Looking to automate key processes? SharePoint and the Microsoft Power Platform can transform the way you digitise your business processes.

In our recent webinar, Leveraging SharePoint for intranets, digital forms and business processes automation, we spoke with Perth Aged Care and community services organisation Southcare, about their journey with SharePoint and business process automation.

Here are the four key talking points from the discussion:

1. Involve your team in the journey and identify a champion user

Adjusting to new digital workflows can be a tricky task. It requires a collaborative approach that’s underpinned by the right support and tools.

This is where champion users become vital.

Bremmar Managing Director, Brenton Harris, explains how this has helped their clients.

‘When we look at these changes that organisations want to make – there’s a lot of knowledge required to implement them. You need to understand the tools, the processes revolving around them, change management factors, communication and training. We’ve found our greatest success hasn’t come through simply engaging technical support and deploying new workflows, it requires the inclusion of some champion users in the process.’

Finding collaborative users who understand your organisational systems, are interested in improving workflows, and can communicate with others will help you build solid foundations.

As champion users, they should be involved in areas such as the following:

  • Demonstrations
  • New ideas
  • Implementing iterations
  • Training other staff
  • Progressing the solution after implementation

By slowing the process down and identifying the ideal champion user, any organisation can see a vast improvement in adoption rates. With these users working alongside a Microsoft 365 specialist from day one, it’s easier to gather more robust input upfront that aids ongoing workflow improvement and overall success.

2. Streamline your digital workflows with Microsoft 365

Automating your business processes and boosting your productivity and efficiency doesn’t need to be complex. Often, a simple workflow yields a significant uptick in organisational collaboration and satisfaction.

The Microsoft 365 apps, SharePoint, Forms and Power Automate enable you to streamline workflows with only minimal training required. Staff are able to consistently stay up-to-date with processes, evolving business goals, and governance requirements – key factors in maintaining a modern NFP or Aged Care organisation.

Brenton explains how this may assist after an employee incident.

‘Incidents that happen on-site or at head office need to be recorded as soon as possible to avoid any errors. Microsoft Forms allows the staff member to input information on the spot and using any device.  When the information is collected, Microsoft Power Automate then triggers a set workflow. Depending on the conditions set, this workflow could be a notification to a line manager, a preventive action, or a summary of the incident sent to stakeholders. SharePoint then stores all of this information in the intranet for tracking and reporting’

Here’s a deeper look at the Microsoft 365 tools.

MS Forms

A simple yet powerful way to collect information using an online form on almost any web browser or mobile device. View real-time results as they’re submitted and use built-in analytics to evaluate responses. Intuitive and accessible, forms data can be stored in SharePoint and used in workflows, allowing care staff to collect incident information and immediately begin any workflow processes.

Power Automate

Power Automate expands your automation capabilities across desktop, web, and mobile by streamlining repetitive tasks and paperless processes. By automatically triggering any required workflow, it allows you to shorten response times and eases system congestion. Regardless of who needs to be notified, Power Automate collates all your data collected via Forms to set up the exact workflows, automations and notifications you need.

SharePoint

The database underpinning the whole solution is SharePoint. Southcare uses the platform as an Intranet to provide a central information hub for all employees and as a document management system to store, organise, share, and access information – both current and historical. This flexibility offers a powerful analytical perspective that can shape future automations and workflow processes.

3. Strengthen communication using a centralised SharePoint intranet

Most NFPs and Aged Care providers have too many systems for users to get across. With a disparate collection of logins and data hubs, staying on top of core information – including policies and procedures – can be an arduous experience.

In the case of Southcare, this decentralised information combined with the need to reduce systems reliance on the head office to make processes more streamlined for front line workers became a key service delivery challenge and they teamed up with Bremmar to find the right solution.

Deploying SharePoint as a central cloud data repository, Southcare has been able to streamline its intranet into a cost effective tool that allows all staff, whether on-site or in the field, to access the systems and key information they require from any device. This SharePoint intranet is now used to:

  • Provide all staff access to a central communications hub from computers or tablets
  • Store controlled documents including policies, procedures & forms with version control functionality
  • Store training and guide documents
  • Consolidate access to HR hub and department site gateway
  • Streamline access to commonly used apps via a single sign-on
  • Post Southcare snippets celebrating their community and culture

Enda Fahy, Southcare’s Chief Finance Officer, notes that the new intranet has been a success for the business.

