Managing Info On The Move: 5 Document Distribution Software must-haves

Managing Info On The Move: 5 Document Distribution Software must-haves

What to look for when you need a solution that provides secure access anywhere, anytime, on any device

When the Apple iPad was introduced in 2010, reactions were mixed.

It would never catch on. Even if it did, it couldn’t compete with netbooks. Not to mention the lack of wireless sync functionality. Well, hundreds of millions of devices and some ten years on, it’s safe to say the digital landscape is very different.p

Smartphones, laptops, and, yes, tablets like the iPad are now commonly found within workplaces around the world. They’ve become the ideal companion for executives, board members, and sales teams who need to stay informed while on the move.

Instant access to sales figures? Marketing material at your fingertips at all times? The list of potential benefits is endless, yet it’s the list of possible security risks that are posing a unique challenge for organisations wanting to keep their data secure.
 

Accessibility is a double-edged sword

Mobile devices used in meetings

Unlocking the potential of mobile devices should be as simple as unlocking your phone.

Unfortunately, things are never quite so straightforward. How do you keep your devices secure? Data, documents, and other information up-to-date? Or, for that matter, ensure phones, tablets, and laptops aren’t lost or stolen?

A combination of poor device management and insecure digital solutions continues to undercut the potential promised by mobile devices. Having access to information on the go is one thing, but it defeats the purpose if doing so puts this information – and your organisation – at risk every time you do so.
 

Convenience can prove costly

Accessing information while you’re on the move poses two major challenges.

The first is in keeping devices themselves secure. This wouldn’t be a worry if there wasn’t a long list of high-profile cases where devices were either lost, misplaced, or stolen over the years.

Did you know?

  • In 2017, Samsung conducted a study which found that 93% of surveyed professionals, healthcare workers, public servants, and other executives used a smartphone for work every day (Source).
  • A study by Verizon found that “One in three organizations suffered data breaches due to mobile devices.” (Source)
  • Prey Inc. discovered that 69% of missing devices were “simply misplaced.” (Source)

The second challenge relates to the information itself, and how it’s accessed. In fact, it’s just as important as the security of the device. Were those documents sent to your phone via email, for example? Downloaded via a cheap storage service? Sent via Slack?

As we’ve discussed at length in the past, insecure communication and distribution channels such as email put your data at risk. Yet when you’re dealing with mobile devices, there’s a limit to the number of ways you can get data to – and from – a phone or laptop.

Thankfully, there are better options.
 

Keep your information safe, secure, and easily accessible with a Cloud-based solution

Sales teams using mobile devices

The answer lies in the Cloud.

Cloud-based solutions have gained popularity in recent years, and for good reason. They provide one of the safest, most secure methods for accessing your information anywhere, at any time, on any device.

Not all Cloud-based business platforms are created equal, so keep these must-haves in mind:
 

1. It needs to be easy to set up, and easier to use

Software is only ever as secure as the person who’s least motivated to use it.

Your choice may boast high levels of security, but if it’s complex, complicated, or too difficult to use, you can guarantee that someone will find a way to circumvent it. That’s just human nature.

Given this, it’s best to look for a solution that’s built on the assumption that the application will be used on the move, and that users don’t want to be bothered by updates, management issues, or long, overly-involved setup procedures.

Sales teams and executives are already operating at 110% capacity, so find a solution that seamlessly integrates new features without requiring large updates or new training just to re-learn the basics.

The simpler it is to use, the more effective it will be.
 

2. It needs to provide control, visibility, and security

Accessibility is one thing, but you also need a solution that will keep things safe.

Certain Cloud-based platforms provide complete control over access rights via a central administrator, who is able to monitor access in real-time. With this functionality at your fingertips, there’s no risk of losing data as devices only access a copy of the information, not the original.

What this means in practical terms is that if a device were to be stolen or misplaced, the files wouldn’t be lost with it. Plus, you’d be able to revoke the device’s access with just the touch of a button.

What if you’re working offline? Say you’re travelling in areas with spotty mobile coverage, for example? Not to worry. Look for a solution that offers offline capabilities, so that you don’t have to be connected to the Cloud in order to access the files you need.

