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Beefing up communication security

Beefing Up Your Communication Security

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When it comes to personal or business data security, you must know how to spot bogus links. Recognizing fake email links that might lead to fraudulent pages is a challenge for many people. The fact that hackers are using more advanced methods makes it worse for all of us. That is why beefing up your communication security is very important for your business data.

Indeed, hackers are using advanced methods to make the links they’re sending out will look legitimate. Unfortunately, this leaves people unsure of whether the link they’re following is legitimate or fraudulent. Luckily, there are ways to check whether a link is legitimate. That’s why, today, we’ll be looking at how you can incorporate spotting fake email links into your in-house security training.

After focusing on fake links and their dangers in our previous blogs, today’s blog will summarize everything we’ve shown you so far. By doing so, we’ll help ensure you’re getting the right approach to your communication security and keeping everyone safe!

How Communications Technology Can Threaten Your Security

Modern communications technologies put many people at risk, and as a result, it’s crucial to be aware of how these risks threaten your security. There are many ways by which communications technology is problematic, and some of the risk factors include the following:

  • Text message scams which include fraudulent links
  • Emails sent to your address that include fake links to sites that seem genuine
  • Fraudulent links through social media and messaging apps leading to malware-infected sites

These are just a few of the most common communications technology threats. You and your staff should be aware of these possibilities when opening emails, texts, or social media communications.

Why Adding Fake Link Prevention to Staff Security Training is Crucial

If you have been considering your next staff security training, adding fake link prevention is critical. Your security training sessions give your team an ideal opportunity to learn more about the dangers posed by clicking on bogus email links. This extra step helps ensure that your team knows how to stay safe while completing their daily tasks. By doing so, you can protect your client data from the risk of security breaches while also preventing hackers from getting access to your business funds.

Moreover, giving your staff information they need helps them avoid the risks of falling prey to fake links in their personal life. This knowledge increases the chance that they will stay safe in the workplace. Fewer data breaches will lead to better overall employee morale. After all – it’s a well-known fact that happy employees are more effective and efficient workers. This efficiency is not only good for your staff but also your business.

As such, it’s pivotal for businesses to incorporate fake link prevention and protection strategies into their staff security training. This step can also protect your business data while ensuring that your customers have confidence that their data is secure. Meanwhile, it can also help boost your staff’s morale by teaching them to be safe and protected in their personal life. So, the benefits can be numerous!

Beefing Up Your Communication Security by  Staying Safe from Security Challenges

To stay safe and protected against security challenges, you should consider the following tips. These will help you avoid falling into the trap of fake email links, which could have numerous consequences for your personal and business security.

First, it’s vital to check where the link in question will take you. This step is easy to do. To start with, if the anchor text is a visible hyperlink, check that this is legitimate by looking for any signs of fraudulent links. You should also check where the hyperlink is taking you by right-clicking on the link before following it. For example, if a legitimate website ends with .com, check that this hasn’t been tampered with in the link. An obvious sign of a false link would be if the address ends with .co.uk, .xyz, .club, or other uncommon domains.

Second, check the sender’s details. You can search for email addresses and phone numbers online. If a quick search doesn’t yield much useful information, you could also directly contact the company. In this case, you should ask them whether this is their genuine contact number or address. Most companies will be more than happy to help!

Finally, make sure you have your antivirus protection in place. Antivirus is surprisingly affordable nowadays. Your local IT service provider can help you choose the antivirus software that’s best for you. If you need help in beefing up your communication security contact us now!

modern-day communication

Modern-Day Communication, The Dangers Behind It

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When it comes to IT security solutions, there are a large number of threats facing us. Modern-day communication technology has opened up a massive amount of potential for people; however, it also poses a significant threat in terms of security. Threats are increasingly advanced as time passes by, and this is endangering the safety and security of our data and private information. That’s why we have come up with this blog. We want to bring light to the dangers of modern security and how you can get professional support to avoid these risks.

How Advanced Modern-Day Communication Systems Endanger Our Data

Modern-day communication systems have transformed how we live our lives. However, these modern technologies have opened us up to a great deal of risk with our security. Many employees are at significant risk by using modern communication technology because they don’t understand the danger.

