Do you need a VPN at home?

Virtual private networks (VPNs) are great for securing your connection when you’re using public Wi-Fi. However, they can also be put to work in your home. You might use a VPN at work, however do you need a VPN at home?

When you use a VPN, you’re adding a layer of protection to your online activities by building an encrypted tunnel between your traffic and anyone who tries to spy on you. VPNs are great for when you’re out and about, using Wi-Fi networks that aren’t your own. But at home, a VPN can help protect you from other threats and may let you access streaming content that would be otherwise unavailable.

In a recent article aksing written by Darren Allan for msn.com he explores the benefits of having a VPN at home.

Do you need a VPN at home?

People are becoming conscious of the need to take back their privacy online. It is certainly no bad thing to do so at home

What is a VPN?

A VPN gives you online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network from a public internet connection. VPNs mask your internet protocol (IP) address so your online actions are virtually untraceable. Most important, VPN services establish secure and encrypted connections to provide greater privacy than even a secured Wi-Fi hotspot.

The Threats Abroad

Outside your home, it’s hard to tell which networks you encounter are safe. If you’re at a coffee shop, for example, how can you tell which Wi-Fi network is legitimate? Unless the SSID is posted somewhere, you’re just going to have to guess. Clever bad guys will set up access points with familiar names, hoping to trick people into connecting. Once victims are online, the bad guy does a man-in-the-middle attack, intercepting all the information victims send and receive. This includes a lot of mundane stuff, to be sure, but it can also include bank accounts, login information, and worse.

An attacker doesn’t even need to trick you, they just need to trick your phone or computer. Most devices are configured to reconnect to familiar networks by default. But if an attacker uses the same name of a popular Wi-Fi network, your devices may automatically connect, even without your knowledge.

Both of those attacks require a lot of guesswork, but a good attacker won’t bother with that. Instead, they’ll configure their evil access point to switch SSIDs to match the ones devices are asking for.  For example, at the Black Hat conference a few years ago, a security vendor detected an evil access point that had changed its SSID 1,047 times, tricking 35,000 devices into connecting.

These are situation in which you definitely need a VPN. The encrypted tunnel it creates blocks anyone on the same network as you—even the person managing the network—from seeing what you’re up to.

The Threats at Home

It’s very unlikely that a bad guy broke in to your home, replaced your router, and then waited for the good stuff to roll in. For one thing, that’s just too much work. But for another, attackers need more than one successful hit to make an attack worthwhile. They’ll want to rack up as much information from as many victims as possible. Unless you live above an airport, it’s unlikely that there’s enough foot traffic in your home to justify an attack.

VPNs can be fun

At least half of all VPN use isn’t for personal protection. It’s for streaming video. That might seem odd considering the negative effect that VPNs have on your upload and download speeds, but it makes sense.

That’s where VPNs come in. You can use your VPN to tunnel to a distant server and access content that is restricted in your home country. While Netflix is very good at blocking VPNs, this trick is also useful for sports fans.

Trouble at Home

VPNs are all about securing your traffic from prying eyes, and that’s sometimes a problem when you want your traffic to be seen. If you live in an especially smart home, you’re likely to encounter some problems with using a VPN.

A great example is Chromecast, Google’s dead-simple method for getting content from your phone or computer on to your TV. When you try to use Chromecast with a VPN, all your data is shuffled off your devices through an encrypted tunnel and can’t reach other devices on your local network. You’ll have to switch off your VPN if you want to use this feature, or others like it.

One solution to this problem is to simply raise the level of your VPN and install it on your router. That way, all the data on your local network is funnelled through the VPN, giving you all the protection without causing any of the fuss on the local level. Configuring your router to use a VPN can sound daunting, but some VPN companies will sell you a pre-configured router if you want to give it a try. Still, I think this solution is not for everyone and perhaps best left to people with a determined DIY sensibility.

