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Category Small Business I.T Support

Transition to Outsourcing Business IT Support and Management

Technology is quickly and continuously evolving, transforming how companies operate. Keeping pace is critical to maintaining a competitive advantage, but not all enterprises, including small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), can afford it. That’s where Business IT support comes in.

By working closely with an established managed services provider, enterprises of all sizes can quickly adapt and compete in a rapidly changing technological landscape. This approach also frees up staff to concentrate on core business outcomes.

In this post, we’ll dive into what outsourcing IT support really is and how to figure out if you need it.

What Is IT Support?

Outsourcing business IT support describes the process of hiring a third-party provider to manage your technology infrastructure, devices, users, and services, including systems administration, network support, and helpdesk services.

A professional managed IT services provider will handle all the IT protocols integral to enterprise operations and ensure seamless processes across departments and hierarchies (with little to no downtime).

While every managed support services provider offers different services, most provide the following:

  • Authentication
  • Data centre, storehouse, and warehouse management
  • Data backup and retention
  • General management and support services
  • IT security
  • Helpdesk services
  • Network management, monitoring, and security
  • Process execution and enforcement
  • Systems administration

The primary advantages of outsourcing your IT support function are immediate access to cutting-edge technology and top tech talent access. Companies also access significant cost savings, mitigate risk, and ensure uninterrupted uptime by outsourcing their IT operations.

Do you need to outsource your business IT support function? The answer to this question depends on the following:

You Need Access to the Latest Technologies

If you need access to the latest technologies but can’t afford the capital expenses that go with it, managed services enable access to cutting-edge technology cost-effectively. What’s more, you won’t have to bother with the setup, deployment, management, or maintenance (as it’ll all be outsourced).

Your support services provider will also ensure that you have the latest hardware and software. They will also help you manage the hardware end of life scenarios safely and resourcefully.

You Need Access to Top Tech Talent

If you can’t afford to compete in a highly competitive labour market, again, an IT support services provider can help fill the skills gap. This approach can help augment or extend in-house teams, or you can outsource all your IT support requirements.

This approach helps businesses plan, strategize, and scale their operations efficiently. Outsourcing models have historically helped businesses tackle existing labour constraints cost-effectively. Going forward, expect this process to become critical in a highly digitised world.

You Need Enhanced IT Security

Maintaining security and compliance is a monumental task that demands specialised skills and automation. In the current threat landscape, bad actors are relentlessly attacking enterprise systems. To stay a step ahead of threat actors, you have to identify and rectify potential vulnerabilities in real-time (with 24/7 monitoring, blocking, patching, updates, and more).

As everyone is now a live target, SMBs and corporations alike can access expert cybersecurity services through managed IT services. This approach ensures peace of mind as your outsourcing partner will work to keep your brand out of the headlines.

You Need to Increase Efficiency

Let’s face it. We can’t do it all by ourselves without the necessary resources. If you do, you’ll end up losing time, money, and (in a worst-case scenario) a data breach. Every company has heaps of stuff going on at any given moment, so managed IT services providers make it all manageable and help boost operational efficiency.

Even better, your managed services partner will accelerate the research, development, and implementation to make the transition to outsourcing business IT support painless.

To find out if your business can benefit from outsourcing IT support, schedule a commitment-free consultation.

META: Outsourcing business IT support helps Australian businesses ensure efficiency and business continuity. But do you need to make the transition? Learn more.

Can Managed Services Reduce Total IT Cost?

Enterprises of all sizes have to contend with capital and cyclical expenses. These expenses relate to accounting, business processes, business IT support, development, helpdesk services, and much more. In this scenario, managed services providers help fill the skills gaps, enhance efficiencies, and reduce costs.

What started in the manufacturing sector has grown exponentially across the technology vertical. Today, companies can take advantage of asset and resource allocation management, IT support, and even software as a service (SaaS) models specifically designed to minimise capital expenditure.

Cutting IT costs through managed services depends on the organisation and business model. Sometimes companies are equipped to handle IT operations internally, efficiently, and cost-effectively. But most often, small and medium-sized businesses find that they can’t keep up with the rapid evolution of technology.

Whenever this is the case, enterprises benefit from outsourcing some or all IT operations to a managed IT services provider.

Let’s take a quick look at how managed services help reduce total IT costs:

1. Reduce IT infrastructure Costs

Setting up your own enterprise IT infrastructure demands massive investment in both hardware and software (and let’s not forget personnel). For example, when businesses leverage managed IT services and move to the cloud, they immediately access substantial savings.

They don’t have to invest in an in-house data centre, and they don’t have to pay for prohibitive expenses like power, cooling, software, storage, security, and more. What’s more, the cloud services provider will provide network support, systems administration and will keep track of hardware and software updates.

The best part of managed infrastructure services is the fact that you’ll never have to worry about updating your hardware and software ever again. Your business IT support services provider will ensure that you’re always working with the latest technologies. Sometimes they will also offer software like Office 365 at a discounted rate.

2. Reduce Operational Costs

Deploying IT infrastructure is one thing. Maintaining it is another. The maintenance of robust enterprise infrastructure requires a dedicated team of experts to oversee it daily. Maintenance costs are also unpredictable. You never know how much time and money it’s going to cost to resolve a problem.

Managed IT services help eliminate surprises down the road and provide maintenance and security services at a fixed cost (monthly or yearly). With the help of cutting-edge tools and experienced professionals, your outsourcing partner will monitor the infrastructure 24/7, engage in regular backup and retention, and minimise the risk of downtime by resolving potential problems in real-time (saving you thousands of dollars).

3. Reduce Human Resources Costs

Software engineers and technology professionals are in high demand and don’t come cheap. This makes hiring and retaining a full-scale IT support team will be expensive.

The ongoing tech talent shortage in Australia also makes attracting IT professionals much more challenging. If you manage to hire some engineers, you also have to consider training costs, benefits, and overhead expenses (to keep them on-premises).

Often, IT departments are overwhelmed with mundane and manual work like maintenance or fixing minor issues. When managed IT support services take on this responsibility, your staff is free to focus on what’s important, your business, and your customers.

This approach goes a long way to streamline processes, improve operational efficiency, and boost productivity. Happy employees are also easier to retain in a highly competitive labour market.

When companies are supported effectively by business IT support services, they can invest more in core business teams. This means that you’ll be able to add more qualified personnel, allowing you to scale without resource-related bottlenecks.

Managed services help reduce total IT costs. It’s just like renting or leasing an office space for a few years rather than buying the whole building. You also don’t have to deal with expenses related to infrastructure depreciation, hiring costs, or worry about creating additional space for new employees.

Are you looking for a managed IT services provider to enhance operational efficiencies, improve productivity, and cut total IT costs? We can help, schedule a commitment-free consultation now.

What Is the Real Value of IT Managed Services?

In an age where data is just as good as gold, robust IT support is critical to enhance operational efficiencies and avert potential data breaches and disruptions. But in a highly competitive marketplace, enterprises find it both difficult and costly to manage on their own, so it makes sense that many turn to managed IT services.

Today, IT managed services are at the heart of digitally transformed businesses. When companies partner with an established managed IT services provider, they get immediate access to cutting-edge technology and professional expertise (that’s often out of reach), cost-effectively.

What Is IT Managed Services?

IT managed services describes the practice of outsourcing secondary IT functions and processes to a third-party provider. This approach helps organisations concentrate on their primary tasks while drastically improving efficiencies and cutting costs.

For example, a Systems Administrator in Canberra commands an average salary of $85,000 per year (not including the costs of benefits like healthcare, paid time off, and more). But with IT managed services, companies can refocus their capital and other resources and concentrate on their core businesses.

Based on service level agreements, companies can focus on their customers without worrying about systems administration, helpdesk services, maintenance, network support, updates, upgrades, and security.

What Are the Key Benefits of Managed Support Services?

There are several direct, and indirect benefits to signing up with a managed IT services provider. In this post, we’ll explore the top four advantages of partnering with a managed IT services provider:

1. Access to Cutting-Edge Technology

When you sign up for business IT support, you avoid expenses related to hardware and software upgrades. With enterprise infrastructure deployed in a state-of-the-art data centre, you can rest assured that your data is safe, secure, and always available.

You won’t have to hire a team to assemble technology products, pay for training, and so on.  A managed support services provider will be equipped with the right infrastructure to start the project immediately.

It’s the most effortless and cost-effective approach to staying up to date with the latest technology. IT support services also ensure that small and medium-sized businesses compete on par with corporate giants.

2. Enhanced Efficiency and Improved Proficiency

When your staff is free to focus on core business tasks, there’s an opportunity to boost productivity with lower downtimes and reduced lead times. Employees are also better placed to identify new opportunities and create new revenue streams.

With highly experienced IT professionals just a click or call away, you’ll avoid significant disruptions and ensure compliance and business continuity.

3. Lower Risks and Robust Security

Ensuring regulatory compliance, privacy, and IT security is getting more complicated by the second. In the current threat landscape, expertise and experience mean everything.

For example, your support services provider will boast significant knowledge and expertise to deploy robust security protocols and secure your infrastructure in real-time. You’ll also benefit from their wealth of experience securing similar enterprise IT infrastructure.

Your business IT support services provider will also secure your business with the latest security tools. For example, if you have a payment gateway operating on your system, they will help ensure compliance with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI/DSS). They can also help with training exercises to mitigate the risk of human error.

4. Save Time and Money

When you partner with an established IT support services provider, you’ll have a clear idea about your IT spend (whether it’s on a monthly or yearly basis). This amount will be significantly lower than hiring an in-house support team, which comes with additional overheads like benefits, office space, training, and more.

