Lockdown 2.0: Are You Considering Permanently Working From Home?

Permanently working from home

So, where are we up to? Halfway through Lockdown 2.0 and eight months on since the first lockdown. And although great progress is being made with vaccines, we honestly don’t know when the world will be ‘normal’ enough for us to return to offices. And, indeed, whether there’s a need to return to them. At the very least, many businesses are acknowledging that how they work is unlikely to be the same again, but many are considering making the move to have their staff permanently working from home. 

But even if you are planning to return to the office again, what’s for sure is that working from home is no longer temporary. Back in March, businesses had to adapt quickly to facilitate remote working. This often involved having to do what was needed rather than what was ideal, just to keep operating. That lasted a few months. Then we were allowed back into offices, which lasted for a few weeks, and now we’re at home again – and we don’t know how long for. The truth is, businesses can no longer operate with the ‘quick fixes’ – the time has come that we have to ensure our systems are fit for our new reality of work. Temporary IT fixes put you, your company and clients at risk. So, what we’d like you to do is stop – and think…

Are you as productive and cyber safe when working from home?

You need to ensure you have the best IT setup for your present situation – not your past, or even your future – because ‘now’ could last a lot longer than we originally thought. 

We’re certainly not here to bring doom and gloom. Things have changed, and not necessarily for the worse. Many businesses have realised that their staff permanently working from home is a viable and better option for them – and that includes major organisations such as Twitter. But even if you plan to return to the office, the reality is that we don’t know when that will be possible and temporary fixes need to become permanent ones to keep you as productive and cyber safe as you were before you were working from home. 

Your warm blanket while working from home

Here at Somerbys IT, we like that we’re seen as a warm blanket that keeps people and their businesses safe – peace of mind and reassurance are more important now than ever. We want to continue to provide that while so many of you are working from home. 

We genuinely want to just make sure that everyone is prepared and set up correctly for remote working. For that reason, we are offering a FREE 20-minute call to businesses that just want to make sure that what they are doing is right – that it’s keeping their business operating at an optimal level with maximum protection from rising levels of cyber crime

During this call, we will:

✅ Carry out a quick review of your existing setup

✅ Listen to any concerns you may have

✅ Share our experience of what other companies are doing 

✅ Give you some instant top tips about what you should be doing

If the call goes no further than that, it’s not a problem. We really just want to offer advice to businesses that need a little extra help during these times of change. 

So, drop us an email at info@somerbysit.co.uk or call us on 0333 456 4431 to arrange your FREE 20-minute call.

Top Tips to Stay Cyber Safe

Top Tips to Stay Cyber Safe

It’s getting increasingly hard to stay cyber safe with so many scams out there at the moment. Some target the general public some just target businesses. We are seeing more targeted attacks on certain industry sectors. We’ve seen sports organisations suffer and now there’s a new focus accountants. We’ve even seen IT service providers targeted as a means to gain access to their customers’ systems. The fears and vulnerabilities that surround Covid-19 are being hugely exploited. 

 

So, how can you stay cyber safe? 

Here are some quick and easy cyber security top tips for you to implement now:

 

⭐ Use strong passwords on your accounts (but don’t use the same password everywhere).

⭐ Where possible, implement 2-factor/multifactor authentication (2FA/MFA).

⭐ Ensure you back up any data and systems critical to your business at least daily. 

⭐ Take a multi-layered approach to cyber security and implement suitable solutions for your needs. Antivirus software and a firewall are no longer enough to stay cyber safe.

⭐ Make use of email filtering solutions to help filter out spam, phishing emails and malware. 

⭐ Ensure your cloud environments are protected too. Did you know that Microsoft does not back up your data? That’s your responsibility.

⭐ Consider cyber awareness training for your staff. Services from KnowBe4, Twist & Shout Communications and Twist & Shout Media offer great training solutions.

 

All of the above may seem overwhelming and you may find yourself saying ‘Where do I start?’. But the fact is, you have to start somewhere – for the sake of your own business, but also to protect your clients.

