How to Avoid Spam

How to Avoid Spam and Free Up Your Time.

Spam is one of the few things that everyone can agree we receive too much of these days. It is one thing to receive lots of email from family or business contacts, but when you include spam, it can start to feel entirely overwhelming.

We can broadly define spam as any messages sent over the internet that are either irrelevant or inappropriate. They’re usually trying to sell something, give you a virus, or con you into something. Processing all these messages, and deciding which ones are relevant can be a tedious draw on your time.

Three useful tips to avoid spam from entering your life:

  • Be extremely careful about what websites you give your email address to

The key here is to make sure you aren’t constantly giving out your email address to companies, especially the suspicious ones. Not only will some legitimate companies bombard you with unwanted messages, but the more nefarious ones will sell your information to other companies who will email you junk.

Unless you specifically want to receive frequent emails from companies, you should always remember to untick the opt-in box that gives them permission to send you marketing messages.

  • Get a spam blocker or junk filter

Most adware suites or email clients come with some sort of a spam solution. These are usually worthwhile and will automatically sort the spam out of your life and into a junk mail folder. The downside is that these functions aren’t always accurate and you could possibly miss out on an email that was meant for you.

This means you should still check your spam folder every few weeks to see if anything important that somehow got filtered there due to a big attachment or outbound link.

  • Use a separate email for any potential spam

Rather than having just a personal email and business email, create a spam email as well. This is something you check a little less regularly, and when you do, you do it with a mindset focused on aggressive deletion of irrelevant emails.

If you’re operating on Gmail, there is a great tip available that allows you sign up for an additional email under your own name, just by putting a “+” sign at the end of your name. For example, if your original email was “john.nospam@gmail.com”, you could create another email “john.nospam+spamfolder@gmail.com”, and then filter your junk mail to there.

Between these three tips, you should be well on your way to fighting spam and eliminating the annoyances from your life. Most of the time, it just comes down to constantly opting out of the mailing lists and being vigilant about who you give your details to. Employing tools like spam filters, even though they are by no means perfect, will help to further eliminate nuisance emails.

 

Cyber Security – Understanding the Threat of Cyber Attacks

Cyber Attacks

The recent randsomware cyber attack brought to light the damage that can be done by hackers targeting vulnerable IT systems. While the NHS has received a lot of attention in the press, this attack in fact impacted organisations and individuals around the world.

A 2017 survey by the British Chambers of Commerce revealed that 20% of UK businesses have fallen victim to a cyber-attack in the past year.

While larger companies and well-known brands are the most likely to be targeted, small businesses are also under threat. 18% of small companies (with fewer than 99 employees) also found themselves hacked in the past 12 months.

Before taking the necessary precautionary steps to protect your website, your data and your business, it is worth investing some time to educate yourself as to the types of attacks that you could be exposed to.

Some of the most common cyber attacks include:

  • DDoS attacks –

    Distributed denial of service attacks prevent real customers from using your website or service, by flooding you with traffic from multiple different sources.

  • Malware –

    Malicious Software, or Malware, includes a number of different types, all of which are intended to disrupt normal computer operations. Specific examples include:

    • Adware – Displays unwanted adverts to users, with users often being inundated with pop up ads.
    • Spyware – Tracks usage information and sends it to third parties
    • Randsomware – Blocks access to the data on your machine until you agree to pay a randsom to unlock it.
  • Phishing –

    Phishing attacks can include emails, websites or even phone calls, where hackers impersonate trusted organisations to try to convince you to hand over personal information, or install suspicious software on your machine. For example, you may receive an email that appears to be from your bank, asking you to reset your password. This could then redirect you to a site where you would input your password and other personal data that could be used to access your accounts.

  • Password attacks and credential reuse –

    Phishing is just one way hackers can steal your passwords. Other techniques include brute force password attacks, which involve using automated software programs to try to guess your password. As many people use the same password on multiple sites, once they have your password, hackers will try to compromise and steal data from other sites using the same log in details.

  • Man in the middle –

    This type of attack occurs when a hacker positions themselves between two people or systems communicating over a network. This allows them to intercept data that is being transferred between the two parties, without either side knowing. Conversations that were meant to be private are at risk of MITM attacks, as are sites that require users to login, as the log in data can be compromised.

Protecting Yourself from a Cyber Attack

By working with security experts to understand which type cyber attack you are most exposed to, you can build a secure and effective strategy to help keep cyber criminals at bay.

Though some businesses may see cyber security as an unwanted and unnecessary cost, the true cost to your business of a full cyber attack will be far greater if you fail to take sufficient precautionary action.