With managed support services, you decide your contract terms and pay for only what you need. Furthermore, you avoid situations like the sudden need for capital expenditure to update and upgrade your technology infrastructure.

Your business IT support services partner will breakdown these expenses into fixed, manageable monthly, quarterly, or yearly payments and ensure seamless upgrades with little to no downtime.

As you’re always getting immediate access to the brightest minds in the business, you’ll also save time (with fewer breakdowns and troubleshooting exercises).

There are plenty more advantages to outsourcing your enterprise IT function. To learn more about IT managed services, schedule commitment-free consultation.

What Are Managed Services in the IT Industry?

Managed Services Providers (MSPs) offer a wide range of technology services following a subscription model. This approach eliminates initial capital expenses and ensures immediate access to cutting-edge technology, cost-effectively.

Originally designed to help corporations outsource some of their operations to boost efficiency and cut costs, managed services are now accessible to small and medium-sized businesses.

But before we go any further, let’s first define it.

What are Managed Services?

Managed services describe the process of outsourcing certain functions (like back-office processes) to enable efficiency and optimise costs. As it gets harder for small businesses to access the expertise they need, things like managed helpdesk services and support services are quickly becoming the norm.

Whenever enterprises adopt this approach, they get an external dedicated team of experts assigned to handle specific tasks and a team leader who is accountable for the services rendered.

When you partner with an MSP, you essentially free up your staff and resources to focus on your primary operations and what’s really important–your business.

As this industry vertical evolves, Managed IT services have grown to offer services like cloud hosting, real-time monitoring, maintenance, and more. This approach helps organisations fill the skills and technology gaps while ensuring business continuity and regulatory compliance.

In this scenario, managed services don’t just help enhance operational efficiency through technology adoption but also control expenditure and mitigate risk.

What Kind of Services Does an MSP Provide?

MSPs today offer a wide array of services. However, it’s important to note that all service providers won’t provide the same kinds of services. Some might provide all the services listed below, while others might just offer a handful of services. Some might only offer business IT support.

Managed Data Analytics

Data is the underlying force that drives digitally transformed companies forward. Managed data analytics services help companies access business intelligence technologies, data management and analytics tools, and real-time monitoring services.

Managed Cloud Infrastructure

Cloud infrastructure management is widespread, especially in a post-pandemic world. Managed cloud infrastructure services providers help manage cloud computing protocols, operating systems, data storage, software, and more. Some even provide virtualisation services for apps.

Managed Communication Services

Managed communication services or managed unified communication services provide extensive communication capabilities for a monthly (or annual) fee. For example, a managed communication services provider may deploy communications infrastructure to enable instant messaging, VoIP (voice over internet protocol), and video. Some MSPs also provide third-party call centre services.

Managed Network Support

MSPs that provide managed network support usually manage the entire enterprise network. In this scenario, they’ll handle your LAN, WAPS (and other connections) and manage backup and storage options.

Managed Print Services

Managed print services blend both business and managed IT services. For example, the MSP will provide the technology, remotely assist with data and file infrastructure, and (sometimes) connect to external printing services. This type of service is suitable for companies with highly complex file management and printing needs.

Managed Cybersecurity

As data breaches become the norm, it’s now critical for companies to fortify their infrastructure. But not many boast the necessary resources and personnel to achieve it. Managed cybersecurity services help even the playing field by deploying robust security technologies that are supported by real-time monitoring, 

Managed Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

While you can directly access SaaS options from a company, for example, Office 365 from Microsoft, it’s often cheaper to subscribe to through an MSP. This is because managed IT services providers often have special agreements with tech giants that enable cost savings (that trickle down to the customer).

Managed Support Services

As alluded to above, the most common service offered by MSPs is IT support services, which usually takes the form of helpdesk services. This approach provides businesses with real-time IT support without any of the HR or overhead expenses.

If your company has been digitally transformed, you’ll benefit from support services. It can also have a positive impact on your bottom line by boosting productivity and keeping costs down.

To learn more about managed services and how it can help your business, schedule a commitment-free consultation.

Top 4 Cybersecurity Threats to Look out for in 2021

The pandemic proved that the bad guys never stop. With the rapid rise of remote working, individuals and organisations are now more vulnerable than ever before to cyberattacks.

In Australia, the health sector reported the most security incidents (22%) during the first half of 2020. Healthcare was followed by the finance sector (15%), education (8%), and insurance (7%). Legal, accounting, and management services (5%) also experienced malicious attacks last year.

Going forward, we can expect an increase in ransomware attacks. As many businesses continue to pay threat actors, it’s turned into a lucrative business. While this may seem like a good idea when you’re in the middle of a security event, it not. There’s no guarantee that they won’t sell the stolen data on the dark web or continue to blackmail your company.

So, what else can we expect to see over the next 12 months? Let’s take a look at the top four cybersecurity threats to look out for in 2021.

1. The Relentless Assault on Remote Workers

As humans remain the weakest link, cybercriminals will continue to target and exploit user behaviours. We already saw how remote workers were targeted last year, and the current surge will continue.

In this scenario, it’s vital to ensure that your staff are aware of cybersecurity best practices. So, make IT security a priority across your organisation. Even if staff are trained and alert, remind them regularly through training workshops online and offline.

If you don’t have the necessary resources to secure your IT infrastructure properly, it’ll be a good idea to engage a managed services provider that provides security and IT support.

2. The Rise of Insider Threats

While your (trained) staff maybe alert to phishing schemes and other social engineering attacks, there’s still a risk of accidental breaches caused by mistakes like misconfigurations.

With more people working remotely and with sensitive data potentially exposed to others at home (or at cafes and co-working spaces), the security risk is now higher than ever before. What’s more, they don’t have IT support professionals around them to answer questions whenever there’s a doubt.

Then there’s also the risk of having a malicious insider that takes advantage of the present situation to engage in nefarious acts. This makes it vital to implement robust access control (including identity and authentication management) across the organisation.

3. An Increase in Fileless Attacks

Expect to see more of the subset of the living off the land (LotL) attacks (or fileless attacks). In this scenario, threat actors exploit tools already present in enterprise environments that don’t generate file-based payloads or generate new files. This creates the risk of these threats going unnoticed.

The typical attack starts with an email that links to a malicious website, but this isn’t always the case. When such sites launch system tools (like PowerShell), built-in security algorithms often miss them, making it a significant challenge for security teams.

However, this is nothing new. Leveraging system tools to create backdoors have been around for decades. However, fileless attacks are widespread again because they reduce malware development cycles. As a result, businesses of all sizes are now a live target for fileless attacks.

To mitigate risk, it’ll help to move your on-premise systems to the cloud, where a managed services provider can support you with cutting-edge security tools, security experts, and extensive real-time monitoring.

4. An Explosion of Business Process Compromises

Whenever bad actors fail to exploit systems and tools, they look for vulnerabilities in the process flow of enterprise operations. In this scenario, cybercriminals seek out systemic operational weaknesses for financial gain.

Those who successfully breach businesses in this manner boast considerable knowledge about the inner workings of the victims’ operations and enterprise systems. They often penetrate the IT infrastructure and gradually observe business processes to identify potential weaknesses.

These attacks often go unnoticed as the compromised systems continue to work as expected. Companies only become alert to it when it’s too late (for example, when bank account information on invoices are changed and funds are siphoned out).

Again, you can mitigate risk by making security a priority and by following best practices. But it’s not always easy to maintain a robust security posture when considering all the different variables like remote working. Since IT support isn’t available at home, make it available remotely while they work in real-time, 24/7.

When was the last time you performed a security audit? If it’s been a while, the time is now. Reach out and schedule a commitment-free consultation with one of our in-house security experts.

Microsoft 365 vs. Perpetual Licensing: What’s the Best Option for Your Business?

Last year, Microsoft announced that it would no longer sell perpetual licenses for their products like Office Home and Business 2019 and Office Professional Plus 2019. This deeply discounted option to use Office 365 on PCs and Macs seemed destined for a subscription-only licensing model.

However, a year later, the tech giant quietly announced that they would release a new perpetual licensing version of Microsoft Office during the second half of 2021.

The company also announced they would release new versions of Exchange Server, Project Server, SharePoint Server, and Skype for Business Server (although these will follow a subscription model).

So what’s the best approach for your business? Let’s take a look.

Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365, formally known as Office 365, is the only option for anyone who needs unlimited access to a wide range of Office 365 apps. Furthermore, it’s the best option if you need to use it across multiple devices.

At its most basic, a single subscription can be shared by up to six people who access the account simultaneously, or you can pay $9 per month for a single user. Finally, this subscription-based solution offers an endless stream of upgrades and updates with a low cost of ownership for apps like Access, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, and Word.

Microsoft 365 also comes with artificial intelligence and cloud features that enable real-time collaboration and automation. This approach helps staff maintain productivity across devices.

The Microsoft bundle also offers one terabyte (TB) of OneDrive storage (which can be expanded for a small monthly fee), Skype minutes, and real-time customer support.

While perpetual licensing comes with a one-time fee and limited options, Microsoft 365 allows access to all its applications for a monthly or yearly subscription. However, you might also end up paying for functions and features you’ll never use during your day to day operations.

Pros and Cons of Microsoft 365

ProsCons
Unlimited access to all office appsLimited functionality and potential service issues
$9 a month per userOngoing monthly or yearly payments
Free real-time upgradesPaying for features, you don’t use
Windows 10 and macOS supportSome changing can be overwhelming
24/7 customer support 

Perpetual Licensing

Perpetual licensing is ideal for home-based users. In this scenario, you can obtain immediate access to popular software like Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word with necessary functionalities for a one-time fee.