Platforms like these sync your changes – and automatically backup your files – when you reconnect.
 

3. It needs to provide instant access to the latest information

Version control can be a nightmare.

All too often, staff are left wasting time asking whether a document is up-to-date. A Cloud-based solution addresses this issue by ensuring everyone has access to the most recent version of a file, whether it’s a training video, presentation library, or marketing .PDF.
 

4. It needs to be easy to keep things organised

Sales teams face an uphill battle closing deals at the best of times, but life is that much easier when they’re able to rely on a Cloud-based solution that allows them to easily prepare and engage with the audience using mobile devices.

The right combination of mobile device and Cloud-based platform makes it easy to group and order documents, ensuring seamless presentations that allow sales teams to close deals that much faster.
 

5. It needs to work across all devices

If a piece of software doesn’t work across all of your devices, platforms, or operating systems, you’re in for a lot of downtime. Instead, look for a solution that is completely device “agnostic”, so that you can seamlessly switch between mobile and desktop devices whether they be iOS, Android, or Windows.
 

Supercharge your team with instant access wherever they go

As with any new piece of technology, mobile devices pose their fair share of hurdles for modern-day organisations. But here at Stellar we’ve always seen those hurdles as a challenge worth overcoming, rather than something to put in the too-hard basket.

So no, keeping your information secure doesn’t mean you need to go back to the stone age, ditch your mobile device, and start using pen and paper again. With the right Cloud-based business platform powering your mobile devices, you can improve the productivity, workflow, and effectiveness of your team while ensuring everything is kept safe and secure at all times.
 
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Data Protection: 64% Of Businesses Rate ‘Keeping Data Secure’ As Their Biggest Concern

Data Protection: 64% Of Businesses Rate ‘Keeping Data Secure’ As Their Biggest Concern

What Credit Cards, Identity Theft, and Snowden can teach us about effectively securing and distributing sensitive data

Nostalgia is a heck of a thing.

Many organisations these days – regardless of age or experience – tend to develop a hankering for the “good old days” – a poorly defined, vague time and place when life was simpler and, somehow, better.

When it comes to managing sensitive data, things certainly may have seemed simpler “back in the day”, but they weren’t necessarily better. Paperwork has always been a pain to manage. Especially in today’s age where analog processes are struggling to keep pace with the sheer volume of information.

It’s one of the major reasons we’re seeing so many users adopting digital alternatives.

Yet in the age of the Cloud, access is also fraught with risks and dangers. In fact, Cybersecurity Insiders’ 2019 Cloud Security Report found that 64% of organisations rank data loss and leakage as their biggest Cloud security concern.

It’s easy to see why so many are left pining for the days of locking documents in a filing cabinet and throwing away the key. So why is it so difficult, and what can you do to keep your data protected?
 

Not all Cloud-based solutions are created equal

Board meetings

Now more than ever it’s easy to mismanage data and sensitive information.

That’s because not all digital solutions offer the same levels of support, security, or functionality. This poses unique risks for different data types and distribution channels, especially for those operating under the assumption that everything’s a-ok.

Take the distribution of important documents, for example. Data needs to be encrypted at every stage of the process, regardless of the location or device being used. The right solution will ensure data is protected with multi-level security protocols and AES 256-Bit Encryption.

Unfortunately, not all applications have this level of security baked into their processes.

This can also be the case for information such as payroll data, marketing materials, or any other sensitive information. Yes, the software may be designed to handle security and storage, but unless it walls off access behind robust authorisation processes, it’s all too easy for files to be accessed, moved, or stolen.
 

Overconfidence can be a (data) killer

Business meetings

As we discussed in our earlier post on recovering from a security breach, 76% of New Zealand organisations surveyed consider themselves well-prepared to deal with a cybersecurity attack, while in truth the majority ranked poorly on the incident response scale.

These stats highlight one of the most important lessons you can learn about keeping data secure: never become too complacent. Blindly trusting that your solution of choice is the right one is a surefire way to set yourself up a fall. Security threats are constantly evolving, so you need a solution that does the same.

Stories of hacks, leaks, identity theft and stolen credit card details are a constant reminder of the importance – and consequences – of keeping information secure. Or not, as the case may be.

