Friday, 10 July 2020

5 Reasons Why IT Outsourcing is a Smart Strategy for Your Small Businesses

Achieving satisfaction and convenience from IT Service management is an important factor for business growth and resilience while keeping costs low.

Whether you operate your business online or via a shop front the ability to have continuous productivity and fully working technologies is more important than ever before.

As such, you must consider IT consulting and the ability to outsource aspects of your technology landscape to those experts who are able to deliver superb services in less time.

That said, many small business owners find it difficult to hire the best IT talent to complement their team and compete effectively against big players within their niche or business industry.

Statistics shows that there is a massive gap between the skills and talent required by hiring managers and what's available on the market to fulfil this need.

Like many businesses. you may have an in-house IT team or dedicated person that does some sort of information technology duties alongside their daily duties. But let's consider the facts carefully, is this an economical approach for taking your business to the next level? You may think increasing your IT budget is the only way to meet your business needs, but with today's technology landscape there is far more than what meets the eyes.

Outsourced IT Support Services

Have you considered IT outsourcing? Having the mindset that your business isn’t big enough for outsourcing your IT functions is one way to look at things, but is this really the truth?

It may take some time to rationalise the benefits of whether or not IT outsourcing is the right call and to help you direct your thoughts to a decision point, we've highlighted the top five reasons for outsourcing your IT and technology support functions of your business.

1. Access to the Best Industry Talent

By outsourcing your IT services, you get the opportunity to identify and select the best consulting resources in the industry at a great price. Hiring the best experts is pivotal for protecting your business against technology implications, security breaches and unnecessary resource deployment. This approach is by far one of the best factors to consider if you intend to take your business to the next level. Before choosing your IT service provider, you must learn about the services they offer and their overall staff profile.

One crucial factor that can help you avoid potential pitfalls is to consider if they experienced in delivering IT services and technology consultancy within your industry. Take the time to ask them about the services they’re providing to other industry players and what their typical incident resolution time looks like.

Another way to approach this is to examine how their company offer remote it support, computer repairs, and on-site call out services. In the end, the final decision will be dependent on the company you choose to support your business via IT outsourcing, but you can find out a lot about your potential IT Support provider and ensure you are a best match for each other when it comes to the provision of outsourced IT support for your business.

2. Reduce Your Risk

When handling IT Support in-house, there is a sense of comfort that comes with trussing your team to operate in the spirit of interest for the business. This can sometimes come as an unexpected bite, when things go belly-up and your business assumes all the risks.

On the other hand, when an Outsourced IT service provider is involved, it is often more noticeable that they take a more precautionary approach to risk management and scenarios mitigation with activities restricted only to those involved in respective IT operations. It's important to remember that with internal IT Support, your IT team handles all the sensitive client and company information, which may not be suitable for every eye, especially with the introduction on GDPR regulations.

Also, if there's a cyber security breach within your environment, your business will be totally responsible for any consequences and liquidated damages should this become necessary. Outsourcing your IT department will help you reduce your risks and offset the level of responsibility, although you are still accountable for the overall outcome.

3. Lower Your Operating Costs

It is a known fact that having an in-house IT team or personnel introduce significant strains on small business budgets. However, by outsourcing your IT services provision and maintenance, you could potentially lower your ongoing operating costs year-by-year and this will become noticeable when all human resource factors are taken into consideration.
This low cost may tempt you to go for a complete IT package and it is here that care is required to ensure you focus on hiring an IT services company that meet your business needs and deliver solutions that are related to your productivity requirements.

4. Keep Your Systems Up to Date

Technology is one of the most rapidly changing industries that with hardware, software and resource churn occurring at an alarming rate. That said, there are many business owners who with a mindset to purchase and use hardware / software resources until they broke or cause productivity issues.

This strategy may seems like a practical working solution, but statistics have shown that this can seriously drag business and staff productivity to a grinding halt. In the ling run, such scenarios can result in low staff morale and user frustration which can negatively impact the outcome of your business.

If outcomes are not recognised and properly manged, this can result in slow business growth and competitive advantage. By outsourcing your IT, your IT department can also become your technology department for solution innovation and strategies which could easily grow your company.

5. Focus on Scaling Your Business

As a small business owner, it is likely that each personnel resource wears multiple hats due to the varied roles and responsibilities that they have to perform if not daily, then on a regular basis.
Outsourcing your IT functions and environment management can provide you an opportunity to step back with enough breathing room where you can focus business growth strategies and profitable outcomes.

The Bottom Line for IT Outsourcing

Although there are numerous cost elements to consider with IT outsourcing, this will by far become the easiest way to take your business to the next level. If you are a small business owner and struggling with the provision of technology budget or hiring an outside company to handle your IT maintenance this approach can provide you the breather that the business needs.