If you don’t need access to extensive features and you’re happy to use it on a single device, then the perpetual licensing model makes the most sense. You make a one-time payment (that’s on the higher end of the spectrum), and you never have to pay again.

This software pricing model doesn’t provide regular upgrades or updates. But you’ll get all the necessary security updates.

One of the drawbacks here is that you risk using an obsolete version of the software in a year or two. However, the software usually has a life-cycle of five years, so you can still get a lot out of it.

Pros and Cons of Perpetual Licensing

ProsCons
Access to core appsLimited features
One time feeOne PC per license
Traditional computing experienceNo customer support
Regular security updatesNo upgrades
Windows 10 and macOS supportOnly provides support for Windows 10 and macOS
 No 1 TB OneDrive storage or Skype minutes

So what’s the best option for your business?

The answer to the question depends on your specific needs. If you’re working in teams and plan to use office apps for an extended period of time, Microsoft 365 makes perfect sense. This approach ensures seamless access to their entire catalogue at a low cost of ownership.

To learn more about Microsoft 365, schedule a commitment-free consultation.

Equipment Destruction and Recycling

Technology is evolving at an accelerated pace. For businesses, having the latest hardware is vital to staying competitive. Failing to implement an equipment destruction and recycling strategy can put your organisation at risk of operational inefficiencies and poor customer experiences.

While staying up to date is important, it’s also essential to have a safe and ethical e-waste recycling policy. If you’re working with a managed services provider, they will have their own protocols to update, recycle, and destroy server hardware and more. However, the devices used on-premise is your responsibility.

If this process isn’t handled with care, you’ll put your business at significant risk. If enterprise equipment isn’t properly sanitised before it’s destroyed or recycled, it could lead to a data breach.

That’s why a proper IT asset disposal programme is designed to protect both your business and the brand. Furthermore, it ensures that enterprise hardware is disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner.

A proper equipment destruction strategy will:

  • Protect your brand value
  • Refurbish and re-market legacy devices and other assets while ensuring privacy
  • Securely destroy or recycle media onsite or offsite

Destroy Data Before Destroying Equipment

Enterprises destroy end-of-life equipment, sometimes, unnecessarily, because of outdated security policies. However, before dumping legacy hardware in a landfill or recycling them, it’s critical to destroy the data stored in them.

In this scenario, deleting the files isn’t enough. You need to take steps to ensure that the data is properly wiped clean before taking the next step. Regardless of whether it’s a PC or a PoS device, the same rules apply.

Your organisation decides the level of data destruction and recycling required. For example, if you’re a healthcare provider, you might need magnetic degaussing of computerised data.

In highly regulated industries that handle sensitive information, you may also need to have dates, descriptions of processes used to destroy data, and signatures of those who witnessed the destruction of old hardware.

However, destroying enterprise equipment shouldn’t be your first option. According to the World Economic Forum and the United Nations E-waste Coalition, about 50 million tonnes of electronic waste is produced each year. Most of this waste is either dumped in the landfills of the world’s poorest countries or incinerated.

Recycle Whenever Possible to Save the Planet

When you recycle end-of-life equipment, again, data destruction is the first critical step. In this scenario, you can leverage software that purges and wipes hard drives (and storage drives) clean.

If you engage in magnetic degaussing, it’ll render your hard drive useless. So refurbishing the device to sell it on won’t be an option. Either way, even if you decide to smash your legacy devices, you can recycle some components( and not throw it all in the bin).

After the data is wiped clean, evaluate which parts are viable for repair and resale. Whenever electronics still have something to offer, refurbish and resale is the most environmentally sound option.

However, refurbishing old enterprise equipment doesn’t necessarily have to take the resale route. Instead, you can support ongoing corporate social responsibility programmes by donating your old devices. This approach not only breaths new life into old hardware but also enhances your brand image.

Whenever you’re unable to manage this process in-house, it’s best to engage an established third-party partner. A third-party partner will have tried and tested strategies for the safe and environmentally-friendly disposal of enterprise electronics.

It’ll also ensure that end-of-life equipment is either destroyed or recycled following strict security policies. As long as they follow the Australian government’s ICT equipment sanitisation and disposal guidelines, your company will remain protected.

To learn more about establishing safe and environmentally-friendly equipment destruction and recycling protocols, schedule commitment-free consultation.

What Is the Role of a Data Centre?

In a highly digitized post-pandemic world, data centres power modern businesses by enhancing efficiency and productivity. Data centres leveraged by managed services providers and corporations are modern marvels that feature cutting-edge high-density servers and revolutionary cooling systems.

In recent years, data centres have evolved significantly and will continue to do so. What started with proprietary mainframes on on-premise servers have grown into the cloud, hybrid cloud, and cloud-native infrastructures.

The sheer demand for d cloud computing and data storage has made a wide range of services accessible to everyone from the smallest start-ups to multinationals that demand state-of-the-art enterprise infrastructure.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s define it.

What Is a Data Centre?

A data centre is a facility that helps organisations centralise their shared IT operations and equipment to process, store, and disseminate data and applications.

As a company’s most valuable (and critical proprietary) digital assets are housed in data centres, they are located in highly secure and often impenetrable structures.

A few years ago, data centres were traditionally on-premise physical servers. With the emergence of cloud computing, they’ve evolved to host virtual networks that support applications and workloads across on-premise and multi-cloud environments.

What Are the Key Components of a Data Centre?

The primary components that make up a modern data centre differ significantly, based on the business model. For example, a public cloud services provider will have a different infrastructure and security requirements than a data centre hosting a private cloud on-premise (like one in a highly regulated industry like banking and finance).

The most popular data centre models are as follows:

  • Cloud data centres (like those used by Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud)
  • Colocation data centres (where businesses rent space within a facility located off-premise)
  • Enterprise data centres (owned by companies, housed on-campus, and optimised for the end-user)
  • Managed services data centres (operated by managed services providers who allow companies to lease the hardware instead of buying it)

Since these facilities house business-critical data and applications, they’ll be able to withstand physical intrusions, cyberattacks, and natural disasters.

Standard components found is data centres are as follows:

  • Computing resources (like servers that enable processing, memory, local storage, and network connectivity)
  • Environmental control (to allow cooling, heating, and ventilation supported by exhaust systems)
  • Network infrastructure (both physical and virtualized to enable essential services like external connectivity to end-user locations)
  • Physical and virtual security systems (like biometrics, CCTV video surveillance systems, and encryption technologies)
  • Storage infrastructure (to house its most valuable commodity—data)
  • Support infrastructure (with equipment to ensure the highest availability possible or uptime)
  • Uninterruptible Power Sources (like battery banks, generators, and redundant power sources)

What Is the Purpose of a Data Centre?

Data centres are at the heart of digitally transformed enterprises. These facilities are designed to support big data and analytics, email platforms, high-volume e-commerce platforms, data storage, management protocols, and backup and recovery systems.

These facilities also support cutting-edge artificial intelligence and machine learning applications used by many businesses and government agencies.

As enterprise demands grow exponentially, data centre infrastructure will continue to move off-premise into virtualised environments that support multiple workloads and applications across pools of physical infrastructure and multi-cloud environments.

To learn more about our data centre and hosting services, schedule a commitment-free consultation.

Backup Retention, How to Set a Rotation

Backup retention strategies are at the heart of enterprise data protection protocols. However, it’s critical to choose the right rotation scheme that best suits your operational schedules. This approach helps avoid potential disruptions and downtime.

In this scenario, organisations can leverage user-written scripts or different software applications to schedule data backup, retention, and rotation schemes. But most often, enterprises, including managed services providers, use tape backups because they’re durable and cost-effective.

What Is Backup Tape Rotation?

Backup tape rotation is the process of backing up data to tapes. This approach helps reduce the number of media needed because you can reuse the same tapes for future backups.

However, it’s vital to manage your backup rotation schedule with several redundant copies. This retention method helps preserve rapidly evolving and changing file versions.

Companies need to have a robust strategy in place to determine when each tape is scheduled for another backup. Most businesses, including managed IT services providers, do this based on how long the data on it needs to be retained (before it’s scheduled for another backup).

Although the data that’s backed up most of the time is the same, enterprises can better balance retention requirements and costs by deploying different rotation and vaulting schemes.

What Are the Different Types of Backup Tape Rotation Schemes?

The right backup rotation scheme for your business depends on your specific storage and retention requirements.

The three leading backup retention and rotation schemes are as follows:

First In, First Out (FIFO) Backup Tape Rotation Scheme

FIFO focuses on backing up the newest or the most recently modified files and saves it on the oldest tape. When companies do this, they ensure that they use a backup tape with the least useful (previous) data.

When you follow the FIFO retention and rotation model, your backup depth goes as far as the number of tapes used for this activity.

Grandfather–Father–Son (GFS) Backup Tape Rotation Scheme

GFS backup schemes are popular among companies that leverage three or more backup cycles. The GFS model leverages daily, weekly, and monthly data backup models, depending on the business’ specific needs. However, these daily, weekly, and monthly backup tapes follow the FIFO rotation system.

The Tower of Hanoi Backup Tape Rotation Scheme

The Tower of Hanoi retention and rotation model is the most complex of the three strategies. This scheme follows a mathematical puzzle created by French mathematician Edward Lucas.

The Tower of Hanoi backups and tape rotation cycle follows exponential retention periods. The scheduled tape backup schedule follows a recursive pattern instead of using a large number of backup tapes daily.

