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Do you have cyber-insurance cover for your business?

Some kinds of insurance are mandatory: a no-brainer example would be car insurance.

Some are optional, like income protection or travel insurance. And, of course, they are of no practical help until that fateful day when they are and you thank yourself for signing up in the first place, right?  Well, some people are more risk averse than others and whatever you decide is fair enough assuming you have thought it through.

When it comes to cyber-insurance for your business (and many other types of business insurance) I would always ask this:

Have you assessed ALL risk in the business? Actually identified what the risks are? Listed them? Assessed the consequences?

Cyber attacks are very real and not remotely enjoyable. This guide from the National Cyber Security Centre gives you an overview of what to look for and how to approach gaining such insurance.

Crucially, it makes it very clear having such insurance does not magically make your business immune from attack (!) nor should you put off ensuring that your IT systems, data, devices and humans are prepared for interaction online. What it does provide is support if something terrible happens and assuming you have taken out appropriate levels of cover, that you will ride the storm and survive.

If you’d like to discuss any of this further please get in touch by calling 0207 241 2255 or simply schedule a session with me using my calendar link.

4 signs you’re under attack from ransomware

A ransomware attack is one of the most terrifying things that can happen to your business.

This is the computer attack where a hacker locks you out of your systems and data. And you must pay a ransom, typically in Bitcoin, to get access again.

What most people don’t realise is that hackers access your system weeks before they launch the attack. It takes time for them to set it up, and prevent IT security experts from helping.

So there are signs to look out for – ways to spot if your system has already been breached, and an attack is imminent.

Download our brand new guide and know how to keep your business safe.

If you would like to discuss this or have any other IT question, you can call us on 0207 241 2255 or simply fill out the contact form on our website and we’ll quickly get back to you. If you’d like to schedule a call directly with Ben, please connect via his calendar link.

Hackers want to break into your business email account!

Business Email attacks are becoming more common. And the result of an attack can be devastating!

Cybercriminals target businesses via email infiltration because they perceive enormous riches that may lie within.

This article describes the process.

In essence, the attacker will register a legitimate email account with the intention of impersonating their target and ultimately gain access to the target’s email environment.

They typically only use these addresses sparingly, believing that this will reduce the chance of detection, although they may return to the account after a long period or re-use it to target a different organisation.

Their goal is to obtain some key piece of information such as a bank account or password with which they can attempt to infiltrate a network or gain access to a highly privileged account.

What can you do?

Invest in email filtering that uses AI to sniff out suspicious emails.

Educate and train users to be alert to suspicious emails and how to spot “red flags” in all online interactions.

You won’t regret it.

If you’d like to discuss the above further please get in touch by calling 0207 241 2255 or simply schedule a session with me using my calendar link.

Are you set up for working anywhere?

Are you set up for working anywhere, on any device, at any time?

Didn’t 2020 just throw a massive curveball at us.

After the urgent rush to work from home in March, many businesses now have some staff still at home, with others in the office.

And it’s looking like (cliché alert) this will be the “new normal”.

Seeing as we don’t know what the next few years have in store us, this is a great time to make sure that all of your team can work from anywhere, on any device, any time.

That gives you maximum flexibility and minimum future disruption.

Download our guide to show you the most important things to consider with a permanent flexible working arrangement for your people.

If you would like to discuss this or have any other IT question, you can call us on 0207 241 2255 or simply fill out the contact form on our website and we’ll quickly get back to you. If you’d like to schedule a call directly with Ben, please connect via his calendar link.

 

 

 

 

We all know what GDPR is but what is PECR?

We all know what GDPR is but what is PECR?

As this helpful guide from the Information Commissioner’s Office explains, The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) sit alongside the Data Protection Act and the GDPR. They give people specific privacy rights in relation to electronic communications.

PECR specifically looks at the electronic communications an organisation or business makes and how to ensure compliance with the regulations.

In essence, this relates to how an organisation sends communications out, such as marketing emails, texts and other methods of contact.

It may not be the most exciting thing to spend your time on but it’s an important legal and administrative process that requires time and resources.

Even if it’s not something you do yourself, this proves it needs to be done by someone!

A quick online search will give you lots of templates and guidance on how to approach assessment of what your business needs to do and produce the documents that demonstrate your compliance.

If you’d like to discuss the above further please get in touch by calling 0207 241 2255 or simply schedule a session with me using my calendar link.

 

It is the fastest growing crime on the planet…

Ransomware is terrifying. Just terrifying.

It is the fastest growing crime on the planet but what does ransomware mean to you?

Imagine switching on your work computer one morning. And instead of the screen you normally see, the screen has gone totally red.

There’s a message telling you your business’s data has been locked. And the only way to get it back is to pay thousands in Bitcoin.

