Applications, workloads, and data power your business. But the physical hardware they run on doesn’t. In many cases, it simply adds to the cost and complexity of your end-user computing. That’s where virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) can help. By decoupling software and hardware, you can deliver secure, scalable end-user computing at a much lower cost.And like many parts of the IT ecosystem, VDI is even better in the cloud. Our managed Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) service gets you the security and performance of VDI hosted on Microsoft’s Azure cloud service, combined with world-class support from a Microsoft Gold partner.
Broad device and OS support: connect using Windows, macOS, Android, and Linux devices alike
A familiar, simple user experience: deliver the Windows experience users are familiar with—no updates or hardware upgrades required
Quick, low-cost deployment: onboard new users in under an hour, with no time or CapEx wasted on acquiring and setting up new hardware
In our digital, interconnected world, cybersecurity remains one of the biggest concerns for businesses of any size. PwC found that nearly 64% of UK CEOs are concerned about how cyber threats could harm their ability to sell products and services.
A modern business must take proper account of its cybersecurity. A key tenet of any security strategy is using the right tools and software to protect your systems.
In selecting the right security platforms, many people confuse EDR, MDR, and XDR. These tools have significant differences and perform distinct functions in an effective cybersecurity strategy.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to each of these key security solutions and help you select which is right for your business.
The present landscape of cybersecurity threats is rapidly changing. Spurred on by the recent trends towards remote working and cloud computing, criminals are targetting businesses with increasingly more sophisticated attacks.
According to ENISA’s 2022 report into the current thread landscape, DDoS attacks are becoming a particular concern as the use of mobile networks and the Internet of Things (IoT) is fuelling cyber warfare. The threats against data have also increased as a result of the rising use of data in industry.
In this same period, ENISA found a rise in complex social engineering attacks. Users are increasingly being lured to sharing sensitive files or providing attacks with access to systems. Practices such as spear-phishing, whaling, smishing and vishing are making these attacks very difficult to defend against.
For organisations storing sensitive data and maintaining critical infrastructure, standard security controls like antivirus software aren’t enough to protect systems from cyber criminals.
Businesses should look towards advanced security software such as EDR, MDR and XDR solutions to ensure network and data security. Let’s explore how these security tools can help!
Endpoint detection and response (EDR) is a set of security solutions that continuously monitor end-user devices to help organisations detect and respond to cyber-attacks.
What do we mean by endpoint devices? EDR monitors activity from any devices connected to your network, including workstations, laptops, smartphones, servers or even IoT devices such as smart displays and sensors.
Every device that connects to your network is a potential entry point for criminals to steal your company’s data or cause damage. The popular hybrid working model adopted by so many companies encourages the use of BYOD (bring your own devices) and use of mobile devices.
Therefore, monitoring the devices themselves instead of the network can help detect threats before they infect the rest of your systems.
EDR security solutions scan and record the activities of endpoints to give system administrators visibility into potential threats and incidents. The idea here is to provide a continuous, real-time view of endpoint activity.
What does an EDR software solution do?
A managed detection and response (MDR) security solution combines the benefits of automated visibility software with the expertise of cybersecurity experts at a Managed Service Provider (MSP).
MDR providers can remotely monitor your network and detect activity and traffic that could reveal a cyber threat. Using detective security controls, cybersecurity teams will analyse threats and provide a rapid response to secure your network if needed.
How is that any different from EDR solutions? Firstly, the expertise of security experts cannot be understated. While automated AI detection algorithms have become increasingly useful, it’s a managed security provider that offers the most watertight detection and effective response.
Cybersecurity tools aren’t perfect, and threats often slip through. Your managed security team will use security intelligence and digital forensics to accurately detect and triage threats. These experts will be available on hand to answer questions and alert you of threats.
They can advise on best practices for securing your network, and can even let you know when false positive alerts happen. A “helping hand” through threat detection and response can simplify this process and reduce the likelihood of malware slipping through.
Extended detection and response (XDR) solutions offer businesses the most complete protection against sophisticated cyber threats.
Let’s refer to Gartner’s excellent definition here:
“Extended Detection and Response (XDR) is a SaaS-based, vendor-specific, security threat detection and incident response tool that natively integrates multiple security products into a cohesive security operations system that unifies all licensed components.”
Essentially, XDR aims to include many advanced security tools and features in a holistic detection and response solution.
What do XDR tools often provide?
How does XDR compare to EDR? It essentially extends the range of capabilities and combines more security products into one platform. Where EDR focuses on end-user devices, XDR solutions monitor network traffic too.
XDR providers also provide better automated response tools, allowing businesses to more rapidly eliminate threats and mitigate damage.
What are the key benefits of an XDR solution?
Businesses can benefit from improved threat protection, detection, and response. By combining capabilities into one central platform, XDR can also lower the total cost of ownership for effective detection and response.
Detection and response are essential for protecting your IT infrastructure. What is the best software solution for your business?
EDR solutions offer more protection than just relying on antiviruses and firewalls – especially if your users work on mobile devices, laptops and BYOD systems.
Businesses that need more complete threat detection and response should look toward XDR solutions. This offers the ability to monitor network traffic too, to find activity and events that reveal security threats.
The added features and capabilities often outweigh the cost of these platforms, as individual security tools with similar functions can quickly add up in cost.
However, the most holistic and reliable threat detection and response assistance come from MDR solutions.
Working with cybersecurity experts and allowing them to monitor and respond for you ensures complete safety without the headache. SMBs and mid-level enterprises often opt for MDR as it frees up the capacity of their in-house IT and cyber security teams.
MDR solutions offer the most complete and reliable protection, detection and response capabilities to cyber threats. Want to benefit from a trusted security advisor?
