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Cyber Security Staffordshire

The 3 Cyber Security Vulnerabilities You Need to Ensure Your Business Doesn’t Have

You need to take cyber security seriously, regardless of the size of your business. Criminals are targeting both small and large businesses, and you need to check for any weaknesses in your security regularly. Here are 3 Cyber Security Vulnerabilities you need to ensure your business doesn’t have.

Summary

  • Check your Antivirus software regularly and keep it up to date
  • Do you have Weak Login Credentials / have any of your accounts been compromised
  • Lack of Ransomware Protection

VULNERABILITY #1 – LACK OF ENDPOINT SECURITY

Many businesses don’t have or regularly check their endpoint security solutions such as antivirus programs. This leaves their business susceptible to cyber attacks such as ransomware and malware.

Some endpoint solutions rely on virus definitions or signatures to detect an attack. Some out of date software is often inadequate.

Many cyber criminals can bypass definitions quickly and undetected. Some solutions don’t monitor for unexpected and unusual behaviour that typically happens during a cyber attack.

The best way to combat these issues is to invest in an endpoint solution that involves next-generation antivirus, response and behavioral analysis.

What is Endpoint Security?

Endpoint security Is when you secure the endpoints and / or entry points of devices such as desktops, Laptops and mobile devices etc. It has evolved a lot since the more traditional anti virus solutions of the past. It provides a more sophisticated approach when it comes to malware and ransomware.

As virus threats get more sophisticated, it’s good practice to implement this level of protection. The new systems are designed to detect, analyse and block suspicious activity while they are in progress.

Please get in touch if you would like to know more or have any questions about Endpoint Security.

VULNERABILITY #2 – COMPROMISED OR WEAK CREDENTIALS

Cyber Security Staffordshire

Cyber criminals can easily compromise your Username and Password if you haven’t got the right protection in place. For instance, an unsuspecting team member may fall victim to a phishing email and enter their login information into a fake website.

With these compromised credentials, an attacker can gain access to your business data.

There are a number of ways to combat this, such as by enabling MFA (Multi Factor Authentication) on your systems. MFA provides an extra layer of security.

It ensures that users are who they say they are by requiring two pieces of information in order to sign in. This is usually their password and an additional verification, such as a one time access code, in order to login.

Even if the password is compromised, the chances of the additional verification factor also being compromised is very low.

What is Multi Factor Authentication?

When you sign into any account online, you usually go through a process called authentication. Effectively proving your identity to the website you’re logging into. For many years this has been achieved by using a username and a password.

This is however a very insecure method of authentication. That’s why now almost every bank, some social media websites and online stores use additional authentication.

You may hear Multi Factor Authentication called Two-Step verification or Multifactor authentication. They all work the same way. You still login using your username and password but there is an additional layer of security. This can be a pin number text to your mobile phone or a unique code generated by a separate application.

VULNERABILITY #3 – LACK OF RANSOMWARE PROTECTION

Ransomware is the name given to a cyber attack, where the cyber criminals attack your system and network and encrypt your files making them inaccessible.

This can cause chaos for small and large businesses. In 2017 a notorious ransomware attack called “WannaCry Outbreak” cost the UK £92 million and global costs in the region of 6 billion. This also affected the NHS and all of their computer systems were brought to a standstill.

Even though victims paid the ransom all of the data was virtually unrecoverable. So it’s not just ransomware protection you need. It’s a redundancy plan to make sure all of the data is backed up elsewhere and is accessible in the event of a cyber attack.

The majority of victims in these types of attacks are told to pay the ransom using a crypto currency such as bitcoin. They will then send a passcode, allowing you to get back into your system and files.

Make sure you have software and processes in place to prevent these kinds of attacks. Ensure your systems are up to date with the latest updates installed, ensure you are using a modern endpoint security solution and a working backup solution to ensure you’ve got something to fall back to if the worst should happen.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of Malware that adds encryption to a victims files and information. Any data on your computer or network can be compromised. This then stops the IT admin or users from being able to access any critical data.

You wouldn’t be able to access any files, databases or programmes on your devices. It does this by using asymmetric encryption. This is a type of cryptography that generates a pair of keys allowing you to encrypt and decrypt files. The hacker generates a unique key which is given to the victim when the ransom has been paid.

