stortford heroes party in the park

Grove Cottage announced as one of the headline charities for Stortford Heroes: Party in the Park

Stortford Heroes announce Grove Cottage as one their headline charities for Party in the Park. A free music festival taking place on Saturday 16th July 2022 at Sworders Field to celebrate local heroes.

Party in the Park, sponsored by ITVET, is a charitable event with all funds generated donated to local charities like Grove Cottage. With 4000 festival-goers expected, it will also help raise awareness for these great causes who are sometimes forgotten about in the shadow of the big well-known charities.

Kevin Davis, Chair of Trustees at Grove Cottage said: “We’re honoured to be the headline charity for this new and important event. After a year where most of our fundraising activities had to be cancelled, Party in the Park will be a huge help to get us back on track. Plus, it gives us an opportunity to champion our staff and volunteers who have gone above and beyond during the pandemic to ensure we could continue to support our members.”

CEO of ITVET Ltd, Richard Fountain, said: “We’re delighted that Grove Cottage will benefit from funds raised by the Stortford Heroes: Party in the Park event. Grove Cottage has existed in our town for over 50 years, and the work they do is invaluable and is even more important today than it was when it first started all those years ago.”

Grove Cottage is the first of four headline charities that will benefit from funds raised by Stortford Heroes. If you’re a local charity or good cause who would like to get involved, please register your interest at: https://www.stortfordheroes.co.uk/get-involved/.

ENDS

About ITVET Ltd

ITVET’s technology and software solutions help businesses to run smoothly and securely. The company was founded in 2007 with a strong focus on building a circular economy and philanthropic activities. Its unique business model is designed to benefit businesses, society and the environment while driving sustainable, organic financial growth.

Headquartered in Bishop’s Stortford with key hubs in London and Manchester, ITVET serves the whole of the UK. It has a diversified client base including blue-chip companies such as Savills, Fever-Tree, Aviva, Standard Life Investments and The Crown Estate. For further information please visit www.itvet.co.uk.

For more information contact:
Michelle Findlay, senior marketing manager
E: [email protected] T:01279 464 470


ITVET give back this Christmas

Stortford Heroes: 12 Days of Giving

ITVET wrap up ‘Stortford Heroes: 12 Days of Giving’ across the community. From the 1st to the 12th December, ITVET employees made generous donations to local charities, schools and pharmacists to say thanks for supporting the community during the pandemic.

Each day had a different theme including monetary donations, homeless shoebox appeal, chocolate treats for pharmacy workers, food and essential items for the local YMCA and food bank, toiletries for the women’s refuge and dog food for Mutts in Distress.

Annabelle Caley, Centre Manager of The New Apton Centre, Age Concern said: “We had a lovely time at our Christmas meal at the Coach & Horses. We couldn’t have held the event without the kind sponsorship of ITVET who provided our transport with Anita’s Coaches!”

CEO of ITVET Ltd, Richard Fountain, said: “Our 12 Days of Giving charity appeal has once again highlighted the kind and caring nature of the people who I am proud to say make up our ITVET community. Yet again they have stepped up and personally contributed to help those who are less fortunate. These philanthropic and community-minded initiatives are an integral part of our company but can only be achieved with the commitment and kindness of the people we employ.”

This is one of the many charitable events they will be hosting on the run up to Stortford Heroes: Party in the Park. An all-day event to celebrate the heroes in our community. It will take place on Saturday 16th July 2022 at Sworders Field with big name acts performing alongside an incredible line-up of up-and-coming local talent.

ENDS

About ITVET Ltd

ITVET’s technology and software solutions help businesses to run smoothly and securely. The company was founded in 2007 with a strong focus on building a circular economy and philanthropic activities. Its unique business model is designed to benefit businesses, society and the environment while driving sustainable, organic financial growth.

