Monthly Archive for September, 2021

Cyber Security Month

October is Cyber security awareness month, an annual global initiative to raise awareness on the issues around cyber security and promote good cyber security practices for both individuals and organisations. Cyber Security Awareness month started in the U.S.A and then in 2013, The European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) started the European Cyber Security Month (ECSM).

This is so important because governments, the financial sector and all other organisations now collect, process, and store incredible amounts of data on their computers and other devices. Every day thousands of networks are compromised and data stolen. Much of that data can be sensitive information, such as intellectual property, financial data, or personal information. This is not only embarrassing and costly, but because of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which says that companies must safeguard their data, it means that organisations can be fined for allowing data breaches to happen.

What is Cyber Security?

Cyber security is a wide area and can apply to anything from business to mobile computing. It covers all aspects of defending networks, computers, servers, mobile devices and electronic systems from malicious attacks. There are a number of areas that need to be considered when looking at Cyber Security:

Network security is simply the process of protecting the network from unwanted users, attacks and intrusions.

Application security focuses on keeping software and devices free of threats, which could lead to data breaches or attacks on a system. Applications should be constantly updated and tested. Good software will have regular security updates.

Disaster recovery is the plans an organisation has to responds to a cyber-security incident or other event that causes the loss of operations or data and how it will return to the same operating capacity as before the event.

End-user education: The weakest link in any good Cyber Security are the users of the system. A virus can be introduced into a very secure system by an individual failing to follow good security practices. Teaching good habits such as regular password changing and using 2-factor authentication, the deletion of suspicious email attachments, not plugging in unidentified USB drives, etc. is important to maintain the security of any organization.

Operational security includes all processes for handling and protecting data. The permissions users have to access a network and how and where data may be stored or shared are part of this. It means that you must manage each user’s security identity controlling exactly what they can and can’t do.

Database and infrastructure security:  It’s a fact that most data is stored in some sort of database and that everything is stored (ultimately) on physical equipment. All of this needs to be properly secured.

Cloud security means that organisations have to think of data stored in an online environment and Mobile security, which can be mobile phones and/or tablets involve all of the other issues of Cyber Security, with the added problem that this equipment is taken and used in remote locations.

Types of Cyber Threats

Cyber security threats can be placed into three broad categories:

  1. Cybercrime which is groups or individuals targeting companies or systems, usually for financial gain, or to cause disruption.
  2. A Cyber-attack often involves information theft and this may be politically motivated.
  3. Cyberterrorism is intended to disrupt or bring down electronic systems to cause panic or fear. Cyber-attacks and digital spying are now considered the top threat to national security, eclipsing even conventional terrorism.

In 2020 the number of UK data breaches were considerable:

  • 43% of businesses identified cyber security breaches or attacks in the last year
  • Up to 88% of UK companies have suffered breaches in the last 12 months.
  • One in every 3,722 emails in the UK is a phishing attempt
  • One small business in the UK is successfully hacked every 19 seconds

Guarding against Cyber Threats

These are some measures that may keep yourself and your business as secure as possible against Cyber threats:

  1. Ensure your software and operating system are up-to-date with the latest versions and benefit from the latest security patches.
  2. Use anti-virus software. There are many good security software suites, both paid for and completely free. Again, keep your anti-virus software updated for the best level of protection.
  3. Use strong passwords, that are longer (meaning they have larger number of characters) and that mix numeric digits, upper and lower case letters and special characters
  4.  Don’t open email attachments from unknown senders, or click on links in emails from unknown senders.
  5.  Avoid using unsecure Wi-Fi networks in public places.

The UK government has set out its Minimum Cyber Security Standards for Cyber Security. You can learn more about Cyber Security Month here

The 10 Best Places to Visit in the UK

Travel rules and restrictions have caused many of us to chose a staycation this year. The UK is full of places to holiday, places for a short stay, or places for a day-trip. It also has a massively wide breadth of location types, encompassing historic urban centres, scenic landscapes, incredible coastlines, stunning national parks and awesome scenery.

Whatever you are planning, the UK has something for you. With that in mind, here are our top ten suggestions:

1. The Lake District

The Lake District is one of the most popular places to visit in the U.K. It is the UK’s most popular national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2017. Try climbing Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. There is everything from lake cruises to mountain walks, hiking, photography, outdoor adventures and cosy pubs with home-cooked food. Or take a narrow-gauge steam train ride from Ravensglass deep into the Eskdale valley.

2. Brighton

Brighton isn’t an ordinary seaside town and there is always something new, each time you visit. Soak up its oddball, alternative character by exploring the warren of streets known as the Lanes; sprinkled with vegan cafes, espresso bars, chaotic pubs, record stores and bric-a-brac shops. Don’t forget the Royal Pavilion, a 19th-century party palace built by the Prince Regent. You can still have fish and chips on the pier, and the Seven Sisters cliffs are nearby too.

3. Bath

In a nation full of great cities, Bath is one of the most visually spectacular, full of buildings built with honey-coloured Bath stone. Of course, there are the Roman Baths, but there is also the Jane Austen Centre, and the Bath Assembly Rooms, Georgian ballrooms which were the setting for scenes for two of Austin’s novels (Persuasion and Northanger Abbey). Don’t miss The Circus, and the famous Royal Crescent.  It’s also a beautiful place to visit in winter because (if running) the Christmas markets are fantastic!