Fortunately, though, our team is on hand to help you learn more about these threats. We’ll also discuss what makes internet communication risky and how you can protect yourself against these threats.

Employees are Spending More Time on Technology

A critical risk for people is that we are all spending more time on our electronic devices. Technology is a constant part of our lives. People spend more time on technology and the internet than ever before. That means the risk posed for their security is also growing.

Internet security has never been more important, simply because we are all spending more time on devices. By spending more time on communications software, we are putting ourselves at a greater risk of losing our data to hackers and security breaches. Unfortunately, criminal methods used to get access to our data are becoming more sophisticated. It’s not easy knowing a genuine link from a dangerous or malicious link intended to harm us.

How Hackers Trick us into Exposing Our Devices

Hackers are becoming increasingly aware that their old tactics aren’t working as well as they once did. Yet, with the rise of advanced security systems, many hackers face new challenges to continue their devious ways. Now they are turning to communications systems for opportunities.

This tactic is something that has taken the world by surprise, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. Indeed, with the arrival of the pandemic, the world switched to online shopping almost overnight. As such, hackers quickly took advantage of this new opportunity for gaining access to personal data. This shift represents a severe security risk that is putting people at risk today.

Fake Delivery Messages: The Most Common Security Challenge

The most notable of these scams at present are the fake delivery messages. These scams have become incredibly common, and because so many of us have been ordering products online, it can be easy to fall into this trap. Indeed, most fake delivery messages require users to follow a link to “reschedule” an order that failed to arrive. But, of course, these ungenuine links are taking us directly to websites that are malicious in some manner.

In some cases, they merely request us to pay a small sum of money and nothing more. But this is the lesser of many evils. Other scams include collecting personal data and even compiling card details, leading you to a substantial loss of money. As such, the risk posed by these fake delivery messages is staggering.

Email Attachment and Social Media Communication Security Scams

Another common scam that people should be aware of when it comes to communication security is email risk. Indeed, hackers are becoming increasingly crafty with the phishing and malware emails they are sending. These emails, designed to fool people into thinking that they’re sent from a legitimate sender, encourage the reader to visit the linked site. In turn, this can lead to malware or phishing software downloaded onto the device. Naturally, this can cause you a great deal of distress.

Another common form of this scam is from hacked social media accounts. If you get a strange message from a friend or contact on social media, especially if it links to an external video or website, you might find that it takes you somewhere that infects your device.

Final Thoughts About Modern-day Communication

In any of these scenarios, the risks posed by communication security challenges are very much real. When using any communication technologies, be aware of the potential risks you could be facing. If you need any help in regards to internet security feel free to contact us.

clicking fake links

Clicking Fake Links, The Horror Behind It!

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When it comes to using the internet, you know how things can go wrong. We all like to think that our online activities are safe and protected. However, the reality is that hacking methods are increasingly creative to get people to clicking fake links. As such, today, we’re here to draw attention to the horror stories that occur when people fall for bogus email links and the best tips for fake link prevention.

What Are the Dangers for Business Owners Clicking on Fake links?

An increasing number of businesses are targeted daily to trick them into clicking fake email links. Hacking methods are getting more and more creative. As such, recognizing which email links are legitimate and which are not can be incredibly difficult – and as such, you should always be alert when using communications software to make sure you don’t fall into these traps. Fake links come with numerous associated dangers. That’s why, today, we’ll be looking at a few of the implications that falling for these traps can have.

Loss of Personal Data

You must protect your data at all costs. Personal data includes information such as your name, address, date of birth, and banking info. Hackers use this personal data to target you. Your stolen information can create fake identification and credit cards. This data is also commonly sold on the dark web to bidders who collect personal data of this type. Consequences associated with the loss of personal data are irritating and a nuisance. However, if hackers use your data for false identification, the consequences for you could be severe. After a breach, you may find yourself in thousands of dollars of debt. Or, quite possibly, your bank account drained. As such, fake links prevention is imperative for protecting yourself from personal data losses.

