Centry Supports the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union!

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What is the Council of the European Union?

The Council of the European Union is one of the primary institutions of the community; together with the European Parliament, it discusses laws based on proposal from the European Commission. The Council coordinates the policies of the member states, specifically foreign policy, and security policy of the EU, and it also concludes agreements on behalf of the EU with international organizations and other countries.

The Council is comprised of one representative from each member state at the ministerial level. Each minister for a given policy area is thus a representative of their country, and they speak for it in the council. The council has ten configurations that covers all of the categories of policies of the EU.

The Presidency of the Council of the European Union is a position that functions on a rotation basis. Each member state holds the presidency for a period of six months, with the exception of the foreign affairs configuration, which is chaired by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini.

Bulgaria’s Presidency of the Council of the EU

To ensure continuity in the Council’s work, the presidency is held by a group of three member-states for a period of 18 months, wherein they must prepare and implement a common agenda. Bulgaria is part of the Estonia-Bulgaria-Austria trio, and it has just recently assumed the presidency as of January 2018.

Our Support

Centry has an established presence in Bulgaria, with a handful of employees and an office in Sofia.

We support Finnish and other Nordic companies in expanding their business to Bulgarian markets, and vice versa. One of our areas of expertise is to facilitate companies entering new business areas, and this is just the opportunity for it!

We are honored to be able to have a close partnership with the Bulgarian Embassy to Finland, and it has been our privilege to give our support to the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU!

For any questions or comments, feel free to contact us on any of our social media platforms!

 

The Next Gold Rush: Renewable Energy

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The Renewable Energy industry just might be the next gold rush for businesses and investors alike. This time, we aren’t hiking into the Klondike for gold; individuals and organizations alike are turning their eyes toward the broader world, looking out for opportunities to make good on this booming initiative.

With all of its natural resources and varying biomes, Africa is a premium location for infrastructure development and investment into renewable energy. With sustainable energy investment set to grow to $57-billion by 2020, it’s clear the gold rush has already begun.

The massive desert that stretches across North Africa to the Arabian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf beyond has incredible potential for solar power. While this might seem like an obvious choice for solar technology, it has not been until recently that factors such as social pressures, oil prices, and technological readiness have combined to create tangible opportunity.

For a long time, one of the major hindrances to solar power was the expense of implementing it, but in recent years we have seen a drastically lowered manufacturing and installation cost– now, unsubsidized solar is as cheap as coal, natural gas, and wind projects.

Just last week, the Government of Canada and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, formed an initiative to spur renewable energy growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. This program will have the Canadian government contribute $122 million USD, which the ICF will use to kindle private sector investment into renewables, aiming to improve access to affordable and sustainable energy services.

Algeria also has ambitious plans for solar energy, with a proposal for the installations of 13 gigawatts of capacity toward solar power (out of 22 total for renewable energy) by 2030. To put those numbers in conceptual terms, it’s enough power to meet a quarter of domestic energy needs whilst still reserving a significant portion for exports.

Energy exports will face a market barrier as electric storage technology strives to catch up, but in the United States, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved a new rule on Thursday that may begin to clear the way. This order’s objective is to enhance competition and promote efficiency in the electric wholesale markets, with the overall effect of greater reliability and cheaper costs. With lowering costs comes the potential for greater investment yet.

Even the oil giant Saudi Arabia has started on the renewables train, with a recent movement to diversify its economy into the sustainable energy industry. By the end of the year, the country aims to invest $7bn into the development of new solar plants and a large wind farm.

However, with big money comes big risk, and the renewables industry certainly is not immune to it. Companies that may be tempted to dip their toes into the booming sector should keep the following things in mind.

Namely, there are reputational and legal risks if an organization’s actions do not line up with their environmental claims. This may incur adverse media content, which could impact the organization’s reputation toward its employees, partners, clients, consumers, and the general public.

Furthermore, companies could be subject to litigations if they violate regional environment regulations. Beyond that, there are the ever-present natural environment risks, which encompasses things like sandstorms blocking out solar farms, as well as regional risks that may include things such as terrorism or other crimes.  

Some of these threats can be mitigated with proper treatment and due diligence. For those, Centry can help! 

