itac.technology Business Continuity
Without a doubt, we are experiencing some of the toughest economic times in our generation and it is affecting all businesses differently.
Now more than ever we are all relying on hassle free I.T and help available as soon as we need it. Like all businesses, we are taking a hit financially and are having to find new efficiencies and cost savings. However, rather than cutting client services to survive, we’re focused on adding value and maintaining exceptional service throughout this time. itac.technology is motivated and preparing to outlast this pandemic and in doing so assist our clients to do the same. At this stage we are operating “business as unusual”, maintaining all client services and availability whilst developing new procedures and protocols.
We ask that if you intend to utilise itac.technology services on the other side of these Covid-19 measures, you continue to utilise us throughout to ensure we can still exist and are available to help support your business’ bounce back. At this stage, however, we do acknowledge some businesses are doing it tougher than others and we are here to help. So pickup the phone and let’s have a chat. We are all trying to survive, we’re all in this together and we’re doing what we can to help so we ask you only report true financial hardship if you cannot see your business being able to survive this period. xxx
Along the way, we will be reporting any price breaks, freebies, discounts or concessions from technology suppliers to help you save some money or enhance your services throughout this time. More details in the next section.
Savings the day
We are stoked to report that some vendors out there are on board with business continuity and are offering some savings or making their products more economically feasible in this time. A few examples:
- Maxo Telecommunications – our cloud hosted NBN friendly phone system provider are offering reduced monthly or no monthly fees for existing customers. If you’re using these guys, you should have received an email. We’ll personally follow up with you too to ensure you’re aware
- Google – has postponed it’s price increases for another 6 months and are offering payment extensions for businesses in trouble
- Square POS – are waiving all software subscription fees for the month of April
- Telcos and NBN providers – some are offering bonus data for mobiles and some are offering unlimited NBN data. There’s also some concessions on late fees etc. We’d advise your best bet would be to visit your provider’s website or contact them directly for specifics. There’s also lists being updated here by Whistle Out (https://www.whistleout.com.au/Broadband/Guides/every-telco-COVID-19-coronavirus-assistance-package) and Finder (https://www.finder.com.au/coronavirus-bonus-data-offers)
- LinkedIn Learning – have made a bunch of productivity/WFH courses available for free, so this could be handy to help your team adjust to the change. Remember, too, LinkedIn offer a free month to new users so perhaps now is the time for you or your team to upskill in some downtime? (https://www.linkedin.com/learning/paths/remote-working-setting-yourself-and-your-teams-up-for-success)
Check out the Australian Business Continuity (https://www.australianbusinesscontinuity.com.au/) website for an updating list of other offers available form various suppliers. We’ll also keep an eye out for more offers and let you know if they look like the go!
Demand for online collaboration and meeting options has never been higher. Zoom is dominating in this field, already have a partially free service and as such are not offering any concessions. Slack are also at the top of their game and with such demand do not need to offer any freebies. However, if you wanted to consider some other options, check these out:
- Microsoft Teams – excellent all-in-one package that’s an alternative to Slack as a messaging service, also includes a Video service to compete with Zoom. Integrates seamlessly with your Microsoft Office apps and OneDrive/Sharepoint cloud, pretty awesome 🙂 Currently offering six months free access.
- Google G Suite Hangouts – cool alternative to Zoom, also includes a chat function. The ITAC team are using this currently and it’s working like a charm! The Advanced version of this product is currently available to all G Suite subscribers at no extra cost until July 1st 2020.
The good news about these two offers is they may already be included (or are easy add ons) to your existing Microsoft or Google subscription services. So even after their free period is over, the cost to maintain the service will be negligible when compared to some of the other stand alone products. We can centrally deploy licenses to these services or check if you already have access so give us a call today.
Is Iso Life A Little Lonely? Why Not Try Some Augmented Reality Animals From Google?
Now this is a bit of silly isolation fun…grab your phone and Google “Tiger”, scroll down the search results and look for the “View in 3D” link. Set to “AR” mode and follow the on screen instructions. Now try “Pug”. You’re welcome 😉 Sadly, no Meerkat available yet but there are a bunch of other animals in there to keep you company in this time. Hehe.
