Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity and the Essential Eight

Although it may sound like a bulked-up bedtime story (remember The Famous Five?!) or a Tarantino flick, the Essential Eight is instead a list of eight essential strategies for Australian businesses to mitigate cybersecurity incidents. The Australian Government, in conjunction with the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), has created this security to-do list to help businesses and organisations avoid the – sometimes catastrophic – fallout that can occur following a targeted cyber attack.

The Essential Eight Explained

We all know we want our businesses to be secure online. We want to avoid malware and ransomware and data breaches. We want to be alert but not alarmed! But how best to make our businesses as safe as possible? The Essential Eight is a framework to do just that…

Essential Strategies to PREVENT attacks:

  1. Application Control This security measure is designed to protect your system from malicious code. It ensures only approved and trusted applications can be executed (and can also prevent the installation/use of unapproved applications).

  • Patch Applications This measure helps to avoid new security vulnerabilities by applying vendor patches on third-party applications (such as Microsoft Office, PDF viewers and web browsers) in a timely manner.


  • Configure Microsoft Macro Settings Malicious code can be executed through Microsoft Office macros. This strategy involves blocking macros sourced from the internet and ensuring no unauthorised user can modify macro settings.


  • User Application Hardening This strategy refers to configuring web browsers, PDF viewers and Microsoft Office applications to ensure they disable ads, Java, Flash and other potentially malicious virus-carrying mediums.

Essential Strategies to LIMIT THE SCOPE of attacks:

  • Restrict Admin Privileges This is one of the most effective risk-mitigation strategies. Admin accounts are like the keys to your online kingdom – the fewer sets of keys available, the less likely they are to get lost or misused!


  • Patch Operating Systems Vulnerabilities in systems can be used to further compromise those systems – this strategy ensures automated updates and that ‘extreme risk’ vulnerabilities are patched within 48 hours.


  • Multi-Factor Authentication This important tool makes it harder for cyber criminals to access your sensitive information and systems. For further details on implementing MFA, see our blog here [link to August blog 2].

Essential Strategies to ensure DATA RECOVERY and SYSTEM AVAILABILITY:

  1.  Daily Back Ups Backing up important data, software and configuration settings (and storing these back ups for at least three months) means critical business information can be accessed following any cybersecurity incident. Find out more about backing up your business here [link to May blog].

Essential Eight ‘Maturity Levels’

Alongside each of the eight individual strategies is a ‘maturity scale’ – fundamentally a ‘where you’re at’ with implementation – from Level Zero (indicating significant weaknesses within the business in regards to that strategy) to Level Three (fully aligned and highly protected).

Remember: the ACSC suggests that businesses should ‘plan their implementation to achieve the same maturity level across all eight strategies before moving onto higher maturity levels’. Basically, this means that there is no use being a level three on the first strategy, but level zero across the other seven.

Note: Maturity Level One across all eight strategies is the minimum suggested level for small to medium businesses. For larger enterprises and organisations, Maturity Level Two or Maturity Level Three will be more appropriate.   

Time for an IT Health Check?

Assessing where you’re at right now in regards to the Essential Eight is the first step towards full compliance with the strategic guidelines. At Geelong Technology Group, we can perform a complimentary IT Systems Review to help appraise your current cybersecurity situation and to recommend actions to safeguard your business against cyber threats in the future. 

Let Geelong Technology Group Manage Your Cybersecurity

Servicing Geelong, the Bellarine Peninsula, the Surf Coast and surrounding regions, Geelong Technology Group helps small and medium businesses succeed by supporting and managing their IT requirements. With our extensive experience, tailored managed IT services and comprehensive cybersecurity options, we’re here to ensure your business is cybersecure – get in contact today.

03 5244 3030

📍 166 Francis Street, Belmont

Ergonomic workstation

8 Quick Tips for an Ergonomic Desk Setup

Working from home? Join the club! With more of us than ever attempting to work from the kitchen table – and more of us suffering bodily harm because of it – now is the time to assess and correct the ergonomics of your workstation setup.

The following quick tips should get you started towards better comfort, improved posture and fewer aches and pains:

1. Choose the right desk surface

This is key. And by ‘surface’ we mean a hard, flat surface – not your lap while you sit on the couch…

  • When you’re sitting at your desk (or table of choice), ideally you’ll be able to rest your forearms comfortably, with your elbows at a 90-degree angle and your wrists in a straight-line position.
  • Sitting as per above, your feet should be flat on the floor (or use a footrest for support), with your knees at a 90-degree angle.
  • Remember that you don’t want your knees or thighs jammed up against the furniture – make sure they’ve got plenty of room to breathe!
  • Extra points awarded for a stand-up desk – humans aren’t designed to sit all day, even if that’s what many of us do!

