Maintenance You’ll Want to Do
Update Windows: Don’t neglect Windows Update. Install updates when it gets them, and restart your computer if necessary. This will keep your computer safe and stable, and really takes no effort on your part.
Run Antivirus Software: In the current climate you’ll probably want some form of antivirus software running in the background. There’s no need to pay for antivirus, though—Microsoft Security Essentials is pretty good on its own or using Avast also has merits. Of course, the best defense against malware is safe browsing, so the more responsible you are, the better off your computer will be—antivirus or no antivirus.
Clean Temporary Files with CCleaner: Windows can leave a lot of clutter and temporary files lying around your hard drive, and it’s a good idea to clean these up once in awhile. CCleaner has been proven to be one of the best tools to use for this function. Just set it up to run automatically on a schedule, and you’ll keep your computer free of all the temporary clutter.
Uninstall Programs with Revo Uninstaller: Windows’ Add/Remove Programs dialog is okay, but Revo Uninstaller is even better. Not only does it remove every trace of an application from your computer, but it also helps you uninstall apps you can’t find, as well as manage your startup processes which will help you boot up faster and run smoother once you do.
Maintenance You Don’t Need to Do
Defragment Your Drive: One of the maintenance operations people always talk about is defragmenting your hard drive. Times have changed, however, and this isn’t actually necessary. Windows Vista and 7 automatically defragment your drive, so there’s no need to do it yourself. If you’re on XP, however, you’ll still want to defragment, and you can just set Disk Defragmenter to run on a schedule.
Clean Your Registry: The fact of the matter is that this probably won’t do much to help your computer. It won’t cause harm to your computer, but you’re very unlikely to get any kind of results.
Mess with Windows Prefetching: You may have seen a few articles on cleaning out Windows’ prefetching to speed up your computer, but it’s pretty much a myth. Not only will you not see any performance gains, but you could actually cause more problems instead of solving them. Just leave prefetching alone; Windows has it there for a reason.
Regularly Reinstall Windows: Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but as long as you’re responsible about what you install, there’s no reason you need to reinstall Windows every six months. Be careful about what you download, test new programs in a virtual machine, and run the maintenance tools we mentioned in section one, and you should be able to save yourself a few hours every month.
Also a mouse pad is not a coaster!
“One third of Irish companies have been targeted by cyber attacks in the last two years” (PWC)
It is important to remember that such attacks are only increasing in both complexity and frequency leading up to €1.7 million in losses to Irish firms in 2016 alone.
What are the biggest cyber security threats that face SMEs?
“Ransomware is probably the biggest threat, as many companies are probably not prepared for the impact that it can have. There’s nothing quite so stomach-churning as discovering that all the backups had failed many months ago and that there’s no way of restoring this data.”
Vince Warrington , Protective Intelligence
“The first was distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, the second was data breaches, while now we’re seeing an increase in malware and smart intelligent attacks, of which ransomware is part.”
We’ve seen the threat change from isolated to combined attacks that involve both phishing. We’re also seeing more attacks targeted on high-value individuals, such as board members and IT staff.
Mark Skilton, Warwick Business School
To what extent are employees to blame for the success of attacks?
“There’s a role for the organisation itself to prioritise cyber security, both in terms of the technical solutions that it puts in place, and staff and customer education programmes.
“We need organisations of all sizes to move away from the ‘It won’t happen to me’ mindset, because all organisations are at risk. They must also ensure that good cyber hygiene is second nature.”
Jennifer Shiels, UK Home Office’s Cyber Aware Campaign
Where’s best to start when it comes to putting a security strategy in place?
“First, SMEs should secure their network via a good firewall or unified threat management (UTM). This is an advanced firewall that also restricts dangerous websites, stops malicious emails, prevents network exploits and more.
“Second, protect your business from malware and hackers by using strong next-generation anti-malware product. Finally, control access to your IT – restrict access where necessary.
“Encrypt devices where they contain sensitive information. This ensures that if a device is lost or stolen, the data that it contains can still be kept secure. But make sure you use a management tool that can prove that they were encrypted if lost.
“For mobile devices you might want to consider a mobile device management solution.”
John Shaw, vice president, product management, Sophos
How can SMEs keep on top of new threats, given that budgets are often tight?
“Remember that effective security controls could already be built into products. For example, the Windows operating system has a lot of security baked in – it’s just a matter of managing it.”
“Also, apply the appropriate restrictions to [to certain users] and remember to install the latest security patches. Staying up to date on these can help stop a large majority of cyber threats and could have prevented the chaos caused by WannaCry.”
Mr Shaw, Sophos
What are top cyber security tips for SMEs?
Constantly updating your systems software and hardware is the only way. Hackers don’t stop innovating, yet many businesses still run the same security tools as they did 10 years ago.
The hygiene basics, such as updating software and operating system patches, are too often seen as an irritant, rather than a necessity.
- Don’t get lured by lucrative online offers
- Use the best Antivirus available
- Keep changing your passwords for emails as well as social networking sites – an excellent resource for this is password management
- Avoid monetary transactions on public computers
- Configure your PC properly
- Choose websites that ask you for double verification
For more on this visit Eurieka.ie GDPR issues for Small Businesses and Top Tips to buying online in a safe and secure way or on Eurieka.ie Twitter for weekly Tech Tips.
Also Cyber Expo Ireland is set to take place 29th November in Dublin 2017 –
How to make your home office the right place for getting things done
The amount of people working from home has risen in 2017 to its highest ever. Here are some top technological tips to help you make the most of your home office and maximise productivity.
