Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Select Technology are officially ISO 27001 certified!

Select Technology are officially ISO 27001 certified!

As we continue to recognise Cybersecurity Awareness month, Select Technology are very pleased to announce that we have now achieved our ISO 27001 certification in Information Security Management! We all know that cybersecurity is of paramount importance in business and we like to lead by example. Furthermore, because we are looking after our clients’ data, we recognise that it is our responsibility to ensure we are doing our utmost to keep any information and data safe. Becoming ISO 27001 accredited is the perfect way to demonstrate that we have the systems and processes in place to maintain an excellent level of security at all times and across all levels of the business.

What is ISO 27001?

ISO 27001 is the only auditable international standard that defines the requirements of an information security management system. An ISMS is a set of policies, procedures, processes and systems that manage information risks, such as cyber-attacks, hacks, data leaks or theft.

By becoming an ISO 27001 certified business we are demonstrating that we have implemented a framework for best practice in information security process both online and offline, so you can be assured that you’re in safe hands.

For further information, read more here

 

So, why have we become ISO 27001 Certified?

 

Aside from a lovely certificate and accreditation logo, there are many benefits of becoming ISO 27001 Certified, including the following:

More Secure

Implementing an ISO27001 certified framework means we are more resilient to cyber-attacks and we can adapt to evolving security threats.

Constantly Maintaining and Improving Security

It is invaluable for monitoring, reviewing, maintaining and improving a company’s information security management system.

Reducing risk and being compliant

The certification demonstrates that we have identified the risks, assessed the implications and put in place systemised controls to limit any damage to the organisation as well as ensuring security controls to make regulatory compliance, such as GDPR.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month: 5 essential top tips you need to know for a secure password

Password Security – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Published: 08/10/2019
by Russell Gower-Leech, Technical Solutions Architect

When it comes to remembering things, humans can be pretty rubbish at retaining information. Increasingly in our lives we rely more and more on technology to assist us in the form of smart assistants and wearables to remind us of appointments and details. The same applies to passwords: as an average we have approximately 23 online accounts or personas with only 13 unique passwords, which means we are re-using passwords across multiple accounts.

Re-using passwords may seem harmless and even logical: who can really keep track of 23 individual passwords?! But this habit can be detrimental to our cybersecurity. We hear more and more about password data being lost/leaked online and more often than not, our e-mail address is the main anchor for all of our other personas, so if we share the same password between the personas or even our e-mail account and that password is leaked or compromised, we’re giving over the keys to the kingdom!

Select Technology Online Password Security

So, how can you make sure your passwords are secure?

As it’s cybersecurity awareness month, we wanted to share our knowledge with you to make sure you are being as secure as possible online, and a big topic at the moment is how safe and un-hackable our online passwords are.

There are some really simple things we can do to address this risk and what’s great about this advice is that it works right across our personal lives to our workplace. Raising awareness of our personal cybersecurity naturally changes our attitudes to security in the workplace, helping businesses to become more secure as a by-product – so, any business owners or team leaders reading this, take note!

5 Top Tips for better password security

Tip 1: Complex Passwords

Typically, people will use predictable and personal words, such as football team names, pet names, dates of birth, etc. as the basis for their passwords. There’s some interesting research on this as well as a list of the worst passwords to use here Ensuring we add complexities to our passwords can really make a difference to password security. For instance, making sure the password length is between 8-12 characters in length, contains numbers, upper & lower-case characters and special characters (which most IT support services should implement these days) not only makes your passwords that much harder to guess, but also to ‘crack’ electronically. A good example is something like this where we combine random words (Audi & Trees) and substitute certain characters: 4Ud!Tr3e5! Better yet are completely random passwords like ‘m8Pjy5=eFZ%T’ but these are tricky to manage without help (see tip 3)!

