Are You Sick of Ongoing IT Issues?

Avoid computer downtime

Like a persistent cough or muscle strain that won’t go away, many IT issues can be an ongoing issue. Every time they come back you think about getting an expert’s opinion. Then your computers are back up and running and you temporarily forget about it and you keep on going. That is until the the next time it happens. If you are sick of ongoing issues with your IT, look to a Proactive or Managed Service Provider (MSP) for help. Continue reading

Stop Your Inbox Insanity: Tips for Better Email Management

Smart email management

A staggering 269 billion emails are sent out every day and in 2018 the typical employee received 90 emails and sent out 40 emails per day!

Email is a powerful tool and helps get business done even faster. but it adds a lot of pressure to business owners and employees. Here are six strategies to help with better email management. Continue reading

OK Google, How Safe Are You Really?

Ok, Google

More and more people are implementing smart homes and including devices such as  Google Home and Amazon Alexa. Android and iOS devices also include assistant technology. Smart home assistants can help users by searching online, starting phone calls, ordering groceries, playing music and turning on devices all with a single spoken command.

Continue reading

Has Your Email Been Hijacked?

Email hijacking

A common complaint by many users lately has been spam emails appearing to come from their own accounts. Despite not knowing why, reports of business colleagues, suppliers, clients and even friends and family, receiving spam email that appears to come from them has many people worried.

Continue reading

How Safe is Your Company Data in the Cloud?

 

Out of all the disruptive technologies that have emerged in the last few decades, not many have had as big of an impact as cloud computing. Known by many names, this practice allows companies to store information on servers located off-premises, but are still accessible to their employees via the internet. Continue reading

4 Ways To Protect Your Firm Against Unknown Threats

Unknown threatsProtecting your business against the latest IT threats should always be a top priority. Updating your antivirus and keeping your operating system and applications up to date is a great way to start. What happens though, when a threat appears at your door before security firms have had a chance to catch it?

A security threat that exploits a previously undiscovered vulnerability is known as a zero-day threat. The name “zero-day” is designed to show how long since the vulnerability was discovered and also indicates that system developers have had zero days to fix it.

A newly discovered attack might be included in a computer virus or worm. This will allow it to spread far and wide, while inflicting the maximum amount of damage possible. When spread successfully, a new exploit has the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of computers before an operating system or anti-virus update can even be issued.

Here are 4 ways to help protect your business or lessen the damage from an unknown or  zero-day attack.

1. Preventative security

The number one way to mitigate the damage from any attack is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Maintaining a good firewall and up-to-date security system is the best way you can take to ensure the security of your system.

A firewall, which monitors traffic in and out of your network, reduces unauthorised entries and exits over the network. Even without knowing the exact nature of the attack, suspicious activity can be stopped.

The same is true of modern security software. Even when it can’t identify the specific zero-day threat from its virus database; it can often identify malicious intent from learned behaviour in the system.

2. A Locked Down Network

Should a zero-day threat make it into your network, our next goal is to limit its effects. By restricting user access to only essential files and systems we can limit the damage done to the smallest area. Good security policy dictates that each account should only have full access to the systems needed to complete the user’s job. For example, users from the accounts department shouldn’t have access to sales department databases – see our blog article here on this area of security.

In this way, the damage of a single compromised account is limited to only the network area it has permissions to. Limiting the impact makes it easier to recover if the worst happens.

3. Good Data backup

Whether your entire network has been exploited or only a small area has been affected; good data backups are a must and are your protection against major long term damage. Having a good backup means having the procedures in place to create regular backup copies and also regularly test those backups to make sure they can be restored at a later date.

Reliable and well tested backups are worth their weight in gold. They allow you to sleep well at night knowing your data is safe and your system can be recovered.

4. Intrusion Protection

While the precise methods of a zero-day exploit can’t be known in advance, a network intrusion protection system (NIPS) can monitor your firms network for unusual activity.

The advantage of NIPS over a traditional firewall and traditional antivirus software is that it does not rely on checking software against a known database of threats. This means it does not need updates or patches to learn about the latest attacks. NIPS works by learning the day-to-day patterns of network activity across the network.

When traffic or something out of the ordinary is detected, action can be taken to alert system administrators and lock down the network.

NIPS protects against threats introduced to the network from both external and internal sources.

