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RANSOMWARE – Are you at risk?

The Essential Things to Know

Over the past few years, organisations around the world have seen an increased number of attacks of the new cybercrime known as Ransomware. Whilst many of us have heard the term Malware and understand that it’s a problem for many consumers and business alike, we don’t necessary understand the impact it could have on our business and lives, nor do we understand the true differences between malware and ransomware.

Outlined below are the essential things you need to know, how this threat operates and how to best protect yourself and your organisation, protection through technology, people, procedures and policies.

Included at the bottom of this page is a link to download a PDF handout, ideal to give to staff.

 

What is Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware, except instead of tracking your computer amount-lostusage, it blocks or limits access to your computer or files. In line with the name a ransom is demanded by the scammer to unlock your computer or files. In order to block or limit access to files, users are generally required to download a file. This could be a to watch a video – also known as a codec, or it could take the form of music, movies, a game or an application fix a computer problem. Files are then locked using an encryption key known only to the scammers. Once your files are locked, scammers demand a fee to unlock your files. In recent times scammers have jumped onto the Software as a Service (SaaS) model. Instead of a onetime payment, regular payments must be paid to ensure the continued access to files. Even then there is no guarantee you will get access to your computers or files again. Scammers have been known to go back on their ‘word’.

 

Anti-Ransomware

Also known as Malware Checkers or Malware Scanners are similar to Virus Checkers, except they have been specifically developed to check for known malicious files and prevent attacks by blocking files from downloading. If computers do become infected these applications can generally remove malware, but there are very few cases where they have successfully unencrypted files affected by ransomware.

 

Why you should Patch and Update Applicationslocation

Patching or updating your applications is one of many preventative measures you can take to protect your files. Applications providers like Microsoft, Adobe or Java, to name just a few, are continually looking at ways to protect your data files from attacks. The updates you receive from the providers are often patching identified security gaps in the products.

 

 Windows Policies can help

In recent times, ransomware applications have been known to delete your files locally stored backups. One course of action is to block access to Volume Shadow Copy Services (VSS) to stop deletions of backups. By blocking the ability for the computer to delete your backups, you may be left with a useable restore file.

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Disable Script Hosting

Depending on the complexity of the ransomware program, these applications have been known to download additional files in the background. By disabling windows script hosting, blocks the ransomwares ability to download additional files to execute its tirade on your system.

 

Don’t Phish

Phishing is a term used when users are taken to a fake website that looks like the real thing. In order to maintain this type of appearance, website often have the same logo and branding of legitimate sites. In fact, many phishing sites are hard to tell apart from the real site. Often the only giveaway is the URL (or Domain name) in the address bar. But normally at this point, it’s too late. By then tracking cookies may have been downloaded. Never visit a website unless you have first checked the legitimacy of the address on other documentation provided by the organisation.

 

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Filter ‘.exe’ Files

Also known as an executable file, by blocking these files in your modem/router can prevent the installation of these malicious programs. By denying the download of these files, also means emails are less likely to receive an executable file from downloading, and stops the temptation staff feel to open the files.

 

Backup

Backing up your computers and data files, especially retaining multiple copies over time is one of the most important things you can do. In the event such an attack is successful, you will have the ability to ‘roll-back’ to a time prior to the installation of the ransomware. It only takes one momentary lapse of judgement opening an email, or downloading a file and your entire computer network could be infected.



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Educate Users

Are your staff and family aware of these risks? One of the best prevention’s to ransomware attacks is to ensure other users are briefed on the same information. It is recommended that you educate other computer users to never open files attached to suspicious emails, especially ones from unknown senders. It is also important that all emails and recommended file downloads be treated as suspect until verified. Victims that have fallen to pray to these attacks may have had a program installed on their system that sends the same ransomware on to email address saved in their address book. Additionally staying current of ransomware developments, the most different and most dangerous strains and who’s most at risk, will help defend against attacks.


