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Category: IT News, IT Security, News.

With hackers getting smarter and malware having increasingly devastating results, cybersecurity has never been more important to keep your business safe.

One way of increasing your cybersecurity is with an antivirus (AV) software. That is why it is essential to invest in good AV software. However, it should be stressed that this should be in conjunction with other security measures.   Previously, AV software was renowned for slowing your computer down and therefore an excuse for not investing in it; however, software has come a long way.  According to independent testing by IT PRO, the best business antivirus software for 2019 is Kaspersky Internet Security 2019, which came out as virtually faultless.

The other recommended AV software included BitDefender Internet Security 2019, McAfee Internet Security 2019, Panda Free Antivirus and Avast Free Antivirus.

If you’re unsure about which antivirus software to install or how to configure it, speak with your IT provider for advice or contact The PC support Group here.

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Category: IT News, IT Security, News.

New research says that almost 90% of SMEs are now looking to switch to the IT Managed Service Provider with the best cybersecurity services, above all other selection criteria.

Global IT management company Continuum spoke to SMEs across the UK, US, France, Germany and Belgium about their cybersecurity concerns. Its main conclusions included:

  • Almost all SMEs are now aware of the business-critical importance of cybersecurity
  • 89% of those surveyed would consider switching to a new IT support provider if it offered the right cybersecurity solutions
  • Almost a quarter have already switched following a cyber attack.

The research highlighted that cybersecurity is now the most important issue for SMEs selecting an IT provider and that virtually all businesses were willing to move away from their current provider if it meant getting a better service elsewhere.  Interestingly, the majority don’t feel like they are protected sufficiently and therefore are considering switching for better security

Is your business protected against cyber attacks like ransomware or email phishing? Do you feel that your current provider is giving you good advice and being proactive with measures to protect you and your customers? Or is it time to look at other options to keep your business safe?

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Category: Business, IT Security.

Most business owners and managers are now aware that taking appropriate cybersecurity precautions is as important as paying the VAT on time. Those organisations that still don’t get it are issuing an open invitation to the fraudsters and criminals to make their lives a misery!
 
But did you know that, for a relatively modest investment, you can put in place some very effective, common-sense cybersecurity measures AND open up a world of new business opportunities in the process? “Great, how do I do that”, I hear you say!
 
Well, I’m a big fan of the government-backed, industry-supported Cyber Essentials accreditation scheme, because it can help your business in so many ways:

  • It’s a simple and effective way to ensure that you have essential security processes and measures in place to help protect your business from attacks
  • It gives you a clear picture of your current cybersecurity status, and a roadmap to add additional security systems and processes when required
  • Certification means that you will be recognised as having achieved a respected cybersecurity quality standard
  • It puts you in a position to go for the full Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation which pre-qualifies you to bid for many central government and public sector contracts, that would otherwise not be available to you
  • It’s a valuable, public symbol of your commitment to cybersecurity and data protection, that you can use with pride in sales and marketing communications to your existing customers, sales prospects and other stakeholders, adding weight and value to your offer.

In a recent report by CyberGuard, part of the OGL Group, 84% of accredited companies surveyed said that Cyber Essentials had “helped their business to win contracts”, with other respondents highlighting “the importance of the certification in reassuring their customers”.

So, if you don’t currently have Cyber Essentials certification then I would urge you to seriously consider it. Your existing IT support provider should be able to help and advise you on this (hopefully they have already) although it will need to be led by an internal advocate who is familiar with other areas of the business as well as technology.
 
We are a Cyber Essentials-certified business ourselves and work with senior managers responsible for achieving certification within our client base, providing a wide range of practical information, advice, and guidance, to help them with their Cyber Essentials programme and to complete their submission.
 
If you’d like to discuss your IT support requirements and how we can assist you to become part of the Cyber Essentials community, boosting your security and sales potential – call us on 03300 886116 and mention Cyber Essentials.
 
Phil Bird
Managing Director, The PC Support Group

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Category: IT News, IT Security, News.

Under new government plans, tech companies and social media platforms will be compelled to abide by a duty of care relating to online content.

Those companies that breach standards set out in the duty of care, which will be established by a digital regulator, will be issued notices or receive “substantial” fines for failures to remove harmful or extremist content.

The statutory requirement is seen as necessary following repeated calls to action by The Government to tackle harmful and illegal content that is still too readily available online as well as the growing mistrust of online services.

The Government has hinted it will target the biggest companies first such as internet giants Facebook and Google or those companies that pose the clearest risk to users.

“Tech can be an incredible force for good and we want the sector to be part of the solution in protecting their users. However, those that fail to do this will face tough action” said The Government’s Digital Secretary, Jeremy Wright.

To find out more visit https://www.parliament.uk/business/news/2019/april/government-announce-world-first-online-safety-laws/

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Category: IT News, IT Security, News.

