Many Australian small businesses have a false sense of security
about their business not being hacked. Despite this confidence, the
statistics don’t lie and Australian small to medium businesses need to
be prepared and able to defend themselves effectively against a hack.
Often, small companies simply assume that they’ll never be targeted
by hackers. However, as many as one in three adult Australians fall
victim to cybercrime, and hacking is on the rise in just about every
ASBFEO has reported that 43% of all cybercrimes are committed
against small business and the average cost of a cyber-attack to a
business in Australia is around $276,000 per attack.
Unfortunately, IT security is often seen as a fix rather than an
ongoing process, and the cyber hacking security environment is ever
changing. This means IT Security needs to be a constant discussion point for the owners of small to medium businesses.
With resources being a challenge for any business, it is
recommendation that a business should look to use an IT expert for
advice, direction and execution of their security defence plan. The
statistics tell you with cybercrime on the rise, there’s never been a
more crucial time than now to protect your IT infrastructure.
As the world becomes more and more dependent on complex IT solutions
and infrastructure, the threat of cybercrime will continue to rise. No
matter how advanced the latest IT solutions are, hackers will develop
new and sophisticated ways to penetrate them. So, what can you do to
avoid being hacked? And what can you do if your company server is
How to Bolster Your Cyber Security
Here are some of the most effective ways to prevent your company from being hacked:
Backup your data
Plenty of hackers would love to gain access to your business data,
such as customer contact details, purchase order histories, forecasts
and other sensitive information. You need to back up your data so that
if it is lost or stolen, you can recover it in its entirety.
Ensure that your staff are required to change passwords regularly
and enforce this by managing the process. Don’t store your passwords
but use a password manager application. Ensure that all passwords are
strong by using uppercase, lowercase numbers, special characters and
Two Factor Authentication
Two factor authentication requires users to not only enter a
password but also confirm the password through another item like a code
that is either delivered to a phone or to a nominated email address.
All major applications are now enforcing two factor authentication and
so you should too.
Create a Cybersecurity Culture
It is a fact that a lot of security breaches occur via email by
staff either opening an attachment or clicking on a link that contains
a piece of malicious malware. Staff often use social media and
accidently post information that allows the cyber criminals to activate
or launch an attack on your business. The only way to avoid this
internal threat (by you or your staff), is to ensure they are educated
correctly on what to look for and what to do. This is about education
and developing a cyber security culture within your business.
Utilise remote servers
Why risk keeping all your IT systems and data in one place when you
can store everything on secure, remote servers (otherwise known as
cloud computing)? Most IT service providers utilise a network of remote
servers so that if one fails, another can simply take over.
Mobile Staff using public Wi-Fi
No matter where you or your staff are, they will be using their
various devices to continue working. This means they are accessing
valuable information via a public network that is vulnerable. People
can see the data and access it in transit. Think about the coffee shop,
or the usage of a hotels free Wi-Fi service. Such public networks are
very vulnerable, and you cannot be sure about how secure the connection
is. Ensure your staff are using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when
accessing or working on company related information. A VPN will encrypt
traffic so the WI-FI network cannot see what is being transmitted over
the network. As an alternative your staff can also setup a hotspot for
their mobile data.
Develop a business continuity and disaster recovery plan
It’s essential to create a strategy to deal with disasters, both
before and after they occur. You should take as many preventative
measures as possible to avoid a cyber-attack, but you also need to be
prepared for any situation.
Outsource IT security
The most straightforward way to guarantee the safety of your IT
systems is to outsource maintenance and security to a dedicated and
highly experienced service provider. That way, you’ll know who to call
when you have been hacked.
What to do if my business gets hacked?
If you’re unlucky enough to fall victim to cybercrime, you’ll need
to report the breach and contact your insurance provider. However, you
also need the contact details for an IT service provider who can
quickly get your business back up and running to minimise your losses.
