November 2021 – IT Review

Hi everyone,

Just a quick review of 2021 and some important topics to cover for 2022.

1. IT Support – Email & Portal
2. Data Security
3. Office 365 Backups
4. Office 365 Price Increase
5. Website Backups & Antivirus
6. Stock Shortages
7. Working From Home in 2022

IT Support – Please submit tickets / emails

It’s been 12 months since we moved 100% into Managed IT Services and away from the break/fix style of support. For those of you that are unaware, Managed IT Services are basically where you pay a small fee per device and we manage it 24/7/365. The goal is to keep your devices running trouble free & your data safe so we can avoid costly downtime for your business.

Part of this transition was that we asked everyone to start using the support portal and support email for all support requests. While this takes away a little bit of the personal touch, submitting tickets gives you a bunch of other benefits.

Speed – There are 5 staff on a rotating roster. The next available tech will address your issue.
Cost – All tickets are timed for 100% billing accuracy. (it’s much quicker for us too)
Reduce Mistakes – Tickets allow us to work uninterrupted – interruptions can cause mistakes and things can be forgotten.
Reporting – Issues & faults are logged allowing us to identify broader or repetitive issues that need to be addressed.

For advice, meetings or just a chat – Check out my calendar and book a meeting for my next available spot. (updated live)

For IT Supportsupport portal or support email FIRST and only call if your business is majorly effected.

Cybersecurity

As we predicted last year, cyber security has been at the forefront of the news. The stats below for Australia are only cybercrimes that were reported and we are certain that these figures were actually much higher.

  • Over 67,500 cybercrime reports, an increase of nearly 13% from the previous financial year.
  • Self-reported losses from cybercrime totaling more than $33 billion.
  • Over 1,500 cybercrime reports of malicious cyber activity related to the coronavirus pandemic (approximately 4 per day)
  • More than 75% of pandemic-related cybercrime reports involved Australians losing money or personal information
  • Nearly 500 ransomware cybercrime reports, an increase of nearly 15% from the previous financial year Fraud, online shopping scams and online banking scams were the top reported cybercrime types
  • An increase in the average severity and impact of reported cyber security incidents, with nearly half categorised as ‘substantial’

I personally handled multiple ransomware events for current and new clients. One particular client, a home business, was accessed through an unpatched 3rd party software/device that bypassed all security processes in place. A decade of data was encrypted and 2 home business came to a halt. The estimated cost for this 3 day event was over $10,000 in ransom payments & IT expenses. This doesn’t include loss of income during the event.

I cant emphasize enough how stressful this is for both the clients and myself. (I basically worked 3 days straight until the business was operational again) We have since added a dedicated firewall that monitors both incoming and outgoing communications as well as upgrading antivirus & adding all devices to my Managed IT Services so that these systems are always patched/monitored.

If you’re interested in having your devices managed, upgrading your security or having a security evaluation, please drop me an email and we can arrange it.

Microsoft 365 & Google Workspace Backup

We are now offering daily backups for MS/Google user accounts from $7/user per month. There are minimums and pricing will differ depending on account size and retention policies. The Office 365 backup covers all accounts you pay for, teams data, calendar data, shared email accounts are free & your Onedrive/Sharepoint data is also included. This allows fast recovery and restoration of accidentally deleted files & emails all from a convenient & easy to use portal on our website. I’ve done a blog post here to explain more about Microsoft Backups. 

New pricing for Microsoft 365

Microsoft have advised that there will be a price increase on 1st March 2022. It’s the first increase in several years and reflects the additional features and value they have added to the plans. The prices are between $2 and $6 per user, depending on your subscription level. They have said we can lock in current prices if we switch to annual payments rather than monthly. If you’re interested in switching to annual payments please let me know as soon as possible. I know it can save a few of you over $1000 per year.

Website Backups

For all those of you who have websites hosted on our servers in Sydney & Brisbane: We currently have a free weekly backup in place but we can now offer additional backup options – hourly, every 6 hours, every 12 hours & daily. Prices range from $5/month to $50/month depending on the amount of data in your account. If your website is hacked, goes down because of update errors or you make a mistake, you can quickly restore from a backup point and be up and running within minutes. If you’re website is hosted elsewhere and you’d like to chat about having it hosted and managed at one of our data centre locations please drop us an email, we’d be happy to help.

Backups include: CPanel Config, Home Dir Files, Databases, Database Users, Email Accounts, Include Emails Contents, FTP Accounts, Cron Jobs, DNS Zones, SSL Certificates

Website Antivirus

We have installed a new antivirus program on the server which covers all users accounts at a basic level of protection. ImunifyAV+ is a premium version upgrade that provides both malware scanning and cleanup. For users that upgrade to ImunifyAV+, the option to receive an email notification to the control panel’s administrator email address is available. With ImunifyAV+, you can automatically remove malware with one click due to the advanced file deobfuscation techniques. These enable the detection of encrypted malicious code embedded in files and can clean over 97% automatically. For only $5/month it’s a great way to secure your websites.

Semiconductor chip shortage could extend through 2022

The semiconductor chip shortage that is hamstringing the production of products ranging from cars and computers to appliances and toothbrushes will extend into 2022 and potentially beyond that. Things are supposed to improve in the second half of 2022. The best way to secure stock is to order early so if you can see you may have any IT purchases coming up over the next 12 months now is the time for us to start planning for it.

Work From Home 2022

Gartner estimates that remote workers will represent 32% of all employees worldwide by the end of 2021. This is up from 17% of employees in 2019. Gartner defines a remote worker as an employee working away from their company, government, or customer site at least one full day a week (hybrid workers) or who work fully from home (fully remote workers).

Remote working varies considerably around the world depending on IT adoption, culture, and mix of industries. In 2022, 31% of all workers worldwide will be remote (a mix of hybrid and fully remote). The U.S. will lead in terms of remote workers in 2022, accounting for 53% of the U.S. workforce.

We cant predict what is going to happen come December when our borders open. The government have advised that there will still be lockdowns as required so we think remote work is still going to be big in QLD.

While we managed to get through the last 12 months OK we need to look towards securing connections for home users. Similar to the Office In A Box solution that we provide, businesses should be looking to have at least a small firewall for home users to ensure their devices are safe while not in the secured work network. Prices are usually as low as a couple of hundred dollars.

Thank you for reading. We’re hope you’ve found some of this information useful. Our new programs should assist with automation and protection of your systems so we can avoid data loss events in 2022.

Please reach out with any questions or if you would like to upgrade any of your systems moving forward.