Due to the increased number of cyber attacks, and consequently ensure that good practices in information security take place, the UK government Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (DBIS), introduced a government-endorsed scheme called Cyber Essentials.

Cyber Essentials was developed back in 2014 in collaboration with industry partners such as the Information Security Forum, the Information Assurance for Small and Medium Enterprise Consortium (IASME) and the British Standards Institution. Due to the significant rise in these attacks in the last few years, especially for SMEs, security is more topical than ever.

The mandatory scheme was introduced to ensure the protection of sensitive data by ensuring companies follow a basic level of due diligence on how data is used and secured to avoid it being compromised.

Companies that have the Cyber Essentials trust badge are showing their compliance and dedication to cybersecurity which aims to build trust and confidence amongst clients.  It is also a useful standard for companies to check for when working with potential partners when data is involved.

The PC Support Group is an IT provider with the Cyber Essentials trust badge.

To find out more, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cyber-essentials-scheme-overview

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Category: Business, IT News, IT Security.

In recent months we have seen a significant increase in reports of major security breaches around the world, resulting in large-scale theft of data and cash, with potentially catastrophic consequences for the victims.

By the day, the tactics used by cybercriminals are becoming ever more sophisticated. 

1 in 6 UK SMEs have suffered at least one cybersecurity breach or attack in the last 12 months and those that were affected, 21% reported that it cost them over £10,000 and 11% said that it cost more than £50,000.

It just makes sense to protect the business you’ve worked so hard to build – and demonstrating that you have cybersecurity measures in place is increasingly essential for SMEs wishing to supply large organisations.

A small investment today could save your business tomorrow.

Here, at The PC Support Group, we have produced a Cyber Crime Security bulletin which highlights some of the key risks and the preventative actions that you could take which will help minimise the risks to your organisation as well as fulfilling your legal obligations.
 

If you’d like to receive your FREE Cyber Crime Security download, click here, email our friendly staff on info@pcsupportgroup.com or call us on 03300 886 116 for a confidential chat about your cybersecurity or IT support requirements.

Phil Bird
Managing Director, The PC Support Group

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Category: Business, IT News, IT Security, IT Support.

I wanted to share an incident with you that we came across recently, as it could happen to any business and be very costly.

You’ve probably heard of phishing emails – it’s when criminals send bogus emails to individuals to get them to reveal usernames, passwords, and credit card details usually by simply clicking on a link.  And while many scam emails are easy to spot, some can look very convincing.  Even if it looks like it’s from a credible source such as one of the big banks or a large corporation like Microsoft, it could just as easily be from a cybercriminal.

What business owners don’t often realise is how many of these emails come into their businesses every day and how easy it is for people to respond with devastating consequences.

A prospect called us to work out how an email had seemingly been sent from them to all their clients requesting payment into a specific account “without delay to avoid the loss of service”. The answer was that hackers had used a phishing email to trick them into providing the login details to their email system. The hackers then logged in and sent this email out as if it really was from this business owner.

Not only did one client pay – into the hackers account, but can you imagine the effect of such an abrupt and demanding email on the client relationship?! What was worse was that their only recourse was to tell their clients that they had been hacked, which made their business appear even more disorganised and vulnerable.

So, what can you do to ensure this doesn’t happen to your business?

Well, your best defences are education and motivation.  Share the problem with your people.  Build a team of committed defenders against cybercriminals.  Help them to spot the dangers – the do’s and don’ts and the need for caution and vigilance. Talk to them about the consequences of damaging their livelihoods and your business.  It could honestly be the most valuable investment you ever make.  Make no mistake, phishing could kill your business.

And of course, here at The PC Support Group, we can help you build defences against cybercriminals and provide advice and guidance to make sure your business is safe and secure.  It’s what we do! Call our team today for an informal and confidential chat on 03300 88 6116 or email them on  info@pcsupportgroup.com.

Phil Bird

Managing Director, The PC Support Group

 

 

 

 

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Category: Business, IT News, IT Security, News.

According to a study by insurance company Zurich, 1 in 6 of UK SMEs have suffered at least one cyber security breach or attack in the last 12 months and this is on the increase. They also found that of those that were affected, 21% reported that it cost them over £10,000 and 11% said that it cost more than £50,000.

Multi-award-winning IT provider, The PC Support Group together with HR specialist, HPC and Downtown In Business will be holding a free Cyber Security power panel in Manchester on:

Date: Tuesday 26th March

Time: 12-2pm (lunch & refreshments provided)

Location: Manchester

Venue: Orega King Street

This event is essential for business owners and directors and will take the format of an informal discussion for 30 businesses only based in Manchester where we will discuss the latest cyber security threats, how it can impact your business and what action can be taken to keep your business safe.

