password manager

Should I use a password manager? Simple answer: Yes

According to a 2021 article in The Guardian, ‘the tyranny of passwords’ may be coming to an end – well, at least some time in the next ‘two to five years. Biometrics (including not only fingerprint IDs and face recognition, but more sci-fi stuff such as tech that recognises the shape of your ears, how you hold your phone and move, and even breath detectors) will eventually save our overburdened brains from remembering if we used mYpa$$w0rD or MyP@ssWORd (please don’t use either of these!). In the meantime, however, how best to navigate the password conundrum of easy to remember/easy to crack versus impossible to remember? The answer is a password manager. Indeed, a good password manager can be your first and best defense against being hacked (as long as you are also avoiding phishing/smishing scams).

What IS a password manager?

When it comes to the safety of your accounts online, you should use a strong and UNIQUE password for each app or website you use. (Reusing the same or similar passwords across websites is a serious NO-NO, security-wise.) Apparently, on average, that’s around 190 passwords per person. Possible? Possibly… Likely? Not at all. This is where a password manager comes in. A password manager is a software application that acts like a digital vault, securely storing your login credentials, which are then encrypted with one master password. Once you’ve set up a password manager account, you only need to remember the one (strong and unique) master password. A good password manager will also generate strong passwords on your behalf, and provide auto-fill services, saving you from entering details such as postal addresses or credit card numbers each time you require them.

Password managers can be desk-top based (that is, storing your passwords locally on a device, such as your laptop), or cloud-based, whereby your encrypted passwords are stored on the service provider’s network (and can thus be accessed from any device, as long as you have an internet connection). Depending on the password manager chosen, your master password can generally also be further strengthened by enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) and/or biometric authentication on your account.

Choosing a password manager

There are plenty of password managers out there – some free, some available via annual subscriptions. Options (in no particular order) include KeePass, Bitwarden, LastPass, 1Password, Dashlane, Zoho Vault, Keeper, and RoboForm, among scores of others. Differences can lie in whether they offer MFA or biometric authentication, whether they allow you to share passwords with trusted family and friends, and even whether they feature data breach scanners – scouring the dark web to check if any of your logins appear online.

To choose a password manager, ensure the manager uses industry-standard AES 256-bit (military-strength) encryption, as well as ‘zero-knowledge architecture’ (whereby your passwords are encrypted prior to leaving your device). Check as well that your chosen manager works across all of your devices (syncing between your computers and phones, if required). You can also take advantage of free and/or trial options in order to try a couple of different password managers to find the one that’s right for you.

Remember: once you’ve chosen a password manager, you need to protect your account with a master password (or a ‘passphrase’), which needs to be super strong and memorable. Once your account is activated, it is best practice to further protect it with MFA. Extra security can be applied by allowing access to the password manager only from registered, trusted devices.

Need more information? Contact Geelong’s IT security specialists

Alongside your chosen password manager, you should also ensure your antivirus software is up to date, check your overall cybersecurity, and always double-check the legitimacy of any apps or extensions you’re planning to install.

With decades of IT experience helping homes and businesses in Geelong, the Bellarine Peninsula, the Surf Coast, and surrounding regions, the Geelong Technology Group team are well versed in IT security and protection – if you have any questions about password managers or any cybersecurity concerns, don’t hesitate to get in touch:

1300 GET GTG (1300 438 484)

📧 support@geelongtechnology.com.au

📍 166 Francis St, Belmont

digital wallet

What is a Digital Wallet? E-wallet Tips, Set-up and Security

So… you’ve seen people holding their phones near a payment device to purchase their latte or BLT roll, with no credit or debit card in sight (and no cash, for that matter!). You may be making your own mobile-based purchases daily, too. But what exactly is a digital wallet? And how secure is ‘e-wallet’ technology?

Digital wallets explained

A digital wallet is pretty much what it says on the box – digital storage of items that you might normally keep tucked away in your wallet or purse. Items that can be stored in a digital wallet include credit and debit cards (allowing users to make convenient payments from their phone or smartwatch), identity documents (such as Covid-19 vaccination certificates), loyalty cards (particularly helpful if you love a loyalty card, but don’t want to carry 237 of the abominable things around!), gift cards, and tickets to movies or events. Just note, however, that not all of these items can be added to all digital wallets. Restrictions may depend on what financial institution you are with, what company is issuing your virtual tickets, your choice of digital wallet, and the make of your mobile device.

