Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Apr 28, 2020

Cyber SecurityThere’s no doubt that business operations have changed and more people are working from home right now. Cybersecurity is an important part of a business that shouldn’t be overlooked. We sat down with Jeff Waite, Technology Administrator at Mac’s II Agencies,* to discuss what we should look out for and some best practices to keep you and your teams secure in 2020.

1. Your title is Technology Administrator at Mac’s II Agencies. Tell us a bit about your background.

I’ve been at Mac’s II for 11 years, 2 years as the Technology Administrator. Before Mac’s II, I was the Product Manager for a computer software/hardware manufacturer based out of Sweden (10 years). Before that, I was a Computer Consultant at Simon Fraser University (4 years). I’m also an app developer, having created an iOS app for a small business based around fitness.

As I have a background in programming from SFU, and sales experience in technology manufacturing, these naturally transition well into handling technology at a sales agency in the electrical industry. I’ve always had a love of computing, and technology in general. It has now finally melded wonderfully with my career in the electrical industry.

2. We’re noticing more and more cybersecurity threats. Should we be worried?

The electrical industry is unfortunately no different than any other, and security has never been so important. As I see it, the electrical industry is getting hit as much as any other.

The unfortunate thing is that the sophistication with which the threats are coming at us are getting higher every year. Emails come in from people we “know”, with formatting and syntax, like it is a real communication. Malicious sites are getting hidden within hyperlinks, and attachments that look like files, are purely links to bad files or sites.

With the current COVID-19 pandemic, more people are working remotely and from home, which makes cybersecurity even more important. Instead of having a single office to make secure, we now have 10, or 100 (or even 1,000). This makes it an even higher concern, to be watchful on what users are doing within their incoming emails, and what sites they visit. Secure VPNs help in this manner, and more secure passwords, as well as authentication means.

3. What are some examples that we should look out for?

• Voicemails attached to emails. A good example: an email comes in with an attachment for a voicemail. Just click the attachment to play it. Of course, the sender is not from someone recognizable, and the attachment is not a playable file (wav or audio format) but is an html link to an outside website.

• Links disguised as Adobe Acrobat files. Another example is receiving an e-mail with what looks like an Adobe Acrobat file embedded in the body (there is usually a picture of the Adobe Acrobat logo). This is not a file at all, but a link to a website that will be malicious in nature.

• Cloud storage file links. Some cloud storage e-mails will also look alright at first glance but in the end are not links that Microsoft or Dropbox or Google would send out. They use their branding, but just looking at the link will reveal where they are really going to send your computer.

4. What would you recommend as some best practices to keep individuals and teams safe from being hacked or private information being compromised?

Implement Two Factor Authentication (2FA) wherever you can.

Utilize cloud storage as a back-up, e.g., OneDrive, Google Drive.

Initiate a more complex password naming scheme, something that has a combination of upper case, lower case, symbols and numbers.

Make sure your technology support team stays on top of cybersecurity notices and news, set up a Google Alert for notifications.


Communicate to users within your organization what threats are out there and how to detect them before it is too late.

Always be suspicious and on the lookout for threats. If you think an email from someone is not legitimate, make the call to them and ask about it. At the very least it is a few moments of your time; at the most you may be informing them of a hack into their account or organization.

5. If you could see the electrical industry five years in the future, what would be different about cybersecurity?

We would have a panel that shares and allows access to information on these threats more readily and of course there will be less of them due to improvements in cybersecurity, not only for the electrical industry but globally.

* Established in 1980, Mac’s II Agencies represents power, electrical, lighting and lighting controls manufacturers throughout British Columbia and Yukon Territory. The firm provides sales, marketing and technical support for contractors, specifiers, distributor partners and other industry professionals.

 

           Partnering For The Next Step                

Siemens CanadaWelcome to the Digital Enterprise Virtual Summit brought to you by Siemens

How quickly can you react to changing conditions and demands in your market? How can you ensure your production will run securely at any time in the future?

Industry’s digital and technological transformation is the answer for meeting today’s and tomorrow’s challenges and market needs.

With the right digitalization and automation solutions, expertise won from practical experience, and a partnership approach that benefits all involved parties.

To explore these possibilities, we’re bringing together top-level speakers, specialists and decision-makers from various industries and experts from Siemens

to the Digital Enterprise Virtual Summit under the motto “Partnering for the next step.”   

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“Re-envisioning Electrical Switchboards”: For light commercial applications, the status quo is no longer enough

Eaton 175x125Whether you’re a contractor or consultant, compact footprint and shorter lead times are a priority. At Eaton, we understand these challenges. That’s why we have re-envisioned our traditional electrical switchboard to assess how it could better serve light commercial applications. The result? The Pow-R-Line CS. 

