Contact: 0800 148 8001 or tellmemore@techquarters.com

TechQuarters’ 8 tips to secure your business against cyber attacks

TechQuarters’ 8 tips to secure your business against cyber attacks

1. Make sure your business has an up-to-date anti-virus, web filtering software and a working firewall.

The best way to stop cyber criminals attacking your business is installing anti-virus software, a web filter and a secure firewall. A combination of these three will prevent things like malware from entering your business. Preventing malware entering the organisation in the first place is the best way to secure against a cyber attack, through the adoption of a ‘layered approach’ to protection; implementing anti-virus, web filtering and firewalls. It is also essential that you ensure each component is accurately configured and always up-to-date.

 2. Ensure your operating systems and software are up-to-date and key patches are applied.

Malware can often infect an organisation by entering through bugs in software and applications. You should double check that the newest software updates are implemented and patches applied as soon as they’re released. A proactive approach with regular patching schedules in place will help keep your organisation safe from threats.

3. Backup all important data and check backups are as current as possible.

Once a business has been effected by ransomware your data can become encrypted and your files and folders are no longer accessible. At this point the only option is to recover your data from previous backups. Keeping your backups operational and secure is the best option and is key to mitigating risk.

It is also imperative that the backup data is routinely checked, well-defined and practised restoration procedures are created, which, if accomplished, means that even if the system was to become infected it will lose relatively little data – and, importantly, can be quickly back up and running. Also, the newer a backup is, the less data you lose; after all nobody wants to use a year old backup.

4. Verify that your users are trained and are vigilant.

Email cyber crime is common, often sent by the cyber criminal as part of mass random communication schemes. You should therefore consider investing in ongoing training to remind employees of potential hazards.

Give-away signs to look for include:

  • Incorrect email addresses: Cyber criminals will try and fool users into thinking an email has come from a reputable source when is hasn’t – always doublecheck the email address the mail has been sent from not just the sender.
  • Communications from organisations or on topics that arrive out of the blue: If you are not expecting an email on a subject/person (especially finance) always double check.
  • Poor quality text: Emails created my cyber criminals do tend to have a grammatical errors/missing text. The language used does not always make sense and commonly will not always have the correct email footers, if you’re not sure give them a call.

5. Is the email you just received fake?

Spear-phishing is a growing form of cyber attack actioned through email. The attacker poses as a company official requesting a specified action – such as a the ‘CEO/MD’ of a company asking Finance to transfer funds. These types of email can also claim to come from official organisations – a bank, government department, or even the police, for example. Companies should be aware of this potential risk, and define procedures to help employees identify phishing attacks.

 6. Make a formal set of security policies.

Customers are advised to create and record in writing a set of formal protection policies and processes in consultation with Techquarters or their IT partner who can apply these policy requirements to every device.

7. Make sure your users utilise strong passwords and a multi-factor authentication policy.

It goes without saying that the more robust a password requirements policy is, the harder it is for cyber criminals to infiltrate a business. However, many companies still have not addressed password protocol, and allow users to set up ineffective and weak passwords. Requiring unique ‘strong’ passwords for individual accounts, or implementing single-sign on solutions, helps reduce risk, along with implementing multi-factor authentication – there are many products that offer this including office 365 and Azure.

8. Turn off the network or internet access if you think there’s something wrong.

Finally, if an attack is suspected, the best advice is to disconnect from the web. At an early stage in the attack, this can prevent malware establishing itself, but may also prevent ransomware spreading to other areas of the business through your network. If you can isolate the problem to one or a couple of systems, the malware or virus cannot spread and you have successfully minimalized the damage.

