10 IT Tips to keep your business secure

It's easy to become complacent about IT security.  We're always informing our customers of the latest threats and security issues that may increase the risk to their business.

Sometimes however going back to basics is required, just as a double-check to make sure you've got all bases covered.

In this article, we'll be outlining the top 10 things your IT provider should be proactively maintaining on your business technology.

1) MFA/2FA

Acronyms aside (multi-factor or two-factor authentication) this is the most basic security setting that should be enabled across the entire workforce.  Without it all, a hacker needs is a guess of your password or successfully "phish" your email.

2) Password Enforcement

Everybody hates having to use a strong password.  Home many times are you asked to change your password?  Can you remember them all?  Use a passphrase; instead, these are usually easier to remember are far more secure.

3) Phishing Emails

Having an awareness of phishing emails and what to spot is probably one of the best practices you can employ.  This includes looking at the URL in a link, checking the sender email and spotting any glaring mistakes in the copy of the email.  These are always red flags which should be checked if you are being asked to click something in an email.

4) Anti Virus

Proper antivirus protection seems like such a non-topic.  It's taken for granted, but it shouldn't be.  New computer viruses appear regularly, so it's essential to have antivirus software that is continuously up-to-date.

5) Patching

Patching is the insider term for keeping Windows updates up-to-date.  Microsoft Windows has an inbuilt update feature that will annoy you to update your machine when a critical update is necessary.  Don't ignore these prompts - you may be increasing your security risk if you keep delaying updates.

6) Backups

The chance that your business will get hacked is high.  It's an unfortunate fact that no matter how secure your IT, systems and policies are cyber crooks will find a way in.

To prepare for this reality, make sure you have a working backup solution that is checked regularly to make sure you can actually recover in the event that your files are held to ransom.

7) Accounts

When you have old members of staff that leave the organisation, it's always one of the last things to think about - their email and account.

Keep your IT provider informed about employee's leaving the company so that their accounts can be blocked and archived in line with standard operating policy.

8) WiFi

An open WiFi network with no password is a significant security flaw.  It might seem like a great idea to have a public system so visitors can quickly join.  Best practice to have a secure corporate WiFi network and a segregated guest network with password enforcement on both.

9) Encryption

Device encryption is something that you should have enabled on all desktop, laptop and mobile devices as standard.

If a piece of hardware gets into the wrong hands, it can easily be cracked and the data copied. 

10) USB Keys

USB Keys are handy for sharing and transferring data; however, they're also one of the most significant security risks.  If you lose a key that has essential data, there's no telling who will get hold of it.  There are much more secure ways to transfer files that do not require the use of a physical device.

If you would like to find out more details on any of the topics outlined in this article, please get in touch with us Contact us

5 not so obvious ways to Speed Up Your Home Internet

With many now working from home and the schools closed internet connectivity in the house is being strangled.

In this article, you'll learn so of the pro tactics to squeeze every last ounce of internet speed out of your home broadband line.

The Master Socket

If you have an ADSL or Fibe to the cabinet (VSDL) connection to your home, then this tip is not to be missed.

Make sure you have your internet modem plugged into your master socket. 

If you live in a bigger house, you may have several extension sockets.  The extensions sockets should not be used for the modem.  The reason for this is that as the phone cable gets spliced to these extensions, you'll lose some of the clarity on the line.

The result is a slower internet connection.  The master socket avoids the problems with internal home wiring and in theory, should be a direct connection to the telephone line.

Microfilters

Again this applies to ADSL and VDSL lines.  Microfilters split the signal on the phone line for data and voice.  In recent years many phone sockets now include an inbuilt microfilter.

However, if you have the more common phone socket, then you'll need a microfilter attached to all phone sockets around the house that have anything plugged into them.

If you skimp on filters, then you run the risk of a slower line.  The reason for this is that the voice and ring on the line will stop the data connection temporarily, and the phone company system will reduce the line speed to try and give a more stable connection.

Hardware

Cheap or free internet modems and wifi routers are commonly supplied by bigger internet providers.

This may seem like your getting a good deal with free hardware. The reality is that this free hardware is usually inferior in quality and can lead to reduced speeds and reduced wifi connectivity.

Wifi Coverage

Wireless signal around the home has become paramount with most now working from mobile devices or laptops.

Hardwiring your work computer into the router is a great way to boost speed.

A hardwired connection will give a slight speed increase depending on how strong your wifi signal is.

You should also survey your home and see where you might have wifi blackspots. 

Deploying a mesh wifi network in your home can help boost the signal for all the family.

DNS

DNS stands for domain name resolution.  It's a task that's usually done by your home router to find website addresses when you are using your internet browser.

Most internet providers take on the task of providing DNS services.  However, there are free specialist solutions where you can get faster DNS speeds.

The most common of these are: 

Cloudflare

Google DNS

Open DNS

Setting your home router to one of these dedicated DNS solutions will give you a snappier browsing experience at home.

If you found this article useful and want help with your home internet speed  - get in touch with us today.

Is your business 100% Cloud?

Lockdown and the need to move from the office to the home has seen many local businesses review their IT infrastructure.

Ten years ago, most businesses had on-premise servers that handled email, files storage and security. Technology solutions like Office365 or Google Workspace saw many move their email to the cloud.

However, many other business applications and services remained on-premise requiring onsite hardware or a dedicated workstation.

This hybrid approach has worked well up until the move to the home, which has complicated the hybrid setup.

Microsoft Azure, Amazon Webservices and several online services are now in place to fully make a move to the cloud and simplify business IT.

Sharepoint & Teams

Probably the most popular software in recent times is Microsoft teams which allows collaboration between employees, external contacts and vendors.

The ability to store files within a Team site has reduced the need to local network storage which was always the goto solution for organising files in a business environment.

Synchronising SharePoint libraries using Onedrive to user devices has provided many with easy access to all their files no matter what device they are on.

Azure & Amazon Directory Services

Local servers known as domain controllers acted as a login and security system for offices. This kept systems secure and files safe. Services such as Azure Active Directory have removed the need for a local domain controller.  

The ability to maintain security and control of user devices over a home internet connection has seen many businesses look to Azure services for solutions to their remote workforce requirements.

Virtual Desktop Instances

Business applications come in many forms, and there can be occasions when legacy applications still require a local server or similar.

Virtual desktops instance eliminates the need for legacy applications to be run locally in an office environment.

Both Microsoft's Azure platform and Amazon Web services have virtual desktop options that allow legacy applications to run in the cloud and provide access from anywhere there's connectivity.

The solutions outlined in this article are only some examples of how we've helped many local businesses adjust to remote working.

If you would like an audit of your IT infrastructure and how it can be made more flexible, then please contact us today.