Did you know?

  • Cybersecurity Insiders’ 2019 Cloud Security Report found that 42% of respondents listed unauthorised access as the biggest security threat to their Cloud based data (Source).
  • 39% listed the hijacking of accounts, services or traffic.
  • A further 30% mentioned malicious insiders such as disgruntled employees.

Threats don’t always come from external sources, either. The most famous example of this remains Edward Snowden, who leaked highly classified National Security Agency (NSA) documents in 2013.

Whether it’s a disgruntled employee still able to access files due to limited controls or low levels of encryption that leave your data vulnerable, your choice of Cloud based platform will either help keep you secure or put your reputation, finances, and data at risk.
 

Protecting your data doesn’t have to be difficult

Cloud based document management software

There’s no denying the issues around data security are complex, but a solution doesn’t have to be. The key to managing sensitive information and keeping it secure starts at the top with a comprehensive set of protocols, procedures, and a business platform that’s able to address these major concerns.

With the right solution, you’ll be able to rely on AES 256-Bit Encryption as well as new developments like proprietary encryption technology to ensure data is safe every step of the way. Plus a comprehensive set of controls will ensure you can gain – and retain – complete control over who, how, when, and to what extent data can be accessed with the ability to revoke with the touch of a button.

It’s safe to say that the right choice in Cloud based platforms is the most effective way to alleviate these fears and ensure small to medium businesses, enterprises, and organisations alike are able to keep data secure while operating with confidence.

 

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Stick The Landing: 6 Steps for recovering from a security breach

Stick The Landing: 6 Steps for recovering from a security breach

Why it isn’t the act of falling but, rather, how your organisation picks itself back up that really matters.

In the digital era, a cybersecurity breach is as inevitable as death or taxes.

Most organisations will lament the latter, but when it comes to the former? Malware, Phishing Scams, and Zero-Day Exploits remain largely unfamiliar territory. Despite this inexperience, 76% of New Zealand organisations surveyed consider themselves well-prepared to deal with a cybersecurity attack:

Preparedness for a cyber attack

These figures should be uplifting, but in reality they’re anything but. Why? Because in the same survey it was found that the average cyber incident response maturity of New Zealand organisations sits at just 1.7, hovering somewhere between Initial and Ad-Hoc on a 5 point scale.

This discrepancy between perception and reality is putting organisations – and information – at risk.
 

Security breaches are a “When”, not “If”

The growing risk of a cybersecurity breach

As we’ve covered in the past, your organisation’s access to a wealth of highly sensitive, valuable information including intellectual property, sales data, and client documents – among others – makes it the prime target for a cyberattack.

Yet as these numbers show, very few – if any – organisations, enterprises, or even small to medium sized businesses are as prepared as they think they are when it comes to responding to an event like this.

That’s if they rate it at all. Look a little further abroad and you’ll find studies like the one conducted by Keeper which found that just 9% of businesses rank cybersecurity as a top business priority, while 60% say they do not have a cyberattack prevention plan in place.

This haphazard approach only exacerbates the effects of an inevitable cyber breach.
 

Recovery isn’t always guaranteed

Let’s take a moment to put the potential ramifications of these stats into context.

In 2015, Commissioner Luis A. Aguilar of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission did just this as he highlighted the need for greater attention on the cybersecurity challenges facing small and midsize businesses in an article for Cyber Security Review:

“It has been estimated that half of the small businesses that suffer a cyberattack go out of business within six months as a result.”

The stats, facts, and figures have only gotten worse since then:

Did you know?

  • According to Statist, the average cost to businesses affected by a breach in the US rose by 3.47% in 2019 to 8.19 Million U.S. Dollars (Source).
  • Specialist insurer Hiscox found that the mean cost of a security breach jumped from $34,000 USD to $200,000 USD over the course of 2019 (Source).
  • The National Cyber Security Alliance reports that 10% of small businesses that suffered from a cyberattack in 2019 went out of business (Source).

These figures make it clear that an incident like this isn’t just costly, it can prove fatal. So while prevention may be better than a cure, preparing for the inevitable should still be a top priority for those looking to take cybersecurity seriously.
 