At Computer Troubleshooters,
we specialise in all matters related to IT, whether you want to install
an internet-based phone network, a cloud-based computing system or a
sophisticated security solution.
We can prevent hackers from being able to access your
infrastructure, give you access to the latest equipment so that you can
compete with industry giants, and help you get back up and running in
the event that anybody tries to steal your data.
Call us today, and we’ll gladly explain how we can fortify your IT infrastructure. Call 1300 28 28 78 and enter your postcode to be transferred to your nearest local Computer Troubleshooter Business Solutions expert or visit www.computertroubleshooters.com.au
Reference points: ASBFEO Australian Small Business Family Enterprise Ombudsmen Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet: The Cyber Security Review report
Whether you’re a start-up, a local, medium-sized business or a global corporation, you probably depend on applications such as Microsoft Word and Excel. Today’s work environment requires employees and businesses to be more collaborative and to be able to work on documents, files remotely, on multiple devices and at various times of the day.
The easiest solution to ensure your team can do what they need to do when they need to be ensuring you have deployed Office 365. If you haven’t migrated to Office 365, you might be using outdated and unsecure applications. Just as importantly, you’re missing out on the many business benefits that Office 365 has to offer.
What Is Office 365?
Office 365 is a suite of software applications by Microsoft Windows. They include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher and Outlook – most of which are used by many Australian businesses daily. Just a few years ago, you’d need to install each of these applications on every device you wished to use them, and the software would need to be replaced eventually with new versions meaning significant cost in upgrades and maintaining a licence register.
This is eliminated when you subscribe to Office 365, you pay for what you use on a per user basis per month. This give you capability to scale quickly and to remove people as required meaning you are in control of your cashflow.
Why Migrate to Office 365?
For businesses in Australia, Office 365 is beneficial for countless reasons. It improves data security, collaboration, productivity and more. Still wondering why move to O365? Here are the primary benefits in more detail:
Store documents in the cloud
Instead of saving essential documents on your hard drive, you can store them on OneDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage solution. It is recommended that you still back up your files as part of your disaster recovery plan.
Access documents using any device with an internet connection
Because you can save your files in the cloud, you can access them using any device with an internet connection, regardless of your location. Microsoft has created its applications to be flexible so that you can work on documents using your computer, tablet or phone.
Ensure you always have the latest applications
Microsoft frequently releases software updates, security upgrades and patches for its Office applications. It is highly recommended that you discuss with your local Computer Troubleshooters location where for a small monthly fee they will ensure that all updates are installed on all devices your team are using. This means you’ll always be using the very latest version of your essential business applications.
Collaborate on documents in real-time
One of the best features of Office 365 is that it enables multiple users to work on the same document at the same time, boosting workplace productivity and communication while saving you time and money.
Learn ways to optimise core business processes
The powerful Office 365 suite has so many more elements than the traditional applications of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. There are extensive communication capabilities, there is the collaborative application of Microsoft Teams and even the capability of analysing data The result is that you can develop some invaluable insights regarding ways to streamline your business processes. If you want to learn more about the capabilities of Office 365, we encourage you to call us.
Learn More about Office 365
Office 365 comprises all the essential applications you need to run many of your core business processes, but it comes with the added benefits of improved security, communication, productivity and value. Instead of purchasing each application outright (which you’ll need to do periodically to remain on top of the latest developments), you can subscribe to the cloud-hosted suite of Office 365 applications and realise all the benefits detailed above. If you need help migrating or want to learn more about the advantages of Office 365, call us today on 1300 28 28 78.
All businesses in Australia depend on their IT systems to remain functional and therefore face some key IT challenges in a changing environment. Not all businesses are large enough to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars on the most sophisticated equipment and solutions. As a result, many small to medium-sized businesses face numerous challenges with regards to IT. Below, we explain what some of these challenges are and how you can overcome them.
With cybercrime on the rise, security is one of the most pressing concerns for small to medium-sized businesses in Australia, today it is not will I be compromised but when and that creates the environment where a business needs to prevent rather than react.
