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Month: October 2016

3 Essential steps to cyber security

Cyber crime can be both complex and costly to recover from particularly if you do not know where to start. Here are our 5 essential steps to cyber security and ensuring you have the basics in place to keep your company safe from the cyber threats.

Step 1 – What data do you hold and how do you classify it?

Understanding what knowledge and value you hold within the organisation through different pieces of data you store as a business is key to a good cyber security plan. Not all data is classified equally, your employees personal data doesn’t have the same value as email content nor the same value as your Sage accounts backup file.

Consider the various amounts of data your company works with on a day to day basis, how are those machines configured, secured and who has access to them, does the PA really need access to the entire file server or a HR person need access to the Sage accounts package?

Classify and categorise your data into how important it is to your business, who needs access and what the backup process is for each piece of data.

Step 2 – Protect, detect and secure

Protecting the information your business needs to run must be key to day to day operations. Encrypting your systems, restricting access on a ‘least privilege’ basis and ensuring that employees must only have access if specifically required and not by default.

You should be monitoring network activities, checking firewall configurations and ensuring proactive anti-malware protection is in place should be the minimum your business should have in place to control your networks incoming traffic and identify potential threats before they become a problem.

Step 3 – Stay ahead of the curve

Technology moves quickly, but cyber threats move quicker still – with new versions of malware appearing every day – now more than ever its crucial that systems are maintained, advanced threat detection in place and patches for all software on the network are kept up to date.

You don’t need to use the software on a daily basis for a vulnerability to be exploited, that piece of software on your desktop that hasn’t been run for a few weeks may already be out of date, exploited and waiting to infect the network.

Keep devices, both mobile and office based up to date and ensure policies and processes around these are controlled.

Review documents and information laid out by government around cyber security this gives you a good perspective of what needs to be the minimum your business should adhere to.

Cyber Essentials is the certification and audit process RDS Global can support your business with, taking your company and its key members of staff through a training and auditing process to ensure that hardware, software, policies and procedures are all brought in line with GDPR and Cyber Essentials.

With over 2,000 small businesses in the UK already Cyber Essentials accredited – now is the time for you to demonstrate to customers and suppliers that you take cyber security seriously.

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Social media isn’t really a job

I’m just going to go out there and say it…..social media is NOT a job, its not even something you should be spending your valuable time on.

Oh and I hear you:

  • “But Sean – what do you know!”
  • “You ran an agency that had social media as a paid service”
  • “My marketing agency/PR person say XYZ”
  • “You clearly haven’t seen the ROI””Why do you use social media at all if your time is so valuable?”
  • “Its part of our marketing / PR strategy / content play {insert BS marketing buzzwords}”

And thats great folks – but the fact of the matter is – social media, which we pretty much called Web 2.0 some 5+ years ago, and before that we just called it ‘the web’ or ‘the internet’ is just that – its just the internet, nothing has really changed.

Or the best one ‘we generated over £150k for our clients in the last 3 years through social media’…..its bullsh*t…no you haven’t….your ‘clients’ made a conscious decision with or without your help to put marketing spending or ‘time’ as we can also refer to it – into an app/website and look for sales leads.

Does that mean at the previous agency I ran where we sold social media as a service between £600 and £6000 a month was wrong of us? Not at all, just as all the other ‘agencies’ will tell you they delivered ROI, so did we. But ROI isn’t the point because no one is calculating that properly at all (trust me – paying your social media agency £500 a month and generating £2000 a month ‘direct’ isn’t ROI).

We had a small social media team at the previous agency – that turned over more money than any dedicated social media company in the local area – because we didn’t just teach businesses how to fish, we did the fishing for them with a temporary licence.

One thing is to teach someone they must do A, B & C on twitter to land business (chances are you won’t by the way) – its 100x more effective to become a part of the clients organisation and act on their behalf – fully integrated with who they are and how they operate. Driving £10k a month of sales through Facebook that can be tracked, reported and then guess what – allowing the client company to bring that fully in house rather than paying you a sum each month to keep that water flowing.

Right now there are too many 18-25yr old ‘digital marketing experts’ who have less than 2 years of experience, because having a Facebook and instagram account does not qualify you as an expert. Too many people writing short form blog posts (~300/400 words) because they read an article from 2015 about how Google loves fresh, short content or they took a course 4 years ago in ‘SEO’ which tells them they should do ‘keyword research’. The world loves a shortcut and too many businesses are relying on these ‘kids’ to make returns they just cannot do.

Unless you have relevant industry experience, time actually doing the work, learning the craft – you cannot pass yourself off as any form of expert. Remember that whole 10,000 hour thing – some of these ‘experts’ haven’t even done 10,000 hours of work in their ‘careers’ yet, not even adding up the hours spent flipping burgers at Mcdonalds before they started their ‘guru’ level of digital marketing 3 months ago!

Social media is NOT a job, social media is just another word we use now for ‘the internet’, your 20k tweets, 400 instagram posts and 6 years of Facebook counts for NOTHING. A real business has a real plan, which involves sales and marketing – ‘twitter’ and the other ‘social’ sites – are just pools of attention, ‘eyeballs’ as we used to refer to them – where your potential customers are spending their time.

Market to those attention pools – but you would be amazed what you can achieve by not paying £25k a year for a ‘social media expert’ or a ‘expert 20yr old digital marketing exec’ – but instead by applying 20% of your marketing budget (cash+time) to these pools and making them work for you, not costing your business every month in time and marketing spend.

I don’t profess to have all the answers, but over ten years in agency world tells me that there are a lot of businesses out there who are on a regular basis paying for an unnecessary service, wasting away valuable funds that their businesses could re-invest elsewhere for a far better return.

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