Four ways to maximise your business and minimise your tax

Federal government tax break

With the end of the financial year not too far away, you may be considering how best to minimise your tax whilst maximising the investment in your business. It may have been a while since you have investing in your business, and whilst the $30,000 instant tax right-off legislation passed, it’s worth getting in whilst it is still available, here are a four ways worth considering:

  1. Upgrade replacing hardware and outdated software. As noted in our earlier blog articles, Microsoft ends support for Windows 7 in early January 2020. Now is the time to consider the purchase of a new computer and upgrading the operating system and possibly your software as well. Newer hardware and software will improve the reliability of your environment.
  2. Migrate your server to the cloud. Services such Office 365 enables you the ability to take advantage of practically anytime, anywhere access to your data. We see many clients appreciate the difference having the ability to be see your email, calendar and contacts shared between devices and increase their productivity.
  3. Look at training and upskilling. With many technology changes that have occurred over the past few years, it could be worthwhile undertaking some professional development and training. If you or your staff haven’t done so already, it may be the ideal time to ensure they are prepared for the upcoming changes and raise their performance.
  4. Pre-purchase hours for next year. CyberGuru has purchase a block of ten hours to use next financial year. By doing so, you can have these available at your disposal to use on any of our solutions, whether it be consulting, design, support or training.

If you are looking at taking action before the end of financial year, be sure to speak to your accountant first to review your circumstances and see how these deductions will work for you. If now is the time to look to this, we can assist by identifying and reviewing your particularly needs and sourcing the necessary equipment, get you set up and provide ongoing support and regular maintenance going forward. For more information, please review our solutions or contact us today.

Ask CyberGuru: Do I need to upgrade to Windows 10?

Ask CyberGuru: Do I need to upgrade to Windows 10?

Ask CyberGuru

In this month’s Ask CyberGuru, we are asked, “I am running Windows 7 and I have received a notification that Microsoft is ending updates and technical support for it. Is this legitimate and do I need to do this?”.

Yes, this is a legitimate notification which has been delivered as part of Windows Update recently. The message would look similar to this:

Windows 7 End of Life notification

As noted in the support notification, after 10 years of service, Microsoft will no longer offer security updates for computers running Windows 7 from 14 January 2020. As part of Microsoft’s Support Lifecycle, only its Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 operating systems will be supported from this date. Any computers running Windows 7 after this date will pose a significant security risk.

Given Windows 7 is used in a significant number of computers today, Microsoft is providing early notification to users to ensure that appropriate measures are undertaken to upgrade to a later operating system. Windows 10 has been on the market for almost four years and become an increasingly secure and stable operating system, making it the ideal replacement for Windows 7.

It is strongly recommended that you upgrade as soon as possible to ensure you are provided with the necessary security updates and technical support from Microsoft as required.

Depending on the age and type of computer, you may be able to upgrade to Windows 10 successfully without issues. If the computer is three or less years old, it is likely it will be able to be updated to Windows 10. Some older or custom-build computers, however, may need to be upgraded or replaced.

Unfortunately, the free upgrade offer which was available when Windows 10 was introduced is no longer available, with Windows 10 Upgrade media costing between $225 to $339 depending on the edition.

CyberGuru can assist through our Consulting solution by reviewing your computer equipment to provide the best advice for your needs, as well as providing any necessary training and support to assist you and your organisation make the change.

For more details, please see this Microsoft Support article (link opens in new window) or feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.

3 quick ways to protect your work emails against a data breach

3 quick ways to protect your work emails against a data breach

Recently CyberGuru’s Chief Guru, Chris Jeffery, was interviewed by internet security software, ESET, about our thoughts on protecting work emails. Please see the resulting article below. As always, if you would like assistance with anything discussed in this article, please feel free to contact us.

Over 30% of cyber security breaches are caused by human error, according to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OIAC).

Since Australia’s mandatory data breach reporting scheme came into effect in February last year, further light has been shed on the key causes of cybersecurity breaches on private customer information – and the reasons might not be what you expect.

The recent Notifiable Data Breaches Quarterly Statistics Report (link opens in new window) shows that malicious data breaches are increasingly relying on a human element to succeed, with a high rate of incidents occurring between October and December 2018 exploiting vulnerabilities from simple mistakes, such as clicking on a phishing email.

With cybersecurity incidents increasing frequency and severity, it’s more important than ever for Australian businesses to understand how best to protect themselves against an attack. To help you get started, CyberGuru Chief Guru Chris Jeffery has collaborated with the team at ESET security to bring you some key tips on how to protect your business emails from data and security breaches (link opens in new window).

Educate and prepare your staff 

To protect your company data from a breach, it’s vital to train your employees on the latest strategies being used by cybercriminals and ensure they know what to look out for to avoid being exploited.

