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Know Your Cybersecurity Regulations

If you’ve been playing any sport, you know that different games have different rules and regulations. The same goes for work, school, and even family life. Breaking rules leads to penalties which at times can be devastating for you. Business is no different. If you store any information about clients, customers, and staff, you have rules and regulations you must follow and comply with to stay safe and avoid potentially very serious consequences. Here we look at some of the most important cybersecurity related regulations.


Payment card industry data security standards are put in place to protect any payment card user data to keep you and your clients safe. The founding members include American Express, Discover, JCB International, MasterCard, and Visa. Essentially, they created this standard so that banks, retail stores, online vendors, and software developers would be required to uphold the privacy of the cardholders’ information. 


HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Created in 1996, HIPAA sets regulations that secure certain health information. With the rise of technology and convenience, health industries also adopted the utilisation of online record holding. However, with so much personal information on health records, new security needs to be developed. These confidentiality rules apply to hospitals, pharmacies, medical insurance companies, health clinics, and more. Thanks to the assistance of cybersecurity companies, the above-mentioned entities can focus on their medical work and leave everything else to the experts.

General Data Protection Regulation

I’m sure you’re familiar with the GDPR aka General Data Protection Regulation. This regulation was set up to protect people’s sensitive information in general, limiting what data companies can gather and how they use it. Breaching GDPR can lead to legal consequences and potential hefty fines. To mitigate the risk of breaching the GDPR, many companies turn to cybersecurity service providers for assistance.

Need assistance with cybersecurity compliance?

These are the three most common regulations businesses of all sizes must comply with daily. If you have any questions about regulations, we at help4IT are happy to answer your questions. Feel free to contact us today.

Avoiding Pitfalls- Common Mistakes Charities Make With IT

Charities are dedicated to making a positive impact on society. To achieve their goals, they often rely on Information Technology to manage their operations, reach donors, and deliver services. However, just like any other sector, charities can make IT-related mistakes that hinder their ability to fulfil their missions effectively. Here we explore some common errors that charities make with IT and show you how they can be avoided.

Neglecting cybersecurity

One of the most significant mistakes charities make is neglecting cybersecurity. Charities often collect sensitive information, such as donor details and beneficiary data. Failing to implement robust security measures can put this data at risk. Charities therefore need to invest in firewalls, antivirus software, and staff training to mitigate the risk of data breaches. Regular security audits are also essential to identify vulnerabilities. According to Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport report, 24% of charities fell victim to cyber-attacks in the past year. A staggering 19 of them reported being targeted once a month by hackers.

Ignoring data backups

Data loss can be catastrophic for charities. Whether it’s donor databases, financial records, or important documents, losing this information can disrupt operations and damage a charity’s reputation. Some charities neglect to set up proper data backup and recovery systems. It’s essential to regularly back up data and test the restoration process to ensure it works when needed. One efficient way to mitigate the risk of losing data is to store it both in the cloud as well as offline.

Underestimating IT budgeting

Charities often operate on tight budgets, which can lead to underinvestment in IT. This mistake can result in outdated technology, unreliable systems, and increased operational costs in the long run. Charities should create a realistic IT budget that accounts for hardware, software, and ongoing maintenance. Investing in IT can reduce operational costs by increasing efficiency. By performing proper audits regularly and consulting an IT support service provider who specialises in assisting charities and other non-profit organisations, you can optimise your IT budget without sacrificing quality and operational efficiency.

Failure to plan for scalability

Charities grow and evolve, but many fail to plan for IT scalability. This can result in systems that do not accommodate the organisation’s changing needs. It’s vital for charities to ensure their systems are scalable, making it easier to add users, devices, and services as the organisation expands. Inefficient systems slow down operations causing headaches for staff and customers.

Not embracing cloud solutions

Some charities resist moving to the cloud because of concerns about data security and cost. However, the cloud can provide cost-effective, scalable, and secure IT solutions. It allows remote access to data and applications, making it easier for remote or distributed teams to collaborate. Charities should consider the advantages of cloud solutions for their specific needs. However, it’s advisable for you to turn to an IT provider who specialises in charities to find the best cloud solution for your charity’s needs as there are multiple options with different features to choose from.