Financial Data Losses

Financial losses are the most common, as this is the primary goal of the hackers. One of the most common forms of fake email links is the increase in home deliveries resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. This trick is a relatively simple scam. Hackers will send texts to thousands of random phone numbers. These texts inform the reader that their delivery failed, and a small redelivery fee is needed to reschedule. This form of fraud is usually opportunistic and low-value. However, some hackers will gather financial data and hack bank accounts or take out loans. This scam, in turn, gives criminals full access to your money. It’s easy to see where the risk lies. Another potential threat from clicking on fake links is that the website could download malware onto your device. Malware can gather data about your personal and financial information. Once again, hackers use the breached data to access your financial records. As we’ve seen, this can lead to substantial losses. Whether the information is volunteered readily or taken by force, these are risky situations to correct. As such, awareness of the best fake link prevention strategies is everyone’s goal.

How to Avoid Fake Links

Fake links are, unfortunately, all too common. Hackers are using these tactics more regularly, and they are also becoming more creative in their attempts. For the average employee, fake link prevention is increasingly difficult. Recognizing these dangerous email links is a genuine challenge for many people. Being aware of avoiding dangerous email links and protecting your precious personal and financial data is more crucial than ever. There is a lot of pressure on employees these days. Luckily, our team is on hand to give you a few tips to help you avoid falling prey to malicious hackers. First of all, before clicking any links in messages, emails, or on social media, make sure to check the URL to ensure it looks legitimate. Hackers use this common tactic to convince people to click on a fraudulent link. Often, this will be something as simple as changing the domain from .com to .xyz or .club, or something along these lines. Many people won’t recognize this subtle change, so it’s always worth checking before clicking unknown links. Next, check the link’s source. If you have any doubts about the sender’s legitimacy, navigate to the supposed firm and send a request to their official customer support team. They should be happy to answer whether the email address is a legitimate one. As a final protection, make sure you have the best defence in place for your device! Having anti-virus software and an updated firewall is crucial protection. Don’t leave this to chance. If you have any questions and need help please contact us. We are happy to help!

Spot Fake Links in your Emails

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Opening unknown links can be a risk factor for your business and staff. As a result, more and more business owners have incorporated fake link prevention strategies into their security training. We’ve come up with a few tips to help ensure that your staff members have the critical information on how to spot fake links. This training can help prevent hackers from gaining access to your business. In cases like this, it is better to be proactive rather than reactive after a breach.

How to Spot Fake Links: Brief Staff Security Training Guidance

If you have been considering covering bogus links with your staff security training, you’ll want to consider the following how to spot fake link prevention tips. These security training tips will help to give your staff the tools they need to stay safe and protected against the dangers posed by malicious links.

Staff Security Training Tip #1: Check URLs Before Following Them

One important tip for your staff as part of their security training is to check all URLs. A URL is the web address that you follow when you click a link. A common trick used by hackers to make the URL seem authentic is to use a similar URL mimicking a legitimate website.

For example, one switch would be disguising bogus links by changing the website name from ‘example-site.com’ to example_site.com.’ This tiny change often goes unnoticed but could lead to your staff getting caught by a fake link.

Here are more examples:

If you regularly deal with Amazon, you’ll notice that their URLs look like these:

orders@amazon.comservice@amazon.com, or membership@amazon.com

But bogus URLs will look like these:

hurry@amazon-$75.combuddy79@my_amazon.com, or service@amazon-helpmenow.com

Often, the URL won’t contain the name of the sender at all. You may see URLs like these:

clickhere@davisneedsshoes.orgholographic_iris@$9di4!wow.net

Question any link that seems out of place. If your staff doesn’t check these carefully, it can be easy to fall into a trap.

As part of this staff security tip, make sure they’re aware to check both the name of the link and check where the hyperlink goes. Hackers can easily disguise malicious links as legitimate links by using a website name as the anchor text. But, instead of taking you to the legitimate website, the link redirects you to a fake site. Luckily, checking the destination of a hyperlink is easy, especially on computers; simply right click and you’ll get an option to see or edit the hyperlink.

Staff Security Training Tip #2: Don’t Open Unknown Emails

A second crucial tip is to ensure that your staff does not open unknown emails. For many people, this is not easy to do. After all, how can you tell whether a sender is legitimate or not? It’s easy to understand why this is so difficult. Some people struggle to decide whether the contact details for a firm are legitimate addresses or not. Luckily, we have a few tips for this.