Payments using your digital wallet

Other than perhaps the aforementioned loyalty card storage, digital wallets are most useful in terms of their ability to allow us to make contactless payments. Examples of digital wallets that enable tap-and-go payments at in-store terminals include Apple’s Wallet, Samsung Pay, PayPal, and Google Pay. The digital wallet stores virtual versions of your cards or account details, so you don’t need to carry a physical card, then uses software to link your payment details to the transaction vendor. Just like you would crack open your wallet to access your physical credit card when buying something, you open your digital wallet app to access your virtual payment details – then use your device to ‘tap and go’ as usual.

To get started using a digital wallet, all you need to do is choose your preferred wallet (often the built-in wallet on your mobile device or, alternatively, a (thoroughly researched) option downloaded from your app store) and add a compatible debit or credit card. Once you’re set up and out and about, open your application and move your device close to the payment machine; a message will be displayed on the machine when the payment has been approved. 

Digital wallet safety and security

What happens when you lose your real-world wallet and someone (unscrupulous) finds your debit or credit cards? They can tap-and-go, tap-and-go, tap-and-go for numerous small purchases (up to $200 a pop), without needing a PIN, until you report your card missing to your financial institution… But if you lose your phone with your digital wallet details? Well – if your phone is password or number-code protected or secured with fingerprint or face-recognition authentication – your financial details are safely locked up inside your device. Digital wallets also use advanced encryption to ensure that your payment information never leaves your device, generally making this technology the safer financial option.

Remember: once you’ve added cards to your digital wallet, make sure that you have also enabled the security features your mobile device offers, especially any biometrics including fingerprint or iris/face scanners. If your device doesn’t have these features, use a strong password, and change it often.

Stop by and see Geelong’s technology experts

With our phones now even more ubiquitous after becoming QR-code check-in experts over the past two years, payment via our mobile devices really is on the up and up. If you’re still uncertain about which digital wallet to use or how to use your phone to tap and go – feel free to ask one of our friendly technicians when you’re next in the Geelong Technology Group showroom – we are 100% here to help.

📍 166 Francis Street, Belmont 1300 GET GTG (1300 438 484)

online safety

Staying Safe Online – Tips for Internet Safety & Security

With so much of our time spent using the internet every day, it has never been more important to promote the safe use of technology, to build digital skills, and to help everyone have safer, more positive experiences online. Taking a leaf from the recent Safer Internet Day 2022, held on the 8th of February and celebrated in 170 countries, the following are some things we can all do to increase online safety (& kindness).

Update your security and privacy settings

Yes – we know – it’s one of those things we all mean to get around to, but don’t necessarily do… But how about this? The next time you’re sitting down with a cuppa, rather than spending five or ten minutes scrolling past images of dogs doing the darndest things or happy snaps of school friends you haven’t seen since school, why not take a moment to check the privacy settings on all of your devices and apps to improve online safety?

We recommend using different (STRONG!) passwords for each online account (and signing out each time you finish). You can also add multi-factor authentication to many apps/accounts for extra protection. Remember that social media sites also have privacy settings to help control who sees your posts and who can send you friend requests – use them!

Locate your location settings (and amend them as necessary)

While it is important for map applications and various other types of technology, GPS location information can also be used to track your movement and whereabouts. To improve online safety when using GPS:

  • Keep your devices (phones, tablets, laptops etc.) secure with strong passwords or passcodes. Do not leave your devices on the default settings, particularly the default device name and password.
  • Turn off GPS and location services when they are not in use.
  • Audit your apps to identify those that use location information and turn off those services unless they’re completely necessary. (If privacy or safety is a concern for you, do not opt into sharing your location through apps that allow location sharing with friends.)
  • Delete the location history from your phone habitually and, for iPhone users, clear out your frequent locations history also.