An outsourced It Support team can provide the best talent and technology for your business and technology strategy road map, while helping to reduce overall operating costs to your business. For business owners with operating within multiple roles, an outsourced IT approach can provide the necessary leverage to focus on daily business needs, instead of being bombarded by daily demands and limited time to undertake core business functions properly.

Many business owners underestimate the importance of technology and the value of technical support as part of their everyday company's' operations.

If like many you are still thinking about the benefits of outsourcing your IT functions then it is time to get in touch with us to discuss your IT support challenges and underlying requirements.

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Apple iMac 21.5-Inch 3.2GHz Core i3 Mid-2010 8GB RAM 1TB + Office 2019 MC509LL/A Product Review

The iMac "Core i3" 3.2 21.5-inch mid-2010 desktop Macintosh boasts an aluminum, silver and well-polished frame that makes appearance second to none. This iMac comes powered by a dual core 3.2 GHz Intel "Core i3" I3-550 processor and 4 MB shared level 3 cache.

The iMac 2010- is capable of being upgraded to 16GB of RAM via 4 slots of PC3-10600 DDR3 SDRAM operating at 1333MHz. It also has a 1TB 7200 RPM hard drive along with a dedicated ATI Radeon HD 5670 graphics card with 512 MB of dedicated GDDR3 memory.

Like most other Apple computers, this 21.5-inch mid-2010 iMac also have abuilt-in iSight video camera and stereo speakers.

Interface connectivity includes four USB 2.0 ports, a Firewire 800 port, built-in AirPort Extreme WIFI adapter and Gigabit Ethernet port for direct network connection.

The "Mid-2010" iMac is also able to support  SDXC SD memory cards as standard, eliminating the need to use an external card reader.

Looking to grab an iMac and start working more productively, check out this amazing offer here.

Monday, 8 June 2020

HTTP VS HTTPS: Benefits of An HTTPS Website

HTTPS Website for Technical SEO Compliance

Secure sockets layer (SSL) and transport layer security (TLS) certificates are the two most widely adopted security artefacts used for website protection and end to end security. Both web security standards utilise certificates to enforce encryption between the hosting web server, the website and the user browser. This means any interaction or traffic flow between the website, user and the internet browser is fully protected for the duration of the user session.

SSL and TLS makes it possible for secure card purchases to be undertaken online, secure user login and sensitive information transfers without concerns for information snooping or data hijacking from malicious sources.
There are differences between TSL and SSL and although marginal, they both useful for ensuring the secure connection for data
exchange between source and destination entities online.

How SSL & TLS Certificates Work?

Basically, data from source to destination systems is secured during transmission across the network transportation layer with verified file level encryption applied via a control code.
SSL and TLS use certificates to enforce and identify the type of encryption that is applied for a web connection, which can be validated by inputting https:// before the www part of the website domain name or website link.

When a site is secure it will display a padlock in front of the domain name. An insecure website will https in the URL and therefore will not be considered safe for online transactions or visit b y search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing and others. Having a safe website now an important part of ensuring regularoy compliance and every website owner / operator now need to have an https site URL.

Online Safety and Security

Cybersecurity and hacking is actively increasing, given the number of devices that are now connected to the internet along with the rising also threats caused by data breach, identity theft and system compromise.

Many small business and professional website owners are of the impression that their network system and website is immune to the effects of hacking, but this is a massive mistake. Since the beginning of 2020 the highest levels of malicious attacks and data breaches were from small business and those hosting online platforms with data stored on remote servers.

In these scenarios, hacking is generally accomplished by malicious search crawlers searching cyber space for potential targets that can be easily compromised. Without SSL or TLS as an extra layer of defence, owners of these website are opening themselves up to becoming victim of proportionate attacks.

Ecommerce website and those accepting user login generally rely on username and passwords for access. Nowadays, websites without SSL or TLS security certificate would be looked upon as a suspicious entity with minimal user trust. This means security certificates need to be in place in or for sites to can take card payments.

GDPR Compliance & Regulatory Impacts

General Data Defense Regulation (GDPR) came into effect on 25th May 2019 and places responsibility on data controllers and owners to ensure the safe and consistent protection of customer / user data, without which there could be massive fines and penalties. For this reason security certificates on web sites have become a mandatory requirement as it indicate that due diligence has been taken to protect the date that one is responsible for. With the new information security regulation, it’s vital that any company gathering individual recognisable data have roper protection in place to safeguard its existence.

Some sites function by gathering details regarding their users for future marketing and retargeting via different methods. If you have not installed a TSL certificate and data within your control gets breached, you will need to inform the ICO and advise all impacted consumers of this occurrence.

