Cybersecurity & Remote Working: Tackling 2020’s Emerging Security Risks

Cybersecurity & Remote Working: Tackling 2020’s Emerging Security Risks

Why a rapid shift to working from home has seen a spike in security incidents, and what you can do to keep your organisation secure.

As if things weren’t already difficult enough, cyberattacks are on the rise.

In today’s strange new world, the home office has become the new work office. With a recent Gallup poll showing 62% of Americans working from home during the crisis – a number that doubled since mid-March – the change has been rapid, and not without its challenges.

Board members, staff, and employees the world over are now connecting to corporate and enterprise infrastructure via home devices, on home networks, in a home environment. The fallout has left organisations scrambling to secure these new remote working setups while ensuring business continuity.

Where security teams see vulnerabilities, cyber criminals see opportunities.

46% of businesses have suffered a cybersecurity incident during COVID-19

A recent study by IT security firm Barracuda Networks found 46% of respondents had experienced at least one security incident since the COVID-19 lockdown began, while 49% anticipated a data breach or similar cybersecurity incident within the next month.

Cybercriminals are keenly aware that cracks are emerging from the pressure, and they’re taking advantage of them. Take something as simple as a phishing email, for example. Stressed staff are far less likely to double check the ‘From:’ field on an email before opening it, inspect a link before clicking on it, or question an email attachment before opening it.

Identifying and rectifying these issues doesn’t just fall to staff. In many cases, security issues have been exacerbated by the shift to convenient, band-aid fixes that bypass policies and procedures put in place to keep data, documents, and sensitive information safe.

You may still be operating, but at what cost to your sensitive information and data?

Work from home’s most pressing security threats

A laptop on a desk

You don’t need to be yet another cybersecurity statistic.

Knowledge is power, so here are some of the most pressing threats you need to know about:

  • Sophisticated phishing email scams related to COVID-19 providing fake business updates from the CDC and World Health Organisation (WHO), offers of free vaccinations, as well as donation scams.
  • Fake Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet invite emails containing links that instead download malware to the user’s device, which is then able to access sensitive data and documents.
  • Attackers targeting inherent security flaws in personal devices and networks used in a home working environment including mobiles, tablets, and laptops which may already be affected by malware or viruses.
  • Staff using personal email addresses, messenger apps, and personal cloud storage accounts like Dropbox or Google Drive because it’s ‘easier’ and ‘quicker’.

Regain clarity and control across your remote-working environment

This new normal is known as the ‘new normal’ for a reason: it isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.

Recent increases in cybersecurity incidents are a clear sign that organisations like yours desperately require a long-term solution that will allow you to secure your new remote working setup while ensuring business continuity.

Achieving this clarity, control, and security is as easy if you:

  • Educate staff on the warning signs of potential threats including phishing scams and malware.
  • Only use trusted WiFi networks, and enable two-factor authentication on applicable accounts.
  • Ask that staff use unique passwords for any new digital work accounts so they’re not shared with personal accounts that may be more susceptible to a breach such as social media.
  • Limit the use of personal devices where possible, and instead supply staff with dedicated work devices that have been properly secured.
  • Ensure software and firmware updates are installed to avoid known security flaws, and that anti-virus software, firewalls, and virtual private networks (VPNs) are set up as and where required.
  • Transition to a comprehensive, secure business platform such as Stellar. Stellar’s unique advanced encryption technology combats modern day security risks, so staff are able to securely access important documents, data, and information no matter where they are or the device they’re using.
Keeping Sales & Marketing Teams On The Same Page

Keeping Sales & Marketing Teams On The Same Page

How to achieve clarity across your teams at a time when productivity, efficiency, and sales are paramount.

Few working relationships are as closely tied as sales and marketing.

Whether back at the office, on the shop floor, or giving a presentation to a prospective client two cities over, sales and marketing teams rely on one another to achieve success. They’re agile. They’re reactive. They’re also able to make adjustments on the fly with access to the latest facts, figures, and data…

…or, so they should. Achieving effective communication between your teams and clarity across materials is difficult on any given day. Throw in a global pandemic, a shift in operations, and the pressure of survivability relying on meeting sales goals, and it’s little wonder staying on the same page is tough.

Clarity? It isn’t always guaranteed

Man giving a sales presentation

In a perfect world, your marketing and sales teams would operate in perfect harmony.

If you’ve been around as long as we have, you’ll know reality is rarely so kind. Most modern organisations, enterprises, or boards are a mess of moving pieces. The more pieces in play, the more likely they are to come tumbling down at the slightest hiccup. The flow-on effect can be devastating.