Tip 2: Multi-Factor Authentication

MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication), or Two Factor Authentication (2FA) is, as the name suggests, a means of combining another element to your login rather than just a single password. The most common examples of this in your day to day life are those TXT based codes you get from your bank or Amazon account. TXT based MFA is actually one of the weakest forms of MFA and is actively being retired by most large technology companies, but if it’s a choice between TXT MFA and no MFA there’s no choice at all! The best type of MFA is Push Based. This is where you have an App on your smartphone which actively prompts you to authenticate once you’ve put your password in. These are great as they are much more secure than TXT based MFA and have the added benefit of providing a bit of an early warning that someone may be trying to login to your account.
A common solution you may come across is the Google Authenticator which uses a frequently changing OTP (One-Time Passcode). It’s a great free tool for personal use but doesn’t really cut it for businesses as there is no local security for the device. For businesses, combining it with tools like AuthPoint can address this and can reduce the number of MFA solutions you need to manage.

Tip 3: Unique Passwords

Granted this is easier said than done, but having a different password for each account you have is a great way to reduce the impact of leaked/breached accounts, however it can be very hard for individuals to manage. Having your own cipher can help with this: substituting letters with numbers and using a standard format so ‘OneDrive’ becomes ‘0N3Dr1v3!’ for example. However, this isn’t ideal because once your method is known it opens the door to guessing your other passwords. Password Managers are a great solution to this, they allow you to generate and store strong random passwords for each account which you simply copy & paste each time you need to login. You’ll need to be careful which Password Manager you choose and keep the devices it’s synced with to a minimum. Avast has a great tool which is free and built into their AV solution. Even better, this service is only accessible by their applications and notifies you when apps/devices are added, which can be a great heads-up to an attack.

Tip 4: Hack Check/Breach Notification

Some of you may be familiar with services like ‘HaveIBeenPWNED’, which collect data from public data breaches and allow you to search if your account(s) is among them. Again, Avast has a great free service for this which provides pro-active notifications. Once you register your e-mail address(es) should they appear in any new data breaches you’ll receive an e-mail letting you know so you can immediately change your password for that account.

Tip 5: Sharing isn’t always caring

Hopefully this last little tip goes without saying but you should never ever share your account or password with anyone. No emergency Post-It notes stuck to the monitor or under the keyboard -nothing! Businesses sometimes utilise departmental accounts for some staff but these should really be discouraged not just for security but also audit-ability; ensuring the business can track actions back to an individual is key for security, quality and compliance needs.

Cybersecurity tips

To sum up…

Improve your cybersecurity and ensure your passwords are secure now by following these tips:

• Be sure to use complex passwords
• Ensure you have multi-factor authentication at the very least
• Try to use a different password for each account if you can
• Sign up to a hack notification service so you can be notified if anyone attempts to use your account
• Keep your passwords to yourself

 

If you want to find out more about business cybersecurity, password security or how WatchGuard and Cyber Essentials can help your business, please get in touch with our tech team today.

Diary of a Technophobe: Sharing’s Caring

Diary of a Technophobe, by Tess Parsons-Broome, Marketing Executive

Entry 2: Sharing’s Caring

I’m back with another blog! August was a bit of a write-off with holidays and people thin on the ground, but have no fear, I have found time to teach myself some more tech!

Recently, all we seem to hear is how technology is alienating us from each other and making us less collaborative. One of my main objectives within my role is to improve internal communication, ensuring that this doesn’t happen and that the whole team are aware of news and updates from different areas of the business.

When I set about thinking of the best way to facilitate this communication, my classical marketing brain thought a regular newsletter sent via email with the latest goings on would do the job. However, I knew this would be fairly time-consuming (designing, artworking and creating content); a monthly issue seemed unachievable and quarterly wouldn’t be nearly regular enough, as most information would be outdated by then. After discussing the idea with the wider team, someone suggested that a better way to share the information would be via SharePoint. Initially, I was sceptical – wasn’t SharePoint just a place where we save files down?

Microsoft SharePoint is available from Select Technology IT support in Kent

At that point, that was all we were using SharePoint for to be honest, which is a great function of the platform: It’s the new and improved version of the ‘Shared Drive’.  Most businesses use a Shared Drive where files can be collectively saved down, viewed and worked on by varying members of the company. This is great as it means when you are out and about you can still access files, or if someone is off sick, you can still access a presentation they were working on. There is also the element of security. Generally, a shared drive is backed up on a server so there is less risk of files becoming corrupted or losing data if your PC dies. This is great, but it can be verrryyyy, verrryyyy slow to access large files remotely and sharing files and documents externally is very difficult and time-consuming. Most people end up having to use free transfer sites like ‘We Transfer’ and ‘You Send It’ for larger files, which are not secure, or set-up a costly FTP site which then involves having to upload selected files manually.