“We chose SharePoint as the platform to host all of our control documents and our document management system. The intranet hub was designed to be a holistic and all encompassing framework so that staff had access to all of the links, tools, documents and systems they required. Over time, we continuously improved and expanded it to become a one stop shop for content and communication” Enda explains.

4. Implement best practices for data input, collection and automation

Overcoming the inefficiencies of a multi-step process is an essential component in implementing best practices for data input, collection and automation.

But how does this look when considering front-line workers?

Southcare CFO, Enda Fahy explains, “We were using SurveyMonkey for our forms, but ran into severe limitations. We needed something that was flexible and user-friendly. That’s when we made the decision to try Microsoft Forms that we had available in our Microsoft 365 licensing.”

Here’s how Southcare used MS Forms, SharePoint and Power Automate to solve their data collection and workflow problems.

Incident reporting

Southcare currently uses Microsoft Forms to assist with a broad spectrum of employee incidents and reports. This new streamlined process allows incidents to be recorded by all staff on any device. Once a report has been logged, the safety committee is automatically notified, allowing the Line Manager to immediately complete the investigation via a link.

Contact tracing

With the unprecedented requirements of nationwide contact tracing thrust upon Aged Care providers, keeping up with all visitors and staff during the COVID pandemic became near impossible. Microsoft Forms and SharePoint solves this by providing a centralised location for tracing and response. This new process allows users to identify any declarations and follow up instantly, giving facilities a greater ability to track contact details and locations visited, while also providing central visibility to the live visitor list via the cloud.

Archive deletion and automation

Data sprawl can cause a lot of headaches for any organisation. Without an automated archive and deletion process, unwanted files or documents can prove to be a drag on your processes and resources. Using SharePoint and Power Automate, you can bring all of your metadata into one site, providing control of the archive date, retention of archived files and the ability to only view current and relevant files.

Power virtual agents

Supporting staff whenever they encounter a problem is essential for any community minded organisation. Unfortunately, easy access to help with daily problems isn’t always available. Making the most of SharePoint as a data hub, Southcare staff have access to a 24×7 chatbot that can help solve simple issues. The chatbot points the users to information on the intranet to help with common problems, while those questions that are not answered online are redirected to a human with a prompt on the next step to take, further enhancing the use of SharePoint and Teams for care workers.

Bremmar, your M365 partner

Interested in learning more about how your organisation can leverage SharePoint, Forms and Power Automate to overcome productivity loss, escalating operational costs, inefficient data collection and cumbersome processes?

Here at Bremmar, we’re experts in assisting Not-For-Profits and Aged Care providers with customised solutions using the Microsoft platform. So, if you’d like some support anywhere on your Microsoft 365 journey, we’d love to help.

Unsure about the next steps on your Microsoft 365 journey? For a limited time, Bremmar is offering our Microsoft Roadmap Workshop or Business Process Consultation at no cost for Not-For-Profit and Aged Care organisations. These consultations help to provide your organisation with:

  • Better understanding of your business systems requirements
  • Scope and consulting approach to address these requirements
  • A fully tailored demonstration and clearer vision for your future processes

How to protect your Not-for-Profit from cyber threats

By the time you’ve finished reading this article, one business will have been the victim of a cyberattack. That’s the findings from the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s (ACSC) latest report which received over 67,500 cybercrime reports in the last financial year, an increase of nearly 13 per cent from the previous financial year. That equates to one cyber attack every eight minutes.

And if you think it’s just the big players these cybercriminals are targeting, you’d be surprised to hear just how widespread this problem is. No sector of the Australian economy was immune to these attacks, and small and medium-sized businesses are just as vulnerable, sometimes more exposed due to low levels of understanding, less resourcing, or underestimation of risk. According to the Microsoft Digital Defence Report, released in 2021, NFPs are the second most targeted industry for attacks, just after Government. 