The relationship between sales and marketing is cyclical. It’s an important yet fragile relationship. Marketing teams invest time and money developing the message, but it isn’t created in a vacuum.

Sales teams and their first-hand experience inform these decisions. How effective is the material when delivered to potential clients? What about their reactions to pricing, or packages?

Sales teams are just as reliant on marketing, requiring instant access to the most up-to-date material, pricing, and presentations in order to do their jobs effectively. It’s a difficult thing to do when emails are left sitting unread in inboxes, important updates go missing, or outdated material persists on devices lacking vital updates that should have been pushed out company-wide.

Long-term survivability relies on effective sales and marketing

Making and closing sales is a tough gig. It involves putting your best foot forward. If your teams can’t tell their left from right or, in this case, their latest version from an outdated draft, then you’re setting them up for failure. It’s as simple as that.

As we’ve explored in the past, breakdowns in visibility and communication aren’t uncommon. They can happen anywhere, at any time. Yet it’s often during times of crisis that these issues are thrown into stark relief, affecting visibility and robbing your organisation of control when it needs it the most.

How are you meant to operate with confidence if you can’t be sure whether sales teams have access to the latest messaging and material? Or that your marketing team is making informed decisions without the latest facts or figures?

Now more than ever, effective management of your teams is vital to long-term survival.

Managing your teams, made easy

A group marketing meeting

We’ve learned a lot over the years in managing our own teams here at Stellar. Our greatest successes have always come about when we’ve been able to combine the right people with the right technology in order to ensure they have the clarity, control, and visibility to do their jobs effectively.

Here’s what we’ve learned:

  • Increase visibility and communication through regular catch-ups, scheduled meetings, and follow-ups. If something isn’t clear? Ask!
  • Clearly label updated revisions so that it’s easy to see at a glance which version is the most current.
  • Regularly “clear house” to ensure outdated documents, information, and marketing material is removed from repositories to avoid any potential for confusion.
  • Avoid splitting communications across multiple, haphazard distribution channels like Dropbox, email, and physical paper copies. The more channels you use, the more likely it is that something will be missed or forgotten.
  • Consolidate your information, instructions, and resources into one easy-to-manage business platform to ensure instant, secure access to everything your teams need no matter where they are or what device they’re using.
Stellar Announces ‘New Zealand Made’ Certification As It Continues To Help Kiwi Businesses Operate In The New Era

Stellar Announces ‘New Zealand Made’ Certification As It Continues To Help Kiwi Businesses Operate In The New Era

Stellar is happy to announce that it is officially ‘New Zealand Made’. The announcement follows approval from ‘Buy New Zealand Made’ which sees the company granted the privilege of displaying the globally recognised logo across its software lineup.

Stellar has been proudly flying the New Zealand flag in the wake of recent global events, as it supports organisations in their efforts to operate normally in an abnormal world. The company has been able to provide this certainty via its secure business platforms which enable boards, managers, and other businesses to quickly and easily transition to a remote working environment. Communications and information are available at the touch of a button via Stellar anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Since its inception in 2011, Stellar has always been a Kiwi company. Every design. Every button. Every line of code. It’s born, bred, and kept right here in New Zealand. That’s why today’s announcement really is about more than just a logo. It’s a sign of Stellar’s continued commitment to supporting New Zealand businesses and in turn their ability to support New Zealanders now and into the future.

About Stellar

Stellar is a secure, intuitive cloud-based information management and distribution platform. Simply and securely access important documents, files, material, and more with complete control over user access and privileges. Gain complete control and visibility across all mission-critical material with instant access anytime, anywhere, on any device with Stellar. It’s ideal for boards, management teams, and more.

To learn more about Stellar please visit: https://www.stellarlibrary.com/why-stellar/ 

Increasing Visibility & Communication In Times Of Crisis

Increasing Visibility & Communication In Times Of Crisis

How to securely keep in touch while ensuring staff are across vital information in today’s unpredictable climate.

Staff around the world suddenly find themselves scattered to all corners.

Boards, enterprises, and other organisations have continued to push on at a rapid pace over the last few weeks, forced to embrace – and adapt to – a new, remote working environment in light of recent events.

As your organisation begins to catch its breath, you may be surprised to find just how many of the small things you start to miss. The chatter? Discussions around the water cooler (or coffee machine)? The sights and sounds of familiar, friendly faces?

Small changes like these speak to a larger issue that’s emerging from this crisis: how do you maintain communication and nurture staff culture – securely – all while ensuring vital information isn’t left sitting unseen in email inboxes?

It’s a question that will require an answer in the coming days and weeks.
 

Breakdowns in communication may prove catastrophic

Maintaining visibility and communication, remotely

Clear communication has never been more crucial than it is now, in this moment.

