NOTIFIABLE DATA BREACH: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW AS AN AUSTRALIAN BUSINESS

Two new data laws have been introduced, set to roll out early this year, which directly effect business owners. You can read about the first one over here if you missed it.

Number two is the Notifiable Data Breach regulations, coming in to effect this February.

What is NDB?

It’s a set of changes to the Privacy laws highlighting that companies need to understand how they store, transmit, secure and use data on their networks. Companies need to notify the appropriate authorities of data breaches within strict time frames of them being discovered. If a company fails to do so, they can face monetary penalties of up to $1.8m and $360,000 for individuals. The law covers who must comply, which data breaches must be notified, how to assess them and how to notify people about breaches correctly.

It applies to all companies in Australia, with some small exemptions made for those turning over less than $3 million.

These laws are stringent and complying with them needs to be a business priority. Is your network secure? Do you know how your data is stored? Would you realise if there’s been a breach? What does a breach even mean? We’ve been working with clients to ensure their systems are ready for when the laws come into place. Don’t risk it- get on top of these regulations if you haven’t done so already!

 

If you need a hand getting your head around all the changes and how they will impact your business, give us a call.

COWORKING SPACES & IT: WHAT YOU SHOULD BE ASKING

In recent years, the concept of co-working spaces has expanded and communal working environments have become increasingly popular amongst workers and businesses alike. As an IT services provider, we have seen this trend first-hand and helped many businesses relocate.

Evidently, for small or medium sized business there are numerous advantages to be gained from moving your business into such a location.

Generally, the ‘pros’ include greater networking opportunities, the introduction to support networks of similar sized businesses, decreased operating expenses, and in most situations, the provision of a range of basic infrastructure services. Services such as internet access, shared printers, and perhaps even a space to store your current server or NAS device containing all your data.

It’s sounding pretty good so far, yeah?

Yes, but there are some important things that you need to confirm before signing on the dotted line and leasing your brand new hot desk, permanent desk, or managed and/or furnished office.

In our experience, business owners are too quickly wrapped up in the excitement of fancy new office spaces, the generally great cultures they promote, and of course the cost savings. So much so that they forget to ask some very important questions that can have real implications for their business.

In most cases, when you have your own building, small office, or home office, you own and manage its infrastructure. That means that your data is going across YOUR network, and not someone else’s! That generally, you are not letting people that you don’t know connect into your network! That the people inside your business have devices that you know are protected by antivirus applications, and that their devices are secure.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case when it comes to co-working spaces.

So, to help you choose a new shared or co-working office while still ensuring the protection of your business, here are a few things to be mindful of when considering that fancy new communal space.

 

When they tell you:

“We provide you with unlimited internet access!”

You should be asking:

  • First and foremost, what speed do I get? They may be telling you that they have a Wizz Bang 10GB fibre connection to the building, but what actual speeds will you receive? Ask them to show you the speeds by visiting net.
  • Is that Wi-Fi, ethernet cable, or both?
  • Why does that matter? Because some Wi-Fi networks have limitations on the number of concurrent users they can support, and as such, your internet speeds can be slowed as more people join you in that brilliant shared office space. A well-structured Wi-Fi network should be able to support all the users in the office, without impacting on end user speeds.
  • Will I have individual user logins? All users should be given individual logins (username & password), and not simply receive a password to a generic “Guest” or “Building A” Wi-Fi network SSID that every man and his dog uses.
  • Can I see anyone else’s device on the network that I am on? The answer must be ‘No!’. If you have a PC, a quick way of checking is to open a command prompt window and typing in (ARP -A), and if you see a list as long as your arm, then you should probably keep looking.
  • If I get an ethernet port to connect into as part of my contract or agreement, is the network setup just for me on a private virtual LAN network? If you have both Wi-Fi and Ethernet ports as part of your package they should be on a network that is dedicated to you and not shared with anyone else.