See this blog on How to Prevent Cyber Attacks  or for more information and advice Contact Us: 0844 770 0199

How To Prevent Cyber Attacks

How Businesses Can Prevent Cyber Attacks.

Cyber security has become a key focus area for IT leaders over recent years, with many now citing it as their primary concern. The increased reliance on information technology to run our businesses, coupled with the rise in external threats, means that failing to properly protect your systems could be extremely costly.

For companies in the public eye, the immediate damage to systems is greatly overshadowed by the impact to the company’s reputation in the wake of a data breach.

Thankfully, as cyber security has matured, experts have developed a multitude of tactics to detect suspicious activity and prevent further damage being caused.

Measures to Prevent Cyber Attacks

  • Firewall – Firewalls act as a barrier between your network and the external world, giving you the opportunity to monitor incoming and outgoing traffic. For additional security, many companies are now looking to dual layer firewalls, increasing the difficulty for criminals to find their way in.
  • Intrusion prevention and detection – Intrusion detection systems monitor network traffic and look for suspicions and malicious activity. This information is then logged and used to alert the necessary people so that appropriate action can be taken. Prevention systems go beyond this, proactively blocking traffic that looks to be suspicious.
  • Antivirus – Antivirus software detects and prevents systems from the harmful effects of viruses and other types of malware such as key loggers, Trojan horses, spyware and adware.

Cyber Security Hygene

While external attacks pose the greatest threat, often it is the behaviour of internal users and hygiene of internal systems that allow these attackers to get a foothold on your network. Under the broader cyber security umbrella there are several things you can directly control that will make it more difficult for intrusion to occur in the first place.

  • Access management – Staying on top of access management ensures that access privileges are assigned to users at the correct level. Limiting the number of users with administrator access prevents further damage if usernames and passwords become compromised.
  • URL filtering – Controlling and filtering the content that can be accessed on the internet helps to limit exposure to sources that could potentially be harmful.
  • Data leakage prevention – Data filters can be used to recognise particular data types such as credit card numbers or account numbers, and prompt users before this information can be emailed outside the organisation.

Cyber Security Technology

Technology to prevent cyber attacks has come a long way, but it is still important to educate users as to the role they have to play in protecting the organisation.

Creating a culture where internal users are aware of the dangers of cyber attacks, and the damage that can be caused by clicking suspicious links or downloading suspect files is a key part of keeping hackers at bay.

VoIP Phone System Advantages

VoIP Phone Advantages

In an increasingly competitive world, it is important that your business stays up to date with the latest technologies to empower your employees and surpass your competition.

Due to the global nature of many businesses today, communication has become a vital part of how we work, but it doesn’t come without costs and challenges.

VoIP  or  Voice over Internet Protocol

Has become a popular way to reduce the cost of telephony and improve communication between teams around the world.

VoIP works by converting voice calls into data, and transmitting them over the internet, as opposed to the standard telephone networks.

In practical terms, you have two options for implementing VoIP for your business:

  • Use your PC as a phone – Simply by installing VoIP software on your PC, and using a headset and a microphone, you can start to use your PC like a phone
  • Have a dedicated VoIP phone – Alternatively you can have dedicated VoIP phone hardware, which looks and feels like a normal fixed line phone, but actually connects to the internet via your PC.

People traditionally associate VoIP technology with cheap calls, but it also allows you to do a whole host of things that you wouldn’t be able to do with a traditional phone line.

Benefits of VoIP systems

The nature of VoIP means that it has many benefits over traditional telephony services, including:

  • Portable – As your phone connects over the internet, you can use the same number wherever you have internet access
  • Multimedia – For no extra cost, you can make video calls, send instant messages or Fax using VoIP technology.
  • Integration with applications – VoIP phones can be connected to your computer systems and integrated with any number of other applications. Linking to CRM systems can be effective for logging calls and enabling “click to call” functionality.
  • Cost – Making VoIP to VoIP calls is free, and even calls to other landlines are typically much cheaper. For international call, you will connect via the internet to a local hub in that country, and then only pay local call rates to connect to the fixed telephone line.

What do VoIP Phone benefits enable?

VoIP communications platforms can truly revolutionise the way businesses work, It can be particularly good for:

      • Mobile workforce – The portability of VoIP means that you can effectively take your number with you when you are travelling, allowing you to make and receive calls from the same number as if you were at home.
      • Multinational organisations – Global organisations with offices spread out across the world can dramatically reduce the cost of these various office communicating by making sure they are call set up with VoIP telephony. In this scenario calls would be free as they are VoIP to VoIP
      • Collaborative teams –Collaborative teams spread out over a few different locations can make use of the different forms of communication that come as standard with many VoIP platforms, for example video calls, or the ease of sharing files via instant messenger.