Full Cover Protection

Used in combination these techniques can prevent, protect, and mitigate against the kinds of threats that even the top security firms don’t even know of yet.

If you could use help protect your business against security threats and are in Adelaide or South Australia, then give us a call today at 08 8326 4364 or via email at support@dpcomputing.com.au.

Have You Been Hacked?

Being hacked is the single biggest fear for most computer users. Many people believe the first sign of strange behavior or errors on their PC is a sign of being hacked. But are hackers really inside your machine, roaming around madly and stealing your information? Or should we be on the lookout for other more subtle signs? What does being hacked really look like and what can I do to help prevent it happening?

There is an important distinction to make between being attacked by a hacker and being infected with a virus or malware. Virus software and malware are automated processes designed to damage your system and / or steal your data. There are of course ways that we can defeat these processes, but what if we are instead being hacked and what are some of the signs?

Passwords not working

One of the first steps a hacker might take is to change your computers login passwords. By doing so, not only do they ensure future access to the machine, they prevent you from accessing the system to stop them. For the hacker, this is a crucial step that keeps them in control. With this in mind, we always want to make sure to keep on top of our own login details and how often we change them.

Security notifications from online services

A lot of online services track which device and location you logged into your account from last. If your account is accessed from a new device or a different country it might trigger an automated email or SMS asking if this new login is from you.

If you have just logged into a service from a new computer, tablet, or phone; receiving an email that asks “hey, is this you?” need not be cause for alarm. If you haven’t, it may be time to investigate further. This feature is a very important part of information security and may be a key first step to identify someone else gaining access to your account.

Bank accounts missing money or strange transactions

The end goal for the majority of today’s hackers is typically to profit from their crimes by taking money from people online. As such, it pays to keep a regular eye on your financial transactions to make sure you know what money is coming and going from your account.

You may see a large sum missing where hackers have attempted to take as much as they can in a single transaction. On the other hand unknown or unusual small transactions may be attackers testing the login details they have, to confirm that they work.

Loss of mobile phone or land line connectivity

Phone interruption is a symptom that few people expect but can occur when hackers attack. Many banks and online services use a security feature known as two-factor or multi factor authentication (2FA or MFA). They do this by sending a code to your phone or app when you log in, you then have to enter this code to confirm who you are.

Hackers can try to work around this by calling your phone provider to report your phone as lost or stolen. During this call, they will request your phone number be transferred to a new sim card or redirected to another number that they control. When your bank sends its regular two-factor authentication code to the number registered, it goes instead to the hacker who then can log in. From your perspective the phone service will simply stop working, so if this happens contact your provider ASAP.

Social engineering

Another technique that may not even include a technical method is called social engineering. Social engineering is when hackers try to obtain confidential information by manipulating people to freely give them this information. This can be done in many different ways. Some examples are:

  • A strangers phones your office and may pretend to be a customer or supplier but asks for personal or confidential information.
  • A person claiming to be a supplier contacts you and asks you to change the bank account you send payments to.
  • Some one attends your premises for some reason but you have no prior knowledge of who they are or why they are they are requesting access.
  • Some one phones and claims to be from the technical department of your ISP or maybe even Microsoft and requests remote access to your computer.
  • You receive an email claiming to be from the boss or management asking you to do something which doesn’t seem right – like purchasing iTunes vouchers or asking to authorize payment to a new supplier.

Keeping vigilant and maintaining security

These are only some of the techniques that hackers can try to use to gain access to your systems and accounts. It pays to be extra vigilant and pay close attention to the signs and signals that indicate you may have been hacked. It may als

If you suspect that you might have been hacked, or would like help to prevent hackers in future and are located in South Australia, give us at 08 8326 4364 and we will improve your security.

The nbn™ Effect

For this blog article we are lucky to have Chris Gregory. Chris is the nbn Local Manager for SA/NT and in this article he talks about the NBN effect and how it will benefit your business.

NBN Business

The nbn™ effect

Connectivity is set to spur up to 80,000 new businesses by 2021.

New businesses, jobs and productivity via the nbn™ broadband access network projected to boost Australia’s GDP by up to $10.4 billion.

Australia is in the grip of a nation-wide digital transformation with new research revealing the “nbn™ effect” is projected to contribute to the creation of up to 80,000 new businesses by 2021.