Ok, so it might sound like you should be requesting your own hardware when you move in… Let us clarify, that is not the case! Core IT networking infrastructure is now, and has for a long time, been able to set up multiple (if not hundreds) of virtual networks on a single piece of hardware. A thorough and well-designed installation of this hardware in such an office should be a given.

 

Then, they tell you:

“You also get access to the fancy $150k multifunction printer, scanner, fax machine, that makes you breakfast in the morning including coffee just the way you like it.”

You should be asking:

  • What are the costs associated with using it? Do I get a monthly allowance? Is it per page? How much per page? Is there a difference between B/W and Colour print costs?
  • How do they track the printing for on-charging? Do I get a card? A code to key-in every time I wish to print?
  • How many printers do you have? What happens if someone wants to print the “Harry Potter Series” just as I’m running late for a meeting and need to URGENTLY get my proposal printed?
  • More importantly, can I access the fancy printer from my private network, or do I need to connect to the shared “Guest Network” to be able to print. (We have seen this happen before, if you want to use the fancy printer you need to disconnect from your secured network, and then connect to the shared Wi-Fi network to be able to print. This is a BIG NO-NO for the privacy and the security of your information and devices.)

 

Saving the best till last, they drop this one on you: 

“Friday night drinks includes an unlimited supply of beer on tap!”

Awesome, right? Why wouldn’t you sign-up right then and there?

Wellllll, what they forgot to mention is that;

  • They store the kegs for Friday night drinks in the same room that has two large server racks in it.
  • These two server racks are the ones that they offer you to keep your server or NAS safely in.
  • That the room does not have proper cooling (not even a vent on the door for a room that is 2.5m x 4m).
  • That the server racks are not locked, and that the door to the room is not access controlled.
  • That anyone that moves into the shared office is able to put their hardware in there themselves without supervision, ultimately giving them access every piece of hardware in that room.
  • That they have two power points, connected to multiple power boards, to connect to all the equipment in the server racks.

But hey, they have a fun culture and unlimited beer on a Friday night…

Now, you might think that we are taking the piss here. Unfortunately, we have seen this sort of thing happen.

Co-working and shared-working spaces are fantastic innovations, with plenty of positives to offer businesses big and small. But please, beware of getting caught up in all the hype! Instead, make sure that you take the necessary steps to keep your business and your data safe.

SOS SETTINGS FOR YOUR PHONE: WHY & HOW?

It has long been said that we humans only use ten per cent of our brains. Now that may well be a myth, but the same could certainly be said of our devices. Surely you have looked down at your top-of-the-range, latest-model mobile phone and thought, “Gosh, I’m holding decades worth of tech advancement in the palm of my hand, and I only use a fraction of its functionality.”

Well if you do indeed have one of the latest offerings from Apple or Samsung, then we’d like to make sure there is one function that you definitely are using.

Both Apple’s iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus, and Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge or later models, have SOS Messaging capabilities. Each phone has a feature that, when activated, is able to send an alert message and your location to your designated emergency contact. Sure, we tend to worry about the personal data and information that our phones are constantly tracking, but this time it’s for good reason.

So, here are the Apple and Samsung specifics, and instructions on how to activate this potentially life-saving function on your own device.

Samsung Galaxy S7 (and beyond) SOS Messages

Quickly press the Power key 3 times

This action will automatically send your location AND an alert to your emergency contact. You also have the option of including pictures or an audio recording in that alert.

How to enable SOS function

  1. Swipe down from the home pageto access the notifications drawer.
  2. Tap the Settings button(top right).
  3. Select Privacy And Emergency.
  4. Tap Send SOS Messages.
  5. Slide the switchat the top to right to “On”.
  6. A “Create Emergency Contact” Alert will pop up, tap “Add”
  7. Select “Create Contact”to set up a new person as your emergency contact, or “Select From Contacts” to assign an existing contact. If selecting an existing contact, skip to step 10.
  8. Enter the person’s name and phone number.
  9. Press Save(top right).
  10. Add up to 4 emergency contacts.
  11. Tap the back arrow (top left).
  12. Adjust the optionsfor Attach Pictures or Attach Audio Recording to your preference.

