7 essential layers of cyber security

Unfortunately, there isn’t just one magic piece of technology you can implement in your business to give you 100% security. To give yourself maximum protection against cyber threats, you should be layering your approach like an onion, or an ogre (a little reference for any Shrek fans out there).

Here are 7 things we think you should be looking at to give you and your business the best possible chance when it comes to cyber security.

1. Social engineering

 • Make sure you have a process in place to verify email senders or callers when they are asking for sensitive information, or for something to be carried out in relation to security or finance.

For example, make sure that all staff know that if they receive an email asking for money to be transferred, that they should ring the person asking and verify that it’s a legitimate request before taking action. 

2. Physical security

 Virtual systems are great, and badly needed, but don’t abandon physical security just because you feel protected!

• Keep physical servers locked away
• Don’t leave USBs or passwords out on display. In fact, don’t write passwords down – you should be using a password manager instead. 

3. Wireless security

 WiFi is often overlooked, but WiFi signals extend beyond the four walls your business is situated in which can leave you open to security breaches.

• Make sure the router password has been changed from the default
• Check the protocols it uses are up-to-date giving you the best security. Neither WEP or WPA are sufficient protection anymore
• If you’re offering the use of WiFi as a business, you are legally responsible for what people are looking at online. Make sure you have correct filters, and IP address logging capabilities.

4. Passwords

 • Passwords should be long, not contain personal information (like your favourite football team, or kids’ names) and you should use a different password for each login you have.
• Using a password management tool like LastPass will make this easier.

5. Multi-factor authentication

 • Most systems now support multi-factor authentication which will help protect your account. It means you’ll need to provide an extra piece of information when logging in, such as a code generated by your mobile, but it can stop a hacking attempt dead in its tracks! 

• Check the settings on your critical accounts such as email, or database which holds customer information and make sure multi-factor authentication is enabled

6. Email security

 • You should never click links or open attachments on emails when you don’t know the sender – if you think something is suspicious but aren’t sure, ask your IT provider to check it out for you. They won’t mind – it’s better to be safe than sorry.

• Make sure to have spam and phishing filters in place – these won’t stop suspect emails 100%, but they will reduce the number decreasing the likelihood of a member of staff falling for a phishing attack. 

7. Anti-virus

• Anti-virus should actually be the last line of defence – although there’s nothing out there that’s 100% perfect, so don’t rely on it always picking up on something dodgy.

• For maximum protection for your business, consider using a product that supports application whitelisting and device control which will give you more control over the devices used within your business.

If you’d like us to take a look at your data security setup as it is at the moment, and check that your security is up to scratch, give us a call on  01732 617788 or drop us an email to [email protected]. We can chat about what you need, and how you might get the best out of it for your business. Got a jam-packed schedule? Book an appointment to chat with Jon Cross hereWe can help you make sure that your security measures are doing what they should, and keeping you protected.

 

5 reasons you should be using a password manager

5 reasons you should be using a password manager

Most of the time we find ourselves saying things like, one size doesn’t fit all because every business is unique, but in this instance, a password manager is a tool everyone should be using and here are five reasons why.

#1 Every account you have needs a unique password

 That’s right. This might sound like a slightly terrifying concept because when taking into consideration both business, and personal use you could be looking at a number in the hundreds for how many accounts you have that require login information, but having a unique password for each and every one is important.

 Even if you use a relatively strong password, if say, your password is leaked in a data breach at a clothing company, hackers could try your login credentials for that in order to get into your email – where they’ll not only have access to read your emails, they’ll also be able to reset passwords for other things.

 By storing your passwords in a password manager you can be safe in the knowledge that they’re secure, and you don’t need to stress about remembering them all.

#2 Generate passwords at random

 Password managers have a feature that allows you to generate a strong password, using symbols, random letters and numbers, and capitals and lower case. Because you don’t have to remember them off the top of your head, you can use the generator’s suggestions and know that if you don’t even know the password off the top of your head, a hacker is highly unlikely to have success at guessing it either.

#3 You only need to remember one password for everything

‘What? But you said everything should have a different password, make your mind up!’

It’s true, we did say that. But password managers work by saving your passwords for each account so you only need to log in to the password manager to gain access to your accounts. Just one password to remember, but you’re no less secure – result!

#4 Sync across all of your devices

Most password managers also have an app, so you can sync your passwords across your devices so won’t find yourself stuck trying to log in to your emails from your phone and having to manually type in a really long, complicated password. This is such a time saver!

#5 It’s not just passwords

And finally, you don’t just have to use them for passwords. You can also save information like answers to your security questions, or important backup codes for multi-factor authentication.

 

If you’d like to learn more about password managers and how they can improve the cyber security of your business, give us a call on  01732 617788 or drop us an email to [email protected]. We can chat about what you need, and how you might get the best out of it for your business. Got a jam-packed schedule? Book an appointment with Jon Cross here. Password managers are a really great tool, and we think everyone should be using one!

Make project work a joy with Microsoft Teams

Make project work a joy with Microsoft Teams

When you’re working on several tasks at once, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel a bit like you’re wading through quicksand. As well as being detrimental to you, it can have a knock-on effect with other colleagues as well.

