Back to the office or stay remote???

The Return to the Office

As the Summer holidays draw to a close, the Dáil will be due to start a new term on the 15th September. In recent weeks Leo Varadkar has been promoting the DETE’s “Making Remote-Working-Work” Strategy via Twitter and press conferences. The Government are planning to gear up their efforts to push forward the legislation that is necessary for employees to request for remote work.

It has now been confirmed that the offical date that staff can return to the office is the 20th September. This is largely due to the positive uptake in vaccines and the shift towards regaining some normality, but the experience of remote working has made employees and employers alike question whether a full return is desired?

Going to the Office

Based on the findings of numerous surveys and feedback collected over the past 18 months it seems that employees have found that they would like to keep the flexibility that remote working offers going forward. One of the main factors that has influenced the opinion of many workers is the time that is saved by not having to commute long distances and getting stuck in traffic.

By working from home people are using that extra bit of time to focus on their family and health. However, there is still a want for some element of the traditional office workplace to be included in their life. Many businesses are considering introducing a blended or hybrid model which would allow for staggered workdays on and offsite to meet their staffs’ wishes.

Blended Working

A survey of 226 companies conducted by the Institute of Directors found that just 8% want to have their staff exclusively work in the office after restrictions are lifted. Two-thirds of those 226 participants will be offering blended work to enable social distancing and continue following health & safety guidelines*.

 In the run up to the looming office return date, online resources and checklists have been made available to businesses detailing some practical measures to be taken into consideration when trying to maintain a safe office environment and how best to provide long-term remote working for employees.

Return to Office with Co-Workers

How we can support your business adapt to a new way of working!

I.T. Support 4U wants to help businesses make that long-term transition by offering a range of services and products which will enable your business to work efficiently and productively regardless of location. We have the equipment, security packages and user-friendly online workplace platforms that will serve as an advantage when moving your business forward into a post-covid marketplace.

Key factors to considering when introducing a blended work model

Equipment

  • Employers should provide employees with the devices needed to do their work. This will mean that you can update and monitor the software and security packages that are installed on the device.

It also gives the employer the right to enforce strict protocol around the use and maintenance of the device.

 This should act as a deterrent from employees using the devices for personal use e.g., accessing social media accounts or letting other family members/roommates access the internet and emails which might result in data loss, breach or physical damage.

Policies & Procedures

CYBER SECURITY Policies & Procedures
  • There should be a clear I.T. Policies and Procedures in place to ensure that best practice is followed regarding the maintenance of the device and the security of the information being stored and transmitted. Consider including the following:
  • Use complex passwords-avoid passwords relating to you personally or the business, try incorporating words from a different language or use random/unrelated words mixed with numbers and special characters.
  • Use Multi-Factor Authentication to access various accounts.
  • Try to avoid reusing the same passwords, look at the option of a password manager tool.
  • Set the device to lock after a short length of inactivity.
  • Do not install more than one Anti-virus/Anti-Malware software on the device. Any changes or extra security software/tools should be assessed and approved by the I.T. department.
  • Do not leave confidential information unencrypted at home or in public spaces. Avoid connecting to public Wi-fi.
  • Ensure all hard copies of files are stored appropriately and that any unwanted material is shredded.
  • Run & test Back-ups regularly.
  • Keep all software apps updated with the latest version, these updates are made to address any recently identified vulnerabilities.

Staff Training & Cyber Security Awareness

Cyber-Security Staff Training
  • It is recommended that staff participate in cybersecurity training to reinforce the importance of following these measures to reduce the risk of a breach or malware infection.

Due to the dramatic increase in Phishing scams and similar cyber-based criminal activity, creating awareness amongst staff is key to protecting your business from these threats. During Covid many businesses have fallen prey to fraudulent emails with serious consequences as a result of human error.

  • Remote workers should be advised to harden their Wi-Fi-network and use the business’s VPN.
  • It is important to encrypt any information being communicated online and any request for payments or transfer of funds should be verified with colleagues or senior staff, preferably by phone.
  • Additional caution should be taken when scheduling online meetings or conferences:
  • Use an access password or pin and share this by text, if possible.
  • Enable features that will alert the meeting members of newly joined participants.
  • Lock the meeting after everyone who should be in attendance has joined.
  • Avoid chat/file sharing, especially sensitive information.
  • Do not record the meeting unless it is necessary.

Set your Business up for SUCCESS!