For any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us on any of our social media platforms!

 

Out-think Fraudsters!

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Centry Ltd. will be participating in The Institute of Internal Auditors Finland (IIA Finland) fraud training workshop! Join us to learn about effective desktop investigation procedures, and how this can boost security for your organization.

Important Details

When

This workshop will take place on March 8, 2018 from 8:30am to 4:00pm.

Where

Radisson Blu Royal

Runeberginkatu 2

00100 Helsinki, Finland

Ticket Prices

Members

580€ + VAT*

*Discount offered for one or more members of the same organization at 400€ + VAT per person!

Guests

730€ + VAT

The Program

Over the course of this workshop, you will learn methods for Investigative Desktop Research (‘IDR’), which is the process of collecting readily available public information and analyzing it for signs of fraud, corruption, or other unethical business behaviours.

This workshop will be conducted in a hands-on style, to help you learn the best that you can of how to identify, collect, and analyze information from external and internal sources for your own research.

IDR is a useful tool for assessing the nature of red flags, whilst using a small amount of resources, time, and budget. With information readily available, we will teach you where to look, and how to interpret the things you find.

Here’s what you can expect from spending the day with us, as represented in English by Oskar Savolainen of Centry Ltd! Other speakers will include industry experts Veronica Morino and Nigel Iyer, both with over twenty years of experience with IDR.

Working with us, you will:

  • Gain an understanding of the risks, costs, and effects of fraud and corruption.
  • Come to appreciate the power of detection and analytical techniques to be applied to red flags.
  • Learn to sort, interpret, and evaluate your findings.
  • Acquire skills for presenting your findings to management.

We look forward to seeing you there! Click here to register before February 25th, 2018!

For any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to Centry at any of our social media platforms, where we will direct you to Oskar Savolainen and Kimmo Loukonen!

The Question of Privacy in the Smart-Tech Life

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Smart-technology, wearable or otherwise, is undoubtedly a luxurious convenience. With products ranging from Fitbit for keeping track of your health to voice-activated vehicle consoles to home improvement and more, the market for this tech is seemingly limitless.

So how does this compromise your privacy?

Josh Lifton, CEO of Crowd Supply, said in a TechRepublic article: “…we’re entering this world where everything is catalogued and everything is documented and companies and governments will be making decisions about you as an individual based on your data trail…”

The European Union answered this question by issuing the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which bolsters the rights of individual data privacy, ensuring people have the right to know how, when, and where their personal information is used.

While it might not always be a bad thing for organizations to collect information about you, it’s important that those details don’t fall into the wrong hands.

The main concern among security experts when it comes to smart devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home is the degree to which they’re listening. Obviously, they are listening for the voice-activated commands the user might say. But if you own Alexa and have ever had it interrupt you when you weren’t intentionally speaking to it, you might wonder about what else it’s listening to?

Recently, an array of Bluetooth flaws that affect Android, iOS, and Windows devices were discovered in millions of AI voice-activated assistants, including both the Amazon Echo and Google Home.

The Blueborne Exploit is the name that has been given to the attack that takes advantage of these vulnerabilities, allowing external entities to run malicious code, steal information, and otherwise assume control. What is more threatening about this is that it does not require targets to click any links or fall for any other phishing scams; it can just assume control. Moreso, once an attack seizes one bluetooth device on a network, they can infect any other devices on the same network.

While both companies have since released patches and issued automatic updates for their products, it certainly serves as a cautionary tale to be mindful of what you say and do around these devices.

Wearable smart watches like Fitbit and jogging apps on smartphones run into their own security issues, which readers may have observed recently in the news, after a heat map of jogging and cycling routes released by Strava identified dangerous details of US soldier in war zones in the Middle East.

Overall, as much as it can be a minor inconvenience to do so, it is important that users don’t blindly press ‘accept’ on privacy terms for these apps and gadgets, and instead take the time to review how their information is collected and used. Such insight could lead to foresight that would ensure turning the relevant devices off in situations where that is appropriate.

This article was written by Kristina Weber, Content Supervisor of Centry. For more content like this, follow @CentryLTD on Twitter!