2. Adjust your monitor height

Here’s another 90-degree reminder: correct posture will have you sitting with your shoulders back and your neck upright, with your chin at that all-important 90-degree angle from your neck.

  • Place your monitor about an arm’s length away and directly in front of you.
  • If you use multiple screens, have your ‘main’ screen in the centre and your second screen to the side; if you use both screens equally, sit in the middle with the two screens angled accordingly.
  • Ideally, the top of your monitor should be roughly at eye level.

3. Position your keyboard and mouse

  • Place your keyboard around 10-25cm from the desk edge (depending on arm length), so that your forearms can rest on your desk without stress.
  • Place your mouse right next to the keyboard, so that your elbows and arms remain close to your body.
  • Remember to alternate the hand you use to operate the mouse to decrease the repetitive movements on one side.

4. Sort out your seating

To keep with the 90-degree theme, your torso to thigh angle should be 90 degrees or greater when sitting.

  • If you don’t have access to an adjustable chair, try to use a chair with a solid backrest for support; adding a rolled-up towel or small cushion in the lumbar area can help reduce lower-back discomfort.
  • If you can afford it, invest in a comfortable and adjustable ergonomic chair: your spine will thank you in the long run.
  • If your chair has armrests, ensure they’re not stopping you from sitting comfortably tucked under the desk or table.

5. Check your lighting

Avoiding eye strain is just as important in avoiding ongoing headaches or migraines as avoiding shoulder and neck strain. Make sure your lighting is up to the job!

  • Try to get as much natural light as possible (and remember to give your eyes frequent rests by looking away from your monitor to a spot in the distance).
  • Choose a light that is not too dull or too bright, and incorporate task lighting to illuminate your work surface, if appropriate.

6. Incorporate biophilic design principles

Biophilic design – design that improves our connections to nature – is thought to bring a wealth of benefits, including improved physical and mental wellbeing, for building occupants.

  • Create a positive office environment with natural light and access to external (preferably green, and plant- or tree-filled) views.
  • Bring nature inside with indoor plants, soothing forest-inspired colour schemes, tactile surfaces and natural textiles.

7. Take breaks and start stretching

Good stretching exercises can help counteract the effects of a not-entirely-perfect desk setup.

  • Guidelines suggest taking five minutes away from your desk every 30 minutes, so go and make that cup of tea, grab a glass of water or make your next phone call while stretching your legs.
  • There are numerous apps to help remind you to take a break, some of which will also help you out with stretching recommendations or eye relaxation techniques. Get googling and find one that suits you.

8. Select the best computer equipment to suit your needs

Peering awkwardly at a tiny out-dated monitor or need a second keyboard so that you can raise your laptop screen to a comfortable height? At Geelong Technology Group we stock an extensive range of desktops, laptops and accessories to suit all needs.

Contact us today, or pop into our Belmont storefront, and we can discuss your unique requirements and provide tailored solutions.  

Geelong Technology Group – the tech experts – servicing Geelong and surroundings, including Ocean Grove, Barwon Heads, Torquay, Bellarine Peninsula, Surf Coast, Golden Plains, Colac, and Warrnambool.

03 5244 3030

📍 166 Francis Street, Belmont

Eco-friendly

Print smart: Eco-friendly printing practices for your office

With Keep Australia Beautiful week in full swing, it’s great to focus on all the things we can do as individuals to reduce, reuse and recycle. But what about at the office? One place where it’s easy to make small changes with big results is at the printing station. For many (most?) SMBs, going completely paper free is not yet a reality. But reducing ink, paper and energy usage is an achievable goal.

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PC Maintenance: Clean up your computer & free up disk space

Back in May we talked about physically cleaning up your computer – removing dust bunnies for your hardware’s health and your health. But what about your system’s disks and drives? Have you checked and tuned them recently? Or do you need some encouragement to kick-start the process?

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cloud based services

Top Five Reasons to Use the Cloud

From working in our pyjamas to ordering UberEats three meals a day, 2020 was a very strange year of challenges, surprises and surprising business pivots. One of those pivots was the increased global uptake of cloud-based computing and productivity improvements. By embracing the cloud, SMBs are discovering its significant benefits, and even finding that it is now critical to their business’ ongoing success.

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Computer back-ups

Quick and Essential Guide to Backing Up Your Computer

If you’re one of the (many, many) people who ‘know they should back up their computer’ but don’t actually get around to it, you may ask – but WHY should I back it up? Well, to put it simply, catastrophes do happen. Even if you’ve taken all the best precautions against malware or virus attacks, hardware can still fail and human error can still occur. And if this is insufficiently backed-up business data we’re talking about, you are putting your entire business at risk.

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