Poor vendor management

Charities often rely on external vendors for IT services. While this can be a cost-effective strategy, poor vendor management can lead to operational problems. Charities should ensure vendors meet their service level agreements (SLAs) and provide adequate support. A lack of vendor oversight can result in unexpected downtime and operational disruptions that affect not only the charity but also customers.

Insufficient IT training

Charity staff don’t have to be IT experts, but basic IT training is essential. Many IT issues arise from user errors. Charities should invest in training programs to ensure that employees can use technology effectively and securely. This training can reduce the risk of data breaches and system failures. Regular training improves satisfaction among the staff and mitigates risks that can have devastating consequences for charity, its customers and donors.

Lack of a comprehensive IT strategy

A strategic approach to IT is vital for charities. Some charities lack a cohesive IT strategy, leading to disjointed systems and inefficiencies. A well-defined IT strategy should align with the charity’s mission and include plans for security, data management, and technology adoption.

Require assistance with IT management for your charity?

Effective IT management is crucial for charities, just as it is for any other organisation. Avoiding common IT mistakes can help charities operate more efficiently, protect sensitive data, and better achieve their mission. By addressing these mistakes and investing in IT as a strategic asset, charities can make a more significant impact on the communities and causes they serve. If you’d like to learn more about improving your charity’s IT and security, the help4IT team are happy to assist you and answer any question you may have. Contact us today for assistance.

How IT Can Help You Retain Talent in the Hybrid Working Era

In this era of hybrid and remote work, talent retention has become a hot topic and an issue for many businesses. Communication, collaboration, and security are vital when you want to keep your employees happy and productive. Here we explore ideas for leveraging tech in employee retention.


It’s vital to ensure that your IT infrastructure supports hybrid and remote work. Provide your staff with laptops, secure VPN connection, and quality collaboration and communication tools to ensure seamless and effective collaboration across the organisation. Ensure your staff has robust and reliable internet connection available to minimise disruptions.

Collaboration tools

To ensure the productivity of your team, you need to implement and optimise the collaboration tools such as video conferencing (Microsoft Teams, Zoom), messaging platforms, and project management software to facilitate teamwork and communication among your remote and in-house team members. You need to provide proper training and support on these tools so your team can leverage them properly and maximise their productivity.

Cyber security

Have proper cybersecurity measures and tools in place to keep sensitive company data and remote work setups secure. Multi-factor authentication, regular software updates, and staff training on cyber security are integral parts of a secure hybrid and remote working environment. You also must implement secure remote access protocols to protect company networks from threats.

Cloud-based solutions

Use cloud-based solutions for data storage and application access so your remote team can access files and applications anywhere. Implement cloud-based backup and data recovery solutions to safeguard your critical data.

Remote support and IT helpdesk

Establish a responsive IT helpdesk to assist your remote team with potential technical issues promptly. Remote troubleshooting and support should be available when you provide hybrid or remote working opportunities to your staff. Provide self-service IT support resources that your team can use to solve common technical issues they face independently.

Remote onboarding and training

Develop remote onboarding processes that effectively integrate new hires into the company culture and help them become productive while working remotely. Offer your remote team ongoing virtual training and upskilling opportunities to help them stay engaged and advance in their careers. This helps you stand out and turn your team into loyal employees.

Performance monitoring and analytics

Implement tools for monitoring employee performance and productivity, focusing on outcomes rather than micromanagement. Use data analytics to gain insights into remote work trends and identify areas where there’s a need for improvement.

Employee well-being and engagement

Use technology to foster a sense of belonging and engagement among remote teams. This can include virtual team-building activities, social chats, and online forums. Encourage regular check-ins and one-on-one meetings between managers and remote employees to address concerns and maintain a sense of connection.

Flexible work solutions

Implement flexible work solutions that allow employees to choose when and where they work, within reasonable constraints. This can help improve work-life balance and job satisfaction.

Feedback loops

Collect feedback from your employees on their remote work experiences and use this input to make continuous improvements to remote work policies and IT infrastructure.

Need assistance optimising your IT setup for remote and hybrid workers?