Here at Somerbys IT, we want to help as many people as possible to stay cyber safe, so get in touch with our friendly team to see how we can help.

Let us help you stay cyber safe! 

5 Cyber Security Myths Debunked!

Cyber Security Myths Debunked

Cyber security is something that all too often stays on a to-do list. It’s one of those things that people know they should take care of, but don’t. Why? No one can be under the illusion that the hackers aren’t out there anymore, so what stops people from actually trying to protect their business from the almost inevitable? Often it’s because they don’t have time. But it’s also because there are so many cyber security myths around that people don’t comprehend the actual risks involved. 

Today, we’re here to debunk some of those cyber security myths…

 

1 – My business is too small for a cyber attack

Wrong. This is one of the most common cyber security myths. It’s often not you that a hacker is after – it’s your clients. So even the smallest of businesses should take cyber security seriously. Imagine if you suffered a breach and the hacker got hold of one of your client’s details, and they too suffered the repercussions. While you may be willing to put yourself at risk, should you really be putting your clients at risk? 

Another question you should be asking yourself is, if you’re a small business, do you have the funds to survive a cyber attack? The chances are that you don’t.

 

2 – Macs don’t get viruses

They do. It’s a common belief that one of the perks of Macs is that they don’t get viruses. While they used to offer better, but not total, protection from malware and ransomware, this is no longer the case. Hackers have got smarter and Macs are no longer ‘a safe place’. According to Malwarebytes, over 2018 and 2019, cyber threats on Macs went up by a staggering 400%. And the average number of threats per machine stood at 11 for Macs, compared to 5.8 for Windows devices. Always look to the stats to debunk cyber security myths!

 

3 – My email is backed up automatically 

Nope. While people see the need to back up their computers regularly, many don’t realise that the same should be done for emails. Using cloud-based providers like Gmail and Microsoft means your data is stored in their servers, rather than your own. What you’re getting is the applications and any software or hardware updates – NOT protection for data produced by your company. And that includes emails. So what happens if a staff member accidentally deletes an important email? Or what if a hacker accesses your emails and locks your account? You won’t have access to any of your previous emails. As we mentioned in our recent blog, 90% of hacks start via email. 

Yet, most businesses still don’t have proper procedures to protect their emails. Simple multi-factor authentication can offer immediate protection, and there are also many other solutions that can offer an extra layer. Datto SaaS Protection is one of the products we offer here at Somerbys IT – watch this short video to see how it works: Introducing Datto SaaS Protection.

 

4 – My insurance will cover it

Will it? It may be worth checking that your insurance does cover cyber security breaches, because they often don’t. Even when you have paid more for this type of protection, there will usually be small print that specifies that you have to have a certain level of cyber security protection in place, or else the insurance company won’t be liable to pay. Just like they wouldn’t pay out after a burglary at your home if you’d left the back door unlocked. 

 

5 – Cyber security is too expensive

It really isn’t. Our clients are always pleasantly surprised when they receive a quote from us. People think investing in cyber security will set them back hundreds a month; in fact, prices start from as little as a couple of cappuccinos at Starbucks. And, as we always say, you may think cyber security is something you can’t afford to invest in, but it’s actually something that you can’t afford not to. 

 

If we have debunked any cyber security myths that you believed in today, you may want to consider getting better protection for your business… which in turn will protect your clients. Instead of thinking of it as an extra expense, think of it as another layer of business insurance that will protect you in a worst-case scenario.

 

Our team at Somerbys IT is always happy to chat through the different options we offer, so feel free to get in touch today. 

7 Ways to Keep Your Team Motivated in Lockdown

Keep Your Team Motivated in Lockdown

The weeks we’ve been in lockdown are suddenly building up. The novelty is almost certainly starting to wear off, and it may be getting more difficult to keep your team motivated as they realise that working from home could continue for much longer than we first expected.   

When people get sluggish, so do their processes. Not only does this affect their work, but it may also impact the way they approach everything – which could include cyber security. If you can keep your team motivated, not only are you keeping business productivity up, you are also lessening the risk of your business falling prey to the hackers taking full advantage of people being a little off guard at the moment. 

