Reach your IT peak: What IT issues should I be looking out for in 2019?

Senior Support Analyst

Fav thing about the office

Cheesecake Wednesdays

As a child I wanted to be a ... when I grew up

Solicitor

Guilty Pleasure(s)

Gu Puds

Favourite Holiday

2 weeks in Florida

If I had a superpower it would be...

Definitely flying

Describe yourself in three words or less

Lots of Energy

An interesting fact about me

I was once the South Ribble Chess Champion.

Likes

Exercise, Muay Thai, Singin' in the rain

Favourite Band

Its not about the artist its about the style

Karaoke Jam

Vengabus- Vengaboys

What I do at Q2Q:

I head up the IT support team.

On a daily basis I work on resolving IT issues for our clients. My skill set tends to adapt according to the current needs of our customers, from solving basic matters like fixing a printer through to more complex server infrastructure deployment. I am also often out on site visiting customers that are in need of an IT saviour.

Within the team, I work on the proposals for new and existing customers, and ensure we all work together to implement the solutions we propose.

I enjoy overseeing new projects so that, when clients evolve, we can ensure their growth, office move and/or induction of a new team member, is as seamless as possible from an IT perspective.

I also drive the rest of the team insane with my singing!

Background and Achievements

I joined the Q2Q team when they were part of the I.T. department for the Tulchan Group 14+ years ago. This was my first full-time role straight of out A-levels. I have enjoyed being part of the company and watching it grow from 3 members of staff to a blossoming 10.

I find it hard to pin point specific achievements as one of my values personally is to always exceed your own expectations. My wife would say being a great Dad to my two boys.

A great achievement for me is getting 76 miles to the gallon on the motorway and being able to finally grow stubble.

Hobbies and Interests

I aim to train in Muay Thai twice a week and religiously go to the gym every day I can.

I can juggle and have always wanted to learn knife throwing.

So, it may be a new year, but unfortunately that doesn’t mean that all 2018’s cyber-problems have disappeared in a puff of smoke. In fact, there’s lots of noise in the media regarding how 2019 is set to be an even bigger year for the ever-evolving technology landscape – with an increasing focus on cyber-security, ransomware and remote working.

With this in mind, what are the real IT issues and security trends that SME owners across the country should be keeping their eyes peeled for?

Phishing attacks

Only recently did we write about how 2019 is set to be the biggest year-to-date for employee phishing attacks, so understandably, this emerged as our number one issue.

For the vast majority of businesses, email is one of the most pivotal daily communication tools. But given that a whopping 14.5 billion spam emails are sent every day – and that most malware is delivered via email – it’s no surprise that 2018 saw more companies suffer data breaches and cyber-attacks than ever before. So, how can your business be more on-the-ball in 2019?

Knowing how to identify a fraudulent email can be tricky, especially with increasingly sophisticated measures – such as AI-powered attacks – being implemented by cyber-criminals. Fake email addresses, signatures and logos are now looking increasingly authentic, leaving more people vulnerable to clicking on potentially fatal attachments and links, or even divulging highly-sensitive personal information.

2019 is the year SMEs should take back control of their e-correspondence. As well as being vigilant when opening emails from unknown senders, the key is to prevent infected mail from ever getting into the business in the first place. That’s why anti-spam protection – coupled with a robust anti-virus solution – is crucial for achieving a clutter, and virus, free inbox.

Cryptojacking

There was a lot of noise about cryptocurrency and its role in cyber-attacks towards the end of 2018, but 2019 is – in some ways – a new and brighter dawn for this pesky virus.

In laymen’s terms, cryptojacking allows someone to secretly accesses your personal device and uses it to intercept and ‘mine’ cryptocurrencies – essentially, theft of computer resources to acquire digital money in code form. But that’s enough of the techie bit. As the act of cryptojacking is in its nascent stages, many businesses being targeted by hackers, understandably don’t know how to handle the situation.

The scary thing is that cryptojacking can happen without downloading or clicking any infected links, it is solely dependent on whether a user visits one of these malicious sites. It’s a cyber-issue that lies rather dormant, meaning that unsuspecting device users don’t really notice anything, aside from maybe a slower system.

And that’s why SMEs need to ensure that they have a dedicated team of tech-savvy experts on-hand, to proactively monitor systems at all times.

Slow internet speeds

Now, this may seem elementary, but at the end of 2018 we set up an IT survey asking SME owners from across the region what their main IT headaches were, and this came out on top.

Yes, the simple – yet extremely troublesome – issue of internet and loading speeds are still topping the list of bugbears in the business world, but it’s important to stress this shouldn’t be something that SME owners simply accept.

From a damaged or outdated router, to low Wi-Fi strength, or even server problems, this can severely hinder a team’s productivity. In fact, research has revealed that employees lose approximately 44 minutes every week due to sluggish broadband performance.

Instead of it being a recurrent issue in your office, companies need to invest in rapid and reliable connectivity. It’s pivotal that the solution you choose is the right fit for your infrastructure too. Whether it’s basic broadband needed to run simple email and web browsing, premium-grade leased lines for cloud-based SMEs, or maybe even a specialist set-up for a rural business, once you have the insight into what you really need, the rest will take care of itself. So, why not let 2019 be the year that your business waves goodbye to slow internet?

Remote working

Now, remote working may not be an IT issue in itself, but this form of workplace flexibility means that system vulnerability will be at an all-time high in 2019 – making it one factor to definitely be aware of.

At the end of 2018, it was revealed that working from home was one of the root causes of the sharp increase in data breaches, and that could be down to a plethora of factors.

Perhaps staff don’t have the required level of cyber-security knowledge to operate responsibly outside of the office? Or it may be that there are no measures in place from the organisation to ensure safer cyber-workings – such as antivirus software or Virtual Private Networks?

Either way, having a provider that offers secure cloud computing and cyber-security services will make collaborative working simpler and safer, as well as provide a more efficient back-up solution that’s protected anywhere, and anytime.

To find out exactly what help your systems need, why not contact one of our friendly team members and find out how Q2Q’s comprehensive IT audit could help transform your SME in 2019.

Reach your IT peak: What IT issues should I be looking out for in 2019?