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  • January 25, 2021 04:51:28 PM

A Little About Us

E2E Technologies is a dynamic and progressive young company with a clear objective; to provide our clients with innovative and cost-effective business solutions through the efficient deployment and integration of Information Technology. The company brings together a multi-disciplined team able to undertake every aspect of consultancy, infrastructure design, sourcing, installation and on-going support. It is a team with the capacity to deliver a comprehensive service tailored to your extract requirements and provide the IT capabilities you need while leaving you free to concentrate on your core business activities.

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What is the Cloud and do I need it?

If you’re asking yourself, what is the Cloud? You’re not the only one! Many people have heard of the Cloud, but don’t actually know what it is. And if you think you never use it... think again!... The post What is the Cloud and do I need it? appeared first on...

So, let’s find out more about what the Cloud is, where it is and how it works…

What is the Cloud?

When people refer to ‘the Cloud’, they mean a group of servers that are accessed over the internet, and the databases and software which run on those servers. These Cloud servers are located all over the world in data centres.

The Cloud allows users to access the same applications or files from almost any device, because the information is stored on remote servers in data centres, instead of on the user’s device. This explains why you can log into your social media account from any device, and your profile and information will be the same, including conversations, photos, etc. This is the same way that Cloud email providers work, and storage apps.

Where is the Cloud?

The Cloud is everywhere! Or at least everywhere there is a computer and an internet connection. When you run a Cloud application, it uses multiple powerful internet-connected computers that are spread across the world.

How does Cloud computing work?

Cloud computing uses a technology called virtualisation. Virtualisation works by creating a simulated, digital computer that behaves the same way a physical computer would. This is referred to as a virtual machine.

When implemented correctly, these virtual machines can all work from the same host machine by ensuring the files and apps from one virtual machine are invisible to the other virtual machines. This is done by sandboxing them from one another, so they cannot interact with each other.

Working this way allows a much more efficient use of the hosting hardware. Running a group of virtual machines all at once, transforms one server into many servers, therefore increasing one data centre to a group of data centres and so on. This enables Cloud providers to offer their services to more customers, for a much lower price.

What are the main service models of Cloud computing?

  • Software-as-a-service – Rather than users installing applications on their devices, SaaS apps live on Cloud servers, which means users access them over the internet. Examples include Slack, MailChimp, Salesforce, etc.
  • Platform-as-a-service – PaaS vendors offer companies the things they need to build their own applications, over the internet. This includes infrastructure, dev tools, database management and operating systems. Examples of PaaS include Microsoft Azure and Heroku.
  • Infrastructure-as-a-service – This is when a company rents servers and storage from a Cloud provider, which they then use to build their own apps. Examples include OpenStack, DigitalOcean and Google Compute Engine.
  • Function-as-a-service – FaaS is a relatively new model, also known as serverless computing. FaaS breaks down Cloud apps into smaller components which only run when they are required. For example, if you were buying a house, an FaaS model would be similar to the tenant only paying for the dining room at mealtimes, the bedroom when they are asleep, etc. Any rooms that are not being used; the tenant would not pay rent on them.

What are the advantages of using the Cloud?

One of the main advantages of using the Cloud is users and companies no longer have to rely on physical storage servers. For businesses, moving on to the Cloud saves money on IT infrastructure and overhead. For example, if your data is stored on the Cloud, it removes the need to manage and maintain large inhouse servers. This can especially help small businesses that cannot afford these high inhouse IT infrastructure costs.

Using the Cloud also boosts connectivity and collaboration in businesses. Cloud based apps can be accessed by multiple people, across the world, which means employees can be working on the same project within an app, at the same time.

Another advantage of using the Cloud is you don’t need lots of space on your hard drive to use Cloud apps. For example, running some applications can require a decent-spec computer with a lot of hard disk space. And that can prove expensive. Cloud-based packages such as Microsoft Office 365 (now known as Microsoft 365), however, provide many of the same features that will work just as well on lower specification computers.

Similarly, if you want to watch something on BBC iPlayer, YouTube or Netflix, the Cloud allows you to ‘stream’ the content immediately, rather than downloading it onto your device.

What Cloud services are available?

More and more online services make use of the Cloud every day. From storage space, to processing power, networking, office apps and artificial intelligence. If there is a service that doesn’t require the user to be physically close to the computer hardware, it is probably being delivered using the Cloud.