Manage your online engagement

Online communities and social media options can, of course, be both blessing and a curse, but you can control what you see and read online. Conversation controls are available to help you manage your social media feeds, ensuring your chosen platforms are a more positive place to spend time online. For the lowdown on how to mute, block or unfollow people across various applications, check out The eSafety Guide.

Don’t downplay or ignore online abuse

If someone said those things in a face-to-face public forum – at a bus stop, perhaps, or in line at the supermarket – would they be okay? If not, they’re not okay online either. Research shows that people, particularly women, often downplay online abuse. If you feel it is safe to do so, collect evidence of any online abuse you receive – take a screenshot and save a URL – which can then be used if you choose to report online abuse to the relevant platforms and, depending on the level of harm, to eSafety or the police.

Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and other social media sites provide community rules to follow. 

Remember: If you or someone you know sees something that’s not respectful, you can anonymously make a report and ask the site to remove it.

Contact Geelong’s technology experts to help improve your online safety.

If you’re not sure how to turn off your location information or you’d like a hand with setting up two-factor authentication on your business accounts, drop by the office or give our experienced technicians a call. We’re here to help individuals and businesses in Geelong, Ocean Grove, Barwon Heads, Torquay, Bellarine Peninsula, Surf Coast, Golden Plains, Colac, and Warrnambool.

1300 GET GTG (1300 438 484)

📍 166 Francis Street, Belmont

Social Engineering

What is social engineering? The psychology of phishing, smishing and scareware

When it comes to the security of our computers and online devices, what we often think of first is keeping them free of insidious viruses – throwing up firewalls and ensuring our anti-virus protection is bang up to date. Unfortunately, those protections can be quite easily overcome by one small vulnerability – human psychology.

Social engineering: a definition

Social engineering is the process of manipulating people in order to obtain confidential information or to trick users into making security mistakes. The term is used to cover a broad range of malicious activities from phishing, smishing, vishing (voice phishing) and scareware, to deceptions such as the ‘honey trap’ (whereby attackers pretend to be romantically interested in the victim) and the well-known ‘Nigerian prince just briefly needs your bank account’ scam.

Social engineering: how does it work?

When it comes to cyber-security, people are often the weakest link in the security chain, with the unpredictability of mistakes made by users making them harder to identify and avoid. It is much easier, for example, to pretend to be a company tech support agent and fool a user into giving up their password than it is to hack that same password (unless, of course, the password is password1!)

Social engineering attacks happen in one or more steps. Particularly when it comes to business attacks, a hacker may first investigate their target to gather background information, such as weak security protocols or potential points of entry. They will then move to gain the victim’s trust and to provide motivation for the user to give up information or to grant access to business resources.

Social engineering: what are a hacker’s motivational methods?

Knowing your Psychology 101 is a good way to avoid being scammed, as social engineering relies almost exclusively on what are known as the ‘principles of influence’ (a theory established by psychologist and professor Robert Cialdini in 1984). These methods of influence include:

 

Authority – whereby an attacker poses as someone ‘in charge’, requesting (ordering!) compliance.

Consensus – influencing users by convincing them that this is ‘what everybody else is doing’.

Familiarity – after all, if you receive an email from a friend, surely the link they have provided is legitimate?!

Intimidation – whereby the attack comes with a threat of negative consequences should the request not be granted.

Scarcity – ‘Only five left!’ or ‘While supplies last!’, which goes hand in hand with:

Urgency – ‘Act now or it will be too late!’

 

Note that scarcity and urgency often both relate to that little human tendency towards greed – many of us don’t want to miss out on something great, which can lead us to clicking first and thinking (and possibly regretting) later.  

Defending against social engineering attacks

When it comes to protecting your business and safeguarding against malicious social-engineering attacks, your defence should be four-pronged:

  1. Ensure the lines of communication within the company are open and positive. If an employee believes that an attack has occurred due to their inadvertent error, the first thing you want them to do is report it – not hide it away in fear of reprisal.
  2. Train your staff to recognise the various methods of influence and to always think, check and double check before providing sensitive information. Cybersecurity staff awareness is key!
  3. Test the effectiveness of your training (yes, you can do some phishing yourself to check if you catch anything!) and redeploy the training often to ensure it is always fresh in the minds of your employees.
  4. Close your protection circle by also implementing cybersecurity measures – this will not only limit the number of attacks getting through to your staff, but can also help to minimise any damage caused by a successful attack.

