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HSE are victim of ransomware attack

Last night, the HSE became aware that they were the victim of a serious and sophisticated ransomware attack. At the time of writing, there is very little detail on the exact nature of the attack, but the following information has been made public.

  1. The attack was coordinated by humans and not automated by a botnet.
  2. The attack targeted the HSE servers that host their patient record database.
  3. No ransom request has been made at the time of reporting and all other hospital systems remain unaffected.

 

If this was just a standard ransomware attack and no other destructive software infiltrated the network, it should be relatively easy for the HSE to restore the affected data from their last reliable backup. The fact that Paul Reid, the CEO of the HSE, has described the attack as “serious and sophisticated” would suggest that this was more than just a ransomware attack that encrypted data. There is always the possibility that the attackers gained admin level access to the HSE’s systems and have stolen sensitive patient data. If this is the case, it will leave the HSE in a grave predicament as they will not want to pay a ransom to the attacker(s) but they will also not want the stolen data to be published on the public Internet. Lets hope this is not the case.

The most basic defences to ransomware are as follows:

  1. Use anti-virus software that has ransomware protection functionality.
  2. Use firewall services to detect intrusion attempts and to block network entry points.
  3. Monitor your network devices and computers for possible intrusion attempts
  4. Educate your staff and contractors about phishing and “trojan” emails.
  5. Have a robust business continuity plan in place that defines how you will resume form a serious network breach.
  6. Test your recovery systems regularly.

 

If you have concerns about your own network and would like advice about ransomware attacks,  please contact us on 1890 564 009.

Dynamics Project Automation to be replaced by Project Operations

This is a repost of an article by Gurkan Salk, Principal Group Program Manager at Microsoft

On February 19, 2020, we announced  —a new application that will bring together capabilities from Project Service Automation, Microsoft Project for the web, and project management and accounting within Finance into a single offering. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Operations connects cross-functional teams within a single application to win more deals, accelerate delivery, empower employees, and maximise profitability.

Microsoft will continue investing in a solution in the professional services automation market with Dynamics 365 Project Operations becoming available for public preview in June 2020 and generally available on October 1, 2020.

Bringing together our existing Project Service Automation, capabilities from Microsoft Project for the web, and project management and accounting from within Dynamics 365 Finance is key to our vision.  Microsoft Project will continue offer project management (PM) and project portfolio management (PPM) solutions for PMO leaders. With the introduction of Dynamics 365 Project Operations, we will now include project management capabilities directly in the flow of work for our customers looking to streamline project-based service operations.

As part of this announcement, we will be grandfathering our current customers that are using Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation and/or the project management and accounting (PMA) capabilities within Dynamics 365 Finance into this new offering.

We look forward to continuing to work with our customers as they adopt Dynamics 365 Project Operations, as well as the champions and advocates who have supported us along the way.

Here are some important details to help our customers with the transition:

  1. What should my organisation know about this transition?

Customers evaluating our in-market solutions today should feel comfortable to continue their evaluation, purchase, and installation of our product, with knowledge of a rich and full product roadmap through our vision for Dynamics 365 Project Operations.

Current customers will get access to migration tools and will be grandfathered into Project Operations licensing. Please refer to the impact overview below:

Eligible customers are defined as either 1) current customers who have purchased or renewed Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation, Dynamics 365 Unified Operations plan, or Dynamics 365 Plan 2 prior to October 1, 2020 or 2) current customers who have opted in via the defined process below. Customers who are not eligible by October 1, 2020 will be unable to access Project Service Automation or project management and accounting (PMA) capabilities after October 1, 2024.

Opt-in process:

To allow time to opt-in, Dynamics 365 customers that are entitled to but are not currently using Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation or PMA capabilities within Finance will have until March 31, 2021 to notify Microsoft that they intend to implement these products or capabilities. You can opt-in at any point between May 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. If you are not currently using these products, but are entitled to them and want to opt-in to ensure service availability, submit a support ticket here.

  1. Will Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation and project management and accounting (PMA) capabilities be supported? Will there be additional feature development?

Microsoft will provide support for our Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation offering until October 1, 2024. We will not be adding new capabilities into Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation. Going forward, the re-envisioned Dynamics 365 Project Operations product based on existing Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation and Dynamics 365 Finance PMA capabilities will be enhanced and maintained as part of this new offering. Our Dynamics products updates webpages will continue to be updated to reflect our future investments.

  1. Can I export my organisation’s data, and will there be migration tooling available?

Yes, Microsoft will provide update scripts for Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation and data migration tooling for current customers using the project management and accounting capabilities within Dynamics 365 Finance. Using these, current customers will be able to upgrade/migrate at their pace. You will receive more information about upgrade/migration tool availability from within the Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation and Dynamics 365 Finance products as we get closer to the GA date of Dynamics 365 Project Operations of October 1, 2020.

  1. Will I have to keep paying for Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation?

Yes, as current customers can continue using these products and capabilities over the next two to four years, depending on contract type, all contracts will remain in place until renewal or expiration.

  1. Where can I learn more about other ISVs that provide Dynamics 365-based solutions for the professional services market?

Find the right apps for your business and solutions tailored to your industry on Microsoft AppSource.

  1. Which capabilities that are currently part of Dynamics 365 Finance will be part of Dynamics 365 Project Operations?

Existing PMA capabilities within Dynamics 365 Finance that will be part of Dynamics 365 Project Operations include all project management and accounting capabilities, as well as expense management.

  1. Will this impact my Microsoft Project licenses?

The introduction of Dynamics 365 Project Operations does not impact your Microsoft Project licenses.  Microsoft will continue to offer project management and project portfolio management solutions to our customers.

  1. What are my next steps?

You can continue business as usual without any immediate disruption. We recommend you reach out to your Microsoft account team or partner to get more information and build a plan to transition from the Project Service Automation service by October 1, 2024, or your contract end date, whichever comes first.