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.

Ransomware – The Biggest Cyber Threat of 2020

As one year closes and another one begins, it’s always worth sitting down and taking stock. At Somerbys IT, we do this for a number of reasons, not least to look at what the major cyber risks are likely to be for the upcoming year. This way, we can stay ahead of the game and keep our clients as safe as possible.

For 2020, it’s plain to see that one of the biggest threats is ransomware. Travelex has been all over the news lately after a cyber-breach was detected on New Year’s Eve. Hackers gained access and threatened to release customers’ personal data, including payment card details, unless Travelex paid them £4.6 million. 

We are seeing more attacks on smaller businesses year on year, and whilst technology and cybersecurity advance at great pace, ransomware is right on their heels – morphing, evolving, and being operated by ever more intelligent hackers. And the statistics prove it…

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Cyber Attacks on Small Businesses – The Stats You Cannot Ignore!

Is your business too small to be hit by a cyber attack? No, is the simple answer. The latest research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) shows that small businesses fall victim to almost 10,000 cyber attacks per day. That’s 8.64 per second. And those are only the successful attacks. Many, many more are attempted.

So why are small businesses not protecting themselves against these attacks? Quite simply, they don’t think they are big enough to be a target. While this is completely understandable, the stats prove that cyber security should be a major cause for concern, even for the smallest of businesses. In the 30 seconds it’s taken you to read this introduction, almost 260 cyber attacks have been carried out on SMEs.

 

Cyber security stats for SMEs

The Cyber Security Breaches Survey is an annual governmental report that evaluates how UK organisations approach cyber security, as well as the impact of breaches that occur.

The findings show that over a third of micro and small businesses have suffered cyber breaches or attacks. Think about the last small business networking event you went to. Over 30% of the people in the room had potentially been hit by a cyber attack.

Yet, despite this, many small businesses are not taking the right steps to protect themselves. The FSB found that over a third of SMEs haven’t installed any form of security software and around 40% fail to carry out regular software updates and back up data and systems. These statistics are consistent with the number of successful attacks, so prove that protection is key.

When participants in the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2019 were asked why they didn’t have cyber security policies or other measures for risk management, 35% said they were too small, 21% admitted cyber security wasn’t a priority for them, and 19% simply didn’t see it as a risk. Again, the stats demonstrate that these reasons aren’t valid.

 

The impact of small business cyber breaches

The impact on small businesses can be disproportionately severe. The business is small, and, in all likelihood, won’t be able to bounce back like a larger company. Even if they could cover the direct costs, the indirect costs can be devastating, such as a slowdown in productivity, a dip in team morale and the inevitable damage to reputation. The FSB estimates the costs of cyber attacks on small businesses to be £4.5 billion per year.

Losing thousands of pounds isn’t the worst-case scenario, though. Sadly, a large proportion of SMEs that fall victim to a cyber attack will not survive. While there don’t seem to be UK statistics for this, a US study found that 60% of SMEs go out of business within the six months following a cyber attack.

 

What’s the first step in protecting your small business?

 If this is making for uncomfortable reading, it’s probably because your small business doesn’t have the correct level of cyber security. But it can be daunting knowing how to approach it.

Here at Somerbys IT, we always advise carrying out a cyber security audit as the first step.

Our Cyber Security Audit service includes a face-to-face meeting with one of our team, who will take you through a list of questions to find out how secure your system is. From this, we will be able to highlight any gaps, get a clear picture of any potential threats, and create a bespoke action list for your company. It may even be possible for us to detect if you’ve already had a breach that may have gone unnoticed.

If this is something you are interested in hearing more about, get in touch with our friendly team today.

It’s Time to Say Goodbye to Windows 7

All good things come to an end. While Windows 7 has been a favourite among many companies for almost a decade now, the operating system is coming to the end of its life in January 2020 — just three months from now. Many people will be sad to see it go, but here at Somerbys IT, we want to help you make the right decision for the next steps for your company.

What happens after January?

Computers and systems won’t stop working, but Microsoft will stop providing:
● Technical support for any issues
● Software updates
● Security updates or fixes

What does that mean for your company?

The BIG point here is that without security and software updates, your system will become significantly more vulnerable, meaning you’re at higher risk of viruses and cyberattacks — and the disruption they can cause. Reports show that over 70% of cyber attacks target small businesses, and up to 60% of these go out of business in the six months that follow.
Within three or four months, it’s highly probable that the apps and systems you use will be out of date and some will become unusable. It’s exactly the same as what happens when you have an old mobile phone that’s no longer supported. But this is your business and your livelihood — and Somerbys IT wants to protect you.

What we recommend

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Cisco Umbrella – What an Extra Layer of Online Security Could Mean to Your Business


As a business owner or even just an internet user, you’re more than aware of the threat of cybercrime. It’s no longer just the obvious scams from our Nigerian friends or fake calls from people pretending to be your bank.

Now, online where we spend more and more time, you’re up against an army of cyber criminals, keen to lock you out of your website, take it down and charge you to get it back.

From phishing to malware and targeted attacks, you have to have eyes on everything and more. Is it any wonder we’re hearing about more and more attacks in the news?

Earlier this year, Yahoo had 3 billion accounts compromised while Equifax reported that they may well have had over 44 million people’s personal details stolen in a recent data attack.

It puts that dodgy PDF attachment into perspective, doesn’t it?

But small businesses are very much under fire, and away from the banks and Scotland Yard those cyber nasties are after your machine to hold you ransom or steal enough details to make some money from your identity.

We all know we need security for our internet and our devices, and for years we’ve been helping our customers with security packages.

But like the online viruses, we need to evolve and get more intelligent.
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GDPR – What is IT?

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a hot topic right now. Even if you’re a small business, it affects you. Much like the new pension regulations or Making Tax Digital, there’s quite a bit of fear and miscommunication out there.

So, here’s a really simple way to look at it:

– only collect information that you need for a specific purpose

– keep it secure

– ensure it is relevant and up to date

– only hold as much as you need, and for as long as you need it

– and allow the subject of information to see it on request

Read more here

Cyber Security: How to Protect Yourself from Malware, Ransomware, Phishing etc

Advice on protection from Viruses, Malware, Ransomware and Phishing

More and more, ransomware has emerged as a major threat to individuals and businesses alike. Ransomware, a type of malware that encrypts data on infected systems, has become a lucrative option for cyber criminals.

In the past, many smaller businesses downplayed the possibility of security threats because they believed they were too small for hackers to target. However, most businesses have become more self-aware in recent years, realising that being under-protected, and under-funded, has made them attractive targets for cyber criminals.

The best practice is to employ multiple layers of protection.  Nothing guarantees 100% security and rarely will a single layer stop the threat in its tracks. Malware is multi-faceted and changing by the minute, however, and multiple strategies significantly increase your chances of staying safe.

See below for some essential layers of defence from current cyber security threats.  Realistically, each aspect needs to be in place to avoid leaving an “open door” for attackers.

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