Call Geelong’s cybersecurity experts 

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. Armed with the latest social-engineering information, we can not only assist your business with security awareness, we can also implement comprehensive cybersecurity solutions, ensuring your important business information is cybersecure.

Give us a call today to find out more on 1300 GET GTG (1300 438 484) or stop by our showroom at 166 Francis St, Belmont.

Clean Up Your Computer Month

January is Clean Up Your Computer Month: Organisation and Efficiency Tips

If freeing up hard-drive space and ensuring your computer is running at maximum speed and efficiency is top of your New Year’s Resolutions list… we’re here to help! (And, of course, even if you think New Year’s Resolutions are rubbish, and you haven’t considered the state of your hard drive for some time, we would still urge you to read on!)

With January officially dubbed Clean Up Your Computer Month; here are some easy ways to clean up your laptop or desktop and get organised for the new year:

Number one priority: Backup your computer

Sometimes when we start cleaning, we can get a little gung-ho with files and something important can be inadvertently deleted along with the ‘trash’. (It’s a bit like vacuuming – the job is going so well that you don’t see those Lego pieces until it’s too late…) So – the first priority of any clean-up is to ensure you do a computer backup first. A backup can involve mirroring your hard drive on an alternate disk, duplicating files to the cloud or backing up your data to an external hard drive. For more details, see our computer backup blog.

Organise your photos and your files

Okay, so we all know that organising photos is never a quick process; reminiscing over that Thailand trip can take hours, after all – but slotting those images into a dedicated Thailand folder (and ensuring they’re backed up to the cloud) will save searching time in the future. Likewise, ensuring your important files are correctly named and placed into a logical folder structure is a kindness to your future self. (Remember: if your computer desktop looks like a giant virtual toddler has scattered documents and folders across its entire surface, this is the place to start. A clean virtual desktop is just as practical and advantageous as a clean and organised desktop IRL. Oh, and while you’re at it, why not check that your physical desk setup is ergonomically sound?)

Delete what you don’t need

Downloads you don’t need? Delete! Files that are no longer relevant? Delete! Programs and applications you haven’t used for months or years? You know what to do! (Actually, with programs and applications – make sure you actually correctly uninstall these, rather than just hit ‘delete’, otherwise they may still be there running and taking up space in the background.) Oh, and when you’re done with your delete-athon, don’t forget to clear your recycle bin as well.

Straighten up your online self

All of this productivity enhancement will be curtailed if you still have 10,077 unread emails in your inbox and no less than 43 tabs open on your internet browser. Make your email attack a three-pronged approach. First, delete old emails that no longer require your attention. Second, create a folder system that will work for you, allowing you to prioritise and differentiate between work, family and friends. Finally, get busy unsubscribing from email lists you know that you don’t need – time spent now will leave your inbox much clearer in the future.

Cleaning up your cookies and deleting your browser history can help improve your internet experience. Further enhance your online browsing by also tidying up your bookmarks (delete those you don’t need, rename and assign to custom bookmark folders those that you do use). And, if you’re feeling really inspired, you could even jump into your social media accounts, ensuring your security and other settings are tailored to your requirements.

Get physical

We wrote a blog last year about the importance of physically cleaning your computer and computer accessories – for your health and for the health of your equipment. If you haven’t checked it out yet, Clean Up Your Computer Month should be an excellent catalyst to do so!

January might also be time to take stock of your hardware and to get rid of those items – laptops, computers, monitors, tablets, mobile phones, printers, chargers, cords or other accessories – you no longer need. Remember that up to 95% of materials from recycled electrical goods can be recovered for reuse, so check out Planet Ark for details on what can be recycled and where.

And finally…

Make sure your cybersecurity is up to scratch (all of this cleaning will be for naught if your system is invaded by a virus or malware) and reach out if you need assistance. The experienced team at Geelong Technology Group can help; backups, anti-virus protection, managed IT support solutions, computer repairs, Ubiquiti phone systems and new software or hardware. So, don’t hesitate to give Geelong’s technology experts a call. 1300 GET GTG (1300 438 484) or stop by our showroom at 166 Francis St, Belmont.

computer_cookies_what_are_they

HTTP cookies, web cookies, internet cookies, browser cookies: What are computer cookies?