This event is perfect for you if you’re:

  • A business owner or director in Manchester with over 20 employees (one place per company)
  • Worried about the security of your business but don’t know what to do
  • Looking to introduce a cyber security strategy but don’t know where to start
  • Wanting to know what policies to implement to protect your business

To enquire about a place for this non-technical but highly informative discussion, please contact helen.roughley@pcsupportgroup.com  Places will be given on a first come first served basis.

 

 

 

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Category: Business, Data Backup, IT News, IT Security, IT Support.

I’ve read several interesting articles recently about data backup and how being unable to access data and systems is the nightmare scenario for all businesses. However, one thing that rarely seems to be mentioned is the act of data recovery. Hopefully, most companies by now realise the importance of having their data backed up but few appear to think about how long it might take to recover the data onto a live system should disaster strike.

Did you know that 90% of companies experience some form of downtime whether it’s a disk or other critical hardware failure, a flooded office or the latest cyber attack?  We’ve all experienced something.  Interestingly, a lot of our prospects when they first contact us have no idea how quickly they could recover.  Unfortunately, some businesses never recover which is not surprising when the average cost of one hour of downtime is £6,500 for a small business and £64,000 for a mid-sized one2.   Very sad when you consider that 93% of data loss issues are avoidable1.

Even IT businesses like us are not immune, the difference being we have robust business continuity measures in places preventing any issue becoming a major disaster.   In fact, only a few weeks’ ago we suffered a power outage for nearly half a day at our offices in Speke, but our services remained operational and none of our clients were left without support.

How did we do this?  We use a six-step disaster recovery plan that helps assess risks, identify weaknesses and put proactive measures in place.  Once you have this plan, recovery is much easier and quicker and therefore less costly for you and your business.  For instance, businesses without a plan experience greater downtime – on average 18.5 hours to get back up and running2.  Time and money that no business can afford.   So, by planning for the worst you can make your business stronger and more resilient today.

To get you thinking, here are a few questions for you to consider:

1: What is your business-critical data is and where it is held?  Is it backed up?

2: Is your backed-up data kept separate from your computer system, in a secure place with restricted access?

3: How regularly is your data backed-up – daily, weekly, monthly?

4: Is the backup process automated and regularly monitored?

5 How quickly could you access your backed-up data?  Within hours or weeks?

6: How long could your business survive without access to its data?

Answering these questions is just the start of protecting your business. Here at The PC Support Group we can help you with further practical advice and guidance.  Our rolling monthly contracts will ensure your recovery is easy and efficient because we’re good at what we do! Call our team on 03300 88 6116 for a chat about how we can help you or email them on info@pcsupportgroup.com

Phil Bird

Managing Director, The PC Support Group

1 The Online Trust Alliance’s analysis of security breaches 2017

2 Backbone Connect, an UK IT infrastructure firm, 2018

 

 

 

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Category: Business, IT Security.

I’m always struck by how serious the after effects of cybercrime can be, for businesses and individuals alike. Just one successful phishing attack, or an innocent-sounding conversation with a conman, and the result of years of hard work and sacrifice can all be undone in a few minutes.
When I hear these stories, I reflect on what the consequences could be for my business, my family, my colleagues and our clients too. Data theft is growing rapidly in volume and sophistication, with hackers increasingly adept at creating believable phishing emails and impersonating trusted organisations like banks (called social engineering), to trick people into revealing email addresses, usernames and passwords. And with the growth in cloud-based applications, once criminals have these electronic keys, they can access systems and cause havoc at will, from anywhere in the world.
But by taking some simple, extra precautions, we can all make it harder for the villains and easier to keep the things and people we value safe. There’s one defence that I strongly recommend you apply as widely as possible – Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).  You’re probably using MFA already. When you log in to your online bank, enter your email or username and password, you’re then asked for another code – that’s MFA. It adds an extra security layer, or ‘factor’, on top of usernames and passwords (which, as we know, are often not strong enough), before any access to data is allowed.

Also known as Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), MFA provides a unique, time-limited code via a hand-held device, such as PINsentry from Barclays, SMS or app, that is almost impossible for hackers to intercept. Even if the criminal has a stolen email address, username and password, MFA keeps the data safe.

This is a bit of a personal crusade for me. Every day I speak to SME owner/managers who, just like me and my colleagues, have worked their socks off to make a success of their businesses – and it’s satisfying to play a small part in helping to protect their hard-earned achievements.  Here’s a quick checklist to get you started on MFA:

  • Make a list of everything you and your business access using an email address, username and password
  • In particular, identify those systems or services that are cloud or web-based – as they are the ones most at risk of being hacked
  • Check with the providers of these systems (or ask your IT support company) to see if MFA can be applied and then do so immediately

If your current provider hasn’t mentioned MFA to you yet, then I would be a bit worried about that! We regard this kind of advice and guidance as part and parcel of our proactive support service that keeps our clients’ businesses as safe as possible, and delivers reliable, smoothly-running IT.

Phil Bird
Managing Director, The PC Support Group