For example, Tape A is used to backup data every two days, while Tape B is used every four days. Tape C and Tape D are backed up every eight days.

The idea here is that data from eight days ago can be used for restoration despite using just four backup tapes. If you use five tapes, then the backup data from 16 days ago will be available to restore data.

Backup Retention and Rotation Tips:

  • Always verify the seamless recovery of your backup data
  • Always create a version history (regardless of the backup and retention approach)
  • Always store backup tapes off-site.
  • Always have a robust management system in place

At GoHosting, we recommend that enterprises use one of the regular rotation schedules described above. They provide for different file versions and backup most applications and software packages.

The best backup and retention method for your organisation is relative to your company and business model.

If you need help identifying and deploying the right backup data retention and restoration scheme, we can help schedule a commitment-free consultation.

How to Tell If You’re Getting Value for Money with Your IT Support

When we talk about “value for money,” the belief is “we get what we pay for.” To some extent, this is true as often the quality of the product or service you receive depends upon the price you pay for it.

But is it the same for IT support? The short answer is, “it depends.”

When you consider the skills and equipment needed to provide robust and reliable tech support, you can say that it is. But this isn’t always true.

Some managed IT services providers offer Helpdesk services, network support, systems administration, and more cost-effectively. But this doesn’t mean that you should outsource your tech support to the lowest bidder.

In this scenario, a cheap quote doesn’t guarantee affordable service in the long-term, and the size of the managed services provider doesn’t assure better service.

So how do you know if you’re getting real value for money? It all comes down to doing your homework before committing.

Business IT support services providers are fiercely competitive, and the price of their offerings vary greatly. However, for the most part, IT support takes one of two forms; pay-as-you-go (or ad-hoc) or fully managed services for a fixed monthly fee.

Pay-As-You-Go IT Support Services

As the name suggests, you pay for what you use. This approach is typically suited for startups and small businesses. When you have to contend with budgetary constraints and simple enterprise infrastructure, it doesn’t make sense to pay for more.

This IT support model is essentially set at an hourly cost for reactive support. Some Helpdesk services providers also offer this pricing model by selling blocks of hours known as Time Banking. The final price is determined by the number of hours purchased by your organisation.

If you decide to go with the latter, to get the most bang for your buck, make sure that the Time Bank doesn’t come with an expiration date. Furthermore, suppose your ad-hoc tech support requires a small monthly retainer, it’s crucial to clarify what you get for it (whether it’s maintenance, network monitoring, or any other related service).

If your startup or small business is hoping to scale rapidly, it’s best to avoid the ad-hoc support model. This is because it won’t be cost-effective—when your business grows, you’ll need a significant number of support hours to accommodate it.

Managed IT Support Services

Fully managed Business IT support often comes with a number of other services like computer and device maintenance. But it all depends on the service provider’s pricing model. For example, some companies charge by the number of end-users while others charge by the number of support calls made, and so on.

Whether via chat, email, telephone, or on-premise support, an established managed services provider won’t limit your support. More often than not, tech support services take a tiered pricing approach where the support provided depends on the tier you chose.

This makes it vital to know precisely what you’re getting before committing. If your company uses bespoke software, make sure to make allocations to ensure that the developer provides adequate guidance to the support services provider.

Finally, your Service Level Agreements (SLA) are crucial to ensure quality and cost-effective support. It has a direct impact on support and response times that affect your bottom line. So sign up with a HelpDesk services provider who is completely transparent in SLAs about how they prioritise issues and response times in each tier.

If you engage in thorough research during the planning phase, you can tell if you’re going to get value for money with your IT support. By paying attention to what’s offered in each support and pricing model, you’ll be better placed to make an educated guess before committing.

To learn more about business IT support, schedule a commitment-free consultation.

Is EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) better than Anti-Virus Software?

Traditional anti-virus programs are often enough to protect a small business’ endpoints. However, EDR takes it to a whole new level by responding to the current threat landscape effectively.  

At a distance, both anti-virus software and EDR can appear almost indistinguishable. However, upon closer examination, the two security protocols prove to be substantially different.  

Understanding these differences is key to achieving robust enterprise security. 

  1. What’s anti-virus Software? 

According to leading cybersecurity provider Norton, anti-virus software is more like a decentralised security system that helps protect your computer from cyberattacks (including malware and spyware attacks).  

In this scenario, anti-virus software monitors the data traveling through the network to your devices. This information is then compared to known threats while examining the behaviour of all programs on the system.  

Whenever suspicious behaviour is identified, the anti-virus program will attempt to block or remove the infection.  

Anti-virus programs do the following to protect against different types of security threats: 

  • Confirm the safety and security of your device 
  • Delete malicious codes and software 
  • Pinpoint particular files for the detection of malicious code 
  • Scan either a single file or your entire computer at your discretion 
  • Schedule automatic scans 

With ever-evolving cyberthreats, anti-virus is vital to protecting enterprise devices. However, having anti-virus software alone isn’t enough. Instead, anti-virus software should be a component of your overall cyber defence strategy. 

  1. What’s EDR? 

According to the global security software provider McAfee, EDR (also know as ETDR or endpoint threat detection and response) is a unified security solution. It combines a collection of endpoint data with a rules-based automated response, continuous real-time monitoring, and analysis capabilities. 

EDR solutions and tools are designed to detect and investigate suspicious activities across all endpoints in your enterprise infrastructure. Compared to traditional anti-virus software, EDR helps better secure enterprise networks. 

EDR tools do the following to protect against different types of security threats: 

  • Analyse data to identify threat patterns 
  • Automatically respond to recognised threats by removing or containing them  
  • Forensics and analysis tools to research known risks and compare them with internal activity to search for suspicious behaviour 
  • Monitor and collect activity data in real-time from endpoints to pinpoint potential threats 
  1. Anti-virus vs. EDR 

In general, EDR tools don’t replace traditional anti-virus software and firewalls. Instead, they work together to help companies enhance their security protocols and fortify their IT infrastructure. 

However, as threat actors relentlessly try to find innovative ways to breach enterprise systems, EDR is better placed to secure networks. For example, the different analytical tools offered by EDR solutions provide advanced monitoring and reporting capabilities not found in traditional anti-virus programs.  

Traditional anti-virus solutions are simplistic in nature and limited in scope when compared to EDR. When organisations build a robust EDR system, they can make anti-virus software a part of their overall threat detection protocols. 

Modern EDR systems incorporate anti-virus, firewalls, monitoring tools, whitelisting tools, and more. It’s essentially a comprehensive approach that runs on a client-server to better secure your digital perimeter.   

Some key differences that help EDR stand out are as follows: 

  • Its ability to identify endpoint threats quickly 
  • Real-time response when threats are identified 
  • Robust data loss prevention protocols 
  • Protects large scale enterprise architecture efficiently 
  • Provides more holistic protection of enterprise networks  
  • Sandboxing 

Today,  Managed IT services providers also offer EDR solutions powered by artificial intelligence that stop attacks before they cause any real harm. This approach helps derail advanced threats at the most vulnerable endpoint.  

Anti-virus software, on the other hand, allows attacks to take place and then responds to it. This makes EDR solutions and tools the best option for business.  

From now on, companies can’t afford to make security an afterthought. Furthermore, your familiarity with anti-virus software shouldn’t trump the capabilities of EDR.  

To learn more about endpoint detection and response, and how it can help your business maintain robust security and compliance, schedule a commitment-free consultation

How Long Should You Keep a Computer?

When enterprise devices start to slow down, we fear that the end is near. While the knee jerk reaction is often to replace the whole fleet quickly, there’s a lot to consider before placing an order for new machines.

Questions like “how long do computers last?” or “how long should I keep my laptop?” are common in technology forums. But the answer to these questions is relative. It all depends on the hardware components, the software, the environment, and more.

But first, it’s important to make a distinction between consumer-grade computers and enterprise-grade computers. This is because consumer-grade computer brands compete fiercely for the attention of price-conscious customers.

They are often built with cheaper components at the lower end of the spectrum (to keep costs down) and aren’t designed to last long. For example, consumer-grade laptops aren’t meant to last more than a year or two (at most). On the other hand, enterprise-grade computers are built with cutting-edge parts and complemented by the enterprise version of the operating system and Office 365.

What Are the Signs That You’re Due for a Technology Refresh?

Slow Downs

As mentioned above, when your computer slows down, it’s one of the telltale signs that you need an upgrade. However, it’s important to make sure that a virus or Windows 10 didn’t cause it.

Update Issues

Another common indicator that it may be time to replace your computer is update issues. If you’re running into problems with every software update, it means your hardware can no longer support the application.

Multitasking Challenges

Computers are built to run multiple applications simultaneously. So whenever you run into compatibility issues, it often means that your motherboard needs replacing. In other words, whenever you experience hardware issues like this, it’s safe to say that it’s time to buy.

What Are the Dangers of Waiting Too Long to Replace Your Computer?

Waiting too long to replace your company computers will have a significant impact on your bottom line. Under-performing computers often lead to the following:

Significant Downtime

Legacy hardware and systems break down more and result in device downtime. For example, if you’re a small business and your accountant’s computer is out for repairs, it’ll delay the deployment of customer invoices.

For large corporations, even a small amount of downtime impacts interconnected activities. This often costs multinationals hundreds of dollars per minute.

Lost Productivity

When company computers slow down, it has a direct impact on employee productivity. Low productivity can cost your business more than the cost of a new computer.

In this scenario, if computers slow down and cost your business (let’s say) an hour a day in lost productivity, that equals about 20 hours every month (or 240 hours a year in lost productivity).