 

Apple: iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus (iOS 11)

Calling Emergency Services

Firstly, if you have not yet graduated to the iPhone 8 or X and have an iPhone 7 or earlier model, we completely understand. Your emergency action should be to:

  1. Rapidly press the side button five times. The Emergency SOS slider will appear.
  2. Drag the Emergency SOS slider to call emergency services.

Your iPhone will then automatically call the local emergency number. In some countries and regions, you might need to then choose the specific service that you require.

If Location Services is off, it will temporarily turn on.

Here’s how to make the call on an iPhone X, iPhone 8, or iPhone 8 Plus:

 

  1. Press and hold the side button and one of the Volume buttons until the Emergency SOS slider appears.
  2. Drag the Emergency SOS slider to call emergency services. If you continue to hold down the side button and Volume button instead of dragging the slider, a countdown begins and an alert sounds. If you hold down the buttons until the countdown ends, your iPhone automatically calls emergency services.

For those of you with the latest iPhones, the additional features are as follows…

You can add emergency contacts. After an emergency call ends, your iPhone automatically alerts your emergency contacts with a text message, unless you choose to cancel. Your emergency contact will be notified of your current location, and then be updated if your location changes while your iPhone is in SOS mode. You will get a notification that your contact has been updated about 10 minutes after the message is sent.

To stop the updates, tap the status bar and select “Stop Sharing Emergency Location.” You’ll get a reminder to stop every 4 hours, for 24 hours after the call.

Ending a call

If you started an emergency call by accident, press the Stop button, then tap Stop Calling.

Add or remove emergency contacts

You can add emergency contacts from the Health app on your iPhone:

  1. Open the Health app and tap the Medical ID tab.
  2. Tap Edit, then scroll to Emergency Contacts.
  3. Tap to add an emergency contact.
  4. Tap a contact, then add their relationship.
  5. Tap Done to save your changes.

Here’s how to remove emergency contacts:

  1. Open the Health app and tap the Medical ID tab.
  2. Tap Edit, then scroll to Emergency Contacts.
  3. Tap next to a contact, then tap Delete.
  4. Tap Done to save your changes.

Turning off Auto Call

Should you wish your iPhone NOT to countdown, sound an alert, and automatically make the emergency services call then:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Emergency SOS, then turn Auto Call on or off.

If you turn off this setting, you can still use the Emergency SOS slider to make a call.

 

Apple and Samsung are looking out for you on these ones, so make sure you take a minute to set up your emergency contacts. It might save you a minute when you most need it.

INTERVIEW: BAYLEYWARD ARCHITECTURE

We spoke to Directors Nick Readett-Bayley and Richard Newling Ward about their award winning architecture firm, BayleyWard.

How did you get into Architecture?

Richard: I was in hospitality for a number of years, and I came to recognise that I just had a passion for creating exciting and engaging spaces for people to enjoy. I suspect you’ll find that most architects have a very different answer, many would likely talk about the built environment, whereas interior designers’ focus tends to be more micro.

Why did you choose to start your own business?

Richard: There comes a point in your life when you want to write your own destiny. To drive your own designs rather than being told what to do whilst working in service of someone else’s ideals.

I get out of bed every day because I know I have the freedom to design things that I’m passionate about, coupled with the personal freedom that working for yourself provides. I also love that creatively, I can build something out of nothing on any given day.

You work hard, celebrate the wins, manage the losses, and it all balances out.

What is the biggest IT related hurdle you have faced?

Nick: Initially, working with start- up budgets means that there are periods where it is necessary to fulfil IT needs in-house – simply to save money.  Although this choice did save a small sum of money in the early days, the decisions that were made, and the solutions they provided were only temporary.