In fact, if you use any of the below services, then you are very reliant on Cloud services.

  • Email
  • Dropbox
  • OneDrive
  • Xbox Live
  • Netflix
  • Hive
  • Amazon Alexa
  • Spotify
  • WhatsApp
  • Facebook etc.

These examples only really highlight a tiny fraction of the services which make use of the Cloud. Many software vendors are becoming increasingly reliant on the Cloud, releasing applications as services over the internet in subscriptions, rather than one stand alone product.

Who owns the Cloud?

Similar to the Internet, nobody owns or manages the Cloud. Instead, it is comprised of a variety of different applications which are all operated by different companies. The biggest companies that make use of the Cloud include Google, YouTube, Amazon and Microsoft, alongside many more that work behind the scenes.

Is it secure?

The Cloud is one of the most secure places to store data and information, even more so than your own computer. For example, if your laptop is stolen, all of the information saved on it is also stolen. However, if those files are backup on the Cloud, you can easily download your information onto a new computer. Many Cloud storage apps will automatically sync with your computer hard drive and backup your files. This means you will always have an up-to-date version of your files saves on the Cloud.

Even if individual servers go down, Cloud servers will usually always be online and available. Cloud vendors will also back up their services on a number of machines across data centres to be safe.

The Cloud also uses encryption, which blocks hackers from gaining access to data stored on the Cloud.

Is the Cloud free?

Some Cloud applications are free, however even these will often offer a paid subscription for a higher level of service. For example, you may have a certain amount of free data, but if you need more, you will have to pay a fee.

Do I always have to be connected to the internet?

The Cloud does rely on having an internet connection at some point, however many Cloud applications do not require a constant connection to work. Many apps now allow users to access their files and data in an ‘offline’ mode.

Why is it called the Cloud?

The name originated from tech industry slang. When the Internet was first developed, technical diagrams would depict servers and network infrastructure as a large Cloud.  As more and more computing processes began moving to this new infrastructure of servers, people would refer to it as moving on to ‘the Cloud.’ This has stuck ever since and is now a commonly used phrase.

What is the Cloud? We can help!

Interested in moving your business to the Cloud? At E2E, we can advise your company on the best ways to boost your business. To learn more about our range of services, why not get in touch? A member of our friendly, expert team will be happy to help.

The post What is the Cloud and do I need it? appeared first on E2E.

The ultimate guide to shopping safely online

With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, most people have opted to shop online this Christmas. It’s a quick and easy option to buy for everyone on your list without having to brave the shops. As more and more people move online, however, unfortunately the risk of being scammed has increased significantly.... The post The ultimate guide to shopping safely online appeared first on...

As we plan our gifts, cybercriminals are preparing to try and scam as many people as they can. That’s why we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to help you shop safely online at Christmas.

Top tips for shopping safely online

1. Stay secure

Firstly, ensure the website your shopping on is secure, you can usually see this by spotting the padlock in the left-hand side of the web address bar and clicking on it to check the site certificate. The website address should also begin with https://, the S stands for secure, and sometimes will turn green to indicate you are in a secure connection. You should also always use a strong password on your accounts. The best and strongest passwords use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters.

2. Keep your software, apps and anti-virus systems up to date

As cybercriminals get more advanced in the ways they scam people, it’s important to ensure that your computer stays well protected. Firstly, make sure you have completed any outstanding updates to your computer software and anti-virus. You should also check that your firewall is enabled to stop hackers accessing your computer whilst you’re online.

3. Research the brand and seller

If you are purchasing something from a retailer you’ve never heard of, do a quick online search to ensure they are legitimate. Look at reviews and ratings and ensure the website you are on is definitely the brand you think it is. There are thousands of websites out there, so it’s always best to double check before making an online purchase.

4. Make sure your Wi-Fi connection is secure

You should never use public Wi-Fi when buying online. These connections, usually available in public places like shopping centres and coffee shops, are not fully secure. Hackers could intercept personal information you send whilst connected to a public network. If you have to make purchases whilst you’re out and about, it’s safer to use your mobile data.

5. Know your rights

Make sure you know what rights you have and whether the website has a returns policy. You can check where the product is being sent from, how long it will take to arrive, and if you can return it. If you can’t seem to find a way to return goods, you should be suspicious. If you’re buying something expensive, always check that you are buying it from an authorised seller or distributer. There is a large market for selling counterfeit goods online, so it’s always best to research what you are buying and compare pricing.