Here are some simple steps your employees should follow regularly:

  • Checking an email sender’s “from” address to validate legitimacy
  • Looking for any suspicious attachments
  • Avoiding unrecognised links
  • Keeping an eye out for poor spelling and grammar

“Multiple organisations have experienced significant loss from just one staff member opening an email that contained malware,” says Jeffery.

Having additional cybersecurity in place, such as email-filtering software, will help protect your business against email cyber breaches. If you’re unsure what kind of solution is best for your company, consider getting professional security advice or trialling some cybersecurity solutions (link opens in new window).

Foster good password hygiene in the office

“In many organisations today, passwords aren’t managed effectively,” says Jeffery.

“Often, accounts are shared between users or staff, stored on sticky notes, written in notebooks easily accessible on desks, or printed using professional label makers and stuck under keyboards.”

ESET recommends that passwords are changed regularly with a high level of complexity – and if a password is thought to be breached, to change it immediately. While it can certainly be difficult to recall a vast collection of different passwords, it’s important you avoid doubling up as much as possible. A password management solution can make this process much easier, and using two-factor authentication will also serve to strengthen your defence even further

Encourage secure remote working

Do your staff work remotely or on the go? Then you’ll need to make sure they can access emails in a secure way from whatever device they need. In these cases, Wi-Fi security is a big watch out. ESET recommends looking out for fraudulent “free” public Wi-Fi by always checking the name, asking for a password from reception, or using a virtual private network (VPN).

Building the best defence for your business

These steps are a great place to start in protecting your business against data breaches. The OIAC has also developed a data breach preparation and response guide with a four-step process: contain, assess, notify and review. If a breach has been discovered, the faster you respond, the faster you can mitigate the risk and save your reputation.

Significant penalties now apply through the Notifiable Data Breaches Act for businesses who fail to take care in protecting their customers’ data – so it’s vital your business builds the best defence possible.

We encourage you consider how you can protect your organisation by following these tips. If CyberGuru can be of any assistance to you or organisation through consulting, support or training, please contact us.

CyberGuru attends Microsoft Ignite | The Tour in Sydney

CyberGuru attends Microsoft Ignite | The Tour in Sydney

CyberGuru attends Microsoft Ignite | The Tour in Sydney

In February, CyberGuru attended Microsoft Ignite | The Tour in Sydney. Microsoft Ignite | The Tour is where tech professionals are able to learn alongside the experts on topics such topics as Windows, Office and Azure. Throughout the event, we were fortunate to share experiences, engage and learn from such experts.

In addition to lecture “break-out” style sessions covering Some of the sessions we attended allowed us to participate through “hands-on labs”, allowing us to experience some of the changes and explore the new technologies coming through. Using a range of virtual environments to experiment with to learn how to further enhance Windows 10 and Office 365 for our clients.

We were able to also continue to grow our skills in Windows, Office and hear of the new developments and upcoming changes first hand as many of the presentations are from the experts who build and run Microsoft’s cloud services. Some of the speakers included the Windows as a Service Evangelist John Wilcox, self-described as the “IT admin” of more than 600 million consumer Windows devices, discussing the Windows update processes and changes, and a Senior Program Manager for Microsoft 365, Amisha Bhatia, discussing the new Microsoft 365 Portal.

We also were able take advantage of the opportunity to catch up with meet our suppliers and clients whilst were there and hear about their new offerings. We look forward to sharing our new knowledge and skills with you over the coming months ahead.

By attending ongoing professional development events, CyberGuru ensures it is up to date with industry best practice, which we implement in our own business and those of our clients.

One year to go until Microsoft ends extended support for Windows 7

One year to go until Microsoft ends extended support for Windows 7

One of the Microsoft’s most loved operating systems, Windows 7, has extended support close to ending. On 14 January 2020, Microsoft will no longer issue security updates and will stop providing assistance those using Windows 7 Service Pack 1.

NetMarketShare (link opens in new window) reports that as of December 2018, 40.86% are still using Windows 7, with Windows 10 close behind on 36.37%. 5.07% are running Windows 8.1.

Introduced nearly 10 years ago, Windows 7 improved on existing versions of Windows including Windows XP and Windows Vista. Microsoft also added many new features we are now take for granted, including touch capabilities, and others we have become more comfortable with, including Libraries in File Explorer.

According to the Windows Lifecycle Fact Sheet (link opens in new window), mainstream support for Windows 7 ended on 13 January 2015, with extended support ending 14 January 2020. For users running Windows 8.1, support ended on 9 January 2018 with extended support for 10 January 2023.

Over the coming year, we suggest all computers running Windows 7 are upgraded to Windows 10 or replaced with new computers depending on their age and purpose. We are happy to assist clients and advise the most appropriate requirements for their needs.

If we can be of assistance to upgrading you from Windows 7 to Windows 10, and in need of consulting, support or training to help you make the move to a modern desktop, please contact us.