The Cloud explained Why Migrate?
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
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?
|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
- Fire alarms
- Lift emergency procedures
- Medical alarms
- ATM’s onsite
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.
Call 1300 28 28 78 to find your nearest location or visit www.computertroubleshooters.com.au
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.
Business today relies on technology more than ever. As a result, there is more and more potential for frustration for everyone in the business, when something is not working or goes down.
When a computer issue causes a disruption to an employee’s ability to perform daily tasks, not only is productivity impacted but also employee frustration. Very Often this leads to an impact on the employee’s perception of the business.
When an IT problem hits a business there is no such thing as a convenient time.
How does a business overcome this challenge?
To overcome this inconvenience and the associated cost of disruption a business needs to have in place a proactive support option, or the ability to seek support quickly. A proactive support option is where the business has entered into a relationship with their IT provider to monitor their IT systems and perform regular maintenance and associated tasks as defined by their managed services plan for a monthly fee for the term of the agreement. As a general rule, the proactive nature of regular maintenance and monitoring provided under a basic level managed services plan eliminates 65-85% of disruptive downtime.
A secondary option is to have a plan of purchased hours that is then supplied by the IT provider under an onsite support plan. An example could be 3 hours. The business can call upon the provider to support them at any time through the month up to the time allowed under the plan.
Under either of these options, the IT provider would generally provide first line response by accessing the businesses network and devices through a remote connection tool such as TeamViewer.
What are the key benefits of such a plan?
Time and speed of response is a key benefit for the business. Remember that when something breaks, every minute of downtime is costing the business in terms of staff productivity. It’s not hard to see how not only it is costing the business in employees time, but it can mean not being able to earn revenue as you may not be able to create invoices or even collect the cash from the sales you have made.
By being able to an IT provider can immediately start diagnosing the issue and start fixing it. This means the most important and urgent problems can be addressed quickly.
The depth of issues that can be remediated is significant. Issues like malware, removing viruses, patch updating on software, clearing disk space, printer issues, backup, email issues, office 365, password rectification/management of users and general testing of performance are just some examples of what can be supported immediately.
How can Computer Troubleshooters help your business?
All Computer Troubleshooters locations can provide support on demand. This means if your business is not on a managed plan then you can still get immediate help and assistance and be able to minimise the period of disruption to your business. Under this “on demand” model the normal hourly rate of the provider is charged.
Alternatively, you can engage your nearest CT location on a monthly plan that is either based on hours or based on a proactive plan of defined activities. Look at the Computer Troubleshooters BEST Managed Services plans or develop a customised plan based on your needs and requirements.
Remember, today it is all about prevention and minimising the disruption to your business.
What to do next?
Call your local Computer Troubleshooter on 1300-28-28-78 or visit our locations page on the Computer Troubleshooters website.
Avoid hotspots when you are unsure if they are legitimate or not. Remember, one tactic commonly used by hackers is to create fake Wi-Fi hotspots. If you join such a fake hotspot then the hacker can gain access to your personal information and they can possibly access your files through file sharing.
Ensure once connected, that you turn off File sharing as this will limit access to your files. Remember tip #1 Public Wi-Fi – 6 Stay Safe Tips.
You’re at the airport, a coffee shop or in a hotel, and you need to meet a deadline. To achieve this deadline, you need to access Public Wi-Fi. It is convenient, but it comes with risk. This article provides some tips to reduce your risk.
Tip Number 1: Use Commonsense.
It seems logical, but a good starting point is to think about the type of data you are sending and receiving when connected to public Wi-Fi. Aim to avoid sending or receiving valuable or sensitive information when connected.
Checking your social media, reading articles are generally safe activities, but think twice about accessing bank accounts, using credit cards and downloading sensitive documents. Limit what you do.
Choose wisely when connecting to public Wi-Fi. Connect only in places where the organisation is known and established. For example, connect at the hotel in preference to the small café across the road.
Commonsense. Why would you share your files in a public space?
If you’re visiting sites, then make certain that they have encryption and are using the HTTPS// protocol. To do this check the hyperlink in the browser and be certain you can see the HTTPS.
Tip Number 3: Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network).
If you’re in business, then you should always be using a VPN solution. A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel that allows data to pass securely over Public Wi-Fi networks. This will protect you from outsiders attempting to spy on your online activity. This VPN makes it a lot more difficult for a hacker to track your movements and steal your information.
Tip Number 4: Disable Auto Connect.
To avoid automatically connecting to a Wi-Fi network and perhaps an unsecured one at that, disable the auto connect feature on your device. In addition, always when you have finished using the Public Wi-Fi network it is suggested that in settings you proactively select the option to “Forget this network”
Tip Number 5: Keep the Firewall Enabled.
Turning on a Firewall can prevent hackers from gaining unauthorised external access to your system. A firewall does not provide complete protection, but it is a setting that should always be turned on.
A Firewall actively monitors the data packets that come from network and checks whether they’re safe or not. If the firewall detects any malicious data packet the Firewall will block the delivery of that data packet thereby safeguarding your data from attacks
Tip Number 6: Take extra precautions to secure your devices.
No matter what device you are using (laptop, tablet or phone) ensure the device has a reputable anti-virus installed. Ask your local Computer Troubleshooter solutions expert about the latest options available.
