The Faces of Royal IT: Meet Sophie Noske, Executive Assistant

Employee Spotlight

Sophie Noske – Executive Assistant
Administration / Finance / HR

Meet Sophie Noske, Royal IT’s resident office giggler.

Sophie charmed her way into Royal IT over 3 years ago with her radiant positivity and supreme business administration skills, and it appears she loves being part of the Royal IT family as we do having her.

“Nothing beats it and nothing beats the fun we have together out of the office!”

With a Certificate IV in Business Administration Sophie’s worked in business administration and accounts for over 6 years in various industry types, with 3.5 of those years in IT.

Sophie is now in the midst of completing a Bachelor of Business at Edith Cowan University, so she can no doubt unleash more brilliance in her business operations support role for our Perth and NYC offices.

She’s passionate about delivering “World Class” service, so we know our clients get the very best.

“When the client hangs up the phone they should remember you because you’ve gone that extra mile for them.”  

Here’s 5 Fun Facts about Sophie:

  1. When Sophie isn’t supporting business operations for both Perth and NYC offices, you’ll spot her spending some quality time with her miniature dachshund Wilfred, the one thing she can’t live without. They take mutual pleasure in their coastal walks together – Wilfred gets outside for some fresh air and excitement, and Sophie gets to show off how cute he is. Ah, that’s love.
  2. While she’s not a big fan of public speaking (“I hate public speaking”), she’s been filling in for Caitriona at some of our Breakfast Networking events and it’s growing on her.
  3. If Sophie wasn’t at Royal IT helping save our client businesses from IT hell she’d be jetting around the world as a full-time traveller, “living the dream”.
  4. But… she wouldn’t repeat this crazy stunt in her travels: jumping off a 60 foot submarine cave in Croatia, her most adventurous act.
  5. Not quite so extreme, but a fact we think is just as crazy: Sophie actually likes doing the washing. “It gives me great satisfaction.”

Thanks for meeting Sophie.

Stay tuned for our next employee spotlight!

Calculate What an Hour of Downtime Costs Your Business

We’ve all experienced the dreaded IT failure at the office when all of a sudden work stops or is interrupted, typically because you can’t access something you need – a file, email, the internet, a software program, or otherwise. Soon enough the same questions begin to filter through the office… “Is your wifi down?” “Can […]

The Key to Business Productivity and Happier Staff for the Modern Business

It could be argued that one of the most significant evolutions of the modern workplace in the last 5-10 years is our increasing tendency towards mobility. There’s no doubt technology is responsible for this developing shift towards a mobile workplace mindset and structure.

But, what exactly does a modern mobile workforce setup entail?

At minimum, a modern workplace should have:

  1. Online Central Management of Core Data (policies, procedures, documents, inventory, etc) that is accessible to all relevant staff.
  2. Cross Device Compatibility (from Mac/PC to tablet to phone)
  3. Built-in Security Protection (full-time monitoring of activity)

These days high performing employees not only appreciate flexible working conditions, they expect and demand them. And, with the access and mobility that technology now provides, there’s no reason why you can’t offer more flexible working conditions that allow employees to work remotely or connect when outside the office.

In fact, modern tools that employees have come to rely on like smart devices, Outlook, Word, Excel, Skype for Business, and Yammer can be accessed throughout the day from any location, enabling workflow, communication, collaboration and sharing between individuals and teams around the world.

Nevertheless, when the topic comes up among employers, there are many common misconceptions that prevent business owners from adopting mobile workstyles and putting the right infrastructure in place to support it.

The reality is, change is typically marked with some resistance. Here are the common concerns business owners have around embracing a mobile workforce….and why they are wrong!

Here are the common concerns business owners have around embracing a mobile workforce….and why they are wrong!

“Staff will slack off…”

There’s a fear that giving employees more freedom, like working from home, will result in them sleeping in or getting distracted watching sitcom reruns. The truth is, mobility actually promotes productively and makes staff more effective at their jobs, whilst increasing job satisfaction and happiness.

In fact, research has uncovered that 77% of staff reported being more productive working offsite, and 23% are willing to work longer hours if given the opportunity to work offsite. What’s more, almost a third of staff assert that they “accomplish more in less time”.

With the right IT setup, individuals can view and update their work, from documents to software in real-time no matter where they are. Because all activity is tracked, organisations have visibility over employee work habits.