6. Pay using a credit card or PayPal

Both of these options offer you more protection, making it easier for you to recover funds than if you paid by debit card or bank transfer. If you buy from a fake seller, you may lose money, but if you can lose everything if your bank details are stolen. That’s why using a service like PayPal can help you stay more secure as you don’t give out any card details when making a purchase. Buying using a credit card also gives you extra protection under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act for purchases over £100 up to £30,000.

7. Be careful when purchasing gift cards

It’s best to only ever buy gift cards from trusted sources. There are many sites out there that will ask for your financial details and payment information, when in reality the gift card is a scam.

8. Think about the information you are giving out

Only give out information that is completely necessary, if you’re filling out a payment form, consider whether they really need all of the information.

9. Check your bank statement regularly

By regularly checking your account statements, you will be in a much better place to notice any unauthorised transactions. We would suggest checking your statement around twice a week. If you spot any irregularities, report them directly to your bank as soon as possible. You could also choose to set up alerts with your bank, so you receive an email or text whenever there is a transaction over a certain amount.

10. Look out for pharming scams

A pharming scam is when cybercriminals begin attacking a legitimate website that you are trying to access. When this happens, it will look like you have arrived on the website, when in reality you are on a fake version that has been built by hackers. It will usually prompt you to input personal information or make a bank transfer. The best way to spot these scams is to be on the look out for strange web addresses with odd numbers or slightly different spellings.

11. Be wary of links

Never click on links that look suspicious in emails or text messages. Cybercriminals use malicious links to trick users into giving them personal information, or to infect a user’s computer with malware. So, if you receive an email featuring some amazing Christmas deals, don’t click on links within the email. It may look like it’s from a legitimate sender, but sometimes it can be a hacker in disguise. The best thing to do is visit the retailer’s official website through a new tab and check the offer is correct.

12. Be vigilant and smart

If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.

What to do if you think you’ve been scammed

If you are unhappy with a product you have received online, or it is damaged or faulty, the first thing to do is try and contact the online seller and website. If you paid by card and receive no response or little compensation from the seller, you can contact your card provider.

If you believe your card details have been stolen, contact your bank immediately so they can block any transactions. You can usually get any money back that you have lost from scammers.

You can also report any scams or attempted hacks to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, use their online reporting tool or on the FCA Scam Smart website.

Shop safe this Christmas!

By following these top tips, you should be out of the danger whilst your shopping online this Christmas. For more information on how we could support you and your business online, get in touch with our friendly team today!

The post The ultimate guide to shopping safely online appeared first on E2E.

What is a whaling attack? And what can my business do to protect against them?

A whaling attack is a highly targeted phishing attack used by cybercriminals to gain unauthorised access to sensitive information, data or funds. But should you be worried? And what can you do if you become a victim?... The post What is a whaling attack? And what can my business do to protect against them? appeared first on...

Also known as CEO fraud, whaling involves cybercriminals sending emails or messages that impersonate a legitimate source, usually a CEO, colleague or trusted business source with the aim of stealing sensitive information like usernames, passwords, or financial information.

What is the difference between phishing and whaling?

Whaling and phishing are extremely similar bar the completely targeted nature of whaling. When cybercriminals use phishing attacks they send out messages to a large number of victims with the hope of collecting as much data or information as possible, practically at random. A whaling attack is specifically aimed at high-ranking targets such as company directors or CEOs and the cybercriminals usually impersonate a senior employee from within the same organisation.

Due to the current trend towards remote working whaling attacks are on the rise. According to the results of the UK Government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2020, 1 in 4 companies have experienced a whaling attack in the last 12 months.

How do whaling attacks work?

Whaling attacks are, unfortunately, all too often highly successful. Recently, toy giant Mattel was the victim of a whaling attack which saw them lose a whopping three million dollars! A top financial executive received an email that requested a money transfer from their newly appointed CEO. The email was actually from a cybercriminal that was impersonating them.

Whaling attacks don’t require a high level of technical knowledge behind them with cybercriminals knowing full well that many employees may not be quite as vigilant when working from home. Such criminals simply carry out a little research into the company, usually by using social media or the company’s own website to view who the high-level contacts are.

Whaling attacks work by targeting high level employees by sending them an email or message which appears to be from the CEO, director or another high-level executive of the business. Sometimes, cybercriminals will even include tailored messages to make them look even more legitimate. These could reference something that has been posted on social media or a public company update. The cybercriminals will typically use (or appear to use) an email address that seems to be from a legitimate source. It could contain a logo or perhaps a link to a website that has been built to replicate the company site.