6 Steps that will help your board recover from a cybersecurity breach, with class

Preparing for a data breach

Convincing those at the top that cybersecurity needs to be taken seriously remains a big hurdle.

Yet even for those that do, an effective risk management plan and data security strategy cannot be considered ‘comprehensive’ if it doesn’t acknowledge the inevitability of a potential breach. Otherwise you’ll be left scratching your head with a plan that deals solely with prevention rather than recovery.

It’s easy to see why some may be apprehensive about adopting this kind of strategy. Some may interpret it as an admission of failure. In reality, being ready to act eliminates any delay in response, minimises downtime, limits bad press, and highlights that you’re aware of the realities of doing business in an increasingly connected world.

To help you along the way, here are a few suggestions for the hours, days, and weeks that follow:

1. Identify the breach

Many of today’s leading hacks, attacks, and breaches rely on their ability to remain hidden, where they slowly syphon important data as well as intercept emails and other network communications. It’s one of the major reasons we recommend you steer clear of hitting ‘Send’ on that next email.

Identifying these issues is a major hurdle on the road to recovery, but robust internal monitoring, tools, and systems should turn up any unusual traffic, unauthorised IP addresses, or mass login attempts, for example, ensuring they’re caught at the earliest possible time.

2. Set up virtual containment lines

Isolating the breach as well as any affected files or hardware minimises the damage and fast tracks recovery. Depending on the nature of the attack, this could include taking servers or systems offline, revoking access privileges, and updating credentials.

Limited oversight and control over who has access to what can make this task difficult, which is why it’s recommended that boards employ an effective business platform with a robust set of security features that make it easy to update or revoke access privileges for devices and data with the touch of a button.

3. Find the gap in the fence

Tasking relevant departments with identifying the weak links in the security fence is where real change is affected. The ultimate aim here is to leave your organisation in a stronger position that it started.

It isn’t uncommon to face internal pressure at this time to fast track the process, and return to business as usual at the earliest possible date. However, effective recovery cannot be rushed. Unless these flaws are addressed, your organisation is simply inviting repeat attacks.

4. Survey the damage

Upon triaging these digital wounds, it’s time to take stock and ascertain the severity of the breach. Was customer or employee data accessed? Copied? Stolen? What about sensitive information, data, or intellectual property?

Looking at it from this point of view, you’ll be able to identify whether this was simply the work of ‘Hacktivist’ hobbyist groups, or a legitimate attempt to siphon valuable data from your business.

Internal departments should be able to quickly and easily audit all internal files, folders, and other data for suspicious activity. More importantly, any affected files can then be restored from Cloud backups or replicas, as outlined in your disaster recovery plan.

5. Notify those affected

In the aftermath of many of the 21st century’s largest security breaches, the silence has been deafening. Many corporations embrace a softly softly approach, which sees them talking in circles and spinning PR until the truth inevitably surfaces. In this context, recovery becomes that much more difficult.

The truth of the matter is that yes, you’re likely to face bad press post-security breach. However the long-lasting impact of a lack of transparency with press, customers, or clients, can further place your name in poor standing.

As far as is reasonable according to internal policies and law, honesty is always the best policy.

Many countries actually enact harsh consequences for non-disclosure. Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), for example, you are required to “…report certain types of personal data breach to the relevant supervisory authority. You must do this within 72 hours of becoming aware of the breach, where feasible.

An open, honest recovery is the only path to rebuilding trust in the court of public opinion. For most customers or clients, the next best thing to an organisation that’s free of issues is one that is aware of – and proactively working to solve – them when they arise.

6. Prepare for the next one

At the time it will be difficult for your organisation to see a data breach as anything other than a hassle, but it’s also a learning opportunity if approached in the right manner. Theoretical planning will only get you so far, but being able to work through – and recover from – a real-world security breach enables you to identify gaps in policies, procedures, and IT infrastructure.

More importantly, you can look back over how the breach was handled, how it was received, and further modify your response so that you can minimise downtime, close vulnerabilities, and keep clients better informed when – not if – there is a next time.
 

Further secure your files with the right business platform

Keeping information secure and out of reach of cyber attackers, hackers, and other third parties can prove difficult in this day and age, as can salvaging lost files, data, or sensitive information in the wake of a breach.