We’ll help you configure your firewalls, pick the right detection and response software, and even guide you on how to improve your overall cybersecurity strategy.
Get in touch with us today to see how your business should approach cybersecurity!
As the world becomes increasingly technologically advanced, new powerful technologies and processes are developed to take advantage of the benefits of virtualisation. Robotic process automation (RPA) is one of the largest examples of this.
With 67% of businesses using automation for their organisation’s benefit, there’s no question that RPA is a hugely important innovation for the modern business landscape. But, a large question is how can it help your business thrive and prosper in the long term.
We believe that RPA is one of the key factors in helping your business truly succeed. That’s why in this article, we’re going to take you through what RPA is and how it can help your business grow.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the use of robotic software to emulate and replicate human tasks.
As advancements have been made in robotics and virtualised intelligence over the past couple of decades, RPA has been developed to be able to do tedious and repetitive tasks that can waste so much time.
RPA can also be used to help improve customer experience and ensure smooth operations throughout a whole company. For example, Swedish furniture store IKEA uses Power Automate — Microsoft’s popular RPA tool — to condense and simplify their user experience whilst ensuring everything operates smoothly.
In IKEA’s system, once a co-worker hits start or end on an appointment, a flow is started to automatically record the meeting’s length and update its status. With this, text message notifications are sent to customers using Azure Functions and Logic Apps.
This saves time and ensures that simple processes are done correctly and consistently, which in turn creates a better user experience for the company. It also helps ensure that each customer has the same positive experience throughout the company.
Furthermore, this is just one use case of RPA to improve a business’s operations. The flexibility of automation technology means that no matter your business, RPA can truly help your business prosper — whether it be for replicating internal processes or improving customer retention.
Optimise Resource Usage
Every business has a limit of resources that it can use at any given time. After all, resources cost money — and using resources to ensure tasks are completed to a standard can be a waste of time when RPA can easily do that for you.
Using automation to complete tasks that would otherwise be done by your employees means that said employees can focus on more important tasks, instead of wasting their time — which inadvertently wastes your time and money.
It doesn’t just end there, though. Automation also greatly reduces the need for human intervention, as it completes the same task repeatedly without variance or error. These resources can also be allocated elsewhere.
Having your employees do work that can easily be automated is an obvious way to haemorrhage money, but automation can also reduce costs elsewhere.
Tools like Microsoft’s Power Automate are based on cloud infrastructure, which means that the work can take place without having to dedicate physical hardware to it — whereas a person doing those tasks would need a computer to work at and possibly other hardware.
Implementation of RPA isn’t very expensive either. Rather than having to get an organisation-wide system up and running and then training users to complete tasks to get started with a process, getting started with Power Automate takes a few simple steps and is generally more cost-efficient.
Your employees don’t want to do boring, repetitive tasks that take up time and effort.
By automating these processes, you will motivate your workforce to become more productive and proactive, allowing them to work more efficiently on things they can excel and innovate at.
With this, your team will naturally have higher morale and feel more empowered to work.
Eliminate Human Error
As previously mentioned, automation completely eliminates human error and greatly reduces the need for human intervention. This is because automation allows you to repeat tasks infinitely and ensure each task is completed the exact same every time.
Humans just cannot repeat tasks in the exact same way each time, which is why automation is so strong in this aspect. Reducing human error means that your company is going to operate more smoothly and efficiently throughout.
RPA allows you to infinitely scale the processes they’re automated with great efficiency. Instead of having to hire more people to complete those tasks, RPA instead just lets you replicate the process any number of times — with the only limitation possibly being the cloud solution you’re using. This is also scalable, however.
This means that RPA is key to any company wanting to grow and scale and that any organisation wanting to move to the next level will need to make use of automation somewhere.
Whilst automating business processes, RPA can also be used to automate communication processes. This can make communication easier and ensure important facts are communicated efficiently and effectively, with no miscommunications and mistakes occurring.
For example, New York medical service Visiting Nurse Service & Hospice of Suffolk (VNSHS) uses Power Automate to be able to automate communication throughout their whole system.
VNSHS’s System Specialist, Alvin Ledwidge, says “By using Microsoft Power Automate, we’ve made processes for the first-line staff a lot faster. They worry less about who’s on the email—they simply fill out a workflow form and know that the right staff and supervisors will be automatically included.”
RPA has many benefits to improving your company’s growth and workflow and is the best tool for any business to propel itself into the digital era. Rather than having to worry about human error and wasting resources on mundane tasks, you can instead use a robust, scalable process to ensure everything gets done.
Microsoft’s RPA tool — Power Automate — is a great place to get started. Its power and efficiency have meant that it’s made a quick rise towards the top of the RPA world. Furthermore, with complete 365, Teams, and Azure integration, integrating Power Automate into your workflow is simple.
Are you ready to implement RPA in your organisation? Get in touch and see how we can help!
Cloud management offers businesses of any size a brilliant way to control and scale their IT infrastructure. It’s therefore no surprise that organisations are enthusiastically migrating to the cloud – with over 60% of corporate data now being stored in the cloud.
However, cloud computing does offer some challenges to businesses that have recently moved to the cloud.
In this article, we’ll walk you through some common cloud management problems that businesses face after cloud migrations. We’ll also discuss how working with a managed service provider can help mitigate these pitfalls.
Cloud computing can introduce some security concerns if the cloud provider doesn’t offer the right security controls and measures to keep your data safe.
In theory, the cloud is less secure than on-premises systems. As your data is accessed through the internet, there’s always the possibility that information can be intercepted or your system could be hacked remotely.