Select Technology launches Microsoft SharePoint for staff to keep them up to date and keep them connected and collaborate

 

SharePoint solves this issue immediately – it is your shared drive, but in the ‘cloud’. To share a file externally you can send a secure link to a specific contact outside of your organisation, which they can easily access. They will only have access to what has been shared though, so you’ll be safe in the knowledge that everything else is secure. What’s more, is you can access files and work on them in the cloud wherever you are, without having to download onto your desktop.

This all sounds amazing, however, that’s not all SharePoint can do – it is so much more and in fact Microsoft describes the platform as follows:

 

“Share and manage content, knowledge, and applications to empower teamwork, quickly find information, and seamlessly collaborate across the organization.”

 

So, what does that mean in real terms?

Well, our newly updated version of SharePoint, fondly named Selectranet, acts as our hub for all internal communications, news, updates, events and useful links. It’s a living, breathing, evolving wealth of knowledge that is available 24/7 to all staff. A bit like a social media platform, it also allows users to engage with anything that’s on there. People can comment their ideas, ‘like’ comments or news articles and ultimately engage. You can even send email notifications when a news update has gone live, so the team know there is new content to read.

In terms of populating it with content, I was quite apprehensive, thinking I’d be shouting at my screen and feeling hopelessly out of my depth. I had a horrible feeling it would take me days and days to make any progress and to figure it all out. Thankfully this wasn’t the case at all – I was pleasantly surprised. I was able to fill the page with images, links and content in just half a day. The maintenance will be straightforward too; it will be a matter of just uploading new stories every time an announcement or an update needs to be made to the team. If I do say so myself, it looks pretty slick and professional.

There is much more I can learn and I am certainly no expert, but I like to think that this blog will give other people confidence that it is something positive that their business could adopt. It cuts down on emails, file sending and overall, it encourages employees to engage with the company and with one another. Streamlined, efficient and friendly – what’s not to love?!

If you’re interested in finding out more about SharePoint, drop us a line and contact us!

CRN Channel Awards 2019 – We’re Finalists!

We are excited and proud to announce that we have been shortlisted as Managed Services Provider of the year 2019!

 

Known as the greatest awards in the UK IT industry, the CRN Channel Awards celebrates and gives recognition to achievements and innovation across the channel. Although the awards are now in their 26th year, this is the first time Select Technology have entered. We are more than delighted to have made the shortlist in the first year of applying!

We are sure this will be one of many awards nominations Select receives as we grow as a world class MSP – we’ve already been named as one of Channel Futures 501 MSPs this year.

We hope to bring home the accolade at the awards night on 14th November, so wish us luck and watch this space..!

Diary of a Technophobe: There’s no ‘I’ in Teams

Diary of a Technophobe, by Tess Parsons-Broome, Marketing Executive


Entry 1: There’s no ‘I’ in Teams

 

Firstly, a confession: I’m a bit of a technophobe. So, you may be wondering why I’m working for an MSP! Well, long story short; after working in consumer marketing within the children’s toys and games industry since 2010, I made the jump to B2B marketing this year and seized the opportunity to work for Select Technology. An exciting, but also daunting prospect. I seriously needed to brush up on my IT speak and technical knowledge! Luckily for me, the IT experts that work here have been great at sharing their tech genius and teaching me all about this new world.

In my previous working life, I of course used all the usual forms of IT: desktops, mobiles, PCs, Macs, as well as fancy systems such as Cognos 10, Oracle, AS400. I created budget trackers and marketing schedules in Excel, built brand plans on PowerPoint, trying (and often failing) to present these via wireless connections. The list goes on. Anyhow, as an ‘end-user’, or as I like to call it, a ‘tech muggle’, I thought I was quite proficient when it came to utilising IT to get the best possible outcome in my work; however, I have to admit that it wasn’t often that I asked myself, ‘how could IT help me to do my job better?’.