SEO Services Requirements

When Google come across a website that doesn’t have SSL or TLS in place, these are flagged as “not secure”, a measure which was implemented back in 2017. Since that time, it is also estimated that at least two-thirds of all internet facing websites are still considered unsafe and insecure. Effective SEO services rely on having HTTP as an active feature within the site as a mandatory technical SEO metrics.

Another internet trust management company – Moz – also highlighted that there is a connection between websites with HTTPS and the final weighting of their search ranking results.

Additionally, GlobalSign’s research reveals that 84% of web customers would abandon an online purchase if data was sent out over an insecure connection which could impact their data privacy and security. This means websites without HTTPS could be penalised by lower search position visibility from Google along with a lower domain name authority and trust flow. This focus on safe web sites will continue to play an important role in boosting the value of SEO, web development and visitor conversions.

In Conclusion…

Although SSL and TLS certifications do attract a cost of around ₤70 each year, the financial investment versus the risk is well worth the effort and peace of mind.

The increase of individuals acquiring TSL and SSL certificates will continue to increase as emphasis on compliance become more stringent for the protection of data and information security.

As e-commerce presence continue to grow and more transactions are carried out as part of online shopping the need for secure platform will become mandatory. Both local businesses to large companies will want to ensure they are not caught out due to the lack of safeguard practices and inadequate cyber security mechanisms in place.

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Most Dangerous Virus & Malware Threats to be Aware of in 2020

Virus attack on computer is nothing new and although antivirus programs have been evolving to higher levels of sophistication, detecting and removing malicious threats from computer systems is still a major concern for many systems and users.

Malware attacks are on the rise, targeting Windows and Apple Mac with infections at an  ever increasing rate. So how do we eradicate malicious and virus attack problems caused by these threats?

It is very tempting to make predictions about the future of security industry based on current threats and trends within the security industry.

virus removal services London

To get a better ideas of what the state of affairs for virus and malware attacks looks like  let’s do a deeper analysis of the latest malware trends, major statistics and effects these infections have on computers running Windows, Android and Mac operating systems.

Statistics shows that security attacks counts for 623 million records breaches in 2020, with February showing the highest level on record.

This trend is spread across business and residential domains in the form of cyber attacks, Ransomware, data breaches, malicious incidents and financial information loss.

Be Careful With Your Productivity Tools

Microsoft Office is a primary attack point for security compromise. As one of the leading productivity tool used by residential and business users, there is also a greater level of threats for compromise to occur on a larger scale with successful outcome.

So, the main suggestion here is to beware of your own productivity tools. Executable files were once the core source for attacking target systems and inflicting malicious intent.

Now attackers are exploring other options that can be weaponized for more sophisticated yet subtle attacks on Windows, Apple Mac and network systems.

Although users have caught onto the fact that links and executable are likely to be malicious, email services are still prone to open .doc files which hackers have been using as exploits to their advantage. As much as 38% of malware is now being disguised as a Word document.

Ransomware is Shill a Massive Problem

The average cost of security breaches has increased by 6.8%. and in 2019, the average cost of data breach has increased by 6.4% to £3.8 million.

Reports that the impact of ransomware is becoming  less common are not true as organisations and individuals are still being targeted by mutated versions of this security strain with a whopping payout cost of £9.26 billion for remediating ransomware damages or honouring the ransom amounts.

Cryptojacking is on the rise

Cryptocurrency mining requires huge amount of processor CPU power for successful conversion.

The presents of such power CPU power presents a lucrative option hackers who aim to hijack a crypto miner CPU cycle and use it to their benefit for free.

There is a massive rise in Cryptojacking malware which steals the CPU cycles used to mine cryptocurrency. As of December 2019, this is now one of the fastest-growing malware attacks in cyber space, with up to 10 million malicious attacks per month.

Hackers are coming for your phone.

Smart phones are now a major target for malicious attacks by malware, Trojans and viruses.
By mobile phones being always online and having processing power that is sometimes equivalent to most modern computers. mobile malware are targeting both new and older versions of Android apps with many now using emails, text, apps and wireless hijacking as feasible route of exploitation.

What About phishing attacks?

9 out of 10 cyber attacks start with a simple phishing email, where hackers attempt to trick users into handing over important personal or business information.

Even with the introduction of security awareness training, statistical evidence shows that a vast proportion of system compromise are the result of  phishing attacks.

Most cyber criminals need your funds

cyber security - hackers need your money

Paying out for cyber blackmail of at the forefront of most malicious attacks.

Hackers are no longer interested in compromising systems for the sake of petty revenge, nation-state espionage, industrial espionage, or simple activism/vandalism – the truth is, they want your money.

Financial gains account for 76% of attacks by cyber criminals who are motivated to see this as the fundamental way for them to make a living.

Small businesses are the most susceptible to virus and malware attacks.