Due to the perceived legitimacy of these requests, many employees will respond automatically without asking questions, as the message appears to have come from the most senior person within their organisation. People that work in finance are most commonly targeted for obvious reasons… they typically have access to the most sensitive data as well as having the ability to make payments. That said, however, there have also been attacks on cloud storage and file hosting companies as well as e-commerce sites.

The message will always contain personalised information, convey a sense of urgency and will often be written in a similar tone to the language used by the company.

During a whaling attack, the victim will usually be asked to do one of the following:

  • Click a link – this will usually take the victim to a fraudulent website or could perhaps download malware onto their device.
  • Share sensitive data or information – this will generally be company data regarding employees, customers or a high-level individual.
  • Transfer money – By direct bank transfer to the cybercriminals or by sharing bank or credit card details.

What are the consequences of a whaling attack?

As primitive as they may appear, whaling attacks can cause untold damage to businesses.

  • Data breaches – This can affect your employees, customers, or intellectual property.
  • Financial loss – As well as losing money from fraudulent money transfers, businesses can also be fined for data breaches and may lose customers.
  • Tainted reputation – If customers find out that your business has been a victim of a whaling attack it’s unlikely to fill them with confidence! You can quite easily lose customers, suppliers, partners and opportunities due to a lack of trust in your organisation.
  • Business disruption – Following a successful whaling attack there’s a chance that your business could be severely damaged. Security measures would have to be updated, customers and clients would have to be notified of data breaches and funds will have to be budgeted.

What can my business do to protect against whaling attacks?

Whaling attacks are so successful because they are personalised and usually appear to be genuine. That said, there are a few ways that can help you identify whaling attacks.

  • Double check the email address – It may look identical on first glance but check for double letters or numbers.
  • Confidentiality – If the message insists on keeping the information confidential this could be a sign that is’ come from an illegitimate source.
  • Urgent! – If the message includes phrases like urgent or is trying to get you to act quickly, this can be a tell-tale sign of phishing or whaling. They want you to act without thinking or considering different options.
  • Different bank details – If the bank details you’re asked to send funds to are different from those on record, be on your guard!
  • Drastic consequences – Be suspicious if you’re given an ultimatum, such as the threat of legal action if you don’t transfer money immediately.

It’s important that your staff are trained to be on their guard, to be suspicious of anything out of the ordinary and to question whether email are unexpected and/or unusual. If you have an IT department, you could ask them to carry out ‘test whaling’ activities in order to train employees on how to spot suspicious messages. You could also change procedures within your business so that two people are needed to sign off financial transactions. This will decrease the chance of whaling attacks being successful.

Employees should also take care when posting information on their social media accounts. Cybercriminals can use information like birthdays, promotions, hobbies etc. to scam your organisations. For your organisation’s security as much as their own it’s important to encourage employees to keep their accounts private.

Last but certainly not least, your business should incorporate advanced threat protection methods. Your IT department could begin flagging any emails that come from outside your organisation, reviewing them before they’re forwarded on to the recipient. You could also install email security solutions that can automatically detect and warn users of an email that appears to be a threat. They do this by scanning the email content and checking for anomalies like mismatched display names and webpages, link validation and URL screening.

Need help?

The cybersecurity team here at E2E can help your business stay secure against whaling attacks. We can offer managed security packages which feature 24/7 monitoring, incident response and user awareness training. Get in touch with our team today for more information.

The post What is a whaling attack? And what can my business do to protect against them? appeared first on E2E.

What IT equipment and software do I need to work from home?

Homeworking has become a new way of life for people across the UK, with almost half of those in employment working away from their regular workplace. But what IT equipment and software do you need to work from home successfully?... The post What IT equipment and software do I need to work from home? appeared first on...

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many businesses were forced to close their offices, factories and warehouses when the government advised employees to start working from home. Months later, many businesses have realised that remote working comes with many benefits and, with the pandemic now entering it’s second wave, it looks like working from home is set to be come the new norm.

However, for staff to be able to work from home effectively, it’s often necessary for employers to offer additional support over and above what they usually provide within an office environment. From IT equipment to software, it’s vital that employees have access to everything they need to continue working remotely.