A whole new world…of technology

Since entering this new industry my eyes have been opened to a whole host of technology and intuitive tools at my fingertips that I never knew existed. I have embraced technology in a whole new way, and I can honestly say it really has changed my (working) life. A thought crossed my mind: I can’t be the only end-user to feel like this. Hence this ‘diary’ has been created with the purpose of sharing the new things I have learned, in a fun and jargon-free way, with the aim of passing my new-found knowledge on to you other tech muggles!

One example is my discovery of the wonders of MS Office 365. I always thought MS Office simply consisted of Word, Excel and PowerPoint and a few other obscure programs that I didn’t really need to know about or use. How wrong I was!

 

Life’s a breeze with Teams

I’m still getting to grips with some programs, but one I have (almost) mastered is Teams. Teams is the ultimate way to communicate with colleagues and even people outside your organisation. It allows you to not only ‘IM’ (instant message) with your colleagues to get quick answers, you can also share files, create working groups where you can communicate together on a project, sharing ideas and notes. Its easy functionality saves the need for endless back and forth emails clogging up your inbox. If you’re working remotely, you can also have a virtual face-to-face or voice call on the platform, saving the need for phone calls or meetings in person, and you can even share your screen. What’s more is that Teams is completely secure and backs-up all conversations, files and group activity so if you can’t remember something that was discussed or you want to refer back, you can easily search and find what you need. There’s a mobile app too, so if you’re out an about you can still receive IMs or chat whilst on the go.

 

Ultimately, it acts as a hub for all communication and I believe it is pretty much a necessity in any modern business. I have loved being able to use it to make my working day that much easier. For instance, I was working on a presentation with 2 colleagues, Nick and Russ. Within the ‘Team’ we exchanged notes and could work on the presentation simultaneously as a saved file. I didn’t need to trawl back through emails trying to find attachments or notes on the subjects the guys wanted to have included. Even when it came to running through the presentation, Nick was working from home, but we could easily have a Teams voice call with each of us having access to the presentation without needing to send attachments or share files beforehand.

So, if you have it, start saving time and use it now! My tip is next time you’re working on a project, set up a Teams and reap the benefits for you and your colleagues. Best of all there’s a FREE version, so even if you don’t have the rest of the MS Office 365 package you can still download and use it. Download it here.

That’s all from me for now, but I’ll be back with a new diary entry soon. Next time, I will explore SharePoint and how you can use this for more than just file sharing…

Full Marks: Achieving 100% Positive Customer Feedback

9th July 2019: We have achieved 100%! Over the last 30 days every single customer survey response has been positive.

 

You’ll notice on our About page, we talk about our values, one of which is providing Exceptional Service:

“We constantly challenge ourselves and each other to excel at all times, exceeding expectations and delivering an unrivalled service.”

Our amazing colleagues totally embrace this, and we are proud to say that today the team have surpassed excellence once again.

We are always adapting and improving to ensure we provide the best possible service to our customers. One way we do this is asking customers, “How did we do on this request?”, every time a ticket is resolved by the Service Desk. This gives us a real insight into what each end user thinks of the service we have provided.

We’ve been consistently achieving 98%+ positive responses for some time now, but today, we can confirm we have achieved 100%, which is recognised in the industry as World Class! This means that over the last 30 days every single survey response has been positive.

This is a great achievement and reflects the hard work and effort that each employee puts in at Select Technology.

Well done team!

Prepare for Windows Server 2008 End of Support

End of support is coming for Windows Server 2008. Support ends 14th January 2020, but don’t panic, we have the information and solutions to help you.

 

Now is the ideal time to upgrade, modernise and transform to current or newer versions of Windows Server and Azure services for more security, performance and innovation.

Check out this useful infographic to understand the reasons why as well as the opportunities, benefits and advantages of upgrading.

For more information and to discuss how we can help you, please give us a call on 01892 830111 or email us at Sales@Select-Technology.co.uk today.

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