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Year: 2019

Are You Doing Enough To Protect Your Business Bubble? Online Security Essentials

Forbes estimates that the global cost of cybercrime will top $21 trillion by the year 2021. We tend to hear all about high-profile data breaches that affect giant, multinational corporations, but the reality is that every modern business is now vulnerable. If you have a website, you deal with online data, you use cloud systems or servers, or your staff spends hours every day tapping away at a computer keyboard, there’s every chance that you could fall foul to a cyber attack. If you’re keen to protect your business bubble, here are some security essentials to bear in mind.

Invest in robust security systems

If cybercrime hasn’t been a priority for you in the past, you might find that an audit of your security systems flags up areas of concern. If you haven’t got robust systems and modern software in place, it’s wise to invest in tightening up security and reducing the risk of breaches. If you’re not au fait with Internet security, enlist the help of an IT firm that specializes in this area. They will be able to take a look at the programs and technology you use and provide recommendations to increase protection levels.

Take care with remote working

An ever-growing number of businesses is offering flexible working arrangements, which often involves providing employees with remote access to platforms, programs, and software used in the office. If your employees work from home, or they’re out in the field, and you have systems and features in place like Microsoft remote desktop, ensure that your security measures cover the parameters of working on the go and accessing files and programs from multiple locations. Another issue to be mindful of is the BYOD, or bring your own device, trend. If you do allow employees to bring their own laptops or tablets to the office, make sure everyone is familiar with your security policies, encrypt data, and ensure the network is secured.

Provide training

In the grand scheme of things, cybercrime is a relatively new threat to businesses, and not everyone is familiar with preventative measures they can employ to lower the risk of attacks. Provide your staff with training to help them understand the importance of security and enable them to spot potential signs of abnormal activity. Enforce up to date policies and procedures, and arrange for an expert to talk to your staff about these documents and explain how they can apply them to their day to day work life.

Consider outsourcing IT support

If you don’t have an in-house IT department, it’s worth considering outsourcing IT support and system management. If you work with a firm, they will be able to secure your systems and minimize the risk of downtime, as well as providing advice about how you could improve efficiency and productivity and cut costs.

Every business owner should be mindful of the potential impact of security breaches. If you haven’t given too much thought to online security in the past, now is the time to upgrade your security systems, seek expert advice and ensure your staff is familiar with potential cybercrime warning signs.

Making More Of Your IT Budget

IT is already playing a huge role in helping businesses run more cost-effectively than ever. Being able to carry out processes faster and without error, relying less and less on paper, and being able to hold video conferences as opposed to having to pay for transport and a hotel are just some examples of that. However, as your business’s reliance on IT grows, so too can the costs. Here, we’re going to look at how to get more out of your IT budget by getting a little more frugal with it.

Take it to the Cloud

One way to better spend your money is to think about how exactly your business is acquiring the software that it uses. While many businesses are still buying licenses to download software, or having it built for them, others are moving a new model that may be more cost-effective. Cloud software can cost a lot less because the client, user, or business doesn’t have to deal with the costs of maintaining, fixing, or updating the software as it’s all handled on the user’s side. What’s more, Cloud software opens up the possibility for implementing remote working in the business, as it can be used on any device with the right authorization, allow you to save by having less need for your office space, too.

Know your costs before you plunge in

One of the ways that businesses can often get in trouble with the costs of their tech services is that they don’t factor exactly how much it will cost in the long-run. Even if you can manage the costs of growing your IT systems, it can force you to reallocate funds and assets that could be better spent elsewhere in the business. However, some services are now offering IT cost benchmarking to help you be able to get a more precise grasp of how that growing presence of tech is going to affect your budget. Make sure you do your math before you agree to any new service or software installation.

Identify the ROI

When you have figured out how much your IT plans are going to cost you, you then to work out just how worthwhile it all is. Finding the return on investment for tech services, solutions, and software/hardware isn’t always easy but one of the best ways is to look at how it will save you time and money. If you are able to quantify an estimate of how much more efficient you can be, or what costs you can reduce, you can look at those numbers against the long-term costs of the IT. If you’re unable to identify a return on investment, it may be worth considering whether or not the current plans are the right ones for you or if there is another solution that might be worth more.

