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
The facts according to the Boston Computing Network’s Data Loss Statistics, are that 60% of companies that lose their data, will shut down within 6 months of the disaster. This is something that every business wants to avoid.
The following article provides a high-level understanding of how, as a business owner the question for you is one of Business Continuity of which Backup is a key component.
What is Business Continuity?
Business continuity involves a mindset of being proactive and putting plans, processes and systems in place, so that when the unexpected occurs you can return to normal operations with minimal delay thereby reducing the level of disruption and cost to your business.
The aim is to ensure that all essential functions can be up and running or be returned to operational status quickly during various unexpected events such as a natural disaster (Flood, Fire), cyberattacks, theft, or major IT system failure.
What is involved?
The key aspect is to develop a plan that then is well communicated and understood by your staff so they know what to do when the disaster occurs. Like all plans, if it is not communicated and shared then it’s not worth the paper that it is written on.
The process of writing the plan involves identifying the key risks, identifying the ways you can prevent those risks occurring for instance:
risk is data loss
prevention is designing and implementing a multilevel backup solution.
Then the last element of the plan is documenting the steps in responding and recovery if an incident occurs that does bring down your systems.
Businesses today are more reliant than ever on IT, one of the biggest threats these days being a cybersecurity breach. A fair portion of the plan will need to focus on recovery from an IT disaster.
The plan will need to be reviewed regularly as a business grows and circumstances change and the recovery processes should be thoroughly tested to ensure it will work.
What are your backup options?
There are many options available to businesses these days for backup. With today’s modern technologies and cloud storage services, a hybrid combination of traditional on-site backup plus off-site backup to the cloud, has become the popular choice amongst businesses wanting to ensure high levels of continuity.
The key questions in making a choice is determining the level of risk and the importance of the system and the data that is being backed up. Answering these questions will impact on the choice that you make. You can see I have not mentioned cost or price. One might ask Why? Well because you need to remember this is about having a solution that will minimise the cost of failure which will far outweigh the cost of the solution you choose.
If you are not certain about this statement ask somebody who has experienced the loss of data due to a failed system backup.
What are the traditional onsite backup options?
Onsite with machines all backing up either to tape or disc and then being stored onsite. Usually scheduled to occur daily, every couple of days, or weekly. The greatest weakness is that if something happens to the premises the backups can become corrupted and lost and an external service provider such as Kroll Ontrack may need to be used to try and recover the data.
To overcome the above weakness some business’s will transport the discs/ tapes to an offsite location where they are stored.
What is happening today?
The cost of online storage has reduced with the introduction of data centre services and the continued adoption of cloud storage services. Today most businesses will have a recovery strategy based around using cloud storage, with onsite backup devices that then replicate to a data centre.
The drivers behind this are many but one can put it down to speed of recovery, ability to quickly monitor and ensure backup has occurred, hence no unpleasant surprises if a data loss breach or cyberattack occurs.
The first step is to make sure you have a plan and an understanding of your options. This is where you should have a chat with your local computer troubleshooter to understand how they can help you to minimise the disruption to your business from a data loss/breach. Visit www.computertroubleshooters.com.au to locate your nearest provider.
As IT support specialists virtually every day we are asked to recover deleted files. With so much valuable information now stored in digital format, so many devices and options we are all increasingly vulnerable to human error! That’s right over a quarter of data recovery requests are as a result of human intervention.
The good news is that of all the file recovery requests we receive, accidently deleted files are regarded as our most likely to have a successful file recovery. Recovering deleted files can still be complicated and may require an expert to use Data Recovery software to examine computers storage to find the hidden remains of the deleted files and extract them back into a workable form.
What to do if you accidently delete a file?
Don’t Panic – we recommend that you keep the computer turned on, and all applications open while you investigate the simple solutions below:
Deleted Items – if in email, check the deleted items folder (it is generally near your inbox) this holds all deleted emails until you close your email application. If you can see your deleted file in the deleted items folder just click & drag across back into your inbox. File restored.
Recycle Bin – if the file deleted was a document or image file, check your recycle bin, which has icon that is generally found on your desktop, click on the icon, it will show you deleted files that are awaiting permanent deletion (generally these are deleted when the computer powers off), just click and drag back onto your desktop.
