10 Knowledgeable Nuggets: IT Support Roundup of 2020

knowledgeable nuggets

Well, this weird year is finally coming to an end. In some ways, it seems to have lasted a decade, and in others it still feels like March! It’s now time for some festivities and well-earned rest – but, just before you switch off, we’ve compiled one last blog to recap on the advice and support we’ve offered this year. Instead of a mega post regurgitating what we’ve already said, we’ve put together our ‘Knowledgeable Nuggets’ – bite-sized pieces that summarise each blog. If you want to delve deeper, click on the blog titles and it’ll take you through to the full and fancy versions.

Knowledgeable nugget 1:

Hackers aren’t after you. More often than not, they are after your clients. So, the excuse of ‘we’re too small to be a target’ doesn’t wash. You could be a sole trader and still suffer a breach if the data you hold is powerful enough. From universities to hospitals, and governmental bodies right through to a local hairdresser with just one high-profile client, everyone is at risk.

Ransomware is brutal. As a business owner, it can leave you between a rock and a hard place – pay up or go bankrupt. If you think you can’t afford cyber security, the simple truth is that you can’t afford not to.

Read more: RANSOMWARE – THE BIGGEST CYBER THREAT OF 2020

Knowledgeable nugget 2:

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.

Read more: PROTECT YOUR COMPANY AGAINST SOARING CYBER CRIME DURING COVID-19

Knowledgeable nugget 3:

Microsoft Teams has been the lifeline businesses needed to keep both productivity and morale up this year! It has been just as great for staying in touch with friends and family too – family get-togethers, a night in the ‘virtual pub’ with your mates or some quality grandma time. The important thing has been staying in touch.

Read more: BRING YOUR TEAM TOGETHER WITH MICROSOFT TEAMS DURING COVID-19

Knowledgeable nugget 4:

In the past, clickbait has 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. But here’s how to spot them: 

⭐ Look out for impersonal greetings and bizarre sign-offs. ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ is rarely used these days as it’s too formal and most emails are personalised. 

⭐ Never open an attachment or click on a link unless you are 100% sure about who it has come from. Links are often hidden by buttons to try to trick you – hover over the button and you’ll see the link, and, if it looks suspicious, don’t click it. 

⭐ 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.  

Read more: CLICKBAIT: WHAT IT IS AND HOW TO SPOT IT

Knowledgeable nugget 5:

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 while working from home. 

Read more: 7 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR TEAM MOTIVATED IN LOCKDOWN

Knowledgeable nugget 6:

Here are just a few of the top tips we’ve been reiterating to people all year to keep them as safe as possible:

⭐ 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.

Read more: TOP TIPS TO STAY CYBER SAFE

Knowledgeable nugget 7:

Businesses are nervous, even scared, about changing their IT provider.

Why? As IT providers have all the passwords to run the engine of a business – the IT system – the worry is that they could ‘shut it down’, or at least make life very uncomfortable for clients that dared to take their business elsewhere.

Changing IT provider is something that should not be feared. It’s just like changing energy provider. Imagine if we were scared of that. We’d never get a better deal or improved service – we’d just stick with a company even if their service or product wasn’t actually making our world better. But energy providers have the power to cause inconvenience too… they could cut your electricity or gas off. But they don’t – because it’s not the ethical, or even legal, thing to do. And the vast majority of IT service providers aren’t out there to sabotage businesses that decide another provider is better suited to them. 

Read more: DOES CHANGING IT PROVIDER MAKE YOU NERVOUS?

Knowledgeable nugget 8:

With so many myths around cyber security, people don’t always comprehend the actual risks involved. Here, we debunk some of those myths…

1 – My business is too small for a cyber attack

2 – Macs don’t get viruses

3 – My email is backed up automatically 

4 – My insurance will cover it

5 – Cyber security is too expensive

Read more: 5 CYBER SECURITY MYTHS DEBUNKED!

Knowledgeable nugget 9: 

Some industries are more likely to be hit by a cyber attack – accountancy is one of them. Why? Because you hold detailed personal data for each and every client – and that makes you a prime target. Instead of going for dozens of people separately, hackers just go for you.

In times where we all need to be more flexible, more responsive and more resilient, the linchpin to keeping your business going is having the correct technology and security.

Yes, there’s cost involved, but you need to think of cyber security as insurance. Why wouldn’t you protect your business from cyber attacks like you protect your home from burglary? If your cyber security package protects you from one hack in all the time you have it, it’ll have paid for itself five-, ten-, fifteen- …let’s just say manyfold. 

Read more: ACCOUNTANTS ARE A PRIME TARGET FOR CYBER ATTACKS – ARE YOU PROTECTED?

Knowledgeable nugget 10: 

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. 

Read more: LOCKDOWN 2.0: ARE YOU CONSIDERING PERMANENTLY WORKING FROM HOME?

And that’s a wrap. We’re not out of the woods yet in terms of Covid and how it’s affecting our businesses, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. And one thing is for sure… we’ll be back with more advice and support in 2021. Our sole aim here at Somerbys IT is to keep as many businesses as possible cyber safe and operating at optimum IT level.  

To our clients that we’ve worked with this year, we thank you wholeheartedly for your business. And, to anyone wanting to know more about what we can offer, just drop us a line and we’ll be happy to chat things through. 

Happy Christmas, everyone! 

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.

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

Bring Your Team Together with Microsoft Teams During COVID-19

While we’re all stuck at home during the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s more important than ever to stay in touch with people. Yes, we need to keep our businesses running to support our clients and our own livelihoods, but it’s not just about the work. Mental health will play a huge part in getting us through this, and staying connected with our colleagues, but also our family and friends, will be key to keeping a positive mindset.

There are many brilliant tools to help us with this, but a particular favourite of ours here at Somerbys IT is Microsoft Teams – and the good news is, you’ve probably already got it. If you have an Office 365 suite, then Microsoft Teams will already be installed on your computer. And if you don’t, then Microsoft offers a free version that you can install.

 

Different ways to use Microsoft Teams

Simple and cost-effective, Microsoft Teams could be just the lifeline you need at the moment to keep both productivity and morale up! Let’s look at the different ways it can be used…

● Team meetings – why not get the team together for a daily huddle? This way, everyone stays updated with the latest work-wise, but it also lets office camaraderie continue! Here at Somerbys IT, we get together every morning for our ‘10.15am Huddle’.

● Face-to-face contact – this isn’t just important with your team, but with your clients too. It’s vital to carry on offering that personal service, and a virtual face-to-face chat means so much more than a phone call. 

● Instant messaging – you can still have those one-to-one chats that are needed at times, without disturbing the whole office (albeit virtually!).

● File sharing – this has been invaluable for our team! You can share files easily and securely in just a few clicks.

● Social events – you might not be able to get together in person, but why not keep those team events going? Perhaps you could organise Friday beers once you’ve ‘clicked off’, a pop quiz or games night – keep that office banter going!

All of these features are just as great for staying in touch with friends and family too – whole family get-togethers, a night in the ‘virtual pub’ with your mates, some quality grandma time. The important thing is that we stay in touch with everyone we’re used to having contact with, and Microsoft Teams allows you to do this. 

 

Click this link for a great little introduction video by Microsoft themselves to all the ways you can use Teams. However, we are also here to support and guide you through getting to grips with it, so do get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.