That’s why cloud security controls are so important, as they help mitigate the risk of a security vulnerability. Fortunately, cloud service providers like Azure and AWS have implemented some great security features to protect your cloud infrastructure.
Many cloud providers don’t implement strong enough controls. Some of these features may not even be enabled by default.
Working with a reputable managed service provider (MSP) can help ensure you’re picking the right cloud platform, and ensure your security controls are configured correctly.
Cloud computing helps most businesses save money by removing the need for costly hardware and network infrastructure. However, without properly managing your data usage, your business could be hit with an unexpectedly expensive bill from your cloud provider.
The trick here is to plan what resources you’ll need to power your workflow before you migrate and to keep checking what you’re using.
Here are a few tips to help avoid a nasty bill:
Cloud sprawl is a common problem in small and mid-level enterprises. Many firms fail to phase out cloud services that are no longer needed and continue to pay for them. An MSP can help you analyse your cloud usage and bring down your bill.
There exists a skills and resources gap that’s limiting cloud expansion. Existing IT teams often lack the expertise needed to migrate and take advantage of a cloud deployment.
Resources are a problem too. According to research by iland, 83% of businesses say a lack of migration resources has delayed their cloud migration, with 12% stating this has prevented migration entirely.
What’s the solution? We recommend:
Working with an MSP can help plug these gaps. A managed cloud solution offloads the responsibility of planning and managing your cloud infrastructure, providing valuable assistance to your IT staff.
Many businesses are bound by strict compliance. For example, medical and insurance companies handle sensitive data, and this can complicate a cloud migration.
Organisations must ensure compliance with legal standards based on their sector, location and requirements. Businesses need to look for cloud providers that provide compliance and adhere to the specific regulations needed in their sector.
For instance, Azure Security and Compliance Blueprints allow businesses to create, deploy, and update compliant environments. Azure Security Centre also unifies security management and enables advanced threat protection.
MSPs are experts in cloud compliance. They can work with you to ensure your cloud platform complies with the regulations applicable to your sector.
Cloud migrations offer businesses some complex challenges. You can streamline this process by working with a cloud migration expert.
Managed service providers will help you plan a successful migration, identify and mitigate any possible pitfalls, and assist you with setting up your cloud environment.
Cloud management shouldn’t stretch your IT capacity. Outsourcing your cloud management responsibilities ensures you’re getting the most out of your modern, scalable cloud computing infrastructure.
In 2022 we have seen an alarming number of devastating cyberattacks throughout the world, including in the UK and Ireland.
An example of this in the UK includes the ransomware attack on KP Snacks, the manufacturer of Hula Hoops, Nik Naks, Tyrells, and many other snacks. This ransomware attack was carried out by a Russian cybercrime group, and resulted in approximately 2 months of supply chain issues, costing the organisations millions in damages.
However, whilst this attack received national news coverage, there were many attacks on smaller businesses that were harmful but did not make news headlines.
As we come to the end of 2022, it is more obvious than ever that all businesses are at risk of falling victim to a cyberattack and must be taking steps to reduce their cyber risk. Most businesses understand this, but some are still lacking simple security controls, such as multifactor authentication.
In this blog, we will explain what is multifactor authentication, and why it is essential for all businesses.
Multifactor authentication, or MFA, is an authentication method that requires the user to provide two or more forms of identification to log into their account.
These forms of identification typically include something the user knows (such as a password or PIN), something the user has (such as a trusted device or hardware key) or something that the user is (such as biometrics information, including fingerprints or facial recognition).
In terms of the user experience, if MFA is enabled, an employee will enter their username and password into an application or service, and then it will ask for the second authentication method. If they are using an authentication app on their phone it will provide a 6-digit number they must enter to access their account.
Some businesses have even removed the need for passwords altogether, only using the identification methods of something a user has and something that they are.
Strengthens Security Posture
The number one reason why businesses should implement MFA is that it will strengthen their security posture. In 2022, the most common form of cyberattack is phishing, with 83% of all cyberattacks in the UK being phishing attacks.
Whilst multifactor authentication will not stop phishing attacks, it does significantly reduce the chance of a phishing attack being successful in compromising a user’s account.
For example, many phishing attacks include a malicious link that will take the user to a false sign-in page. Even if an employee was to click on the link and enter their username and password if multifactor authentication is enabled, the bad actor will have the username and password, but they will not have the second form of authentication. Whilst it is possible for a bad actor to social engineer their way into acquiring the second form of authentication, it is significantly less prevalent, and can be mitigated in several ways.
Protects Aganist a Variety of Attacks
Whilst phishing attacks are the most common form of cyberattack, multifactor authentication can protect against a variety of other attacks.
If employees reuse passwords across multiple accounts, they are at risk of falling victim to a credential-stuffing attack. This form of attack is where a bad actor will find user credentials, typically through prior data leaks, and use these usernames and passwords to access other accounts. If an employee has reused the same password, these attacks have a high success rate. Thankfully, they can easily be mitigated with the use of MFA, as the hacker does not have access to the second form of authentication.
MFA can also protect against keylogging attacks, as even if the second form of authentication is a one-time passcode, it will change every time an individual attempts to log into the account.
Meets Regulatory Requirements
If your business needs to be industry standards, multifactor authentication is a necessity. For example, the PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) requires businesses to have MFA enabled for remote access to the cardholder data environment.
Although for PCI-DSS, the only requirement is for a single environment, in order for businesses to achieve their Cyber Essentials certification they must implement MFA on administration accounts, and any accounts that are accessible via the internet.
Most insurance companies will require companies to implement multifactor authentication on all accounts in order to qualify for cyber insurance.
Improves the User Experience
Whilst it may seem counterintuitive that adding another step to logging in will improve the user experience, multifactor authentication can be implemented alongside single sign-on to both improve security and the user experience.