Want to know more? Watch the video below:

For more information on how to repel these attacks, take a look at the services we offer:

Backups

Firewalls

  • SonicWALL –  Firewall as a service (FWaaS), includes latest gateway Anti-Virus and threat detection

Antivirus

Mobile Device and Application Management

Latest updates

  • Labtech – Proactive monitoring of systems
  • Windows updates – Managed by EMS and Labtech

Email filtering / Archiving – Washes emails as they come in

  • Office 365 advanced threat detection and protection – Cleans links and quarantines
  • Mimecast

Network Security

  • Security tests – one off PEN testing
  • Open DNS – Constant screening of web links to make sure they are trusted once clicked on. Blacklisting and White listing.

User training – How to prevent the wrong clicking on things

For more information on cyber security contact us on 08001488001 or  tellmemore@techquarters.com


The Thecus Solution.

In today’s post TechQuarters will be talking about the new Thecus Box – a Nas, Mini Server hybrid. Equipped with a windows operating system the Thecus can run all your important programmes seamlessly and backup automatically to the cloud. Keep reading to find out why your business needs a Thecus:

What is NAS?

NAS business diagram.

NAS stands for Network Attached Storage aka a specialized computer designed to house all your businesses files and a data. If you know anything about technology you will know that every company has one or had one at some point, they’re essential. When a small company needs to store information such as user’s birthdays, taxes, employee data they purchase a NAS device. The problem is, NAS devices can be unreliable. If you access the NAS via a hosted domain controller (which is very common) then in the event your internet goes down, you lose all access to files until it goes back up. Permission problems can also occur because the NAS doesn’t run an operating system and your computer does. Therefore, it can have trouble communicating with your system.

You may also find that some newer versions of popular software aren’t even compatible without the NAS having an operating system loaded; for example, Sage – the popular accounting database software.

A NAS can be tricky even at the best of times. So, what can you use instead? Medium to large companies traditionally use a server to host all their files and data whether that’s an inhouse server or cloud based servers from providers such as Microsoft. But this is expensive, a physical server can range from £3000 and up.

The Thecus Solution.

Thecus, the company behind tonnes of Linux based NAS servers, has released a solution that sits in between the mini server and a NAS. Thecus, for all intense and purposes, is essentially a NAS type box that runs windows server OS and backups up to the cloud. Why is this better?

  •  It’s extremely cost effective. The NAS server hybrid only costs £1000 for 2 terabytes of data, more than enough for a small to medium company.
  •  Running windows allows the server to run applications and software that were previously restricted due to NAS’s running Linux. (It can run Sage.)
  •  It won’t run into the same communication or permission error issues because your computer is running Windows and so is your server.
  •  The Thecus offers backup and integration with Microsoft’s Azure cloud servers so all your data is safe as it is instantly backed up. In a time when new regulations with heavy fines are being enforced in the European Union (including post Brexit UK), making sure your users data is safe and secure is a top priority.

Watch the video below for more information on this topic:

For more information feel free to give us a call on 0800 148 8001 or email us Tellmemore@techquarters.com


IT Support Best Practice

OrganisatITions are finding it harder and harder to find a reliable outsourced IT Support company that can fulfil all their business needs. Some of the common issues business can encounter with their support can be extended fix times, extra costs, unskilled engineers and little, if any, recommendations for business continuity and transformation. That’s why TechQuarters TV will be releasing videos every day to help inform organisations, of what makes a great IT Support company.

What to expect?

This month TechQuarters TV will be releasing a new video series on IT Support best practice and what factors to consider when deciding on an outsourcing.

We have created a series of short-detailed videos on IT Support best practice, which will include key topics such as:

  • Full Support
  • The Service Start
  • The Cloud Roadmap
  • The Helpdesk
  • Field Support
  • Fix Time
  • Service Levels
  • Skill Levels
  • Recruitment
  • Pro Active Monitoring
  • Third Party Support
  • KPIs reports and account management

Here at TechQuarters, have engineers answering calls directly who are then able to identify and fix most issues then and there. Our field support team are prompt and reliable, and we also have 24/7 proactive monitoring systems to identify and fix issues before they affect your business.

 


TechQuarters Support service fixes 80% of all support calls in 24h hours and 60% of calls in 30 minutes! For more information click here, http://www.techquarters.com/i-t-support/


How will GDPR impact my business?