This is not a rare event. It happens to businesses every day. Every business is at risk. And it’s one of the hardest things for us as your IT support company to fix.

Fortunately there are five really effective things you can do to protect your business. Download our latest guide. It tells you how to protect your business, and dramatically reduce your chances of being attacked.

It is important to take a long-term approach to this, just as you would with any form of cyber-attack.  It’s cheesy, but prevention is better than cure!

If you don’t already have these precautions in place, you can call us on 0207 241 2255 or simply fill out the contact form on our website and we’ll quickly get back to you. If you’d like to schedule a call directly with Ben, please connect via his calendar link.

Humans are responsible for cybersecurity – not technology

This blog is devoted to taking responsibility for cybersecurity in your organisation. If you are the leader or decisionmaker, who else is going to lead with this?

If you are not the decisionmaker, and there has been no cyber risk assessment, the organisation could be in trouble and may not recover from attack.

I recommend that you read Whaling for Beginners

You can obtain a free PDF or e-Book version from the link above.

In this short, based-on-fact and gripping modern-day fable, a company boss clicked on a link sent from an old (and presumed forgotten) school chum.

He regretted it immediately. The malware in the link proceeds to not only hack his company network, but their client’s networks too.

The book charts the fallout for the company but also forces the boss not only to take responsibility for his own culpability but also to realise that the tech alone does not protect you.

Without security policy, risk assessment and mitigation you are vulnerable.

“We took technology at face value. Technology is nothing without people. People use technology. They can use it and they can abuse it.

They can let it make them lazy, or they can use it to be amazingly creative. The point is, it’s a tool. It’s only as good as the people that use it. I’m the fool that clicked on a link in an email that I shouldn’t have.

I assumed that the antivirus would save me. I assumed that my firewalls, my expensive tech, my IT team made me immune to my own carelessness. They didn’t….”

If you’d like to discuss the above further please get in touch by calling 0207 241 2255 or simply schedule a session with me using my calendar link.

Improve how you work from home or the office with Microsoft Teams

Unless you have been living on another planet, you’ve probably noticed that things have been a little strange, lately.  Covid has changed the way we do pretty much everything and it looks as if it will be some time before things go back to the way they were.  If at all.

On the up side, you may have discovered that your business can be more flexible with the way your people work, than you’d imagined. With many people working from home to some extent, remote working has become a viable, permanent option for many organisations.  And if your people are getting on well with it, what’s not to like?

People can work in a way they’re comfortable with; you could make a big financial saving on office space and travel; and you’re literally giving your people the gift of time, because they no longer have to commute.  But the important thing to always keep in mind is how you’re going to continue to collaborate as a team.

It’s likely that you’ve already looked at some of these potential issues during lock-down. Have you found the best solution for your people? If not, it’s time you looked in detail at Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams has it all when it comes to uniting your business and helping you to get the job done.  Download this month’s guide, for a step by step closer look at Microsoft Teams.

Give Teams a go and see how it could work for your business.  We are always on hand if you need any guidance and can also give help and advice on any other aspect of your business’s IT and data security.

You can call us on 0207 241 2255 or simply fill out the contact form on our website and we’ll quickly get back to you. If you’d like to schedule a call directly with Ben, please connect via his calendar link.

Why time is the real finite resource

What does Bill Gates, a brain surgeon and a road sweeper all have in common? They only have 24 hours in a day.

Even Bill’s billions don’t get him any special time dispensations or perks. While this may seem obvious, if we have a hard limit on how long we have to spend in our work life and home life how does this affect our ability to get what we want?

If time is short, how can we tell if what we are doing right now is really the best use of our time?

Is the task important? Am I the best person to be doing this task?

Am I doing this task because I am avoiding what I really should be doing right now?

I ask myself these sorts of questions regularly because I often feel pressed for time – whether I am working or not. Effective time management is challenging in the 21st century because there are so many things we could do or think we could do. We are over-saturated with information. There is no way I could read every link in every email sent to me asking me to read a white paper or attend a webinar.

I am learning to be more selective in what I read and what I do as I realise that I can’t do everything. One thing I do spend some of my time on is how to focus my activities and prioritise my tasks so that I do the most important things first! The very fact that we are all faced with this conundrum means that there are many helpful books and even simple articles that can help us get better at time management.

This link provides some useful and straightforward steps that can help!

If you’d like to discuss any of this further please get in touch by calling 0207 241 2255 or simply schedule a session with me using my calendar link.

 

5 Difficult Questions to ask an IT Support Company

During lock-down, many businesses decided that it was time to find a new IT support company.    This was because of the way they were treated when lockdown happened and while they were working from home.  These businesses are now acting on their decision and we have been talking to lots of potential new clients recently.

Finding a new IT support company for your business can be a bit like dating.  Just as when you are dating, you will find yourself asking a lot of questions.  After all, you don’t want to get stuck with someone who promises you the earth but fails to deliver.