Single sign-on, or SSO, is a technology that allows employees to authenticate credentials once in order to access all the systems, services and solutions required for their role. This includes all Microsoft applications, as well as thousands of other SaaS applications.
This improves the user experience and increases productivity as it means that employees spend less time entering credentials, and they only need to remember one password and have one method of multifactor authentication. It also strengthens the organisation’s security posture as there is no need for employees to reuse the same password across different accounts.
Multifactor authentication is essential for businesses of all sizes, within all industries. However, many businesses do not have the required expertise to implement MFA correctly, especially if they want to use SSO.
We can help you implement multifactor authentication, as well as SSO and even passwordless authentication. It is also important to note that MFA is not the only security control required to protect your business from cyberattacks. We can also protect your entire IT ecosystem with a comprehensive security solution, tailored to your business needs. To find out more, contact us today.
Microsoft Sharepoint is one of the leading tools worldwide for internal communications.
With solid Microsoft 365, Teams, and Azure integrations, Microsoft knows that collaboration is key.
Sharepoint is an incredibly powerful tool for handling internal communications. The platform is packed to the brim with features, and it can be easy to miss some of the essential tricks and tools that Microsoft has incorporated into the platform.
We believe that everyone should be able to use Sharepoint to its fullest potential, so that’s why in this article, we’re going to go over our top Microsoft Sharepoint tips.
Microsoft Sharepoint Online is Microsoft’s cloud-based productivity platform that allows businesses to host beautiful, interactive intranets. This platform facilitates internal file sharing and documenting, and allows you to provide a useful knowledge base for your organisation.
Over the past two decades, Microsoft Sharepoint has become a productivity leviathan, with nearly 80% of today’s Fortune 500 companies integrating it into their business processes.
One reason why it’s so popular is due to its sheer flexibility. It allows businesses to create communication and collaboration tools however they want — whether that be through automation, website development, or just solid file sharing.
In addition to this, Sharepoint is also a part of the Microsoft ecosystem. This means that it works perfectly with other Microsoft products such as 365 and Teams and only works to enhance your organisation’s collaborative power
Add Your Branding to SharePoint
An organisation’s branding is its identity. Without solid branding, companies struggle to maintain a unique identity and stay a cut above the competition in the memory of those who interact with their brand.
Microsoft Sharepoint allows you to add your branding to your Sharepoint, which can be a great way to enhance employee satisfaction and improve the cohesion of your intranet.
To do so, simply head to ‘Settings’ > ‘Organisation Profile’ > ‘Manage custom themes for your organisation’. Here, you can add your brand’s logo and customise your theme to fit your brand.
Enable Version Control
Sometimes, being able to go through the history of a document can be incredibly helpful and important.
However, if you want to be able to see past versions of work in your organisation, you’ll have to manually enable the feature.
To do so, go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Library Settings’ > ‘Versioning Settings’ and ensure that ‘No Versioning’ is not selected.
There’s a multitude of settings available on the page, such as visibility options and being able to limit the number of versions.
Automate Tasks with Power Automate
Microsoft’s Power Automate is a standout automation tool, being able to create new workflows throughout the Microsoft ecosystem — including Sharepoint.
Automation can increase workflow and productivity significantly, and save a lot of time for your team, having saved over 26,000 hours for companies worldwide last year. Being able to integrate automation into your workflow will have many benefits, and Sharepoint allows you to do this with ease.
To be able to use Power Automate in Sharepoint to automate tasks and approvals, simply click the Automate menu on your command bar, then click Power Automate. This will give you a number of options. Click Create a Flow to get started.
Set Up Alerts
Alerts are a great way to be able to be notified whenever a document changes within your Sharepoint.
To set up alerts:
With this, you can ensure you can keep track of all changes and stay in the loop.
Create Logical Naming Conventions
Organisation is key to any business’s success, and this includes naming your files. Rather than having confusing and messy file names, having a naming convention that all of your files use can prevent confusion in your Sharepoint.
While you can’t enforce a naming convention on Sharepoint, ensuring that the naming convention is followed is a great way to save time and stop confusion throughout your organisation.
Set Up Personalised Views
Being able to clearly filter and view information is key for working in any file system. Microsoft Sharepoint allows you to easily set up Custom Views to allow you to filter out whatever you don’t need when browsing files.
To set up personalised views:
Tags are helpful in any system, to be able to quickly find what you are looking for. By tagging documents effectively, you make finding documents easier and more efficient.
While the tagging feature of Sharepoint has been discontinued, you can still tag documents in Sharepoint using metadata:
Microsoft Sharepoint is a powerful collaboration and communication tool that can be used in a multitude of ways. With robust file management, automation, and intranet capabilities, these tips will help you truly unlock the full potential of Sharepoint.
Do you need help getting started with Sharepoint or other Microsoft products? A helping hand can save time and effort and can easily help you find the answers that you need.
Get in touch today and see how we can help you!
Ransomware is one of the most dangerous forms of cyber attacks around. It can affect organisations of any size and in any industry. For example, the NHS was hit by a WannaCry ransom attack that left the British state health system at a standstill for several days.
CyberSecurity Ventures believes the cost to the global economy of ransomware attacks will rise to $20 billion by the end of 2022. In fact, they predict that there is a ransomware attack on a business or organisation every 11 seconds.
What is ransomware? How would one of these malicious attacks cost your business? Who is behind them? What should you do if you’re hit with a double extortion ransomware attack?
In this article, we’ll answer some key common questions about ransomware and help you protect your organisation from its devastating impact.
Ransomware is a type of cyber attack where malicious software (malware) encrypts an organisation’s files, databases and applications and “holds them ransom” by asking for a large payment sum to unlock their data.