Hire your IT team the right way

As your tech grows, so too will the responsibilities of maintaining it, fixing it, and overseeing its growth. An IT team is going to be essential, often sooner rather than later. However, if your tech needs are still relatively small and you don’t think you could justify paying the full price of a full-time employee who doesn’t have enough work on their plate to fill a full-time role, you may instead want to look at other ways of hiring. Outsourcing your IT support can be much more cost-effective for the immediate future. As your reliance on tech continues to grow and you have a bigger network or more devices to oversee, you might want to switch to in-house eventually.

You don’t always have to pay

When you’re implementing new tech plans in the business, it’s always easy to fall into the temptation of pouring as much money into improving all your current processes and systems as possible. However, it’s not only worth identifying those investments worth making but also the investments that aren’t worth it, as well. While software improving your core work processes might be a worthwhile investment, there are some processes that might not be as important that could instead benefit from the use of free software. While there is something of a quality dip in most free software, it can still help you manage your admin much more efficiently, like free accounting software.

A keen understanding of the costs involved in implementing new tech, whether it be software, hardware, networking, or new services is crucial. Once you implement that IT in your business, it can become crucial to its survival so you can’t afford to lose it because you can’t pay for it anymore.

The Most Common Causes Of Data Loss

Losing important data can be frustrating – almost all of us have experienced it before whether it’s a personal photo or a work document. For businesses data loss can have devastating effects, possibly inconveniencing clients and negatively impacting your company’s reputation. Whilst this data can sometimes be recovered, it often isn’t easy to retrieve it. Here are some of the most common causes of data loss and how you can avoid them.


Viruses and malware may corrupt data. Cybercriminals may even steal files or hold them hostage – threatening to delete them unless a ransom is paid (commonly known as ransomware). Small businesses that are not digitally secured enough can often fall victim to this type of data loss. The best way to defend against this threat is to improve your cyber and data security. This could include using firewalls that scan emails and websites for malicious content before opening them, encrypting files and having strong passwords.

Accidentally deleting files

Human error can also result in data loss. Files may get accidentally deleted whilst moving documents from one folder to another. When it comes to touchscreen devices, failing to lock these devices when in your pocket may also result in photos or contacts accidentally being deleted. You can’t always prevent human error, however you can prevent this data being lost forever by having it backed up somewhere – this could include backing it up on the cloud or using an external hard drive.

Hardware damage

Damage to hardware can also result in data loss. This could be the result of accidentally spilling coffee on a laptop or a natural disaster such as a fire or even vandalism. Whilst you can prevent this damage by treating your devices with care, for those times when damage is unpreventable, you’re best off simply having data backed up. The cloud is the safest place to back up files – whilst you can use external hard drives and USBs, these will often deteriorate over time (if you’ve got a flashdrive that’s over eight years old, you may want to transfer some of the files elsewhere as these devices don’t last forever).

Software failure

Sometimes software can fail and result in data loss. This can be the result of all manner of faults from not cleaning up your computer to not running important updates. Software may even get corrupted from hardware damage. By keeping your computer well maintained you can often prevent this type of data loss.

Computer theft

Old-fashioned burglary is still a leading cause of data loss. By securing your devices and backing up files, you can usually prevent this. Businesses should consider physical security measures such as burglar alarms and CCTV to deter thieves. Keeping devices locked with passwords can also prevent thieves being able to access files even after obtaining your machine – modern computers are now using facial recognition which is harder to crack than a password.

Online Safety: Top Tips for Parents

Each generation of parents has something different to worry about — something that has changed since they were young. You might have had internet access when you were a teenager. It might have been an invaluable source when it came to tackling big homework projects, and you might have even made friends in the odd teen-friendly chat room. But, times have changed, and most of us look back glad that social media wasn’t a big deal when we were younger.

You might have had a Facebook page. But, the internet wasn’t like it is now. Nowadays, it’s a massive part of everyday lives. We’ve all heard horror stories about children and teenagers being bullied online and about the darker parts of the internet we’re all keen to avoid. As a parent today, the internet is one of our biggest concerns as our children grow. Even very young children have tablets and some level of internet access, which only grows as they do. Let’s take a look at some tips to help you to keep your family safe online.

Explore Together

Remember, it’s better that your children learn about the internet with you, instead of picking up bits and bobs here and there. When they are young, and first getting online, do it together. Show them some websites and apps that you think they’d enjoy and give them a little freedom to explore with you.

Put Safety Measures in Place

However much you trust your children, it’s never a good idea to let them out on the web alone without putting any safety measures in place. Set parental controls on younger children’s devices. Turn off in-app chat and location settings and use your own app to monitor their usage, these are inexpensive and widely available. For older kids, you might want to speak to them about setting their own safety and explain the importance of keeping some things private and hidden.