In our recent blogs, we’ve spoken to you a lot about how to protect your company from cybercrime. So today, we’re going for a more light-hearted approach and looking at ways you can keep your team motivated, which will reap benefits in so many different ways.

Here are our seven top tips to keep your team motivated as lockdown continues – both in and out of work hours…

 

1 – The daily huddle

While everyone is physically separated, we’re really fortunate that there are so many options available for us to have group video calls. It’s no secret that we are fans of Microsoft Teams for this. Read more on this in our blog: Bring Your Team Together With Microsoft Teams During Covid-19. If you don’t have Teams though, another great option is Zoom.

So, why not have a daily huddle with your team. Here at Somerbys, we all jump on a call at 10.15am each day. It doesn’t last long, but it means we are in touch in the most face-to-face way we can be.

2 Walking team meeting

Why not take your team on a walk? If there’s no reason why you need to be sat at a desk for a meeting, why not suggest you all get out and stretch your legs while you’re on the call. Everyone will come back to their desks much more motivated to crack on.

3 Friday beers

Yes, we’d all much rather be heading down to the local pub for a Friday beer after clocking off at the end of the week, but not being able to do that doesn’t mean it can’t happen at all. You can either do it all together on a virtual chat, or, if you feel your team has had enough of being in front of a screen, ask everyone to send in a 5pm selfie of themselves with their beverage of choice – sat in the garden, flopped in front of the TV or, for the healthier among us, downing a protein drink before heading out for that Friday evening run!  

And this leads us to more ideas for outside of work hours. Our work and home lives are being mixed more than ever before, so you might need to increase the social side of things. With the lack of water cooler banter, finding ways to keep your team spirit up always pays off. 

4 Exercise competitions 

It’s all too easy to sit on the couch and not get out of the house. Inciting your team to keep up with regular exercise in their spare time will really help them look after their overall wellbeing. What about an exercise contest using apps such as Strava or MyFitnessPal? Whether running, walking or cycling, you could base it on distance, speed or even who can create the best shape on their route!

Excercise Will Keep Your Team Motivated in Lockdown

 

 

 

 

 

We’ll let you google for more inspiration! 

5 Quizzes and games

If you haven’t taken part in a virtual quiz since lockdown, frankly, you haven’t lived! The Radio Times has created a great resource that you can use to create your own quiz quickly and easily. But if quizzes aren’t your thing or you need to shake things up a bit, games like bingo, Pictionary and charades work really well on virtual chats. And lots of games now have online versions, like Monopoly, Uno and even Cards Against Humanity – now that’s sure to get everyone laughing! 

6 Gaming events

Have you got any gamers in your team? If so, this is another ideal way to connect. A lockdown favourite is Nintendo’s Animal Crossing, where you can create your personal island paradise – an ideal bit of escapism at the moment! Get everyone to design their own perfect place – the results can be quite amusing!

7 Send a little surprise

In times when things are getting a bit same-y (may we even say monotonous?), receiving something unexpected through the post makes it feel like Christmas! So why not send each of your team a little pick-me-up? Other retailers are, of course, available, but here are some of our favourite companies that can send things directly to your team members’ doors: 

Beer Hawk: why not deliver the beer for Friday beers?! That’s going to make everyone smile and instantly improve morale for the following Monday morning. 

Moonpig: even just a card can be enough to improve morale – include a note saying thank you for their hard work at this strange time. Tailor a card for each member of the team to make the gesture more meaningful. 

Sponge: who doesn’t like getting cake? Sponge has a great range of cakes, from one slice with a card, to a selection of mini cakes or even a full-size party cake! Something to add to the daily team huddle for a change? 

 

As you can see, there are lots of ways you can keep your team motivated during these lockdown times. They are simple, quick to organise and can make all the difference with keeping productivity and morale up, as well as maintaining key aspects of your business such as reliable cyber security practices.