Attackers can first gain access to your network to install the malware. Many ransomware attacks are viruses or trojans that hide in files downloaded from the internet or through an email attachment.
Less commonly, criminals may target your organisation specifically and may even try to gain access to your physical systems to install the malware onto your network.
A ransomware program will then use asymmetric encryption to scramble your data using complex mathematical equations and generate a public-private pair of keys. These keys are the solutions to these equations and are the only way to unlock your data.
It may also spread across to other systems or even other organisations if it detects security vulnerabilities in your network. That’s exactly what WannaCry achieved in the NHS.
The criminals will then demand a sum of money in exchange for the private key.
The AIDS Trojan, also known as the PC Cyborg virus, was responsible for the first ransomware attack ever. Back in 1989, biologist Joseph Popp sent 20,000 floppy disks to the attendees of the United Nations AIDS conference.
The program would hide the directories and encrypt the files on the host computer’s main drive. Popp demanded $189 be sent to PC Cyborg Corporation via a PO box in Panama to regain access.
In reality, the AIDS Trojan was pretty straightforward to crack as the encryption methods used weren’t particularly complex. However, that is not the case today – as many encryption procedures are impossible to decrypt without the private key.
If a ransomware virus successfully infects your network, all your critical files and applications will be inaccessible. Even if you don’t pay the high ransom fees, the cost of recovering data and fixing system damage is particularly dear.
According to Sophos, the average cost of a ransomware attack on a UK business stands at an eye-watering $1.96 million (£1.7 million).
For small and medium businesses (SMBs) that aren’t prepared to defend against an attack of this scale, a ransomware attack could be too costly to come back from. In fact, almost 60% of SMBs go out of business within six months of a cyber attack.
Unlike other forms of cyber attacks, many ransomware attacks are carried out by organised groups known as ransomware gangs. There is a fair bit of infrastructure needed to facilitate these attacks – from distributing malware to accepting payment and sending private keys.
Cybercriminals join these organisations to attack bigger targets and raise more ransom funds than they would be able to individually.
For example, Hive is one of the most notorious ransomware gangs in operation. They pooled their resources to hit high-profile targets such as Costa Rican Social Security Fund and even the Ohio Memorial Health System.
The unfortunate truth is that any business, of any size, can be targeted for a ransomware attack. However, criminals do tend to focus their efforts on key industries.
Trellix found that the most common industry targetted is banking & finance (22%). This is followed by:
These businesses are particularly lucrative as they are critical infrastructure, and so a loss of productivity and data in these fields is particularly catastrophic.
However, firms in any industry should be protecting themselves from ransomware attacks.
A double extortion ransomware attack is where a criminal steals and exfiltrates a victim’s data alongside encrypting it. This gives the attack some more leverage to demand a successful ransom sum.
The idea here is to find sensitive data that would be costly to leak. For personal attacks, this could be information that might embarrass or harm the reputation of the victim.
For businesses, this data could be trade secrets, customer data, information about employees etc. Attackers can also sell this stolen information to third parties or publish them on dark web forums.
Security organisations such as the NCSC and the FBI warn strongly against paying a ransom. Why? There’s no guarantee that your attacker will unlock your files if you pay the ransom fee.
The attacker may even ask for more money if they feel your organisation will pay up. These ransom sums may even fund other criminal activities such as targetting other firms or funding other aspects of organised crime.
You should instead invest in protecting your critical infrastructure from cyber-attacks and be prepared.
Here are some important steps to follow to avoid a ransomware attack and mitigate the impacts of a successful infection:
It’s important to have a detailed response and continuity strategy to avoid costly loss of data and productivity. What actions and first response needs to be done when an attack happens? How will your security team remove the virus from your network? What is the process for restoring files from off-site backups? Who’s responsible for actioning this strategy?
It’s important to have a detailed response and continuity strategy to avoid costly loss of data and productivity.
What actions and first response needs to be done when an attack happens? How will your security team remove the virus from your network? What is the process for restoring files from off-site backups? Who’s responsible for actioning this strategy?
As soon as you detect a ransomware attack, you should:
Ransomware attacks, if unprepared, can be one of the most costly forms of cyber crime to businesses of any size. However, if you’ve taken the necessary precautions, responding to these attacks can be far easier and less costly.
To achieve this, you’ll need to have a smart and adaptable cyber security strategy. Need some help configuring backups and finding storage solutions? Want to configure a watertight antivirus and email filter? Need assistance in responding to a cyber attack quickly?
Get in touch with our experts today to find out how we can help!
Cloud computing is quickly becoming one of the most important advancements for modern businesses. With no signs of slowing down, the benefits of cloud-based systems can’t be overstated.
One of the most significant benefits of cloud computing is its environmental impact on your business. With the ever-looming threat of ‘climate catastrophe’ and a massive push for companies to go ‘green’, cloud computing seems to be a major way for companies to begin pushing the envelope in this regard.
We believe that the environmental impact of technology cannot be ignored and that any way to reduce this effect is a positive thing for your company and the world at large.
That’s why in this article, we’re going to take a look at the environmental benefits of cloud computing, and how your company can get started with cloud computing today!
Investing in ‘Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) is becoming important for many companies:
As companies become more socially responsible, ESG is becoming a key factor in how those companies are run. Large or small, organisations are finding that ESG is key to both increasing their reputation and attracting both new customers and employees — nurturing growth.
Microsoft has led the charge of environmental awareness, pledging to be ‘carbon-negative by 2050’. Whilst a massive undertaking, companies like Microsoft are finding that they have the power to make a change for the better regarding environmental sustainability and climate awareness.