Headquartered in Bishop’s Stortford with key hubs in London and Manchester, ITVET serves the whole of the UK. It has a diversified client base including blue-chip companies such as Savills, Fever-Tree, Aviva, Standard Life Investments and The Crown Estate. For further information please visit www.itvet.co.uk.

For more information contact:
Michelle Findlay, senior marketing manager
E: [email protected] T:01279 464 470


stortford heroes party in the park

Heat Outdoors donate pizzas for local heroes

Outdoor heating specialist, Heat Outdoors, has pledged pizza ovens and ingredients to make hundreds of pizzas for local heroes. It’s one of many local businesses to contribute to Stortford Heroes: Party in the Park. An all-day event taking place on Saturday 16th July 2022 at Sworders Field with big name acts performing alongside an incredible line-up of up-and-coming local talent.

Party in the Park is a free event, sponsored by ITVET Ltd, to recognise and celebrate local heroes who work tirelessly in their everyday roles, looking after the most vulnerable. This includes the NHS, emergency workers, care workers, teachers, charities, voluntary organisations and many more.

Nominated heroes will be invited as VIP guests and treated to an exclusive VIP area with free hospitality. There will also be a special awards ceremony to recognise the superheroes who go above and beyond in the community. Stortford Heroes nominations can be made at www.stortfordheroes.co.uk/nominate-a-hero.  

Steve Levy, Heat Outdoors Managing Director, said “As soon as we heard about the Stortford Heroes event we wanted to get involved. It’s the least we can do to show our support for these amazing people who worked tirelessly for us throughout the pandemic. This event serves to highlight just how much they do for our community. At Heat Outdoors we see it as an opportunity and a privilege to look after them for a change.” 
 
ITVET are still looking for more local businesses to get involved. Whether that’s skills and expertise, donations or just your time – all contributions are welcome. For more information visit www.stortfordheroes.co.uk or email [email protected]

ENDS

About ITVET Ltd

ITVET’s technology and software solutions help businesses to run smoothly and securely. The company was founded in 2007 with a strong focus on building a circular economy and philanthropic activities. Its unique business model is designed to benefit businesses, society and the environment while driving sustainable, organic financial growth.

Headquartered in Bishop’s Stortford with key hubs in London and Manchester, ITVET serves the whole of the UK. It has a diversified client base including blue-chip companies such as Savills, Fever-Tree, Aviva, Standard Life Investments and The Crown Estate. For further information please visit www.itvet.co.uk.

For more information contact:

Michelle Findlay, senior marketing manager E: [email protected]    T:01279 464 470


Business mobile security password

Cyber Security 2021 Review: Infographic

The advancement of technology, particularly in light of Covid-19, has provided access to more platforms than ever before. The rise of remote connectivity has brought with it a wave of new and exciting possibilities for communication and collaboration, particularly for the remote workforce.  

Despite the list of tangible benefits, these advancements have also opened the door to a growing number of cyber vulnerabilities. Cashing in on the pandemic, cyber criminals have used this time to seek out and exploit weaknesses in business security. New remote workers have provided a playground of unprotected networks and personnel devices, ripe for potential cyber-attacks.  

Our infographic below highlights some of the key threats and security challenges that have faced businesses during 2021.  

Cyber Secuirty Infographic

Unsure if your cyber security strategy is up to standard? Our experienced and friendly team are here to offer the support and guidance you need to keep your people, systems, and data safe. Discover our Cyber Security solutions, or get in touch.  


A mother and daughter using the internet safely

How cyber security affects us all

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month. It’s a month focused on educating and sharing the importance of keeping people, systems and data secure from cybercrime. In this article, we will look at how cyber security affects us all, now more than ever.

Who does cyber security affect?

The truth is cyber security is an international issue and we are all susceptible to the malicious tactics of cybercriminals. Earlier this year US president Joe Biden and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin held a Cyber Summit in Switzerland to discuss the increasing maliciousness of ransomware attacks. These attacks have risen in scale and complexity and are now considered a global threat. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you work, or what devices you use, cyber security is vital for everyone. Here are 5 reasons why.