Firstly, for text messages and telephone contacts, look up the telephone number from the source. A quick search will often give you the information you need to know. Most companies will have these numbers listed on their website’s contact details. Alternatively, if the phone number is not legitimate, many sites now exist to display shady phone numbers; as such, searching the phone number alone may be enough information to help you decide if the text was legitimate.

As part of checking a sender’s identity, you can also search for a specific email address to see if any information comes up. Most companies will have their contact email addresses displayed on their website. Check If the email address in question is on the website so you can confirm that the links are legitimate. If the exact email address does not appear on the website, you should question its authenticity.

If you struggle to find the correct information directly from a search, don’t be afraid to contact the company in question. Most companies are more than happy to help if it means preventing a scam from occurring in their name.

Checking the legitimacy of the phone number or email address is one of the best ways to check whether a link is legitimate or fake. Ensure that your staff knows to do this for any communication containing a link.

Staff Security Training Tip #3: Get the Best IT Support and Antivirus Software

As a third and final tip for your security training, we cannot stress the importance of good anti-malware and antivirus solutions highly enough. Having these in place and installed on all of your devices can provide a good security backup. This practice is vital in case someone accidentally follows an illegitimate link that tries to download harmful software.

Antivirus software is highly affordable nowadays and doesn’t take long to set up in your office. If you have any questions about this, contact us today. We will help you find the best antivirus software for your needs, as well as offer training to your staff.

Shifting Your Workplace – What have we learned so far?

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In our latest series of blogs, we’ve talked about how the Covid-19 pandemic provided us with an ideal opportunity for shifting the workforce. Let’s take a look at what we’ve learned!

Back to work supplies

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we run our businesses. There have been some advances that perhaps wouldn’t have happened for decades without it, if at all. IT equipment and software is the first thing that springs to mind when we think of advancements in the workspace. Thanks to the need for remote working, we’ve now got a whole host of collaborative conference room technology to help us in this new working world. Conference room webcams, interactive whiteboards, and noise-canceling headsets are all things that have developed in the last year or so. For businesses returning to the office or a hybrid working scenario, these items are now necessities. It’s not just technology that employers are considering. Many employees have relished the chance to work from home in comfort, so many employers are now attempting to mimic the home environment with soft furnishings, plants, and refreshments. Also, relaxing the dress codes is a great way to shift the workforce back to the office. After all, it’s likely that employees have been just as productive in their sweats and t-shirts.

Overcoming workplace distractions

Our second blog in the series focused on avoiding distractions in the workplace. Whether an employee works remotely, in the office, or a mixture of the two, they will likely experience many distractions. There are ways employers can prevent workplace distractions, and it’s a great idea to look at working environments. Are they clutter-free, organized, and quiet? If not, employers have lots of ways they can make them so. Providing employees with noise-canceling headsets is a good idea for both the office worker and the remote worker. Distractions online can also be a problem. There are many programs now that block these popular sites during working hours. However, one vital step is to ensure that there is mutual trust and respect with colleagues. Never underestimate the power of a strong working relationship.

Workplace culture reboot

The post-Covid-19 return to the office provides the ideal opportunity for employers to shift their workforce towards a culture reboot. It’s a great time to introduce new concepts and practices and engrain them into the day-to-day life of the business. Our third blog post in the series looked at what employers might consider about their company culture and the importance of creating a positive workspace. Some ideas included having a healthy snack bar, incorporating daily team huddles, investing in team building, and empowering the staff.

Final thoughts

While there have been so many negatives over the past months, having something positive to focus on, like shifting your workforce culture, can do wonders for your business and employees alike. We hope you try to make things more positive for everyone. We hope these tips are helping you run your office more efficiently. And, as always, if there is ever anything you need help with, contact us, and let’s discuss some solutions. We’re here to help.
Workplace Culture Reboot

Shifting Your Workforce: Workplace Culture Reboot in the post-Covid-19 pandemic era

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With the many changes that have occurred since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent crisis, employers are facing crucial decisions on how to shift their workforce into a new workplace culture reboot. This is the ideal time for looking at what we’ve learned over the past year. It’s an opportunity to focus on inclusion and diversity, and to create a positive workspace.