Companies with less than 1,000 employees are classified as small business and believe it or not these are the prime target for cyber attacks in their various forms.

Over 60% of all cyber attacks are directed at small businesses who, either lacks the budget and/or  manpower to defend their assets and data against these serious security threats.

In Conclusion...

Awareness is the best defence against virus attacks and malware infections on your system or network environment.

Malware attacks still present significant challenges on a global scale for users at all levels, due to their sophistication and ability to evolve quickly.

The primary intent behind most attacks by hackers is compromising users accounts, collect sensitive information and stealing anything of value that can then be sold on for profit.

In light of the threats created by virus, malware and other malicious payload, security will continue to be an important part of information technology and corporate governance, so organisations and individual will need to step up the game and become more vigilant to pending threat - ready or not.

Friday, 28 February 2020

Why you must assume your business will suffer a cyber security attack

In an ever growing era of uncertainties, you must assume your small business will suffer a cybersecurity attack.

Cyber security threats and resillience

Hope in having a secure IT environment has never been a good strategy for survival or continued success and it is certainly not the case now. It’s not a matter of if your business will be victim of a cyber attack, but when. With technology growth and dynamic changes occurring so frequently, it’s just a matter of time before hackers and security threats start knocking at your doors.

Assume your small business can be affected by cyber security attacks – the threats and statistics speak for themselves

There are high-profile incidents exposing data breaches at some of the largest organisation and this shows that even they are still learning and haven't quite got it as yet. These threats are real and when serious incidents occur, they grab the headlines.

  • Hiscock which is one of the largest business insurance company in the UK highlighted that cyber security incidents for small businesses (those with fewer than 50 employees) rose by 11 percent in 2019, from 33 to 47 per cent. This shows that businesses who are connected to the internet or make use of online services are increasingly becoming targets for cyber criminals, so you must assume your small business will suffer a cybersecurity attack, too.
  • It was also highlighted that 55% of all businesses across London and the UK experienced some kind of cyber security attack in 2019, reflecting a rise of 15% for the previous year.and looking at the trends, this may be just the tip of the iceberg. Considering cyber security attacks are so widespread across the globe, it is now more important than ever that businesses include this as part of their organisation IT strategy.
  • Not many companies understand the scope or implications of cyber security as almost 75% of active firms were ranked as ‘novices’ in relation to cyber security readiness.

So, how you can you protect your company from cyberattacks and what 5 techniques could enable you to implement resilient cyber security strategy?

Here are some of the key highlights worth considering for improved cyber security awareness and resilience:
  1. Connectivity is foundation of all cyber security espionage
  2. Cyber security resilience and governance are crucial strategies for staying safe
  3. Make your business cyber resilient in 5 steps
  4. Create cyber resilience strategy that are revised regularly

Connectivity is foundation of all cyber security infiltration

cyber security threat prevention 
The internet has revolutionised the way we communicate and do business and while in many ways it is a blessing, on the other hand, there are numerous pitfalls that are not immediately obvious.

There is a price to pay for having the luxury of an always on technology that easily facilitate inter-connectivity, data-driven and digital interactions. 

With the genesis of  Internet of Things (IoT), the world is heading to an eternal connected state with little understating of security or adequate cyber infrastructures in place. This mean, you have to understand how to protect your business from cyber attack as they can happen at anytime, across any technology platform or communication medium.

To put this simply, there’s now more data in multiple places with access by more apps and users than can ever be remembered. We are in a new era of interconnected technologies by multiple users across varying locations and timespan.

The wide-open nature of the internet easily lends itself to unsuspecting cyber criminals, giving a greater level of flexibility and opportunities to sell whatever information and identity details that can be stolen. There are no borders to stop them and the demand for information has somehow justify the need to help along with the provision, by whatever means necessary.

And this has nothing to do with the act of using ransomware to blackmail your London-based business in an attempt to hijack operations to fulfil demands for payment. Infact, the seriousness of the cyber security situation goes way beyond that level of sophistication.

Anyone who has had computer virus attack knows the implications of and cost of recovery. Present day cyber attacks goes well beyond that as there are now reputation, customer relations and business continuity factors at play. Fundamentally, cyber security attacks can become very expensive.

The average cost of a cyber security attack per business has risen from £176,000 in 2018 to £283,000 in 2019, an increase of 61%.

Moreover, with the introduction of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which protects any personally identifiable information your business holds, a security compromise could enforce a fine of up to €20 million or up to 4% of the annual turnover for any breach of data privacy.

Cyber security resilience and governance are crucial strategies for staying safe

When you’re wondering how to protect your company from cyber attacks, the answer is not just to be cybersecure but cyber resilient, too. Cybers ecurity focuses on reducing the likelihood of a threat moving on to becoming a severe risk due to a cyber attack. Cyber resilience focuses on keeping your business operational irrespective of threat levels or cyber attack strategies.

