37 episodes

Ben Love and Ben Dampney deliver short, sharp podcast episodes featuring technology that will help you power up your business.

The Power Up Project Ben Love & Ben Dampney

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Ben Love and Ben Dampney deliver short, sharp podcast episodes featuring technology that will help you power up your business.

    #37: Cyber Security Series Pt. 5 – Conducting Security Audits

    #37: Cyber Security Series Pt. 5 – Conducting Security Audits

    In this episode of The Power Up Project, we cover:







    >Part 5 of our five-part cyber security series - Conducting Security Audits







    >What is a cyber security audit?







    >A wrap up of our cyber security podcast series







    Transcript:







    In this episode, we talk about conducting security audits.







    Welcome back to the Power Up Project. It's fantastic to have you here as we round out the final episode in our five-part series on our top cybersecurity defences for your business. So far in this series we have spoken about intelligent firewalls. We've spoken about cyber insurance. We have spoken yet again about multi-factor authentication. And in our last episode, we spoke briefly about cybersecurity awareness training for your staff.







    So in this episode we're going to talk about security audits. Now, this is a very open-ended discussion. A security audit can be very simple, and cheap, and easy. A security audit can be very in-depth, and prolonged, and expensive. So it really is a bit of a piece of string here as to how you perceive the risk to your business, if you have any particular requirements for compliance with any particular regulations for example, or if you have a board who are concerned about this and need to be put at their ease.







    So at the simple end of the process, there are a number of routine scheduled checks that you can conduct yourself if you like, every three months perhaps, maybe more, maybe less, and check on some of the most common areas that can be a threat to your business. For example, one of the really easy ones that we see is user accounts left in place for staff who have left the business.







    So of course we all have a seamless process in place where our HR is tied into our IT department, so as soon as a staff member leaves the business, of course that automatically triggers down closure requests to the IT department to close down all the user accounts. We all have that, right? Of course we do. But sometimes a user account can slip through the cracks and be left in place when it shouldn't be.







    So it's a very simple matter then to run some reports, to log onto your systems, to check the user accounts in place, and tick them off against maybe a payroll report or something similar to make sure there are no extraneous user accounts left by the by. Now, that is just one simple example of how you can run these routine checks yourself to pick up on some of the low hanging fruit I guess, the easier and most common areas that are worth checking with a bit of a routine audit.







    As we climb up the scale in terms of sophistication and also, therefore, expense, we get into more technical audits, until we get to the high end of the scale when we're talking about things like penetration testing, we're talking about real-time monitoring of infrastructure with intrusion detection, we're talking about a lot of these big words here. And when you get to that end of the scale, this is when we start talking, probably not to your generalist IT partner, but this is when we start talking to specialist cyber security firms who live and breathe this type of audit, and protection, and defence, and activity.







    So, again, it depends what end of the scale you would like to take this, but at the very simple end, it's pretty easy for you to put in place a little reminder in your calendar, and maybe every quarter you run through a list of checks, run some reports on some key systems, make sure the things are the way they are. And you would be surprised how effective these routine audits can be in order to tease out some of those gaps that we inadvertently leave in our security.

    • 5 min
    #36: Cyber Security Series Pt. 4 – Cyber Security Awareness

    #36: Cyber Security Series Pt. 4 – Cyber Security Awareness

    In this episode of The Power Up Project, we cover:







    >Part 4 of our five-part cyber security series - Cyber Security Awareness







    >Why cyber security is a very hot topic in business today.







    >Everything you need to know about Cyber Security and why your organisation should be aware.







    Transcript:







    In this episode we'll be talking about cyber security awareness.







    Welcome back to the Power Up Project. It's great to have you here for the next in our five part series on our five most effective cyber security defences for your business. So far in this series we've spoken about having an advanced intelligent firewall, we've spoken about the importance of cyber insurance, and we've also spoken again about the multi-factor authentication.







    Today what we're going to talk about is something that brings it back to what is usually the weakest link in any of our cyber security defences and that is our people. When we look at cyber security breaches, in the majority of cases it comes down to people, it comes down to humans who have essentially taken some action which has bypassed or compromised security and has allowed the malicious actors to gain a foothold in the business network.







    We can put all of the best technology in place, we can put fancy firewalls, we can put multi-factor authentication, we can do all of this but at the end of the day what we really need to be addressing is our people. Now our people and our staff, they want to do the best thing. None of them are out there looking to get breached by a malicious actor, so what we need to help them with then is recognising these threats and training them on how to respond when they do detect or recognise one of these threats.