Ensure your software has been patched with the latest updates and version of the software. Today we are living in a world that is facing multiple new threats daily. Consequently, software providers are always releasing patch updates to protect you and to avoid costly security incidents.
Consider the usage of two-factor or multi-factor authentication. This makes it very difficult for any hacker as they need access to your second levels of authentication devices such as your phone or your SMS inbox. This is gaining strong acceptance as more services are delivered through the cloud.
The above tips are the basis for ensuring that you reduce the risks of using public Wi-Fi and just may result in you not falling a victim of data theft. Most of these tips are simple, easy, relatively inexpensive and reduce the chances of cyber criminals gaining access to your valuable data.
The underlying aim is to make life very difficult for the Hackers, Crackers and Virus Attackers that lurk about looking for victims.
To understand more, please contact your local Computer Troubleshooter on 1300 28 28 78.
The ACMA – Public Wi-Fi Handy Tips
The Australian Business Review – Public Wi-Fi a Security Risk
Welcome to 2019 = Scam Watch. Scams continue to grow rapidly, and they continue to evolve to elaborate making it more and more difficult for people to recognize and avoid. The Australian government through Scamwatch.gov.au continues to report that Scams are costing the broader community significant amounts of money. Not only consumers but business as well with Small to Medium businesses being a very specific target.
Not all scams are related to the internet but the radar watch on scams reports that YTD October 2018, there was 15,195 reported incidents of which 9% involved a financial loss and $4.966 million had been lost. The key methods for delivering a scam are phone, email, text messaging, the internet and mobile applications.
As the variety of scams continues to grow, and the best form of defense is education and ensuring your IT systems are up to date with virus protection, that your data is backed up and that you are effectively managing access to your systems and email.
The criminals have continued to become more sophisticated with their ability to make an email to appear it is from a legitimate company. This hack involves a company receiving an email re the payee’s bank details have changed and that their invoices for services/goods should be paid to this new account.
In January there is an expectation that more scams involving online shopping, donations to fake charities and investment scams will have been reported over the Xmas period.
Understanding the Scams
Hacking is when the scammer gains access to your personal/business information by using technology to break into your computer, mobile device or network.
Some examples are to trick the user into installing some malware (software application) onto your computer and then that software works in the background to collect personal information such as banking records, passwords, credit card numbers etc.
Once they have this information, they use it to commit fraudulent activities such as identity theft or credit card theft or even directly transfer money to their accounts from your account.
Identity theft is where a person uses someone else’s identity to steal money or gain other benefits. A common method is Phishing, which is where you are contacted either by Phone, email, text, social media and then without suspecting anything you provide personal details.
This method equally applies to businesses but is referred to as Whaling or spear phishing. The scammer targets the business to gain confidential information for fraudulent purposes. Usually done by email that is sent to either a group of employees or a specific senior executive. The design of the email looks like it has been sent from a trustworthy source, with a subject that captures the eye as it is a critical business issue that the requires the recipient to act by going to a fake website and prompting them to enter key confidential information.
What are some of the scams?
The following list is not exhaustive, but they give you an idea of where you might encounter a scam.
Holiday accommodation scam: this is where scammers are asking for a payment for something that does not exist. Means fake online websites, fake vouchers unusual practices like paying everything in total (especially bigger trips) with no deposit.
Flight booking scams: same approach using online techniques through fake websites you pay to turn up at the airport and you do not have an authentic flight ticket
Online shopping scams: the scammer tricks through fake classified ads, auction listings, and bogus websites. You purchase but never receive the goods and the website is often only there for a very short period.
Celebrity endorsement scams: these types of scams involve a loss of between $100 and $500. This scam involves signing up for a free trial and providing credit card details from fake websites where they use celebrities to endorse the product without the celebrity’s knowledge.
False Billing: They request you or your business to pay fake invoices for the directory listing, advertising, domain name renewals, or office supplies that you did not order. This type of scam has grown by 33% in 2018. It is a sophisticated scam created through email compromise (BEC, Business Email Compromise). Losses of up to $2.8 million have been reported in 2018.
What are the key things you should do to protect yourself or business?
The following items are not listed in any order, but you should at least implement these items to mitigate the risk.
- DO an annual Security IT assessment and act on the recommendations.
- Do ensure your Antivirus software is up to date and is maintained weekly. Ensure you have a weekly maintenance schedule where this is checked and updated
- Do have a person responsible for maintaining and regulating your user profiles for your computers and email services.
- Have IT security as a regular point of discussion at your team meetings Share stories and examples so your team becomes more educated at identifying possible threats.
- Ensure you have a backup and that it is checked regularly that it worked at the last scheduled backup time.
- Install a password manager for all staff
How can Computer Troubleshooters help you?
As a small business, you probably won’t have the time or the resource to undertake all the above, which is why are joining forces with Crest Australia to conduct IT security assessments that have been backed by the Australian Government with rebates on the fees. Learn more on this Federal government program.
Our Protection Plan service is directly aimed at small to medium businesses which is aimed at allowing you to focus on your business while we focus on your IT security giving you the confidence and peace of mind on this business issue.
Call 1300 28 28 78 for your nearest local Computer Troubleshooter