A comfortable, supporting chair

First up, it’s important to have a comfortable chair that’s ergonomic with both a high back and arm rests. It should also be adjustable (the more adjustable the better!) so you can find the optimum position for your comfort, and have wheels, so you can move around with ease.

A desk or other suitable table

You’ll also need a decent surface to set up your computer or laptop on. Either a desk or a sturdy table is perfect. You need to make sure you’ve got sufficient space for monitors, keyboards and accessories (keyboard, mouse, printer/scanning, notepad… and the mandatory cup of tea or coffee!). Your chair should also slot under easily.

Computer (laptop or desktop)

Of course, to work from home you’re going to need a computer, either a desktop or a laptop. But which one? Desktops have many advantages, but the main disadvantage is their lack of portability. That said, they are usually quite a bit cheaper, can be upgraded easily and, as a result, could last much longer.

There are two main types of desktop; towers that you connect to monitors, keyboards etc, and all-in-ones, which have the computer built into the back of the screen (much like many Apple iMac machines). If you’re looking to purchase desktops for your workforce you should really look for a 9th or 10th generation Intel i5 or i7, AMD’s Ryzen 5 2500 or at the very least Intel’s i3. The RAM should be 4GB as a minimum (8GB or more for those carrying out more demanding tasks) and should include a hard drive with a decent amount of capacity.

The main advantage of laptops is their portability. That said, however, this can effect the ergonomics of your work station as you may need to hunch over in order to type and/or view the screen. It’s important to set up a space where your screens are at eye level and you aren’t straining your neck (laptop and monitor stands are cost-effective and freely available).

There are so many laptops out there, from traditional hinged ones, to convertibles where the screen either folds or detaches from the keyboard to become a tablet. Your best option for value is usually a traditional laptop. Like a desktop, you should ideally aim for a 9th or 10th generation Intel i5 or i7 processor, at least 4GB RAM and decent sized hard drive. You should also consider the size of the screen, keyboard and trackpad. Usually, a 13 to 15 inch screen is sufficient.

A speedy internet connection (where available)

This is one of the most important tools when working remotely. You may find that a broadband connection which once did the job is now struggling under the pressure of everyone in your household (or even more people in your neighbourhood) now working from home.

It’s not just about the download speed… video conferencing and file transfers can be very demanding upon your connection. The easiest way to improve your internet speed is to upgrade your package. That said, you could also look into purchasing a more advanced router. These are small and relatively inexpensive computers but, like any other piece of computer hardware, they get old and outdated with time. If you haven’t had your router replaced for a number of years, you may at least want to consider purchasing a newer version.

A wi-fi booster/range extender (if you’re working too far from your router you’ll need to boost the signal)

The speed of Wi-Fi gets weaker the further you move away from the router. If your workspace is on the other side of the house to your router you may need to look at moving a touch closer, or perhaps moving your router closer to your computer. If this isn’t possible it is possible to purchase Wi-Fi booster or range extender from around £30.

If this doesn’t help, another option could be to opt for mesh networking. Whilst expensive, this is a pretty powerful alternative. It replaces your router’s Wi-Fi with a series of nodes that send the signal all over the house. Prices usually start from £150 and work up to £400 or more.

Separate monitor (to extend your display and make it easier to work)

If you’re purchasing a tower desktop you’ll need a high-quality monitor. It’s also a good idea to have an extra monitor if you are working from a laptop to make it easier to work and extend your display. Monitors come in all shapes, sizes, resolutions and prices, so it’s important you get the correct one for you.

Look for a monitor that’s of a decent size (21-24″ is usually more than enough for most home workers) and features 1080p or similar resolution. It’s also important to find a monitor that can be adjusted… the top of the screen should be at eye level. If the height cannot be adjusted you can always try a stand or prop it up on some books.

Monitor or laptop stand to raise up the display to eye height

To avoid neck and back pain it’s best to buy a laptop or monitor stand so that your screen is at eye level. There are a range of stands available, from wooden stands to lightweight and foldaway versions. No matter what your budget or requirements there’s every chance you’ll find what you’re looking for.

External keyboard and mouse

To ensure you’re working from home in an ergonomic environment, you should have access to an external mouse and keyboard. These tend to come as standard when you buy a desktop computer but they’re also really important if you’re using a laptop.

