Top IT Tips for 2022

Top IT Tips for 2022

A New Year is a definitely a chance to kick things off the way you mean to go on.

For Northland businesses, we have compiled some key IT tips that can help your business to thrive.

#1. The Remote mobile working office is here to stay:

If Covid has taught us all one thing, it is the need for flexibility around how we work. Agility is fast becoming one of the key differentiators of a business’s success. Creating easy ways for your team to communicate by enabling an all-in-one solution for communication, collaboration, will ensure that you stay connected and productive.

#2. Security, security, security!

We know we say it all the time, but Cyber threats aren’t going anywhere. Keep the focus on security in 2022, as every business, no matter the size is at risk. Don’t risk losing time and money to a data breach or ransomware, instead talk to your IT company about the following:

  • Getting a cybersecurity audit done.
  • Securing all email.
  • Have notifications for remote workers to know when they are connecting to unsafe networks.
  • Put a disaster recovery plan in place.
  • Ensure backups of all data are secure.
  • Implement a password management system.
  • Prohibit third-party apps on work devices.

#3. Make sure I.T is in the 2022 budget

In this era, I.T is an area where you don’t want to be taking shortcuts. Budgeting for your I.T is a wise move to ensure that you have continuously upgraded internet access, software and hardware upgrades as required. Unreliable internet service can cause downtime that has a run on effect with productivity, and can even lose your business valuable clients. Skimping on your I.T budget can lead to much bigger costs further down the road.

#4. Safe and Professional Email addresses

This might sound basic, but if you haven’t already shifted to a professional email, 2022 is the time to do this. Using a gmail account or similar doesn’t make a professional first impression, and more importantly is a security risk. We can easily help you to upgrade to reliable business-grade emails. Our team at @Computer can easily help you to navigate this.

#5. Audit your Equipment

Taking time to do an audit of your current technology, and how it is performing can identify any potential problems and streamline processes. There are still some supply issues with computer hardware, so make sure you are aware of what your business is likely to need in 2022, including any new employees, plus upgraded equipment, so you can plan ahead. If you can give us as much notice as possible, we can make sure that we do our best to source what you require.

#6. Partner up with a managed service provider

Now is also a good time to hire a managed service provider. Partnering with an IT professional helps you make good technology decisions that can ultimately save you a lot of money. Getting advice from industry experts who understand the increasingly complex world of technology, security, and optimizing IT resources is an investment that ends up being a lot more economical then having the ambulance at the bottom of the hill.

Don’t worry if all of this feels overwhelming, our team at @Computer can offer you many options to help you have a stress free year with IT in 2022. If you would like further information, please feel free to contact us here.

The Christmas IT Checklist

2021 may be the Christmas that we all collectively exhale and exclaim “Thank goodness this year is over”.

However, before you rush out the office door for Christmas time, mistletoe and wine, here are a few quick IT tips, to ensure you have a relaxing break.  

Every season you’re going to need good support from IT professionals. Keep your technology in tip top shape, and you’ll have a happier holiday season. A few preparations before leaving for Christmas holidays, will ensure a relaxing time for all. Here we help you with a quick check list:

Staffing and training:

Have you got your organization covered over the Christmas and New Year period? While everyone rushes off, it pays to ensure that your organization has adequate staffing levels, and/or availability of key resources. 

If you are working on a skeleton staff, make sure that there is a backup contact in case of any information security or cyber incident. Also make sure that the staff running the show, actually know what they are doing! Many a security event has happened when staff are not adequately trained.


Business Continuity Plan:

This is also a good time to review your company’s disaster recovery/business continuity plans, to ensure they cover these scenarios:

  • Contact information for key people e.g. staff, suppliers, authorities, couriers, support.
  • Clear descriptions of responsibilities for individuals
  • Making important information readily available such as alarm codes, building access codes, passwords.
  • Have passwords and codes changed and has your plan been updated to reflect this?
  • A process for communicating important messages to your customers

Out of Office on:

Nothing irritates customers more then not getting a quick reply. Be sure to communicate your office hours clearly to your customer, along with clear back up contact numbers.

Start telling customers your availability as soon as possible. Communicate it via as many avenues as possible:

  • Social Media.
  • Email communication.
  • Invoices.
  • Posters.
  • Ensure customers receive clear contact details, back up numbers, email contacts and clarity around dates.
  • Make sure your Email out of office is switched on (possibly for external emails only), and your message is clear.
  • Add a temporary message to your mobile phone so you are not disturbed.
  • If you run social media accounts, consider archiving them for a few weeks so that you don’t have to ruin your summer monitoring social media.