AutoSave –applications such as word and excel have an Autosave function that can sometimes saved an automated version copy. Within the application click on the top left Office button which will show a menu that includes an item such as Word Options & Save Options, this will generally show the autosave settings and the file location of the autosave directory. You can then go to the indicated location and recover the deleted file (this may vary on depending on which version of Office is installed).
File Search – Use the Microsoft Search function located in the Start Button (on the bottom left) to try find your file as you may have saved into the wrong directory or you may find an older version.
If you tried these simple solutions with no luck, then it may be time to get serious,
Restore Backup Files – if you have a backup in place you should be able to restore the file back on to your main computer hard drive or course it will only be a version available from last time you backed up. It will depend on where and what software you are using for you backup how this can be done.
Software Retrieval – this will mean you need to consult a professional to use data recovery software to interrogate your drive, find, & restore your deleted files. Do not run any disk cleanup or defragmentation tools in the interim as these will overwrite drives which may contain your deleted files. Call your local Computer Troubleshooters for this professional service.
No file found – of course we do find times when even we can’t retrieve an accidently deleted file, that’s when we call in our data recovery partners. Our data recovery partners have specialist equipment, software and use dedicated data recovery technicians to extract hidden data.
Hopefully you will recover your deleted files, of course being proactive about protecting your data is the best protection, back up regularly whether it’s for your business or your personal data.
Yet even with a tested and reliable backup system, sometimes unexpected accidents can still happen. Of course the other 74% of data recovery involves physical damage or corruption which can happen to all data storage devices including hard drives, cell phones and memory sticks.
If required we can use our Data Recovery Partner for the following specialized data recovery services:
Hard Drive Recovery: Hard drives are becoming increasingly less common in laptops. External storage devices are in greater use but are at greater risk for being dropped, damaged and compromising your data.
SmartPhone and Flash Drives: Flash drives are no moving drives problems such as deleted files, corrupted partitions, file system damage and physically damaged devices can be remedied by their recovery experts.
Notebooks, Tablets, Digital Cameras and MP3 Players: recovery services for Notebook PCs and Tablets. Damaged image or audio files can also be recovered..
Computer Troubleshooters is Here to Protect You and Your Data
If you have accidently deleted files; don’t panic, if approached logically the deleted files can generally be retrieved.
Your computer provides you with a lot of assistance in planning vacations and other trips throughout the year. Remember the hours you spent on various websites looking for the perfect vacation destination? How about all of the online comparison shopping you did to find the ideal Hawaiian resort? Remember that awesome discount deal you scored on those air tickets? How could you have planned your summer trip without your computer?
It is 2014, and we all know that every business should have a backup (and a recovery plan) for their most critical data. The reality is that over 40% of Small and Medium Sized Business do not back up their data at all, and that 60% of backups fail when tested!
Do you think a data backup solution is simply too expensive for your business?
That viewpoint is similar to thinking that insurance for your home is too expensive. Insurance might have seemed expensive until your home is wiped out in a fire and you have lost everything. After the fire is snuffed out, how do you plan to recover? Some things can probably be replaced, but regardless of the expense, certain things are simply irreplaceable. It’s similar to protecting another key asset – your business data. Even in business, certain data, documents, photographs, accounting files and client information might be nearly impossible to replace. When it comes to business data, are you safeguarding your most important company asset with a reliable backup solution?
We all make personal New Year’s resolutions on January 1st. This year, why not commit to a few professional resolutions for your business, too? Computer Troubleshooters strongly encourages you to put a new technology plan at the top of that list for 2014. We are offering some technology planning guidelines that can help you form a strategy as you think about your business resolutions and professional goals for 2014.
Imagine that you are working on some critical financial data at the office or perhaps sorting through family photographs on your computer at home. What would you do if the computer containing all of your business and/or personal information crashed and your entire “digital life” suddenly vanished? What would you do if your computer was lost in a fire, destroyed in a flood or stolen at the airport? Do these scenarios put you into an automatic panic thinking about your data? At least the information can be recovered because you have a reliable and tested backup solution in place. Right?