More people now work from home

More companies are adopting a hybrid work model, giving their employees the flexibility to choose where they work. There’s been a huge ascension of Microsoft Teams as companies use this for colleagues to communicate, collaborate, and hold meetings. The number of people who use Microsoft Teams every day increased from 75 million in April 2020 to 145 million as of April 2021. This shows remote work isn’t going anywhere.

People no longer sit side by side using the same Wi-Fi connection in a traditional office space. When the work from home directive quickly became the norm during the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies were unprepared and allowed their employees to use personal devices to work.

Using a personal device outside of the office could mean employees are connecting to an open Wi-Fi that leaves the device open to hackers. Personal devices usually aren’t encrypted which leaves all data vulnerable to be spied on.

Hybrid and remote work can be safe and productive with adequate preparation and protection.

A man working from home in a meeting

The solution

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can massively help as well as dedicated work devices that no one else uses. A VPN secures your Wi-Fi connection by encrypting all your information so no one else can see your online activity. ITVET’s VPNs are designed with cyber security at their core. We use the industry-leading quality product of Cisco Firewall which monitors ingoing and outgoing internet traffic and automatically blocks any unsafe sites. We can provide all your hardware with a VPN to keep your team working productively and safely in a remote setting.

Another best practice is to always lock your laptop when you leave your seat, even if it’s just for two minutes.

The breaches are getting more expensive

A recent report by Cyber crime Magazine predicts that cybercrime will cost the world $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. The breaches are unfortunately increasing in price year by year. Cyber crime breaches happen in different forms: theft of money, destruction of data, theft of personal or financial data, and more. What all these have in common is the huge reputational harm that can often be impossible to bounce back from. Cyber crime attacks can be enough to force a business to cease trading.

How to prevent an expensive attack?

Educating your team on cyber secure best practices provides you with stronger protection. It is recommended that you ensure your team is up-to-date with the most common ransomware scams. It is also important to schedule regular training which demonstrates the signs an email is unsafe such as hovering over the link inside the email and checking the sender email address. 

Cybercrime attacks are increasing in impact

It’s devasting to read about the increasing impact of cybercrime. It’s no longer just financial loss as a result of cyber-attacks. On September 10th, 2020, German authorities reported a ransomware attack on a major hospital in Dusseldorf. The IT systems failed which resulted in the death of a woman who needed urgent admission and had to be taken to another city for treatment. This frightening event highlights the importance of precautionary measures for all businesses and organisations to keep sensitive data private and people safe.

How to keep your team protected?

Whilst cyber security training is vital, the best-case scenario would be for no employee to ever need to analyse each received email. Mistakes will always be made, so filtering emails before they land in your team’s inboxes prevent those mistakes. At ITVET, we protect your business from email phishing and viruses with Trend Micro Hosted Email Security. This stops threats and spam from landing in your inbox.

How cybersecurity affects us all with email

The commercialisation of cybercrime

Cybercrime is a competitive field. It operates like other industries with a sense of competitiveness, targeting what they consider to be the biggest challenges. This is why cybercrime is getting bigger and better.

A key example of this is the $50 million ransomware attack on Acer in March 2021. The Taiwanese electronics company experienced a huge data leak and the highest known ransomware attack to date. Acer’s confidential documents including financial spreadsheets and bank communications were exposed online.

How to know the security of your network

The security of your network is vital, which is why ITVET provide 24/7 network monitoring,  as well as a daily penetration test of your network. This identifies vulnerabilities in your network which we will work to resolve and strengthen. Having a proactive awareness of the current security gives you options to eradicate any weaknesses and prevent cyber-attacks.

ITVET employee providing a penetration test

We have more IoT devices than ever

To understand how cybersecurity affects us, have a look around your home. Smart Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as Amazon’s Alexa’s, home security cameras, and fitness smartwatches are constantly collecting your data and communicating with the internet.