While many people are using VPNs to stream online content, many (if not most) streaming services are very good at blocking VPN usage. One possible solution is purchasing a static IP address from your VPN provider. These “clean” addresses aren’t associated with VPNs, giving you a better chance of slipping past attempts to block your access.

Speed will always be an issue with VPNs. When a VPN connection is active, your web traffic is going through more machines and more fibre. As a result, this increases latency and slower transfer speeds. Not all VPNs are the same in how much they affect your connection, but you will see some impact.

Do you need a VPN at home?

In truth, the answer to the question of whether you “need” a VPN in your house is going to come down to your own preferences. There are lots of good reasons why a home VPN might be a valuable addition to your security arsenal, but what’s most important is whether you will use it. If you find yourself too frustrated with reduced internet speeds, or juggling streaming devices, don’t use a VPN at home. An unused security feature isn’t useful to anyone.

As more of us are working from home, it may be a good idea to explore your options. Contact the LIS Help Desk and talk to one of our friendly team to see how we can help you.

LIS DIGITAL – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#VPN #AddedSecurity #ExtraPrivacy

QR codes go mainstream

Who would of thought, one year ago, that an app reliant on QR code usage would get 12.4 million UK consumer downloads in just four days. The app has helped QR codes go mainstream. The app in question is, of course, the NHS Covid-19 track and trace app.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought about many changes to the way we live, work and play. Among all those remarkable changes, the acceptance of the previously much-maligned QR code is being used to great effect.

Although the NHS app has had its criticisms, it has suffered from the usual launch bug fixes. There have been several challenges caused by handset OS upgrades. As well as, millions of people who have never used a QR code before. Many users have never installed a QR code reader. They arrive at venues, pointing their camera phones at the QR code and are amazed at the immediate recognition of where they have just ‘checked-in’.

QR codes go mainstream

Create an NHS QR code for visitors to scan using the NHS Test and Trace app.
For businesses, places of worship, community organisations and events.

Opening up opportunities as QR codes go mainstream

The same users are also surprised that without even needing to use a specially downloaded app, pointing their camera at a QR code can immediately bring up the menu for the pub or restaurant they have visited. Of course, some of those hospitality venues take the process beyond the instant menu delivery – allowing you to order and pay for your food and drink order without leaving the table. An entire process triggered by a simple QR code working in combination with a smartphone camera.

The upsurge in QR code awareness and availability caused by the pandemic has seen many more people become comfortable with their usage. Businesses recognise the flexibility and scope of QR technology to make online interactions and transactions quicker, simpler and more secure.

James Cook and Matthew Field from The Telegraph, explore QR codes: What are they and how do you use them?

The pros

Space comes with a price when you invest in printed marketing materials like brochures, catalogues, adverts and signage. QR codes are a simple means to direct an audience to more information about a product, service or promotion while ensuring you don’t waste valuable print space on unnecessary details.

Track audience response with ease

You can assign and track any number of QR codes based on your specific objectives (and there are plenty of online tools that allow you to do so for free).

These are some benefits of QR codes to take into consideration:

  • Easily generated
  • Can be custom sized to fit promotional items
  • A cost-effective way to segment your audience
  • Provide insight into audience interest over multiple campaigns

The cons as QR codes go mainstream

QR codes were originally designed as a shortcut: The customer snaps a photo of the QR code with a mobile device, which theoretically takes him/her directly to relevant and more detailed information. However, QR codes require a hurdle that businesses must ensure they have accounted for before they will provide a benefit.

For example, the user must already download the necessary app to support the reading of the code. With so many different types of mobile devices supported on different platforms, it can be tough for business owners to predict which apps the customer has likely downloaded, to ensure the QR code works easily.

How can we help your business?

