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!