Top 3 most common cyber security threats for SMEs

  1. Ransomware involves encrypting company data so that it cannot be used or accessed, and then forcing the company to pay a ransom to unlock the data. According to ACSC, ransomware attacks have increased by nearly 15 per cent compared with the previous year.
  2. Malware is a malicious code that hackers use to access an organisations’ network, then steal or destroy data. Malware usually comes from malicious website downloads, spam emails or from connecting to other infected machines or devices.
  3. Scam emails or phishing attacks (pronounced “fishing”) are designed to trick individuals out of their money and information. These emails often look like they were sent from individuals or organisations you know or should trust.

Prevention and proactivity are key when it comes to cybersecurity

Failure to prepare for a cyberattack is costing small and medium-sized organisations big. From financial losses and downtime to reputational damage and even legal action as a result of a data breach, there are a number of ways that cybercrime can impact your organisation.

Having incident response, business continuity and disaster recovery plans in place is an important strategy to prepare for a cyber security incident. Just as important is testing these plans to ensure they’re robust enough to stand up to an attack.

5 simple ways to prevent cyber threats

Build a multi-layered approach to security

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to security. A good security strategy should be built with a multi-layered approach using different solutions. This can become challenging and complex to navigate internally, especially because products available are constantly changing.

If your business operates through the Microsoft 365 platform, you’ll already have a baseline level of security. Our recommendation is to solidify that baseline by leveraging existing software, configuring settings like MFA and conditional access, and then slowly build up your business maturity level with targeted initiatives that are not included in Microsoft 365, such as extra backups.

If you think you’re not leveraging Microsoft 365 or would like to discuss your Security Strategy, Microsoft Tech for Social impact is offering a free Security Assessment for NFPs. Register your interest here until the end of April.

Update your devices and systems

Turn on automatic updates for your operating systems and applications. If automatic updates are unavailable, regularly check for updates from vendors and install them as soon as possible.

Use Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) requires the user to provide two or more verification factors to gain access (e.g. a one-time password sent to your phone). Make sure you have MFA enabled by default on any corporate networks, devices or systems.

Train staff in good cyber security habits

Are your end-users the weakest link in your cyber defences? 41% of IT professionals report phishing attacks at least daily. You can have the best technology in place, however, if your staff are not well trained, that investment goes to waste.

Your staff and policies play a crucial role in the success or failure of your IT protection efforts. Build a workforce of trained, phishing-aware employees that provide your business with a human firewall against cyber threats. A good place to start is by doing staff security awareness training and simulations. This has been a popular service for Bremmar clients and you can find more information here. 

Back up your cloud against accidental loss or deletion of files

With more and more businesses depending on Microsoft 365 and G-Suite for business operations, the risk of potential data loss is impossible to ignore. Although Microsoft and Google store data on their servers, they don’t take responsibility for human errors such as accidental loss or deletion of files. With people working from home and increasingly relying on collaboration tools like Teams and SharePoint, protecting data in the cloud is more important than ever.

Where to go from here?

Bremmar, in collaboration with Microsoft Tech for Social Impact (TSI), is currently offering a free security assessment and roadmap for Not-for-Profits to help you quantify how Microsoft 365 can help your organisation save costs and improve digital security.

This offer uses a tool that is usually valued at $1400 dollars, and it provides a snapshot of your current security, reviews your environment for vulnerabilities, and finds gaps to address those vulnerabilities. The findings are presented in a workshop with Bremmar where, together, we’ll help you define your 3 security priority initiatives.

Nominate my organisation for the assessment now!

If you’re not ready for the assessment, please check our Security Packages for NFPs or email help@bremmar.com.au to request a copy of our Security for NFP Leadership webinar recording!

Key takeaways: Security for Not-for-Profits – A briefing for leadership

 On 23/03/22, Bremmar and Microsoft Tech for Social Impact (TSI) collaborated on a webinar about Security for Not-for-Profit leaders.

During an information-packed presentation, NFPs from around Australia received practical steps on how to increase the security of their organisation by leveraging existing Microsoft 365 licensing.