Implementing QR Codes for your business can be beneficial. Especially when it comes to promoting the services you offer to get new clients. Make sure your systems are secure and up to date. Contact the LIS Help Desk to speak to one of our support technicians. We offer a FREE IT audit and can discuss your requirements to help your business. You can improve the efficiency of your team and client experience.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGTIAL WORLD

#QRcodes #Covid-19 #Technology #ITsupport

 

Attacks from ransomware

Ransomware PDF Guide

Ever wondered what attacks from ransomware are? You’ve heard about it at the office or read about it in the news. Maybe you’ve got a pop-up on your computer screen right now warning of a ransomware infection. Well, if you’re curious to learn all there is to know about ransomware, you’ve come to the right place.

Download our new guide and know how to keep your business safe.

Attacks from ransomware

What is ransomware?

Ransom malware, or ransomware, is a type of malware that prevents users from accessing their system or personal files. The cyber-criminal will demand a payment in order to regain access. Developed in the late 1980s, ransom payments were sent via snail mail. Today, ransomware authors want to recieve payment in cryptocurrency or by credit card.

How does a ransomware attack happen?

After your home gets broken into, it may be obvious the intruder came in through a window or smashed down a door. Shattered glass and forced entry are signs that lead you to conclude that there has been a burglary. In the cyber world, these signals might not be as evident. Your first clue might be a pop up saying please pay money to regain access to your computer.

What went wrong? 

Attacks from ransomware happen to a business when they fail to follow common cyber security 101, such as:

  • Choosing strong passwords
  • Enforcing access management controls
  • Security awareness training for employees
  • Using EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) or antivirus software
  • Updating operating systems and hardware

Cyber criminals use several methods to access your network by exploiting vulnerabilities. However, to prevent attacks from ransomware, businesses need to understand them and be proactive with stronger cyber security.

How can I prevent them?

Follow the advice in our guide. Address the security threats for your business and educate your colleagues. Protect your business from ransomware with effective cyber security solutions and avoid disruption to your business!

However, if you would like to save some time, we can analyse the risks for you, develop a security strategy to enable your business to dig a moat and pull up the drawbridge.

Would you like to learn more about how we can help protect you from ransomware and emerging cyber threats? Contact the LIS Help Desk and one of our friendly and experienced technicians will be able to help you.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

 #FreeGuide #GotMalware? #HiddenIntruder

New building frontage

New building frontage complete at LIS office

Lodge Information Services are pleased to announce we have just finished our new building frontage. We commissioned Plan B Garden Design to design and build our new building frontage.

A well-designed and well-maintained landscape strengthens the image of our business and helps our business attract new clients and retain existing clients. The final result guarantees a better and beautiful working environment for our employees and clients. Experienced and skilled landscape professionals understood the importance of landscaping for our business and knew how to improve the building’s aesthetic appeal.

Benefits of a new building frontage

If you have the benefit of an external area that you can control. Then we would highly recommend our clients and suppliers to investigate their outdoor areas and investgate a new building frontage.

Improved productivity

Many studies have shown that office workers are more productive around natural elements. A tranquil outdoor space will help your employees stay healthy and happy. Similarly, if employees are healthy and productive, they will focus on their work and finish it on time.

Eco-friendly landscaping

When you give attention to commercial landscaping and maintenance, it is a sign to your clients and competitors that your company cares for the environment. Commercial landscaping companies will help you improve the natural environment around your company by using native plants and other eco-friendly elements to beautify your office. The completed new building frontage will benefit your employees, clients and make your work a more appealing place.

Increase property values with improved landscaping

Investing in commercial landscaping services can help to improve the market value of your property. Therefore, it will help your business to stand out from competitors that do not see the value in making their outdoor space more attractive. You can experience an increase in revenue if your clients are attracted to your beautiful yard.

Safety and security

A well-maintained new building frontage by a landscape professional is considered to be safe, as well-placed plants and proper lighting help to keep the area safe. If your office’s surrounding has a secure environment, your employees can feel safe and stay comfortable. This will increase productivity and revenue.