    The most common form of threat that we see coming through is a malicious e-mail. So these e-mails, phishing e-mails, are definitely the most common at the moment. We're seeing a rapidly increasing number of whaling and spear phishing and more targeted phishing attacks but the e-mail vector really is still probably the biggest one that we see out there in the wild. So this is when a staff member in your business will receive an e-mail that looks legit, it looks like it's coming from legitimately from one of your suppliers or from a business that they do business with personally, maybe not even part of the fact that they're a staff member with your organisation, and they click on a link in that e-mail and that link let's the bad actors in. From there bad actors have access to your network and then it's just a case of how quickly can we respond and lock things down and protect your digital assets.







    What we need to do is provide that training for our staff on how to recognise these malicious e-mails, dodgy websites they shouldn't be going to, and so on. There's a number of ways we can do it. This doesn't need to be a big expensive exercise, it doesn't need to be super intrusive either. One of the most common ways that we see people going about this training at the moment is what we kind of consider to be called a friendly phishing campaign. This is when we actually send these pretend malicious e-mails to our own staff and we see who reads them and we see who clicks on them, and of course, if they do click on them that's okay because it's not truly a malicious e-mail, it's just a pretend one and it will log the fact for us that this happened so we can gather some statistics on how well our people are actually avoiding these threats or how maybe unwell they're actually clicking through to them. But we can then also lead that staff member onto a little bit of training.







    We can take them to a webpage, for example, which is not a malicious webpage but it's a friendly webpage that says,

    • 5 min
    #35: Cyber Security Series Pt.3 – Multi-Factor Authentication

    #35: Cyber Security Series Pt.3 – Multi-Factor Authentication

    In this episode of The Power Up Project, we cover:







    >Part 3 of our five-part cyber security series -MFA







    >What is Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)?







    >Why is it very important that MFA is enabled?







    Transcript:







    In this episode, we talk about the next in our five-part series of most effective cyber security defenses which is Multi-Factor Authentication.







    Welcome back to The Power Up Project. Great to have you here. Today we're going to be talking about the next in our series of five top cyber security defenses for your business and this is one that we have spoken about a number of times before in this podcast. So, for those people who've heard this all before, I do apologise but, it is a very, very easy, cheap and important one that you will need to be taking very seriously. And that is Multi-Factor Authentication.







    So far in this series we have touched on having an advanced, intelligent firewall in place, we've spoken about cyber security insurance, and now we're going to talk about Multi-Factor Authentication. Now, Multi-Factor Authentication in most cases is free or at least very low cost, is very easy to implement and, in my opinion, is possibly the most effective way we have at the moment of protecting our user accounts from malicious actors.







    So, what is Multi-Factor Authentication? Multi-Factor Authentication is something that we are all going to be familiar with in business. It's when we need another form of authentication in addition to our normal username and password in order to log on to an account. For example, we should all be familiar with this, with our internet banking. We log on to our internet banking with a username and a password but then in order to take any action within that account such as transferring money out of the account, we must enter another code. In my case, I have a little keyring dongle with a six digit numerical code that changes every sixty seconds and I simply read that code off my keyring dongle and I type it into the internet banking and my transfer goes through. So, that is Multi-Factor Authentication.







    Multi-Factor Authentication within Microsoft Office 365 is there, ready for us all to use. It's very easy to turn on and you can receive that secret code in a number of ways. You can receive it by text message to your mobile phone or you can receive it using the Microsoft Authenticator app which is a little app you can put in your smartphone that even lets you not have to type in a code but, simply press another button which says "Yes, approve." But the point is, it is another level of authentication and specifically it's another level of authentication that is based on something that you have. You have your mobile phone that receives that code, you have the keyring dongle that presents the secret key.







    Multi-Factor Authentication is available in almost all modern cloud applications that we're going to be using within our business. It's available in all of the Microsoft Office 365 Suite, in Xero Cloud Accounting, in things like Confluence, it's available for your social media application such as Facebook.







    So, my homework for you today, given I'm not going to go on ad nauseam about Multi-factor Authentication yet again. My homework for you today is to write down a list of all of the applications and systems that you use in your business especially those ones that have something to do with the internet such as your email, such as your internet banking, your financial package, social media, those things. And then, I need you to Google each of those apps with the words Multi-Factor Authentication after it and check and make sure that that application does indeed support Multi-Factor Authentication and I ...