By investing in these IT strategies, organisations can create an environment where remote and hybrid work arrangements are not only feasible but also conducive to employee productivity, satisfaction, and retention. A well-supported and empowered remote workforce is more likely to remain loyal to the company. If you’d like to learn how we at help4IT can assist you and your remote team, don’t hesitate to contact us for further information.

Common IT Mistakes Made by Small Businesses  

When starting a new business or attempting to grow a small business into a larger one, there are many things to think about and the attention of the team is often pulled in multiple directions. Building your product or service offering obviously takes highest priority, as well as marketing it to the right people and managing new clients or customers. For smaller businesses, it can be easy to overlook areas that are essential to your growth and prosperity – IT being one of the most important yet frequently sidelined areas in start-ups and small companies.

If you’re a small business owner or manager, and you’re concerned about the setup of your IT systems, here are some of the most common mistakes made and how to avoid them.

Using obsolete hardware and software

Obsolete hardware and software can jeopardise a small business by making it vulnerable to security breaches, as outdated systems often lack the latest security patches. They can also hamper productivity due to compatibility issues, reduced performance, and frequent crashes. Additionally, the longer a business relies on outdated technology, the more expensive and complex the eventual upgrade becomes. Furthermore, the lack of support for older systems means that when issues arise, resolution can be time-consuming, leading to extended downtimes. In essence, relying on obsolete technology poses significant operational, financial, and security risks for small businesses.

Not having any cybersecurity measures in place

Smaller businesses often lack cybersecurity measures due to limited resources and the perception that they aren’t primary targets for cyberattacks. Many believe that cybercriminals only target large corporations, underestimating their own vulnerability. Additionally, small businesses might prioritise immediate operational costs over long-term security investments. The absence of in-house IT expertise can also contribute to a lack of awareness about the evolving threat landscape and the necessary protective measures. This combination of factors makes them more susceptible to cyber threats, even though implementing basic security measures could mitigate many potential risks.

Failing to adhere to data and security compliance regulations

By not having any cybersecurity measures in place, small businesses inevitably fail to meet compliance standards. Smaller companies that are non-compliant with data and security regulations face significant risks including hefty financial penalties and legal actions. Such non-compliance can lead to data breaches, jeopardising sensitive information and eroding customer trust. The subsequent damage to a company’s reputation can result in loss of clients and business opportunities. Additionally, non-compliance can hinder partnerships or dealings with larger entities that demand regulatory adherence. Over time, the costs associated with addressing breaches, legal repercussions, and reputational repair can dwarf the initial investment needed for compliance, potentially threatening the company’s viability and long-term survival.

Lack of regular maintenance

Another area that can sometimes land smaller businesses in trouble in terms of both compliance and staff well-being is the maintenance of IT systems. Regular IT maintenance is crucial for both small and large businesses to ensure operational efficiency, security, and data integrity. Regardless of size, businesses depend on their IT infrastructure for daily operations. Maintenance tasks like updates, backups, and security checks help in identifying and addressing potential issues before they escalate into significant problems. These preventative measures also ensure that the systems are running optimally, protecting against data loss, cyber threats, and ensuring compliance with various regulatory requirements. Moreover, a well-maintained IT environment can adapt more easily to evolving business needs, thus supporting growth and sustainability.

A DIY approach to IT

Small companies with poorly maintained IT systems are often in such a place because they have taken a DIY approach to its management. For example, it’s common to see smaller companies elect the person with the strongest IT skills to manage the setup of laptops and devices, despite not having any specialist training in IT.  Ultimately, attempting to address IT issues without adequate knowledge will result in longer downtimes, disrupting operations, and diverting attention from core business activities. DIY IT may be ok for companies with just 2 or 3 members of staff, but for growing businesses a DIY approach will lead to higher long-term expenses, reduced productivity, and potential reputational damage from avoidable missteps.

Lack of investment in training

Investing in IT training for employees is vital for small businesses to enhance productivity, reduce operational errors, and safeguard against security threats. Trained employees can make better use of technological tools, improving efficiency and the quality of their work. Moreover, many security breaches occur due to human error or lack of awareness. By ensuring employees are knowledgeable about best practices, risks like phishing attacks or inadvertent data leaks can be minimised. In essence, IT training empowers employees to contribute positively to the business’s technological ecosystem, promoting a secure and efficient work environment.