That’s why we’ve always been proponents of a secure business platform that is able to all at once robust enough to mitigate against a breach as well as reliable enough to make the recovery process as smooth and seamless as possible.

Sticking the landing and saving face may be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. With the right solution boasting multi-level security protocols and industry-leading encryption you’ll be able to securely store, share, and send files while being better situated than ever to recover from a breach with your files, data, and reputation intact.

 

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Document Management Software: Tackling the information management challenge

Document Management Software: Tackling the information management challenge

How software for document management helps keep your organisation across sensitive information.

Now more than ever, we’re living in the information era.

But if that’s the case…why are so many organisations struggling to make informed decisions?

The truth is, good governance doesn’t hinge on the quantity of information, but rather its quality.

There’s more of it these days, sure. A wealth of it, in fact. Sales figures. Reports. Meeting minutes, memos, and agendas. But the lack of a clear way to parse this information is affecting organisations and their ability to make informed, accurate, productive decisions.

In fact, some 89% of organisations admit that they’re struggling to manage data.

It’s a problem which, like that pile of information, is only getting bigger.

 

The information issue

An overwhelming amount of paperwork

Big Data promised a future where organisations, enterprises, and small to medium businesses alike could finally harness the power held within the information at their fingertips, and use it to forge a path towards increased growth on the back of newly informed decision-making.

In reality, things are a little different. Information is difficult to parse without the right tools, so things are being missed. Vital information is slipping through the cracks. There is no automatic search functionality when you’re dealing with a stack of printed paperwork.

As for the humble post-it note? Well, there’s only so much it can do to ease the task of annotation.

Did you know?

  • M-Files’ 2019 Global Intelligent Information Management Benchmark Report found that the productivity of 82% of respondents was affected by trying to find the correct version of a file (Source).
  • A further 91% of those surveyed said that their job would be easier if they could quickly and easily access the most current version of a document.
  • A staggering 83% of workers admit to having to recreate a document which already existed because they were unable to find out where it had been left, stored, or placed.

The lack of an effective method for managing this information is affecting organisations and their ability to forecast, analyse, and act. It’s a worry. Especially when you consider high reporting and disclosure standards are essential for proper accountability between an entity and its investors / shareholders.

Board members are typically very busy people. Too much information can chew up their time, and diffuse the board’s focus when it comes to making a decision. It has to be kept in mind that directors have a statutory obligation to be properly informed in their decision making, so care has to be taken to make sure all the relevant information needed to make decisions is provided for meetings.

These tasks are made tougher in countries like New Zealand, where continuous disclosure regimes have been introduced to improve the standards of disclosure in the listed issuer sector.

This lack of clarity and control can prove costly.

 

A lack of clarity costs more than just productivity

Dramatic headlines about board members being sued by shareholders tell only part of the story of the challenges facing organisations as they struggle to make informed decisions that affect the wealth of shareholders – and in many cases their own wealth – as well as the welfare of other company stakeholders.

How can you expect to lead without a clear idea of what’s come before, or a view of what lies ahead?

Take sales and marketing, for example. It’s impossible to make informed decisions without a clear idea of the latest sales figures. Board meetings? They’re an absolute mess if everyone is on a different page, let alone reading from entirely different – or outdated – documents.

Operating blind is a fast track to losing the confidence of staff, shareholders, and clients.

There needs to be a better way.

 

Cloudy with a chance of better information management

Document management software is an effective solution

With all of these issues, is it any wonder organisations are turning to document management software?

A move towards digital solutions has been on the cards for a while now, ever since laptops became more portable and tablets arrived on the scene making it that much easier for organisations to distribute, manage, and access information on the fly.

Combine this new technology with the power of the Cloud, and organisations everywhere now have the solution they’ve long needed to make sense of the influx of data, documents, and information that they deal with on a daily basis.

With the right solution, organisations can now boost productivity, manage and track communications, collaborate on documents, train staff, and connect with stakeholders all within the one piece of software.

When it comes to finding the most relevant information, keep these tips in mind:

 

1. Stick to matters of substance

Whether it’s board papers or sales figures, you should prioritise the issue at hand and focus on key matters of substance. It’s important to manage the number of documents in circulation to ease the burden and make information easier to manage.