What is General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?

The General Data Protection Regulation, is a new legislation voted in by the European Union to ensure everyone within the EU knows their personal data is safe and secure. In today’s world, nearly every company you interact with collects and stores your data for various reasons. So it’s only fair that you understand what happens to your data and if it’s in safe hands. The idea behind the regulation is to give control of personal data back to the user.

What will this new regulation entail?

Companies that take any part in the processing of data, (a broad term for the transfer and storage of user’s personal data), will have to hire a data protection officer. These officers are dedicated to making sure everyone’s data is safe, secure and no ill practice is occurring. The European Union does not specify if a company must hire a dedicated person for the job or if they can train a member of staff to become a DPO.

Businesses will also have to be more transparent with what they do with people’s data and will be required to show that they are complying with laws. Data breaches such as hacks, leaks or illegal selling of data must be reported within 72 hours of the company being aware. Businesses failing to comply with any of the terms can receive a penalty ranging from a written warning to a fine of €100 Million – €200 Million or 4% worldwide turnover (whichever is higher). The British Government has said that it will adopt the General Data Protection Regulation and enforce it despite leaving the European Union but 54% of organisations in the UK have not started any preparation whatsoever.

Watch the videos below to see how you can prepare your business!

For more information feel free to give us a call on 0800 148 8001 or email us Tellmemore@techquarters.com


Why a faster internet connection is better for your cloud based business.

Faster internet connection.

SpaceX, the company headed by entrepreneur Elon Musk, recently unveiled their newest venture into the world of technology: satellite internet. The service aims to provide low latency internet globally with speeds of up to one gigabyte per second! You might think that’s pointlessly fast but you’d be surprised how a faster internet connection with low latency can help your business.

Why is this important to businesses?

Microsoft’s Office365 features fully decked out web versions of Office applications and other tools such as a Planner and OneNote. These online versions can only be accessed through the internet and, as such, the speed of your internet dictates how fast they load, save, upload and download. If your business has a slow internet connection it could take ages to simply upload an image from your computer to the web version of Microsoft Word; having a detrimental effect on your business efficiency.

Office365 also gives you access to Microsoft’s OneDrive, a cloud based file storage solution used by millions of business around the globe. With a fast internet connection, a video or large image can be upload to your OneDrive account in seconds but with a slow connection you could be stuck waiting hours for files to upload. Fast internet is essential for productivity in modern business.

Low latency internet with swift speeds is also helpful for voice and video over internet programs such as Skype for Business, which allows you to video or voice call anyone around the world. Low latency ensures there’s no delay between users, ensuring everyone in your Business is on the same page and can communicate effectively. Faster speeds mean numerous users can be on Skype at any time without slowing down the internet for other users in the office.

For more information on Office365, OneDrive and Skype for business, feel free to give us a call on 0800 148 8001 or email us Tellmemore@techquarters.com


How to Approach Digital Change

Everyone is using the latest buzz word ‘Digital Transformation’, still not 100% on what it means? Check out our posts ‘Digital Transformation Trends’, ‘Digital Change Management’ and ‘Managers as advocates for Digital Transformation’. The main question that arises is why should businesses take this change seriously?

Digital Change

A survey conducted by Microsoft early September revealed that nearly half of all business leaders think their business model will cease to exist within the next 5 years. The threat is real and TechQuarters’ Digital Change Agents have the expertise to help transform your business before it’s too late.

Digital Change Analysis

Firstly, the way businesses should approach digital change is by undertaking digital analysis. This means that businesses need to assess and review their current processes, to understand ways in which they can improve their training, marketing and operations. Secondly, it’s important to approach digital change by analysing the devices and hardware used within businesses and get up to scratch with the latest and greatest technology!