Creating a positive workspace with a cultural reboot


When talking about an organization, we often think of the company ‘culture’ as the ways in which things are done. The culture embodies the company’s values, vision, habits and norms that drive workers’ behaviour during their daily tasks. Lots of work habits have shifted since the first quarter of 2020. Some companies have now made a great workplace culture reboot. As we all move towards a new definition of what constitutes a workplace – office and home – it’s the perfect opportunity to look at what employees need to get their jobs done.


Workplace culture reboot element considerations


When you make the decision to reset your company culture, there are many things you can consider:

Organizational purpose and strategy – re-confirm your company’s vision and mission post-Covid-19. Is there anything that needs to change? Do the behaviours and values pre-pandemic still serve their purpose or do they need adjusting?

Behaviours and values – what do you want your working environment to look like? How will you measure and define it? Is there anything that needs to be changed in this new environment and time?

Core systems and processes – with remote working, how have your processes and operations changed? Are there any systems or structures that can be improved to help embrace the differences between employees? How could your financial, operational and HR procedures be adjusted to meet your employees’ needs better? Is there a need for greater flexibility in working hours or places?

Recognition and motivation – Have you learned anything about the motivation and needs of your employees since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic? How can employees’ needs be dealt with by managers and supervisors to open a relationship built on trust?

Employee input and engagement – how can your employees provide input into your company operations? Are there adequate ways they can give feedback? Recently, The Grossman Group ran a survey that found almost half of people who are working from home want to continue doing so after the pandemic. Not all people enjoy remote working, though, and many seek a flexible working arrangement. Being flexible can help employees be more engaged and committed in their work.

Cultural resilience – when deciding on a reboot, think about how much resilience you can build into the team. A more resilient team will be able to adapt easily whenever changes arise. According to a report by Gallup, to be resilient when the going gets tough, businesses need to make sure their employees have everything they need to work as best they can. It’s also vital to show them how their work is part of the bigger picture.


Simple ways of creating a positive workplace


As well as looking at the wider organizational structures and processes, there are some really simple ways of creating a positive workplace for a cultural reboot. Here are some ideas:

Have a healthy snack bar – Many people have suffered from their eating habits during the Covid-19 pandemic and are keen to get back on track. Having a healthy snack bar will not only be appreciated by colleagues but will mean they are ready to tackle their work with adequate nutrition behind them.

Team huddles – having a short morning meeting that is no longer than 15 minutes is a great way of starting the day. It’s simple and repetitive and gets people motivated and on task ready to start their day.

Team building – when your teams have a great relationship, everything else will fall into place. Consider investing in team-building sessions to ensure there are positive working relationships with team members of all levels. When you get on with people and respect them, you’re more likely to work harder!

Staff empowerment – employees will work better with less micromanagement. Hand tasks and responsibilities over and see how they turn out! Another way to empower staff is to give them the opportunity to contribute. Creating an open forum for suggestions is a great way of ensuring employees feel heard.

Use lunch & learns – these are perfect opportunities for voluntary, informal conversations and learning opportunities amongst employees. They bring people together in a casual, low-stakes way.

Company-wide games – don’t forget to have fun! Create a positive workplace by having regularly scheduled company-wide games or quizzes.

Whatever the reasons behind your cultural reboot, the post-Covid-19 pandemic return to work is the ideal opportunity to embrace new practices. If you have any questions about getting a workplace culture reboot, contact us today. We are here to help.

preventing workplace distractions

Shifting Your Workforce: Preventing Workplace Distractions

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It’s fair to say that everyone gets a little distracted at work from time to time. Even with intentions not to procrastinate, it can be a real challenge to stay on task. It can seem almost impossible to avoid distractions. According to statistics, workplace distractions account for a sizeable loss in productivity. Typically, a manager has an interruption every 8 minutes. Also, employees will spend around 28% of their working time dealing with unnecessary interruptions. So, how can we work towards preventing workplace distractions? Let’s take a look at some strategies to reclaim focus. We’ll also look into the different distractions that can be problematic for remote workers and those in the office environment.

How to be distraction-free from your workplace


Having good habits and sticking to them is one strategy for eliminating distractions. Start by focusing on your working environment. Encourage employees working from home to organize their home office so that there are few temptations to get stuck on something other than work. This task isn’t easy, however. Given that most people rely on computers for work, it is easy to be distracted by non-work-related sites. It might be wise to consider using an app that blocks certain websites during working hours.