For field employees, having access to real-time data enables quicker decision-making, saving time and money. And, of course, for employees who travel often or attend a lot of meetings, work mobility allows them to handles some tasks whilst commuting or in between meetings. In fact, if you really want to blow your mind about where meaningful work really gets done, check out this TED Talk on “why work doesn’t happen at work“.

By all accounts, productivity and efficiency actually improve in a business when it enables mobility or remote work.

“What about security?”

It’s a legitimate concern that stops a lot of companies from taking that next IT step. But, with the highly sophisticated security features and systems available today and the right employee training, these concerns can be put at ease. Today’s commercial systems are highly secure, with strong encryption protecting the data flowing between employees’ mobile devices and company servers.

Today there are many effective solutions to protect a business against cyber threats and data leakage. For instance, a Virtual Data Room can be used for sharing highly sensitive information and documents. If company devices are lost or stolen, cloud-based security features allow data to be wiped remotely. Software and tools like Office 365 Mobile Device Management have built-in data protection.

With the right IT measures and staff training, businesses can protect against potential security breaches.

“But, it’s expensive…”

Another common objection from employers is the cost of setting up a mobile workplace. However, the short-term investment will invariably set a business up for numerous future cost savings and modern workplace operations. When a business’s IT allows staff to work from anywhere, they can expect these wins:

  1. Lower overheads and operating costs: When staff work from home, a business requires less office space and physical infrastructure.
  2. Increased efficiency & profits: Better management of company data and documents results in greater team efficiency, as well as increased profitability per individual remote worker (estimated to bring in an additional $5,114 per year per worker).
  3. Access to a global talent pool: When a business open’s itself up to remote workers, they can tap into a global workforce and make long-distance collaboration possible. Lowered recruiting costs are often a result.

It seems employees derive as much benefit from going mobile, as employees do.

The truth is, the trend towards mobility isn’t going anywhere (67% of CIOs and IT professionals believe mobility will impact business as much as—or more than—the Internet did in the 1990s). Business owners can choose to embrace it now and be on the front foot or lag behind.

Download our PDF which contains more statistics and useful information.

Reach Out To Us

Discover how managed services can enable a mobile workforce in your business.

Reach out to Royal IT today by dropping us a line or giving us a call for a no obligations chat

 

Data Loss Prevention: A Step-by-Step Guide to Blocking Leaks

Data Loss Prevention: A Step-by-Step Guide to Blocking Leaks

Industry reports show that 90% of all active Data Loss prevention (DLP) installations are running in ‘monitoring mode.’ Although they notify an organization at the time of the leak, they do not stop it.  Raising the question, why are these DLP solutions not being employed to actively prevent data leakage? A function they were supposedly intended for. The reason behind this is the abundance of false positive rates, impacting an organization’s daily functionality.  If the solution appears to be active, a ‘false positive’ prevents an employee from doing their work. Missed data leakages can be a result of raising false negatives. In order to effectively produce positive results, DLP solutions must be carefully prepared, here are the key steps to ensure a successfully implemented DLP solutions strategy.

Step 1: Do You Need a DLP Solution at the Moment?

Ask yourself if your organization at immediate risk of data loss? Technology is constantly updating and improving DLP solutions all the time.  Therefore, the longer you can delay the solution the better the software.

Step 2: What Type of Solution Do You Require?

The industry offers a wide range of products promising to solve DLP, for example, hard drive encryption or end point port control solutions. These kinds of software aid in preventing data loss, however will not address the issue in the same manner a content-aware DLP solution does.

Types of Content Aware Solutions:
1. Single Channel solutions

  • Targets one data loss channel eg. e-mail or web

2. Enterprise DLP solutions

  • Time consuming
  • Costly
  • Can lead to organizational disruption
  • Achieves superior coverage

Although you may be an enterprise, you mustn’t assume your business needs an Enterprise DLP solution. There are multiple vendors widely available for email or web that will provide coverage.

Step 3: Protection

Identifying what you need to protect your business is a fundamental step in this process. If this is difficult to decipher, data discovery solutions will aid in your decision. Ensure you have control over the content saved, as this will help you in the future.

Step 4: Why does your content need protecting?

Protection can take many forms, whether it is due to Intellectual property (IP) or for compliance reasons, identification at this stage can shape how it is reported on.

Compliance:

  • Meeting data coverage e.g. credit card number and personal information as required for PCI and DSS.