4. York

York may be the only city to rival Bath as the prettiest city in England, although visually, the two couldn’t be more different. Seeing York Minster is obviously a must. A landmark of York which has a giant east-facing window that had the largest expanse of stained glass anywhere in the world, before the modern era. Walk the almost complete 13th-century walls in a magnificent circuit. There is also The Shambles, filled with picturesque cobbled streets, cafes, and restaurants, and supposedly the inspiration for Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley. The Jorvik Viking Centre is well worth a visit. It’s the only place in the world where you can go on a fun-fair ride that is also a history lecture. The whole place feels like an old Viking City. And lastly, if you can get in, you must, must, must have afternoon tea at Betty’s Tea Rooms.

5. Stonehenge

Stonehenge is the only surviving lintelled stone circle in the world, at around 5000 years old. Stonehenge has an impressive visitor and has been a legally protected Scheduled Ancient Monument since 1882.The site and its surroundings were added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1986. You may have seen it many times in photographs and TV, but only seeing it “in the stone” will give you a real appreciation of this monumental monument.

6. London

Without a doubt, the world’s greatest city. You could live there for many years and only scratch the surface of what the mother of all metropolis’s has to offer. There are the obvious attractions of the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and museums such as British Museum, Natural History Museum and the Science Museum, art galleries, including Tate Modern, Tate Britain and the National Gallery, all of which are free to visit. But London keeps giving. Try the incredible Museum of London or Royal Observatory Greenwich. And for a hidden, hardly seen by Tourists, spectacular gem, visit the Inns of Court, in the heart of London, a stone’s throw from major attractions.

7. Cambridge

Full of incredible architecture that will make you go ‘ooohhh’ every time you turn a corner. And you can also have a punt along the Cam.

8. Devon

The only English county so good it has two coastlines. There are an amazing mix of places from cities like Exeter and Plymouth, the English Riviera of Torbay, Dartmoor and the quieter north coast where you’ll find places like Barnstaple.

9. The Cotswolds

A region spread over six English counties and a designated Area of Outstanding beauty. Here is all that was perceived as traditionally and quintessentially English; a tangle of quaint villages of rose-clad cottages, village greens with pubs serving fine ales, and views of lush green hills. There are many long-distance trails including the Cotswold Way, perfect for walking, cycling and horse-riding.

10. Cheddar Gorge

Visit for the Gorge itself, the incredible caves and the sight of large truckles of cheddar aging slowly, in the darkness. Stay for the scenery, caving, climbing and more!

Things You Didn’t Know Microsoft Teams Could Do

Over the last year, Teams has gone from a relatively obscure part of the MS Office suite to being one of its most used. The number of users has almost doubled in that time, increasing from 75 million users in April 2020 to 145 million in April 2021. And it’s still a relative newcomer, only being launched in 2016. If you still aren’t familiar with it, here is all you need to know:

Good shared workspace software should make collaboration easier. Microsoft Teams unifies chat, voice, video and file sharing and is designed to be used by any work group, large or small, whether they are local or remote. It’s also designed to help increase worker productivity by providing a unified suite of tools. The good news is that, for those organisations that already have Microsoft 365 and Office 365 it’s included totally free.

Although it only appeared a few years ago, Microsoft has constantly updated Teams since its initial launch. New features were added throughout 2020 and into 2021:

Chat

As with most collaboration apps, Teams has a chat function that offers both one-on-one and group chats. Teams’ chat includes text formatting, emojis and priority flagging. Files can be shared directly through chat sessions.

Channels

Teams’ main strength is in the ability to collaborate through different channels. Channels can be either Standard, public and open to everyone who wants to join, or Private and focused on specific topics or activities.  Channels tend to have a specific work project or topic, and can be thought of as group chat rooms, suited to the fast-paced conversations impossible on email.

All team members should be able to view and add to different conversations in the General channel. The @ function can be used to invite other members to different conversations.

Meetings

Teams has Online video calling, which can be done to anyone within the company or business or clients outside the business. Teams offers videoconferencing for up to 250 users per session.

Online meetings in Teams can include anyone outside or inside a business. This feature also includes a note-taking app, file uploading, and in-meeting chat messaging. Teams also allows desktop sharing for technical assistance and real-time collaboration on documents.

Video meetings can be scheduled on a channel’s calendar, or users can create them on the fly.

Calling

Teams actually offers outbound calling directly from the client. This allows mobile users with no current internet access to connect to a meeting. In fact, Teams can replace a business’s existing phone system using Microsoft 365 Business Voice, but this does require the purchase of an additional licence.

SharePoint Document Storage

Every team who uses Microsoft Teams will have a site in SharePoint Online, containing a default document library folder. Any files shared in conversations will also automatically save to this folder.

Integration with Microsoft Office

As you would expect, Teams is tightly integrated with the rest of Microsoft 365. Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other files can be created and managed within channels. Calendaring connects right into Outlook.

Other Features

  • Teams provides all of the security features of the broader Microsoft 365 suite including two-factor authentication and encryption in transit and at rest in the cloud.
  • Teams offers greater data visibility because all conversations within Teams are persistent. Files and conversations in Teams channels are all saved in the Microsoft 365 cloud, making that data available to Microsoft Graph.
  • Teams supports Training sessions as Trainers can send automated alerts to every student in the session. Teams now also supports virtual breakout rooms. These are essential if trainees are being asked to work on group assignments.

If you want to find out more about the capabilities of Teams and how you can use them, please contact us today about the Training that we have for MS Teams at Infero.