Hosted VoIP

Any business or team that has high call volumes benefits from VoIP and its capability to easily integrate with other applications. Hosted VoIP systems easily allow you to monitor statistics like call volumes, lengths etc. so you can analyse the performance of your teams. You can also include features like automatically logging calls on client records.

Installing a VoIP telephony system could revolutionise the way your business communicates, while reducing your costs at the same time. If you’re thinking about an upgrade, make sure you bear VoIP in mind.

If you would like to know more about VoIP for business just contact us or give us a call on 0844 770 0199 for a no obligation review of your current arrangements

Cloudscape IT – IT Support Company London

Moving Office – IT Relocation

IT Relocation Checklist

The Internet has brought innumerable benefits in the last 15-20 years, but with that has come added complexity to the systems that make everything possible. In the background of every email or file transfer you execute at work is a whole ecosystem of IT infrastructure.

So if you are moving office, it’s important you plan the relocation of your IT network with care.

Office IT Relocation Checklist

Beyond the obvious goal of needing to move your entire IT infrastructure from one building to another. Your ultimate goal is to minimize the downtime your office experiences as a result of the move. There are numerous office relocation checklists out there to help you prepare for the move. We are going to focus on some of the major pitfalls of moving office and how you can mitigate them.

  1. Warn your provider – Contact all technology vendors, internet service providers and carriers well before you make your move. These are your acting partners in your IT relocation, so you want them to be part of the planning process. Two months is the minimum amount of warning you should give.
  2. Upgrade your technology – Moving office is great opportunity to evaluate your entire IT infrastructure and determine what should be upgraded. Every item you choose to upgrade won’t need to be moved. Upgrades can be up and running well before you move offices. Similarly, if you are leasing any items, you can use this as a chance to upgrade and move the replacement items into your new offices early.
  3. Determine communications requirements – Each site has varying capabilities and characteristics, so it is important you determine your exact needs when it comes to data cabling, phone lines, and Internet and power outlets well before you move in. It could turn out the entire building is in need of an upgrade to meet your specifications. Infrastructure upgrades must be planned early on in the process.
  4. Do a walk-through – By planning far ahead of time and knowing where each item in your IT network will be located in your new office, you can start to cover the smaller details and problems as well. Your vendors should walk through the new office with you, since they will have more experience in spotting the smaller potential problems.
  5. Protect your data – This has become a huge industry recently, and for good reason. Your data is important to the running of your business and quality of your service. You need secure backups in case anything goes awry in the move.

 

Hopefully your office relocation won’t seem so daunting.

It’s important to remember whether you have dedicated IT department or a managed IT support provider. You aren’t in this alone and there will likely be some sort of a tenant advisory package available to you.

If you plan everything ahead and stress-test your assumptions, you’ll be able to execute your IT relocation in a time efficient and cost effective manner.

Office IT relocation can be an extremely demanding. We can take the stress and strain out of this; call us for more information on complete IT relocation and Telecoms relocation service.

Contact Us: 0844 770 0199

 

 

Benefits of Cloud Storage

Getting Started With Cloud Storage Solutions

Most people have used cloud storage before in some aspect, whether it was due to a computer crash or needing to share a larger file with a friend. Cloud storage services have gained a lot of popularity in last decade due to their convenience and the high value they provide.

Chances are that you’ve used Google Drive or Dropbox before when you were in a pinch, but there are numerous cloud storage solutions out there, each with their own specific benefits.

Benefits of Cloud Storage

Cloud storage comes with several clear benefits and storing data on the cloud has some huge advantages over physical drives including:

  • Low cost – Most services operate on a freemium model, or free with an option to upgrade to premium. What this means is that the layperson can use the product for free, but there is an option to pay for additional functionality or services as needed.
  • Flexibility – You can access and modify information from anywhere
  • Reliability and stability – You can’t lose or break the drive
  • Scalability – If you need more space then you can upgrade more easily than would be the case if you had to buy a new drive.
  • Ease of use – You don’t need to have any specific technical knowledge to operate cloud storage.

That level of accessibility has given cloud storage providers a huge advantage over other more traditional storage options.

Cloud Solutions – Main Players

There are a few main players that have captured large market shares for various reasons. Each product has its own differentiating factors, which are important to understand when making a long-term choice.

These include:

  • Collaboration features of Google Drive
  • Compatibility of Dropbox
  • Integration with the product into the product like Apple’s iCloud

Cloud Storage Costs

As mentioned above, most cloud storage solutions operate on a freemium model that allows you to test out the products for free up to a certain storage limit. If you are running a small-business or have a higher personal need, you may decide to pay of additional storage.