Use Two Screens
A dual monitor setup is the best thing you can do to improve your home office productivity. Being able to use programs simultaneously means running multiple applications, making the majority of tasks much easier to get through smoothly. Have that important email open to refer back to while you focus on your project, or keep your image optimiser, address book, or even calendar handy on your “spare screen” to make the rest of your to do list easier to handle.
Switch to a Hosted VoIP Phone System
Hosted VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) technology can transform the way you work from home, especially when you are working on a budget. Essentially this is a “virtual” phone system hosted in the cloud – meaning your entire system is on the Internet. Not only are you freeing yourself of painful phone bills, you are given incredibly useful options that you’d never had with a normal phone, including VoIP and CRM integration, limitless call logging and monitoring and the lowest-cost communications than ever possible.
Set Alarms and Stick to Set Hours
Homeworkers have more trouble than anyone else when it comes to procrastinating and keeping a disciplined schedule. You can use your Google Chrome alarm system to keep you in check, or set alarms and reminders on your mobile phone – whichever way you do it, set yourself an 8-hour working day with regular breaks, and finish exactly when you plan to, regardless of what you still need to get done. Finishing at the same time every day will help you to switch back into “home mode” and also increase your productivity during working hours.
For this, and also social media temptations, try using StayFocusd a free Google Chrome extension that allows you to choose how much time you spend on time-wasting sites.
Try to Avoid Social Media
This is not as easy as it sounds, but, unless you are a social media manager or journalist without leads, you should be able to dodge the timeless abyss that is Facebook “browsing”. This has a domino effect, affecting your set working hours, concentration levels, and according to some studies, can even lead you to feeling depressed or anxious.
Use a Noise Cancelling Headset
Noise cancellation technology is not always just for a busy working environment, it can also be for your benefit to stay focused on the job. Even if you are not in a loud workspace, the sound is crisper and higher quality, making your communications easier and more comfortable.
Working at home will always have the downside of blurring the lines between a ‘work environment’ and being the place you live.
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Tablets Are Low Cost
The cost of providing each employee a PC, workstation, or laptop is enormous when compared to the cost of a tablet. The tablet also does not incorporate any moving parts such as hard disks and so forth, thereby minimizing wear as well as the chance of data loss in the long run.
Tablets Improve Workforce Mobility
Business people have to travel a lot. They move from one office to another, giving out presentations, meeting clients or performing various projects. Checking email, browsing the web or keeping in touch with clients on the go becomes a breeze with tablets. Regardless of their location, they can submit projects on time.
While these things can be done with a Smartphone, the larger screen of the tablets makes the user experience more engaging and friendly. Tablets usually have a far greater battery time available than laptops, which makes it very practical when you’re on the move with tight schedules.
Tablets Are Great For Meetings
While you can carry a laptop into a meeting, a tablet can prove to be much more practical due to its compact size and swiftness. Just a press of a button powers up the tablet in a few seconds. It can also win you some “impression points” if you can run your presentation from a new high tech device.
Tablets Are Environmentally Friendly
Tablets have a favourably small impact on environment. They help in reducing paperwork by providing access to manuals and books in a digital format – in some cases totally eliminating the requirement for printed material.
If you’re environmentally conscious, this is another reason to consider tablets at work.
Tablets Make Note Taking Easier
If you wish to take notes during a meeting or during a long flight, it is far easier to do so with a tablet because of the handwriting recognition features.
Tablets Improve Security
When properly configured, the use of tablets can eliminate the need for locally stored data, thereby minimizing the exposure of sensitive company information due to theft, hacking, or other intrusion attempts. Tablets can easily be remotely wiped if they are compromised.
You may want to consider getting any device for your workplace to see how it works out for you before deciding to fully implement tablets at the office. When tablets are coupled with a robust cloud platform, they are a powerful tool for business.
There is constant market squeeze in this area as Laptops are getting lighter and Smart phones are getting bigger. The most likely form of future progression is the further introduction of 2-in-1 Detachable TouchScreen laptops.
Online shopping is big business these days, with more and more consumers across the world turning to the World Wide Web to purchase goods.
Needless to say, this has caught the attention of cyber criminals who are keen to exploit individuals benefiting from the convenience, affordability and choice.
- Stick with trusted brands that have a strong reputation
Sticking with popular brands is as good as any advice when shopping online. Not only do you know what you’re getting by way of quality and price, but you also feel more confident that these well-established names have in place robust security measures.
- Look out for https URL and the padlock symbol and .ie URL
In most cases, the text in the URL is preceded by a padlock symbol (if this is missing, the website should be treated with caution).
The ‘s’ in https incidentally, stands for secure. Websites that use https are safe because they utilise SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) to encrypt any information that is distributed online, such as your credit card details.
Another issue is where your company is based. It is often the case that some UK retailers won’t ship to Ireland or will charge extra for delivery with longer. Check to see if a retailer has an .ie at the end of their URL.
- Use credit cards and secure payment services instead of debit cards
(Also, of course make sure you are the person using your card!)
Credit cards, in comparison to debit cards, offer consumers additional protection when shopping online. The main advantage is that a credit card account is in no way linked to whatever funds you actually own. There are other benefits as credit cards may have a limit on amount that can be spent.
- Opt for your mobile phone network over public Wi-Fi
However, when it comes to buying online, all the convenience that comes with public Wi-Fi can be overshadowed by the many risks that are associated with this service. You’d be surprised at how unsecure many hotspots actually are and how easy they are to attack.
There are ample solutions to resolving the vulnerabilities associated with public Wi-Fi, but, in general, when out and about, opt to use data provided by your network provider when going online.
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