Most ransware is distributed via emails or more targeted attacks. In most cases, once your computer has been compromised. It will give you between 24/48hrs to pay the ransom allowing you to gain access to your data.

HERE TO HELP

Anyone running a successful company should have the steps above in place. To ensure your business isn’t a sitting duck for cyber criminals, by implementing reliable defense strategies and keep. So if you’re looking for assistance with your Cyber Security and based in Staffordshire. Reach out to us for a quick, no obligation chat to see how we can protect your business from cyber attacks. Call us on 01543 889 444


Your Never Too Small for Managed IT Support

A small to medium size business may only have a handful computers and having an in-house person dedicated to IT support may be overkill. Everything is working fine at the moment but is it performing at its best, but at some point, things will crash and stop working. That’s why it can be beneficial to outsource IT.

Having someone who knows technology working for your team can pay huge dividends and add value by:

  • Providing knowledgeable support and IT help
  • Identifying where you can be more efficient with the tools you already have which can save money
  • Learning business needs and making recommendations about the best IT needs for your company
  • Helping you avoid bad tech purchases or buying software you don’t need
  • Protecting your business technology and ensuring your computers are up to date with the latest security

Small business Breaches

You don’t have to have a large business to attract the unwanted attention of cyber-criminals, in fact a small business can be a particularly appealing target.

According to Accenture 43% of cyber-attacks were aimed at small businesses and only 14% of small businesses were prepared for these attacks on their networks and sensitive data. In fact hackers will exploit a small business as part of their campaign to attack a larger business, as they know the smaller business is less likely to have the same level of security as the bigger businesses. According to insurance carrier Hiscox the average cyber-attack costs a business £200,000 which can be a killer blow for a small business. Some 60% of small businesses that are hacked go out of business within six months, even if they can survive the financial damage along with brand reputation and customer goodwill is devastating.

Outsourced ITAdvantages of Outsourced IT

You may not have a clear picture of your cyber-security status right now but by working with a SJH Computing & Technical Services you will get one. We will conduct an informal audit of your current technology and needs.

For instance, your business may not have a data protection procedure or you may think you don’t have a lot to back-up. Can you recover if your business losses an email chain it was keeping for legal or compliance reasons? What would happen if the computer holding all your accounting suddenly died? We can identify all these problem areas and recommend appropriate solutions.

We will make an inventory of all your tech assets and ensure you are compliant with protecting your customers data, employee records, confidentiality, availability, and ensure the security of the business’s intellectual property.

The cost of outsourcing can be a stumbling block to a small business but managed IT services can often lower costs by streamlining processes and ensuring that the business technology is best suited to current needs and if the worst does happen they are only a phone call away to help.

If you would like to know more about outsourcing your IT needs give us a call on 01543 889 444


Don’t be Afraid of the Cloud

Although the public cloud service is expanding some businesses are reluctant to migrate their IT to this service for a number of reasons. This article addresses the common myths to this highly scalable and cost effective solution.

Fear of Change

The old saying of “why try to fix it if it’s not broke” is often banded about especially when it comes to business computing, and moving all your data from one data center to another takes planning and effort.

The greater flexibility when it is done will make it all worthwhile. Cloud technology offers:

  • Increased effectiveness
  • Mobility
  • Faster implementation
  • Scalability
  • Disaster recovery

The Cloud allows you to store data, deliver content, run applications and other IT functions all online, plus you don’t have to invest in the necessary hardware or networking technology on site.

Fear of Losing Control

Most IT departments want full control of their domain and can be reluctant to hand this over to a third party as moving to the public Cloud means partnering with this other third party. Some of your existing technology can move however some may need to be replaced or redesigned.

One solution is to migrate to a private Cloud. This will allow you to control the data and software but will be more costly than a public Cloud. When going into partnership with a public Cloud service provider make sure who is responsible and accountable for what.

Fear of Cost Increases

Cost is always a concern to businesses especially IT costs and although it may seem costlier by moving to the Cloud, first take stock of your existing IT operating budget. The time and money saving could be surprising as the software provider will take charge of updates, patching and new capabilities which can increase IT productivity in other areas.

