Remote working has become the norm across the UK over the last eighteen months as businesses adapt to the challenges of and restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Most office based businesses continue to have at least some staff members working from home, with many organisations making the switch to full time remote working. If your business is implementing new working from home strategies, or you just want to make sure you are providing your teams with the right advice and support from an IT perspective, we’ve prepared this IT support guide to remote working.
Spring officially arrives in the UK on 20th March and with it comes the concept of spring cleaning and getting everything tidied up, freshened up and ready for the rest of the year ahead. Spring cleaning isn’t just about dusting your office and shredding the paperwork you no longer need, it can also be a great opportunity to audit your IT systems and processes, getting rid of anything that is not working for you and implementing procedures to protect your data and enable you to work more efficiently.
You may have noticed our new look, improved website, but that is not the only thing that has changed at Matrix IT in recent months. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been busy helping businesses throughout the south of England to find new ways of working to help keep their employees safe whilst continuing with ‘business as usual’, delivering the same level of services, whilst working remotely.
In addition to helping businesses react to the changes forced on them by the worldwide pandemic, we are also pleased to have introduced new collaborative and IT strategy services to help strengthen IT capabilities for businesses in all sectors.
We, at Matrix, have had an increase of tickets in the last week identifying potential phishing or fraudulent attacks delivered via email.
The aim of this article is to provide you with the best practice in minimising these attacks for you and your staff and more importantly retraining users on what to look out for.
If we can be of any more assistance in training, implementing the following technologies please contact us at [email protected].
Multi Factor Authentication (MFA)
MFA put simply is something you have (your phone) and something you know (your password). By combining the two, Microsoft can better authenticate your logon. Most phishing scams extract your password and then hackers emulate your logon accessing emails, data or to carry out fraudulent activity.
MFA is very simple to implement and use. The only additional requirement when logging into the system is to click ‘Approve’ on your phone. Consequently, if you phone asks you to ‘Approve or Deny’ a login randomly then it is likely someone else has your username and password. If this is the case, then call Matrix immediately and we will disable / change your logon credentials for you, ensuring your data remains safe and secure.
Email filtering – Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) / Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Most phishing and fraudulent activity is typically driven through an email scam. We provide two products, the first carries out ATP and scans attachments and links detecting zero day and known threats.
The second is our Sentinel product, usage Artificial is our Intelligence (AI) we are able to scan your email accounts and create known interactions identifying the most complex of subsequent scam emails.
What it means in plain English is you will vastly reduce suspect email in your inbox, removing user interaction and the potential threat.
The biggest threat – you
The biggest threat to a data breach is – the person reading this post. Users pose a threat to systems as they/we use the systems. Despite minimising risk if that email lands in your inbox you need to think ‘SETH’ first.
Stop – Take 5-10 seconds and look at the email, don’t skim over and click on the instruction – PAUSE
Evaluate – Are you expecting an attachment, email, shared document, parcel from China?
Think – Do you know the sender? Does it look suspect? Is something not quite right about it?
Hover – Move your mouse over the link, does it go to ‘http://somewhere.random.com or to your company Microsoft link – check it against your SharePoint link.
By spending 30 seconds considering whether the email is legitimate could save the business £1000’s in lost revenue or data leakage. If in doubt, contact us for a second opinion, better to be safe.
Matrix can offer simulated phishing email attacks, providing your users with real life examples and training on future prevention. Each simulation will identify a user training requirement and provide them with suitable courses for improvement dependent upon their interaction with the simulation.
What to look out for
Below are two examples of emails received this week.
Have any more questions or interested in the above products? Let us know by email [email protected] or call us on 01329 888 444.
Our team have managed to support, deploy and enable a staggering 2156 users to work from home last week. Whilst amid arranging VPN’s, remote desktops, ironing out the odd person who took their workstation home, we too have been deploying our remote working strategy.
With the enablement of cloud adoption, we can use the tools needed to support our clients from anywhere (subject to having internet!). I want to personally thank our team for their commitment in providing this level of service without complaint. Juggling working from home with children, cats, dogs and a 98% support ticket increase can’t have been easy but we work together, even remotely.
