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.
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.
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
Washington-based tech giant, Microsoft, recently launched Office 2019 for Windows and Mac, the direct successor of Microsoft Office 2016. With this new on-premises suite comes new versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, Publisher, Access, Project, and Visio. Determine whether or not it’s time for your organisation to upgrade by reviewing commonly asked questions about Office 2019.
About Office 2019 for Windows and Mac
Many Office users are apprehensive to make updates to their computers, and understandably so. From Office 2019 to Office 365, it can be difficult to stay up-to-date on Microsoft’s latest products. To help your organisation make a more informed decision on which version of Office to use, review the following FAQs.
Who should upgrade to Office 2019?
According to Microsoft, adopting the cloud is a journey that not every user is ready for. To accommodate those businesses and individuals who aren’t prepared to move to the cloud, Microsoft developed Office 2019.
Commercial volume license users can enjoy Office 2019 in September 2018, and all other users– both commercial and consumer– can upgrade in October 2018.
What will Office 2019 include?
Office 2019’s new features allow users to manage work more effectively and develop more impactful content. Some of the most notable Office 2019 features include updates to the following Microsoft programs:
Word:New text-to-speech and learning features, improved accessibility, enhanced inking capabilities, and black theme
Outlook:New focused inbox, updated contact cards, and @ mentions support
Excel: Enhancements to PowerPivot and PowerQuery, new functions, funnel charts, timelines and 2D maps
PowerPoint:Roaming pencil case capabilities, enhanced zoom, and 3D image management.
It is important to note that while Office 2019 is equipped with a subset of features available to Office 365 ProPlus users, it is not part of Office 365. Additionally, Office 2019 will not receive feature updates aside from security updates and bug fixes.
If you’re looking for a productivity suite that offers more features and delivers updates on a regular basis, consider upgrading to Office 365–a subscription service powered by the Microsoft cloud. Microsoft boasts that Office 365 is the most secure and productive option for users.
Does my organisation have to upgrade to Office 2019 for Windows and Mac?
Originally, Microsoft announced that as of October 13, 2020, all users would need Office 365 ProPlus or Office 2019 in order to connect to Office 365. The company has recently revised that policy and will continue supporting Office 2016 with Office 365 services through October of 2023. That being said, your organisation doesn’t have to upgrade immediately, but be sure to do so before the support deadline.
Will Microsoft release on-premises versions of Office after Office 2019?
Although Microsoft is focusing on cloud-based innovation, it acknowledges that customers are at different stages of the cloud adoption process. In order to support all customers until their move to the cloud, Microsoft will continue to release on-premises versions of Office.
For more information on Office 2019 for Windows and Mac, please review Office 2019 FAQs or contact your local Computer Troubleshooters office for consultation services.
Your local technology experts can help you or your business make a decision that best fits your needs and budget. Plus, we can help you plan and execute an upgrade strategy to ensure your data is backed up and secure.
This article has been sourced from the Computer Troubleshooters.com website and is written by Kim Weinberger National Director Business Development -Computer Services for Computer Troubleshooters Global.
As from the 22nd February 2018, all organisations in Australia that are regulated by the Privacy act 1988 are subject to the requirements of the act covering a data breach. An organisation is required to notify any individuals likely to be at risk of ‘serious harm” because of a data breach, together with the Privacy Commissioner.
In understanding an organisations requirement it is highly recommended that an organisation seeks legal advice and guidance from the Australian Government Office of the Australian Information Commissioner website
Which data breaches require notification?
The criteria is based around the term “likely to cause serious harm.” A breach occurs when personal information is held by an organisation is lost or subjected to unauthorised access or disclosure.
A device that is lost or stolen and contains customers personal information
The hacking of your databases that contain personal information
Where personal information is supplied mistakenly provide to the wrong person
If your organisation turns over 3 million then you have obligations under this act. This threshold applies to all types of organisations including Not for profit.
Note there are exceptions to the 3 million criteria and an organisation needs to seek advice as to whether they are coved by the act. If you do not turn over 3 million it does not mean you’re exempt as The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner website highlights some of the following exceptions to the 3 million threshold:
Entities that provide health services
Entities that trade in personal information
Credit reporting bodies
Employee associations registered under fair work
The above list is not exhaustive.
Assessing a data breach
If an entity has reasonable grounds to believe that it hasexperienced an eligible data breach, it must promptly notify individuals and the Commissioner about the breach, unless an exception applies
In contrast, if an entity suspects that it mayhave experienced an eligible data breach, it must quickly assess the situation to decide whether or not there has been an eligible data breach
An assessment must be reasonable and expeditious, and entities may develop their own procedures for assessing a suspected data breach.