Improved business prospects

Good and attractive landscaping design will help bring in new customers. People will be more interested in purchasing your products or services. People will walk by your business and see well-kept pathways, green grass and other aesthetic features. This will make your building more attractive and approachable to them.

With so many benefits achievable through commercial landscapes, it’s essential to work with the best landscape professional who will help your property gain all of these advantages.

Our happy and friendly team

Our team love our new building frontage. The next time you go past our office give us wave and a smile. Watch out for our spot the Santa competition. It’s the Thursday throwback (a blast from the past) take a look at build in 2014 of our office.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#BuildingFrontage #WellBeing #Environment

Salesforce upgrade

Salesforce upgrade the Work.com platform

The recent Salesforce upgrade has new tools that help workers stay productive from anywhere while also enabling safer in-person experiences. Salesforce has released a number of upgrades to its Work.com platform in an effort to help organizations grow. This will help businesses while returning to the office safely.

Work.com is already being used by cities and companies around the world. Your team will be safe with technology for employee wellness, shift, management manual contact tracing and more. In fact, Salesforce recently announced Work.com for Vaccines to help orchestrate the “largest vaccination campaign in human history”. Governments and healthcare organizations are still preparing to distribute a Covid-19 vaccine, once found.

TechRadar take a closer look at the best CRM software of 2020: Customer relationship management solutions. TechRadar have also compiled some other articles that will help businesses

Salesforce upgrade

Salesforce announced multiple updates to its Work.com solution this week designed to
help companies adjust to the new normal (Image credit: Salesforce)

Employee Workspace is a central digital hub where employees can access the tools and resources, they need to work remotely including productivity apps like Google Workspace, learning platforms such as myTrailhead, payroll systems and more. The workspace also provides personalized communications, embedded collaboration apps and notifications.

Salesforce’s new Employee Helpdesk uses Einstein AI-powered chatbots to provide employees with quick and easy access to knowledge articles and escalation paths across any department. Employees can even use the helpdesk to ask questions about IT support or HR policies and benefits.

Safer in-person experiences with the Salesforce upgrade

While Twitter and other companies have said that they will allow their employees to work from home indefinitely, other organizations are now preparing to return to the office which is why Salesforce has added new communication apps to Work.com to enable safer in-person experiences for both customers and employees.

Brick and mortar businesses can use the company’s Queue Management software to minimize physical lines by creating virtual queues to protect customers and manage onsite capacity. Using the service, customers can easily reserve their place in line from anywhere and get updated on queue status via SMS to avoid having to wait outside for long periods of time.

Communicating updated hours of operation, new appointment times and safety reminders can be done using Saleforce’s Broadcast Messaging. Organizations can use the service to communicate with their employees and customers. They can use their preferred channels such as text, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. Businesses can also use Broadcast Messaging to manage follow-up questions or service requests with automated chatbots and personalized service communications.

Finally, Digital Trust Cards allow local store employees to quickly update websites and apps with safety protocols specific to their location. Such as social distancing guidelines and cleaning policies to help build customer trust and confidence that they will be safe when vising in-person businesses.

EVP and GM of Platform, Trailhead and AppExchange at Salesforce, Sarah Franklin explained in a press release how the company’s latest upgrade to Work.com will help businesses thrive in the new normal, saying:

“The pandemic has accelerated everything, and every company is re-imagining work in the new all-digital world. The  new technology helps employees be productive anywhere. It will create a safe in-person experiences for customers, Work.com is helping companies get back to growth and thrive in the new normal.”

The IT doctor will see you know

With so many choices available for a CRM system, which is the right one for your business? We invest time going down the gym, eating the right food and trying to stay healthy. However, how healthy is you IT system?

Winter is on its way; some people are having their flu jab. Contact the LIS Help Desk to book your IT audit. We will make sure you have the right security in place to stay healthy. Upgrade your software to stay efficient and prescribe any other long-term treatment to make sure your business stays fit.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#Salesforce #CRM #Business #ITsupport