They don’t involve raisins or chocolate chips, but they are bite-sized: the computer version of cookies might not be as tempting as the IRL version, but can certainly come in handy. Essentially, computer cookies are small slices of information that enable convenient and personalised web browsing. These small packets of data are generated by a web server and sent to a web browser that stores the cookies for a predetermined period of time. 

What are computer cookies used for?

Generally, cookies are there for web-browsing benefits (although they do also free up storage space on servers). They are used for:

  • Session management to ‘remember’ individual login information and user actions or preferences.
  • Personalisation to customise a user’s experience, often through targeted advertising.
  • Tracking within shopping sites to track items that users view (or have viewed previously) and to record items in a shopping cart while a user browses further. Without these cookies, every time you visited a new page within a site, your shopping cart would revert to ‘empty’.

Different types of HTTP cookies 

Get to know your main two types of cyber-world cookies:

Session Cookies

These computer cookies are short-lived. They last just for the period of time that you are navigating a website – once you exit a site, the session cookie is deleted. These particular cookies are only ever stored in Random Access Memory, never written to the hard drive.

Persistent Cookies

Rather than expiring when a website is exited or a browser closed, longer-lasting cookies – or persistent cookies – expire only after a specified length of time or after a specified date. These cookies are used for two main purposes – authentication and tracking.

  • Authentication cookies help manage user sessions by tracking when a user logs in and under what name. They can also ensure that the correct user information is delivered to the correct user.
  • Tracking cookies log multiple visits to a site over time – building up a picture of a user based on what they browse when they return to a site. This information can be used for targeted advertising, but can also help users by retaining details such as log-in credentials.

Managing your computer cookies (and any cookie concerns)

Computer cookies consist of information that is sent out and back without being changed. This unaltered data cannot infect your computer with viruses or malware. Unfortunately, some internet nasties may be disguised as cookies (known as ‘super cookies’ – which many browsers will be able to block). Some cyberattacks can hijack cookies, enabling access to a user’s browsing sessions.

Cookies are an optional part of your internet experience. However, banning all cookies may make some websites difficult to navigate. Different browsers store their cookies in different places, but all will allow you to remove cookies already stored. Plus, allow you to choose how future cookies are collected or stored. (Generally, the cookie section of a browser is found under Settings > Privacy.)

Choose Geelong’s IT experts for your internet security

Regardless of how you manage and govern cookies, it’s best to remain vigilant and clean up your cookies regularly. If you are concerned about your online security when it comes utilising cookies, or if you’re not 100% confident regarding the online security of your business, Geelong Technology Group is here to help.

With our extensive experience and comprehensive cybersecurity solutions, we can assess your current situation and recommend actions to ensure your business is safeguarded against cyber threats in the future, so get in contact today. 

1300 GET GTG (1300 438 484)

📍 166 Francis Street, Belmont

smishing

What is smishing? SMS phishing attacks and protection tips

When it comes to cybercrime, there’s always something new on the horizon, hoping to catch us unawares. One of the latest is ‘smishing’ or SMS phishing. It’s fast becoming an ever-increasing problem for both individuals and businesses.

 

Definition of smishing

SMS phishing is essentially a form of phishing attack undertaken through text or SMS messages. The messages often contain an urgent notification regarding banking or courier services or an offer for a free product. They aim to manipulate people into turning over sensitive data such as bank account details, credit card numbers, account passwords, or access to a business’ computer systems.

 

How does smishing work?

Smishing works much like email phishing. It uses social-engineering tactics to appeal to our desire to have things work smoothly (Oh no! There’s a problem with my bank account!), to help others (A message from a bushfire relief charity? Sure, I’ll help out!) or to help ourselves (Eighty percent off a new phone? Heck, yeah!). Unfortunately, because text messages seem more personal,  we may be more likely to click a link in an SMS than we would nowadays in an email.