Contain the data breach to prevent any further compromise of personal information
Assess gather the facts and evaluating the risks including potential harm to affected individuals and where possible taking remediate any risk of harm
Notify the individuals and the commissioner as required by the act.
Review the incident identify and consider the actions that can be taken to prevent future breaches.
Do you need a response plan?
In short it is good business practice for an organisation to have a response plan. The plan is a framework that sets out the roles and responsibilities involved in managing a data breach. It also outlines in a descriptive format of the steps an entity will take if a data breach occurs.
Your data breach response plan should be in writing to ensure that your staff clearly understand what needs to happen in the event of a data breach. It is also important for staff to be aware of where they can access the data breach response plan on short notice.
You will need to regularly review and test your plan to make sure it is up to date and that your staff know what actions they are expected to take. You can test your plan by, for example, responding to a hypothetical data breach and reviewing how your response could be made more effective.
Use this list to check whether your response plan addresses relevant issues.
This is a complex and confusing area of the law and all businesses should read widely and seek advice from the appropriate qualified personnel your legal representative.
Where does Compute Troubleshooters help you? We offer a range of services that are aimed at minimizing the risk associated with your organisation being impacted by a data breach. For more information contact your local Computer Troubleshooter on 1300 28 28 78.
Today’s business environment continues to move to the cloud and the associated cloud applications which entail a monthly subscription fee. Included in this trend is the continuing evolution of products and services with an increase in vendors and providers using a bundled approach that adds increased applications.
What happens in this situation is that often product and service names feed off each other. In the case of Microsoft 365, it is basically an extension and an increased bundle offering on the baseline product of Office 365.
I already thought I was using Microsoft 365?
Because the names are so similar and the fact that Office 365 is included in Microsoft 365, it is easy to see why businesses may think they have Microsoft 365 when in fact they only have Office 365.
Office 365 is a cloud-based suite of productivity tools including Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other applications based on whether you have purchased the Essentials, Business or Enterprise packages.
Microsoft 365 is Office 365 plus Windows 10 Enterprise, Enterprise Mobility and Security. Microsoft 365 includes a simplified device deployment and user set up console.
How is Microsoft 365 paid for?
Both Microsoft 365 and Office are paid for by a monthly subscription fee. The fee payable depends on the number of users and the package level purchased.
If you are not certain which package you should buy, it is recommended that you seek assistance from your local Computer Troubleshooter who can, when talking to you, assess your needs and be able to determine which package you need to meet your specific circumstances.
Why Microsoft 365 over Office 365?
The key difference is that Microsoft 365 delivers an integrated platform that incorporates the office 365 productivity applications with the security of Windows 10. No more managing separate licenses and ensuring all your hardware has the latest versions.
Microsoft 365 has been built with small business in mind and the subscription-based model is very cost effective. A business owner can focus on their business while having the peace of mind that their data is protected, employees can collaborate, and communicate effectively anywhere on any device. This enables the business to grow without technology roadblocks.
Key benefits are:
If you are already using all the separate pieces then switching is an easy yes as it will be more cost effective, less time consuming and less expensive to manage.
Enhanced productivity of your team. By implementing Microsoft 365 they can more effectively collaborate with each other. Users can work on a variety of devices and they can be anywhere when working. The inclusion of Skype for Business can also mean you can still have meetings no matter where people are. This delivers enormous cost savings to a business in both physical costs and in minimizing the downtime of employees through travel.
What is the best way to implement a switch?
Nothing is as simple as flicking a switch, all products and services have a variety of setup and implementation requirements. It is highly recommended that to ensure the quickest and most effective change over that you look at working with an established Microsoft partner such as your local Computer Troubleshooter who backs their work with a 100% guarantee.
It is highly recommended that you look at incorporating ongoing support from your local Computer Troubleshooter through one of the many support plans provided. Remember that with continual issues around security you need to ensure that all your policies related to passwords, user access, and email access are current and being proactively looked after.
50% of the global workforce will no longer be linked to a physical desk by 2020. Employees will work from various places and require the ability to communicate, collaborate and access vital information from a range of devices with maximum security.
59% of employees expect that their employers will provide them with the state of the art technology and tools of the trade when looking to move to a new role. Small to medium Businesses can lead the way by ensuring they are providing their employees with tools such as Microsoft 365 or Office 365.
To make certain you are taking advantage of these local technologies call your local Computer Troubleshooter on 1300 28 28 78 for a chat about your challenges and needs.