Brenton Harris, Bremmar’s Managing Director and key presenter, ran attendees through the Essential 8 mitigation strategies recommended by the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) and explained key Microsoft 365 Business Premium products that cater for the baseline security recommended by the ACSC.

The content was easy to follow and non-technical, leaving attendees with lots to consider when implementing or improving their organisation’s security efforts. Here are the key takeaways of the event.

  1. Clarity on the security situation that NFPs are faced with at the moment.
  2. Tangible steps you can take to protect your organisation in line with Government Essential 8 framework
  3. How to leverage Microsoft 365 (and discounted NFP licensing) to deliver on the essential 8 framework
  4. Learn about a zero cost Security Assessment / Roadmap from Bremmar in collaboration with Microsoft TSI

The threat landscape for not-for-profits

The impact of security breaches for NFPs can be extremely severe as many non-profits collect and store data of vulnerable customers which are protected by law as confidential. When there is a data breach, that poses a risk for the individuals whose data was disclosed and for the nonprofit that will now potentially be subject to liability for the breach. 

Key data breach impacts to NFPs:

  • Reputation and trust
  • Resources spent on crisis management
  • Information breach
  • Information loss
  • Business interruption
  • Costs to recover
  • Legal costs
  • Fines and penalties (if applied)

Main NFP security statistics

The Digital Technology in the Not-for-Profit Sector report, released in November 2021 by InfoExchange, which interviewed of 650 NFPs in AU / NZ highlights:

  • 50% of NFPs haven’t MFA implemented
  • 50% of NFPs don’t have effective organisational info security plans

At the same time, the Microsoft Digital Defence Report, released in 2021, also states:

  • 70% no vulnerability assessment to understand risk exposure
  • NFPs are the second most cyber targeted industry
  • NFPs are a prime target, with access to sensitive data

Considering the importance of security for NFPs, the numbers above are alarming.

What are the highest security priorities for your organisation?

 Attendees were asked the question and shared their experiences:

The Essential 8 mitigation strategies recommended by the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC)


What do they mean?

  • App Control: Restricting what apps can be opened by users.
  • Patching Apps: Making sure apps are up to date and any known security holes are patched.
  • Macros: Limiting impact that could be caused by a malicious macro.
  • App Hardening: Selecting the optimal web browser for your organisation and ensuring only secure versions of apps can be run (i.e., PDF readers and email clients). 
  • Patch OS: Having a supported OS with the latest updates.
  • MFA: Don’t be only reliant on passwords. Add an extra step of identification when logging in – particularly when using a different device/location.
  • Restrict Admin Privileges: Avoid providing more access to users than needed.
  • Daily Backups: If all else fails, make sure you can at least get critical data and operating settings back.

Download the essential 8 action checklist now!

How can Microsoft 365 help with the Essential 8 baseline security?

Microsoft 365 has become a strong, comprehensive, and viable security option for NFPs, especially since Microsoft Defender for Endpoint and Microsoft Defender for O365 were added to the stack at no extra cost.

Not-for-profits can now cover all their basic security requirements through an integrated platform that is constantly updated and delivers centralised reporting.

Microsoft 365 provides a single pane of glass for security, and it is a cost-effective solution for NFPs as it makes some third-party tools, such as antivirus, redundant.

Where to go from here?

Bremmar, in collaboration with Microsoft TSI, is currently offering a free security assessment and roadmap for Not-for-Profits to help you quantify how Microsoft 365 can help your organisation save costs and improve digital security.

This offer uses a tool that is usually valued at $1400 dollars, and it provides a snapshot of your current security, reviews your environment for vulnerabilities, and finds gaps to address those vulnerabilities. The findings are presented in a workshop with Bremmar where, together, we’ll help you define your 3 security priority initiatives.

Nominate my organisation for the assessment now!

 

If you’re not ready for the assessment, please check our Security Packages for NFPs or email help@bremmar.com.au to request your copy of this event’s recording!