    • 5 min
    #34: Cyber Security Series Pt.2 – Cyber Insurance

    #34: Cyber Security Series Pt.2 – Cyber Insurance

    In this episode of The Power Up Project, we cover:







    >Part 2 of our five-part cyber security series - Cyber Security Insurance







    >What is cyber insurance?







    >Why your business needs a cyber insurance policy.







    Transcript:







    In the second of our five part series on cyber security defences. We're going to be talking about cyber insurance.







    Welcome back to the Power Up Project. Great to have you here and welcome to episode number two in our five part series on our most effective cyber security defenses for your business. Last week we touched on the importance of having an intelligent firewall in place within your business. In this episode we're going to talk about cyber insurance. Now cyber insurance is exactly what it sounds like. It is an insurance policy specifically designed to come to your aid in the event of a cyber security breach. This is not a bit of technology. This is indeed an insurance policy that you need to be talking to your insurance broker about. So it's been really interesting watching cyber insurance policies evolve very rapidly over the last few years because they really are quite new and a lot of insurance brokers particularly, but also some insurance providers, some insurance companies don't really seem to yet have a good handle on what cyber insurance is.







    In the early days, just a few years ago, when you fill out the disclosure form to take out a cyber insurance policy, it was a very short form. It didn't have a whole lot of questions on there around your technology, around what you were doing to protect yourself in terms of cyber security risk, that sort of thing. It did ask the usual business and financial level questions, I guess, so that the actuaries knew what degree of value (I guess) they were insuring. But interestingly enough, they didn't really know what questions to ask in order to properly assess their risk. Now every year since when the forms come back out to renew a cyber insurance policy, the forms are getting longer and longer and longer. So the insurers are really starting to learn what questions they need to be asking in order to assess the risk associated with a particular business.







    So, some of the policies that we're also hearing about now are starting to go into detail about what your business is doing to mitigate that risk. They're starting to ask fairly detailed questions about what type of firewall you have in place, who manages your IT, how often a certain parts of it audited, things like that. Now of course the depth of all of these questions and so on will depend on the insurer, depend on the nature of your business and so on. But the point of cyber insurance really is to come to your rescue when a breach has actually occurred because you may very well find that a lot of your other insurances will not cover you in such a situation, which is why you need a specific cyber insurance policy.







    So my big hot tip for today in this episode is talk to your insurance broker and ask them about cyber security insurance. And, pro tip, if they don't really know what they're talking about, you'll be able to tell if they do or don't know. If they don't, I would suggest that you need to find yourself a different insurance broker. There are some very, very good insurance brokers out there who will work long and hard on behalf of your business. And a lot of them are very, very clued up about cyber insurance and it is really becoming a non negotiable part of our insurance policies that we protect our businesses with.







    Thanks for listening to this episode of the Power Up Project, brought to you by Grassroots IT and Digit IT. Please leave us a review where ever you get your podcasts and, until next time, keep powering up.

    • 4 min
    #33: Cyber Security Series Pt. 1 – Firewalls

    #33: Cyber Security Series Pt. 1 – Firewalls

    In this episode of The Power Up Project, we cover:







    >Part 1 of our five-part cyber security series -Firewalls







    >Why every business needs to set up an intelligent firewall















    Transcript:







    In this episode of the Power Up Project, we'll be talking about the top five most effective cyber security defences for your business.







    Hello and welcome back to the Power Up Project. Great to have you here. Today we're going to be kicking off the first of a five part series where we talk about the top five most effective cybersecurity defences for your business. Now we all know that cyber security really is the hot topic at the moment. It is the hot topic at the moment for a very good reason. This is not just companies, IT, vendors etc., trying to push the new thing for the sake of it. Cyber security is a very real risk to all of us at the moment. We are seeing a lot of cybersecurity breaches on a very, very regular basis. Some of them are very high profile, others are less high profile, but certainly just as risky with potentially huge disruption to the businesses that have been compromised.







    The terrible thing too is that in a lot of the cases where a business is compromised, it is not necessarily because they've done anything wrong. This really is a bit of an arms race between the hackers, the malicious actors, if you will, the security vendors out there who are producing defensive products for the rest of us to deploy in our businesses and also us, as business owners, and IT people to make sure that we are continually assessing our cybersecurity stance to make sure we're doing everything that's reasonably fair within our powers, and our budgets of course, to to protect our businesses. So today we're going to talk about number one on the list of our top five most effective cyber security defences. And I'm going to talk now about firewalls. Now that is a term that everybody, I'm sure will have heard at some point, but there is a little bit of subtlety in understanding what we're talking about here.