Increases the Risk of Data Breach

When legacy computers have issues with compatibility and security updates, the risk of a data breach grows exponentially. Whenever this happens, your entire network becomes vulnerable to a cyber-attack.

As ransomware attacks and data breaches can cripple small businesses with fines for compliance violations (and loss of brand value), it’s vital to consider an upgrade to ensure business continuity.

Lose a Competitive Advantage

If your business desktops and laptops can’t support the latest tools and technologies, you risk losing a competitive advantage in the marketplace. So it’s essential to take a step back and look at the bigger picture and strive to get the maximum return on investment.

So How Long Should You Keep Enterprise Computers?

If you get your computers through a managed services provider, you’ll already have a deal in place to replace your machines every few years. Most often, these technology refresh cycles last five years for business desktops and three years for company laptops.

Managed services providers come up with these time frames from experience. If you reach out to your network on LinkedIn, you’ll notice that other companies also work with a similar time frame.

This approach also provides organisations with discounted operating systems and Office 365 that come preinstalled. You can even bundle these managed services packages with IT support, helpdesk services, and network support.

If you need help replacing legacy office computers, we can help! Reach out to one of our in-house experts, and we’ll be happy to walk you through the entire process.

IT Security, What Is It Really?

In the current threat landscape, data breaches are rapidly becoming the new norm. This makes robust IT security critical to secure company and customer data.

According to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), malicious cyber attacks remained the leading cause of data breaches, accounting for 61% of all data breach notifications in the first half of 2020.

Furthermore, human error accounted for as much as 34% of all data breaches in the country. This suggests that enterprise security’s far more complicated than just obtaining sensitive data or protecting it.

Today, managed IT services providers help small and medium-sized enterprises and corporations access top security talent and technologies to fortify their IT infrastructure, cost-effectively. This approach allows IT support teams to leverage various cybersecurity protocols to protect sensitive, personally identifiable information and maintain business relevance.

IT Security Defined

IT security incorporates a set of cybersecurity strategies to prevent unauthorised access to enterprise assets such as servers, networks, and data. It helps ensure data privacy and compliance by maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive information (by blocking the access of sophisticated hackers).

It’s essential as bad actors are relentlessly attacking enterprise networks. So with the help of managed IT services, security teams must strive to mitigate multiple cyber threats like the following:

  • Denial-of-service attacks
  • DNS tunnelling
  • Malware attacks
  • Man-in-the-middle
  • Phishing campaigns
  • Ransomware attacks
  • SQL injection
  • Zero-day exploits

Different Types of IT Security

There isn’t a fool-proof turnkey security solution that can alleviate multiple threats to enterprise networks in this rapidly evolving threat landscape. To mitigate risk, companies must evolve with the threat and implement a multi-pronged approach to secure their technology infrastructure.

This process starts with the individual evaluation of different cybersecurity layers:

Application Security

Application security focuses on security at a development level. This approach demands adequate security protocols coded into applications to eliminate any potential vulnerabilities.

For example, a zero-day attack is initiated when hackers hunt for vulnerabilities to exploit and find one. So applications are now thoroughly evaluated during the development cycle to identify and fix any of the app’s potential weaknesses.

Today, organisations take it a step further by engaging in manual penetration tests, black-box analysis, white-box analysis, and more to identify potential flaws missed by internal security teams.

Cloud Security

Cloud security protocols help secure enterprise applications and users on the cloud. Whether it’s a public, private, or hybrid cloud, companies must deploy a variety of technologies to better secure their environment.

Some cloud security tools deployed by companies include:

  • Cloud-Access Security Broker (CASB)
  • Cloud-Based Unified Threat Management (UTM)
  • Secure Internet Gateway (SIG)

While the technologies above help protect the cloud, businesses must also implement robust encryption protocols to protect data in motion and rest.

Endpoint Security

Of all the different IT security protocols, endpoint security is probably the most challenging threat to mitigate. This is because end-users often don’t follow the same security best practices and jeopardise the entire network (often through human error).

With endpoint security, IT security teams must strive to secure every entry point to the network, whether it be computers, mobile phones, or the Internet of Things (IoT). This is not straightforward and often demands extensive third-party IT support to fill the talent gap.

To achieve robust endpoint security, security leaders must also demand regular security training workshops and technologies like sophisticated anti-malware software, encryption tools, and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).

Network Security

Network security is leveraged to block malicious users from breaching the network while ensuring enhanced usability, reliability, and uncompromising integrity. It’s the most common form of IT security deployed to deny unauthorised access to data generated within the network.

This approach helps ensure enhanced user experiences while maintaining robust security. In this scenario, security teams use endpoint security protocols along with antivirus software, firewalls, and Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems (IDS/IPS) to strengthen their security posture.

As technology continues to grow more advanced and scale, maintaining robust IT security has become a game of cat and mouse. As hackers discover ever more ingenious ways to exploit vulnerabilities, security teams must adapt to the changes and strive to stay a step ahead of threat actors.

To learn more about how our IT support services can help boost enterprise security, reach out to one of our in-house security experts.

Why you should have Business IT Support

Businesses across industries are increasingly digitally transforming their infrastructure to boost productivity, improve internal processes, enhance customer experiences, and more. However, to ensure smooth and continuous operations, organisations must have robust business IT support.

According to IDC, digital transformation initiatives will help expand the functionality and effectiveness of Australian businesses by 25%, leading to an acceleration of productivity and innovation.

However, the ongoing tech skills shortage threatens to derail such initiatives. The good news is that there’s a cost-effective solution to this problem, namely, managed IT services.

Why are IT support services necessary? Let’s take a look.

You Can Focus on What’s Important, Your Business

When you partner with a managed services provider, you’ll be free to concentrate on growing your business while they handle business IT support, network support, system administration, and more. This approach reduces the risk of any potential downtime and ensures the delivery of enhanced customer experiences.

Seamless and continued access to Helpdesk services also helps keep staff happy and productive. For example, they can focus on important business goals instead of wasting their time trying to solve technology problems.

Corporate IT departments can invest their time in improving products and services (and building new innovative applications). This approach lowers the burden on IT staff and refocuses their attention on business objectives and the customer.

Immediate Access to Top Tech Talent

As technology evolves and becomes more complex, access to experience is critical to ensure security and business continuity. Managed support services allow small and medium-sized enterprises access to top tech talent they can’t (otherwise) afford to hire.

When you sign up for fixed-price IT support, you can get the help you need without any extra or hidden costs. In this scenario, managed IT services supply highly trained technology professionals with hands-on experience working with the latest technologies (to solve even the most complicated problems).

Rapid Implementation Across Departments

The lack of resources often threatens to derail projects. For example, if your in-house IT team implements new applications and systems, you might have to wait for weeks (or even months) before they come to help you with your project.

If you outsource this function, your IT team can focus on more important projects instead of implementation tasks. With the help of a managed services provider, projects are started and implemented without playing the waiting game.

Enhance Overall Security Protocols

All companies, regardless of the business model, generate massive volumes of data. As a result, it’s crucial to support business goals with reliable backup systems, following cybersecurity best practices.

Managed support services help companies keep sensitive employee, customer, and company data secure. This approach also allows businesses to establish disaster and recovery protocols to retrieve lost files and ensure business continuity.

Maximise Operational Efficiency

Technology certainly improves operational efficiency, but misconfigurations and errors can quickly impact your bottom line. With a dedicated business IT support team, you can leverage all the benefits technology has to offer.

When experienced professionals support businesses, they are well-placed to identify new opportunities and scale. So outsourcing tech-support promises to deliver the highest return on investment over time.

This is because you don’t have to worry about costly repairs, expensive new hires, or making poor technology investments. In other words, it’s a specialist support solution at a fixed price (with no hidden costs).

Significant Cost Savings

The primary benefit of managed IT services is cost savings. You don’t have to hire any IT professionals  or spend months trying to recruit them or worry about attrition costs. Instead, you get access to top tech talent without the hefty salaries that go along with it.

If you’re running a business today, you depend on technology. If you don’t have robust IT support, then you’re putting your company and its business processes at risk. However, you can avoid this by partnering with an established managed services provider.

To learn more about business IT support, reach out to one of our in-house experts.

Incremental Backups vs. Differential Backups: What’s the Best Approach for Your Business?

Data loss can happen at any given moment. A cyber-attack or a system failure can corrupt enterprise data and render it useless or, even worse, lead to permanent deletion.

To counter the threat of data loss events, companies require a robust backup strategy to ensure business continuity. While most businesses today routinely backup their data, the effectiveness of this approach lies in the strategy.

There are different backup strategies, but what’s best for your organisation is relative to your business, resources, and industry vertical. When it comes to data backup strategies, most IT support teams recommend a combination of full, incremental, or differential backups.

For this post, we’ll focus on incremental backups and differential backups. Both approaches help save time and disk space by only backing up files that are changed or updated. However, the way they do this is significantly different. 

What’s a Full Backup?

As the name suggests, a full backup involves copying and saving the entire data set of a system. This is usually saved in a separate partition or an external system. As it backs up the whole specified data volume, this approach is time and resource-intensive.

As a result, most businesses schedule full backups weekly, biweekly, or monthly while running incremental or differential backups in between. The frequency of this activity depends on the size of the organisation.

What’s an Incremental Backup?

As mentioned above, the first step in an incremental backup strategy is a full backup. After a full backup, incremental backups, back up any changed data since the last backup.

For example, if you did an incremental backup on Friday, the system will back up all the data changed since the last backup on Thursday. As a result, the backed up data is much smaller, leading to a faster backup. The primary benefit here is shorter time intervals between backups.