A casino was hacked through the smart IoT device of a fish tank thermometer.  Through this one device, the hackers had full access to the casino’s network. Whilst IoT provides efficiency and entertainment to our homes and workplaces, it’s vital that both your IoT devices and network are protected. This is even more imperative where safety systems are involved and cybercrime attacks can have disastrous consequences. Examples of industries that use these specialist safety systems are aviation and rail travel. There is a specialist area of cyber security called Operational Technology (OT) which focuses on this area alone.

How does ITVET protect smart IoT devices?

ITVET’s smart buildings connect all your IoT devices to create intelligent buildings. For all our smart buildings, we separate the network with Virtual Local Area Networks (VLANs) into smaller parts. A LAN is essentially a group of connected computers within one geographical area, such as an office. A VLAN allows different computers and devices to be connected virtually to each other. For example, guests can access the internet on a different network to staff members. Separating a huge network into a smaller one ensures that if one component is hacked, the hacker does not gain access to the entire network. Using VLANs, only authorised users can access highly sensitive information to prevent it from being in the wrong hands.

Cisco's diagram of Virtual Local Area Networks

At ITVET, cyber security is our priority. We wrap layers of cyber secure protection around all our services with top quality products that filter your email inbox and prevent anyone outside your team from accessing your network. Need some extra protection to keep your business safer from online threats? Reach out to us, our expert team are happy to help.

These five reasons highlight how cybersecurity affects us. Counteract threats by protecting yourself with cybercrime best practices and understanding how cyber security affects us all. Throughout Cyber Security Awareness Month, we will be posting advice, exclusive insight, and best practices for you to keep vigilant and keep protected. Why not follow our social media for the latest updates?


man wearing VR headset in office

September 2021: Top tech news

Marking the end of school holidays and the start of autumnal evenings, September has brought a time of reflection. The 20th anniversary of 9/11 saw people around the world turn their focus inward toward communities, mental health, and the environment. For technology, this time has seen more creative minds come together to innovate and encourage productive change in these areas. Let’s dive into this month’s top tech news.

  1. A new study shows Virtual Reality boosts the mental health of cancer patients

This month, Project Vae finished a 6-week project using Virtual Reality headsets on cancer patients to see if VR can improve the mental health of people with cancer.  During the 6 weeks, patients virtually travelled around the world and experienced Germany, the Royal Albert Hall, Thailand, the Peak District, and more. The VR videos were created in the style of a vlog, so the patients experienced travelling with a companion.

Keele University analysed the results which showed the study was a success. Using VR improved low mood, anxiety, loneliness, and general wellbeing. One patient commented: “The endorphins that film has given me, you know, takes the pain away.”  

Watch the video of the response from the cancer patients.

A patient using Virtual Reality

2. Children in China are given a TikTok limit

TikTok, known in China as Douyin, has added a 40-minute daily limit for all users under the age of 14. They also can’t access the video-sharing app after 10 pm. The “youth mode” is part of China’s government’s focus on children’s and teenagers’ internet activity. They are analysing video game usage, the time children are spending on their devices, and the impact on their health.

Do you think this 40-minute limit should be a worldwide standard? Read the full story.

A child using TikTok surrounded by his homework

3. Beams of light deliver high-speed internet across the Congo River

A connectivity gap has been filled by a new experiment by Project Taara. The experiment has enabled the 17 million citizens in Brazzaville and Kinshasa to have access to cheaper and faster broadband. These cities, three miles apart, have faced connectivity problems due to the difficulty in routing a traditional cable around the Congo River, the world’s deepest and second fastest river.

The new system uses invisible beams of light to deliver high-speed internet. It doesn’t require any cable casing like traditional fibre. Installed terminals search for each other, detect a beam of light and lock in to create the connection.

Project Taara is implementing this innovation throughout other areas in the world, in places that fibre can’t reach helping to connect more communities. Find out more.