How we helped the Y WA (formerly YMCA WA) continue their great work throughout COVID-19.

the Y WA is a not-for-profit organisation involved in youth services, childcare, wellness and community services. the Y WA has over 600 staff members around the State. The organisation provides opportunities for children and young people to help them grow in body, mind and spirit.

Business Challenge

the Y WA previously conducted video meetings via Skype For Business, which was sufficient for small meetings, but was outdated, not suitable for large groups, and no longer supported with upgrades. Critically, the Skype platform had limitations for sharing documents in a live meeting, and follow-up emails were often required to attach relevant documents from local servers.

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing staff to work from home, the organisation needed a robust solution to allow everyone to collaborate and continue their important work.

The solution

The Bremmar team had been working with the Y WA for around 3 years, and understood how the organisation worked.

The solution was to unleash the power of the software the organisation already owned. Microsoft Teams is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, so it meant this not-for-profit organisation didn’t need to invest in expensive video conferencing systems.

Teams allows video meetings over any device (mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop computers) for groups from 2 people to 10,000. Importantly, it lets everyone in the meeting access, share, and edit Word docs, PowerPoint, and Excel files in real time. This makes meetings very productive.

The Teams solution meant that the organisation could leverage the Microsoft Cloud they already had. The Microsoft Cloud allows staff in remote areas and all over the State to easily access the documents they needed from one central location.

Teams was initially set up for the Senior Leadership Team to facilitate monthly meetings and track monthly objectives.

Bremmar set up the Microsoft Teams group and added tabs to make it easy to integrate other useful programs including Planner and OneNote. Bremmar also provided training for the initial group, to get them started.

The results

the Y WA found Teams invaluable for conducting crisis meetings and working from home during the pandemic. The ability for multiple people to edit the same document in real-time meant that the organisation could work rapidly to solve issues.

the Y WA Finance Manager, Frances Steen, reported there was some initial nervousness about change, but once managers started using Teams, there was no going back. “People started enjoying meetings, and the ability to change background images made it all a bit more fun during challenging times.”

As the entire organisation changes over to MS Teams, the Y WA will take more advantage of the collaboration tools and will reduce the expense and inconvenience of travel around the State for face-to-face meetings.

How can we help you?

Bremmar are experts in remote working initiatives and digital collaboration processes. As accredited Microsoft Gold Productivity Partners, we can help you and your team leverage the power of the Microsoft 365 Stack to work smarter.

We manage IT services for a number of NFP, Aged Care, Engineering, Mining and Construction organisations and understand the unique needs of these sectors. Why not set up an initial meeting to learn more? Call us on 1300 991 351 or email help@bremmar.com.au

To find out more about the Y WA, visit https://www.ymcawa.org.au/

Book a Microsoft 365 Productivity consultation with Bremmar! ???

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3 characteristics that define the modern workplace – Infographic

Today’s diverse and intergenerational workforce is most productive when it has adequate channels to collaborate in a seamless and effective way. There’s a catch, however: teams are far more diverse and remote than ever before, and each organisation requires its own distinct approach to digital collaboration. In other words, your workplace tools and applications must be customised based on your teams’ diversity, location, and work methods.

With this infographic, you’ll learn about the three main characteristics that define our modern workplace and gain insight into what drives productivity and efficiency in today’s organisations. After reading it, you’ll have a better understanding of current trends and can keep these in mind when creating or modifying your organisation’s work environment.

3 characteristics that define the modern workplace infographic

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We’re here to help!

We’re here to help your business thrive in 2020. We’re experts in remote working initiatives and digital collaboration processes.

We can help you and your team enable critical applications in the cloud which is critical to get you ready for remote working. If you need any assistance with IT to enhance your business continuity planning, do not hesitate to contact us on 1300 991 351 or email help@bremmar.com.au

Get a Free Microsoft 365 Productivity consultation with Bremmar! 👇👇👇

Remote working productivity technology

The 4 defining characteristics of effective digital workspaces

Not so long ago, it was believed that for teams to be productive, they required long hours confined in a physical office space with constant face-to-face interaction. To be fair, given the primitive state of digital collaboration tools at the time—which was pretty much limited to emails—there wasn’t really a solid alternative to this scheme, so companies worked with what they had.