Join Eaton’s webinar on June 30th, 2020 and learn the secret to shorter lead times alongside the additional benefits of:

 -  Versatile Configuration - Cost Effectiveness - Plus a Complimentary 3D Product Demonstration!

Sign up and join our host Annu Yadav - Distributor Programs Manager and our presenter Aditya Ramesh - Product Manger of Panelboards & Switchboards. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Click Here To Register.

 

John JefkinsBy John Jefkins

In 2011, I started working in the electrical arena and quickly noticed that there was a high employee retention rate within the industry. Today, I regularly engage with Electro-Federation Canada members with 20, 30 and even 40 plus year tenures. Other industries I had worked in previously, such as telecommunications, had higher turnover rates.

Our industry faces an increasing need for talent, with new retirements and product/process innovations and modernization driving the need for specialized roles — some not even known yet.

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Digital Twin MarketA recent Markets & Markets report estimates the Digital Twin market will grow from US$3.8 billion in 2019, to US$35.8 billion per year by 2025, at a CAGR of 45.4%. Digital Twin software is already revolutionizing industries such as healthcare, architecture, aerospace, defence, and automotive and transportation.

Furthermore, the global smart infrastructure market, which includes the Digital Twin sector, is expected to thrive at a considerable CAGR between 2020 and 2025 as demand for the smart infrastructure has been a booming year on year, reports Market Research Explore - details. 

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PNNL StudyBy Craig DiLouie

The U.S. Department of Energy has released the results of a study examining authentication vulnerabilities in connected lighting systems (CLS). Particularly as emerging CLS incorporate distributed intelligence, network interfaces and sensors, they can serve as data-collection platforms that enable a wide range of valuable new capabilities as well as greater energy savings in buildings and cities. However, CLS technology is currently at an early stage of development, and its increased connectivity introduces cybersecurity risks that are new to the lighting industry and must be addressed for successful integration with other systems.

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David GordonBy David Gordon

COVID-19 has heightened the benefit of, and interest in, eCommerce for electrical distributors. Our second and third COVID-19 Electrical Market Sentiment Reports have shown that those with an eCommerce offering have seen online sales increases. Further, from conversations with distributors, their site activity increased. The benefit is that these companies had lower sales declines (and some increases), and were able to better serve their customers.

A further benefit is that their remote workforce had access to an online resource, other than manufacturers, for quick, easy, product research.

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Changing Scene

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2020 q2 Pulse of Lighting FindingsChannel Marketing Group’s 2020 Q2 Pulse of Lighting Report projects that the lighting market, through electrical distribution, contracted by 20%.

The survey, conducted the third week in June, received responses from 164 individuals who equally represented industry stakeholders.

Distributor Performance
Very few distributors reported either flat or positive performance with over 30% reporting declines of over 30% for the quarter.

 

 

 

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EikoEIKO has announced the the introdutction of EiKO Marketplace, a digital storefront, located in the EiKO Portal. Developed to market and sell promotional specials and excess inventory including generational, overstock, and niche products; the EiKO Marketplace presents an opportunity to offer high-quality lighting at incredible savings.

Due to the rapid development and generational changes of LED technologies the timing is perfect to launch the EiKO Marketplace as an outlet to sell high quality, value-priced products.

 

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LevitonLeviton Canada is pleased to announce the nomination of Thomas Supinski as Sales Director for Alberta and the Prairies as of June 1st, 2020, as Julie Marineau will be moving to Montreal along with her family. Julie will be promoted to Vice-President, Retail at Leviton Canada’s head office.

Thomas has been residing in Calgary since 2003 and has a deep understanding of the regional market and its specific needs.

 

 

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Peers & Profiles

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  Sonepar is excited to introduce Anju Uddin as the new Marketing Manager for their Ontario ...
Electro-Federation Canada’s Young Professional Network (YPN) is a fantastic tool for industry ...
Sean Bernard is the Intelligent Controls Manager, Canada for Ideal Industries. Sean resides in ...
Christina Huang is a Senior Contracts Manager for Schneider Electric. She has a varied, technical ...
Jenny Ng is a Business Development Manager for the Power Solutions Division of Schneider Electric. ...
With over 60-years of experience in the lighting industry, CBC Lighting has established itself as a ...

 

Anju UddinBy Blake Marchand

Sonepar is excited to introduce Anju Uddin as the new Marketing Manager for their Ontario Region! Anju has more than 15 years of experience as a marketing expert, which includes running an independent agency working with a multitude of businesses in various industries and geographies from around the globe. 

With a passion for reinvention and finding success through a commitment to education and innovation, Anju has utilized her exceptional creativity and business acumen to engineer seamless brand experiences...

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