Update and upgrade IT

If Christmas is a busy time for you, ensure that your technology can handle more traffic. Review system integrations to make sure front-and back-ends can communicate smoothly. Identify any issues or bottlenecks in advance to be able to upgrade or update any IT that needs help.

If you do need major IT upgrades or system changes, postpone them until after the holidays. Don’t mess with what works right now if you don’t have to do so.

Safeguard business data

Unfortunately, cyber criminals don’t seem to take a holiday. In fact, holiday season is a ripe time for cyber-attacks, as people are distracted.

In 2020, the greatest number of daily attacks in the last quarter of the year were on December 31.

Make sure you are protecting systems, detecting threats, and defending against attacks. A security assessment can help determine what you are doing well and could be doing better. Please contact your @Computer team member to discuss your specific concerns.

Social Media

Beware what you share!

Whilst social media is a great tool to share holidays snaps, it pays to remember Social media can be difficult to keep these connections private, with a potential audience of…um… the entire world! The impact on the privacy of your devices, your sensitive information and even your personal security plays as a key disadvantage of social networking.

There is an abundance of fake accounts, trolls and fraudsters online, who seek to obtain and collect your personal information for possible criminal activity. Be strict with your privacy settings and be vigilant of the things you post. Avoid accidentally sharing information that could hint at:

  • Login Details – email addresses, usernames and passwords. For example, potential answers to security questions ‘What was your first pets name”
  • Promoting that you’re out whilst your house/workplace is unoccupied

In conclusion…..

If it is a slow time in your office, it can also be an ideal time to clear out old data and perform maintenance on PC’s such as clean the dust, move old data, and clean up user information. Take a break!

Some people will be working over the Christmas and New Year period, and if you are we’d like to THANK YOU for keeping the country running and services/goods flowing!

But for those of us who are taking a break – PLEASE – make sure you do get to switch off and have a real break away from your business / mahi. We all need to switch off for a while every year. Be well, stay healthy and return ready for an awesome 2022!

Plan to refresh your IT/Online strategy

Things are moving so fast, and IT/online technologies are moving faster. What opportunities can you create, or gaps can you plug, with a smart IT/online strategy?

Ponder on this and give us a call in the new year to discuss how information, communication and online technologies can serve you. The team at @Computer wish you a happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

Seven Bonuses for Small Business in Office 365

You’ve probably seen all the ads for Office 365. They’re popping up on your desktop, your employees are sending you meaningful looks, and clearly, it’s not going away. You’ve probably even jumped online to see what all the fuss is about. But is Office 365 a necessary upgrade for your small to medium Northland business? The answer is YES. Office 365 is more than a refreshed set of tools, it’s an efficiency and productivity powerhouse. Here are 7 spot-on reasons why small business owners should upgrade now.

#1. Data security is built in

Office 365 was created with data security at its core. The built-in compliance and security protocols mean your cloud storage is safe, and you can control access so your valuable data remains exactly where you want it. Storing your data in the 365 cloud keeps it safe in case of emergency, with 1TB of storage per user included at no extra cost.

#2. Ditch the licensing drama

Software version differences can be a real nightmare in a small office. Not every system can do the same things, and half the time, they can’t even open the same files. It quickly becomes a hodge-podge of workarounds and lost time. Office 365 includes site-wide licenses with upgrades at the same time.

#3. Mail storage for real people

Not everyone lives in the land of inbox zero. In fact, most people tend to leave messages in their inbox forever. Occasionally we’ll do a quick clean up, but only when the alert comes in that the mailbox is full. Meanwhile, new emails from customers may be bouncing away with the old ‘mailbox full’ message. Eek! In Office 365, your employees can communicate without worrying about storage space.

#4. Better time management

Every person in your business is juggling meetings, emails and contacts – usually across multiple platforms. Office 365 brings all those elements together, integrating seamlessly for more efficient time management. Contacts updated via mobile while offsite are automatically updated across all connected devices. Meetings scheduled in an email are added instantly to the calendar. You can even access files from any device, edit on the run and then back in the office, simply pick up where you left off.

#5. Predictable costs

Forget about planning (and delaying) those costly upgrades. Office 365 has small business covered. You can choose a plan based on your unique needs and change at any time. You can even add or decrease the number of users as you scale and streamline. It’s so easy to fit Office 365 into your monthly budget while knowing you’ve got the very best and latest in small business software.