If you’re working with lengthy documents, aim to include an executive summary, as well as a table of contents, and section / page numbering where possible for easy reference. Key points, recommendations, and options should also be highlighted which, with the right system, is as easy as a few clicks.

 

2. Keep on top of the basics

With so much information now at your fingertips, it’s easy to get carried away. Before you branch out, make sure you have the basics covered. If you’re preparing for a board meeting, for example, ensure you include an agenda, minutes of previous meetings, as well as supporting documents for the topics being covered.

 

3. Stay focused on individual needs

Beyond that, each organisation will have a specific focus on individual aspects. An important part of document management software in this case is that it allows papers to be cross-referenced and individual items readily identified.

 

A simple solution for the information era

The information era may be a difficult one to manage, but we still believe that there’s power in knowledge. You just need to know how to get the most out of it! That’s why Stellar has always been a major proponent of document management systems and their place as a modern solution for organisations that have struggled to keep up with an influx of information.

As we’ve covered in the past, making the transition to a digital environment is now easier than it’s ever been, and the benefits more than repay the time and investment involved in making the switch. It’s the simplest, most effective way to cut costs, boost productivity, and ensure accountability, compliance, and protection for relevant stakeholders and authorised parties.

 

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Head In The Clouds: 3 Ways cloud file-sharing can boost productivity

Head In The Clouds: 3 Ways cloud file-sharing can boost productivity

Why distributing documents via the Cloud is a boon for your business

When it comes to modern technology, many organisations have their heads stuck in the sand.

Especially when it comes to things like the Cloud.

According to Small Business Trends, 84% of businesses still rely on manual, paper-based, and outdated digital processes. For some? It’s because keeping pace can be difficult. Advances in software, hardware, and mobile devices come and go daily. For others? It seems they’ve checked out of the race entirely.

The stats make it clear that many organisations are yet to embrace the benefits of newer technology. It’s easy to ignore the advances beyond your four walls – or above the roof, so to speak – but if you want to maximise productivity, it’s time to revisit the Cloud.
 

What is the Cloud?

Broadly speaking, the Cloud is a term that covers anything that is not local computing.

At its heart, it simply means storing and accessing data via the internet.

This includes:

  • Software as a Service
    SaaS is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted. This gives you access to software that is always up-to-date and doesn’t need to be continuously upgraded or swapped out for ‘the next big thing’.
  • Platform as a Service
    PaaS provides a platform allowing customers to develop, run, and manage applications without the complexity of building and maintaining the infrastructure themselves.
  • Infrastructure as a Service
    IaaS is internet-based computing that provides shared processing resources and data to computers and other devices on demand.

Ignorance is bliss costly

Cloud-based tools are nothing new. They’ve been taken for granted by businesses and individual users alike in recent years as they’ve become more ubiquitous in the boardroom, workplace, or on the salesroom floor.

Up until recently, countries like New Zealand have seen substantial cost blowouts in the public and private sector in implementing new computer systems. So it’s only natural that questions would arise around the expected return on investments in Cloud computing.

The problem is, many of the questions being asked today are outdated, especially in this modern, connected era. Integrated, Cloud-based solutions have come a long way in recent years, but the assumptions about their benefits are still based on an old way of thinking.
 

Business as usual is bad business

Up until recently, many studies suggested that an increase in IT spending didn’t necessarily increase organisational productivity or workflow. These observations are deeply flawed, in that they are often couched in terms such as Return on Investment or Total Cost of Ownership.

To operate without the Cloud is to pass up huge time and operational savings.

The cost of not? It’s staggering:

Did you know?

  • McKinsey & Company found that employees spend an average of 9.3 hours per week searching for – and gathering – information (Source).
  • CIO discovered that an average of $14,000 worth of productivity is lost per year, per worker due to their inability to find the proper data they require for the job at hand (Source).
  • A report from the American Council for Technology (ACT) and Industry Advisory Council (IAC) found that outdated, legacy systems across federal agencies ate up around 75% of operations and maintenance funding (Source).

The Cloud has been around long enough now that it’s time to step back and evaluate its benefits.