Datto Workplace

Datto Workplace-File Sync & Share Software for SMEs

Datto Workplace is an enterprise grade File Sync and Share solution which enables seamless collaboration across every device and can integrate Microsoft office or G-suite. Staff can access and share files safely from any location which fully accommodates remote workers. It is user friendly and will retain any deleted files for recovery purposes for an extended length of time in comparison to software such as OneDrive. Mistakes do occur and might not be noticed until a later date, so this feature is a time and stress saver!

 Datto Workplace also offers a higher level of protection. The software is designed to detect incoming threats or suspicious files, these are tracked and reverted back to safety without disruption or loss of productivity.

There is no need for staff to feel intimidated by Workplace because the platform is monitored by your MSP which means that you and your employees have the support needed to combat any possible security threats or tackle I.T. issues being experienced at home or in the office. The Datto Workplace Sever supports a hybrid model, enabling real-time access outside the LAN without the need for a VPN.

It is a highly regarded “File Sync & Share” platform that will allow your business to provide a flexibility to staff without much fuss or hassle.

Datto SMEs Back-up

Datto File Protection

Datto File Protection is the first step towards establishing a “Back-Up” system within your business. Datto file protection operates in the background and is constantly storing and protecting your work files against common scenarios in which data is compromised.

 For example, what if the hardware was badly damaged or decided to give out while you were trying to meet a deadline? Another common scenario that we have all experienced is getting distracted and accidently deleting or losing a file that we have been working on, then left struggling to recover the most recent copy-the stress! Most, importantly the situation that most businesses dread to think of is how to recover data if there has been a cyber-attack!?

 Datto File Protection provides a safety net if the business or an employee was unfortunate enough to find themselves in any of these situations. Once connected to the internet, Datto File Protection will be continuously backing up all the business’s valuable data regardless of location or device providing the same level of data protection in the office or at home. Any files that need to be recovered are accessible up to six months in a simple process that either your staff or MSP/Administrator can perform within minutes.

Datto Cloud Continuity for PCs

Datto Cloud Continuity for PCs is a Cloud-based service which we offer for those looking to back-up their computer. It offers fast reliable back-ups for PCs which can sometimes be tricky for less advanced software to offer. Datto Cloud Continuity pauses while the computer is not in use or moves between networks, then resumes once active again and ensures that nothing is lost. Datto Cloud Continuity is an image based BCDR which provides extensive screenshot verification of all data and can be easily accessed if recovery of a specific file or folder is needed. This can be easily integrated with other Datto products to ensure that your business is covered from data loss.

DATTO SIRIS-SMEs BCDR
BCDR – Business Continuity Disaster Recovery

Datto Alto/SIRIS – Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

SIRIS is an all-in-one Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery solution. By unifying back-up with disaster recovery SIRIS offers recovery of the system within seconds either in the Datto cloud or on the hardware/SIRIS appliance. It also provides multiple recovery options:

  • Full File restore of a deleted or corrupted files/folder
  • Rapid Rollback to quickly undo widespread changes such as ransomware infection
  • Image Export for full virtual server restore
  • Bare Metal Recovery to re-image a server to new hardware.

If most of that is not easy to understand you don’t need to worry as IT Support4U will be the first point of contact to make if there was a need to recover your business’s critical data. This means that you do not have to be an expert in I.T. and can focus on what you do best! By having a BCDR running your business can bounce back faster from a cyber-attack or the aftermath of flooding, fire etc. It is vital that those who work in sectors that involve processing and storing a high volume of sensitive data should be protected with a BCDR system.

Eset Endpoint Security

Eset Endpoint Protection

IT Support4U also is an ESET affiliate and can provide businesses with advanced Anti-virus/Anti-Malware Security packages. ESET Endpoint Protection is an Enterprise Grade Security package which protects against ransomware, blocks targeted attacks, prevents data breaches, stops fileless attacks and detects advanced persistent threats. ESET Endpoint Protection can be use across multiple devices so phones, tablets and laptops which you use while working are kept secure.

Other Services

At I.T. Support4U we do more than back-ups and Internet security, we can help businesses with the mundane I.T. problems that interfere with productivity levels such as poor Wi-Fi coverage, laptops issues and printer connectivity. If your business wants to upgrade their I.T. system, we are just a call away to offer advice and get you the right spec for the job.