If the last year or so has taught us anything, it’s that everyone benefits from a bit more flexibility.

Going forward, remote workers may need to do some work from the office, or office workers may need to work from home, or attend meetings offsite. And those who work hours outside of the norm, may need to adapt to the schedules of their colleagues sometimes.

 It might sound like a bit of a nightmare facilitating all of that across your business, but it really doesn’t have to be.

 Microsoft 365 has a great solution when you feel like you and your people are being pulled in lots of different directions: Microsoft Teams. You have probably already heard of Teams, but if you haven’t, it’s a portal for communication – video calling and quick messaging, but before you switch off, it’s also so much more than that.

 It’s a cloud-based application where you can create projects and add the appropriate team members to them. Within these projects, you can arrange meetings online (without needing to open your Outlook calendar) make calls, and even share documents for collective editing.

If you are away from your desk, there’s also a mobile app so you can keep up to speed. It’s a great way of keeping everyone up-to-date and documents in the right place – whatever else you’ve got going on. We love it!

If you’d like to know more about Microsoft Teams, give us a call on 01732 617788 or drop us an email to [email protected]. We can chat about what you need, and how you might get the best out of it for your business. Got a jam-packed schedule? Book an appointment with Jon Cross here. We’re always happy to help.

Keep your sanity intact when it comes to projects, with Microsoft Teams

Keep your sanity intact when it comes to projects, with Microsoft Teams

When you’re working on a big project, it can be hard work at the best of times, even when you’re all together in the same office space. The challenges become greater, when you add distance and not being able to see each other in person, into the mix. One of the best ways we’ve found for removing the frictions that come associated with remote working, is making sure the tools you’re using are completely fit for purpose and well-suited to everyone. For this, we recommend Microsoft Teams in particular.

What’s so great about Microsoft Teams?

Since it was launched, it’s the fastest growing app in the history of Microsoft – more than 330,000 companies are using Teams worldwide very successfully, and they can’t all be wrong!

#1 Not just about the chit chat

When you conjure an image of MS Teams in your head, what are you thinking of? Video calling? Chat? Well yes, it does have both of those features but the power of it goes far beyond that. Within the chat feature, you can share files or integrate it with other Microsoft products like OneNote or Office which means you don’t need to keep switching windows to find information that you need. You can even schedule meetings straight from chat – what a timesaver!

#2 Streamline your meetings

Hands up who likes hosting meetings? We thought not. In the age of virtual meetings especially, it’s easy to get involved in something and then realise 5 minutes beforehand that you need to find the agenda, agreed action points from somewhere else, and there was another document you wanted to go through- where’s that?

Meetings in Teams are a breeze. As soon as you’ve created the meeting you can chat to participants about the agenda, share files so they can all see them, and keep the meeting notes all in one place for easy access and finding. Once the meeting is over, the recording is available right alongside the notes and agreed actions – easy for anyone who missed the meeting, and a great way to keep on top of things.

four avatars on a group video call

A reduction of the dreaded emails

By structuring the conversation in Teams, in a way that suits your business, quick conversations can be held here rather than clogging up your inbox and giving you more stuff to wade through every time you check it.

Collaborate on documents from within Teams

Teams integrates seamlessly with Office 365, which means there’s no need to switch apps when collaborating on a document. You can create one, and share it with your teammates immediately so you can work on it together – it’s as easy as pie.

Get the app!

If your work takes you beyond the desk, then there’s no need to miss out on important conversation. You can download the Teams app and have access to all of your apps and documents as well as chatting, and joining meetings. You’ve got the power!

Would you like to know more? Give us a call on 01732 617788 or drop us an email to [email protected]. We’ve also got a guide about how to download and set up Teams to make the most out of it. You can download that here.

Why you should stop hitting ‘remind me later’

Why you should stop hitting ‘remind me later’

We’ve all done it before.

When the message appears, letting you you know that there’s a software upgrade available, it’s always when you’re in the middle of something important, making it far too tempting to just press ‘remind me later’.

It’s so easy to promise yourself that you’ll run the updates when you’re not in a rush, but, be honest, how often do you remember to run the update after you’ve finished your work? It’s especially easy to forget when you’re working between the office and your home.

We can’t overstate this, updates are critical.

With working from home being prevalent across the UK (and the rest of the world!) we’re all much more vulnerable to cyber-attacks at the moment, with criminals taking every opportunity to leverage the pandemic for their own means.

Why is this relevant? Even though they might be invisible to you, updates often contain security fixes for newly discovered vulnerabilities. By not installing updates, you’re leaving yourself and your network vulnerable to attack.

By keeping up with alerts, you’ll be ensuring that your devices are:

• Safeguarded against the most current threats
• Using the most recent versions of the apps
• Being in better overall tech health

Could you really afford to deal with a data breach right now, on top of everything else that’s going on?

No way.

So stop ignoring the updates! Skip the ‘remind me later’ button, set your updates to run, and go and make yourself a well-earned cuppa. Or, even better, get them out of your hair and give them to Crosstek IT to do for you.

Would you like us to handle your updates to minimise disruption to your workday? Give us a call on 01732 617788 or drop us an email to [email protected] Got a jam-packed schedule? Book an appointment with Jon Cross here. We’re always happy to help.