Whether you’re managing tens, hundreds, or even thousands of staff, you need to be able to retain clarity across mission critical tasks. If not? Vital documents, information, and tasks will remain un-actioned and your organisation will stagnate when it needs to be moving forward.

It’s not as if you’re left wanting for options. In fact, there are almost too many digital solutions available to the prospective CEO, Board Member or, more likely, member of the tech team left to find the fastest, most effective way to keep everyone in touch.

The trouble is, choosing the right digital solution that will see you through is, if you’ll pardon the old adage, akin to finding a needle in a haystack. Not only does it need to help you keep in touch, it also needs to keep vital information safe.

If your solution isn’t secure, you’re simply solving one problem by creating another.
 

Now is not the time to let security slip

Speed is of the essence as the world changes, and fast.

But in your haste to embrace a new normal, it’s important to keep security in mind.

Many of today’s common third-party communication channels are popular for a reason: they’re quick to set up and easy to use. Yet it’s still vitally important that you don’t trade ease of use for your organisation’s security.

In the days and weeks following this worldwide shift, major experts and outlets have started to raise concerns around the increasing number of security flaws present in many popular third-party solutions.

To retain clarity, communication, and security, you need a comprehensive solution.
 

Simple habits, strong results

Maintaining secure communication is simple with Stellar

This change in environment requires a shift in thinking.

Retaining visibility across your organisation while maintaining effective communication is easy with the right combination of secure software and sensible, simple changes to your habits.

In order to communicate effectively and stay connected, consider some of the following tips:

  1. Encourage ongoing communication with a simple, secure tool that’s accessible by members of your team anytime, anywhere, irrespective of the device they’re using.
  2. Establish a regular schedule for meetings, catch-up calls, and check-ins with members of staff.
  3. Key calls, events, or mission-critical tasks can easily slip when you’re operating in a more relaxed home environment, so set timely reminders to ensure everyone is up-to-date.
  4. Provide additional channels for relaxed, general conversation in order to promote staff culture and keep members in touch.
  5. Avoid relying on social media or insecure third-party apps and instead encourage the use of secure, comprehensive solutions that allow for remote communication and collaboration.

 

Increasing communication, clarity, and accountability is simple with Stellar

Stellar makes it easy to maintain business as usual in an unusual world.

Our securely encrypted business platforms deliver instant access anytime, anywhere, on any device. Plus, they’re easy to learn and simple to use. We offer an efficient, functional, and cost-effective solution to communications, distribution, and engagement.

If you would like to see how Stellar can support you, please contact us today to learn more.

Digital Is Key To Your Organisation’s Survival In A Changing World

Digital Is Key To Your Organisation’s Survival In A Changing World

How to hit the ground running and keep on top of vital tasks when a critical event happens.

In the space of a few weeks, the world feels as though it’s shifted on its axis.

The business world has followed suit, leaving boards, management, and staff shocked and reeling at the pace of change. In light of recent events, there’s been a paradigm shift in the way the world does business.

Understandably, this change is presenting challenges. The world now demands distance, space, and the ability to work remotely in order to keep people safe. Organisations are being implored to do their part to flatten the curve.

But what if you’re not set up to deal with a situation like this?

The truth is, few are.
 

The analog age is well and truly over

The analog age is over

This change is impacting businesses large and small, but it’s having a disproportionate effect on those who’ve resisted moving to a digital environment in the past. Without a Cloud-based solution to fall back on, many businesses are teetering on the edge.

If you’ve operated in a largely analog environment up till now, the hurdles likely feel insurmountable. How do you keep your distance, keep staff safe, and keep your business running? How do you prepare documents? Collaborate on proposals? Review contracts?

The how and when of what comes next is a pressing question – and it’s one we’ll be helping you answer here on the Blog in the coming days, weeks, and months – but for now survival hinges on sorting what’s needed from what’s nice to have.

At this moment in time, you need a solution that will see you through, otherwise…
 

The window of opportunity is closing, fast

The worldwide shakeup is impacting businesses on a level we haven’t seen since the great depression. Those that are unable to make the transition to a digital environment within a timely manner are going to struggle to stay open.

We know that organisations are determined to keep moving, so any substantial downtime can be debilitating. The question for years has been ‘Analog, or digital?’. Nowadays, it’s a matter of ‘Do you want to stay in business, or not?’.

The answer is as simple as the solution.
 

Change is scary, but it can be simple

Stellar's simple, secure business platforms

Digital is no longer a maybe, it’s a must.

Here at Stellar, we’ve been able to lean on the systems we’ve been developing for years in light of recent events, which has enabled us to stay on board, adjust, engage, and continue with business as usual as best we can in this unusual world.