Leadership

Digital leaders play a huge responsibility in looking after teams and improving the way people work. Digital change is not only about changing software and hardware. Digital change is about understanding, organising and improving the way employees communicate internally; improve productivity and efficiency – but how? The way to prepare for digital change is to ensure that employees are happy and proud of their workplace and tools by introducing the latest technology, implementing software which makes it easier for employees to communicate. Lastly, ensuring projects and tasks are being completely with optimum efficiency, using progress trackable programmes such as Microsoft Projects, Microsoft Planner and so on. There are so many tools out there but it’s important for business to seek the advice of Digital Change Agents to recommend the best tailored technology for your business and ensure the transition is as undisruptive as possible.

The business culture

Happy workers mean satisfied customers, right? Statistics shows that 70% of engaged employees are stronger on customer service than those who aren’t happy in their workplace. It’s important to encourage employees to be optimistic and make them feel important to the organisation. Customers will receive better customer service, building loyalty and brand reputation. As business processes change, communication will become even more seamless and employees even more interconnected. The flow of information influences employees., when information is received faster, tasks and projects are completed on time and users can manage their time more effectively. A culture where everyone’s working towards the same goal, working in teams digitally, working remotely and still connected.

 

Be sure to check out our LinkedIn Group for more exclusive updates on all things Tech. Be sure to email us on tellmemore@techquarters.com


How to work effectively with your team

Microsoft announced the preview of Microsoft Teams early November last year. The application has had great success with 58 million active users. This application is a chat based workspace for Office 365 users who want to collaborate and work remotely with your team. Here at TechQuaters, we love using Microsoft Teams and have seen the benefits it can bring to the business model. Today we are going to share, what we feel are the best features of Microsoft Teams and why this application is going to help digitally transform businesses.

Interacting with Emoji’s

Who doesn’t love a good emoji? It’s a generic form of expression on social media platforms and makes communication more fun and immediate! Microsoft Teams has implemented this concept in their chat based workspace to increase interaction between colleagues and we love it.

Access Meetings in Team

Did you know that users can stay on track with Microsoft Teams by accessing the Meetings tab. This tab allows users to both accept and decline meetings from inside Teams. Users can also view upcoming meetings so they are always on track! Microsoft Teams really has all the tools for organisations.

Integration with SkypeTeam

The skype integration allows Team users to make calls and receive skype messages. This application enables users to communicate effectively with their team and interact via video conference calls or even group chats. Communication just couldn’t get easier.

Access and sharing files on chat space

Talk about productivity; Teams enables users to access both their files and other Microsoft applications from within. Improving productivity and efficiency within businesses. Users can also access their meeting notes and share it with their team members.


Managers as advocates for digital transformation.

Managers need to learn new skills to implement digital transformation within the business; they need to become digital leaders within their business. They can achieve this through encouraging their users to leverage the right tools, become confident with using technology internally and externally. Technology makes it easier for users to interact with their customers, partners and staff members.

Managers

At TechQuaters, we have some great tips on how to become a digital transformation leader within your business.

Create a dynamic culture

This is a difficult one but it can be achieved. The trick is to replace old processes with fresh ones. Become more agile, productive and efficient. That way the business runs with updated resources and working with employees better to gain success. You need to find a proactive advocate along with an expert in digital transformation to push a dynamic culture.

Implement a digital strategy within your company strategy

Employees need to adapt and perform better with modern technology systems, there needs to be a strategy in place which ensures they have the right training on new applications and programmes. TechQuarters 365 Cloud Academy ensures online and classroom user training on office 365 applications to enable users to use technology and keep up with the change. Business need to implement training strategies so that employees feel confidence and become more productive with modern technology.

Hire leaders who are change agents

Digital change agents who are experienced are key for every business; an individual who can recommend resources and implement digital tools as a means of communicating within the business for example implementing video conferencing. As digital change agents, we can help businesses with their business culture, their strategy and adoption of technology so they can adapt to the today’s digital world.