If your job involves lots of typing it’s a great idea to invest in a decent external keyboard. These come in USB or wireless versions, both of which work really well. If you choose a wireless option don’t forget to buy some batteries (perhaps rechargeable versions?). Don’t worry too much, however, as most will last months on the same set. For your mouse, it’s best to go for an ergonomically shaped one. Avoid the modern looking flat types as they can sometimes result in unnecessary wrist pain!

Video conferencing software (Teams, Zoom etc.)

When working from home in the current environment, one of the most important tools you’re going to need is a decent video calling package. From Teams and Zoom to Google Hangouts there are a number of options available. If your company already uses Microsoft 365 the chances are you’ll have access to Microsoft Teams, our preferred option. If not, however, Zoom is a great option for both video calling and virtual meetings.

A cloud storage service such as Microsoft OneDrive, DropBox or Google Drive

When working from home your employees need to have access to business files on demand. Without the use of the company’s server (and unless you’ve got a direct VPN access to that server) it’s going to be pretty important that you invest in a cloud storage service such as OneDrive, Dropbox or Google Drive.

If you’re using an old version of Office you could consider upgrading so you have access to Microsoft 365 apps which include collaboration software and cloud storage. Similarly, Google’s G Suite will give your team access to both Google Docs and Google Drive.

By migrating on-site data to a cloud based storage system, you’ll make it much easier for employees to access their files remotely and may save quite a bit of money in the process. Despite storing your files in the cloud it’s still really important not to forget to back up your data!

Online chat software such as Skype, Teams, Workplace by Facebook or Slack etc.

Alongside video conferencing platforms, it’s also a good idea to provide an online chat system in order to help your team communication and collaborate. A global HR study recently found that two-thirds of employees who work remotely aren’t as engaged with the business as they would be in their usual workplace whilst 40% of employees who depend almost entirely upon email to communicate with colleagues often feel lonely.

Chat platforms like Slack, Skype, Chanty, Teams and Workplace by Facebook can vastly improve communication between departments and colleagues. Slack, for example, allows you to set up different chat channels for varying teams, projects or just socialising.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Working remotely posses a number of security risks for your business. From cybersecurity risks to malware, malicious domains and phishing. It goes without saying that you should always ensure that each and every employee has antivirus software installed on their devices, or at least endpoint protection.

Over and above conventional antivirus packages, it’s also recommended that businesses use a virtual private network (or VPN), especially if employees are using remote access software to access on-premises systems. Simply set up a dedicated VPN for your company by ensuring staff use a business-grade VPN service.

Project management and collaboration tools (e.g., Asana, Trello etc.)

Remote working also raises issues surrounding management, collaboration and productivity. A recent survey found that 76% of HR managers reported that the most frequent staff complaint during lockdown came from managers and related to the maintenance of employee engagement and productivity.

Despite this, there are ways that employees and managers can stay transparent using apps like Microsoft Teams,, Asana and Trello. Project Managers can keep track of what work is getting completed with these task management apps and employees can stay on top of projects and deadlines.

Technology is vital!

It’s clear that, for companies to keep working effectively, adopting the right technologies can be vital. COVID-19 has accelerated working from home practices with very little sign of things reverting back to pre-COVID office life.

If you need help or advice on how to support and improve home working for your organisations, get in touch with our team today!

The post What IT equipment and software do I need to work from home? appeared first on E2E.

How to successfully manage a team working from home

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, most companies have now adopted working from home practices. That said, there's no doubt that this has brought a number of challenges to managers, business owners and employees alike.... The post How to successfully manage a team working from home appeared first on...

Remote working can be stressful, overwhelming and lonely for employees, and can cause management issues for bosses and owners.

There are a number of things managers and business owners can do, however, to help ensure they’re managing their remote team effectively and positively.

Regular communication

The reduced contact managers and business owners have with their staff can mean that they’re disconnected with their workforce. Arranging regular catch up sessions and day-to-day social interaction can help promote engagement and help employers keep their multiple channels of communication open.

Support workforce wellness

It’s never been more important to ensure that your employees are healthy, especially when you consider that, over lockdown, many employees have been working longer hours than when they were in the office.

This can obviously lead to staff becoming unwell, mentally and physically. Showing that you support employees’ wellness can help reduce sick days, and encourage productivity, creativity and enthusiasm. Employers can support workforce wellness by promoting healthy routines such as a company-wide ‘shut down time’, or introducing apps which remind staff to drink water and take a break. They can also offer wellbeing support for employees suffering from mental health issues, anything from free language classes to home workout kits, or support sessions.