 

Don’t Panic

In the event of an attack, remain vigilant and isolate the infected computer to stop the spread of attack through the rest of the network. Contact your anti-ransomware provider and advise the situation. These organisations will have the most amount of knowledge to assist. They may have a solution or be working on one already. If attempts to remove the ransomware are unsuccessful, and providing regular backups have been maintained, a full clean of your computer, and re-installation of your application, and data from your backups is the only way to know conclusively that your computer has been returned to its original state.

This data is based on reports provided to the ACCC by web form and over the phone.
The data is published on a monthly basis. Our quality assurance processes may mean the data changes from time to time.
Some upper level categories include scam reports classified under ‘Other’ or reports without a lower level classification due to insufficient detail provided. Consequently, upper level data is not an aggregation of lower level scam categories.
Note: Due to a technical error, some scam reports from previous months are included in July 2016 causing an increase in reports for some categories. This error has been fixed for future months.
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8 Ways to Increase Your Businesses Profit

Increasing profit in the business can be done in a multitude of ways, and the most common answer is to look into your expenses. However, expense cutting can be a dangerous gamble for the long-term health of your business, so there are many alternatives you can address if you want to increase your profit. Here are some ideas that are quick easy to implement.

1: Find you best sales margin

Find the product you sell that has the highest margin and focus on it. By spending more time and effort on the products that have the highest return, you can maximise your profitability.

2: Review you pricing

Regularly reviewing pricing is necessary for profitability to be maintained. Business can be reluctant to increase prices. However, it is important to make sure that you are not simply covering your costs. Business must maintain a steady profit margin to stay profitable.

3: Discounting by adding value

Unless discounting increases volume of sales, offering discounts will eat away at your profit. Customer’s behaviour will also begin to change, and they will expect discounts for products and services in future dealings. There are alternatives to discounting that can be beneficial for customers. Offerings such as after-sale service, bundling procedures or offering membership are all ways that businesses add value for customers without affecting your profitability.

4: Find the best suppliers

Take the time to review your current suppliers and evaluate them compared to others that are in the market to ensure that you are getting the best value for money out of your suppliers. Also, ask for discounts when volume increases, if you can get bulk buying savings this greatly increases profitability. Regular review of waste is necessary; knowing your waste means you can effectively review your supplier necessities.

5: Flexible Staffing

Having flexible staff arrangements means you are can be fully staffed during peak periods without having the cost of a full-time employee. Making use of casual staff or sub-contractors during peak periods reduces costs of staffing.

6: Service your best customers

Often a small percentage of your customer base offers the highest amount of sales. By understanding the habits of your customers you can develop relationship management strategies that help get more sales. Collecting information about your customers buying habits can help build patterns, which can be capitalised through your marketing.

7: Tap into Networks

Industry organisations are often a source of discounted services for members. One service in particular that many offer is arrangements in place with insurers, which can often be one of the largest expenses.

  1. Upgrade technology

The greatest use of technology advances is freeing of your time. Look for options that will automate business functions, freeing you and your employees time to be more profitable. ERP systems are one of the greatest tools a business can invest in to automate processes. By centralising the businesses data, ERP systems can run processes quickly and efficiently.

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Six Ways to Improve your Business before New Year

As the year is slowing down, now is the perfect time to sort your business out. Making sure your business is in top form, before leaving for holidays ensures sure that your holidays are stress free and that your business will hit the ground running in the New Year.

Create your business plan:

Spending time creating your business plan for next year gives you the blueprint for your business, sets the direction, and establishes your performance metrics. Making sure that your business is on track for next year with a clear business path clears your mind to focus on finding opportunities to grow your business. If you are too busy to have an in-depth plan make sure, you at least write down a short and simple strategy, outlining key dates and achievements.

Set a Flexible Schedule:

With so many responsibilities, it can be difficult to schedule activities accordingly. Setting your schedule to have key dates for achievements outlined in your business plan means that scheduling becomes easier knowing when to begin and when there are deadlines for targets. The key to effective scheduling is to make sure that you are flexible. Daily issues arise all the time so always set longer than necessary times to complete tasks, ensuring you meet deadlines.