Solutions were not tailored for the long-term, and did not cater for the business’ future IT requirements. Therefore, we were not properly set-up – with servers, internal graphics cards, ram, etc – to achieve long-term efficiency, agility and delivery.

How did SSDL help you along the way?

As a new business, we often tried to source and upgrade our hardware and software in-house. We took advice from other businesses and design-related peer groups. Although our choices were good, they were not good enough. SSDL helped us to identify better solutions, that would save time and drive better efficient outcomes in communication, storage and speed.

We now only make our IT decisions after consulting with the professionals at SSDL. SSDL have helped put us on the right IT on track by making our day-to-day IT activities run smoothly, confidently, and efficiently.

What’s a great IT related lesson you’ve learnt so far?

If you seek advice, you will find the answers with the Professionals. Those with real  IT experience will make the critical difference for your business.

Finally, we’d love to see one of your favourite designs from 2017?

This is the recently completed “Barney” project on St Georges Road.

Before

After

INTERVIEW: JASON ROBINSON

We had a chat to Jason Robinson, one of the Directors from clients RBK Advisory.

What does RBK do?

RBK is a new age accounting and advisory firm born out of frustration with the old ways and systems of accounting practices. Below are a few of our differences:

  • We up front quote the years worth of work
  • We package the yearly services up and invoice by direct debit monthly
  • We provide free phone & email support to clients
  • We focus on the client relationship first – everyone receives the partner’s mobile phone number and the partner is always the first point of contact
  • We conduct tax planning meetings with all stakeholders are mandatory pre 30 June

Our clients feel comfortable to call and liaise whenever they have a problem as they aren’t “on the clock”. We find this allows us to provide better service. The more we liaise, the more beneficial the relationship will be for the client. There is no ‘bill shock’ for want of a better word. The more organised we are around tax planning, the better the outcome is for the client, it also helps adhere to ATO legislation.

Overall we are a young, technology driven firm who are eager to provide great service to our clients. We understand this is a very personal relationship and we  treat it with the respect it demands.

 

Why did you start RBK?

We’ve all worked at large and small firms alike and found there was a real disconnect between the fee structure & value provided by the majority of accountants. On top of that, many firms were promoting technology as an enabler but were barely using technology themselves (think old servers on site, standard working hours at the work location, inefficient processes that were billed to the client). We also didn’t like punching the time clock in 6 minute blocks and sending out invoices to clients that they weren’t expecting. It drove us to come up with our own model, one that has proven to be very successful having from a few hundred clients initially, to now serving over 2000.

How has IT played a role in your business?

For RBK Advisory, we have a lot of sensitive information. So immediately, security was a huge priority for us. Really early on we moved from Google to Microsoft 365 due to the added security setting and additional power it offered. On top of that, we wanted to be mobile, everything needed to be in the cloud (when we launched the business I was doing tax returns in Bali by the pool).

 

How has SSDL helped with your business?

We grew and we grew fast. We needed to be able to scale. In the past 12 months, we have added more than 1 new team member per month. This has meant thousands of dollars invested in new hardware, however we’ve barely noticed the software side of things. We up our subscriptions with each new team member, their devices are easily setup and added to our IT system and before we know it the new team member is ready to fire! SSDL advised us from day one on the software and systems we had to have in place to allow that growth to happen and without SSDL investing that time and energy into learning what our plans and ambitions were, I don’t think it would have gone as smoothly, so we have them to thank for that.

 

Finally, favourite app right now and why?

It’s so hard to pick just one so I’ll give you my categories:

Accounting – Xero (we live our lives on this and it connects us to our clients crucial financial information in real time)

Bookkeeping – Hubdoc (it connects us to our client’s financials documents through an easy to use app, receipts, bank statements, invoices etc.)

Personally – Trello (task management, to do lists, reminders and so much more)

Business – Microsoft Office365 and Microsoft Azure, we couldn’t run our business without it!