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Cybersecurity - get the right advice from an IT consultant, not a geek, not a nerd, not a techie

Cyber-security. It’s for IT consultants and more importantly, IT consultants with experience, not generic run-of-the-mill mobile tech companies. It’s not the domain of your local “techies”, geeks or nerds. It’s about management, forensics, analysis of system and process weaknesses and ongoing consultation and review.

You will see many Facebook posts from home mobile tech support companies advising “they can help with your IT security” and using the usual fear-mongering tactics like “the headlines are full of IT scams. You are risk! Act now! Protect yourself from scams and Cyber-theft!”

Unfortunately, their “advice” usually ends with them selling you an anti-virus product and calling you each year to remind you to renew your license.

Cyber-security means different things depending on if you’re a home user if you have kids (ie. Need parental control) if you’re a business. It also depends if you are running local file servers, web servers, other application servers, or using a cloud-based solution. Each requires an affordable, practical workable solution and advice.

While Mac computers are more “believe it or not” more exposed to risk out-the-box, Microsoft Windows Operating systems have a pretty good anti-virus built right in and did you know if you’re a Microsoft 365 user, using the Family or Personal subscription, there is a Microsoft 365 Defender for Individuals available at no extra cost to download and use on your Windows PC, your Android, your Apple iPhone or your Mac computer?

Cyber-security is not about installing anti-virus. It’s important, but that’s not what keeps people out. It’s about changing the way you use computers, cell phones, tablets and anything else that has a door to your home or company. It’s an ongoing maintenance thing.

Firewalls are not as high on the list any longer especially if you’re not using on-premises file servers. They’re important, but rather SDP or Software Defined Perimeter are more important, probably the most important thing you should be focused on and we’re well versed in these systems. Cyber-security is about identity management, who has access to what.

You don’t want a techie giving advice either. Techies tend to focus on problems and not solutions. They don’t give a holistic overview. I’ve seen techies, really smart techies put incredibly stupid systems in place for companies. For example, the client wanted printing, just printing to work between branches, so what did the techie do? Set up a VPN between every single branch. Side effect, one user gets hacked, and gets ransomware, not only does the local site get attacked, it takes down the entire organization. Techies often don’t think further than the request to do something. They don’t think of consequences. Consultants try find the easiest, most cost-effective, most secure solution.

There is a heck of a lot of Anti-Virus and security “experts” punting the necessity of a VPN. Most people, unless you’re trying to watch a video in another country or in a country that prevents you from visiting a banned/restricted website (eg. China and the UAE do to some sites), you have absolutely no need for a VPN. It’s a gimmick and it slows down your internet experience. If you want to browse the “net” anonymously, use a web browser like Tor – it’s designed exactly for this purpose and it’s free!

Cyber-security is only as good as your weakest link.

Antivirus and firewalls are just the very tips of the iceberg of things to look at. Cyber security is about how you have set up your systems. What services are you using? Are they protected? Are you using them correctly? Who has access? It’s about managing and controlling the gaps, and the weaknesses.

So, if you need to someone to give a thorough, holistic overview of your computer systems, offer sound advice and training, give IT NEAR U a call. We’re not the “computer guys” – we’re the IT consultants. Call us on 0800420042 or e-mail us at [email protected]

Link to Microsoft Defender for Individuals <- Click here – for Office 365 Family or Personal subscription customers