The pay barrier could range from 2GB to 15GB depending on the service, and once you hit this point you are usually charged a monthly fee for additional storage. The per month charge is generally around £7.99 per TB.

Conclusion

As with any product space, there are a wide variety of options to choose from and it is important to determine your exact need before moving forward with a certain cloud solution, as it can be a hassle to transfer your data from one service to another.

That being said, you’ll find them all to be more convenient than a traditional physical drive.

Want to know more about our Cloud Solutions?

Call us for a FREE Cloud Services audit – worth £300 – 0844 770 0199

Call 0844 7700 199 or email info@cloudscape.it  to arrange a consultation.

What is a Chromebook?

The Many Benefits of Using Google Chromebook

In May 2016, it was announced that Google Chromebook had started outselling Macs in the US for the first time. So what is it exactly that makes these devices so popular and why would you buy one instead of a regular laptop?

What is a Chromebook?

A Chromebook is a simply a laptop that runs Google’sGool Chrome operating system (OS).  Most laptops run Windows or OS X, but these systems are different.  Instead of relying on software stored on the hard drive, Chromebooks were designed to be used primarily while connected to the internet, with everything being saved to the cloud.   So you don’t have to worry about hard drive space, or poor performing applications, as it all runs on the internet.

There are a number of companies that manufacture devices that run the Chrome OS, such as Samsung, Acer, Asus and even Google themselves.

There are a large number of cloud-based applications designed for Chromebook users including Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Maps, Google Translate, ebay for Chrome, and Sumo Paint.  This is just to name a few.

Key Benefits

  • Inexpensive – A Chromebook is a high quality device at a low cost. On average, the price is only about £300, while tablets and MacBooks can cost much more than that.
  • Ease of use – Chromebooks are very easy to use. If you are familiar with the Chrome browser, then you can use the Chromebook OS.  They are simple and straightforward to set up, and don’t need any maintenance once they are up and running.
  • Collaboration – For students working on a group project together, or teams within a company, Chromebooks make collaborating quicker and easier. If you can’t get together at the same time in the same physical location, then you can at least edit documents together online.
  • Seamless integration with Google Drive – Google Drive is like a hard drive, only on the internet instead of on your tablet. It is free and everything is backed up safely.  You can upload a file to Google drive from your Chromebook, and then access it from a different computer or tablet anywhere.

All these benefits have made them equally popular in both the classroom and corporate environments.

  • They are excellent for students, since they are so portable and require little to no set up.
  • Writers love them because of the dependable word processor, especially if they’re already accustomed to using Google docs.
  • Google Chromebook are great for seniors because they’re so user friendly.
  • They are also suitable for anyone who just wants to connect to the internet on an inexpensive, reliable device.

If you’re thinking about buying a new MacBook or Laptop, it is worth also considering the alternatives. You may find that Chromebook comes out on top in terms of speed, cost, simplicity and features.

Want to know more about how Google Chromebook could be integrated into your office?

Just give us a call, we’ll be happy to help 0844 770 0199 – or drop us a line

MacBook Must Have Accessories

7 Must-Have Accessories for MacBook Owners

Once you have decided that a MacBook is the right laptop for you, your next step is to look into what MacBook accessories you need to make the most of your investment. Fortunately, one of the great things about purchasing a MacBook is the vast ecosystem of stylish, compatible MacBook accessories.

You might want to consider some of the following:

  • External Hard Drives –

    External hard drives are portable storage devices that are good for backing up all your important information as well as transferring information. They can connect to your computer multiple ways including through the USB port, FireWire connection, or wirelessly.

 

  • Wireless Mouse –

    Wires are a thing of the past and trackpads are not effective for working long periods of time or trying to edit photos. Make using your MacBook easier by using a wireless mouse. They connect to your computer using Bluetooth or RF. Apple’s new Magic Mouse 2 is a great addition.

 

  • Proximity Alarm –

    It is scary how many laptops are left on trains, buses, and airplanes each year. With the proximity and motion alarm never worry about losing your MacBook again. What you’ll do is download the hipKey app and then attach this fancy little MacBook accessory to your laptop. If the hipKey and your computer get too far away from each other, it will trigger the alarm.

 

  • Screen Protectors –

    More and more people are having the opportunity to work flexibly these days. When you make the decision to do your work in your local coffee shop, people may get a glimpse of what it is you’re working on. If you are working with sensitive information, or just don’t want people to see what it is you’re doing, you might want to invest in one of these. The Magnetic Privacy Screen created by STARK Inc. integrates with your MacBook seamlessly. The 60-degree angle provides you with optimal visibility while shielding your screen from onlookers.