With Cloud technology you know your tools are always evolving plus you can quickly add or reduce licenses for data storage and you don’t need to wait for hardware to arrive and be installed by your IT team.

Fear of Data Security

This is probably the biggest fear when moving to a third party, just how secure is your data. Also of concern is any downtime for a data breach and the resulting cost in lost production, business revenue and brand. You don’t want to move to a solution that increases your vulnerability.

There are two ways you can be attacked; digital or physical. A Cloud provider is always focused on security, they do not want an attack as much as you do as their reputation would be in tatters. They know the mitigations and counter measures for cloud computing capabilities. They know the frameworks, architecture and approaches to best protect against digital attack. Azure, which is Microsoft’s cloud offering, has a budget of $1 billion to prevent such cyber attacks. Very few IT budgets can compete with that.

As for physical security your own business premises is probably less secure than a data center. They have patrolled, fenced perimeters, guards, keycard only access, power backups and server redundancy.

Conclusion

With cloud migration you also avoid training employees to support the technology, freeing up office space and paying less for power and cooling to house your equipment. The cloud provides end users with immediate access from almost any device.

The one challenge is migrating to the cloud securely so contact us today on 01543 889 444 to get you migrated swiftly and ensure you’re using cloud computing safely.


Are your Business Continuity Plans up to date?

Business continuity is preparing for the unexpected and plans ensure you can maintain operations during unexpected disruptions. Such disruptions can include:

  • national emergencies
  • sabotage
  • natural and man-made disasters
  • utility failures
  • data breaches or cyber-security attack

There is however a new threat that not only threatens individual businesses but whole economies – COVID-19.

The situation with COVID-19 has shown to be extremely fluid and can change in an instant so what do you need to do?

Prepare for the Unexpected

A business continuity plan tries to anticipate the worst that could happen without knowing what is going to happen; nobody saw a world pandemic coming.

You may never need to use your plan but taking the “it`ll never happen to me” approach is playing a dangerous game and could leave you up the creek without a paddle so to speak.

When COVID-19 hit many governments required businesses of all sizes across many industries to migrate to remote working or “working from home”. Those businesses with business continuity plans were able to respond with great agility whereas those without a plan would have floundered and found it very difficult and rushing to set up the required hardware and software which could lead to costly mistakes.

Now, many countries are starting to reopen for business albeit with constraints and now is the time to see how your business continuity plan coped and look for any weaknesses. Look back at what worked and what didn`t and ensure you are better prepared for the future.

Planning with a Managed Service Provider (MSP)

COVID-19 is not over yet and you could find yourself having to go back to remote working as spikes in the virus occur and local lock downs are forced back upon businesses. Your business continuity plan will lay out how to proceed but beware there can be many pitfalls and security issues with working remote and working with an MSP can enable you to ensure you have the correct hardware and software, set up data protection and develop a backup setup amongst other things.

If you would like to know more give us a call on 01543 889 444.


Remote IT and Cloud technology

Ten years ago, the “Cloud” was virtually unknown however this technology has grown to new heights and it is now a phrase used almost daily in offices around the world. More and more businesses are using it for the huge benefits it has to offer.

This sudden uptake has raised questions too. Businesses want to know what the Cloud can do for them but want to understand it before committing their data to it and most of all – is it safe?

What is The Cloud?

The principle behind the Cloud is that it allows you to store, retrieve and work on your data without you having to worry about the fine detail of where or how it is kept. It may be stored on a single computer or distributed across multiple servers all around the world. Most often it is stored across one or more data centres as close as possible to your physical location.

From the perspective of the user it does not matter where the data is stored, just that the Cloud server will retrieve your data as quickly and efficiently as possible. You do not have to worry about the specifics and lets you get on with the running of your business.

Is the Cloud safe?

Your data will be sitting on one of many multiple computers stacked together in an air-conditioned temperature controlled clean room. Data centres make storing and securing data their entire business employing high level cyber-security and physical security with walled compounds, guards at security gates and state of the art CCTV. They also employ redundant power supplies to protect against unplanned power outages.

Cloud convenience

Storing data in the Cloud means having easy access to your data and regular backups. Staff across the business can work, share, and transfer documents at the same time without the worry of redundant copies or working on the wrong version and saving over previous versions.