 

We’d love to hear if you decide to give any of these a go! And, as always, the whole Somerbys IT team is here for you if you have any questions or concerns about your cyber safety. Contact us on 0333 456 4431 or info@somerbysit.co.uk

Clickbait: What It Is and How to Spot It

Clickbait

First off, let’s call these people what they are – cybercriminals. These people have always taken advantage of situations. Catching people when they are vulnerable is what they do. But, lately, these criminals have stooped to a lower level. As the world has become less stable, as the Covid outbreak has intensified and as people seek any form of reassurance they can get, cybercriminals have upped their clickbait game and are launching exactly the type of cyberattacks that will catch even the wariest people off guard. 

How are they doing it? Clickbait. A catchy email, or even text message, saying just what you want to hear, so you’ll click on it. And that’s it. Sometimes that’s all it takes for these cybercriminals to infiltrate your system or gain direct access to your bank account. 

So, today we want to take a deeper look at what clickbait is and how to spot it. This way, Somerbys IT can keep you as protected as possible during these uncertain times.

 

What is clickbait? 

Clickbait has been around for a long time but it’s constantly evolving and becoming more intelligent, effective and harmful. Essentially, it’s an email or text message that entices you to click something (often a link or an attachment) that contains malware. The moment you do, you open your system to the hackers behind the scam, and they can access credentials, steal data or completely paralyse your system. Their aim? To get you to pay a ransom. Even before the Covid crisis, ransomware was a huge threat to businesses, as we spoke about in our blog from earlier in the year: Ransomware – the Biggest Cyber Threat of 2020. 

In the past, these have been fairly simple to spot. An offshore prince saying he’d like your bank details to transfer some of his wealth to you, or a company promising to enlarge a certain part of your anatomy… but, these days, cybercriminals are much better at disguising themselves. Not only are they choosing topics you want to hear about, but they actually look like the companies they are impersonating.

Look at these examples:

Clickbait Clickbait

The first one appears to be from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the second one from the official government website. But both are fake – and excellent examples of clickbait. These are the types of cyberattacks that are rife at the moment, and you have to be on full alert to spot them.

 

How to spot and avoid clickbait 

Fear not, there are ways that you can spot and avoid clickbait. The National Cyber Security Centre website is a great place to read more about how to stay safe online, but here we want to give you some key things to look out for: 

Email address

Hackers try to imitate addresses, so watch out for subtle differences and misspellings. In the WHO example above ‘@who-pc.com’ is used, but a quick look at their website tells you their email addresses end in ‘@who.int’. Adding an extra dot is a common tactic, for example changing @paypal.com to @pay.pal.com, or changing certain letters like ‘@government’ to ‘@governrnent’. Even if the sender name looks legitimate, hover your cursor over it to see the full email address. 

Badly written 

Given that many scams originate from overseas, a badly worded email is a giveaway sign. While a spell check can catch most errors, it can’t catch all grammar mistakes. Look at the emails above and you’ll see what we mean. The GOV.UK one talks of a ‘precaution measure’ instead of a ‘precautionary measure’ and also that ‘the government established new tax refund programme’ when it should be ‘the government has established a new tax refund programme’. Also look out for impersonal greetings and bizarre sign-offs. The WHO email uses ‘Dear Sir/Madam’, which is far too formal; also, these days, most emails are personalised. 

Suspicious attachments and links

Never open an attachment or click on a link unless you are 100% sure about who it has come from. This sounds obvious, but the targeted Covid scams we’re seeing are even fooling the experts. Links are often hidden by buttons to try to trick you – again, like with emails, hover over the button and you’ll see the link, and, if it looks suspicious, don’t click it. 

Asking for personal or bank details

This should set off alarm bells straight away. Any company that legitimately needs these details will take you through a set of security questions; you will never be asked via email or text. 

Time limits

Question anything that gives you a short time limit or creates urgency. ‘Get this cure before they run out’, ‘Tax returns available in the next 24 hours only’, and ‘Government paying grants to the first 100 people to register’ are all strategies being used by cybercriminals right now. 

