a job most effectively” and “moving up the career ladder”. “Satisfying my own appetite for learning” was perhaps a less anticipated reason. The main barrier for CPD was professionals not knowing how to do it; lack of budget and support for taking the time off work were identified as others. A question was also asked about how respondents sourced CPD materials. Top answers for digital sources here were business networking sites such as LinkedIn, blogs, and “Googling”. For face-to-face sources, training courses, colleagues and conferences, and trade and industry journals came out strong. The survey also provides an interesting insight into how project managers learn. Respondents were asked to place themselves into one of four categories: Pragmatists who like to learn by experimenting, Reflectors who learn by observing, Theorists who learn by analysing, and Activists who learn by doing. Of the responses, the majority were Pragmatists and Activists. Reflectors formed the smallest group. Key findings: Motivations for doing CPD Wanting to do a job most effectively Moving up the career ladder Satisfying my own appetite for learning Being up to date with the latest industry knowledge Ensuring I am one of the very best in my field Learning by doing Barriers to CPD 20% do not know how to do CPD Only 30% have employers who are a source of CPD information Budget Support for time away from work Top sources for CPD LinkedIn and business networking sites Blogs and online resources “Googling” Training courses Colleagues and conferences Trade and industry journals Learning types Pragmatists – 39% Activists – 29% Theorists – 22% Reflectors – 11% Conclusion Ultimately, AXELOS’ survey reveals a gap between the capabilities of project management teams and the support they receive from their organisations. In some cases, this leads to project failure because understanding at a strategic level does not match understanding at a management level. If they are to reduce project risk and increase chances of success, staff at both levels must work together to establish a common understanding of what is feasible and what is not in a project. Project managers are also not following best practices. The report shows that project reviews can help to prevent project failure, yet surprising numbers of managers are not carrying these out. Research also shows that there is a global appetite for agile but despite its benefits, misconceptions are preventing organisations from taking the plunge and investing. Despite these shortcomings, not all the findings were negative. It’s pleasing to see how many project managers are interested in CPD, and that the number of sources available to them is quite broad. What needs to happen in the future is more investment from organisations in this area to really help their staff develop and improve. Exclusive Offer Made it this far? Good! Have 5% off any project management course. Just enquire with us using the code PPMOFFER17 to get your discount. Offer ends Sunday and cannot be combined with any other offer.Read more
05 Jul 2017
19 Jul 2017
The PRINCE2 2017 update is here, and in accordance with this, The Knowledge Academy has released a new set of updated online training courses. Our new Foundation, Practitioner and Foundation & Practitioner online courses allow students to acquire up-to-date project management knowledge in the comfort of their own homes. What are the changes? The latest PRINCE2 2017 update from our partners AXELOS has involved a significant modernisation of the project management methodology in order to keep up with the latest ideologies in the world of business. The update has arrived eight years after the introduction of PRINCE2 2009. Since then, AXELOS has been constantly monitoring feedback received from Project Managers all over the world. This year, it was decided to act upon the feedback and adapt the syllabus to meet the modified requirements of the modern project professional. Ultimately, the proven fundamental principles of PRINCE2 have not been altered, but there have been some additions which will prove inherently valuable to Project Managers: Enhanced guidance on tailoring the methodology to the needs of organisations and project environments Clarification of the link between themes and principles Restructured ‘Themes’ guidance to incorporate specific examples of tailoring Numerous examples, hints and tips for practically applying the method and guidance In addition, both the Foundation and the Practitioner exams have been modified to correspond with the new version of the syllabus. The Practitioner exam stresses the practical application of PRINCE2 and the use of all parts of the methodology. Furthermore, both exams will now be in line with the new focus on tailoring the methodology to specific scenarios. You can find out even more about the PRINCE2 2017 Update by reading our ‘Everything You Need To Know About The PRINCE2 2017 Update’ Blog. Why do PRINCE2 Online Courses? Our PRINCE2 online courses are especially useful for those who have a busy schedule or are unable to reach a training venue to take a PRINCE2 classroom training course. Using e-learning facilities, students can learn at their own pace and in their own time, whilst also being able to tailor their training to their unique specific requirements.Any PRINCE2 online course booked with us running from 10th July onwards follows the new 2017 standard, with updated syllabus, courseware, and exam. If you wish to find out more then don’t hesitate to contact us.
22 Jun 2017
We’re delighted to announce the release of our new range of PRINCE2 2017 classroom training courses. Following the latest 2017 syllabus from our partners AXELOS, our new Foundation, Practitioner and Foundation & Practitioner courses update the methodology for a modern world where organisations are increasingly required to be able to adapt quickly to business needs. The 2017 update marks the first time PRINCE2 has been changed since 2009. Over the eight years of its use, PRINCE2 2009 has proven itself to be the world’s de facto project management methodology, used by thousands of organisations and businesses around the world. Rather than being a replacement, the new version should be thought of as an evolution. The tried and tested fundamentals of PRINCE2 have not changed; the latest version simply improves on it by making a number of changes based on the feedback and experiences of project professionals around the world, ensuring PRINCE2 continues to set the standard for project management. PRINCE2 2017 includes the following main additions: Enhanced guidance on tailoring the methodology to the needs of organisations and project environments Clarification of the link between themes and principles Restructured ‘Themes’ guidance to incorporate specific examples of tailoring Numerous examples, hints and tips for practically applying the method and guidance Along with the updated courses come new Foundation and Practitioner exams which are designed to ensure PRINCE2 students know what they need to succeed in a project environment using the methodology. Both exams have been updated in line with the new focus on tailoring, and the Practitioner exam emphasises the practical application of PRINCE2 using all parts of the method. Any PRINCE2 course booked with us running from 10th July onwards follows the new 2017 standard, with updated syllabus, courseware and exams. Contact us for more details. Stay tuned for our PRINCE2 2017 online courses, which will be released soon.
24 May 2017
Organisations and users around the world have been infected by the cyber attack WannaCry. The attack, which takes the form of a ransomware program, encrypts users’ files and prevents them from accessing their computers unless they make a payment to the attackers. If they do not pay within 7 days, the ransom doubles. Having started on Friday 12 May 2017, the attack spread on an unprecedented scale, affecting machines in organisations including the National Health Service in England and Scotland, FedEx, Hitachi, the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Russia, Renault and Telefónica. The attack was slowed in its early stages by a cybersecurity researcher who unknowingly activated a kill switch. This gave time for countries which had not been attacked so severely to deploy defences. Nevertheless, estimates suggest that around $72,000 in payments have been made already. In addition, a new strain of the virus is now operating which doesn’t have the kill switch, making it much more difficult to prevent. The attack is believed to have entered systems via an exploit within the Microsoft Windows operating system. Although the exploit had been patched in recent security updates for newer systems, older, unsupported systems like Windows XP were not protected. In a rare move, Microsoft rushed to bring out an emergency update for the older operating systems Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003 shortly after the attack. The impact of the virus has caused many to reconsider their stances on cyber security, as they realise how important it is to keep systems and protection up to date.
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