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
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.
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
Do you have young children who risk being exposed to pornographic or inappropriate websites? Do you feel you should control the type of applications your children use and the amount of time they spend on the internet on websites such as social media? Are you worried your children are using gaming, gambling, or in-app purchasing applications?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions you are part of a growing movement of concerned family’s’ who are struggling to control their childrens’ exposure to the internet.
Why is access to internet content so hard to control?
There are 3 main reasons why internet consumption by children is hard to control:
Multiple Access – The internet can now be accessed in a variety of different ways. Traditionally the home network was the only access method for most families. Now we have access by mobile data access via 3G & 4G networks, plus the increased availability of free Wi-Fi public access networks, then the additional opportunity of roaming as guests on other private Wi-Fi Networks. Internet access is now available everywhere so managing access through gatekeeping devices such as routers is increasingly ineffective.
Multiple Devices – With internet access everywhere comes the proliferation of multi device access with many children now using a range of smartphones, tablets, laptops, and workstations. Internet access is now available almost anywhere on any device, so managing access of devices is increasingly difficult.
Knowledge – Our children are developing skills and shared methodologies that can circumvent traditional control network mechanisms (such as routers) and device profile user management (such as Windows Parental Control).
With anywhere anytime internet access from multiple devices, is it still possible to regulate internet access to our children?
Thankfully development of cloud technologies has enabled user management to be lifted above the physical network layer and enables user profile management to be delivered across multiple access networks and devices. Effectively the cloud allows an additional layer of control above the traditional approach to user management and content control.
Here is what a cloud based portal can enable:
Block porn and adult content
Restrict access to social media
Restrict access to YouTube and gaming content
Limit access to mobile games and apps
Limit app downloads and in-app purchases
Disable device features including cameras
Set restricted access periods and sleep times across devices
Cover devices in and out of home.
Managed from a single cloud based portal
Given all this is possible, how it is achievable?
As a business who has been help protect Australian families for over 20 years we have watched the evolution of different internet security software and hardware struggle to keep up with these changes. In our view, if families wish to take control of how internet is consumed they must consider using a cloud based portal to provide comprehensive protection.
To the best of our knowledge the most comprehensive and accessible product for family internet management is called Family Zone. Family Zone is a new generation cloud based product that allows for all these changes in technology from anywhere access from multiple devices.
Family Zone brings together the best Cyber Experts, organisations and technologies into one easy-to-use system. They developed it, tested it and now we want to share it so that everyone can enjoy the same peace of mind that their customers do. Family Zone was built on the belief that only through working together, as a community, can we build a cyber safe generation of kids.
What is unique about Family Zone?
Cloud based user & content management portal
Specific age profile restriction based management
Multi Network management
Remote device management (through VPN and MDM)
Individually configurable to each family member
If you are looking for the most comprehensive family content management system to protect your family we recommend you investigate Family Zone further.
2 months Free Trial Offer
We’ve have recently partnered with Family Zone to provide a full a cyber safety solution to keep the whole family safe while online; both at home and when they are out and about on their phones. While the service can be configured by parents, Computer Troubleshooters can help set up Family Zone at your house so that you’re confident when the kids are online their cyber safety is sorted.
Computer Troubleshooters on behalf of our clients have negotiated a 2 month free trial of Family Zone, plus we can offer a fixed installation of $139 should you require our help.
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!
Business technology support can generally be described as a range of services that deliver assistance to users of technology products such as computers, software and mobile devices within an office setting.
Monday a massive vulnerability was found in OpenSSL, the open-source software package broadly used to encrypt Web communications. They named this vulnerability the Heartbleed Bug. Many are confused about what this bug is, if they are impacted, and how they can protect themselves. This post will help educate you about the Heartbleed Bug and how you can protect yourself online.
Do you have an IT professional handling the technology in your business, or are you thinking about moving into an outsourced IT services model as so many small businesses owners are? According to a survey completed by CompTIA 62% of the organizations surveyed planned to make greater investments in Outsourced IT Services (managed services) over the next two years.
As a business owner, one of the best moves you can make is to outsource your IT services to a professional provider. When it comes to outsourcing your IT service needs, there are a wide range of service options that involve varying levels of management responsibilities and costs. An IT professional can provide service for a single specific task such as help desk support or managing network security.