Adobe has found that it too wants to take a sustainable approach to its technologies, and aims to operate on 100% renewable energy by 2035. With large companies like Microsoft and Adobe taking the charge and becoming environmentally conscious, companies are finding it far more important to examine their environmental impact and improve their sustainability.
ESG also creates value for your company too. McKinsey found that companies with ESG targets had more growth and positive effects on companies and that it’s becoming integral to any company in the modern day.
With so many benefits, there’s no question that any company must focus on ESG. Rather than fall behind and let your company’s growth stunt and reputation dwindle, taking a look at ESG can be a way to breathe new life into your company. By doing so, you can not only benefit your company but also the world around you.
Higher Utilisation Rate
Cloud Computing significantly increases utilisation rates, due to higher productivity and workflow. This is great, as higher utilisation means more energy saved — saving costs and lessening the environmental impact of your energy consumption.
Furthermore, a higher utilisation rate also means that you’re spending less time running physical hardware as you’re able to log out of a virtual instance when finished — whereas usually, on-prem hardware will need to be constantly run and maintained to be effective for your whole institution.
Enable Remote Work
Remote working has taken the post-pandemic world by storm and has single-handedly dropped carbon emissions by 15%. By allowing your employees to work remotely, there’s no having to use transport to get to work — with passenger cars being one of the lead polluters on EU roads.
Remote work also means that you don’t have to have hardware running on-site, as your employees will instead be working from home. This saves emissions as computer hardware can accrue energy usage rapidly, and so slashing those emissions can significantly help your company’s carbon footprint.
Cloud computing is incredibly efficient. With Microsoft Azure’s commitment to sustainability — stating that moving to Azure can “reduce your carbon footprint up to 98%” — their push for sustainable data centers has become apparent.
Microsoft states that the Microsoft Cloud is ‘between 22 and 93 per cent more energy efficient than traditional enterprise data centers’. For any company with an on-prem infrastructure, that’s a huge shift towards becoming more environmentally sustainable as a company.
Powered By Renewable Energy
Microsoft has committed that Azure will be running on 100% renewable energy by 2025. Whilst a large undertaking, this is already far better than most on-prem solutions, which run on mains electricity for most organisations.
Furthermore, Microsoft not only fuels Azure with renewable energy but also has partnered with solar farms in Virginia to propel the green revolution into full force, creating jobs and growth in the green industry. Not only does this help with your environmental commitments to green usage, but also means that any money put into Azure is investing in green initiatives and the growth of sustainability.
Cost-Effective Energy Innovations
Microsoft not only wants to help lead the green revolution but also innovate their technology to the next level of sustainability. By using Azure as a cloud-based solution, this innovation is at your disposal.
Azure provides a wealth of tools to be able to run your business on your terms, and that doesn’t end with sustainability. With water-cooled AI options and a switch from diesel to a less-carbon-intensive backup generator fuel, Microsoft continues to push the envelope to allow your business to become as sustainable as possible.
Environmental awareness and ESG are becoming increasingly important in our modern, environmentally conscious world. Cloud-based computing is one of the best ways you can reduce your company’s environmental impact.
By investing in a cloud-based solution, you both reduce costs and reduce carbon emissions — both of which contribute to your company’s overall growth and profitability. Also, doing better for the planet is a great way for your company to increase its reputation in the public eye.
Are you ready to improve your company’s environmental impact and help your organisation grow and prosper? Get in touch today and see how we can help!
The world around us moves fast. New advancements are being made every day, and it’s the same for the digital world. The digital revolution is only just coming out of its infancy, and it’s important for any company to make the right decisions to stay ahead.
Digital transformation is one of the most important processes of the digital landscape and is key for ensuring your company keeps up with the necessities of the modern world.
With worldwide digital transformation spending on an upwards trend — and projected to have increased a net 208% from 2018 to 2025 — it’s evident that businesses are seeing more reasons to take the step into the future.
We especially believe that this process is crucial to any successful business, and so that’s why in this article, we’re going to take a look at how you can make sure that your Digital Transformation project is successful.
Digital transformation is simply the name of the process of bringing a company or system into the digital era. Rather than targeting a specific system or infrastructure, Digital Transformation is an institution-wide process, from process to culture.
This process can be divided into four main areas —
Assess Current Technologies and Gaps
Investing in a saturated market in which you’re doomed to fail is a massive waste of time and money for your business. Instead, try to find gaps in which you can innovate.
For example — in the era of Blockbuster, Netflix was an up-and-coming DVD rental company that would send out DVDs to customers to rent and return. Nobody knew that they wanted ‘streaming’, as the idea hadn’t really come to fruition yet.
Netflix saw the gap in the market and took advantage of it, becoming the go-to company for movie streaming for the majority of the 2010s. In fact, Netflix was so successful in innovating the industry that it caused Blockbuster to fall into obsolescence.
With this, be careful to keep an eye on how technology is progressing. Netflix was able to start its streaming service so quickly because it timed the transition from DVD to streaming perfectly as the quality of streaming improved — with Netflix relegating its DVD service to DVD.com in 2016 whilst acquiring the domain in 2012.
Rather than hastily rushing into the streaming market in the early 2010s, Netflix slowly built up its empire and sunsetted its archaic DVD service to obsolescence when the time was right.
Define Realistic Goals
Ambition is key to any project. However, being overly ambitious is often the downfall of many.
By setting your expectations and ensuring your goals stay realistic, you can better predict the success of your project. You can always focus on growth afterwards, but it’s important to avoid disappointment or — even worse — catastrophe.
Rather than setting huge targets for your whole project, a great way to set goals is to create and define aims to achieve in independent areas that can have a spectrum of success.