For employees in shared offices or shared home working spaces, closing doors or using noise-canceling headsets can be helpful. Another idea is to put your phone somewhere out of reach and put it on silent mode. For those employees in open offices, it might be a good idea to try and move to somewhere quieter. Some studies show that workers in open offices report more distractions than those working in more isolated areas.


Averting workplace distractions for remote workers


Given the rise in remote working, many people who managed to work in an office environment without distractions have found themselves with distractions they have never encountered before.

For employees who shifted to work from home during the pandemic, many were distracted by their children. Some workers had to be full-time or part-time childcare at the same time as holding down their job. Thankfully, childcare has resumed, so remote workers are more ‘alone’ when working remotely. This fix doesn’t, however, mean that distractions have vanished.

Many people working from home have partners who look after young children, so the distractions or potential for distractions remain. Other distractions include realizing some jobs need doing around the house, like laundry or cooking, pets, partners popping in for a quick chat, unexpected visitors, and parcel deliveries.

One solution to preventing workplace distractions is making it clear to others at home that disruptions aren’t welcome. A simple ‘do not disturb’ sign might do the trick when paired with a noise-canceling headset.


Preventing distractions from your office work


After reading the above section about remote working, it might be easy to think that remote workers are more distracted than office workers. This idea isn’t the case, however. According to Airtasker, remote employees are more productive than office employees and are less distracted. So, what is distracting our office workers?

More often than not, it is other employees that cause distractions for office workers. Co-workers who come over for quick chats, phone calls, Microsoft Teams messaging, Google Workspace, or even emails will all slow down employees. Other non-work-related distractions include switching over to check social media, time management, and even chatting in the breakroom.


Some solutions that help to prevent these include:


Ensure employees are aware of workplace etiquette when it comes to talking to colleagues. Be sure they know your thoughts on how much chatting is allowed about non-work-related topics.

Have communication policies in place with regards to emails and reply turnaround time.

Consider using software to block certain websites that might cause distractions (like social media)

Have a telephone policy in place so everyone knows your expectations when using personal phones at their desks.

Teach your employees how to organize and mute notifications in Teams, M365, etc.

Hold regular, but not too many, team meetings and discuss distractions and how to overcome them. It’s possible that there are communication issues that will never be resolved unless they’re brought to your attention.


Final thoughts on preventing workplace distractions


While you cannot prevent distractions altogether, there are things you can do to help your employees stay on task. Don’t underestimate the importance of having an open working relationship built on mutual trust and respect. Many employees work their best when they’re trusted to complete their work without micromanagement. In a trusted environment, they might find themselves more focused on their work as a result. If you have any questions about shifting your current workplace, contact us today. We are here to help.

Latest Back to Work Supplies That Will Make Working Easier

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With the world slowly seeing things get back to work in the traditional sense (as opposed to remotely), workplaces are refreshing their back-to-work supplies and procedures. The Covid-19 pandemic has been catastrophic. It has also meant changes as to how we view work and the work environment. Never before have we had so many people working remotely with such success, and it’s argued that a hybrid workforce might remain in the future. We’ve all seen the news stories about remote workers quitting instead of returning to the office. This new trend needs attention. Companies owe it to employees who do a great job remotely to listen to their concerns about returning to the office. This task is not an easy task. In this week’s blog, we will bring awareness to this subject. And, for those returning to office spaces, what back-to-work supplies do we need to consider?

Back to work supplies for the conference room

One shift we’ve seen has been an increase in the use of technology to allow employees to work remotely. The pandemic motivated people to work tirelessly on creating new platforms, improve existing platforms, and invest in new technologies. There are many new collaboration tools available that are useful. One such invention is conference room technology like a webcam that follows the speaker. A conference room webcam is very different from a standard home webcam. Typically, the whole conference room can participate as the camera can capture any speaker thanks to its cameras that pan through 360°. This device makes for an excellent collaborative conference room with people participating both in-person and remotely. Another great tool is an interactive whiteboard. This board works the same way as a regular whiteboard, but the writing is shareable collaboratively. They’re essentially large-scale touch screen computers used by teachers in school classrooms. They’re now finding their place in collaborative conference rooms too.