IP Control:

  • The Solution may need to recognize source code or CAD files
  • Ensure the solution provides appropriate coverage (don’t take the vendors word for it)
  • Testing is crucial here

Step 5:  How is your Data Currently Lost?

This will allow you to determine the type of product to use, does it involve, email, web? Or, the use of USB sticks? Here, you must ensure you don’t attempt to solve all possibilities for data loss. Instead you’re aiming to break the cycle of accidental data loss. Ceasing deliberate data loss is more difficult and can negatively impact your business. It is also imperative to take into account remote users and their off-site devices.

Step 6: Creating a Policy

Once the above has been established, it is important to implement a policy that recognizes the content, and how it will be controlled. The previous steps outlines what should be included in the policy to prohibit internal information from being leaked.

Step 7: Testing

It all comes down to testing. While your fine tuning controls, it pays to run the testing in monitoring only mode. This will aid in identifying policy details and how it is enforced in the future.

Step 8: Policy Communication

Communicating your policy to your employees is an imperative component for the success of the project. Your employees must understand why these controls have been implemented, as they will affect them everyday. Gather their feedback concerning the controls and how you can minimizes its impact on their workload.

Step 9: Policy Enforcement

At this point you have successfully constructed, tested and communicated the policy. It’s at this point where you can move away from monitoring and initiate the policy. Schedule and release them, prioritize them in importance and don’t activate them all at once. This stage needs copious coverage, to amend any complications. This will impact your employees, make sure you support them during this stage.

Step 10: Future Proof Your Organization

Keep a close eye on DLP solution improvements, keeping up to date will ensure you have the best controls in place. Be on the hunt for improved ways to classify content or different types of content saved. As you continue to implement new applications, consider how you can simplify the DLP controls required. Following these steps will put your organization at the forefront, blocking leaks, allowing your business to focus on the important stuff.

Partner with Royal IT to Find the Best Solution

Royal IT can help you develop and implement a data loss prevention solution that suits your business and your needs.  To discuss a suitable data loss prevention strategy or if you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

Office 365 Updates – 5 Key Features to Look out for in 2017

As expected, Microsoft took advantage of its much-anticipated event—Microsoft Ignite—to announce key changes, along with their road map for 2017.

The September event focused on how Microsoft intends to build its enterprise solutions department with a view to upstage its competitors. While announcements on Azure, Sharepoint and office 365 were made, today we will be focusing on some key features to look out for in 2017.

Delve Analysis Receives an Upgrade

Developing a work plan that dictates the habits of employees has always been the responsibility of Delve Analytics. In keeping with its plan to enhance workplace habits through office 365, Delve Analytics has been upgraded to MyAnalytics with new features to boot. Features are geared at helping office teams and groups track their working habits, hours and collaborative efforts using exact details. Now, with My Analytics, team leaders receive insights into their colleagues’ working habits, collaborative patterns, and most productive hours, allowing them to take advantage of it.

Yammer’s Integration Adds Social Networking to Office 365

With a view to adding an official social networking tool in the Office ecosystem, Yammer has finally been integrated into Office 365 groups. This is big news because Yammer will provide a more socialized community for teams and groups working via Office 365. This move makes collaboration more streamlined as Yammer users can now turn ideas into action due to unlimited access to Sharepoint sites and document repositories.

Added Protection Through Threat Intelligence

2016 was notoriously known in cyber security circles as the year of enterprise breaches. To tackle the millions of attacks enterprise data will continue to face in the coming year, Microsoft has integrated a ‘Threat Intelligence’ feature in Office 365.

According to Microsoft,

‘Threat Intelligence will help you proactively uncover and protect against advanced threats by analyzing billions of data signals across Office consumer and commercial services. Threat Intelligence also provides deep insights from cyber threat hunters to create a comprehensive view of malware trends around the world. In addition, we’re integrating signals from Windows and Azure to help customers realize the full benefit of the Microsoft Cloud.”

The feature comes with its own enhanced dashboard that provides security administrators with insight into perceived/real threats, their origin and the necessary tools to manage threats.

Bitcoin Currency Support Gets a Boost

The integration of Bitcoin calculation tools in Excel is definitely a win for both parties involved. Bitcoin gains by being unofficially recognized by Microsoft, while Bitcoin users may now consider working officially via Office 365. The support means that Excel will now be able to recognize, format, and calculate numbers expressed in Bitcoin currency. The roll-out of this feature is expected to cover both desktop and mobile Excel or Microsoft Word applications.