What you find might well surprise you.
 

The competitive advantages will have you floating on Cloud nine

The benefits offered by the Cloud

Today’s numbers show that the Cloud is increasingly associated with boosts in productivity.

The reason? It’s simple. Cloud computing is different from the costly IT systems and resulting support infrastructure of the past because it is the ultimate shared resource. With a comprehensive platform at your fingertips, it’s easy to manage and securely distribute data. Plus, the reliability of a transparent licensing model makes it that much more straightforward to control costs.

The fact that Government is now starting to move data into the Cloud is just another vote of confidence in the benefits on offer. And they’re not the only ones. According to a report by m-hance, the majority of businesses they surveyed “have adopted some form of cloud solution or hosted service in an effort to simplify their daily tasks, lower costs and give employees always-on access to information and applications.”

When you take a look at some of the advantages below, it’s easy to see why:
 

1. It’s easy to set up, and even easier to manage

Cloud-based services usually require no management personnel, and often run at close to 100 percent up-time. Amazon Web Services (AWS) started in 2002, and since that time AWS and other Cloud providers such as Microsoft and Google have continued to develop their technology to make it more powerful and reliable (high profile outages such as the one that struck Amazon in March 2018 notwithstanding).

So what does this mean for you and your organisation? It means the staffing component of using the Cloud is more like maintaining a phone system than a computer network. It’s usually ‘plug-and-play’, which means staff can spend more time doing what they’re good at and less time maintaining or working with unreliable systems.

    m-hance found that 80% of those surveyed said “they’re saving money, seeing more productivity, and better security,” as a result of using a Cloud approach (Source).

 

2. It’s future-proof, and continuously updated

In addition to this, you receive constant hardware and software upgrades when working with the Cloud. Unlike standard on-site equipment or software packages, you don’t need to purchase new versions every year or commit to yearly upgrades. You can work freely without struggling with old or ageing hardware that makes accessing, editing, or sharing files and information a complicated, time-consuming process.

    According to Trackvia, “59% of companies that use the cloud are more likely to see productivity benefits.” (Source).

 

3. It’s easy to collaborate with access anywhere, anytime, on any device

As organisations continue to decentralise, Cloud-based platforms are redefining the way they operate. The resulting need for a comprehensive tool-set that brings staff, board members, and sales teams together only increases, whether someone is working remotely or while on-the-move.

With the right platform, organisations can now access information anytime, anywhere, on any device, freeing up staff and management alike to work at their best with everything accessible with the touch of a button or tap of a screen.

    A Forbes Insight Survey found that “58% of total respondents report that Cloud-based collaboration has the potential to improve business processes”, while 64% said that “Cloud-based collaboration tools help businesses execute faster than would be possible otherwise.” (Source).

 

It’s time to send your productivity sky-high

Stellar has been a massive proponent of the power of the Cloud since the beginning, which is why it’s exciting to see more organisations embracing the technology.

Achieving these kinds of improvements in productivity and workflow was once a mere dream, but with the power and reliability of today’s Cloud infrastructure, it’s a reality.

 

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Security In A Mobile World: Keeping mobile devices & data, safe

Security In A Mobile World: Keeping mobile devices & data, safe

How to securely use iOS, Android, and other mobile devices.

The recent uptake of mobile devices extends beyond having something to take with you on the road.

This move away from paper is a further sign of the shift towards digital solutions within the government and corporate sectors. It’s an effective way to keep in touch, access and share information, and boost productivity.

Some of New Zealand’s government departments, for example, are doing away with desktop computers altogether, with all staff “hot-desking” and using powerful tablets from Microsoft, HP, Lenovo, Dell, and others as the basis for workstations.

It’s also presenting new issues, many of them relating to security.

 

Striking the security vs accessibility sweet spot

Mobile and tablet devices

Mobile security has become a much more significant challenge in recent years.

The increased adoption of mobile devices, as well as digital, cloud-based solutions, has seen organisations having to devote a more substantial portion of the IT budget towards data mobilisation.

In turn, the amounts devoted to data security to keep this information safe has also risen.

Did you know?