What are the key steps to improving the IT setup for a small business?

In summary, then, here are some of the most important steps smaller companies need to take to ensure they avoid costly IT mistakes that will likely disrupt operations and the reputation of the business.

  1. Implement Regular Backups – Ensure data is backed up both locally and off-site, allowing for quick recovery in case of data loss or cyberattacks.
  2. Prioritise Cybersecurity – Adopt a multi-layered security approach with updated antivirus, firewalls, and secure password policies. Regularly educate employees on security best practices.
  3. Upgrade to Modern Hardware and Software – Use current and supported systems to benefit from the latest performance enhancements and security patches.
  4. Migrate to the Cloud – Utilise cloud services for scalability, remote access, and efficient collaboration. This also offloads some IT maintenance to cloud providers.
  5. Engage External IT Expertise – Consider hiring or consulting with IT professionals to periodically review and optimise the IT setup, ensuring best practices and identifying areas for improvement.

At help4IT, we have many years of experience in the SME sector, helping small to medium-sized businesses streamline their technology requirements and improve their scalability. Visit our small business IT support page for further details, or contact our team to discuss an audit of your IT setup. 

Why Microsoft 365 is the Ideal Cloud IT Solution for Most SMEs

The team at help4IT is often approached by small business owners looking for advice on migrating to the cloud. For the majority of SMEs that we work with, Microsoft 365 is often the perfect answer to many of the IT challenges that they face. Here we answer some of the most commonly asked questions about Microsoft 365, and why it is ideal for many small to medium-sized businesses.

What is Microsoft 365?  

Microsoft 365, formerly known as Office 365, is a subscription-based service offered by Microsoft that combines a suite of productivity applications and cloud services. It includes popular applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams. Along with the traditional Office software, users get additional features like OneDrive storage, advanced security measures, and regular updates. Microsoft 365 is designed to be accessed online, enabling users to work collaboratively in real time from various devices and locations. Catering to both individual users and businesses, it offers multiple plans to fit varied needs, ensuring seamless integration, collaboration, and enhanced productivity.

Why is Microsoft 365 a great cloud IT solution for SMEs?

Microsoft 365 is a potent cloud solution for businesses because it integrates a range of productivity tools, ensuring seamless collaboration and communication. The platform is built on robust security features, safeguarding sensitive business data from potential threats. OneDrive offers generous cloud storage, facilitating easy sharing and backup of files. Moreover, Microsoft’s consistent updates ensure businesses always have the latest features and security patches. All these factors combined make Microsoft 365 an all-encompassing solution that promotes efficiency, collaboration, and security in a business environment.

How easy is it for a small business to migrate to Microsoft 365?

Migrating to Microsoft 365 is relatively straightforward. Microsoft has designed the setup and migration process with user-friendliness in mind. With the availability of comprehensive guides and support from Microsoft, even businesses with limited IT expertise can undertake the migration, however, it’s advisable to consult with IT experts to ensure that your configuration achieves what you need it to do. Key aspects of the migration will involve setting up user accounts, migrating existing email and files, and configuring settings. For those with existing Microsoft products or email systems, there are tools and services to assist with data transfer. While some initial training might be beneficial for staff to utilise all features optimally, the intuitive interface of Microsoft 365 apps makes the transition smoother for most users.

How easy is it to maintain Microsoft 365 and what sort of maintenance tasks are needed?

Maintaining Microsoft 365 is relatively hassle-free, as most of the heavy lifting, like server management and software updates, is handled by Microsoft. However, businesses should regularly manage user accounts, permissions, and monitor storage usage. They must also configure and review security settings, ensuring compliance with organisational policies and potential threat mitigation. Regular training or refresher sessions can be beneficial to keep staff updated on new features or best practices. You will also need to regularly maintain the hardware used to access Microsoft 365 and maintain network security to protect all devices.

My business uses custom software. How well does Microsoft 365 integrate with custom software?