(Thanks to Holly Hammond for bringing this to our attention and ensuring I had a pet tiger keeping me company all yesterday afternoon! Disclaimer – these may not work on all devices, so if you have trouble, we suggest you get a new phone asap so you can join in the fun 😉 )
The Little Black Book Of Office Passwords Is Not So Convenient Anymore
We know you know it’s naughty, but we also know that many of us still have that little black book in a drawer at the office containing EVERYONE’S passwords 😉 Now, in this new world of work from home, I suspect that method of password storage is not quite so convenient or easy for the whole team to access anymore. Neither is the excel spreadsheet sitting on the desktop! Not only are these two options no longer that convenient, they are also pretty unsafe.
itac.technology has partnered with an awesome password management system and are making it available to all our clients. For Partner Support Tier clients we are giving you all one free license as part of your Partner package. For all other clients, Password Manager is available from just $5 per month.
This system will store all your credentials in one place, safely and securely inside a virtual black book accessible by your team members with super strong logins! It’s a smart play and now’s the time to consider tightening up your password management and making it more convenient and efficient for your entire business. Partners, expect some info in an email next week. Non-Partners, get in contact now if you want to try it out.
More Cyber Attacks, More Security Talk
At risk of sounding like a broken record, improving your business technology security to protect against cyber attacks of all kinds should be one of the most important things on you I.T. to-do list right now.
Partner clients, you can expect an email to arrive next week including a security audit and a number of other tasks we are completing on your behalf. Non-partner clients, if you have specific concerns and would like a review and advice, please contact us as soon as possible.
One of the best things any business can do at this point is enforce two factor authentication on all user logins with access to core business data/apps/platforms/services. These could include but are not limited to:
- Microsoft and Google accounts
- Any productivity apps (Trello, Slack, Monday.com, personal Google accounts etc)
- Any industry apps (Fergus, Tradify, Kounta, Vend, Square POS, Little Hotelier, Airbnb etc)
- Any website platforms (Squarespace, Wix, Shopify etc)
- Any social apps used for business (Facebook, Instagram etc)
We suggest you take a moment to consider what apps are in use within the business and make a list. You could also consult your “Little Black Book Of Office Passwords” to jog your memory. A quick search of support sections will offer a guide on how to setup two factor authentication specific to each website or app.
We have also provided info and advice on our blog for the big two, Google and Microsoft as well as some suggestions to handle two factor authentication for shared logins (https://itac.technology/2020/04/01/enhancing-security-using-two-factor-verification-for-google-2fv-and-multi-factor-authentication-for-microsoft-mfv-accounts/).
Also, if you want to educate your team on the types of threats out there, get in contact with us or take a look at some of these handy resources:
- https://www.webarxsecurity.com/covid-19-cyber-attacks – Webarx are doing a great job with an ever-updating list of known threats, it can be worth checking in on this list regularly
- https://blog.malwarebytes.com/scams/2020/03/coronavirus-scams-found-and-explained/ – Malwarebytes have provided a great overview of some of the big scams including WHO impersonators in this blog post
- https://blog.malwarebytes.com/ – Keeping one eye on Malwarebytes blog can also be handy as they have great general advice also
- https://www.arnnet.com.au/article/671960/coronavirus-scams-hit-aussie-businesses/ – A good article with some advice directly related to Aussie businesses. “These phishing attacks — and dozens of others that promise information on COVID-19 — entice users to open malicious attachments (some containing dangerous malware) and follow links designed to steal logins. We should all be vigilant and not respond to unexpected messages over any communications platform, especially those which request links be clicked on or attachments be opened,” Reeves said.
On Premises Security, Is It Time For Affordable CCTV Security?
If you’re no longer at your premises, who is? It’s a question we have pondered and the last thing we’d want is to roll back into the office after a few months and discover some theft or damage. Perhaps it’s worth considering installing some basic premises security.
itac.technology have a range of CCTV camera systems available, all viewable remotely via phone app or web interface. Some of the simplest DIY install solutions start from under $100 like this TP-Link Tapo C100 (https://www.tp-link.com/au/home-networking/cloud-camera/tapo-c100/) all the way up to the fully fledged Unifi Video systems (https://unifi-protect.ui.com/g4-pro). Want to know more? Give us a call.