#6. Work on the go

The days of fiddling with private network and security settings are over, thanks to Office 365. You don’t even need any special IT skills or extra software. Users can now securely access their files from home, during their commute, or in meetings for on-the-fly impressive presentations. Got an internet connection? That’s all they’ll need to squeeze productivity out of every day

#7. Stay up and running with no downtime

A whopping 25% of small businesses shut down permanently after flood, fire, crash or cyber-attack. With Office 365, all your data is stored in the cloud with built-in backups for redundancy. No matter what happens, your data will be there, letting you stay up and running – and always ahead of the pack.

We can help you to find out more about Office 365 and how it can best suit your business needs. To find out more about this and other IT issues please call us or email us here to book a 1:1 free, no obligation appointment.

What Is Shadow IT, and Why Is It an Issue?

An old-time radio show used to start with the promise “The Shadow knows!” Yet when it comes to shadow IT, the problem is the exact opposite. Shadow IT is the stuff Northland employees download onto a business system that IT doesn’t know about, and it can be a big problem.

You may have an IT policy telling employees not to download unsanctioned applications, but they want to boost their productivity, or perhaps they prefer to work with an app they already know and love. So, they get a tool or service that meets their needs without telling IT.

The employee may have the best of intentions. They want to work better for your business. They don’t see the harm in adding that convenient app to their computer. Or they don’t think it’s a big deal to use their own device to complete their work (even if unsanctioned). Maybe they want to be efficient, so they use a personal email account to conduct your business.

Any of these examples are part of Shadow IT, and it’s running rampant. In Frost & Sullivan research, 80% of employees admitted they had used non-approved software. Even 83% of IT workers were using non-vetted Software as a Service (SaaS) applications. So, what’s the big deal? We’ll cover that next.

The Potential Pitfalls with Shadow IT

First, if your business is in a regulated industry, Shadow IT could put you at risk of noncompliance. That unsanctioned device may not be encrypted. Sharing business data over a personal email would be a big no-no in a healthcare or banking space. Shadow IT certainly undermines audit accountability.

It can also drive up IT costs. Say accounting doesn’t know that the business has already paid to use certain software. So, they pay for it again out of their own budget.

If IT is unaware of the Shadow applications or devices, they can’t manage the vulnerabilities. The business doesn’t know customer data or personal identification information about employees is at risk.

And there is greater threat of a data breach or ransomware attack. Employees downloading a third-party app could inadvertently give a hacker access to your network.

Additionally, the business risks losing productivity. The work someone does on a shadow app, for example, could be lost to the company if that employee moves on. IT wouldn’t have access to that account to retrieve the information or files. They don’t even know it is out there on that unknown app or device.

Shine a Light on Shadow IT

Because this IT lingers in the shadows, it can be challenging to coral. Still, there are several steps you can take.

# 1 Educate employees about cyber policies.

Create and communicate acceptable use guidelines, and make sure your workers know what your policies are regarding:

  • SaaS downloads;
  • use of personal devices (e.g. mobile phones, laptops, USB flash drives, portable data storage devices);
  • emailing from personal accounts or using messaging apps;
  • online document sharing;
  • online voice or meeting technology.

Establish clear information classifications distinguishing between public, private, and confidential data. This can help employees recognize they are putting important data at risk when they disregard use policies. For further information Read our blog about Six steps to protect customer data here.

#2 Do a dive to discover Shadow IT.

IT needs to get to know what technology is in use at the business (both on- and off-site). This is more challenging now with people working from home due to COVID-19. Still, a survey of employees and their devices can help gather information about unknowns.

#3 Determine the value of IT discovered.

Don’t overreact. You don’t want to necessarily ban all Shadow IT that you discover. Some of the services could have value. Vet the applications or devices found or reported. Review their connection to private or confidential data or essential network systems. If several employees use an unsanctioned app, you may want to invest in it. With a professional version, your IT team can safely manage the app.

# 4 Deliver the IT your people need.

Why are people circumventing your IT policies? Are they are under pressure? Are they are looking to meet an unmet need? Are they are more comfortable with a familiar app or device? It’s important to understand what the employee is aiming to accomplish or why they’ve turned to shadow IT. This can help you identify IT needs and areas where you need to improve.

Shadow IT is data or applications that are outside your business protection. IT can only watch what it knows about. Shadow IT is unsafe and unpredictable.

Every business is different. It’s always best to chat to a IT Professional about your business needs first. To find out more about Shadow IT, and other IT issues please call us or email us here to book a 1:1 free, no obligation appointment.

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Data Protection Solution Northland

If you are a health practitioner, accountant, lawyer, marketer, or you deal with client’s sensitive information on a daily basis, its really important to have a very clear understanding of how, as a [location] business, you are going to keep your client’s information safe. With so many warnings that cybersecurity is on the rise, it’s really important for [location] business to have this part of their IT support sorted with confidence.

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