Key Advantages of Incremental Backups:

  • Backs up data faster (than full backups)
  • Takes up less storage space (than full backups)
  • Uses less bandwidth

Key Disadvantages of Incremental Backups:

  • Recovery is time-intensive
  • If there’s damage to any part of the backup chain, there’s a significant risk of failed recovery

What’s a Differential Backup?

Similarly, differential backups back up single files or folders that are modified daily. This means that differential backups only save the files and folders that have changed since the last full backup.

Like incremental backups, the process starts with a full backup. Then subsequent backups are deployed to include changes made to the files and folders in the system. This approach allows IT support teams to restore data faster as it only has to restore the backed up components.

Key Advantages of Differential Backups:

  • Backs up data faster
  • Takes up less storage space
  • Rapid restore (as there are only two backup data sets – files and folders)

Key Disadvantages of Differential Backups:

  • Takes up more space (when compared to incremental backups)
  • Much slower back up time than incremental backups

Incremental Backups vs. Differential Backups

 Incremental BackupsDifferential Backups
Backup speedFastestFast
DuplicationDoesn’t store duplicated filesStores duplicate files
Storage SpaceLowMedium to high
Restoration speedSlowFast
Media needed for recoveryThe most recent full backup and all incremental backupsThe most recent full backup and all differential backups

What’s the best data backup strategy for your business?

The best data backup and recovery approach for your company depend on the amount of data that needs to be backed up. For example, if it’s a large corporation, IT support teams will leverage a backup strategy that combines both full and incremental backups.

For small and medium-sized businesses, a full and differential backup approach will suffice (if data volumes are relatively low).

Do you need help developing a robust data backup strategy? We can help! Reach out to one of our in-house experts.

Supercharge your PC’s with the latest nVME SSD Hard drives

If you’re tired of waiting for Outlook to load your emails or having to wait minutes in-between opening excel spreadsheets, you may want to consider upgrading your computer storage. In today’s small business environments; simultaneous computing is a very common and an often-needed ability, yet many PCs are struggling to keep up due to the read / write requirements of modern applications. This is where upgrading your storage can benefit you and increase your productivity.

The most common and slowest type of hard drive is the Hard Disk Drive (HDD) – the way it works is it stores data on a physical disk (think vinyl record style disk) inside of the chassis using a magnetic charge. It comes in a few different speed options although none of them come close to the next type of drive. The main advantage of an HDD is that it is cost effective for a large amount of storage. This meaning that it is rather low cost for a significant amount of data storage compared to the other storage options. If you need to store a large amount of data and do not care about how fast you access it – HDD is the choice.

Next is Solid State Drives (SSD) – the way this one works is using the same magnetic charge style storage as an HDD but without the moving disk inside the chassis hence the name Solid State. In terms of speed; SSDs are around 5x faster than HDDs but come at the cost of being more costly for the same amount of storage, around 1.5 times more costly from our experience. This price difference is rather low for smaller disk sizes used in laptops / workstations but when used in Servers / infrastructure the price difference is quite notable. Our recommended usage is to use SSDs on smaller storage requirement devices that require good read / write speeds (ie; Laptops, Desktops and Workstations) as the difference between an HDD and SSD is very noticeable.

Lastly, we come to the highest performance option, the Non-Volatile Memory Express Drive (NVMe Drive). The main difference between the NVMe drives and its counterparts is the way it accesses the data, instead of using an IDE or SATA connector it is instead plugged directly into the PCI Express slot for faster read / write speeds (if you don’t understand the difference between the connectors just note that the PCI connector has the word ‘Express’ in the name). In terms of speeds, NVMe drives offer 4 times the speed of SSDs which is incredibly fast considering the SSD is already 5 times faster than the HDD. The drawbacks of this being that the system needs to have PCIe slots (which are quite common) and the price. NVMe drives are around 1.2 times the price of an SSD equivalent. This can get quite costly for use in server / infrastructure but for regular user computers / laptops this price is quite manageable considering the speeds it provides. If you need the performance and don’t necessarily care about the costs, NVMe drives are the call. In conclusion, NVMe drives are the fastest and most expensive followed by SSDs which offer a nice middle ground in terms of speed / price and lastly there are HDDs which should only really be used for storage of files and other systems that aren’t actively used (think backups). NVMe drives are 4x faster than SSDs and 20x faster than HDDs whilst being nearly 1.2x the price of SSD equivalents and nearly 2x the price of HDD storage equivalents. The storage solution you use will be dependant on your speed requirements and cost dependencies. If you are willing to spend a bit extra you can get significantly faster speeds which can reduce load times and increase productivity although you should consider upgrading if your Hard Drive is struggling to keep up with your application usage.

Let’s talk about backups

Backups are an essential practice for any organisation aiming for high-availability and redundancy. Nowadays the importance of backups is generally understood but a lot of people tend to overlook how their backups are stored. It’s important to look beyond the scope of your system when analysing critical functions as external factors can be just as impactful as internal events.

So in this blog article, we will be analysing some of the common methods organisations backup their data and evaluate how effective their storage solutions are in the event of a crisis.

This is a thought piece and something to get you thinking about your backups and hopefully landing you in a place where you are at least doing a better job than average of managing your backups.

A very high level look a some of the common types of backups systems:

Backups are something many small business fail to understand and manage.

Method 1: Local Backups to Same Disk (LBSD)

The first method we will be discussing is Local Backups to Same Disk (LBSD). What this means is that the backup information is stored on the same disk as the backup source. This is a rather poor method of protecting your data as it is physically stored on the same disk which puts both the backup source and destination at risk in scenarios of disk failure / data corruption.

Allow me to explain the LBSD ideology with an example being a house with a spare key stored inside the house. In the scenario that you were locked out of that house; the spare key would be useless as it is being physically kept inside the resource that you cannot access. Overall, we don’t recommend any organisation use LBSD backups as their only backup source as they’re not impactful enough in the event of a crisis and often provide a false sense of security.

Method 2: Local Backups to an External Device (LBED)

The next method is Local Backups to an External Device (LBED); this involves backing up your information to an external device that is kept in the same physical location as the source of the backup.  Following our trusty house example; this would be the same as having the spare key be stored outside the house but still close enough if needed in a locked-out scenario (under a doormat or potted plant outside). This is a lot better than LBSD as it is not prone to the same shortcomings of having one unified weakness instead replacing that with two independent devices that would require both disks to fail / corrupt before any data loss occurs.

This means that LBED has twice the redundancy of LBSD for minimal extra effort. However; there are still risks to this method as both disks are physically stored together, meaning that any crisis that affects the entire physical location would still affect both drives. This possibility can be mitigated by having multiple external drives that are rotated between the location and an external safe location.

Remote Backups over the Internet (RBOTI)

The last method we will be discussing is Remote Backups over the Internet (RBOTI). Remote backups are done by running a backup much like LBSD / LBED and uploading the result to a trusted destination across the internet. This removes the risk of any data loss incurred by damage to the hardware or software. In the house / key scenario this would be the equivalent of giving the spare key to a trusted neighbour that can give the key back to you if required. This backup method comes with its own set of risks and challenges though; For instance, the channel that you use to backup the data or the data itself should be encrypted or else you would simply be sending a copy of all your data to every malicious user along its path. It is also important that the recipient is trusted to protect your data and takes measures to prevent malicious access to your data because having a backup is just as valuable as having the original copy for a hacker. Another downside to this method of backup is that the restoration time post-crisis is significantly longer with current infrastructure as the restoration data would need to travel back over the internet to be used locally. All-in-All, we don’t recommend this as an independent backup solution because of its limitations post-crisis.

But what about good old manual offsite backups?

So one thing that we decided to NOT include in our main discussion points is the good old manual offsite backups. This means physically taking data offsite and storing it somewhere safe. This is of course what many people have been doing for years and many still do, but these days it should be the last option you choose after you encounter blockers for the other options. In today’s world, most people are time-poor, and therefore, people are an unreliable part of your backup system, so their failings should be avoided and strictly managed as a result.

What should I be doing?

Well, the answer these days, is usually using a combination of method two and three. By Utilising LBED with a disk rotation as well as RBOTI you are ensuring your data is protected from many common crises that can and will affect your business. It ensures that in the scenario that a simple restoration is required your business is not out of operation for a large amount of time as well as giving you some form of business continuity if for example; your primary business location burns to the ground, or more likely, gets robbed with valuable computers and servers being taken. It also gives you added redundancy in the scenario that the backups themselves have data loss as you will have two possible restoration points.

There are many other discussion points that we could have veered down in this brain dump, but we hope this at least gets the risk management juices flowing. On a closing note, if you are in a position where you are managing a businesses data, being your own business or as a manager in anothers business, do yourself a favor and call AUIT and book in for a free consultation with one of our Business Risk Managers. We have some very affordable ways to greatly enhance and assist you with reducing your I.T business risks, as well as increasing productivity and meeting security standards.

At AUIT we love to have a chat with business owners and hearing about your experiences, so please feel free to comment on this article, or give us a call or an email anytime. All of our quotes and recommendations are 100% obligation free, so please do reach out to us at any time.

2 Factor Authentication

Keeping on the same train of thought as our last blog post about PASSWORD POLICIES; we will be talking today about two-factor authentication (2F / 2Factor), what it is and why it’s important.

The short version explanation of two-factor authentication is the use of a secondary external method of authentication as an added layer of security when accessing sensitive information. Throughout the past decade, the usage and reliance on 2FA has increased dramatically as cyber-attacks are becoming more complex and harder to protect against. Two-Factor authentication is an easy and effective way to essentially double the protection against attackers.