Many companies didn’t know they needed the Cloud until they started using it.

Security

Attacking a fortified, secure data centre is almost impossible, and the most significant threat comes from the users of the Cloud. A weak password or reusing an old one can open your data to hackers. A phishing scam or installing malicious software on your computer gives attackers the single opportunity they need to strike.

These issues can be guarded against with staff training, awareness, and simple security tools along with a password manager can guard against the biggest threats to your company.

The Cloud is the safest, most reliable, and most secure way to store your company’s valuable data.

If you would like to know more or would like any help with the Cloud give us a ring on 01543 889444


Returning to Work: Make sure you are IT Safe

Your business has had the go ahead to return to work onsite, but you are unsure of the precautions you need to carry out. Guidelines have been produced regarding social distancing and keeping your workforce safe but what about IT safety?

If you have had remote working during quarantine you could allow workers to stay at home if they are at risk or oppose the idea of returning too soon.

For those coming back, you could use a phased return to ensure social distancing making people feel more secure. You could use a hybrid approach, allowing people to work in the office three days a week and two days at home, allowing a staggered return and letting them regain their confidence to return to full workplace.

Do you have the correct technology?

You may think you have the technology to support your staff both working onsite and remotely but is it capable of supporting your business long term. Will your technology support you for the long haul or as some are saying the new way of working?

To achieve a flexible hybrid model of working you could go with cloud solutions or you could expand on site IT. Do you need the additional infrastructure to handle remote employees using VPNs? Both onsite and remote staff might need to securely access systems at the same time. Cloud collaboration software will allow both onsite and remote staff to use resources at the same time.

When you bring people back to the office you may need to space your workstations further apart to ensure social distancing meaning you may have to move computer hardware as well, or if you previously used shared computers, you will have to add more desktops or laptops.

Further IT precautions

Cyber-criminals are always on the lookout to make a quick killing; you only have to look at the proliferation of scams that have occurred during lockdown. Many businesses had to move quickly to remote working sometimes allowing staff to access the business from personal devices which could leave them open to cyber attacks.

Now is the time to explore any vulnerabilities in your IT systems. Double check permissions ensuring say someone from procurement cannot access payroll and vice-versa. Also confirm that all your staff have adequate virus protection on their devices and security patches are up to date.

You will naturally be concentrating your efforts on social distancing, deep cleaning, etc to ensure your staff are safe to return to work but don’t forget your IT needs. If you need any help ensuring your IT is safe and ready give us a call on 01543 889444.

 


Why Your Business Needs Managed Security

Trying to insure your car after its been stolen is not really an option and the same is true of cyber security. With the help of an IT Support Company you can stay ahead of security threats with leading edge technologies.

Regularly in the news we hear of Ransomware, Trojans, crypto mining and more attacks on businesses and consumers and the volume of threats is increasing. Unfortunately, there is no single vaccine that can keep you safe. Cyber criminals are getting more and more sophisticated in their attacks as they are using a multitude of tactics.

Password theft and password-based breaches are a daily occurrence but that’s only one area of concern as cyber security experts warn that the worst is yet to come.

With Managed Services you can add a team of experts for a fixed monthly cost who will help you stay on top of any evolving threats. They work to identify any vulnerabilities in your systems and instead of reacting after an attack they work to prevent one.

A single person or small overworked IT team might struggle to stay current with attack strategies from cyber criminals, but working with an IT Support Company will free up these internal resources to focus instead on your business tasks. You will have peace of mind knowing that the IT Support Company will use the latest technologies as they will have the necessary training as they attend security conferences and keep up to date with the latest threats.

Managed Services Make a Security Difference

An IT Support Company will learn your systems, network and applications to gain an insight to your business and workflow needs and they will then recommend the best tools for you to use. They will make suggestions that will optimise production, security and cost and you will gain an objective perspective on what technology suits your needs.

