Why Office365 is The Perfect Tool For Accountants

Office365 contains numerous pieces of software to help you bring your accounting operations up to date…

As of April 2019, the government plans to introduce Making Tax Digital (MTD), a scheme which aims to help businesses better organise their records and streamline their accounting activity by digitising the process and making it more efficient. Digital financing is gradually replacing physical receipts and documents, and accountants need a digital platform capable of recording, managing and analysing the data. Here are some core features that Office365 offers to businesses in the financial industry.

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Why Your Company Needs Encryption

Encryption adds a much needed level of security to your organisation, but how does it work in practice?

Encryption has always been important for businesses, especially where personal data is being transferred between servers, or physically transported via USB or laptops. For companies in the financial and legal industries, encryption is an excellent tool for protecting sensitive data. The ICO has been issuing fines to businesses for mishandling of data for a number of years, however GDPR has put a bigger spotlight on the issue of data security. GDPR has fundamentally changed the way companies handle their clients’ data, and has prompted most businesses to re-evaluate their day-to-day security practices. Encryption is a practical and nonintrusive way of protecting data, and hides content behind lock and key. Data that is encrypted is scrambled and is only decipherable by individuals who have the matching key code. With so much information being stored online in the cloud or on shared servers, it’s vital that you have a system in place to keep track of this information and keep it private – especially when handling information that doesn’t belong to your company. Continue Reading

Collaborative Working with Office 365

As we touched on in an earlier blog about the benefits of Office365, one of the key selling points of the software platform is the capability it provides businesses with for collaborative and cooperative working. There are a number of tools designed specifically to help teams work together on projects, whether they are in the same room, or on opposite sides of the world. We want to highlight some of the key offerings from Microsoft in Office365 to help your company become more flexible in its working habits, as well as more productive…
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Adopting Best Password Practices in Your Business

Bad password etiquette could spell trouble for your organisation…

Despite increased warnings and growing threats to businesses from hacks and data breaches, many people are still failing to adopt strong password practices. This isn’t just a matter of being unaware either – 91% of people surveyed by LastPass said they know that using the same password for multiple accounts poses a security risk, with 59% saying they still did it anyway. 53% also said they had not changed their passwords in the past 12 months, even when a data breach had made the news. Continue Reading

Keeping Your Company Network Secure

In a business with multiple people connecting to the company network, keeping your data secure is a tough, but not impossible task…

We have discussed the importance of promoting security among your team in a previous blog, but we want to look at some of the tangible ways you can increase your network’s security. The best way to ensure your company is as secure as possible is to take a multifaceted approach, working in different ways to bolster your defences. Here are some practical ways to tighten up your network and make sure you are as safe as possible. Continue Reading

Promoting IT Security In Your Business

Your IT security problem may not actually be with your hardware…

No matter how many pieces of security and anti-virus software you have installed, your business’s data could still be at risk due to one fundamental aspect of your company – your staff. Communicating with your team and having an IT policy in place will go a long way to ensuring that you have the best chance of protecting yours and your clients’ operations. Many company data breaches come as a result of human error or a lack of security awareness, so we’ve put together a brief checklist on how to take significant steps to reducing the risk of a data breach. Continue Reading

Why Your Business Needs Office365

All businesses rely on robust software to help their team work efficiently and keep their company running and we’re often asked by our clients for our recommendations on software.

Depending on their requirements, we often direct them straight to Office365. Not only are most office productivity tools included in the suite, but there are many features which you may not be aware of that could greatly improve your company’s efficiency.

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Managing Your IT When An Employee Leaves

In the early stages of a new year, staff turnover is common as people look for a change after the busy period. While businesses must cope with the upheaval of finding a replacement and training new members of staff, there is also the challenge of ensuring that your company IT is safeguarded in the wake of an employee leaving. But where do you start?

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Google warns: ‘Ransomware here to stay’

Cyber-thieves have made at least $25m (£19m) from ransomware in the last two years, suggests research by Google.

The search giant created thousands of virtual victims of ransomware to expose the payment ecosystem surrounding the malware type.

Most of the money was made in 2016 as gangs realised how lucrative it was, revealed a talk at Black Hat.

Two types of ransomware made most of the money, it said, but other variants are starting to emerge.

Track and trace

“It’s become a very, very profitable market and is here to stay,” said Elie Bursztein from Google who, along with colleagues Kylie McRoberts and Luca Invernizzi, carried out the research.

Ransomware is malicious software that infects a machine and then encrypts or scrambles files so they can no longer be used or read. The files are only decrypted when a victim pays a ransom. Payments typically have to be made using the Bitcoin virtual currency.

Mr Bursztein said Google used several different methods to work out how much cash was flowing towards ransomware creators.

As well as drawing on reports from people who had paid a ransom, it sought out the files used to infect machines and then ran those on lots of virtual machines to generate “synthetic victims”, he said.

It then monitored the network traffic generated by these victims to work out to where money would be transferred. The data gathered in this stage was also used to find more variants of ransomware and the 300,000 files it found broke down into 34 of them, he said.

The most popular strains were the Locky and Cerber families, added Mr Bursztein.

Payment analysis of the Bitcoin blockchain, which logs all transactions made using the e-currency, revealed that those two strains also made the most money over the last year, he said, with Locky collecting about $7.8m (£5.9m) and Cerber $6.9m (£5.2m).

The research project also revealed where the cash flowed and accumulated in the Bitcoin network and where it was converted back into cash. More than 95% of Bitcoin payments for ransomware were cashed out via Russia’s BTC-e exchange, found Google.

On 26 July, one of the founders of BTC-e, Alexander Vinnik, was arrested by Greek police on money laundering charges. The police were acting on a US warrant and his extradition to America is being sought.

The gangs behind the ransomware explosion were not likely to stop soon, said Mr Bursztein, although established strains are facing competition from newer ones.

“Ransomware is a fast-moving market,” he said. “There’s aggressive competition coming from variants such as SamSam and Spora.”

Novel variants were expanding quickly and many were encouraging fast expansion by paying affiliates more if they placed the malware on to large numbers of machines. The ransomware as a service model was already proving popular, he warned.

“It’s no longer a game reserved for tech-savvy criminals,” he said. “It’s for almost anyone.”