Category: News & Events

The Difference Between Backup and Business Continuity

Data protection solutions are essential for businesses of all sizes to implement, regardless of size, industry and geographic location. Thinking about data backup is a good first step. Business continuity is equally important to consider as it ensures your organization is able to get back up and running in a timely matter if disaster strikes. For example, if your server dies, you ‘wouldn’t be able to quickly get back to work if you only had a file-level backup. Your server would need to be replaced, software and data re-installed, and the whole system would need to be configured with your settings and preferences. This process could take days. Can your business afford to lose that time?

When talking about business continuity, we think in terms of Recovery Time Objective (RTO), and Recovery Point Objective (RPO).

  • RTO: The Recovery Time Objective is the duration of time within which a business must be restored after a disruption to avoid unacceptable consequences.
  • RPO: The Recovery Point Objective is the maximum tolerable period of time in which data might be lost due to a disaster.

By calculating your desired RTO, you have determined the maximum time that you can be without your data before your business is at risk. Alternatively, by specifying the RPO, you know how often you need to perform backups. You may have an RTO of a day, and an RPO of an hour depending on what your business.
What to Look for in a Business Continuity Solution

Here are some key things to look for when seeking a business continuity solution:

  • Hybrid cloud backup—A hybrid approach fixes the vulnerabilities that a cloud-only or local-only possess.
  • Superior RTO and RPO—Think in terms of business continuity rather than simply backup, and calculate how much downtime your business can endure and still survive (RTO) as well as how much data you can afford to lose (RPO).
  • Image-based backup—Make sure that the backup solution takes images of all data and systems rather than simply copying the files.

While most small businesses may not have the same size IT budget as larger enterprises, the risks facing their business data are the same. Data backup solutions come in all different flavours. No matter what solution you chose, implementing data backup and business continuity should be a priority for your organization.

For more information on how to secure your data, contact National PC! We’re Townsville’s leading IT Provider with the expertise to automate and secure your data backup in the cloud!

What Is Social Engineering?

Social engineering is the act of manipulating and taking advantage of the weakest link in any organisation’s IT security defences: people.

This can also sometimes be known as “people hacking” and involves maliciously exploiting the trusting nature of human beings to trick people into performing actions or divulging confidential information like passwords and PINs.

The person or group behind the act will commonly use social pressure, deception or threats to influence a person into doing something against their interests.

Social engineering is not hacking. Hacking involves the use of computer technologies to gain unauthorised access to systems and networks. Students sometimes use the term ‘hacking’ when, in fact, they have shared their password.

Here are some examples of social engineering:

  • “Support personnel” claiming that they need to install a patch or new version of software on a user’s computer, talk the user into downloading the software, and obtain remote control of the system.
  • “Vendors” claiming to need to update the organisation’s accounting package or phone system, ask for the administrator password, and obtain full access.

Phishing emails sent by whomever to gather user IDs and passwords of unsuspecting recipients. These attacks can be generic or more targeted — something called spear-phishing attacks. The criminals then use those passwords to install malware, gain access to the network, capture intellectual property, and more.

The theory behind social engineering is that humans have a natural tendency to trust others, which makes it easier to trick someone into divulging personal information than it is to hack an account.

Why is social engineering an issue?

Social engineering can be used to steal credentials, violate people’s privacy and to obtain ‘high-value’ information, such as intimate images or trade secrets. This type of cyber-threat can be subtle and may appear as a simple request to help a friend. Spotting social engineering attempts can be challenging.

Five steps to protect yourself against social engineering

You can decrease your chances of social engineering by using these precautions:

  • Set strong passwords and PINs for all devices and accounts
  • Use two-factor authentication to secure all online accounts
  • Never give out passwords and PINs and other confidential information to anyone
  • Treat unsolicited emails with scepticism
  • Review social media and other apps account activity regularly

Lastly, in the event you or your organisation falls victim of a social engineering scheme, it’s essential to back up your data. A reliable backup and recovery solution will allow business continuity and minimise the cost and risk associated with an attack.

Guess What? Your SaaS Data Needs Backup Too!

Whether your organisation depends on Office 365 or G Suite, Software As A Service providers or more commonly known as SaaS applications helps us collaborate and connect, regardless of location, to get work done.

As companies increasingly move data into cloud-based applications, many IT teams wrongly assume their SaaS vendors have a backup in place. After all, a SaaS application is always available, accessible from anywhere, and highly redundant, so why is a backup needed? An astonishing one in three businesses report losing data stored in cloud-based applications.