Commissioned by NBN Co and conducted by data analytics and economic firm AlphaBeta, the Connecting Australia report is the nation’s first social and economic study into the impact of the nbn™ broadband access network.

The research shows the growth of new businesses in regions connected to the nbn™ access network accelerated at twice the pace of the national average with up to 5400 additional new businesses created in 2017.

More here.

Providing the right tools for businesses to get the job done

Launch of nbn’s Business Operations Centre, the ‘nerve centre’ of our customer service and support initiatives for business customers.  With a dedicated team of more than 100 service experts, this operations centre will be the ‘one-stop shop’ to support the needs of business end customers migrating to and using the nbn™ access network.

More here.

How Australian’s are using the nbn™ access network

With four million end-user premises now activated on the nbn™ broadband access network, now is a great time to take a look at how Australians are using our network.

Download discoveries:  median data consumption came in at 108GB while average consumption was 190GB for the month; 14 per cent of end-user premises accounted for 50 per cent of total traffic

Upload findings:  median upload total came in at just less than 7GB a month, the average, again, soared (this time to 17.45GB) as one per cent of end-user premises squeezed a lot more (164GB a month) out of their connections

Real-time entertainment usage:  Typically the vast majority of traffic demand on NBN Co’s networks comes from live streaming, web browsing and tunneling (usually via virtual private network technology for the purposes of security); end users on HFC / FTTN / FTTP networks all had very similar usage demands, particularly on higher speed plans.

Fixed Line access technology patterns:  fixed Line technology choice is not having a great impact on end-user demand today, but that we must continue to ensure flexibility in the capacity management of the network to meet the demands of the future.

More here.

Why an nbn™ powered plan is good for your business

For this blog article we are lucky to have Chris Gregory. Chris is the nbn Local Manager for SA/NT and in this article he talks about the NBN and how it will benefit your business.

NBN Business

Guide to switching your business

Whether you just need basic internet access, or you’re planning a business-wide digital strategy, an nbn™ powered plan is needed for your connectivity.

As you know, the nbn™ broadband access network is being rolled out area by area. As each area becomes ready for service, affected services will have up to an 18-month window – your ‘ready for service’ window – before they are disconnected, so it’s important you switch affected services before your disconnection date, even if you only use a landline phone.

And always remember – the nbn™ access network is a wholesale only network. Your phone and internet providers on-sell nbn™ powered plans to you.

  1. Contact your Service Provider to discuss your specific business needs to ensure you get the most appropriate and effective solution for your business
  2. Identify the telecommunications and data services your business requires. These services could include, multiple phone lines, EFTPOS terminals or cloud services
  3. Establish the business equipment you will want connected to the network – eg security systems, fire alarms, printers or data backup solutions
  4. Contact the equipment providers to make sure they are compatible with services over nbn™ network
  5. If you’re a small business or operating out of home, consider the best installation spot and optimal Wi-Fi coverage conditions

More information & support on how to make the switch, visit here

Why an nbn™ powered plan is good for your business

Whether you just need basic internet access, or you’re planning a business-wide digital strategy, an nbn™ powered plan is fundamental.

The role the nbn™ access network plays in your digital future will largely depend on the size of your business.

You’ll also need to consider the degree to which your data speeds and connectivity options affect the experience of your customers—as well as the interactive applications you use, such as video conferencing, 24/7 e-commerce applications and a wide variety of cloud-based services.

Better connectivity opens up new opportunities for your business and can transform the way you interact with customers and suppliers.

NBN BenefitsMore information & support on nbn™ access network for small and medium business, visit here.

Wholesale broadband traffic classes – why they’re important to your business

For residential users, the switch to the nbn™ access network is relatively straight forward. However, business users will have a range of options to consider—including switching to a solution on the nbn™ access network and/or looking at other connectivity options in the market.

When a phone and internet provider develops business (and residential) plans using the nbn™ access network, those plans are constructed from two basic wholesale ingredients—the first of which is a Traffic Class, the second, a Service Level Agreement (SLA) between nbn and the provider.

nbn offers three Traffic Classes that vary in capability, performance and priority at a wholesale level. For your business, this is all about quality of service options.  By combining different wholesale Traffic Classes with optional enhanced SLAs between providers, businesses can choose from a variety of connectivity plans to suit their specific needs.

It all depends on what is available to you, what works for you, and how you decide to integrate the nbn™ access network into your business.