Develop and maintain workplace culture:

In a small to medium sized business, it is essential to have a positive work culture. It makes employees feel valued and makes them more productive. To develop a great culture, first you must evaluate what value you can offer your employees. Having a clear value statement about what is promoted inside the business can help greatly. Valuing things like honesty, sense of community and providing education are key areas which small businesses promote a healthy workplace culture.

Staffs are the greatest asset to any business; once you have found the right people, it is vital to look after them to have a vibrant workplace.

Create powerful customer value proposition:

Creating customer value proposition is essential; it speaks directly to the customer and makes them need you. All businesses have an underlying reason to operate, that separate them from the competition. To create a powerful value proposition firstly you need to understand what it is that your business does better than everyone else does, and to make sure that you can explain that in one sentence to customers.

It is likely that your business already has a value proposition. However, it is always good to find new ways to improve or update the current one. Do you have new employees with new skills? Or a newly refined process? All these can build into value proposition for new or existing customers.

 Widen market reach:

Marketing is an expensive activity and many small businesses struggle, particularly with the online world. Online marketing, when done right, can expand your reach and find new customers. The best way to reach an online market is to have an engaging website. Make sure that the first thing your visitors see is your value proposition with eye-catching colours and graphics. If your visitors understand what makes your business great they will contact you.

Using social media, review sites and making use of business listings are all ‘nets’ which bring potential customers to your website. The same applies to ‘pay per click’ advertising through Google AdWords. Getting customers to notice your online presence can be tough, but once you do online marketing can open huge opportunities for your business.

Manage your business

Your business has a multitude of assets and financials that must be properly managed which can be immensely difficult. Many small business struggle with being able to see their business, having to scroll through endless excel spreadsheets or asking personnel to get answers needed. Making use of an Enterprise Resource Planning system, or ERP, gives you the means to effectively manage your business. ERP systems provide clarity into your business by centralising your business processes, advanced reporting functions and real time access to information, which all provide business management with the needed information to run the business.

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Five Budget Friendly ways to reward your staff.

Job satisfaction surveys and research have consistently shown that income levels is only a moderately useful indicator of employee happiness. Other, intangible factors play a large role in how employees feel in the workplace. Staff engagement is linked to how they feel about other employees and how the business treats them.

With employee morale so important for getting employees to be engaged with the business, what can business owners do, to reward their staff without breaking the budget? Here are five ideas to reward your employees.

One: Team-Building games

Team building games are a good way to build employee relations while adding staff skills and accomplishment. However, there is difficulty in creating interesting, engaging activities, compared to those these that are just dull.

Having a well-planned and executed team building experience can be invaluable to your business. However, it can be devilishly hard to strike the right balance between events that are entertaining for all and just plain dull. The key to planning events is to ensure that the staff have fun, activities such as orienteering, scavenger hunts or competitive games work well for diversified workplaces.

Two: Food and Lunches

Having a fortnightly or even monthly-catered lunch is an effective way to bring the office together to boost morale. Ordering sandwiches or pizza is an effective way to get staff together on premise without breaking the budget.

Three: Discounts or Benefits

Offering staff discounts on ‘what you do’ can be fruitful and an incentivising reward to employees. Discount schemes work better in some industries more effectively than others, but offering discounts shows your employees that you care and helps to motivate them.

Four: Be open to Flexibility

Potential employees are becoming much more critical when choosing employers and flexible working hours is fast becoming an expectation. Of course, this works more efficiently in certain industries, but offering time off for time in lieu and work-from-home days are two of the most effective ways of having flexible working policies.

Using flexible work hours as a reward system is a good way to keep employees motivated and feeling valued in the business.

Five: Treat employees as responsible adults

The best way to reward staff can often be simply to treat them as responsible adults and to improve their working environment. Give trusted staff more variety and responsibility in their work and they will in turn work more effectively.

How else can you reward staff? One way is to pay for training courses, which allow staff to invest in their personal and professional development. In return, employees can add value to the business with new skills and renewed enthusiasm.

A much-overlooked point is that when staff are doing a great job, as a business manager you should acknowledge their performance! Too often in today’s hectic world, appraisals and performance reviews focus on what staff cannot do instead of recognising their worthy achievements.