We also stock a range of essential products and accessories that are useful for networking and connectivity such as webcams, headsets, keyboards, Wi-fi Extenders, adapters, laptop chargers, cables, external hard-drives, USB keys and can supply the specific ink/toner your business requires.

I.T Support 4U can provide ongoing assistance and resolve any problems that your business may encounter while adopting a Remote working or Hybrid model as part of the ongoing trend to developing a more flexible and mobile workplace. We offer a range of affordable and scalable packages that will help your business operate efficiently and productively no matter where you or your employees are based !

SME Business IT Maintenance Plans

https://www.irishexaminer.com/business/economy/arid-40352669.html

https://www.ncsc.gov.ie/pdfs/WFH-Advisory.pdf

https://www.hsa.ie/eng/topics/remote_working/homeworking_guidance_9mar21_v8.pdf

https://enterprise.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Workplace-and-Skills/Remote-Working/Guidance-for-working-remotely.html

Cybersecurity in business misconceptions

This post will discuss some of the pitfalls that SMEs can stumble into when confronted by the subject of Cybersecurity in business.

Cybersecurity in business 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses

Key Cybersecurity In Business Points

  • Ensure that your I.T. System is protected with Internet Security and Anti-Virus/Anti-malware.
  • Get a Back-up! Regularly Up-date & test to see if it works efficiently.
  • Monitor & manage your software, this is the only way that it is truly effective.
  • Use Multi-authentication on your accounts.
  • Introduce policies & procedures regarding the use I.T. devices and online activity, strengthen this with staff training & awareness around cyber-security.
  • Create a Cyber-security Response Plan
  • Consult with I.T. services if extra support and advice is required.

SMEs are not a target for cybercriminals…

It was found that 43% of cyberattacks are targeted at SMEs and this figure has risen over the past 18 months due to Covid-19.

Unfortunately, SMEs do not have the same financial resources and expertise to invest in their I.T. security or maintenance which leaves them in a vulnerable position in comparison to larger companies.

A survey conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) it revealed that a quarter of SMEs that suffered a data breach had to file for bankruptcy within a year!

It is much easier to target SMEs due to the lack of robust protection. Cybersecurity in business takes the form of employee training, cyber-security response plans and managed software systems.

Businesses need to start formulating an IT support plan. This is to protect their digital assets and utilise all of the resources available to them.

It cannot be emphasised enough the benefit of contacting an I.T. Consultant or a local Managed Service Provider to discuss your concerns and budget when investing in your cyber-security or upgrading your devices.

They can guide you and recommend products and packages that are specific to your needs and save you money in the long term!

Sophisticated cybersecurity business software will offer complete protection

Cybersecurity in business

It is essential that your devices are protected with a reputable internet security software package to provide a buffer between your devices and any online threats. Like, most products there is a wide range of security software on the market targeted towards households and enterprises, all varying in price.

Of course, the more you are willing to pay will be reflected in the capabilities of the software and frequency of updates, scanning and testing which will be performed, but this does not guarantee an impenetrable shield against cybercriminals.

 These security packages are only fully effective if they are configured, monitored, maintained, and integrated with all the security apps operating.

Anti-Virus & Anti-Malware will provide enough cybersecurity protection

Anti-virus and Anti-Malware software while important to have running on your device are not enough.

As previously mentioned this software needs to be properly managed and does not give you a 100% guarantee that no newly developed malware, virus, or hacker can access your device!

Remember cybercriminals are highly skilled and constantly trying to develop new software and tactics to bypass security, this is how they make their money!

So, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have backed-up all your files securely and continue to do so on a regular basis to avoid complete data loss!

Passwords are strong enough to withstand hackers

Strong passwords can be hacked Cybersecurity in business

Passwords (alone) are not strong enough to withstand a determined hacker. There are numerous ways in which your online accounts and I.T. devices can be accessed by external entities.

Over 80% of breaches involve “Brute Force” or using lost or stolen credentials via “Phishing” and “Form-Jacking”.

There are numerous strategies that hackers can use to crack or steal passwords. It is recommended to add multi-factor authentication on your accounts so there is at least another barrier that the hacker is confronted with before they gain access.

The system will notify us if there is a breach

Email Notifications Cybersecurity in business

While some protective applications may send you notifications about possible spam emails or suspicious activity often Cybercriminals can bypass detection through Phishing or other effective tactics.

48 % of malicious email attachments are sent as Microsoft Office files!