Encourage Digital focus

The resources within the organisation should be technology focused, users need to adopt technology. Managers need to become digitally fluent, they need to implement their digital thinking into their management process. TechQuarters are Digital Change Agents, we can help users to confident and create a strategy for users to adopt technology.

Break down departmental barriers 

Organisations are starting to become more collaborative, communication is more flexible between staff members and management teams. Improving efficiency, productivity and processes within the business. Flat organisational structures are becoming more common and a great structure for businesses to maintain. It’s a structure that’s easier to manage and statistics show that work satisfaction is higher in flat organisational structures rather than a hierarchical structure. To become a digital leader, company users needs to be able to communicate with staff quicker, to make quick decisions and to listen to any suggestions.

Make more decisions

Decision making, planning and executing tasks are key process for businesses. The changes in the work environment require managers to make more digital decisions to keep up with the changes. Digital transformation is changing the work environment and the way business run , its key for business to make decisions that will implement digital trends.

Plan to disrupt than be disrupted

Businesses are trying to keep up with the pace of technology and the more behind you are, the more disruption businesses face. There are higher demands and they need to be met. Digital leaders need to have a contingency plan in place to avoid any disruptions. They need to be ahead of the game.

Embrace and aspire to digital congruence

In a recent survey, respondents rated ‘’too many competing priorities” as the biggest barrier for taking on digital trends. Organisations are finding it difficult to prioritise digital transformation in their business as there are other priorities, and they fail to see the important or strategy to take on the advantages of digital trends.


Stay Safe Online

Stay safe online

Create smart and strong passwords.

A common mistake made by users when it comes to online safety is creating passwords that are too easy to crack by online hackers. Your password should contain 6 characters, numbers and capital letters for example: M12d7hen23. Random; but hard to crack. Its the best way to stay safe online.

Secondly, user passwords should not contain names, date of birth, significant dates etc. which can be guessed by people close to you. Another common mistake is that users have the same password for every account they hold, such as social media handles, online banking details and many more. Passwords need to vary because if one hacker can crack one password, they can access other accounts too.

Instant Messaging

There are many risks when instant messaging when it comes to privacy and confidentiality. It’s important that users don’t give out personal or confidential information about themselves, the reason for this is because hackers can use this information to commit fraud or other criminal activities. Secondly, it’s difficult to verify if the person on the other side is who they say they are. Users should never give out confidential data through social media or any online platform. Users should block strangers to avoid communication and lastly never click on links or download files as it could lead to more security risks.

Phishing scams

Emails that replicate financial institutions, e-commerce sites and other websites can be harmful. To identify a phishing email, it usually contains information that will urge users to react quickly by giving out personal information for example ‘Your account has been compromised’. Phishing attacks collect information through emails and try to infect your machine with viruses. Stay stafe online. Users need to ensure they don’t give out any personal or financial information and contact the company directly to ensure their security.

Security and Online Gaming

Downloading content online has the potential to be harmful to a user’s computer as you could unknowingly be installing an antivirus. Communicating with anonymous individuals, sharing confidential and personal information on gaming platforms can also have many security consequences. Online gaming could lead to addiction especially for young children. Be sure to stay safe online by reducing the hours spent on online games and not to give out personal or confidential information. Lastly, avoid downloading files as it could potentially install a virus.

Shopping online

Users can often be unaware that they are making payments via unsecured web pages, this can result in security violations such as fraud payments. Secondly, making purchases via fake websites that fail to match up to the legal requirements required for quality goods and services can leads to disappointment and multiple safety issues. Be sure to stay safe. For safe online shopping users should attempt to ensure that the webpage domain starts with ‘https://’ as the ‘s’ stands for secure. Some websites direct users to external payment services, so be sure to cross check before making any payments. Lastly, users also need to avoid making payment through unsecured Wi-Fi connection.

Stay Safe Online Everyday

TechQuarters recommendations for precautionary steps to online safety, hope this information was helpful and be sure to stay safe online. For information regarding internet security , have a read of our latest blog on backup service.

 
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