An IT Support Company’s proactive approach can save you data breach devastation where financial damages can be large. In a 2018 Cisco study 54% of all cyber attacks resulted in damages of more than $500,000 USD

Cost is not the only thing at risk though as data breaches can also lead to:

  • Theft of intellectual property
  • Damage to brand and hence loss of customers
  • Loss of competitive advantage
  • Regulatory fines

You are at risk no matter the size of your company or industry. Cisco found 40% of companies employing 250-499 staff had experienced a severe security breach in 2018. Larger companies were also impacted but tended to be more resilient but when a small business is breached, the damage is usually more severe as their core systems are likely to be interconnected, meaning the attack spreads more easily.

What Can You Do to Mitigate Attacks?

The threat to your company will always be evolving as the cyber criminals evolve their attacks. You might be at risk from targeted attacks against your employees such as faked business email communications, Ransomware where your data is held hostage until a fee is paid or other advanced threats.

Managed Services ensures you have the people, processes and technology to prevent attacks, and if the worst does happen, they have the skill to mitigate the damage and get your business back up and running quickly.

Managed Services from an IT Support Company will provide you with the best proactive, ongoing security.

If you need to know more give us a call on 01543 889 444 and we’ll be more than happy to help.


Why Your Small Business Needs VoIP

Why would a small business need VoIP? VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) has many advantages for small businesses especially SMBs that want to do business with enterprise sized companies.

Basically, VoIP turns voice conversation into data packets sent between two network points and the technology turns the data back into an analog signal at the receiving end if required. The person on the other end does not need to be on VoIP.

Services such as Skype use VoIP which uses your broadband Internet connection to make or receive the call, bypassing land lines or mobile phones and saves users long distance or extra minute charges.

Beyond the savings VoIP setups often include features such as voicemail, call forwarding and call recording at no extra cost.

There’s also cost savings from consolidating your communications infrastructure and streamlining voice, data and broadband services with just one provider along with savings in set up and maintaining traditional communication systems.

 

VoIP Enables Flexibility

Mobility is another big reason to move to VoIP. Businesses can download the VoIP App and it will turn any Internet connected device such as a laptop into a VoIP phone, you don’t actually need a phone and you can take your business phone numbers with you anywhere in the world.

Calls can be forwarded from office phones to the device of your choice be it laptop, mobile phone, tablet or desktop computer in an office anywhere offering workplace flexibility which employees appreciate.

The VoIP platform is also scalable as it is easy to install as there’s little to no physical hardware to set up. As your business expands, you can quickly add additional users as you don’t have to wait for your telephone provider to visit to add extra lines, and for seasonal businesses you can add or delete lines as needed with very little additional cost.

Cost savings can also be had from having fewer telephone hardware maintenance costs, it frees up space and your communication equipment is up to date.

 

Quality and security issues?

Obviously, any business user will have a concern about quality of a VoIP call as it can reflect on how well it conducts its business. VoIP needs a good Internet connection to work well.

Security is another concern. A business using VoIP can use an on premises solution or it can be cloud based. When running VoIP on your own network the data is a secure as anything else you are using, and most VoIP service providers use call encryption meaning your data is safe.

 

Analytics benefits of VoIP

With VoIP you can gain access to reporting and business analytics as some VoIP systems integrate with CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software giving data and call insights along with call monitoring, recording and reporting capabilities which can lead to better employee training, help with security threats and ensuring compliance.

VoIP can provide cost savings, flexibility and peace of mind meaning you can focus on growth and profit.

If you would like to know more about VoIP give us a call on 01543 889 444.


Tech Tips for Businesses

As your business continues to grow, it’s important that your IT and technology solutions grow with it. Consumer grade equipment and solutions simply don’t cut the fast-paced world of business, and so it maybe time to consider these tips to help your business grow even more.

 

Upgrade to a Business Grade Cloud solution

Maybe you are relying on free software and solutions, such as Gmail or Dropbox, and why not, it’s free right? But what does this tell your customers when you are using a free email address such as Gmail or Outlook.com? For a small monthly fee, you gain business grade features and not only that, it will make your business look more professional.

Office 365 offers business emails, video and voice calls, secure team messaging, 50GB cloud storage and the desktop versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint you use every day. Plus, you gain greater security and administration of your data.

 

Backup solutions

Consumer grade backup may be ok if you only use one computer, but what if you’ve got multiple computers, are you backing them all up, and where to?

