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Document Direct, Demystify the scary world of IT

Martyn Best - Managing Director - Document DirectDD logo - redrawn March 2014

 

 

 

 

 

Martyn Best is founder and CEO of Document Direct, a business that uses many different technologies to deliver typing, transcription and document production services across a secure web-based environment. Document Direct can help improve any law firm improve efficiency in their typing and document process, and also add significantly to their profitability.

In addition he comes across many complex areas of technology as he and his team integrate them into their processes.

 Here he gives some good tips and insights from his experiences, and hopes that this will help demystify the scary world of IT.

 

CLOUD COMPUTING
Wordsworth once voiced the evocative journey and feeling of wandering lonely as a cloud, and ever since it seems that IT techies and geeks have hijacked this beautiful poetry to bemuse and bamboozle us.

So what is cloud computing, and should I use it, you may well ask?

I personally think the term is rather misleading, and I actually believe if it had been called “Rock Computing” we would all feel more comfortable; or in fact if it was actually called something like “Remote server and secure access to software” we would also actually know what it was.

So, essentially “Cloud Computing” gives us a number of really good benefits:

  1. The removal of large and expensive servers from our local environment, which usually reduces our capital expenditure and property infrastructure costs.
  2. The ability to scale up on an incremental basis
  3. Typically, a more secure environment for our data
  4. Much better ease of installing software and managing users
  5. Usually much better remote access.

So – once we have that appreciation, we can then plan to see how we can integrate cloud computing into our own and our client’s business.

BRING YOUR OWN DEVICE

TO BRING OR NOT TO BRING, THAT IS CERTAINLY A QUESTION?

We will have read as employers of the dangers of “Bring your own device” (BYOD) and the reported looming demise of Blackberry, so how should we best manage mobile devices within our business, and what are the security risks and the commercial benefits?

The smartphones that you and your employees use certainly have the capability and capacity to also be used as good business tools, so it would be silly to ignore that.

There are of course real and perceived security issues but there are also significant benefits – both in cost and management terms, and also in giving your team choice and the opportunity to engage and contribute more to the business.

Any IT department should delight in the relief that BYOD brings to the capital and training budget, and whilst security is a clear danger, a few careful steps can help reduce or mitigate this.

The key issue is communication and the creation of a very clear policy. So, be clear about what mobile devices are allowed, give guidance as to what software and apps should be avoided and help people with their data usage and download practices.

Other elements which will help streamline your management of this will be ability for users to be configured “over-the-air” and most devices now have this simple function. Give advice on such matters as password protection, the regular changing of passwords, and the avoidance of obvious ones.

It is of course vital that regular back-ups are taken, and these can very easily be done as an automated routine, and of course the re-installing of such data on the replacement device is made much easier.

Ensure that you install the app Find My Phone which can of course be invaluable in locating a lost phone or device and at the very worst scenario, can be used in performing the remote erasure of data.

On very strong balance therefore Bring Your Own Device is to be welcomed, with just some small and sensible planning.

WE’RE UNDER ATTACK – or are we?

A very recent news article gave heightened awareness of the perennial issue of cyber security:

‘Alarming news from the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA): you have “two weeks” to protect yourself from a major cyber-threat.’ (BBC News Website)

This specific alert relates to two cyber-threats: “Gameover ZeuS” and “Cryptolocker”.  Both are potentially very dangerous threats that can steal passwords and encrypt data making it useless.  Why these are of particular concern is that they are using a new method of attack which makes them very difficult to detect by firewalls and security devices, therefore the risk of infiltration is higher.

So here are five tips to reduce your chance of falling victim to a malicious attack.

1. Do not open ANY email attachments unless you are 100% certain of the sender and you were expecting the attachment.

2. Be extra vigilant when browsing the Internet, try not to visit sites that are not for business use

3. Always try to keep software up to date with the latest security updates

4.  Always use reputable antivirus software and make sure that it is kept up to date

5. Make certain that all of your important files are backed up and that the backup is kept safe

If you’d like to discuss any of the above points, or find out about how Document Direct can help your practice feel free to contact Martyn at martyn.best@documentdirect.co.uk

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