Today, digitalization has made it possible for several people to seamlessly work together while being halfway across the world from each other. Exponential advancements in virtual workspaces have not only enabled teams to work as well as they did when they spent all day in the office, but have also proven that people are actually more productive the less they have to deal with alienating cubicles and two-way trips along traffic-congested highways.

Not all digital workspaces have been equally effective, however. Yet decades of iterating and optimizing have finally given us a solid idea of the most important characteristics these spaces must have to reach their full potential.

So what are they? Read this infographic to find out.

The 4 defining characteristics of effective digital workspaces

(Click to expand)

We’re here to help!

We’re here to help your business thrive in 2020. We’re experts in remote working initiatives and digital collaboration processes.

We can help you and your team enable critical applications in the cloud which is critical to get you ready for remote working. If you need any assistance with IT to enhance your business continuity planning, do not hesitate to contact us on 1300 991 351 or email help@bremmar.com.au

Get a Free Microsoft 365 Productivity consultation with Bremmar! ???

Remote working productivity technology

Empower your entire organisation with Microsoft Teams – Infographic

You’ve just arrived at the office, booted up your computer or laptop, and filled your first cup of coffee. You sit back down, take a sip, and what do you see? Chances are it’s a login screen. Hastily, you type in your username and password and get on with a productive day.

At least that was the idea, until you remember you forgot to send Karen from HR your vacation request form. You try to reach her by email but to no avail, so you boot up the informal messenger that everyone in the office uses because the legacy messenger set up years ago crashes when you send so much as an emoji. But of course, you once again need to type in your login info, only to see that Janice is not online. So ultimately you end up making two trips to HR (on the first trip, you forgot to staple your vacation balance because the document is stored in a separate internal SharePoint) to finally get your vacation approved.

Ready to throw your computer out a window yet? We don’t blame you. This scenario may seem comical, but it’s a reality that thousands of employees must endure thanks to the lack of a single, unified digital workspace. Preferably one that can be implemented across your entire organisation and serve as a hub for all documents and teams to collaborate, within and across projects.

After reading this infographic, you’ll learn how each department within your business can utilise Microsoft Teams to become more efficient, store documents securely, and collaborate seamlessly with any peer or colleague.

INFOGRAPHIC

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We’re here to help!

We’re here to help your business thrive in 2020. We’re experts in remote working initiatives and digital collaboration processes.

We can help you and your team enable critical applications in the cloud which is critical to get you ready for remote working. If you need any assistance with IT to enhance your business continuity planning, do not hesitate to contact us on 1300 991 351 or email help@bremmar.com.au

Get a Free Microsoft 365 Productivity consultation with Bremmar! 👇👇👇

Remote working productivity technology

Bremmar Security Alert: Zoom Security Flaw!

 

The increased popularity of the video conferencing tool called Zoom has put the software in the media spotlight.

We would like to communicate that security experts have raised a warning about a security flaw in the system that can pose a risk to your business and personal information. Keys issues are:

1- Your system security can be compromised by malicious links that are shared in Zoom meetings. This means that if you are in a video meeting and someone shares a malicious link in the chat, that link when clicked can possibly give attackers unauthorised access to your system.

2- Open public meetings with no password or participant control. This means that anyone that finds your meeting can join the meeting and share/post any content they would like, including the malicious links mentioned above. 

WHAT TO DO?

Bremmar recommends that companies evaluate their ongoing usage of Zoom until this flaw has been resolved. However, if you continue to use Zoom, please ensure that all your staff considers these measures:

1- If you are part of a meeting, don’t click on links that you don’t know or understand, especially if you don’t know the person who has sent it.

2- If participating in an open meeting that doesn’t require a password or asks the “owner” of the meeting to approve your participation, don’t click any links! You don’t know everyone that is part of the meeting so be extra vigilant.

3- Never create open public meetings. Always create meetings that require a password or that you have to approve for the participants to join in.

EDUCATE YOUR STAFF

Bremmar kindly asks you to educate all of your staff on this issue. Security systems are in place, however, the main tool against this specific issue is employee education and awareness.