Upon returning to the office we will be reviewing our clients’ remote working needs and have set an R&D budget aside to build a remote access platform for your business. This will harness the power of Microsoft Azure and allow businesses to benefit from a robust on demand subscription-based model.
Today marks the end of the Windows 7 operating system and potentially poses a headache for business owners.
Windows 7 has been around for 10 years and today marks the official Microsoft end of support for their amazing operating system. Whilst it will work and function the same tomorrow as it does today, Microsoft will no longer provide patching for any vulnerabilities found, so much so GCHQ have issued a warning not to use Windows 7 for banking from today.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
A NCSC spokesperson said: “The NCSC would encourage people to upgrade devices currently running Windows 7, allowing them to continue receiving software updates which help protect their devices.
“We would urge those using the software after the deadline to replace unsupported devices as soon as possible, to move sensitive data to a supported device and not to use them for tasks like accessing bank and other sensitive accounts.”
“They should also consider accessing email from a different device.”
Remember the WannaCry ransomware attack?
2017 brought new malware attacks through finding vulnerabilities within operating systems, namely Windows XP and Windows 7. Hacker seek to extract data and encrypt it or sell it on the dark web. Businesses need to protect against this type of malicious activity to protect their data, comply with GDPR and most importantly ensure their clients data is secure. A lack of security patching from today could lead to this very problem happening again.
Our advice is to upgrade your hardware which will normally include the Windows 10 operating system. This way you benefit from new hardware and the latest operating system. Windows 10 will provide updates, patches but more importantly closer integration with Office 365 and Azure cloud services.
Additionally, most software vendors will provide support on the Windows 10 platform.
If you need any advice or a quote for upgrading your systems call us today on 01329 888444 or Click here to email us
Do you have a potentially faulty MacBook Pro hard drive?
Apple have announced that some MacBook Pro owners are losing data due to hardware failure. Any 128GB/256GB, non-touch bar, 13-inch MacBook Pro purchased between June 2017 and June 2018 are susceptible to this problem.
To prevent data loss Matrix has compiled three easy steps:
1. Check on the Apple web site to see if your MacBook needs repairing. Your serial number can be found in the top left corner of your menu bar and go to ‘About this mac’. Once you have the serial number click here and check – https://goo.gl/iNa9aN.
2. BEFORE YOU REPAIR, ensure that you have a backup of your Mac (https://goo.gl/CYBwjh).
3. Arrange for Apple to repair (free) and then upon receipt of your fixed MacBook Pro you will need to restore your system from the backup (https://goo.gl/cgCs6F).
If you need assistance establishing whether your device is at risk – or advice on backing up or restoring your data please contact a member of the Matrix team on 01329 888444 or Click here to email us.
It is very important to involve your employees in cyber-security threats as in the battle against cybercrime, they can help stop data, systems and reputation being compromised.
What your business can do:
- Make your employees aware of the responsibilities they have within the company and explain how their actions can assist cyber-criminals.
- Have a contingency plan in place so that if your company does get breached, your employees know exactly what actions to take.
- Make sure to clearly communicate. Working together can help reduce the effects of the hack rather than panicking.
For more information on cyber-security, please contact us via email or phone at 01329 888444.
Get ready – World Backup day is March 31st!
If you didn’t know, Friday the 31st March, is World Backup day.
Ok, so maybe it is just yet another made up “day”, but it does come with a serious message, supported by some alarming statistics…
- 30% of people – have never backed up their data.
- 113 phones – are lost or stolen every minute.
- 29% of all data related ‘disasters’ – are caused by accident.
- 1 in 10 computers – are infected with viruses each month.
What would you or your business do if you suddenly lost important files / documents?
Think about the files you have open on your PC right now. If you lost them, would you or your business be in trouble?
How much data would you have to lose before it began to hurt your business? The answer is not very much. Depending on what files are lost, it could only take a file or two to cause you serious problems.
Not losing critical data is an easy business reason to make sure that you’re backing up your files. But as the statistics indicate, most people aren’t.
Don’t wait for it to happen to you. Matrix IT Solutions can help you and your business with a tailor made Backup and Data recovery solution.
To find out more, simply contact a member of our team to discuss your requirements: