Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Have you done the Red Face Test on your IT lately?

The threat from cybersecurity is a permanent fixture in the business world. Insurers are asking more and more questions when renewing cybersecurity insurance.

One of the best ways you can decrease your renewal costs and reduce the risk of an attack is with a penetration test of your IT systems.

We call this the Red Face Test as it's something your current IT provider should be doing on a regular basis, but many do not.

The penetration test is a straightforward white hat hacking method to test the security of both your internal office network and the cloud services you might connect to regularly.

Having a set of third-party eyes looking at where there may be gaps in your network and IT infrastructure is crucial to your security.

Book your Red Face Test today and secure your business.

Learn more about Nextworks.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

The Technology Knowledge Gap in Your Business

In business, as in life, there's the saying you don't know what you don't know. Regarding technology in your business, I'm sure you've already contemplated your myriad of IT support options.

Most businesses now adopt an outsourced "managed service" for all things to do with IT & Technology. Depending on the size of your business, there may even be an internal team that works closely with a managed service provider. This is very common and one of our core services.

However, depending on your service provider or the staff you employ to support and manage your IT systems, there is more than likely a knowledge gap.

Even the hottest trend of the day, like cybersecurity, which is on the lips of almost all IT people, does not cover the technology knowledge gap.

There is too much selection, and choice, and the rapid growth and innovation in technology are catching almost everyone.

Take, for example, ChatGPT - this new technology has the like of Google (the internet's #1 search engine) worried. Technology has come about that may well displace a $1.12 trillion company!

The counterargument, of course, is that when the microwave came around and promised to cook your roast chicken dinner, you'd never need a conventional oven.

We all know that technology can pose a risk, but the question in your head should be, how can technology grow and transform my business? How can I stay ahead of the competition? What strategy should I have for implementing new technologies in the business?

All great questions can be solved by using a vCIO/vCTO - a chief information officer or technology officer. The v stands for virtual, as a virtual CIO/CTO is more effective in delivering the answers and actions to these questions.

There are two main benefits of going down the virtual route. Firstly it's more cost-effective - you don't need to hire for a dedicated position, and if you are using the right managed service provider, this service may well be included in what you are already paying for.

The second benefit is that a virtual CIO or CTO has a broader knowledge pool to draw from. As opposed to working in just one business, they work with multiple companies and gain experience and insight into what works best where. Working across many industries also has the added benefit of learning from failures - this is a crucial point. The decisions you make about what technology to innovate and transform your business should be sound. Drawing from a virtual CIO/CTO will give you and your team a level of reassurance that you can't get from an internal role.

If you would like to know how we can help you business transform using technology then get in touch with us here.

Related Article: IT Expense Considerations in a Recession

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Keep your software budget under control with this advice.

Software licenses can be a major expense for businesses, particularly for those that rely on multiple software programs to run their operations. While these licenses are often necessary for productivity and efficiency, they can also take up a significant portion of a company's budget.

As a business owner, it's important to budget effectively for software licenses to make the most of your investment. Here are some tips for budgeting for software licenses effectively:

Determine your needs

Before you start budgeting for software licenses, it's important to understand exactly what your business needs. Make a list of the software programs that are essential to your operations and consider any potential future needs as well. This will help you get a better idea of the total cost of the licenses you'll need to purchase.

Shop around

Don't be afraid to shop around for the best deal on software licenses. Compare prices from different vendors and consider purchasing in bulk if it will save you money. Don't be swayed by flashy sales pitches – focus on finding the best value for your business. Consider alternate products. For example: Just because everyone is using Adobe Acrobat doesn’t mean you should too. Foxit is less expensive and arguably better.


If you're purchasing a large volume of software licenses, you may be able to negotiate a better price with the vendor. It's worth a try, as even a small discount can add up to significant savings over time.

Look for alternative licensing options: Many software vendors offer alternative licensing options, such as subscription-based models or pay-per-use plans. These options can be more cost-effective for businesses that don't need a full license for every user.

Utilize free SAAS options

If you don't need all the bells and whistles of a premium software program, consider using a free web-based alternative. These options may not have all the features of their commercial counterparts, but they can be a good fit for businesses with more basic needs.

Stay up to date on maintenance and support

Don't forget to factor in the cost of maintenance and support when budgeting for software licenses. These fees can add up over time, so it's important to be aware of them and budget accordingly.

Use software asset management tools

Software asset management tools can help you keep track of your software licenses and ensure that you're using them effectively. These tools can help you identify any unnecessary licenses and make it easier to budget for future purchases.

By following these tips, you can budget effectively for software licenses and make the most of your investment. Remember to keep your business's needs in mind, shop around for the best deals, and consider alternative licensing options whenever possible. With careful planning, you can find the right software licenses to support your business's operations without breaking the bank.

If you would like a complete audit of the software your business needs get in touch with us today, we can help.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Unlock the Untold Power of the Latest Windows for Your Local Business – What You've Been Missing

If you're a local business owner, you know how crucial it is to have solid technology. To keep up with the most recent software upgrades and versions, however, can be challenging given the rapid growth of technology. The confusion surrounding which Windows version their company is now running and if it is still maintained by Microsoft is one particular issue that many businesses deal with. The many Windows versions and which ones Microsoft no longer supports will be covered in this blog post.

Before we get into the specifics, though, let's talk about the top IT support trick for determining which version of Windows you're on. Simply choose "System" from the drop-down menu by performing a right-click on the Start button. You ought to be able to determine the version of Windows you are using from there. This straightforward advice might assist you in deciding whether you need to update your system to a newer version.

Now, let's discuss the various Windows versions and their support status. The most recent version, Windows 11, has full support from Microsoft. Since its initial release in 2021, it has undergone numerous updates and feature enhancements. Microsoft no longer provides support for Windows 7 and 8, which were both launched in the past. This makes your system open to security risks because there are no longer any updates or security patches being produced for this version.

Cybercriminals can exploit vulnerabilities in unsupported versions of Windows to get access to sensitive information or cause system harm, therefore it's crucial to update to the latest supported version of Windows. Unsupported versions can also make it difficult to access particular features or operate specific software applications.

So, if you're using an unsupported version of Windows, what should you do? Upgrade to a more recent, supported version as soon as possible. By doing this, you can be certain that your system is current, secure, and that you have access to all of its newest features and capabilities. A professional IT support service might be able to assist you with the update procedure as it can be difficult and time-consuming.

Maintaining up-to-date business technology is crucial for guaranteeing the security and efficacy of your operations. You can choose which version to use and when to upgrade by knowing the different Windows versions and their support status. Always keep your system updated, and when necessary, seek out qualified IT support. With the help of these suggestions, you can make sure that your company keeps up with technological advancements and prospers in the cutthroat business environment of today.

Keeping up with the most recent technological advancements is essential to being competitive in the fast-paced business environment of today. Use a supported version of Windows instead than running the risk of falling behind. Increase the security and effectiveness of your operations by upgrading to a newer, fully supported version.

For small local businesses exactly like yours, we specialise in offering expert IT help. Our team of professionals can guide you through the challenging process of upgrading your system and guarantee a smooth switch to the most recent version of Windows.

Don't let outmoded equipment limit you. Get in touch with us right now to find out more about our IT support services and to take the first step towards a safer and more effective corporate operation.

Friday, May 5, 2023

Cyber Insurance Got You Stressed? Uncover 5 Game-Changing Strategies to Keep Costs Low and Your Business Safe

Cyber threats have become a real worry for businesses all over the world in this digital age that is always changing. As a result, cyber insurance is not only a necessary part of any organization's plan for managing risks, but it also costs a lot of money. But don't be scared, dear reader! Here are five clever ways to cut the cost of cyber insurance for your business.

Set up a strong framework for cyber security: It's not hard to figure out!

Start by making your business's digital defences stronger. Set up a full cybersecurity framework with important parts like risk assessment, intrusion detection systems, regular security audits, and training for employees. The less risk you pose to insurers, the more likely it is that your premiums will go down significantly. Don't forget that a little bit of care can save you a lot of trouble.

A stitch in time: Quick response to incidents and fixes

How your organisation responds to cyberattacks (which will happen) can make all the difference in the world. Make and use a plan for how to respond to an incident that covers possible threats and lists actions that can be taken right away to limit damage. Insurance companies are more likely to give good terms to businesses that show they took quick and effective steps to fix a problem. Remember that time is very important!

Staff training: Knowledge is power!

You've heard it before, but it's worth saying again: Your employees are the first line of defence against cyber threats. Give ongoing training on cybersecurity and make people more aware of security. Teach them how to spot phishing scams, how important strong passwords are, and what can go wrong with Wi-Fi networks that aren't secure. If you show your insurance company that you're serious about reducing human error, they might lower your premiums.

Working together is key: Work with security experts from outside your company.

Sometimes, you need a hand—or more than one. Make deals with cybersecurity experts from outside your company to help with vulnerability assessments and penetration testing. By using their knowledge, you can find and fix holes in your security, making it less likely that someone will break in. Insurance companies like clients who are proactive, and if you work with them, you might even get a discount.

Make your cyber insurance policy fit your needs by making changes to it.

Every business is different and has its own risks and needs. Work closely with your insurance broker to make sure your policy fits your needs and doesn't have any extras you don't need. By customising your coverage, you can avoid paying for unnecessary parts and focus on what really matters: protecting your business from the ever-present cyber bogeyman.

In conclusion, it's not easy to keep your business safe from cyber threats while keeping insurance costs low. But if you use these five strategies, which include things like strong cybersecurity frameworks and custom policies, you can not only protect your organisation from bad cyber actors, but you can also lower the cost of insurance premiums. Here's to the future of your business being safer and less expensive!

Nextworks can provide all your cybersecurity needs. We make it easy with video training and even some fun email challenges.

Monday, May 1, 2023

Cybersecurity Penetration Testing for Your Business

Table of Contents

  1. An Introduction to Penetration Testing for Cybersecurity
  2. Why It's Important for Small Businesses to Do Cybersecurity Penetration Testing
  3. Different Kinds of Penetration Tests
  4. Getting Ready for the Penetration Test
  5. Putting the Cybersecurity Penetration Test into Action
  6. Analysing the Results of the Penetration Test for Cybersecurity
  7. Fixing the Problems That Have Been Found
  8. Follow-Up After the Test
  9. The Best Ways to Test Cybersecurity Penetration
  10. In the End
  11. FAQs

1. An Introduction to Penetration Testing for Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity penetration testing, also known as "pen testing," is the process of identifying vulnerabilities in a system, network, or application by simulating a real-world attack. The goal of penetration testing is to identify security weaknesses and provide recommendations to improve the security posture of the system.

2. Why It's Important for Small Businesses to Do Cyber Security Penetration Testing

Small businesses may think that they are not targets for cyber-attacks, but this is far from the truth. In fact, small businesses are often easier targets for cybercriminals because they may not have implemented strong security measures. A cybersecurity penetration test can identify vulnerabilities in the system before an attacker does and provides recommendations to improve the security posture.

Penetration testing can also help small businesses comply with industry regulations and standards. For example, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) requires penetration testing for businesses that accept credit card payments.
3. Different Kinds of Penetration Tests

There are different kinds of penetration tests that can be performed on a system, including:
  • Black Box Testing: The tester has no prior knowledge of the system and tries to identify vulnerabilities through reconnaissance and scanning.
  • White Box Testing: The tester has complete knowledge of the system and can simulate an attack from an insider.
  • Grey Box Testing: The tester has limited knowledge of the system and can simulate an attack from a trusted insider.