According to IBM in 2020 the average time taken to identify a breach was 228 days. It took an average of 80 days to contain the breach and up to a year to resolve the problems caused by the attack. This results in reputational damage and heavy financial loss!

Our current I.T. System is compliant with industry regulations and therefore must be secure & safe

Cybersecurity in business

If your business/organisation is currently using a software package that ensures that the data being stored and protected is compliant with industry regulations it would be advised to check if the software secures all data rather than specific data e.g. credit card details. If you store a client’s card details, you will more than likely hold other valuable information about that individual/organisation.

PCI compliant packages might not include the other vital information you have on file which needs to be given the same level of protection as the payment details!

Our data isn’t valuable, we don’t need to preform daily backups!

Back-up files to cloud Cybersecurity in business

Firstly, all data stored on a device has some value, think about all the information that is accessed and stored on your work devices. It will hold the details of your employees, clients/customers, suppliers, and credentials to the various online business accounts. Imagine if an individual or group could access these without your knowledge…..

Cybercriminals can and will use the accessed information either by trying to extort money from the business or sell the details on the dark web. There is also the chance of the hacker infecting your website or devices with malicious malware, which will cost time and money to rectify!

 By ensuring that your files are securely backed-up you have the critical data to start a stronger recovery plan.

Our MSP/I.T. department have sole responsibility for our cybersecurity and will keep us protected

Stressed I.T. Worker Cybersecurity in business

While the I.T. Department or Managed Service Provider are assigned the duty of monitoring and managing your I.T. systems, the sole responsibility of securing the business from a cyberattack does not fall on them alone. Unfortunately, when it comes to cybersecurity and I.T. issues you cannot afford to think that a single designated team can be blamed for a breach.

A thorough and effective Cybersecurity Response Plan involves everyone in the organisation doing their part, by strictly following the policies and procedures set out to achieve a high level of adherence and in doing so minimising the risk.

 Regular communication between the I.T. Department or MSP with management is necessary to ensure that everyone involved understands how to fully utilise the software on the system and what steps to take if there are any urgent issues.

Cyber breaches are covered by General Liability insurance

GDPR-Data breach & fines Cybersecurity in business

Not all insurance policies will cover the financial cost of a data breach. Therefore, if your business/organisation holds sensitive information it is advised to negotiate with an insurance broker about what kind of policy would provide you with the best cover if such a scenario occurred. The cost of data breach can cripple any size company so having a policy that could offset some of the burden would be a great advantage!

Cybersecurity requires huge investment

Calculating Business Expenses Cybersecurity in business

Cybersecurity does not require huge investment, if your budget does not allow for advanced software packages and management services you can still protect your business.

Choosing an affordable Anti-virus/Anti-malware package and educating staff on the best I.T. security practice can make a difference.

 In fact, some useful cybersecurity apps are affordable and by implementing strong policies and procedures your business can make the most of its resources until you can upgrade!

Managed Software Cybersecurity in business
Maintenance Packages
Partners

Is your I.T. ready for the summer!

Make sure your guest’s data and your business data is safe and secure.

The Hospitality Sector will start to reopen from 2nd June. It’s time to make sure your I.T. systems are ready and working. Make sure you spend time focusing on giving your guests an amazing experience. Not messing with technology that isn’t working. 

I.T. Support 4 U can strengthen your Wifi and I.T. services so you can meet your guests I.T. needs both indoor and outdoor.

By investing in your I.T infrastructure you can make sure that your business is ahead of your competition.

Why Is I.T. important to Guests?

  • Get quick answers about their accommodation & local amenities before setting off.
  • Complete transactions quickly & securely online.
  • Reliable access to indoor and outdoor WiFi for streaming services and video calls.

Why is I.T. important for businesses?

  • Easy access to company files from any location.
  • Easy to use systems to improve productivity & track sales.
  • On-call support to solve problems so staff don’t waste time.
  • Online bookings for dining or treatments. Make it easier to manage restricted numbers and time slots.

Upgrading your tech or improving the performance of an existing system is a daunting and time-consuming task. Let our experts solve your problems cheaper and faster.

I.T. Support 4U provides the help you need. We address any of your I.T. problems or queries. Our services can be scaled to your business’s specific requirements and budget.

I.T Support 4U provides local SMEs with the right advice, online security and flexibility that will improve your business’s functionality in a changing marketplace.

Contact I.T. Support 4U now for a free no-obligation phone consultation

If you have any questions on your IT infrastructure contact IT Support 4 U today.