Ensure employees have a healthy workspace

It’s important to recognise that not everyone will have access to a dedicated workspace or home office, and there are costs involved with having to work from home. Employees are, perhaps unfairly, often expected to already have fast internet connections, ergonomic furniture, access to electricity, a laptop or other type of computer and sometimes a phone landline. There’s no getting away from the fact that almost all of these are critical when it comes to home working…

It’s extremely important that managers and business owners encourage staff to separate their work life and home life wherever possible. Having a desk area with a supportive chair is much healthier than employees working from their sofas.

Not only can you review their work from home setup and offer advice or help to improve the situation, if you need to offer support to employees, you could consider negotiating a discount from office retailers so staff can kit out their space effectively.

Stick to a routine

Without clearly defined office hours, it can become incredibly easy for staff to work far too many hours, almost never ‘switching off’. It’s really important, therefore, for managers to encourage staff to maintain a routine and separate their home life and work life.

Whilst sticking to a normal day of 9-5 may prove tricky for some staff who have to factor in childcare, home schooling or family responsibilities, planning out a routine and sticking to it will really help to structure the working day.

Scheduling in catch-ups and one-to-one meetings is also important, in part because many people can no longer simply just pop into the office for a chat. It’s good for managers set out time to talk to employees about performance and any concerns or issues they may have.

Be flexible

Given that many employees will have to adopt a range of new responsibilities over this unprecedented time, it’s pretty vital that managers offer sufficient flexibility to their staff. When push comes to shove, working hours and patterns can be amended if needs be just as long as the needs of the company are still being met.

Organise social activities

Alongside work meetings and one-to-ones, it’s also healthy to organise staff social calls and activities. Working remotely can be lonely at times so it’s important to encourage employees to communicate regularly, both professionally and socially. Whilst only one suggestion, you could consider setting up a game or a quiz on a Friday afternoon to help everyone wind down for the weekend.

Invest in technology

In the current climate, technology can be key to helping keep some businesses afloat. Communication tools such as video call software, instant messaging and collaboration platforms enable remote teams to work together in effective and productive ways. Make use of platforms such as MS Teams, IMs, Salesforce, Miro and more, and ensure your team stays in touch.

Working from home can also lead to employees’ hard work going unnoticed. And that can prove to be pretty disheartening… But never fear! It’s pretty easy for managers and business owners to invest in technology that allows staff to send and receive recognition for their work. Or simply to develop policies/processes that reward employees and recognise their contributions.

Carefully plan a return to workplace proposal

As the prospect of lockdowns starting to ease rears its head, many businesses have started to look at return to work proposals for office staff. However, if thinking of asking your workforce to return to the office, you should first consult with each individual first so they can raise any personal issues. It’s a business owner’s duty to carry out a COVID risk assessment and ensure that the workplace is safe for employees. Many people may be nervous about leaving their house again, so it’s vital that you make sure that they’re happy with any new procedures.

At E2E Technologies we can help keep your employees connected and working productively. Get in touch with our team today to find out what we can offer.

The post How to successfully manage a team working from home appeared first on E2E.

What is phishing and how do I avoid it?

Have you ever received an email from what you think is a trusted source asking for sensitive information, things like bank details, usernames or passwords?... The post What is phishing and how do I avoid it? appeared first on E2E.

These emails often include a link which takes you to a website that will ask for your personal and private information.

But how do you know that this isn’t genuine? That it’s a scam? Well, put simply, your bank or any other similar organisation which holds personal information or manages your money will never send you an email like this. Instead, these are phishing scams created by cybercriminals trying to steal from you. Thieves use well-known names like PayPal, eBay or courier firms, creating official-looking emails in an attempt to scam unsuspecting victims.

Once you become a victim of phishing, scammers can run up bills on your debit and credit cards, or in the worst case, you could be a victim of identity theft.

So, let’s go into a little more detail.

What is phishing?

Phishing is a tool that cybercriminals use to attempt to fool victims into handing over sensitive information by disguising themselves as a trustworthy organisation. They do this by using a variety of different platforms and outlets, sending millions of fake emails and text messages in the hope that enough people will be tricked into sharing their personal data.

Usually the emails or messages will look unprofessional with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes throughout. Unfortunately, however, these cybercriminals don’t have to be too sophisticated. Their success relies upon the sheer volume of emails they send out, only needing a handful of victims to fall for their scams.