Some examples include —
Involve Your Leadership Team
Leadership is one of the most important parts of any team or workplace. Ensuring that the leadership of your business is involved can help ensure that everything runs smoothly and that the best decisions are made for those leaders’ areas of responsibility.
After all, you want to enable your company to prosper. Instead of independently making decisions that impact every employee, involving the leaders to help set realistic goals that benefit the whole workforce means that you can ensure morale stays high and give people the best opportunity to work to their full potential.
Choose the Right Technologies
Technology is the backbone of the digital era. By failing to consider and choose the right technologies for your project, you’ll falter in reaching your team’s full potential. After all, the technological limitations of your project are the highest limiting factors.
Keeping up-to-date and well-researched on possible technologies you can use in your field is very important to ensure that you’re constantly ahead of the curve in technological innovation. Often, using an upgradable technology if possible will futureproof your work and make sure that you can scale up the technological aspect if need be.
Work with a Trusted Partner
Rather than having to work it all out yourself, finding a trusted partner to help you in your digital transformation journey can improve your success tenfold. By hiring a partner that knows what they’re doing, they can take care of the complexities of the process whilst you focus holistically on your vision.
The best-trusted partners also provide education and support throughout the process and afterwards too, to ensure that your company can truly excel going forward. Rather than settle for less, why not see how we can help?
Educate Employees and Manage Change
Introducing a new vision for employees can cause distress or tension, and can lead to lower morale in the team. Also, Domain Transformation especially has the inevitable challenge of having to enter a new field, with new challenges.
This is why educating employees on your new systems and goals and helping them settle into a digitally-focused workplace can truly help enable their full potential. Rather than feeling confused and lost throughout the process, an excellent trusted partner will provide guidance and support for any employer or employee that needs it.
Digital transformation is one of the most important ways that companies can ensure success going into the digital future. Instead of falling behind, companies are constantly looking for new ways to innovate and excel in their industries, as well as to diversify and evolve into new domains and fields.
As the process of digital transformation is very important, seeking expert guidance on the process and its pitfalls and complexities can mean the difference between a successful project and stunted growth potential.
So, why not get in touch today, and see how we can take your business to the next level?
Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) is a powerful tool that allows you to access a remote virtual desktop from anywhere. Powered by Microsoft Azure and 365, AVD is the industry standard for virtual machine desktops.
In the next 24 months, it’s estimated that 58% of organisations will have AVD deployed.
Ensuring that your company is ahead of the curve and up to date on the latest technologies is incredibly important, and introducing Azure Virtual Desktop is no different.
AVD is one of the most useful tools in Microsoft’s tool set, and any business should have it on hand.
That’s why in this article, we’re going to go over the top 8 use cases for Azure Virtual Desktop, and how you can get started now!
Azure Virtual Desktop is a cloud-based virtual machine solution, that allows you to remotely connect to a virtual desktop from anywhere. All you have to do is enter the virtual desktop’s server into any remote desktop tool, and you’re ready to go. You can even use Window’s built-in ‘Remote Desktop Connection’ tool!
As AVD is a Microsoft product, it is the best way to run a Windows virtual machine and has the added advantage of being cloud-based — which means great scalability and adjustability compared to traditional on-prem virtual machines.
It also works directly with other Microsoft Azure and 365 products, making it much better for your workflow as a whole than any other solution.
Simple Remote Working
Remote working is looking to be the future of business. With 14% of adults having worked from home exclusively, Azure Virtual Desktop is the perfect tool for the modern world.
Rather than having to carry your files on a physical computer or hard drive, Azure Virtual Desktop allows you to access your work computer system from any computer, meaning that your files never leave the workplace — but you can work on them anywhere.
And, as remote teams grow and more resources are deployed — Azure Virtual Desktop’s scalability is second to none. You can onboard users easily, and can also ensure that leaving employees’ work drives are archived or deleted without having to physically access their computers.
The needs of the healthcare industry are enormous due to the importance of providers’ work and the amount of sensitive information that healthcare institutions carry. Azure Virtual Desktop is far more secure than any other solution and allows for data to be stored on encrypted drives that can’t be accessed by physical attacks.
Also, AVD allows multiple users to access the same desktop — which lets healthcare employees have anonymous access to the files that they need whenever they need them without security fears.
Cheaper Manufacturing Hardware
Virtual Machines are integral to the manufacturing industry, as it allows organisations to create a system that is accessible to employees at once.
Azure Virtual Desktop lets employees log in to a single desktop, meaning that you don’t have to spend tons on hardware and software licensing — nor do you have to give up any security power.
Law Firms on the Go
Legal institutions need secure infrastructure as their information is often highly sensitive and prone to attacks. Azure Virtual Desktop is highly secure and protects these companies’ data from ransomware attacks and data breaches.
Legal representatives will often have to travel outside of the office. Azure Virtual Desktop is the easiest solution to allow them to log in to their desktop away from their physical office, meaning they can access important documentation and files whilst meeting with a client — or even in the courtroom.
Education and Schooling
Virtual Machines have been the backbone of schools for years. Being able to give hundreds of students access to computer accounts without paying for tons of physical hardware for each student is important to educational institutions.
With schools and other institutions moving to a remote-based platform, Azure Virtual Desktop is great for moving archaic on-prem virtual machines onto the cloud. With great scalability and ease of adding and removing accounts, schools can easily give new accounts to new students whilst removing leavers each year.
AVD also allows students to access their files and school desktop from anywhere, meaning that they are able to do work at home — this lowers the amount of demand for physical hardware in school libraries/workspaces.
Compliant Finance Organisations
Azure Virtual Desktop is great for financial organisations due to its top-tier security and encryption.
