How to reduce your reliance on your IT company

Am I crazy? Possibly. Probably! Maybe… Who knows? Who gets to decide anyway?

What am I on about? Well, I’m evangelical about ensuring my businesses educate our customers on all matters IT, so you can actually REDUCE your reliance on your IT company. Logically that means in time they won’t have to spend as much money with my businesses, or they may even be able to drop us completely and do it (IT – geddit?) themselves. Would you like to know how to reduce your reliance on your IT company? Well, keep on reading…..

So let’s consider:

  • We’re providing FREE education on all matters IT to our clients (and everyone if you follow us on social media or this blog)
  • That FREE education reduces client dependence on us
  • Reduced client dependence means reduced fees for my companies
  • In the extreme you may feel that you don’t need us at all!

Simply put, we’re providing free education which may result in reduced income for us.

Yeah, that’s crazy.

Do you think?

Or maybe there’s something else going on? If so, what?

Confidence and trust, that’s what.

We’re confident that by educating our customers and their staff in computing and IT matters we will increase trust. And if we increase trust, they’ll continue their partnership with us.

Let’s face it, there are too many companies in IT who give the industry a bad name. We conducted a market survey last year, and the number one issue that came out was ‘Trust’. People rely on their IT provider to provide them with IT solutions appropriate to their business. Too often those people don’t understand what is being offered and can be left with an uneasy feeling of paying for something they don’t need.

That is absolutely not what any of my businesses are about. The last thing I want is for our customers to feel that way. We want – we need – you to feel assured with your IT solutions. The only way we can do that is through education and trust.

That’s why if you follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) you will see, at least weekly, tips on all matters IT.

That’s why this year we implemented our ‘IT Roadshows’ – we visit all our contracted customers and present to every member of their staff. What we do, why we do it, computer usage tips,  cyber security tips. Free.

That’s why all our staff are instructed to communicate in plain English – to explain any matter IT in a way that the recipient understands. No bamboozlement.

And that’s why all our staff sign-up to our cultural values. You can read them all here.

 

Crazy? If doing what is right for our customers is crazy, then fine, guilty as charged!

Thanks for reading, until next time…

Backing up and protecting your data – the basics

I was asked at a networking meeting recently for recommendations on best practice for backing up a laptop. It was in the context of an individual who has sensitive data on their laptop, and what follows were my recommendations. It’s worth noting that these recommendations apply as much to SMEs as they do to an individual.

  1. We recommend a belt and brace approach. A local backup and a cloud backup. This applies to single-PC/laptop users and companies with servers and networks alike. Local backups protect you from internet accessibility failures (they do happen!) and cloud backup protects you from local failures, and is also an invaluable defence against Ransomware.
  2. Cloud storage is NOT Cloud backup. A professional cloud backup system has end-to-end encryption and provides for a complete system restore. Files in Cloud storage are fully susceptible to ransomware. Find out more here: https://neovault.net/
  3. Anyone who has access to company systems -whether an employee or not, whether local or remote – should be subject to the same IT and security policies as locally-based employees. If you don’t have any IT policies in place, strongly recommend that you do so.
  4. Anti-virus and anti-spam software should be professional, ie paid, versions
  5. Mobile devices carrying personal data – client, employee, supplier etc – are a GDPR risk and need to fall under the company IT policy umbrella
  6. Encrypt the hard drives on your laptops

Hoping this provides some useful guidance!

What if I told you the biggest risk to your business succumbing to online crime is you and your staff?

Yes, you and your staff are the biggest risk to your business. This is an actual case study of a cyber-crime that we dealt with in 2018.

The Start

A local company in Yorkshire (previously unknown to us) approached us, asking us to come and take a look at one of their computers, they had been hacked.

On investigating it was apparent that they hadn’t just been hacked; in-fact they had lost a six-figure sum. It was an existential threat to their business.

We have standard protocols for dealing with cyber attacks, and in this case we immediately:

  • Quarantined the computer in question
  • Conducted a full security sweep of their systems followed by password changes

Continue reading “What if I told you the biggest risk to your business succumbing to online crime is you and your staff?”

VPNs Blocked In China, Banned In Russia

russiaGlobal Internet freedom has experienced some setbacks recently as Apple pulled VPNs from its Chinese App Store, and Russia has banned VPNs completely.

What Are VPNs?

VPN stands for ‘Virtual Private Network’ and a VPN allows a user to connect to the internet via a server run by a VPN provider. This means that all data traveling between the user’s computer, phone or tablet, and the VPN server is securely encrypted.

Russia and China Dissent

More than a year ago, the UN ruled that the rights people have offline must also be protected online. Although the resolution was not binding, there were notable dissenters that included Russia and China.

Continue reading “VPNs Blocked In China, Banned In Russia”

Kaspersky Rolls Out Free Antivirus Software Worldwide

Kaspersky Anti VirusAntivirus software company Kaspersky is starting a free global rollout of the bare essentials of its famous antivirus software.

Free Basic Protection

Kaspersky wants to offer basic protection like file, email, and web protection, quarantine function, and automatic updates, to web users who can’t afford to buy premium protection. Despite the risks of cyber attack, many users are deterred by the high prices of some leading antivirus software and turn to relying on Windows Defender or downloading and installing freebies that are not necessarily secure.

A free version therefore provides an effective alternative to both.

Continue reading “Kaspersky Rolls Out Free Antivirus Software Worldwide”