 

  • Photo Editing Console –

    If you are an experienced photographer or someone just starting out, you are going to love the photo editing console. This console lets you control even the smallest of details on your images. It plugs right into your MacBook and from there you use dials, buttons, and switches to edit and customize your images exactly how you want them.

 

  • USB C-Adapter –

    USB-C is the new standard of USBs. It allows faster data transfer speeds than previously before as well as faster charging speeds. Since the USB-C handles data transfers, video output, and power input there is no need for multiple inputs. Even though this all sounds amazing, the new MacBook’s come with only a single USB-C port. How are we supposed to charge our computers but still access our flash drives? The answer: the USB-C adapter. The adapter allows you to plug any standard USB accessory to the USB-C port.

 

  • MacBook Skins –

    Stand out from the crowd with style. Personalise your device with MacBook skins. With so many options out there, you can get as creative as you choose.

These MacBook accessories vastly expand the potential of your MacBook, turning it into a fully personalised, secure, mobile workstation. This is just a small sampling of the types of interesting accessories that are compatible with the MacBook, so take the time to look around and find the right ones for you.

 

Find out more about Apple MacBook support here

MAC Backup Options

Backup Options for Mac Owners

We are becoming increasingly dependent on computers for both our work and personal lives. But what would happen if you lost your laptop, it was hacked, or in some way became corrupted?  Your IT Support guru might not be able to sort this out for you.

Unfortunately, incidents of cyber-crime are on the rise, and while anti-virus software might protect you from this; it won’t help you if you lose your laptop.

It would be wise to back up important documents somewhere safe and avoid further disappointment should something unforeseen happen.

But you may be wondering exactly what your Mac Backup options are.

Manual vs. Automated MAC Back up

Backing up your files needn’t be a complicated task.

The solution can be as simple as manually copy and pasting your important files and folders from your hard drive on to another storage medium, like an external drive ohosted email london - hybrid & private cloud solutions londonr DVD.

Alternatively you can use one of several automated tools that will make the job easier for you, and give you a far more comprehensive backup of your entire hard drive.

Apple’s Time Machine feature, built into OS X, lets you go back to previous versions of files. This ensures that you will always be able to pick up from the most appropriate point, whether you had a serious hardware malfunction or accidently deleted content that you actually wanted to save.

Other popular tools include Carbon Copy Cloner and SuperDuper! Both will let you create a backup of your whole drive, and update that backup file as you make changes to your documents.

Deciding whether to use one of these tools will depend on how important your work is, and how frequently you update your work. The automated tools are great for work that is updated regularly, as it removes the risk of you forgetting to back it up.

For really important files, some people still like the action of manually backing their work up anyway.

Back up Options:

  • External hard drive – The cost of external drives has fallen significantly over recent years, and using the tools outline above you can keep a safe backup of your entire hard drive. You can also create a bootable backup, which will allow you to boot from the external drive if your main drive becomes corrupted.
  • USB sticks –While the storage capacity of USB thumb drives has increased, they typically won’t be large enough to back up your whole hard drive, but they are definitely a good option for creating a copy of important files while on the move.
  • Cloud storage – iCloud might be the natural choice for Apple fans, but there are a number of cloud storage solutions thOnline backup london - hosted emails & private cloud solutionsat will offer you a safe place to backup your files at little or no cost. Popular examples include DropBox, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive. The benefit of cloud storage is that it’s a great way to access data across multiple devices.
  • CD or DVD – You can manually burn files to disk, or set up a burn folder. A burn folder will allow you to keep shortcuts to important files in a folder that you can burn to disk at regular intervals when you update the files. This might be a good option for something like keeping a snap shot of files at a regular point in time.

Apple also offers more granular features for backing up certain types of data. For example, iCloud Photo Library it will automatically sync your photos and videos, so you’ll have a copy of them.

So what are you waiting for..?

You should backup your devices regularly to ensure that you have up to date copies of your most important data.

While the reliability of computers has improved significantly, and Macs are generally seen as more reliable than other brands, you can never predict the future and it is definitely better to be safe than sorry.

Whether it is something malicious like theft, or hacking, or something more innocent like accidental damage, knowing that your precious memories and most important files are safely backed-up will give you one less thing to worry about.

So don’t delay. Think about the files and folders that are most important to you and manually copy them to another medium, or be a bit more strategic about it and use the tools above to create safe copies on a more regular basis.

Want to know more about Mac Backup options?  Just give us a call for  a no strings chat about solutions-  0844 770 0199
or take a look at our Online Backup Services

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