Effective business continuity is essential for protecting your company brand image and disaster recovery strategies are fundamental to overcome downtime and restore normal operation promptly in the face of a successful cybersecurity system compromise.

Some industry experts are of the opinion that eventually at least one security hacking attempt will get through to every business environment during its lifetime and the only true way for sustainability is to have a disaster recovery plan in place that ensures business continuity.

Security threats are constantly evolving into more sophisticated attacks and many exhibit an exponential multiplication factor for categorised threats. With technology adopting a seemingly similar level of dynamic growth technology cybersecurity, it’s more like a game of cat and mouse or better yet, a cat chasing its’ own tail.

Make your business Cyber resilient in 5 steps

You can incorporate cyber resilience into your business by adopting a well-defined and solid IT security strategies. This increase the capability and functional criteria for your business to remain operational in the face of a hacking attack or other cyber threats.

1. Involve staff and company Stakeholders

Having technology professionals or your own tech department, does not shift the responsibility for cyber security to them alone, this must be a shared responsibility by everyone within the business.

Technology can only go so far in ensuring security measures are in place, but ultimately data security and resource usage is in the hands of those entrusted to be part of the business operation. 

This means that human factors will play an important role in reinforcing the cybersecurity process. If online safety and IT security is important for your business, then accountability should start at the top and work its way throughout the entire culture of your organisation.

Member and sub-teams should know how to protect the business from cyber attacks and for this to be effective, training is required.  Cybersecurity training should focus on empowering your staff with the knowledge and understanding to detect and stop the many ways hackers can get pass defences and access valuable company information. An area of significant interest for staff training is understanding of what email phishing looks like and how the process for raising suspicion attempts regardless of apparent impact – big or small.

There is also the need for cyber resilience training for the entire team, which boost everyone knowledge about business continuity processes that comes into effect should there be a successful cyber compromise.

2. Protect your systems and digital assets

Being cyber resilient doesn’t happen by itself, there is a need for preparation and test-runs. Effective cyber resilience requires a four-step approach for the protection of critical systems and digital assets from being impacted during a cyber security incident:

Realignment: Reduce connections between critical and non-critical systems. This increases the chance of containing a virus attack or a hacking proliferation from non-critical systems to core digital assets.

Access control: Restrict critical systems access solely to the role of those who need them to do their jobs and for defined timeframes.

Redundancy: Back-up critical systems with additional, yet separate protections that can be activated quickly in the event of a cyber attack.

Segmentation: Segment your network according to the importance and trustworthiness of the various resources; this is crucial for the prevention any data and system-wide breaches spiralling out of control automatically should an incident occur.

 3. Develop an effective incident response plan

According to the UK’s government’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a cyber resilient system has four key characteristics:
  • Preparation (preventative and thorough IT security strategies)
  • Absorb (reduce the likelihood risk of an incident or threat escalation)
  • Recover (develop and deploy a functional incident response plan)
  • Adapt (prior to and after a cyber incident by evaluating the threat landscape).

Business leaders are normally good at SWOT analysis and addressing cyber security will require undertaking regular assessments of internal structures, operations and processes within your business to flesh out areas of weaknesses. Derive a thorough plan of action for each of the four characteristics in relation to their failure points.

Undertaking a cyber security incident plan is not an single person activity, but will require active contribution from staff across business functions and teams, Being the subject matter experts in the job they do make it easier to pull on historical experiences for deeper understanding of where threats are likely to occur and remedial actions.

4. Run Simulations

Simulating a company-wide security incident response is an excellent strategy for understating how the organisation will react when faced with a real cyber attack. Depending in the nature of the business and the IT environment, conducting periodic cyber attack simulations can help to highlight major pitfalls and reinforce lessons learnt.

Common practice is have cyber resilience testing atleast once or twice a year.
The free ‘Exercise in a Box’ is a ready-made online tool from the NCSC can help with the walkthrough of cybersecurity processes and approaches for your organisation.

 5. Review, refine, refresh and adapt

Since cybersecurity threats are constantly changing in type and complexity, it is essential that your preparation and defence mechanisms adopt similar approaches.

Working with your IT security governance team can ensure that strategies are reviewed regularly and any updates are approved on to reflect your organisation’s policies and culture. There will be occasions where existing security working practices have become outdated and need to be refreshed to counteract prevailing risks and minimise the likelihood of unforeseen cyber security threats.

Most importantly, you must ensure your business continue to meet all necessary legal and regulatory obligations and auditing requirements.

Moreover, influence a culture of staff participation so your teams can help to strengthen the line of defence against cyber security threats and adapt with the evolving threat landscape.