For example, in 2018 the Federal Trade Commission revealed one phishing scam that was targeting Netflix users. The email looked like it was sent from Netflix and included a link that asked users to update their billing information to continue using the streaming site. Instead of the link taking users to the Netflix website, it took victims to a scam website that was built by cybercriminals.

So, how do you protect yourself against phishing scams? You need to learn and recognise what these scams look like and never click on links in emails or texts that are purport to be from your bank or other well-known organisations.

How phishing works

  • Firstly the cybercriminal will start by outlining their target victims, creating strategies to collect the data that will be used in the attack.
  • They then create the method, such as the scam emails or messages intended to lure their victims into sharing sensitive information.
  • The attack begins when they send these scam messages or emails out to their chosen victims.
  • The scammers will then monitor the attack and store any data that has been collected.
  • Finally, the cybercriminals will use this data to make illegal purchases or commit fraud.

Whilst this is the most common route taken by phishing scammers there are variations with phishing scams often being cleverly disguised in other ways.

5 most common types of phishing

  1. Email phishing – As mentioned above, this is the most common form of phishing. An email is sent by fraudsters pretending to be a legitimate company, usually a bank or financial institution. They will usually include a link that will take you to a fake webpage which asks for your details. Alternatively, when clicked, that link may automatically install malware on your device.
  2. Spear phishing – Unlike regular phishing emails which are sent out to large groups of people, spear phishing is a more personalised approach. They are specifically targeted to certain individuals, businesses or organisations. Clearly, this means that the hackers will have carried out detailed research on their victims. Sometimes known as social engineering, the hackers will send emails that look like they’re legitimate. For example, customers who had recently purchased something from a website may receive an email that looks like it’s from the same company with the subject line ‘Your order has been dispatched’, including a link that could download malware on your device.
  3. Clone phishing – One of the most difficult to detect, clone phishing is when a scammer builds an identical version of a message or email they have already received.
  4. Whaling – This is when cybercriminals target high ranking professionals or government officials. The aim is to fool the most powerful people into sharing very sensitive corporate or government data. These kind of attacks are much more sophisticated than your average phishing scam and require more research.
  5. Pop-ups – Finally there’s pop-up phishing, a scam during which ads pop up and try to trick users into installing viruses on their devices. These ads can sometimes be disguised as anti-virus software trying to protect your computer from an attack when, in reality, if you install them they’ll end up infecting your device.

Tips on how to protect yourself

  • Never provide sensitive information in response to an email or message including a link. Webpages or emails may look legitimate, but you never know! If you didn’t initiate the communication you should never pass your information on.
  • If you think the correspondence could be legitimate, it’s always best to contact them directly and ask.
  • Never give out your full password over the phone or in reply to a strange request online. A bank or financial organisation would never ask for these details over an email or phone call.
  • Always check your account statements and verify the transactions were authorised by you. Online banking allows users to view their transactions in real time making it much easier to catch cybercriminals.
  • Don’t click links in emails that claim to be from financial institutions or well-known sources like Amazon or eBay. These URLs may look legitimate but they’ll usually contain subtle differences that will direct you to a fraudulent site.
  • Look out for the common phishing language. Scammers will usually use similar language across their fraudulent emails and text messages. They’re also usually littered with bad grammar and spelling mistakes. Common phrases are ‘verify your account’ saying you need to act urgently, warnings that your account has been hacked or enticing messages offering you cash rewards or prizes.
  • Check the email address it has been sent from. If it doesn’t match the company it’s sent from (e.g. you should be immediately suspicious. These messages will also usually not be addressed to you directly. Most legitimate correspondence will use your first and or last name.
  • Always use authenticated webpages when inputting personal and sensitive information. To check the authentication click on the padlock within the address bar. This should show you the name of the organisation that applied for the SSL (security) certificate.
  • Don’t click on pop-up ads and never download anything from them.
  • Install anti-virus software and use spam filters.

For companies that are looking to stop employees falling for these phishing scam, one of the best things to do is start using anti-phishing software. There are plenty of options on the market, each offering solutions such as identifying and neutralising malware attachments, handling zero-day vulnerabilities, detecting spear phishing emails and many more. This software is especially designed to stop phishing scams reaching you and your employees inboxes.

For more information on phishing and how to protect your business, get in touch with our team today!

The post What is phishing and how do I avoid it? appeared first on E2E.

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