If you are unsure what rewards would best motivate your staff, the best bet is to ask your employees. Asking gives your employees what they want most and will mean they will be better motivated for your business.

 

Employee job satisfaction is rarely linked to the income level. Studies have consistently shown that workplace variety and a strong sense of teamwork, added with rewarding performance and responsibility, leads towards optimum staff engagement. It follows then, that staff rewards need to be inclusive and varied whilst letting your staff know they are recognised and appreciated.

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Why do you need to be different?

With business competition, ever increasing it is becoming more and more important for business to differentiate themselves from their competitors. To stand out among your competition you must understand what your business does better than any competitor does and what makes your business the best. Analysing your strengths and weaknesses of your business will highlight where you sit in the market and where you stand above the competition. Here are some ways that you can look to find your niche.

Analysis of the Industry:

Studying your competition allows you to find their strengths and weaknesses. You can see the competitor’s sales and customer service processes to give you a clear understanding of the customer experience for your competitors. Understanding what your competitor’s weaknesses and strengths are gives you the advantage in the market, able to build on strengths and exceling in weaknesses will make you stand apart from the competition.

Out Shine the Competition:

Put your knowledge of your competitors to use. Create a more professional, user-friendly website and if you can try to counter bid competitors contracts. Aim to limit your competitor’s market appeal by having the best service or product to make customers recognise the quality of your company as well as its integrity.

Find your core values, and perfect them:

Always prioritise your core business values. Making sure that you perform them flawlessly means that the business will gain a reputation in the industry, having an edge over competitors. Reputation in the market is vital; it influences customer interactions with your business and the attractiveness of your goods or services. Perfecting a core set of values is a key driver in differentiation for your business, providing a strong reputation and a clear way that you stand above your competitors and sustainable competitive advantage.

Innovation:

Always be looking for ways to improve your business. Key to differentiating your business from the competition is to make sure that you are always on the cutting edge of the industry. Making sure that you and your business understand new changes means that you can offer cutting edge service to customers.

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Indivia awarded MYOB Enterprise Solutions Australian Partner of the Year

A leading ERP systems provider with offices in Sydney, Central Coast, Gold Coast and Melbourne, Indivia has been awarded MYOB Enterprise Solutions Partner of the Year for 2013.

The coveted accolade recognises a partner’s outstanding achievements and work as a consultant, educator, supporter and advisor of MYOB Enterprise Solution clients in Australia in 2013.

General Manager, Enterprise Division, Andrew Birch presented the award to Indivia owner, Mr Ashwin Bhatt, at the MYOB Enterprise Solutions Partner Awards in Sydney last night.

“Indivia provide professional software consulting and tailored solutions with a proven track record across sales, business growth, marketing and lead generation. Their ambition, strategic approach and clever implementation of systems and processes are indicative of the successful qualities they consistently demonstrate as a key partner.

“Ashwin Bhatt and the team continue to deliver impressive results as one of the most sales and marketing focused partners. They continue to experience impressive exponential growth year on year on the back of that focus.

“Indivia has done amazing work over the past year, and I’m delighted MYOB can recognise them in this way.”

Indivia Director, Ashwin Bhatt says, “These awards are about recognition for all the hard work and extra effort that the team has put in over the last couple of years, particularly in the last year. We’ve restructured and brought in some people who are on top of their game and that has made a huge difference. Ultimately, you’ve got to consider the customer’s end-game and focus on what they really want. The direction where MYOB is going forward is really exciting and there are plenty of opportunities.”

Indivia is a Total Solution Provider, dedicated to MYOB Enterprise Solutions and related value-added solutions. They have customers across New South Wales, ACT, Victoria and Queensland, and offices in Sydney, Central Coast, Gold Coast and Melbourne. They are experts in MYOB EXO, complex ERP systems, systems integration, and building tailored business solutions, providing effective management systems and solutions tailored to the specific needs of each business. Their solutions include mobile sales, paperless warehouse management systems, web applications, e-commerce, custom intranet based applications, job management, Payroll, HR, and Customer Relationship Management.

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