In Concluding…

Get your cyber resilience into shape and start protecting your business from IT security threats or cyber attacks. If IT security is not an area you are familiar with but need additional help for protection of your business and digital assets, our security experts are available to discuss your requirements.  

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Risks and Countermeasures of Sending Personal Data by Email - What Are They?

Sending personal data via traditional email is insecure since any data travelling over the internet unencrypted can be intercepted or hacked.

Should such scenario occur, those sensitive information can automatically taken and a breach is imminent. With GDPR now a major part of data security, there are regulations around the safety of sending of personal data via email.

  1. What measures can be taken and what does this mean for business data breach?
  2. How can one adequately secure the communication of personal data?

GDPR does not does not provide specific measures regarding sending personal data via email to avoid regular updates to the regulation and the law or countermeasure implementations.
Primarily of interest is an area of section 32 which states that “the controller and the processor shall implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure a level of security appropriate to the risk”.

This also extends to take into consideration; inter alia as appropriate:

  • (a) the pseudonymisation and encryption of personal data;
  • (b) the ability to ensure the ongoing confidentiality, integrity, availability and resilience of processing systems and services;

Technical measures are left to the discretion and responsibility of the data processor of the personal data.

Sending an email to one person with just data for that one person has different bearing to sending bulk data containing data of multiple persons, In the latter case, more protection is required. Where it’s impracticable to use alternate means for sending large amount of personal data then a Data Protection Impact Assessment may be required to mitigate against pending risks.

So what options are available as countermeasures for sending personal data via email?

  • Use a secure portal.
  • Enclose the data in an encrypted .ZIP file

Using a secure portal.

Use a portal that require users to logs securely thereby reducing the risk of data being intercepted by an intermediary.

Enclose the data in an encrypted .ZIP file

This approach involves enclosing the data within a password-protected zip file and email it to the recipient. Ensure password is sent via a different communication medium such as messaging systems (WhatsApp, SMS or phone call).

There are numerous cyber security threats and measures that can benefit business in an effort to protect data access or security breaches. Each solution is different and the criteria for implementation will require an understanding of existing / future business practices and threat mitigation approach based on the business needs, threat severity and level of exposure.

What security measures have you put in place as a solution for cyber security risk?

Monday, 3 February 2020

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a rapidly growing technology that is now being used for unified communications across the world and businesses are capitalising on this technology for increased value-added realisation. That said, would it be correct to say that VOIP will have it's own share of advantages and disadvantages when compared to traditional phone systems? In this blog, you are invited to join in as we explore the potentials and options for voice over IP as a feasible technology for business communication and phone calls.

What is VOIP and are there Key Considerations for Small Businesses?
VOIP a network technology based service that allows users to make calls over the Internet as the primary communication medium instead of traditional phone lines. VOIP service primarily converts analogue signals into digital transmission packets and rout them from source to destination using the internet as the connectivity medium.

Upon arrival at the receive end, these datagram packets are then converted into voice signals via a decoding engine so humans can understand them in intelligible forms.

Are There Identifiable Advantages of Voice Over IP for Small Businesses?

The answer is Yes! With VoIP small businesses across the globe are able to leverage functionalities and services that were once privileged by only large enterprises. Amongst these obvious key benefits are:

Lower Costs

Small businesses with limited budgets are now able to leverage massive cost-savings through the introduction of VOIP technology without breaking the bank for such benefits. Also, unlike traditional PSTN telephone systems which tool long time to install and proved overly expensive to maintain and make calls VoIP introduces minimal hardware and software purchasing requirements for similar technology experiences.

Additionally, when compared to conventional phone systems, VOIP call costs are significantly cheaper than the monthly fees for the same call time and destination.

We've also seen scenarios where VOIP services providers are offering 24/7 support to their clients for VOIP services, which means which means IT operation expenditures can now be budgeted for upfront without worrying about unexpected surprises.

Higher Scalability

Having VoIP implemented within your business doesn't mean the buck stops there. The flexibility of the service readily lends it to easy growth and expansion via quick addition of extra lines, extension numbers and licenses agreement revision. This means that tart-ups and small businesses can define their technology road-map and gradually scale their operations and services through a deliberate strategy than lends itself to the strategy of the business instead of being wagged about by restricted arrangements.

With this approach, it is least likely that a business that doesn't have a healthy budget at the outset is least likely to overspend on technology that is not yet meet their needs, this is a wonderful benefit that VOIP brings to the table.

As more and more businesses get warm up to the concept of VOIP, it is clear that they can budget upfront and only pay for service usage based on consumption. No longer is there a need to purchase dedicated hardware, fixed-line packages and rigid contracts that cost an arm and leg. Flexibility is now the new way for saving cost and let technology facilitate organic brand growth.