But just because you’re continually creating cloud data, doesn’t mean you have control over it.

For example, what if one of your employees…

  • Inadvertently deletes all of the emails in their Office 365 account.
  • Downloads a third-party app and overrides all of your Salesforce data
  • Erases a former employee’s account without transferring data to a new location
  • Lost data due to cancelled user licenses
  • Accidentally downloads a virus, which is spreading to your local computers

How long would it take you to recover your data and get your business back in full swing if one of these scenarios occurred? How would your business cope if you lost mission-critical email data? And how much would it cost you?

With more and more businesses moving to Office 365 to run their daily operations, these risks are impossible to ignore. While Office 365 does include primitive restore capabilities for lost data,
two major issues arise when using their tools: lost data and lost time. An independent data backup separated from the app itself is necessary to avoid the most common data loss pitfalls.

  • Data loss due to inactive licenses: As one would expect, an active Office 365 license is required to access data. Unfortunately, inactive or deprovisioned user data is permanently deleted, and there is no rollback option.
  • Data loss due to permanent deletion: When a SharePoint Onlineadministrator deletes a site collection, all data will be placed in the Recycle Bin where it is kept for 93 days. At that time it is automatically and permanently deleted, and there is no rollback option.
  • Data loss due to ransomware: Microsoft recommends 3rd party backup as the only way to recover from data loss associated with ransomware encryption.
  • Data loss due to app outages: Uptime guarantees provide peace of mind… until an app outage occurs. Planning for the unexpected is key to recovering quickly should an outage occur.
  • Time lost in restoring files: Contacting Microsoft Support for assistance with any data loss issue can be time consuming, and still may not result in restored files.

Why SaaS Protection? Three words…trusted, available backup! Backups can include daily snapshots of each users data, allowing you to browse through a user’s account at a specific point in time. Additionally, avoid data loss from ransomware by restoring entire accounts to a designated point in time before an attack occurred.

Ready to learn more about protecting your valuable business data from accidents or malicious acts? For more information on SaaS protection for your Office 365, contact National PC! We’re Townsville’s leading IT Provider with the expertise to automate and secure your data backup in the cloud!

What is Multi-factor authentication?

Multi-Factor authentication or more commonly known as MFA provides an additional layer of security by confirming your identity with extra information in order to access an account, in addition to a username and password.

Organisations implementing MFA provides a simple way to increase the security of your accounts and make it much harder for the bad guys to break into that if you were only using a password.

Even in the unfortunate event that the bad guys do obtain your password, they will still have to get past at least one other MFA technology barrier to access your account.

1 Factor Authentication > Something you know
1FA is something that only you know, like your password, Passcode or PIN.

2 Factor Authentication > Something you have
2FA refers to something you only know (password), plus something you have: an example of this is a required username and a password, plus a one-time code or password (sent to your mobile phone, or accessed through a token) to access them.

3 Factor Authentication > Something you are
3FA refers to something you know, plus something you have, plus something you are (unique biometric input, such as a fingerprint scan to unlock your smartphone).

If you have any security concerns within your organisation or need a hand setting up MFA for your organisation, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Using Public Wi-Fi? You may be at risk!

Everywhere you go now; there are these free wireless internet signs. Public Wi-Fi can be found in popular public places like airports, coffee shops, shopping centres, restaurants, hotels and more — and it allows you to access the Internet for free. These “hotspots” are so widespread and common that people frequently connect to them without thinking twice. Picture this, you have just ordered your latte from your local coffee shop, and while waiting you check your bank account and catch up on some social media, this is a typical scenario for many of us, but did you know you might be unaware of some threats lurking in the background on public WI-FI. This freedom comes at a price, though, and few truly understand the public Wi-Fi risks associated with these connections.

The Risks of a Public Wi-Fi

The same features that make free Wi-Fi hotspots desirable for everyday consumers make them desirable for hackers; namely, that it requires no password or authentication to establish a network connection. This creates an amazing opportunity for the hacker to get unfettered access to unsecured devices on the same network.

Snooping

Encryption normally helps protect your network traffic from prying eyes. For example, even if your neighbour at home is within range of your Wi-Fi network, they can’t see the web pages you’re viewing. This wireless traffic is encrypted between your laptop, tablet, or smartphone and your wireless router. It’s encrypted with your Wi-Fi passphrase.

