Could being sociable online be dangerous to businesses?

‘Social Engineering is the technique of manipulating people into performing actions to divulge sensitive or confidential information’ – Cyber Security Guide 2013

 

Social media has grown considerably in recent years, not only it is a tool individuals use to interact, create, share or exchange information, it is also increasingly important fsocial mediaor businesses to have a social presence.

However, being sociable online can come at a cost, it can be a security risk otherwise known as ‘Social Engineering’ – ‘a non-technical intrusion that is reliant on human interaction and tends to involve trickery, causing individuals to break usual security protocols’.

Social Engineering is heavily reliant on personal information and social media is a goldmine for Social Engineers looking to do harm. It relies on individuals being careless with their information and the results can be harmful to individuals as well as businesses.

Many Viruses, Phishing and Malware email attacks are now are prime Social Engineering examples. This is because they are getting more personalised and often you have to look at it twice before you realise it is not legitimate. Like CryptoLocker that disguised itself as a delivery note from popular courier companies or phishing emails disguising themselves as well-known banks.

social engineeringSocial Engineers also take advantage of individuals natural inclination to choose passwords that are meaningful to them and using them for a number of logins. By using meaningful passwords, paired with personal information gained from peoples online presence – it can make them easy to guess. By uploading photos of your pet, comments about a restaurant or your daily activities, it can be used by a hacker to build a picture of you.

‘12% of social media users say someone has hacked into their social network account and pretended to be them according to the 2013 Norton Report’

It is not about censuring online activity but, individuals and businesses need to understand how valuable information is, how it can be used against us and how we should take precautions to minimise the risk of social engineering.

For more information on how to defend against Social Engineering contact one of our Netshield consultants today on 0845 603 5552.

Countdown has begun…Bye Bye Windows Server 2003

Windows Server 2003

Nearly time to say goodbye to Windows Server 2003…

The support for Windows Server 2003 will be ending on 14th July 2015 and with the discontinuation of SBS it seems Microsoft customers have to go down the Office365 or Windows Server 2012 route. With the end of support in less than 12 months, companies need to pick a path because staying with Server 2003 is not a good idea.

The main issue with staying with Windows Server 2003 or any out of support product is the fact bug fixes will stop and you will not receive anymore updates and patches. This means any new Server 2003 vulnerabilities will not be addresses, which could become a massive security risk.

To protect the network more investment of time and money will be needed to strengthen the security of the network i.e. intrusion detection and upgrading firewalls. So, in the long run moving to Windows Server 2012 might be more cost-efficient.

For some sectors running unsupported products it may mean the IT network will not meet the necessary legal and regulatory requirements. The outdated product on the network can also become unstable, cause increased downtime and a decrease in productivity.

There are really 3 main options for those who are currently on Windows Server 2003: stick with it, perform an upgrade on the existing hardware or migrate and upgrade – which could be the best option if the current hardware is several years old.

For upgrades, migrations planning and deployment as well as proactive IT services information and advice please contact us today on 0845 603 5552.

Right to Request Flexible Working

‘Flexible working is a way of working that suits an employee’s needs like working flexitime, homeworking, job sharing, shift work etc.’

From June 30th 2014, employees are entitled to request flexible working if they have completed 26 weeks of service within a company. Prior to this change it only applied to parents of under 16s and carers.

The Steady Rise of Homeworking

According to Trade Union and the Office for National Statistics there has been a steady increase from 1.3 million homeworkers in 1998 to 4.2 million in 2014, with many spending at least half of their work time working from home.

With most job roles requiring technology or access to the corporate IT network it is becoming necessary for organisations to allow users to remote into the network anytime, anywhere. Within the marketplace there are a number of products that can help like Microsoft Remote Desktop App, Citrix XenApp, VMware Horizon etc.

Homeworking has a number of benefits for both the employer and employees:-

Employer

Employees

  • Increase productivity
  • Help lower overheads
  • Reputation of flexibility = help attract and retain staff
  • Lower carbon footprint (less commuting)
  • Flexibility
  • Savings on travel costs
  • Improved work-life balance
  • Personalised work space
  • Improved job satisfaction

Although there are benefits of homeworking, it is not suited to all job roles and organisations i.e. workers who require particular industrial machinery to carry out their job or a sales consultant at a retail premises – so, job role suitability is factor when considering employees application for homeworking.

Another thing to keep in mind is security – always ensure the technology and methods used by homeworkers to access business data is secure, to help lower the risk of data breaches. This may mean initial investment into the IT infrastructure to make it suitable for homeworking. So, assess whether the advantages outweighs the disadvantages and the costs against the benefits.

For more information is planning, deploying and managing remote IT technology please contact us today.