    So essentially when an Internet connection connects into your business, there is a point of contact there at which the public internet, the public facing Internet there, hits what needs to be a secure line of defence and demarcation between that public internet and the internal network of your business. Now, in a lot of cases, what we see playing that role there is not really so much a firewall device, but it is more a routing device. So for example, at home you may have an Internet router, right? It might be ADSL router. It might be something that's been provided to you by your NBN provider and that provides the point of demarcation there. But those devices are very simple devices. They do provide a level of firewalling security and protection for you. But it really is a very basic level.







    In a business, given the current threat landscape, it's becoming very important that we all look at what we have in place in our business in that position and make sure that we don't just have a simple router, a simple firewall, but make sure that we do have an advanced firewall, an intelligent unified threat management firewall. Now this device plays the same role as the router, but more. It intelligently scans the Internet traffic that is passing between your internal business network and the Internet, back and forth. It filters that, it scans that, it looks for potentially malicious activity. It helps protect your users, your staff from browsing to websites that may be particularly threatening. It can also help in other ways such as helping to enforce internal policies, for example, to stop staff from browsing to inappropriate websites, not necessarily a site that may be a security threat,

    • 7 min
    #32: Windows 7 Must Die

    #32: Windows 7 Must Die

    In this episode of The Power Up Project, we cover:







    >Windows 7 free support will be ending early next year.







    >Why it's important that you let go of Windows 7 and update to the latest OS.















    Transcript:





    In this episode of The Power Up Project, we talk about why Windows 7 must die.

    Welcome back to The Power Up Project. I'm your host Ben Love, and today we're going to be talking about why Windows 7 must die.

    Now, what do I mean by that? I mean, that this is a very old operating system. Now, don't get me wrong, it was a real favourite of mine. I was big fan of Windows 7, but it was released in 2009. Now, it's currently 2019, that's 10 years. That's 10 human years, and technology is working even faster than dog years, so 10 years is a long time for an operating system like this to be around.

    So Microsoft have announced, and have been talking about it for a long time, that Windows 7 will be going end of life in early 2020. Now that's not far away. That's a little over six months away, as of now. But so what does this actually mean for the operating system to go end of life, or EOL? Well, let's take a little bit more of a step back, and say, what does is mean to be running a 10-year-old operating system? First of all, there's a good chance that if you are running Windows 7 on a 10-year-old operating system, you may actually have 10-year-old hardware out there as well. Now, 10-year-old hardware is going to be slow, and it's going to be problematic. That is the first thing. You've also got the 10-year-old operating system, which means that you're are missing out on a huge amount of features and usability that is being introduced and developed in the years since.

    But very importantly, too, is we're starting to see compatibility issues where Windows 7 will not run a lot of the apps that people are really wanting to run these days, particularly with such massive uptake of Office 365, and a lot of the newer stuff there. You don't want to be on Windows 7 trying to use this stuff.

    We're also seeing, because Windows 10 is becoming so prevalent in organisations, where those organisations do have a handful of computers left still running on Windows 7, there is a very inconsistent user experience between them. Sitting down and using a Windows 7 machine, is actually very different to using a modern Windows 10 machine, so it's a lot harder to convey training, and staff productivity between staff there, when you're talking about essentially how to use very different systems.

    So what does all of this mean for you? It means one thing, it means you need to understand whether you have any Windows 7 computers still in your fleet, and you need to factor replacing those into your rolling upgrade cycle. Now, just on that point, you do have a rolling upgrade cycle? Don't you? By that I mean, that if we assume a useful working life for a computer in a business environment of three years, then that sort of tells us that every year we probably have to be budgeting to replace proactively, a third of our computers. Now, you don't have to be as proactive as that, especially in smaller networks and smaller environments, but it is a very good thing for you to be thinking about replacing your computers proactively on some sort of a three to five year cycle, so that you are keeping things current, and you're not waiting til computers get slow, and buggy, and problematic, and start really damaging that productivity.

    So your take home for today, the thing I need you to do, is understand if you have any Windows 7 computers in your fleet, and that is a very easy question to ask, you just need to talk to your IT provider, to your MSP, and ask them, because they will be able to provide you with a full list, a full report on all of your computer hardware out there, including what operating system it's on.

    • 5 min

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