Microsoft 365’s integration with custom software largely depends on the software in question. Many businesses find success integrating through Microsoft’s Power Platform, especially Power Automate, which can connect to numerous services and applications. Microsoft Graph API provides a way to interact with Microsoft 365 services, offering opportunities for custom integration. Furthermore, Microsoft 365 is built on common standards and protocols, making it more interoperable. However, the ease and depth of integration can vary. It’s therefore essential to work with IT professionals familiar with both Microsoft 365 and the specific custom software to assess feasibility and implement a smooth integration process.

Is it essential to consult with IT professionals when moving over to Microsoft 365?

Yes, consulting with IT professionals when transitioning to Microsoft 365 is essential. While Microsoft 365 is user-friendly, an IT expert ensures a smooth migration, helping transfer data, set up security protocols, integrate custom software and existing systems efficiently. They can identify potential pitfalls, recommend best practices, and ensure your setup aligns with business needs. Moreover, they can provide training to staff, ensuring optimal utilisation of the platform. Their expertise can save time, reduce potential disruptions, and ensure that the transition maximises the benefits of the platform for your business.

Are there any scenarios where Microsoft 365 might not be the best solution for my business?

Yes, there are scenarios where Microsoft 365 might not be the best fit. If your business operates in regions with limited internet connectivity, relying heavily on cloud-based services might be challenging. Businesses with stringent data residency or compliance requirements might find Microsoft’s cloud storage locations unsuitable. Additionally, if your enterprise heavily depends on software that’s incompatible or hard to integrate with Microsoft 365, transitions can be cumbersome. Also, smaller businesses with tight budgets might find some of the advanced features unnecessary and cost-prohibitive. It’s crucial to evaluate your specific needs, existing infrastructure, and budgetary constraints before committing to migrate to Microsoft 365.

What are the key benefits of moving to Microsoft 365 summarised?

In summary, then, migrating to Microsoft 365 offers the following key benefits:

  1. Collaboration and Flexibility – Microsoft 365 offers integrated tools like Teams and SharePoint, allowing employees to work together in real time from anywhere, facilitating a more flexible and collaborative work environment.
  2. Regular Updates and Features – Subscribers receive consistent updates, ensuring they always have access to the latest features, security patches, and software improvements without incurring additional costs.
  3. Robust Security – Microsoft 365 has built-in security measures, including advanced threat protection, data loss prevention, and multifactor authentication, safeguarding businesses from potential security threats.
  4. Scalability – It’s easy to adjust subscriptions based on the needs of the business, allowing for seamless scaling up or down as the company grows or changes.
  5. Integrated Cloud Storage – With OneDrive for Business, users get ample cloud storage, making it easier to store, share, and access files from any device, enhancing mobility and data redundancy.

Need assistance migrating to Microsoft 365?

The help4IT team has been delivering an efficient, frictionless Microsoft 365 migration service to SMEs in a broad range of sectors for many years. For assistance with moving your IT systems to the cloud, or for general small business IT support, contact our team today to discuss an initial audit.

Arranging a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment

According to research by Vodafone, more than half of SMEs in the UK have experienced some form of cyberattack. Businesses large and small must take steps to improve their security postures and one of the best places to start is with a cybersecurity risk assessment.

Here we answer some of the most commonly asked questions around the assessment and how to go about booking one for your organisation.

What does a cybersecurity risk assessment involve?

A cybersecurity risk assessment is a systematic process to identify, evaluate, and prioritise potential vulnerabilities and threats to an organisation’s information systems and data. This assessment considers both the likelihood and impact of various cyber threats, with the aim to guide the development of strategies and controls to mitigate risks. The process encompasses reviewing current security measures, identifying vulnerabilities in hardware, software, and human elements, analysing potential threats from both internal and external sources, and evaluating potential consequences of a breach. The outcome provides a foundation for strengthening an organisation’s cybersecurity posture and making informed decisions on security investments.

Who performs the risk assessment?