Increased Security

With VOIP being established on internet protocol (IP) technology, it is possible to harness security layer features for improving data privacy and threat mitigation. One such features applicable for VOIP based telephony is identity management and encryption.

By integrating these two key security features into VOIP, data protections and threat mitigation from cyber attacks is achievable. Although technology becomes obsolete rapidly, it will take some time before these security features become irrelevant. Therefore, the possibility for increased data communication and protection against eavesdropping is now achievable.

Friday, 10 January 2020

The Impact of 5G Emergence on Technology in 2020 and Beyond

What is 5G

the emergence of 5G in 2020 and beyond
5G is deemed to be the fifth generation of wireless network technology for mobile communication and with it comes numerous benefits and speculations for signal and data transfer rates. According to numerous technology update sources online 5G technology promises faster download speeds, reduced latency and more reliable connections between devices. 

Although currently under development in 2019, this technology is being gradually deployed across multiple regions of the United Kingdom and the rest of the world. 

It is expected that wider deployment of 5G wireless network technology will take place with reach across global market segments and the rest of the world from 2020 and beyond.

To technology enthusiasts and experts, 5G is the long awaited upgrade that mobile communication was longer for.  The "G" in 3G, 4G, 5G, etc. stands for generation and now we are heading for the latest revision which is 5G.  

It is often referred to as "the network of networks" due to its ability to integrate multiple existing and future standards for residence and throughout demands., including current advanced LTE (4G) networks.

Many UK mobile phone networks have started rolling out 5G as part of their ongoing wireless network strategy. Common player for 5G implementation includes O2, EE, BT, Vodafone, and Three and it is expected that other players will join these player rather sooner than later.

How Fast is 5G?

Given the nature of 5G technology, existing terrain and implemented hardware, it is expected that data transfer speeds will vary between locations, countries, carriers and devices. Although with that said, the average internet speed for devices connected to 5G networks should be atleast 20 times faster greater than what is delivered by existing  4G networks.

There are speculations that 5G wireless transmission speeds can be anything from 100Mbps to 1GBps and that's some really serious speed we are talking about, since most home networks don't even get throughout beyond 16Mpbs.If these predicted speeds are correct, it is possible that would mean getting up to around 60 times faster than most home broadband data rates.

How Will 5G Make Our Lives Better?

The roll out of 5G will enable autonomous cars to move from the conceptual stage into reality with promises of safer and more reliable transportation network. Confidence behind 5G's reliability is hinged on its latency capabilities which means less time difference between data transfer thus improved accuracy. 

This could somewhat be perceived as near real time data communication, since signal received and sent are almost simultaneous. This could enable autonomous cars to travel in close constant to each other resulting in more organised vehicular traffic control and predictable destination arrival times.

Another perceived benefit of 5G technology has to do with wireless network connected concepts such as smart city infrastructure, live streaming, and online entertainment at our finger tips, whenever you like.

5G Will Help IoT Infrastructure Much Faster

IoT solutions should should also rapid boost in development and implementation efficiency resulting from larger data volume at faster data transfer speeds to vast number of connected devices. Currently, IoT will experience data throughput limitations with 4G and previous network generations because of their inherent latency factors and bottleneck deficiencies. 

With 5G wireless network infrastructure, it is expected that although it will not be completely perfect, this level of performance will usher in a new benchmark for network reliability, and data transfer rates between devices that is second to none, since this is the first of its kind.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Broadband Internet Problems

As we become more reliant on the use of internet for homes and business needs, there are significant issues being faced daily due to broadband internet problems. Over the last few years, the growth in technology has driven traditional network speed to a grinding halt, with many Internet Services providers now scratching their heads as to how best to meed demands for greater internet speed due to sever broadband problems.

Many computer users in the UK feeel like sitting ducks as there are no real support for the many broadband problems they are facing, espcially when not getting desired support from their ISP to rectify complicated or the simplest internet connectivity issues. Even with the birth of fibre broadband across the capital many areas are yet to enjoy the benefit of what its like to finally overcome long standing broadband internet problems which has for many, had resulted in years of uncessary frustrations due inadequate coverage or poor internet speed coming into their properties.

Finding a reliable broand intenet support comany is like goal for many of these home and business users as they now have the voice to finally understand and challenge previous technical jargon thrown on them in the face of technology ignorance.