Real-time Transcription and Translation of Skype Meetings

The next generation of Skype meeting rooms will include a real-time translation of online meetings for a diverse audience. This innovative feature will allow team members or collaborators worldwide to communicate through their language of choice. With this feature, individuals from the 400 cities Skype currently supports can select their native language option when listening in. The supported languages are English, Spanish, German, and Mandarin. And if Microsoft’s past growth pattern is anything to go by, languages as remote as Swahili will also be added with time.

Microsoft intends to make 2017 an exciting year for enterprise and business software solutions for everyone.

We encourage you to stay tuned to Royal IT for updates on Office 365 and how it could help your business both locally and internationally.

How Employee IT Habits Can Threaten Cyber Security in Your Workplace

Companies have come a long way in their ability to ward off internal and external cyber-security threats. However, as the pace of technology innovation speeds up, the threat that companies face also increases in complexity. Guarding devices and online data is an ongoing (and always fluctuating) effort.

Poor Cyber Security Awareness

Over the last decade, cybersecurity evolved from a niche concept monitored primarily by governments and corporate IT managers into a mainstream issue commanding above-the-fold headlines and consumer attention.

The 2016 elections were rife with stories of insecure servers, poor online security measures and overwhelming cyber security breaches, which may have derailed a candidate’s campaign. As expected, the average American and others around the world decried the use of a private server by a high-ranking government official.

And while many tried to ‘remove the speck in Hilary’s eye, most working class individuals forgot about the log in their eyes’. Statistics from the Identity Theft Resource Center puts the number of tracked data breaches in the US at 1,093, which led to an estimated $ 1 billion loss.

Both small scale businesses and big corporations like Yahoo, fell victim to this scourge thereby magnifying the losses. Final counts by IBM showed that there was a 29% increase in data breaches compared to the numbers of 2013.

This leads us to question: who on earth is responsible?

In order to provide an answer to this question, CompTIA conducted an online survey of 1,200 full-time employees in the US about their use of technology, cyber security awareness, and security consciousness level.

The survey showed un-earthed some mind-boggling statistics:

  • 63% of employees use their work mobile device for personal activities
  • 94% of employees connect their laptop/mobile to public Wi-Fi networks
  • 49% of employees have at least 10 logins, but only 34% have at least 10 unique logins
  • 45% of employees receive no cyber-security training from their employers.

These statistics answer the responsibility question to a high degree. It clearly shows that employers and their corresponding employees are culpable to a high degree for data breaches that occur within the system.

Employee use of storage infrastructure is also a source of concern and the 2015.

The ‘Stuxnet’ attack on Iran still remains fresh in our collective memory. The attack, which rendered the centrifuges in Iran’s nuclear program defective were caused by already installed malware in the USB sticks Iran purchased. Due to a lack of training and only a basic understanding of cyber threats, 17% of the program’s employees either clicked the contaminated link or in some cases even sent mail to the address provided on the disc. This utter lack of cyber security awareness was not limited only to Iran, as enterprises in the United States were also victims to Stuxnet.

cybersecurity_v1Despite this growing visibility, most employees still demonstrate a lower level of cyber security understanding and behaviour, both in regards to protecting their devices and their personal information. The above case studies should serve as an eye-opener to employers worldwide on the importance of in-depth cyber-security training.

 

Integrating a Security Conscious in Corporate Culture

Generally, employees are more likely to associate cyber security threat with identity theft while overlooking threats from malware and other phishing attacks. With anti-virus software, firewall protection, and other IT protocols installed, employees may feel that anything they do online is safe, or that if something were to happen, the technology would protect them. Not all breaches or identity theft incidents make the headlines, which may also lead some to underestimate their own vulnerability.

Therefore, the first step to combating security breaches is educating the workforce. This includes training with employees by IT professionals about the basics such as mitigating risk and securing both personal and work related data. Another important step to fighting security is integrating the use of real-time data analytics infrastructure such as Aerospike to counter or detect fraudulent activities.

Cyber threats are here to stay and with each passing year, the threats become varied and more sophisticated. Therefore, it is recommended that enterprises continuously update security measures as well as develop a cyber security-aware culture.

Get Cyber Security-Aware

Every business owner needs to understand cybersecurity risks. Download our free guide outlining the risks that your staff need to be trained on to avoid cybersecurity breaches.

cybersecurity-thumb

Download our PDF which contains more statistics and useful information.

Reach Out To Us

Want to know how RoyalIT can help you with cyber security?