Talk About the Risks

You won’t want to tell very young children the worst horror stories out there. But, you can explain to slightly older children that the internet can be dangerous. You can tell them about people trying to contact them online and explain some of the risks. Tell them what they need to watch out for, and teach them how to report any suspicious activity.

Don’t Be Too Critical

If you are too critical, or too overprotective, it will become a secret. They’ll start to hide their internet usage from you. They’ll spend their time online behind closed doors. They won’t want to speak to you about it, and they won’t be comfortable coming to you if they are worried. Remember, children are curious, and that’s fine. Try to be understanding and supportive, even if you are worried or don’t approve.

Encourage them to Trust Their Instincts

Instinct is essential when it comes to safety. If someone started talking to you online, you’d get a feel for the situation straight away, and it’s essential that your children learn to do the same.

Chat With Them

Take an interest in their usage. Ask about games they play and the sites they use. Let them tell you about the things that they enjoy, and take an active interest, even if it means you have to listen to too many Minecraft tales. It’ll help to keep your relationship open and honest.

Top Study Tips To Ace Your Computer Science Studies

Studying a degree in computer science is a hugely rewarding choice with many in-demand career options to follow. Many pursue it through an initial love of gaming or coding and choose to make it into a full-blown career. If you want to constantly improve your computing skills or even develop a particular specialisation, taking an mcs online can get you there.

However, you will need the study skills to deal with a constant volume of new and complex information. So if you want to be the best, here’s what you need to know…

Get In Touch With Your Practical Skills

Studying computer science is a balance of theory and practical work, compared to other degree courses such as pure mathematics or history. Even the theory you’ll be learning tends to have a hands-on, practical slant. After learning a new skill, assessment will usually be by way of a practical exercise in a computer lab. Most courses combine this approach with traditional written essays or examinations as well, so you’ll have to be a versatile student to succeed, as comfortable demonstrating something as writing about it.

Set Up A Schedule

Studying at a masters level is a whole heap of work, so you’re going to need to become very good at time management, especially if you’re combining work with study and other commitments. Trying to leave your assignments or revision to the last minute simply isn’t going to work. So it’s a good idea to make time to plan out a study schedule that is realistic and works with your life. Make sure you’re also taking breaks occasionally as well. It’s very easy to get absorbed in a project and push yourself too hard, but you need some free time and headspace as well – and often that’s when the breakthrough you’ve been waiting for will happen.

Never Stop Learning

As computer science and technology are areas that never stop moving, you can’t afford to either. Studying the subject may give you a strong grounding, but you will still need to get on top of current developments. Try and tailor these to the career you’re planning – for example, if you want to get into software development, it would be a good idea to teach yourself several different programming languages so that you have all the practical skills you’ll need once you start job hunting. Do a little research about what you’ll need to know for the kind of jobs you’re looking at by browsing job ads on LinkedIn in and looking at the career paths of people doing the jobs you’d like to do. It’s also a good idea to pull your practical projects into a portfolio that you can show to prospective employers to showcase your abilities.

Make Contacts

The best thing about pursuing a masters is meeting other smart, motivated people who all have an interest in developing technological solutions. You can make valuable contacts and collaborators during your time on the course. So make sure to spend time getting to know the others studying alongside you, either in person or over study forums online. You never know where it could lead!

The InfoSec World Has a Python 2.7 Problem

Welcome to 2019, everyone! The future is bright, and I am sure we will all experience a lot of fun and unexpected things in the world of security. So far this year, we haven’t see anything along the lines of Specre/Meltdown, which helped usher in 2018.

One thing I did realize is that the turning of the calendar to this new year, remarkably, means that there is less than one year until Python 2.7 is officially “unsupported.”

Just check the Python 2.7 Countdown clock if you don’t believe me. Everything should be well on the way to Python 3 by now. Or so you would hope.

I find it somewhat humorous (mildly) that the infosec community still relies so heavily on Python 2.7, given its impending doom. I still see new tools being actively developed in this version of Python crossing my news feed almost daily. So many things on Kali Linux rely on Python 2.7.

I have oberved that longstanding, popular open source stalwarts of the trade have shown little interest in moving to 3.x.

I really have no idea what to do about this, other than encourage contributors to migrate, and to lend a hand if and where possible. But it’s getting really late, and I still have to use python2.7 far too much in my day-to-day pentesting and security research life.

How about a New Year Resolution?