Rather than having on-prem servers — that can be attacked physically — Azure Virtual Desktop allows financial institutions to safeguard themselves against ransomware attacks and data breaches.
Azure Virtual Desktop is also fully security compliant, allowing employees to access their files remotely in a secure way — whilst also limiting what employees can access or transfer to external devices.
Companies often hire independent contractors to work for them, meaning that they need the tools and systems from the business to be able to carry out their work.
Due to the temporary nature of contract work, Azure Virtual Desktop allows employers to give temporary access to contractors without having to physically give them hardware or full access to work systems — you can easily add and remove contractors from your AVD system.
Virtual machines are incredibly useful and important to our transforming world. With more companies moving online and the increased security needs of companies with important data, Azure Virtual Desktop is easily the best tool in any successful organisation’s arsenal.
AVD’s security and remote working capabilities are unmatched, and its cloud-based system with Microsoft 365 and Azure integration make it far superior to any other virtual machine solution. The best time to get started with virtual machines is today, and the best virtual machine is Azure Virtual Desktop.
So, why not get started now? Get in touch and see how we can help!
According to recent research by Tessian, 26% of employees have clicked on a phishing email at work in the past year. For this reason, and many others, there is no surprise that most CISOs are concerned about how phishing attacks are evolving.
Thankfully, email security solutions are always becoming more advanced and stopping more potentially malicious emails and attachments. However, it only takes one mistake or slip in judgement for an employee to click on a phishing link or follow the instructions of a social engineer, which can have devastating effects on a business.
In this article, we will look into some of the common and not-so-common phishing methods, and what your business can do to protect itself from the evolving threat of phishing attacks.
Bulk phishing is the most common form of phishing attack. This is where a cybercriminal sends the same phishing email to a large number of employees or individuals. The messages typically impersonate a legitimate company in an attempt to steal personal data, login credentials or coerce the victim into sending them money. Some of the common companies that are impersonated are Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and LinkedIn.
These bulk phishing attacks often use language that creates a sense of urgency to stop the victim from taking time to check if the message is fraudulent. Whilst these phishing attacks are low effort and high volume, untrained or distracted employees may follow the instructions of a cybercriminal.
Some tell-tale signs of these attacks include:
Whereas bulk phishing attacks are high volume and low effort, spear phishing attacks are low volume and high effort. In these attacks, cybercriminals use open-source intelligence (OSINT) to gather information about their targets. For example, their name, position, employer, phone number, and previous job roles. The attacker will use this information to customise the phishing email to deceive the victim into believing the attacker can be trusted.
This information used to tailor the attacks can be easily gathered from sources such as LinkedIn, Facebook simple Google searches. The attacks are more likely to be successful as employees are more likely to follow the instructions or click a link from someone they believe they trust.
It can be difficult to detect a spear phishing attack, but employees should look out for:
Whaling is a form of spear phishing that specifically targets high-level employees, such as an organisation’s C suite, directors or VPs.
Typically, the goal of these attacks is to gain access to the high-level employee’s account, also known as business email compromise (BEC). Once they have gained access they can abuse this to authorise transactions, email employees asking for sensitive information, or use high-level privileges to access systems and information to exfiltrate.
Whilst most phishing attacks use emails, some cybercriminals use SMS (smishing) and voice calls (vishing) to deceive their victims. Similar to email-based forms of phishing attacks, the goal of smishing and vishing is to deceive the victim into sharing sensitive information or sending money to the attacker. Cybercriminals are more likely to target consumers rather than businesses with these attacks, but it is important to be aware of this form of attack.
As with email phishing, individuals should not share information or follow the orders of an individual on an inbound voice call or SMS. It is also possible to Google search the phone number to ascertain if it is a legitimate call.
There are many email security solutions on the market that can help keep your business safe. Some common features of these solutions include:
Although email clients, such as Gmail and Microsoft Outlook have some of these features included as standard, most businesses rely on a third-party solution to increase their security posture and decrease the chance of falling victim to a phishing attack.
A traditional firewall is an IT system that monitors and filters inbound and outbound network traffic, blocking anything malicious. Typically, it acts as a boundary between a trusted network, and an untrusted network.
A human firewall is similar to a traditional firewall, however rather than being an IT system, the employees within a business are given the tools and education to reduce cyber risk.
The foundation of any strong human firewall is a comprehensive education and awareness program. This education program should give employees the skills to detect a potential cyberattack, and what actions to take to reduce the chance of falling victim to an attack. Phishing awareness training should include common phishing methods, examples of phishing emails, how employees can reduce the amount of information online that can be used for spear phishing attacks and how to report a potential phishing email.
The human firewall is important as employees are the final line of defence. In an ideal situation, the previous security controls will stop a phishing attack before it lands in an employee’s inbox. However, this is not always the case, so employees need to be able to correctly identify a phishing email.
In the worst-case scenario, if your email security solution does not stop a phishing email and an employee clicks on a malicious link and the attacker steals their login information, businesses need a method of preventing access to their account. There are solutions such as Conditional Access, which can stop unusual login attempts, but 99.9% of account compromise attacks can be stopped with the simple addition of multifactor authentication (MFA).
With MFA enabled, even if a cybercriminal has the login credentials for an employee, they will also need access to their phone, or biometrics to access their account. In terms of bang for your buck, MFA provides immense value and security for a business, however, does not take long to set up and is not expensive. For this reason, all businesses should implement MFA enables for all employees, no matter what.
Navigating the world of email security and phishing can be difficult for businesses, especially as the techniques are constantly evolving. For this reason, many businesses choose to work with a trusted cybersecurity professional to deploy and manage their email security solution. If you want assistance with this, or anything cybersecurity-related, contact us today.