Utilising trust (scammers pose as legitimate organisations), context (lots of people are expecting packages around Christmas, for instance), and emotion (we must act now!), cybercriminals write messages that will generate action. In this case, the clicking of a link within the text message. This malicious link may either trick you into downloading malware onto your phone that then masquerades as a legitimate app (into which you enter your personal details) or takes you to a fake site, again requesting your sensitive data. These apps and websites are often well disguised and look ‘legitimate’, tricking the unwary.

 

How can we avoid smishing attacks?

As more and more mobile phones are used for work, SMS phishing has become not only a consumer threat, but also a business threat. Avoiding smishing attacks is paramount. But how do we do this? First, we need to lose any false confidence we have in text message safety – smartphone security DOES have its limitations, and CAN be compromised. 

So, the best way to remain safe? Follow the golden rule and do nothing. That is, always err on the side of caution and don’t click on links in text messages.

Of course, sometimes we may have clicked a link in a hurry or in error, and some messages may include legitimate links, so how can we manage the risk?

  • If you have clicked on a link that you now believe may be suspect, DO NOT give any personal details.
  • If you believe it may be a legitimate message, but you’re not sure, navigate to the official business webpage via a separate browser or call the company using a number that you look up independently of the text message. (And remember, legitimate institutions are extremely unlikely to request login information or account updates via SMS.)
  • Don’t reply to messages that look suspect, even to text ‘Stop’ – this will indicate your number is active and may prompt further smishing attempts.
  • Only ever download apps from an official app store.
  • Utilise multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible. A password inadvertently provided via a phishing attempt may still be useless to a cybercriminal if the second level of verification/authentication is required.
  • Report possible smishing attempts to the ACCC Scamwatch.

 

Need more information?

At Geelong Technology Group, our experienced IT professionals are here to help you avoid smishing messages, phishing emails, and other cyber-related scams or attacks. Helping homes and businesses in Geelong, the Bellarine Peninsula, the Surf Coast, and surrounding regions with their online security is what we love to do, so give us a call today on 1300 GET GTG (1300 438 484) or drop into our showroom at 166 Francis Street, Belmont.

small business IT challenges

Five small business IT challenges (and how they can be overcome)

As small business owners know, being a minnow in a big pond poses unique challenges. Without the resources available to larger corporations, small business owners need to navigate rough business waters with ingenuity and creativity. Tech can often play an important role in aiding SMBs, but it can also become a frustrating roadblock if things aren’t going to plan. So what are those tech challenges small businesses face? And how can they be overcome?

Staffing and technology expenses

Specialised internal IT staff are greatly in demand, and having an ‘IT Department’ – even if its a department of one – is out of the question for many small businesses. Technology spend – whether its on upgrades to existing hardware, advanced business products or new systems – can also put a significant strain on an organisation’s IT budget. (Link here to Nov Blog #1)

Too many IT business options, not enough time (or knowledge)

With an ever-growing number of programs and systems available to support and grow businesses, choosing the correct technology solution for your business is an ever-more-difficult and time-consuming proposition. Does the technology have all of the functionality you will require? Or, conversely, a surplus of options that you really don’t need? Will the tech be compatible with your daily operational needs? Is scaling up with the technology in the future going to be possible or problematic? All of these questions and more need to be answered before you invest your hard-earned cash.

Integration issues

Following on from the previous point, the lure of embracing new technology can play havoc with older IT systems, applications and business assets. Certainly, new IT options can help small businesses level the playing field with larger competitors, but only if their integration does not introduce inefficiencies or operational disruptions.

Employee accessibility

As well as working seamlessly with your existing infrastructure, new tech for small businesses also needs to work with – and for – your staff. SMBs may not have the staffing capabilities to ensure that new technology system roll-outs are smooth and timely, keeping downtime to a minimum. The technology vendor will likely provide training videos and tutorials, but a formal induction to become acquainted and comfortable with a new platform may not be possible for smaller organisations.

Data safety and security

Having the right back-up solutions and disaster recovery procedures is imperative for every business, no matter their size. But how many SMBs have these measures ready to go if a server crashes or there’s a power outage? Hackers are also becoming more sophisticated at targeting small businesses, many of whom lack the requisite cybersecurity resources to tackle these looming threats.