Reach out to Royal IT today by dropping us a line or giving us a call.

What Every New Yorker Needs to Know When Choosing the Best Backup Software

The city can be a pretty hectic place to live and work in. You have to worry about long commutes, brutal winters, and those ridiculously long lines at Trader Joe’s.

Backing up your data may not even be on your radar due to your busy schedule. But finding the best backup software for your needs is as crucial as locking your front door before you leave the house.

Your computer, whether personal or corporate-issued, contains highly sensitive information. Think about the type of information your computer holds: credit card information, customer information, financial data, precious photos, videos, etc.

An effective backup strategy is automatic, redundant, and resilient. But how do you go about choosing the best backup software on your own? Here are the top features to look out for:

Storage that Meets Your Needs

Some offsite backup services charge you by the gigabyte, which is fine. But the unpredictable cost structure makes budgeting for your backup needs nearly impossible.

On the other hand, other service providers sell backup services with specific storage limits such as 4GB, 10GB, 20GB, etc. These types of plans help you simplify your budgeting process until your organization exceeds its storage capacity.

Find a service provider with a flexible storage and pricing plan that best meets your needs.

Restore Speed

Whenever hard drives fail, users accidentally delete important files, or when systems malfunction, you need to be able to quickly recover your files and restore your data.

Make sure your backup software makes it easy for you to restore data that has been backed up at an offsite location without allowing unauthorized individuals to do the same.

24/7 Support

Backup failures and data loss can occur off-hours. That means you may need a way to recover your business operations even after all your employees have gone home. Ensure that your backup service provider will be available when you need them most. Many backup providers offer 24/7 support as part of their services, so make sure that you know how to get in touch with support personnel even after business hours for assistance.

At Royal IT, we’re passionate about helping NY businesses succeed with the right technology solutions under their belt. We offer the latest Cloud backup services to make accessing, storing, and restoring data a breeze. Contact us today to learn more!

What is VoIP and How Can It Help My Business?

Voice over Internet Protocol (or VoIP) technology has made communication over the internet possible for many individuals and businesses. The system uses an internet connection instead of phone lines, compressing your voice into packets of data that are delivered to the call recipient, where they are converted back into sound.

A while back, these calls needed to be conducted from a computer with a headset. The technology has evolved, however, and now entrepreneurs can make VoIP calls from traditional adapter-enabled land-line phones or special VoIP phones that work as cell phones.

Huge Cost Savings

Compared to traditional phone and cell phone technologies, VoIP is a much cheaper alternative for making calls. The internet is making long-distance calling possible for a fraction of the traditional price. If you’re calling computer to computer, it’s often free.

If your small or medium business’ needs rely more on digital calling, a successful combination is possible within your existing data infrastructure, and you can still save money on calling costs.

More Features

When you think of VoIP, think of expanded features. This type of technology is quite different to the calling technology with which many people are familiar. It comes with many integrated features that are fantastic for businesses of all sizes.

For instance, you can receive voice-emails forwarded to your email address for easy access to messages. There is also the possibility of using virtual switchboards for better calls allocation, and so much more.

Location Free

If you are trying to target customers living on the other side of the globe, you can acquire a number with the necessary area code and you can still work from your usual headquarters.

On top of that, since all you need is an Internet connection to make calls, you can easily work from home or abroad as if you’re in the office. This neat benefit means that you won’t use up your cell phone data plan when traveling overseas.

Shorter Transfer Time

With VoIP, you can set your calls to ring on multiple devices at the same time. Pick up the call wherever you want. This avoids delays to customers and clients who will now be able to get in touch with you directly, wherever you are.

The activity of staff “switching clients over” to the relevant extension is a true waste of time. It also allows for errors to be made, which would result in client dissatisfaction. VoIP makes reaching the right individual pain-free.

Rise in Productivity

VoIP technology allows an organization’s employees to multi-task without interruptions, increasing the overall productivity. On top of that, VoIP offers the option of attaching documents, sharing data, conducting video conferences, or scheduling virtual meetings, all while enhancing the voice clarity to make it indistinguishable from or better than the traditional way of calling.

Advancements in VoIP technology guarantee less stress for staff and more productivity for any organization.

VoIP is a low-cost service that gives you and your business opportunities for increased flexibility and productivity. If your business suffers due to the usual technology complexities, and if your phone bills make you wince, choosing a good-quality VoIP provider may be the boost that your business needs.