When you connect to an open Wi-Fi network like one at a coffee shop or airport, the network is generally unencrypted — you can tell because you don’t have to enter a passphrase when connecting. Your unencrypted network traffic is then clearly visible to everyone in range. People can see what unencrypted web pages you’re visiting, what you’re typing into unencrypted web forms, and even see which encrypted websites you’re connected to — so if you’re connected to your bank’s website, they’d know it, although they wouldn’t know what you were doing.

Malware Distribution

Thanks to software vulnerabilities, there are also ways that attackers can slip malware onto your computer without you even knowing. A software vulnerability is a security hole or weakness found in an operating system or software program. Hackers can exploit this weakness by writing code to target a specific vulnerability, and then inject the malware onto your device.

Malicious Hotspot

These “rogue access points” trick victims into connecting to what they think is a legitimate network because the name sounds reputable. Say you’re staying at the Goodnight Inn and want to connect to the hotel’s Wi-Fi. You may think you’re selecting the correct one when you click on “GoodNite Inn,” but you haven’t. Instead, you’ve just connected to a rogue hotspot set up by cybercriminals who can now view your sensitive information.

How to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi

The best way to know your information is safe while using public Wi-Fi is to use a virtual private network (VPN) service. However, if you must use public Wi-Fi, follow these tips to protect your information.

Don’t:

  • Allow your Wi-Fi to auto-connect to networks
  • Log into any account via an app that contains sensitive information. Go to the website instead and verify they are using HTTPS before logging in
  • Leave your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth on if you are not using them
  • Access websites that hold your sensitive information, such as such as financial or healthcare accounts
  • Log onto a network that isn’t password protected

Do:

  • Disable file sharing
  • Only visit sites using HTTPS
  • Log out of accounts when done using them
  • Use a VPN.
  • Make sure all your software is updated including Windows Update etc

Tips to make your workforce a security front line

Cybersecurity is something that is constantly on our mind here at National PC. This is because, according to Bloomberg, cyber security related issues costs companies around $400 Billion a year on average.

One of the easiest ways to curb these losses in your business is to train your employees to create a more secure email environment. Staff plays a crucial part in the security of your company, and employees who are unaware of the onslaught of cyber threats are a liability to the safety of your company’s data.

It is therefore of utmost importance that they are always up-to-date on the best procedures to keep the company safe.

In an effort to save you and your company from the horrors of a cyber-attack, here is a list of tips that help safeguard your business.

  • Never open links or attachments from unknown persons.
  • Don’t respond to emails that request a password change and require you to divulge personal information — no matter how official the source appears.
  • Ensure antivirus and anti-spy software is updated on your computer.
  • Encrypt any emails containing sensitive data before sending.
  • Don’t use your company email address to send and receive personal emails.
  • Don’t automatically forward company emails to a third-party email system.
  • Create strict standards for company-related Mobile Device usage

Mobile Devices have become an important tool of the workforce, and with them comes another wave of cyber threats. Making sure your employees have password-protected devices, encrypt emails, and download approved security applications to help keep the mobile data safe is very important.

Newest Wi-Fi Version Will Be Called Wi-Fi 6

A new Wi-Fi version has landed, and it’s bringing some important changes. Wi-Fi 802.11ax, now named Wi-Fi 6 to lessen confusion, is set to improve speed and performance and better prepare for a wireless future with thousands of devices all vying for data. Here’s everything you need to know.

What is Wi-Fi 6?
Wi-Fi 6 is a new Wi-Fi standard, named so to avoid confusion with older standards, which are now designated as follows:

  • 802.11b is now Wi-Fi 1
  • 802.11a is now Wi-Fi 2
  • 802.11g is now Wi-Fi 3
  • 802.11n is now Wi-Fi 4
  • 802.11ac is now Wi-Fi 5
  • 802.11ax is now Wi-Fi 6

Wi-Fi 6 is based on the new IEEE 802.11ax standard, so you might see the two terms interchanged. It’s still going to act like the Wi-Fi you know and love now, except with some added benefits. The Wi-Fi Alliance ( the group that manages the implementation of Wi-Fi) lists these four key benefits of Wi-Fi 6:

  • Faster overall transfer speeds to and from devices
  • More capacity for connected devices
  • Better performance with many connected devices
  • Less device battery drain when connected

User groups and manufacturers alike have signalled their strong support of the change, and an overwhelming majority sees it as being a great change on a variety of fronts.