Get the right advice to conquer SMB IT challenges

For many SMBs, these five challenges are considered par for the course – a necessary evil when it comes to running a smaller organisation – because they aren’t aware that better IT support results are possible. 

Small business IT systems need regular maintenance to run smoothly and securely. However, keeping on top of things – both of existing structures and emerging technology options – doesn’t all need to be done in-house. If you’re not a tech-driven company, the best way to ensure your business is tech-savvy in the most budget-friendly way is to have highly capable partners that can steer you in the right direction. An experienced IT support partner, such as the knowledgeable team at Geelong Technology Group, can help your business address and overcome all of these challenges. Offering expert advice, tailored to your unique business situation, GTG will help your business take advantage of technology, avoiding its pitfalls in the process.

Give us a call to chat about your IT support needs today. 1300 GET GTG (1300 438 484)

Business IT Support

The Lowdown on Budgeting for Your Business IT Support

Budgeting: there’s a word few people love the sound of! But for small and medium businesses, budgeting for your IT support is a crucial step to getting the right support at the right price to meet your unique business requirements. Customisation is key!

Why should I budget for IT support?

It’s easy to fall into the mindset that business technology is a necessary evil – a set of items and services that you need to ‘shell out for’. At Geelong Technology Group we urge you to turn that thinking on its head. Technology is an investment in the operation of your business; supporting your company’s goals, helping to exceed your customers’ expectations and enhancing your ability to respond to changing business environments. Spending wisely on tech and IT support is prudent finance.

What should my IT support budget include?

IT is an integral part of nearly all businesses, and beyond the hardware required for your business (computers, laptops, tablets and mobile phones, for example), IT support may extend to VoiP communication systems (link here to Oct Blog #2), network servers, cloud storage, cyber security, data back-up, software and more. It’s a long list, and not all of it may be relevant to your situation, so first steps in the budgeting process involve assessing what you do and do not need.

What level of support do I need?

If your business doesn’t already have an IT strategy, using the budgeting period to craft one is an easy way to conquer two tasks with one planning session. Look closely at all aspects of your business and nut out what support you need and how that will allow your business to grow and thrive (and survive any knock-backs). Many businesses think they can take a less-is-more approach to IT support and still operate effectively. Unfortunately, this is often not the case, and may set up SMBs for problems down the track when their IT infrastructure falters or fails at a crucial juncture.

It’s a good idea to approach your IT support in the form of a health appraisal; think about keeping your business in tip-top shape with a proactive day-to-day plan, while also anticipating possible expenses for unexpected issues or changes that may arise. Evaluating your needs will allow you to firm up your IT requirements for both your current situation and for future scalability – giving your chosen managed services provider (MSP) the clearest information to recommend and price an IT support strategy.

How much should my IT support cost?

Unfortunately (and fortunately!) there is no ‘one size fits all’ model when it comes to IT support expenses. Pricing will be dependent on your business activities, size, set-up and the amount of support required, with recent research indicating that IT budgets as a percentage of revenue range from around 2% up to 8%, with the average, depending on business type, around 3% to 4%.

The good news for smaller businesses is that outsourced IT support is often a lot cheaper than employing staff onsite – and it can deliver a wide range of technical expertise. Managed IT services through an MSP can also be tailored to your needs at any given time, allowing for scalability up or down should circumstances require.

Speak to Geelong’s remote support specialists

Truly the only hard and fast rule about tech support budgeting is that there is no hard and fast rule – it comes down to what your business needs. So just to reiterate – customisation is key.

At Geelong Technology Group we work with numerous businesses of different sizes and across different sectors, tailoring their IT support to meet their unique requirements. If you’re seeking transformational results that consistently make better use of your IT budget, take a moment to get in contact with Geelong’s IT professionals today. 1300 GET GTG (1300 438 484)

Managed Services Provider

Managed IT Support: Switching Your Business IT to an MSP (Managed Services Provider)

Business downtime due to IT issues has got to be one of the most frustrating issues a company can face. And there are enough frustrating issues to face in this 2021 world without adding to them! Outsourcing to a managed IT services provider is a delegation that will not only offer a PROACTIVE approach to the management of your technology infrastructure but will also free up you and your team to get back to day-to-day business.

Read more