It is really important that you find out a lot more about how much their services cost and what capabilities they have, especially while we’re working in unusual circumstances and taking into account social distancing.

But what are the right questions that will tell you the most about your potential new IT support company?  And how will their answers help you to determine if you are a good match?

This month’s guide takes you through what we believe are the five most important questions you should ask an IT Company to learn more about them.

 

Who will be responsible for looking after me day to day?

If the IT support company does assign an account manager to each client, how do they assign them?  Will they match their skills with your needs?  Do they judge which personalities will get on the best?  Or is it just a random decision based on who has the highest or lowest workload?

It is really important that you have consistency from your IT Service Provider.  Ideally, usually you will speak to the same person or small group of people who know your history and set up in detail.  It’s hugely frustrating when you have a problem to have to go over background information before you can begin a resolution.

Will the same person be responsible for any site visits too?  If someone different comes to the office than who you speak to on the phone, will they have the most recent information to hand.

And what precautions are they taking when it comes to site visits? Do they have a new protocol for wearing PPE to protect both themselves and your employees? Are they ensuring they leave anything they’ve worked on clean and sanitised?

What about helping out those employees who are shielding, or living with someone who is? Is there a process for keeping them safe if they need to work on their device?

What experience does your account manager have?  Will they be able to help when any manner of problems occur?

 

Do you specialise in one sector?

If they typically work in one sector and you are in a different sector, how will the service they provide translate?  The set up will be different, how well will they understand your needs?

If they’re used to working with large organisations, how does what they do adapt to a smaller business? Do their solutions differ depending on need or will they recommend the same devices and software to everyone? Should you expect the costs to be similar to those a large corporation would pay, or will they be tailored to your requirements?

Likewise, if they’re used to dealing with small businesses, how will they cope if your business grows?

You should also ask if one client makes up more than 50% of their business. It might sound quite intrusive, but what would happen to your support should that one client go away? Would the IT support company go under? And what would happen if that one client had an issue at the same time as you? Would they become a priority, leaving your business to come grinding to a halt while their problem is solved first?

 

What’s your customer retention rate?

How long does a client typically stay with them?

In the world of IT support, customer retention should be high. If an IT support company delivers what it promises to deliver, is easy to communicate with, and charges a fair price for this, a customer is unlikely to leave them for someone else. It’s simply too much hassle if they’re happy with the service.

If their retention rate isn’t high, why not? Can they give you a reasonable explanation?

It’s probably a good idea to look at the figures from before lock-down. It’s likely that most IT support companies have seen a small drop in clients over recent months due to economics changing.

Don’t be afraid to ask for references either. If you’re looking to employ an IT support company that you can have a long working relationship with, you want to be sure you’re making the right decision. Speak to a couple of their current clients to find out what they like about the company, what they’d change, and if there’s anything that they have an issue with.

 

How much of your revenue comes from fixing problems as opposed to anticipating them?

Today, we all realise that prevention is better than cure. So where possible, things are put in place to reduce the risk of a disaster happening within your network. Updates are made on time; regular back-ups are taken; and we run 24 hour monitoring so that we can act immediately should we need to. Often, problems are fixed before you even know you have a problem.

Of course, you can never protect your business 100% when it comes to the failing of technology. But you can make sure you’re taking every possible step to try.

So if your IT support company is making more money from fixing problems, it probably means that they’re not spending enough of their time on preventative measures. In turn, that means you’ll be spending more money than you need to on keeping your business safe.

 

What’s the worst disaster you’ve ever had to deal with?

Anyone who has worked in IT for any amount of time will usually have dealt with a disaster of some scale. Knowing why it happened and the steps that were taken to resolve it will tell you more about a company than them listing all of their good points.

What was their plan of action? Did they already have something in place to deal with this type of problem or did they just wing it? If it were to happen again, would they be able to follow the same process?  Who was responsible for each step along the way, and how long did it take to resolve?

You can learn a lot about a company from how they answer this question. If they’re happy to go into detail and answer your questions, it shows they’re open and honest. If they’re a little cagey with the details it might be a red flag. It’s really important that you can trust a company when it’s dealing with one of the most integral parts of your business.

Picking a new IT support company is one of the most important decisions you can make!  It really is worth asking the right questions to find the IT support company that fits best with your business.  Remember that the company you employ could mean the difference between a security breach being handled quickly and efficiently, with minimal damage to your business, and one that costs you a fortune and potentially loses you clients.

If you’re in the market for a new IT support service we’d love to hear from you – and we are not afraid to answer those awkward questions!

You can call us on 0207 241 2255 or simply fill out the contact form on our website and we’ll quickly get back to you. If you’d like to schedule a call directly with Ben, please connect via his calendar link.