The assessment is typically performed by cybersecurity specialists, either from an organisation’s internal cybersecurity or IT team or by external consultants with expertise in this area. As it’s usually only very large companies that have internal cybersecurity specialists, assessments are most often conducted by external consultants for smaller businesses. For larger organisations, the process may involve collaboration between various departments, including IT, legal, operations, and human resources, to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the organisation’s assets and potential exposure. Whether conducted internally or externally, it’s crucial for the assessors to maintain objectivity and to prioritise the protection of the organisation’s assets and data over any other interests.

How is the scope of the assessment determined?

The scope of a risk assessment is determined based on an organisation’s objectives, regulatory requirements, and the specific assets and systems deemed critical to its operations. Key considerations include the types of data the organisation handles, the technologies and systems in use, and the specific threats and vulnerabilities relevant to its industry or sector. Input from stakeholders, such as business units, IT, legal, and executive leadership, helps to identify areas of concern or focus. A clearly defined scope ensures that the assessment is both comprehensive and relevant, allowing the organisation to effectively address its unique risks and maintain a secure operational environment.

How are assets identified prior to the assessment?

To identify assets for assessment, the assessor will start by mapping out your organisation’s critical business processes and functions. Following this, they will determine the technologies, systems, and information that support these processes. This includes physical devices like servers and computers, software applications, data repositories, and even intangibles like intellectual property or customer information. They will engage with department heads and key personnel to understand which assets are crucial for daily operations and which contain sensitive or regulated data. They will also consider assets that, if compromised, could cause reputational harm or legal implications. This holistic approach ensures you capture all essential assets that could be potential targets or vulnerabilities in the cybersecurity landscape.

How are threats identified?

Threats encompass the strategies and methods employed by cyber adversaries that could jeopardise an organisation’s assets. To pinpoint threats to individual assets, databases like the MITRE ATT&CK Knowledge Base are leveraged. Reports from security vendors and advisories are valuable for updates on emerging threats across sectors, regions, or technologies. Additionally, understanding an asset’s position within the Lockheed Martin cyber kill chain helps in determining its protective needs, as this model outlines the progression and goals of a typical cyberattack.

How are risks prioritised?

Assessors consider factors like financial loss, operational disruption, legal implications, and reputational damage as priority risk areas. They use a risk matrix to visually categorise risks based on their likelihood and impact, which aids in understanding their relative significance. After categorisation, the assessor will focus on addressing the most severe risks first, with recommendations for allocating resources effectively. Remember that risk appetite varies among organisations; what’s acceptable for one might not be for another, so any risk assessment must align with the risk priorities and unique goals of the organisation.

What is the best way to document and manage the risks?

The assessment team will set out clear documentation on the way to best manage risks. This may involve a centralised risk register or dedicated risk management software. This repository will detail each risk’s nature, its likelihood, potential impact, mitigation measures, and responsible parties. Integrating the risk management process into the organisation’s daily operations and decision-making is a key outcome of a risk assessment.

What are five main reasons I should book a cybersecurity risk assessment today?

In summary, then, the here are five key reasons you should consider booking a cybersecurity risk assessment for your organisation today.

  1. Protect Valuable Assets – Cybersecurity risk assessments help identify and protect your organisation’s most valuable assets, preventing unauthorised access, data breaches, and potential financial losses.
  2. Regulatory Compliance – Many industries are governed by regulations that mandate regular cybersecurity assessments. Non-compliance can lead to penalties, legal consequences, and reputational damage.
  3. Proactive Threat Management – The assessment identifies emerging threats and vulnerabilities, enabling your organisation to take proactive measures before a breach occurs, rather than reacting after the fact.
  4. Optimised Resource Allocation – Understanding where vulnerabilities exist helps your organisation to prioritise and allocate resources efficiently, ensuring the highest risks are addressed first.
  5. Stakeholder Confidence – Demonstrating a commitment to cybersecurity boosts trust among customers, partners, and investors, ensuring them that their data and interactions with your organisation are secure.

Book an assessment today

The help4IT team offer a range of cybersecurity solutions suited to both small and medium-sized companies as well as larger organisations. Hackers will stop at nothing to get to your valuable data, and it’s up to you to protect your business. Ignoring cybersecurity may work in the short term, but the time to be proactive is now.  Book a cybersecurity risk assessment with us today.

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