Technology and working with others

Many remote employees have forgotten just how distracting a work environment can be. With phone calls, office conversations, noisy printers, and photocopiers, the work environment is a noisy one. One great idea for back-to-work supplies is buying noise-canceling headsets for the workforce. These headsets will help people as they reacclimate to being in a noisier environment while working again. These will also help when people are having conference calls in open spaces while on Teams or Zoom. Just because people are coming back into the office doesn’t mean conference calls are a thing of the past. It’s likely for these to continue. They probably have a permanent place in our work-life going forward. Typically, at home, most people had little background noise. In the office, people have to navigate their calls with lots of background noise.

Back to work supplies that mimic the home environment

While there were some teething problems with remote working, there were many positive aspects of working from home. To continue these benefits and to ease workers back to their desks, it might be a good idea to source back to work supplies that mimic home environments. Soft furnishings, plants, refreshments, etc., will all help to achieve this.

Other practices for shifting your workforce forwards

One idea is to allow dogs in the workplace. This choice comes with lots of consideration and planning. But, it’s been great for many remote workers over the last 12 months. Having a pet close by definitely has benefits. There’s been an increase in loungewear sales over the past year. This surge is due to people working from home and embracing comfier attire. As you ease back into the office, perhaps consider relaxing the dress code somewhat. If productivity hasn’t been affected by home working attire, are suits and jackets needed for your workspace?

Enjoy your Free Time

Finally, we must not underestimate the importance of work-life balance. What many have enjoyed about working at home is the lack of commute. This time-saver has undoubtedly improved work-life balance. It might be beneficial to structure a workforce schedule that works well for everybody. Ideas such as hybrid working and flexible working hours are considerations. We hope these tips help you transition remote employees back into the office a little more smoothly. If you need to upgrade or install new technology for this process, give us a call. We’re here to make things easier for you!

Natural Disasters and Data Recovery Plans

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We don’t want to think about possible negative situations when it comes to our lives or our businesses. Planning for disasters means that we’re able to quickly recover from their consequences. In our previous blogs on data disaster recovery, we’ve covered how to plan for disasters and what types of disasters to consider when writing a data recovery plan. In this blog, we’ll take a look at the main points as a refresher.

The key elements of data recovery plans

A good disaster recovery plan will have assigned roles and responsibilities to different team members in advance. Planning ahead should ensure there is no time wasted when a disaster occurs. Having clearly defined roles means that team members can get on with their tasks quickly to mitigate the effects of a disaster.

Another important point is the identification of which assets are critical to operating the business. In a disaster, you need to know which things to protect and sort out first to enable business operations to continue. If someone spends too much time dealing with a puddle on the floor instead of dealing with customer calls, for example, your business could be in turmoil.

Backing up data is a must for every business. You’re on a dangerous path if you don’t have a plan in place for regular data backups. After all, you can’t recover your data after a disaster if you haven’t backed it up. Businesses must also consider whether they need to back up their IT infrastructure using a ‘cold site’ (a basic version of their infrastructure off-premises) or a ‘hot site’ (up-to-date data backups). As you can guess, the more data you back up, the better off you’ll be.

Types of disasters to plan for

It’s difficult to plan for any eventuality; however, there are certain things that all businesses should consider.

Disasters can include technological disasters like:

Data breaches

Hacking

Ransomware

Or natural disasters like:

Earthquakes

Tsunamis

Volcanoes

Flooding

Tornados

Pandemics

The impacts of any of these disasters are huge. Essentially, they can result in a business completely folding. Depending on the type of disaster, there could be all sorts of consequences. For example, the loss of supply chains, loss of assets and buildings, loss of life or personnel, and the loss of data. Since these consequences can be disastrous, it’s important for all businesses, regardless of size, to have contingency plans for disasters.

Planning for disasters

Businesses need to have contingency plans for dealing with disasters of every possible type. Different companies will, of course, have different needs.  However, some things are necessary for all businesses to include in their data recovery strategy plan. These include data, insurance, finances, resources, personnel, technology, compliance requirements, and the supply chain.