4. Getting Ready for the Penetration Test

Before conducting a cybersecurity penetration test, it is essential to prepare the system and the team. This includes the following steps:
  • Defining the scope of the test: The scope should be defined based on the business objectives, system architecture, and potential risks.
  • Selecting the testing team: The testing team should have the necessary skills and experience to perform the test.
  • Obtaining permission: The test should be conducted with the permission of the system owner or administrator.
  • Documenting the testing procedures: The testing procedures should be documented to ensure consistency and repeatability.

5. Putting the Cybersecurity Penetration Test into Action

The cybersecurity penetration test should follow a systematic approach to ensure that all potential vulnerabilities are identified. The following steps should be followed:
  • Reconnaissance: The tester gathers information about the system, including IP addresses, domains, and system architecture.
  • Scanning: The tester uses automated tools to scan for vulnerabilities in the system.
  • Exploitation: The tester attempts to exploit the identified vulnerabilities to gain access to the system.
  • Post-exploitation: The tester conducts additional tests to determine the extent of access gained and potential damage that could be done.

6. Analysing the Results of the Penetration Test for Cybersecurity

After the cybersecurity penetration test is completed, the results should be analysed to identify the vulnerabilities that were found. The report should include a summary of the vulnerabilities, the risk level of each vulnerability, and recommendations to mitigate the vulnerabilities. The report should also include a remediation plan with a timeline for addressing the identified vulnerabilities.

7. Fixing the Problems That Have Been Found

Once the vulnerabilities have been identified, it is important to prioritize them based on the level of risk and address them promptly. The remediation plan should include specific steps for mitigating each vulnerability, including patching, upgrading, or configuring the system. It is important to track progress and ensure that the vulnerabilities are addressed within the specified timeframe.

8. Follow-Up After the Test

After the vulnerabilities have been addressed, it is recommended to conduct a follow-up penetration test to ensure that the remediation efforts were successful. The follow-up test should focus on the vulnerabilities that were identified in the initial test and should use different techniques and tools to simulate a real-world attack.

9. The Best Ways to Test Cybersecurity Penetration

To ensure a successful cybersecurity penetration test, it is important to follow best practices, including:

  • Defining the scope of the test clearly.
  • Selecting a qualified testing team with the necessary skills and experience.
  • Obtaining permission from the system owner or administrator.
  • Documenting the testing procedures and results.
  • Communicating the results effectively to the stakeholders.
  • Prioritizing and addressing the identified vulnerabilities promptly.

10. In the End

In conclusion, a cybersecurity penetration test is an essential component of a comprehensive security program for small businesses. It can help identify vulnerabilities in the system before an attacker does and provides recommendations to improve the security posture. By following best practices and addressing the identified vulnerabilities promptly, small businesses can reduce the risk of a cyber-attack and protect their sensitive data.

11. FAQs

  1. What is a penetration test for cybersecurity? A cybersecurity penetration test is a way to find vulnerabilities in a system, network, or application by simulating a real-world attack.
  2. Why is it important for small businesses to have a test of their cybersecurity? Small businesses are often targets for cybercriminals because they may not have implemented strong security measures. A cybersecurity penetration test can identify vulnerabilities in the system before an attacker does and provides recommendations to improve the security posture.
  3. What kinds of penetration tests are there? There are three kinds of penetration testing: black box, white box, and grey box.
  4. How should a small business prepare for a cybersecurity penetration test? A small business should define the scope of the test, select a qualified testing team, obtain permission, and document the testing procedures.
  5. What are the best ways to conduct a cybersecurity penetration test? The best ways to conduct a cybersecurity penetration test include defining the scope of the test clearly, selecting a qualified testing team, obtaining permission, documenting the testing procedures and results, communicating the results effectively to the stakeholders, and addressing the identified vulnerabilities promptly.

Learn more about Nextworks and put your own cybersecurity plan into action.