  • 2016’s BYOD & Mobile Security Spotlight Report found that 35% of those surveyed have invested in additional IT resources to manage security incidents (Source).
  • 30% of respondents to that same study said that their budgets for mobile security would increase over the next 12 months.

In the corporate world, high-level network security tools can be used to secure the growing number of mobile access points (many of them potentially unverified and unsecured) that arise when enterprises make volumes of company data accessible via the cloud.

However striking a balance between access and security remains a struggle, especially for many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) attempting to manage this process. For SMEs, there are mobile device management tools available, but for a lot of New Zealand organisations, these can be overkill.

 

Missing the mark puts your information at risk

Finding the right balance is tough.

Too far one way and a lack of robust security measures mean your information is easily accessible by board members, staff, as well as unauthorised third-parties. Too far the other way and the productivity benefits are lost as security protocols slow things down.

Insecure mobile devices are vulnerable to hacks, attacks, or otherwise being compromised by users with malicious intent. This is particularly true of cases where staff bring their own devices into the workplace, even if it’s explicitly forbidden regardless of internal policy.

They are also just as easily lost or misplaced. Imagine the repercussions of leaving a mobile device on the back seat of a taxi, in a cafe, or airport lounge. Either way, you’re putting your information at risk.

Did you know?

  • 72% of respondents to the 2016 BYOD & Mobile Security Spotlight Report cited data leakage and loss as their top security concern (Source).
  • The same report saw 21% saying that mobile devices had been involved in security breaches in the past, including:
    • 20% Data loss or leakage
    • 17% Unauthorised access to corporate data and systems
  • 14% found that it took them more than a month to recover from a mobile security breach.

 

Ten steps for keeping mobiles and sensitive information, secure

Personal and work mobile devices

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse is an organisation that is devoted to protecting privacy.

They have provided some essential suggestions for protecting your mobile and its data:

1. Set up password protection

Password-protect your device – or use another means of authentication – and configure it so that it automatically locks after a set period. All devices should be secured in this manner, even ones at home.

A secure password could buy you time to update account login details in the event your device is lost or stolen. It will also allow you to remotely wipe and revoke access if you use a business platform with these features.

2. Use unique passwords

Use strong, unique passwords and change them regularly.

3. Disable Bluetooth

Turn off Bluetooth when you aren’t using it.

If your device is always Bluetooth-discoverable, you expose yourself to added risk.

4. Use trusted security software

It is a common myth that mobile devices are immune to risk, so only use trusted software.

5. Only download apps you trust

39% of those surveyed said that mobile devices had downloaded malware in the past, so beware of downloading unfamiliar apps that may provide unauthorised third-parties with access to your device. To maximise security, only download applications via trusted sources.

6. Install software updates.

Keep up-to-date and ahead of the latest threats by keeping your device’s operating system – as well as any apps – up-to-date.

7. Don’t blindly click on links

Err on the side of caution when someone messages or emails you a link or attachment. Even if it comes from a trusted source, there is a slight chance their account may have been compromised. If you’re unsure, then ask.

8. Avoid public Wi-Fi networks

While they may be a modern convenience and save on your data plan, you should assume that others can see anything you do on an open network.

24% of those surveyed admitted that devices have connected to a malicious Wi-Fi network in the past.

9. Check your privacy settings & permissions

Check your device’s privacy and security settings, as well as app permissions. Settings will vary by device and operating system, but keep up to date on security issues related to how your device is configured.

10. Back up important data

The files on your devices are copies of those on your organisation’s central repository, so it’s essential to keep these backed up for easy access should you lose or misplace your device.

 

Securely using your mobile device doesn’t have to be complicated

Since the outset, Stellar’s focus has been on the security of data in the cloud while it’s being transmitted to or from a given device. This is the point where most information is intercepted and a significant weakness in many of today’s solutions.

To circumvent this threat, the team identified the need for a central business platform that features multi-level security protocols and unique, industry-leading Ghost File software encryption technology.

The ability to ensure files and information is invisible without the platform, almost impossible to hack, and impossible to read provides peace of mind for organisations to operate with confidence.

As for the device itself? The ability to instantly revoke access ensures that while the increased use of mobile devices is inevitable, a breach or loss of information doesn’t have to be.

 

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