Types of disaster data recovery

There are a variety of options when it comes to data recovery. Perhaps the simplest method is backup. Your data is stored on or off-premises, or both for extra safety. However, relying solely on data backup gives minimal protection for businesses. If there is no backup of the IT infrastructure as well, there could be even bigger issues.

An effective data recovery plan needs strategies and procedures for backups. You should know who will perform the backups and how often they will be done. Those responsible for data backups must also work out the business’s recovery time. Calculate the amount of time the organization can be ‘down’ after a disaster and work from there.

The data recovery strategy should be tested and updated continually to protect the business from new threats. In this way, the business will be able to navigate challenges successfully. Planning a response to a cyberattack ahead of time will make sure your team will know what to do.

Final thoughts

Whatever your business and size, the ultimate aim is to ensure you’re well protected and have plans in place for any type of disaster. If you’re struggling to finalize your plans or even start writing one, get in touch with us for a free consultation.

Do You Have A Data Recovery Plan?

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You might be aware that disasters of varying types can have devastating consequences on businesses. The key to mitigating such occurrences is to have a data recovery strategy plan in place. This means that you have a structured and documented approach detailing how your organization can resume work quickly after an unforeseen disaster. This is an essential tool for your company’s continuity plan and applies to all parts of the organization that is dependent on your IT infrastructure. This data recovery plan will help you resolve any data loss and will allow the recovery of your system’s functionality. This means that you can continue operating your business with minimal disruption.

Types of Disasters to consider

Potential disasters are plentiful. We’re not just talking about hacking and data breaches, but natural disasters too. Being able to handle disasters efficiently means there will be minimal impact financially. Having a data recovery strategy plan will allow you to ensure that all requirements for compliance are met. The plan will also provide a clear recovery roadmap. Here are some of the potential disasters that might affect your businesses:

Building disaster (Fire, power outage, etc.)

Communication failure (Due to data breach, hacking or natural disaster)

Application failure (Outdated hardware, viruses, etc.)

Datacenter disaster (Hacking, data breach, natural disaster)

City disaster (Earthquake, tornado, flood, etc.)

Regional disaster (Power grid outage, wildfires, etc.)

National disaster (Epidemic)

Multinational disaster (Pandemic, computer viruses, ransomware)

You can see that this list covers lots of different types of disasters. It’s worth noting, however, that it’s not exhaustive. When making data recovery strategy plans, businesses need to consider their potential individual circumstances. If you’re based in the Midwest, for example, it’s very unlikely that your business will be affected by a volcanic eruption. But there are other natural disasters like floods or tornados that are more likely to happen. With that said, the 2010 Iceland volcanic eruption had repercussions worldwide, so you never know!

Considerations for your Data Recovery Plan

A data recovery strategy plan should begin at the business level. You need to determine what infrastructure is most important to your organization. The plan should implement an RTO (a recovery time objective), which describes how much time each application could be down for as a target.

A data recovery strategy defines your business’s plan for incident response. To determine your optimal data recovery strategy, you must consider the following issues:

Resources (both facilities and personnel)

Finances

Insurance

Data

Technology

Risks

Compliance requirements

The supply chain

How to write a Data Recovery Strategy Plan

A business can start its plan by prioritizing a list of contacts and vital software programs so that the most important information is easily and quickly accessible.

The data recovery plan should define each team member’s role and responsibilities in the recovery process. This is so there is no panic or time wasted should an unexpected disaster occur.

There are many important points to write into a data recovery plan. These include:

A policy statement or statement of intent.

Specific tasks assigned to staff.

Goals of the plan.

Passwords and other authentication tools essential to data recovery.

Geographical factors and risks appropriate to the local, regional or national area.

Advice on dealing with the media.

Legal and financial information with points of action.

A history of the plan – and any amendments that have been made to it.

As you can see, being prepared for these events is not difficult, but it will take some time. It is, however, very important that you take the time to complete it. You should also run through the plan in a mock rehearsal. That way you’ll find out if you’ve missed any steps or if there are gaps in your plan.

The bottom line is, you want to be as prepared as possible for any disaster that causes data loss. After all, keeping your doors open when other’s can’t sure makes you the popular choice over your competitors.

If you need advice or want help to build your data recovery strategy plan, don’t hesitate to contact us. You can book a consultation at any time.