If you choose to store IT equipment inside your premises, you need to think about how you can restrict access to them, safeguard them from accidents, keep them in full working order, and much more. Alternatively, you can outsource IT security to a team of experts, which can help you save time, money and effort.
Data is one of the world’s most valuable assets. According to many studies, data is now more valuable than oil. As you might expect, there are plenty of people that would love to get their hands on the data owned by big businesses. However, even small to medium-sized businesses need to remain vigilant. If you lose sensitive information such as customer contact details, invoices and purchase order histories, your business could be harmed financially, and it could also affect your reputation.
The most straightforward way to protect your data is to embrace the cloud. By storing your data remotely rather than on hardware kept within your premises, you can keep it out of the hands of hackers. You can minimise the impact of downtime through having the ability to restore your data quickly. The discussion with your IT service provider is about a solution that ensures quick restoration of your systems.
Business Resource Planning
As a small or medium-sized business, spending your money wisely is a necessity. But how do you budget for your IT requirements when you can’t precisely predict what the future holds? Can your business adapt and leverage the new technologies as they become available in the market.
IT infrastructure is expensive and is a capital expenditure but taking advantage of an outsourced relationship with a monthly fee, supported by usage of cloud infrastructure and cloud applications you move the IT budget from capital expenditure to operational and you minimise your investment cost.
Small to medium businesses can avoid the investment in hardware and equipment that becomes redundant in the space of a few years. Often, companies need to hire an entire department of IT experts to help them manage their IT infrastructure and plan the future of their resource budget.
Again, outsourcing IT resource planning can help you save money because third-party providers allow you to scale your requirements as necessary.
Remaining up to Date
As mentioned above, IT solutions, hardware and software applications can become outdated within the space of a few years. If you fail to keep on top of the latest developments, you may give your competitors an edge.
Our IT experts can implement a range of IT systems, from cloud-hosted Office applications to an enterprise resource planning system, on your behalf and update them automatically so that you can concentrate on what you do best.
Business Process Integration
Does your IT infrastructure work as efficiently as it could? Can various IT systems share data so that you can maximise productivity in your workplace while mitigating the risk of errors? Process integration is an integral part of streamlining your core business tasks in today’s increasingly competitive world. If you want to find out how process integration can help you, we’d love to hear from you.
What to do next?
Start the discussion about your own IT challenges with your local Computer Troubleshooters Office, ask for a risk assessment, or ask if they can do a IT health check for you? Work out the key priorities and start to partner with your local Computer Troubleshooters IT expert. 1300 28 28 78 or visit www.computertroubleshooters.com.au
There’s no need to worry about overcoming IT challenges if you partner with our experts at Computer Troubleshooters. Learn more about how we can help you boost productivity and profitability by calling us today.
Cloud adoption by Australian businesses is on the rise, despite this nearly over 50% of small businesses are yet to embrace cloud computing. Why? Is it because company owners are unaware of the benefits? Or, is it because people don’t fully understand what cloud services are?
Companies stand to gain by switching to the cloud. How? It can improve your cyber security, increase workplace productivity, minimise downtime and ultimately boost your bottom line. Let’s dig deeper into cloud computing and its benefits before looking at how it’s shaping the modern world of business.
Cloud Computing Explained
Data stored in the cloud refers to data that’s saved on remote servers in data centres rather than in-house servers or your computer’s hard drive. You can use the internet to access applications and data stored on remote servers, which is widely known as cloud computing. Because information is stored remotely, you can access it using any device with an internet connection.
Key Benefits identified when Migrating a Business to the Cloud
With cloud computing, you can essentially set up a virtual office, providing you with numerous benefits:
Reduced IT Costs – Operating expendiure than Capital expenditure
Use cloud-hosted applications, and you won’t need to purchase, maintain or replace on-site hardware, such as servers and cooling equipment. Additionally, you’ll likely get automatic updates and security upgrades as part of your subscription. You can save a small fortune by outsourcing IT maintenance and no need to replace equipment regularly.