But what exactly is two-factor authentication and how does it work?

Two-factor authentication is when a software/service requires two separate forms of authentication before allowing access to a piece of sensitive information. This can be anything as long as both methods are secure and unable to manipulate/control the other.

For example, when accessing your Office 365 account it would require your password (stored in your Memory / Computer) as well as an authentication code from an app on your phone (stored on Phone).

This means that if an attacker wants to access your account they would require both your phone as well as access to your password. There are lots of different versions of this concept, but they all revolve around the same principle of two isolated forms of authentication. The isolation is important because if one of the authentication methods can control the other then it is the same as having a singular authentication method. Consider the above example;



If the mobile phone also had the users Office 365 password stored on it then the entire system becomes insecure. If that mobile phone is stolen the attacker now has access to the password and the secondary authentication method. This is why it is so important to keep your two-factor authentication methods separate.


But why does it matter?

Well over the past decade or so technology has advanced at an incredible rate. What was once secure is now considered ‘child’s play’ to compromise in the modern age of technology.

Take the example of an 8-character password matching Microsoft’s password requirements;

Passw0rd

By today’s standards, it would take 36.99 minutes to crack without password retry timeout policies.
That isn’t very long for a dedicated attacker – but with two-factor authentication, it wouldn’t matter because they don’t have access to the secondary form of authentication.


When should you be using two-factor authentication?

The short answer is anywhere that contains data you want to protect. The negatives of two-factor are that it increases the time taken to login to secured services/areas; so if it’s a service that contains information that you are willing to lose you could choose to not use two-factor. However, given the effectiveness of 2-factors ability to protect your information I’d say the benefits outweigh the negatives and you should use it wherever possible.



In summary, two-factor is the use of two separate authentication methods to protect data access to a secure service/software. It effectively doubles the security of the service being protected by adding an external layer that would need to be compromised if an attacker wanted to steal your data and lastly, you should use two-factor authentication wherever you can that stores information you want to protect.

Password Policy? Yes or No?

Password’s are an essential part of an organisation’s IT infrastructure. They are the first line of defense against attackers and usually the first thing to get compromised during a breach. This is why many organisations take great lengths to protect their passwords as well as the passwords of their users; often through invasive Password Change Policies which tend to do more bad than good.

As of April 2019 Microsoft is actually recommending disabling organisation-wide Password Change policies, not because of the Password Change policy itself but because of the effects it has on users trying to mitigate the hassle of maintaining a password change policy. When a user must change their password every 30/60/90 days they start coming up with strategies to ‘cheat’ the system; such as having the same password with incremental numbers (Password1, Password2, etc) or they start to write down their passwords in public locations (a sticky note attached to the PC). Both of these strategies are quite common and are often less secure than just having a singular strong password.

But what is a strong password? Microsoft constitutes a strong password as having 3 out of 5 of the following and being at least 8 Characters long.

  • Capital Letters
  • Lowercase Letters
  • Numbers
  • Symbols
  • Foreign Characters (こんにちは, Привет, 你好)

Whist we agree in principal, there should be some education around this so users do not come up with some easy passwords that satisfy the requirements; such as Password1. This is a insecure password but meets Microsoft’s requirements for a ‘strong’ password.

A good way to satisfy the password requirement, be secure, and even remember your password is: choose 3 short words that you will remember, then pick a symbol (such as $). You can now use these to make a password combination such as:

#IT#support#CANBERRA

or even the reverse is possible:

#it#SUPPORT#canberra

These passwords are more secure because of the length as well as being more memorable because it’s relating to a something that you chose.
If you can’t think of the words – that’s okay, you can use a free tool to generate some passwords for you and then you can choose the one that you think you would remember best. There are some password tools available online that let you customise how secure you want to password to be.

One of the websites is “A Secure Memorable Password Generator”: https://xkpasswd.net/s/

In summary, Password Change policies aren’t as secure as they seem on the surface – not due to any weakness in the policy itself but rather the effects it has on users that are forced to use the policy.

It is much better to use a singular secure password such as the style of passwords listed above.

A Super Simple (ish) risk management system for businesses

In our travels providing IT Support and various IT Services, we work with lots of different businesses.  Many small businesses start and grow very organically and have little time for pie in the sky ideas like “security policies”.  Usually it takes a mandate from a business partner or external stakeholder to prompt a small business to even start thinking about risk management.

The problem for many is that it’s very daunting to start with nothing, having no experience with any risk management system, and somehow end up with a valuable and solid system.

In our case, we enlisted the help of a security consulting firm.  The result was that we gained the internal knowledge and experience to run our own Information Security Management System (ISMS) and controls, based on the ISO 27000 series standards.

So, to help out our Business IT Support clients, we are going to share a few simple steps and cookie cutter templates that should enable many small businesses the develop and implement some management control of their Information Security and give them a head start into expanding on that.

So here we go:

The foundation of our ISMS Information Security Management System is identifying what data you have to protect, and then identifying the risks to that data and the IT Systems surrounding it.  Bear in mind that “protecting” the data means protecting its:

Confidentiality: Only those that should have access, have access

Integrity: Ensuring that the data is accurate and not accidentally or maliciously altered incorrectly.

Accessibility: Ensuring that the data is accessible to those that require access.

All 4 areas must be addresses to give a complete risk management strategy.

Step 1: Develop an “Information Asset Register”.  This is a basic list of the key information stores of the business.  See the below link for a template which includes some common small business assets.

Step 2: Develop your “Information Asset Register” into “Risk Register”, which is a list of risks that could affect each Asset.

Step 3: Mitigate your risks to a level of risk you are happy to bear by creating security “controls”.

Step 4: Schedule regular time slots where you check and revalidate your asset register, risk register and mitigation controls.

This is entirely a management process but requires deep understanding and consideration of the risks and possibilities, so you need to have a deep technical understanding of your environment.  As such it can be very helpful to enlist the advice of a professional consultant.

See attached a template to help get you started at Information Risk Asset and Control Register

 

Buy a computer

Buying a Computer for Business

Helpful guide on buying a computer for Business

Why does it seem like every time you buy an appliance – TV, Washing Machine, Fridge or a Computer they seem to fail at the most inconvenient time when they are just outside the warranty period? It’s so frustrating when things fail when you just want them to work.

As with the entire IT industry, computer’s rapidly change. Over the last few years, we have seen things change from spinning disks to SSD’s (Solid State Drives), more CPU power, smaller form factors, higher resolution monitors, all in one PC’s and much more.

The majority of hardware failures we see in devices these days are Hard Drive failures and less commonly power supply failures. Generally, we see a lot more failures and issues from consumer grade machines that are built to compete mostly on price, verse business grade machines that are designed to be robust.

When buying a new Desktop Computer, Workstation, Laptop or Tablet i treat the purchase like I am purchasing a new lounge. Yes, I mean “lounge”, you know that big comfortable thing you sit on after a hard day at work with your beverage of choice. Why a lounge? Well think about it, you might spend a lot of time on your lounge or you might not, but the time you do spend on your lounge you want it to be familiar, comfortable, reliable and recline when it is supposed to, and last a long time. This is exactly what to look for in a computer.

Think about the following:

  1. How long do you want the computer to last for? A good rule of thumb is 3 years, as this coincides with the warranty period for most mainstream manufacturers (for business grade computers) – That said, I am writing this on a 4-year-old laptop that I love and has not missed a beat but yes, I do have backups and I have backup machines I can use if this fails.
  2. What are you going to do with it? I always like to over spec a little, as I want the best bang for buck and to get the most mileage out of all my new devices. I, like many people, really hate when a computer doesn’t respond or is slow, and my stress levels are important to me so I like to have a high performing computer at all time.If you are doing graphic design, then you will need a machine that can handle what you are going to do with it. It is never a good idea to buy a $500 laptop from a retailer and expect it can handle AutoCAD or Photoshop (or anything really) with any reasonable amount of performance.If you only work on cloud-based products like Xero, Office 365 via the portal and web clients, then you might get away with a slightly less high performing computer because the workload of these applications is mostly done by the servers up in the cloud.
  3. Warranty – You may or may not know, but if you buy a business grade computer from a well-known manufacturer you can generally purchase different types of hardware replacement warranty. You can even get 24 hours a day, 7 days a week 2-hour onsite hardware replacement warranty. This essentially means that the manufacturer will send a tech out to your home or business and repair or replace your device within 2 hours. Not a cheap exercise, but various options are available. Most business’ use 3-year next business day onsite warranty which is much more cost effective. Think about your needs and talk to your supplier about what you need.
  4. Features – Do you ever use the Bluetooth on your computer? What about WIFI? Or maybe you need an Ethernet port or a large amount of storage. Think about what you need and try not to pay for features you will not use. Also think about things like weight, battery life, screen size and resolution.
  5. Hard drives: At the time of writing this (September 2018), I would never again purchase a computer or laptop with an old school spinning disk hard drive. It must be Solid state disk all the way. The difference in performance is huge and not an area to cut a small amount of cost.
  6. Laptop Screen resolution: One mistake I have seen a few times is getting suckered in to buying a laptop with a poor-quality screen and low resolution. Windows 10 is simply not going to work well with a screen resolution that is not FHD (1920×1080) unless you have a screen size under 14 inches. However, if you were to by a 15-inch laptop, with only a HD 1366 x768 screen, you will be trapped, and the only option is to drop it off a cliff (as you will feel like doing) and buy something better.