For more details, please read the below:

https://www.tomsguide.com/news/zoom-security-privacy-woes

https://www.itnews.com.au/news/windows-flaw-lets-zoom-leak-network-credentials-runs-code-remotely-545883

At Bremmar, we use and recommend Microsoft Teams as a teamwork hub and video conferencing tool. If you would like to explore this option, please contact your ISM or help@bremmar.com.au.

If you believe you have clicked a malicious link, please contact your Bremmar support team for further assistance asap!

Phone: 1300 667 167
Email: support@bremmar.com.au

We’re here to help!

We’re here to help your business thrive in 2020. Bremmar is a Microsoft Gold Cloud Productivity partner with more than 10 years’ experience in a range of Microsoft solutions. We’re experts in remote working initiatives and digital collaboration processes. We can help you and your team enable critical applications in the cloud which is critical to get you ready for remote working.

If you need any assistance with IT to enhance your business continuity planning, do not hesitate to contact us on 1300 991 351 or fill in the form below.

Remote working productivity technology

Get an initial consultation with Bremmar!

High Priority Alert from Stay Smart Online – New phishing scams and phishing emails relating to covid-19 to be aware of.

Today, Stay Smart Online, a community of more than 80,000 individuals and organisations committed to sharing online safety information, and part of the Australian Cyber Security Centre, shared a high priority alert about new scams and phishing emails being sent to Australians around covid-19.

The number of scams has increased significantly from January until now, and we recommend that you keep an eye out and inform your staff. During these times of uncertainty, people may be more vulnerable to these attacks so it’s very important to stay extra vigilant.

Below is the alert published by Stay Smart Online:

What’s happened?

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) is aware of a significant increase in Australians being targeted with COVID-19 related scams and phishing emails. In the last three months, the ACSC and the Australian Competition and the Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch have received over 140 reports from individuals and businesses across Australia. These phishing emails are often sophisticated, preying on people’s desire for information and imitating trusted and well-known organisations or government agencies. Clicking on these malicious links or visiting fake websites may automatically install computer viruses or malware and ransomware onto your device, giving cyber criminals the ability to steal your financial and personal information. These scams are likely to increase over the coming weeks and months and the ACSC strongly encourages organisations and individuals to remain alert. Here are some examples of what to look out for now:

Example 1: SMS phishing scam messages offering where to get tested for COVID-19 or how to protect yourself

In these examples, the SMS appears to come from ‘GOV’ or ‘GMAIL’, with a malicious link to find out where to get tested in your local area. Scamwatch and the ACSC is also aware of a SMS scam using the sender identification of ‘myGov.’ These scam messages are appearing in the same conversation threads as previous official SMS messages you may have received from myGov.

Example 2: COVID-19 phishing email impersonating Australia Post to steal personal information

Under the pretence of providing advice about travelling to countries with confirmed cases of COVID-19, this phishing email aims to trick you into visiting a website that will steal your personal and financial information. Once they have your personal information, the scammers can open bank accounts or credit cards in your name, often using these stolen funds to purchase luxury items or transfer the money into untraceable crypto-currencies such as bitcoin.

Example 3: Phishing emails pretending to be an international health sector organisation

This is an example of one COVID-19 themed phishing email where the sender is pretending to be a well-known international health organisation. The email prompts you to click on the web link to access information about new cases of the virus in your local area, or to open an attachment for advice on safety measures to prevent the spread.

Example 4: Phishing emails containing malicious attachments

In this example, the phishing email is pretending to be from the World Health Organization and prompts you to open an attachment for advice on safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. When opened, the attached file contains malicious software that automatically downloads onto your device, providing the scammer with ongoing access to your device.

Example 5: COVID-19 relief payment scam

Scammers are also sending phishing emails targeting an increasing number of Australians that are seeking to work from home, wanting to help with relief efforts or requiring financial assistance if they find themselves out of work. In this example, the email offers recipients $2,500 in ‘COVID-19 assistance’ payments if they complete an attached application form. Opening the attachment may download malicious software onto your device.

How do I stay safe?