For many of these internet users, technical conversation regarding broadband internet problems is like mumbo jumbo and tweedle-dom messages that makes absolutely no sense, which leave many conversations conculded and leave cuch users like sitting ducks.
 Broadband Internet Support London - Home and Business Users

Broadband Troubleshoot

Typical problems broadband internet problems faced by home and business users includes:
  • I can't connect to the Internet
  • I can connect but the connection is slow
  • I have internet problems but not sure how to describe

Typical Broadnband Performance Pain Points & Considerations

  1. Number of connected internet users - in this case, considing the UK
  2. Number of devices connected throughout the UK
  3. Average Internet Connection Speed in London
  4. Fastest Internet Connection Provider
  5. Areas Worst Impacted by Broadband Internet Problem

BT Outage Map (click on the image)
Speedtest Mac from the Past

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Do you Remember the Netgear 108Mbps Wireless Firewall WTG624 v3 Router?

There were times when the this Netgear firewall router was seriously sought after, due to its unique security functionalities, size and network bandwidth capabilities.

So, how has things changed since this firewall router was top of the chart? We'll let you in on some of the most modern secrets driving network technologies and security requirements:

  1. Most network routers are now capable of delivering wireless bandwidth within the wireless N range, with speeds of up to 1300Mbps compared to 108Mbps.
  2. The advent of fibre broadband, mobile apps and responsive websites do not present any critical issues, but have minor impacts on internet connectivity within the home.
  3. Security protocols have now advanced to include TKIP and WPA2 alongside the once popular WEP shared wireless security key.
  4. There are different colour routers of the same size - seriously, some people are very fussy about colours of their gadget, so we have to bring it to your attention!

So what are the key selling points of the Netgear 108Mbps Wireless Firewall WTG624 v3 Network Router and where can you get one to buy for old times sake?

Firewall Router - Netgear WTG624 Cable RouterProduct Information
The NetGear WGT624 Wireless-g Router is a wireless-g router that comes with stateful packet inspection (SPI) and network address translation (NAT) to provide secure connectivity.

This NetGear router uses NAT firewall with multi-virtual private network (VPN) pass-through for added protection against Internet attacks. The NetGear WGT624 Wireless-g Router uses Super GTM Technology to deliver speeds of up to 108 Mbps, and provides lag-less multimedia streaming over long ranges.

This wireless-g router supports up to 253 networked computers, and auto-partitioning on each port. Last, this NetGear router supports MAC Address Control and Wireless Access Control (SSID), and is Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) Pre-shared Key upgradable.

Product Identifiers
Brand Netgear
Model WGT624

Key Features
Wireless Technology - Wireless G
Wireless Speed 108 Mbps
Port Speed 10/100
Connectivity Wired & Wireless
Router Functionalities DHCP Server, Firewall, VPN Pass-Thru, Wireless Access Point
Port Qty 4-port Built-In Hub
Antenna Type Detachable Antenna x 1

LAN Interfaces 10/100 Base-T, 10/100M
WAN Interfaces 1 x 10/100 Base-T
Console Port Type Ethernet RJ-45

WLAN Standards IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11g/b

General Protocols DHCP, IP, IPSec, L2TP, PPPoE, PPTP, TCP
Remote Management Protocols HTTP
Routing Protocols Static Routing
VPN Protocols IPSec, IPSec Pass-Thru, L2TP, L2TP Pass-Thru, PPTP Pass-Thru

Firewall / VPN
Firewall Features Content Filtering, DoS Prevention, MAC Address Filtering, NAT, Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI)
VPN Encryption WPA
VPN Tunnels Up to 2 VPN Tunnels
VPN Protocols IPSec, IPSec Pass-Thru, L2TP, L2TP Pass-Thru, PPTP Pass-Thru

802.11b Data Rates 11 Mbps, 5.5 Mbps, 2 Mbps, 1 Mbps
802.11g Data Rates 108 Mbps, 54 Mbps, 48 Mbps, 36 Mbps, 24 Mbps, 28 Mbps, 12 Mbps, 9 Mbps, 6 Mbps, 5.5 Mbps, 2 Mbps, 1 Mbps
Nonstandard Data Rate 108 Mbps (802.11a), 108 Mbps (802.11g), 54 Mbps (802.11g)
Security WEP, WPA, WPA - PSK, WPA2
WEP Encryption Length 128 bit, 152 bit, 40 bit (=64 bit)

Other Features
LED Indicators Activity, Link (Per Port), Power, Speed, Test / Diagnostic, WLAN (Wireless LAN)
Included Adapter PCI Wireless Adapter
Additional Features Auto Crossover (MDI/MDI-X), DMZ Support, UPnP Certified

Height 1.1 in.
Width 6.9 in.
Depth 7.41 in.
Weight 0.66 lb

Release Date (Year) 2003

So where can you get one of these Netgear 108Mbps Wireless Firewall WTG624 v3 Network Router to buy?

We have see this firewall router on eBay with the started network security features and it's likely that they will continue to exist within newer products.

So, if you are looking to setup a wireless network or improve system security against identity theft, hacking or other crucial security requirements, let Solid Rock IT UK help you progress the design, implementation and support every step of the way.