It’s something we can’t not share with the businesses we know are affected. Sometimes the perfect tool for the job is invented long before it’s needed, and while we can’t say we saw this coming – few did – we can say it’s been the key to keeping our business moving.

With the right platform, you’ll be able to seize this moment to move board members, executives, and staff over to a digital, cloud-based working environment. It’s easy to set up and easier to use, so everyone can collaborate while maintaining a degree of separation, control, and momentum.

We know things are changing by the day, so the window of opportunity to ensure your business is prepared for what’s to come is closing fast. Digital is your key to operating with certainty today, while being responsive enough to adapt to the uncertainty of what tomorrow may bring.

Either way, we’re here for you.
 

Find out more

Adapting to these challenging times is simple with Stellar.

Our securely encrypted business platforms deliver instant access anytime, anywhere, on any device. Plus, they’re easy to learn and simple to use. We offer an efficient, functional, and cost-effective solution to communications, distribution, and engagement.

If you would like to see how Stellar can support you, please contact us today to learn more.

Overcoming The Challenge Of Working Remotely On Short Notice

Overcoming The Challenge Of Working Remotely On Short Notice

How to keep connected while keeping staff safe and secure in these uncertain times.

Like many of you, we here at Stellar have been closely monitoring news of the COVID-19 outbreak.

In the wake of the virus and its rapid spread across the globe, we’re conscious that these are sensitive times for many. We also acknowledge that a caring response is required in the face of such an event, with the way people and organisations usually operate being turned on its head in a matter of weeks.

Being able to adapt and respond in kind is key to business continuity in these challenging times. So with the work environment changing by the day, how prepared are you to run your business remotely?
 

IT departments are under pressure

IT department configuring network

Following the Coronavirus outbreak, governments and leading health officials are encouraging social distancing, self-isolation, and working from home as the most effective methods for limiting the spread of the virus.

The message is clear: don’t come into work.

Industry leaders are already being applauded for taking this advice to heart, encouraging staff to work from home. It’s the safest way to continue operating while ensuring staff are kept safe. Many also no longer have a choice. Travel restrictions introduced across most major countries have left many high-ranking team members stranded for an indeterminate amount of time.

So, what happens now?

Many organisations, boards, and small-to-medium sized businesses now find themselves under pressure to rapidly transition to a digital working environment. Secure, remote collaboration is what is required at the moment. The issue is, most lack the infrastructure to simply flick a switch on such short notice, especially if they’ve resisted the digital transition in recent years.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that there’s no way to facilitate business moving forward without embracing a digital response to this physical crisis. The issue then becomes, what is the quickest, easiest, most effective way to solve this problem?
 

Too much choice, too much downtime

Uncertainty weighs heavy over much of the business world at the moment. How long will this last? What will the long-lasting impacts be? Looking at the short-term, the question has to be: how do we keep businesses running in order to ensure staff can keep a roof over their heads and food on the table?

It’s events like this that truly test the strength of an organisation’s digital infrastructure. Many workplaces rely on digital services for some day-to-day tasks, but transitioning to a wholly remote workplace across organisations with hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of members?

It’s a tough ask.

Especially in such a short time-frame.

Minimising downtime is key, as is ensuring people – as well as documents, files, and devices – are safe and secure. However, with the amount of options available and the disparity between equipment, old mobile devices, outdated laptops, and incompatible software versions, it’s an additional headache that no one needs at a moment like this.

What businesses do need is a solution that’s simple, straightforward, and can be set up in seconds.
 

Adapt quickly, work remotely, and stay safe

Working remotely from home

It’s often said that most meetings could just be emails.

With the right digital tool-set, it turns out that’s actually true.

With the level of uncertainty in the world at the moment, it’s clear that ignoring digital solutions is no longer an option. For businesses to continue for the foreseeable future, they need to embrace technology that allows for secure, remote collaboration.

It’s really that simple.

At least, it can be with the right solution.

At Stellar, we’ve been able to stay connected, active and engaged, with the ability to maintain isolation and visibility any time, anywhere, on any device thanks to our secure, cloud-based business collaboration platform.

We’ve been developing our product for a number of years now, so that boards and businesses can stay connected, secure, and collaborate quickly and easily. We’re proud to be able to offer a platform that provides quick uptake, a fast learning curve, and robust functionality that ensures you’re able to achieve continuity and keep things moving in these uncertain times.

We’re here to help.
 

Find out more

Adapting to these challenging times is simple with Stellar. Our secure, collaborative platform is intuitive, secure, and offers instant access anytime, anywhere, on any device. If you would like to see how Stellar can support you, please contact us today to learn more.