Scalability when required
You can scale your data storage requirements as and when required when you store it in the cloud, mitigating risks to your business while preparing you for any situation. You can also deal with growth easily regarding software, hardware and storage needs. You add more seats, space, as you need it. Enabling you to budget more effectively.
Downtime can be costly for any sized business. If you have a problem with on-site hardware, you could suffer financially for countless reasons. Store your data in the cloud where it will be backed up automatically, and you’ll minimise the chances of business downtime while ensuring the safety of your data.
Multiple people from all over the world can access the same data and use the same applications simultaneously thanks to the cloud. By being able to give your employees the ability to collaborate virtually in real-time, you’ll increase workplace productivity, which could work wonders for your business.
How the Cloud Has Impacted the Australian Business Landscape
According to a government survey, cloud services are becoming increasingly popular with Australian businesses. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that 42% of businesses said they used cloud services between the years 2017 and 2018. That’s an increase of about 11% compared to the two previous years.
Companies with more than 200 employees represent the largest adopters of public cloud services. Lack of knowledge on cloud computing is the biggest reason preventing smaller companies from following suit.
Moving to the Cloud?
According to the government survey, most small companies fail to adopt cloud services due to a lack of understanding. Some companies believe it’s more cost-effective to pay for an application outright rather than subscribe to its cloud-based counterpart. In reality, using cloud-based applications, whether they’re Google’s range of business apps or management software, can save you money, increase your income, mitigate risks to your company and much more. Learn more about the benefits of the cloud by calling your local Computer Troublehsooter 1300 28 28 78 today.
From the 14th January 2020, Microsoft’s support for Windows 7 will be ending. This means that, from this date onwards Microsoft will no longer be issuing security updates, patches or providing technical support for devices that are running Windows 7. This end of life support also applies to servers with Windows Server 2008/R2, Exchange Server 2010 and Small Business Server (SBS) 2011.
What this means for users (Business and Residential) that are using devices with these operating systems after 14th January 2020, is that they are immediately increasing the risk of an attack on their data and an increased chance of a cyber-attack such as ransomware. A recent report from Net Market Share suggested that 39% of all PC’s are still using Windows 7.
The choice and the key recommendations are that it’s time to upgrade to Windows 10 and as soon as possible. Windows 10 has been in the market now for several years and it has proven to be a very popular and intuitive system for people. Windows 10 enhances the users experience and certainly has stronger security features than earlier Window versions.
Many leading brands are offering very favourable pricing on new machines running windows 10. Why? Because although you can upgrade on your existing hardware often it is more effective buy a new machine rather than just upgrading the software on a machine whose specification may be quite old and inefficient.
Microsoft is keen that you know support for Windows 7 is ending and in the update Windows 7 KB4493132 will start displaying notifications reminding the user to upgrade to Windows 10. If you are seeing these messages it is recommended that you contact your nearest local Computer Troubleshooters technician to discuss your options on upgrading. Call 1300 28 28 78
After January 14th, 2020 does Windows 7 stop working?
The short answer is no. Machines that have windows 7 will continue to operate and they will still boot up just like they do today. What it means though is that if a security exploit is discovered then there will be no patch or update for that exploit. For this reason you are significantly increasing your vulnerability to a data breach and this is why it is recommended that you upgrade your operating system to Windows 10.
In fact, we recommend that this presents an ideal opportunity to review your hardware and consider a complete upgrade of software and hardware. The computing hardware space has changed dramatically in the last 5 years and the need for physical servers has been replaced by virtualization in the cloud.
If it’s right for your business, it may be time to look at moving a lot of your servers and backup requirements to the cloud.
Is it a perfect opportunity to undertake a complete IT assessment?