The ACSC has produced a detailed report, including practical cyber security advice that organisations and individuals can follow to reduce the risk of harm. You can read the report and protect yourself by following these simple steps:

  • Read the message carefully, and look for anything that isn’t quite right, such as tracking numbers, names, attachment names, sender, message subject and hyperlinks.
  • If unsure, call the organisation on their official number, as it appears on their website and double-check the details or confirm that the request is legitimate. Do not contact the phone number or email address contained in the message, as this most likely belongs to the scammer.
  • Use sources such as the organisation’s mobile phone app, web site or social media page to verify the message. Often large organisations, like Australia Post, will have scam alert pages on their websites, with details of current known scams using their branding, to watch out for.

If you’ve received one of these messages and you’ve clicked on the link, or you’re concerned your personal details have been compromised, contact your financial institution immediately.

More information

  • If you’ve suffered financial loss from cybercrime, report it to ReportCyber at cyber.gov.au/report
  • Visit cyber.gov.au for advice to help businesses stay secure from cyber threats while managing a remote workforce.
  • To stay up-to-date on the latest online threats and how to respond, sign up to the Stay Smart Online Alert Service
  • More advice and support is available on our Get Help page.
  • For information on the COVID-19 pandemic, visit health.gov.au  

Originally sourced from: https://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/alert-service/widespread-reports-covid-19-malicious-scams-being-sent-australians

How we can help?

As technology evolves, software and security vendors keep developing and strengthening their systems. But it’s not all about technology these days. Security has shifted from a purely technical to also a behavioral concern. We’re talking about your staff and policies, which play a crucial role in the success or failure of your IT protection efforts.

Attackers are using smarter methods of targeting your business, focusing on the human factor as a key point of vulnerability. There’s no point investing in the best possible technology if the first point of access, your people, are not ready to also protect your business information. Staff education is key.

If your staff is working from home, setting up secure remote working takes time, there are a few questions your business should be asking:

  • Are personal devices used meeting performance specifications and security standards?
  • How are you keeping control over staff and devices once they are outside your network?
  • What are the minimum security requirements staff should have in their personal devices not to jeopardise your business?
Some of the security essentials you need:
  • Multi-factor authentication – MFA
  • Hard drive encryption
  • Mobile device management and remote wipe capability
  • Antivirus

Let us know if you are working remotely and we can help by performing a security assessment of your Microsoft 365, including your business secure score analysis or can review your business security posture to ensure you have the right measures in place to protect your organisation and staff.

We’re committed to helping businesses to work smarter and securely so if we can help, we will. Contact us on 1300 991 351 or fill in the form below and one of our consultants will get back in touch with you.

Remote working productivity technology

Get an initial consultation with Bremmar!

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Ready or not: Tech & business readiness kit for COVID-19

By failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail — Benjamin Franklin.

Have you thought about how your business would cope with COVID-19? We have. Remote-working plan and IT systems are vital if you want to survive and thrive in these uncertain times. In this article, we’ll break down the IT challenges your business might face and how to prepare for them. If you have the correct IT systems in place, you can continue with business as usual — even if your staff are stuck at home.

Download your free copy of our business readiness kit and know how to effectively check if your systems, processes, and people are ready for the impacts of COVID19.

We explore the key things you need to consider relating to:

  • The tools you use and how to check whether your staff can operate equally effectively at or away from the office
  • The skills your team have to be able to work remotely
  • Crucial questions to ask to keep your business running

DOWNLOAD NOW! (no email required)

Bremmar is a Microsoft Gold Cloud Productivity partner with more than 10 years’ experience in a range of Microsoft solutions. We help our clients work smarter by making sure everyone is empowered with useful, intuitive technology solutions.

Anything we can do to help your business thrive throughout 2020 and drive remote working initiatives is a priority. Bremmar is able to help with your digital collaboration efforts as well as assist your business to enable critical applications in the cloud, getting you ready for remote working.

If you need any assistance with IT to enhance your own business continuity planning, do not hesitate to contact us on 1300 991 351 now or fill in the form below

Get an initial consultation with Bremmar!

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