With a 3-2-1 backup solution, your business has a minimum of three backups. Two onsite and another offsite, such as in the cloud. Having a local backup allows you to recover files quickly with very little downtime. However, should the worst happen, such as a fire or flood, your offsite backup will save the day.

It’s important to know that you need to backup your email, calendar and cloud-based files. Providers such as Microsoft, Google or Dropbox are not responsible for your data. If you are hit by ransomware, these files may be gone forever.

 

Managed Antivirus

While most businesses have these protections, not all have embraced the idea of monitored antivirus and firewalls. Instead, the default setup has more in common with a home setup than a robust professional system. Given that SMBs are a primary target for malware and cyber-attack, you should seriously consider moving to the monitored versions.

All updates are taken care of, plus company-wide protections applied so users can’t accidentally infect the network. When something doesn’t look quite right, our monitors take immediate action to protect your business.

Want to learn more about these benefits and how we can help your business thrive? Call us on 01543 889 444


What Can An MSP Do to Kickstart Your Business

Business today relies on technology in a way which we have never seen before. It makes up the core of almost every business currently in existence. Today going digital impacts small companies more than large ones; it can make new opportunities possible and accelerate your path to success.

The advantages of modern technology to small business is likely to be present already within your business, but so too are the disadvantages. Faster transactions, quicker payment, accurate inventory, and improved customer outreach serve to boost our capabilities. While complex set-up, systems management, and ever-present security threats hold us back from our full potential.

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) can eliminate the drawbacks, sharpen up your systems, and allow your business to grow to its full capacity in the modern business landscape.

 

Business IT Support Staffordshire

What An MSP Does For You – There are a staggering number of systems a modern business is expected to keep tabs on today. Accounting, inventory, and timekeeping; on top of customer-facing services such as maintaining a website, managing social media, and processing online orders. It’s simply impossible for every small business to keep up.

An MSP is an expert in the field, managing your IT services to give you the confidence your business is on the right track. If the core of your business relied on maintaining a fleet of vehicles, you would hire a mechanic to keep each one in top condition. Building your business on modern technology should employ a similar strategy.

For your company, an MSP exists to keep your systems in their best shape to generate maximum mileage for your business.

Tailored to Exactly What You Need – The key to unlocking near unlimited growth in your own company is to find out precisely what you need to operate to capacity. An MSP can provide consulting services to your business to find out how your business can improve. Simple tweaks and minor changes are often all it takes to create a more streamlined, more productive, working environment.

Almost always, the smallest changes in the right places make the most significant differences. Working with technology, rather than fighting against it, provides your business with the competitive edge to put you in control.

Technology That Helps Without Getting in The Way – An MSP can both enhance and protect your business by providing backup and recovery services that will safeguard your data and services against any disaster.

The nature of IT failures means they can appear to happen at any time. Whether hit by a natural disaster, criminal break-in, or IT outage; a severe failure at the wrong time can cost customers, money, and reputation. A high quality, effective MSP works in the background to guarantee uptime, recover from adverse events, and increase security against threats.

Technology That Keeps You in Business – A huge number of businesses, both high-profile and small owner-operated companies, have suffered massive client losses as a result of missing deadlines, losing data, or exposing their customers to unnecessary threats. Clients are often left with little choice but to choose a business that takes their data and privacy seriously.

One of the most significant benefits to managed services is regular, predictable support costs. Making regular and fixed payments to keep your IT in good shape protects against major and unexpected blow-outs in the monthly budget.

By monitoring systems, diagnosing issues, and maintaining technology, many of the problems that cause unexpected downtime and data loss can be avoided altogether. Preventing problems before they happen saves you money, but more importantly maintains your business reputation too.

An MSP Working For You – Increasing your potential, reducing your costs, and protecting your reputation are all great reasons to incorporate a managed service provider into your business. You can effectively add a whole new department to your business without adding unnecessary management overhead.

By eliminating IT distractions that take you away from your core business, you are free to pursue activities that make your company great. Take up an MSP and return to doing what you enjoy most, the part of the business you are great at, the reason you got into your business in the first place.

Let us do the IT we are great at, so you can build and run the business you have always wanted. Give us a call at 01543 889 444 to manage your IT services for you.