As this article has mentioned there are a couple of choices for you in the process of upgrading from Windows 7 and there may be choices around being able to take advantage of moving some of your infrastructure to the cloud. No doubt your business has changed in the last 5 years and has different requirements around its IT infrastructure and applications. This makes it the right time to sit down with your local Computer Troubleshooter technician owner and undertake a complete review of your IT needs and develop an IT plan for your business moving forward. Visit computertroubleshooters.com.au/locations or call 1300 28 28 78 to find your nearest local expert.
The nbn™ Broadband Access Network Switch for Business
Simply put is your business ready to connect to the nbn™ access network?
The network is rolling out across Australia and it is important for a business to be prepared for the transition so that the risk of disruption is minimised by the disconnection of your existing landline infrastructure.
A key strategy is to develop a migration action plan to ensure a smooth transition. This article looks at some of the key checklist points that need to be considered. Your local Computer Troubleshooter Technician has undertaken the training to become a business nbn™ accredited adviser allowing us to help you plan effectively and assist you in the migration process.
What is the scheduled disconnection date for your location?
As the nbn™ access network rolls out progressively across the country, the old copper networks are being made redundant and that requires you to consider what your options are moving forward.
The starting point is to understand when that disconnection will occur in your area. The best way to check this is to visit nbn.com.au/business
It does make business sense that as soon as the nbn™ access network is available that a business does connect to derive the clear benefits of the network.
Why work with a business nbn™ accredited adviser?
There are many decisions to be made in making the switch and this is where the business nbn™ accredited adviser can be of benefit. Questions around who to choose as the internet and phone provider, understanding the services that need to be migrated, or understanding what services might be impacted by switching networks are areas that your adviser can help you.
In some cases, the business nbn™ accredited adviser may be able to provide or connect you to the right people for some of these services.
What are some of the key services and questions that need to be considered?
Questions and factors to be considered
How to stay online during the period of the switch? What is the best speed and solution for the business?
Phone Systems PABX
Equipment compatibility? VoIP hosted PABX solutions are they appropriate? If using VoIP what are your data requirements?
Will the new service you select support the use of a fax machine? If yes is the machine compatible?
How to minimise disruption during switch? Talk with your provider
Wide area networks such as a VPN
What are the data requirements for using the VPN service? Does your equipment need upgrading?
Unified communications Video Conferencing
What is the computability of your equipment? What are the data requirements?
Identify and list the services you are using? What are the data requirements? What is the solution to minimise disruption as the switch occur
The above checklist has a common theme, compatibility and level of data requirements which feed into what speed and type of plan you need to operate efficiently and effectively.
Other equipment and services areas that need to be considered:
Monitored security alarms
Lift emergency procedures
What is the last consideration?
If a business currently is using copper-based Special Services such as a mega link or an ethernet lite BDSL service, then migrating to the nbn™ access network is likely to be complex and therefore require additional planning in switching these services over. The major thing is to ensure that these services are organised before your disconnection date or you risk losing access to these services and having major disruption to your business.
It is recommended that you have your new services in place and operating early so you avoid such a disruption.
How can Computer Troubleshooters assist you in this transition?
Ensure the Computer Troubleshooter location carries the business nbn™ accredited adviser status. Once this is established then contact the location via phone and request an appointment to discuss your migration to the nbn™ access network. During this discussion they will also be available to offer you solutions around connections, compatible equipment and specific services such as a VoIP based hosted PABX solution.
Representatives have undertaken a short course on the nbn™ broadband access network. nbn does not sponsor, endorse or guarantee any advice given or representations made (including any recommendations to purchase goods and services or purchase telecommunication services over the nbn™ access network from a particular phone or internet service provider) and does not guarantee the accuracy of that advice or representation. nbn™ and other nbn™ Brands are trademarks of nbn co limited and used under licence.
Note: this article has referenced the nbn™ website and marketing material supplied to accredited advisers of the business nbn™ ICT channel program.