In conclusion, as someone who sees many different types of PC and specs, your order of priority when buys a machine should be:

1. Specification
2. Warranty
3. Looks
4. Feel
5. Smell
6. Taste
7. ……….
8. Price

AUIT helps many of our customers choose the right hardware for their requirements.  We would be more than happy to have a chat to you about your business computing requirements.  If this is of interest to you,  please contact us at https://auit.com.au/contact-us/

Fortinet 30E – Review

Firewall Fortinet FortiGate 30E – Review

Fortinet

Fortinet 30E Managed Firewall

In our day to day operations providing IT support to small and medium business in and around Canberra, we often are tasked with installing new networks or upgrading existing networks. As part of this process we come across a lot of different networking equipment such as, Routers, Switches and Firewalls.

More recently, we have rolled out several different Fortinet products including the Fortinet FortiGate 30E Firewall.

The Fortinet FortiGate 30E is a compact unit not much bigger than your typical ADSL/VDSL router, its heavier than it looks and is a relatively plain looking device. It has a USB port, a Console Port, 1x GE WAN port and 4x GE Switch Ports.

The FortiGate 30E is much more than a typical firewall. It has many features and a lot of ability for its sub $1000 price tag. Its features include, IPS (Intrusion Prevention Scanning), NGFW (Next Generation Firewall), Threat Protection, AntiVirus Scanning, Web Filtering, DNS Filtering, Application Control, SSL VPN and even a Web Application Firewall for those wanting to run on premise web services.

The claimed throughput on this device is 950Mbps (Standard Firewall), 300Mbps IPS, 200Mbps NGFW and 150Mbps Threat Protection Throughput. Whilst we have not tested the maximum throughput, we have installed these devices in multiple locations with 100Mbit NBN connections and around 15 – 20 users without any issues.

The interface is very intuitive, and settings can easily be found, I wouldn’t say its super easy to configure for a novice, but with a little know how these devices can be deployed very quickly and very seamless.

Fortinet Dashboard

Managed Services Canberra Firewall

The visibility into network traffic is amazing once you know where to look. You can look at FortiView which provides information on traffic in and out of LAN/DMZ and traffic from the WAN interface. This gives you a good summary of the bandwidth used by device, by application, the category of the traffic and the risk associated with the traffic. You can also look under Log and Report for real time traffic, what policy is being used, application control and web filter triggered events.

Fortinet Fortiview

Fortinet Canberra Screenshot

With all Business Telephone Systems being switched to VoIP (Voice Over IP) on the NBN in Australia, it is imperative to ensure bandwidth hogs do not affect the quality of telephone calls in your business. One of the excellent features of the FortiGate 30E is the Traffic Shaper. You can assign a high priority to VoIP traffic and a minimum amount of bandwidth to ensure you clients can hear you clearly and concisely.

Business owners might also be thrilled at the ability to schedule firewall policies. For example, if you wanted to lock users out of social media except for during their lunch break, you can do this with ease with Fortinet Schedules.

Overall, we have found this device to be very stable with a high level of protection and performance. We would recommend this product to all small business who require more protection and visibility than a default ADSL / VDSL modem / router built in firewall.

The only downside of FortiGate Firewall 30E is for reporting and any logging of events outside of what is happening right now, you need to purchase the additional FortiAnalyzer. Which does have some cool features, but pushes the price of the solution up. It is well worth it if you are interested in exactly what is happening on your network.

There is an annual subscription for the FortiGate products, but not overly expensive. I can’t say this is the best firewall on the market under the $1000 mark as I have not tested them all. I can say that value for money we are very impressed with the level of protection and performance.

This is not a paid review.

Why we partner with JINGL.com.au

At AUIT we are always on the lookout for great solutions to implement for our customers that give them real world business advantages.  Often we implement the exact same solutions for customers as we use ourselves and so it is the case with the hosted phone system solution (also known as a hosted PABX) provided by JINGL.com.au.

A few years ago we were moving offices, so we started looking around at our phone system options.  Back then the normal thing to do was to ring up Telstra, get them to install some phone lines and hook them up to a phone system in your office and run cabling for your telephones.  So at the time hosted phone systems were fairly new, however once we started looking into it we soon discovered the many benefits.  At the time we took out trial accounts with many of the hosted PABX offerings so we could do a direct shootout.

We discovered that JINGL offered many benefits over the competition and for us this included:

1. A super easy to use interface for managing your phones and your phone bill.  This was REALLY what set JINGL apart when we tested out all the competition.  JINGL’s management interface really is just way ahead of most of the competition.  Within 30 minutes of getting a trial account I was ready to signup as the interface was easy, intuitive and just worked.  In comparison the interface of many of the alternatives was clunky, difficult to understand or just lacking in the required features.  This made JINGL the winner!

2. Flexibility to automatically and manually direct calls.  This is especially important in a 24/7 support scenario to allow us to divert calls to techs who may be out of the office or working from home.

3. Redundancy:  A very important factor for us was redundancy.  If for whatever reason our head office was to be unavailable (fire, flood, theft, power outage etc), then we simply need to run to our backup site and the phones will be working as there is no dependency on a physical phone system at our head office.

4. Features such as autoresponders (press 1 for sales, 2 for support etc).

5. Amazing pricing.  When we compared our phone bill, to what we could expect under JINGL, the JINGL solution was way ahead on price.  This has held true for most of the customers we have helped to move to JINGL.

There are many more really useful features of JINGL, but these were the big ones for us.

So for this reason we now have a partnership with JINGL where we provide professional services to help our customers to move their existing business telephones to the JINGL platform.

If you would like to talk to one of our consultants about your options, please give us a call on (02) 6176 3400

Common Scams and some tips on avoiding them.

As a managed service provider we deal with a lot of different businesses and a lot of different users.  As part of our commitment to those businesses and users,  we like to ensure that security (and especially security around I.T systems) is kept at the front of customers minds.

IT Security Investment Scams

One way to do this is to share some stories about security incidents that we have witnessed or been asked to assist with.  So here are a few:

————————————————————————————————————

The virus borne internet banking scam.

So one day the manager of a small business we look after called to say that they had a problem with their internet banking and that the bank had called them to alert them to the fact they had a virus.

Of course we rushed to help them.  We were put in contact with the bank and were informed that the customer had put a transaction through to a suspicious account.  On double checking of the details it was found that the suspicious account was not that account that the customer had tried to make a payment too.

On running a scan with their antivirus it was found that they did in fact have a virus.  Now this customer had fully up to date and good quality antivirus at the time they were infected,  however the AV had since run an update which then enabled it to detect what it had previously been unable to.  Meaning that the virus had hit this customer before the Antivirus software makers had been able to detect and update their software.

So the virus had intercepted their payment via internet banking and tried to divert the funds (the payment was for around $20,000!) to another bank account.  Lucky for the customer the bank had noticed suspicious activity on that account and blocked the transaction instantly.

The customer has since implemented a secure CommBiz Netlock system which is a custom and locked down browser along with 2 factor authentication token generator.  This is an excellent service from the commonwealth bank that we highly recommend.  More info at https://www.commbank.com.au/business/online-banking/commbiz/security.html

Using passwords leaked from one website, to blackmail the user.

A customer called us and reported that he had received an email, with his “standard” password in the subject.

The email went on to inform him that his computer had been compromised and that they had used his web camera to record him watching pornographic material and that if he didn’t pay a ransom in bitcoin,  then the video would be distributed to all the contacts in his email.

This customer had actually long since stopped using a standard password for all his only services, however he was obviously alarmed at the fact that the subject of the email was the password that he used to use for many site.

So the question was, is this real and how do they know my password?

We took a look at the email and then had a look at https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/  The twitter feed at https://twitter.com/scamwatch_gov is an amazing resource for information of scams that are currently doing the rounds.

Then we also put the users email into the site https://haveibeenpwned.com/  which is another great tool that I send to my customers just to get them thinking about their password and personal information security.

We discovered that the user had had their password leaks from multiple sites,  however it appeared likely that the culprit was the Linkedin hack of 2012.

Protecting yourself

There are a number of things you can do, over and above security awareness, to help protect your users from scams.  We recommend the following:

1. Two Factor Authentication

Enable 2 factor authentication – (2FA) on every system where it’s supported.  2 factor authentication is “Something you know” and “something you have”.  Combinations usually include a password plus a security code generator, or password and an authentication app on your mobile phone.  This can greatly reduce the impact of someone stealing or guessing your password.  Every day more services are offering 2FA including Office 365, internet banking, paypal, facebook, ebay and many more.  Setting up 2FA is a slightly different process for each service, but usually fairly straight forward.  The service will usually offer some documentation or guides on setting it up.  AUIT offers consulting services where we can assist you to enforce 2FA on your business systems and ensure all your users are covered.

2. SPAM Filtering and Virus Filtering for Email

SPAM Filtering – ensure you have a decent spam filtering system to block virus and spam emails.  We use and recommend the spam filtering services from GoHosting.  https://www.gohosting.com.au/security/spam-filtering/

3. Web Filtering Firewall

A good web filtering firewall.  A good firewall can greatly assist in providing a secure working environment for your users.  We use and recommend Fortinet products.  For businesses we recommend the excellent web filter that Fortinet offers on their firewalls.  These can help block access to malicious sites and content that your users may inadvertently try to access.

4. Monitored Antivirus and Malware Protection

Monitored Antivirus – On many occasions we have seen users who either don’t have any antivirus installed, or their installed antivirus is out of date or not functioning at all.  So it’s important that you come up with a strategy for making sure that your antivirus is working and up to date.  At AUIT we install our remote management and monitoring software on all users computers, which is bundled with a high quality antivirus system and gives us visibility and alerts us if any users antivirus stops working or detects a virus.