 

If you do spot anything suspicious, then mark it as spam and delete it straight away. And, in the event that you do get caught out, we urge you to get in touch. Many hackers access your system and lie in wait for what can be months, collecting as much data as possible before compromising your system. The sooner we act, the less damage will be done.

Protect Your Company Against Soaring Cyber Crime During COVID-19

Challenges of cyber crime are tough at any time – and now is no different. In fact, it’s worse. As nations all over the world start to work from home, the hackers are still out there, and, sadly, they are sat rubbing their hands as the digital world becomes more vulnerable. They are using this swift transition to remote working, and the disruption and the inevitable confusion that comes with the COVID-19 measures to their distinct advantage.

You may have read our blog from earlier in the year Ransomware – The Biggest Cyber Threat of 2020. Big companies such as Travelex have already been hit with major breaches this year, where hackers had accessed their systems months before and lain in wait for the right moment to strike. Well, now is the right time for hackers and, as the dependency on digital infrastructures increases, so does the risk of cyber crime. 

 

And the stats prove it…

● According to SentinelOne, the number of attempted cyberattacks from 23rd February to 16th March stood at 145 threats per 1,000 endpoints, compared to 30 or 37 at the start of that period.
● The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau reported losses of over £800,000 due to COVID-19 cyber scams in February – and this was for the UK alone.
● Check Point Research reported that 4,000 COVID-19 domains have been registered this year, many of which will be being used as bogus websites for cyber crime.

 

The hackers are unscrupulous in their approach – they are targeting businesses that have had to move quickly to remote operations, they are benefitting from the fact that people are generally spending more time online while in lockdown, and they are shamelessly targeting people who are vulnerable and needing more information at a time of uncertainty. 

Phishing attempts are happening via email and increasingly by text, and all it takes is one click on a link and you could find your company paralysed as hackers infiltrate your system. 

 

What you can do to combat COVID cyber crime

At Somerbys IT, we want to support as many businesses as possible during this uncertain time, so we have put together a list of steps you should be taking to give you heightened protection.

 

Company laptops only – make sure all your staff have the correct kit and that they are using it. It’s very easy to get complacent and reach for a personal laptop just because it’s to hand.
VPN – if a home network isn’t secure, it could compromise the whole company system. Accessing systems with a VPN will offer better security.
Multi-factor authentication – this should be used for all internet-accessible services, including systems you access every day, like emails.
Password managers – tools like LastPass are perfect for generating and storing secure passwords. Using the road you live on plus the year you were born in simply isn’t good enough.
Clickbait – hackers are pros when it comes to enticing people to click on a link. Take a moment before clicking. Question everything. Drive this home to your team.
Screen lock – screen locks should be used when you’re away from your desk – even at home. Why? Kids and pets. While you’re making a cup of tea, all it takes is for little hands or paws to appear and click something they shouldn’t.
Run all updates – while bearing clickbait in mind, be sure to run all official updates for your devices. Otherwise, you are leaving them more open and vulnerable to attack.
Policies – now is a good time to update and circulate company policies so everyone is on the same page. These should include policies on security, remote working, mobile devices and personal devices.

 

As a business owner, you are handing out a lot of trust to your employees at the moment. With the crossover between home and work, it’s easy to become more relaxed. You’ll need to keep reminding them to stay vigilant. With this in mind, we’ve made this handy downloadable PDF that you can send on to your team to keep them, and your business, on a secure track:

A Reminder of How to Keep Cyber Safe During COVID-19

Whilst COVID-19 is putting immense strain on businesses, this is not the time to start cutting your IT costs. IT has become simultaneously more valuable and vulnerable than ever and the last thing you need is to be dealing with a cyberattack that compromises your system.    

This is the question you need to ask yourself – are my employees’ home networks as secure as the office network? If the answer is no, we urge you to get in touch so that we can help you. Remember, you don’t have to do it on your own – this is where our skills lie and we’ll be able to offer you quick solutions to keep your company protected.