Read more here.

Service level agreements – why they’re important to your business

You’re probably familiar with Service Level Agreements (SLAs), which cover fault rectification, when it’s available and how long it takes to resolve.

For fault trouble tickets raised between 8am and 5pm on business days, the Standard Service Level for all nbn™ services available to phone and internet providers applies (see table below).

If your business has critical data needs, we recommend you speak with your phone and internet provider about having enhanced Service Level Agreements (eSLAs) in place with nbn in relation to your bundle or package. This means nbn will provide a higher level of support to your provider, who in turn should be able to provide a higher level of support to you.

The right questions to ask your phone and internet provider:  make sure the plans your phone and internet provider suggest are the right size for your business’ data needs. You may find that for some low-priority business services, a plan based on the residential ‘best effort’ service quality plus an eSLA in place between nbn and your provider meets your needs.  While for voice services, you might look at a plan based on a higher quality of service option, which are designed to primarily support voice communication.

Read more here.

Does Your Office Need Business-Grade WiFi?

Business grade WiFi

In today’s business world, having great WiFi isn’t a luxury – it is a necessity. For some small businesses, consumer grade WiFi may be sufficient (especially if it is not widely used), but with the explosion is usage of mobile devices many find that business-grade WiFi is more appropriate. As companies grow, there becomes a tipping point where business-grade is necessary. So how do you know if your business is ready for business-grade WiFi? Ask yourself the following questions to find out.

How many devices use your Wireless Network?

It used to be that a few laptops connected to your WiFi network, but that is no longer the case. With the rise of portable devices such as smartphones, tablets and other devices  each person may be connected to your wireless network from several devices. Consumer-grade hardware is designed for just a few people (ie the small amount that typically live in a single household) but can not manage larger amounts of users and all of their devices. This is especially true for sustained concurrent usage. Remember that your employees aren’t the only people who expect to be able to connect to your WiFi. One of the first things visitors and customers typically do is look for a WiFi network to connect their smartphones to.

What is the size and area of your workspace?

The number of access points you will need for your business is dependent on the amount of physical space that needs to be covered, the shape of the area, wall material and the number of users / devices. In smaller spaces, consumer-grade WiFi may be good enough. Larger, oddly shaped spaces benefit from business-grade. If your building’s walls are made of brick, cinder blocks, or cement, you likely need more access points than buildings made of other materials. Make sure you have a strong connection from all locations. It is annoying to only be connected to wireless in certain areas of a building and find yourself in a deadzone one step later.

Access points for business-grade WiFi tend to be more powerful and flexible. For example, some business WiFi systems can move Wi-Fi devices from a crowded access point to one that is less busy. By doing this, everyones access remains consistent. If you foresee your range needing to increase, such as renting out more space, it is much easier to add more access points to a business-grade network than consumer-grade one. Businesses that anticipate scaling up soon are better off with business-grade WiFi.

Do you want guests to have the same quality Wi-Fi as workers?

In households, where consumer-grade WiFi hardware is used, all users share the wireless network equally. In a home environment, if children are slowing down the internet with Netflix or video games, it is not a big problem. However, a choked business WiFi can cause a lot of problems. Business-grade WiFi allows you proper network management. You can assign a designated amount of bandwidth to different users so they are unable to clog the entire connection. You can also allow visitors internet access without giving them unlimited access to your local network.

How much does the internet affect your employees’ productivity?

For some companies, workers only use WiFi for a few quick tasks. With these types of businesses, if the internet is slow, it won’t have a big impact on how much work your employees get done and consumer-grade wireless might be a good choice. For other companies where there isn’t much people can do if the WiFi isn’t working well then a business grade connection is essential. WiFi troubles can also lead to frustrated and unhappy workers.

Strong WiFi is a necessity for all businesses. This is especially true for larger businesses that connect a lot of devices (from both an employees and visitors perspective) and have a large work area. Also for those where employee productivity depends on a strong connection. The goal is to keep your business-critical technology running smoothly. Consider carefully whether consumer-grade Wi-Fi or business-grade Wi-Fi is the best choice for your business. When you ask yourself the questions above, the answer should become clear.

If you are in Adelaide, South Australia and your business’s wireless network is struggling then give us a call on (08) 8326 4364 or via email at support@dpcomputing.com.au to discuss a solution.