The Congo river with fibre-fast broadband

4. New research shows bitcoin mining produces 30,700 tons of annual waste

Research by Alex de Vries and Christian Stoll shows bitcoin mining produces 30,700 tons of electronic waste year after year. This is predicted to grow into a huge environmental problem. An average transaction contributes 272g. This is a huge consumption of electricity which consequently causes greenhouse pollution.

Bitcoin creates huge quantities of electronic waste because the mining is done with a specialised singular process. The required hardware only has a 1.5-year life before it needs to be replaced. As the popularity of bitcoin has risen in recent years, so has the huge amount of waste. In terms of electrical energy, one Bitcoin transaction is equivalent to the power consumption of an average household for 39.67 days. 

The research is published in the journal Resources, Conservation & Recycling. It calls for an efficient drive to find a new eco-friendly process to stop the annual 30,700 tons of electric waste. Read the full story.

Electrical waste caused by bitcoin mining

5. UK aims to rival U.S. and China in a 10-year plan to become ‘A.I. superpower’

The UK government has published the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy, in which businesses are encouraged to make full use of AI. This strategy is a ten-year plan with the goal to attract international investment to British AI companies as well as developing the next generation of British tech talent.

The 10-year plan hopes to support AI development outside London, the current AI hub of the UK. In 2019, £2.5 billion ($3.5 billion) was pumped into U.K. AI start-ups, but many of them are now at risk of being acquired by larger overseas rivals. By focusing more on building AI’s impact in the UK, it should help boost the post-Brexit economy.

Read about AI experts’ reactions to this new plan.

UK parliament in London

Want to keep up with the latest technological innovations? Follow our social media for regular updates.


A person practicing their email strategy

It’s time to rethink our e-mail security strategy

E-mail is an important part of your company’s IT strategy and external communications. When was the last time you reviewed your e-mail security? Are you aware of how e-mail is being used in your business?

Up to 91% of cyber-attacks start with email. It’s the weakest link in the cyber security chain and the one that’s the most open to exploitation through targeted and sophisticated methods.

What is phishing?

Phishing is socially engineered to trick a human victim into paying money, revealing private information (that could lead to a very costly data breach), or launching malware with the intent of bribing the victim (ransomware).

The focal part of the dictionary definition of phishing should be the word “human”. Humans are emotional, we can override our best judgement, we can be manipulated by convincing tactics or a bit of creative graphic design. It’s called human error for a reason. The soft-bodied bit of our IT estate accounted for a whopping 90% of cyber data breaches in 2019.

A man checking his emails after work

The susceptibility of human nature

E-mail security software is amazing, but it can’t catch every maliciously intended e-mail. The few that make it through firewalls depend on a human decision-making process. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning processes are ever-evolving to the e-mail security threat landscape.  

However, there’s not an algorithm on the planet that can replicate the emotional reasoning process that goes on inside Melanie in Account’s brain when she’s baited into clicking that button. This is why e-mail security processes can never fully depend on a piece of software or an algorithm. They must extend into HR processes and a highly adopted company-wide culture and awareness of security.

It’s no surprise that most phishing attacks are conducted via e-mail. More than half of UK businesses have been targeted by ransomware cyber-attacks in the last twelve months. It’s easy to see why criminals favour e-mail as the best way to exploit people. Worldwide, there are over 3 billion spoofed e-mails (from fake e-mail accounts) sent every day.

The rise of phishing attacks in 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic gave cybercriminals all the time and incentive they needed to redouble their efforts to launch more sophisticated phishing attacks. Quarter four of 2020 saw a 100% increase in e-mail attacks vs 2019.

E-mail-based cyber security threats are rife. Despite this, most businesses have not changed the way they use e-mail or reviewed their e-mail security policies. As IT experts, we keep our finger on the pulse of some alarming e-mail statistics within the technology industry.

At ITVET, we recently conducted a robust review of our e-mail usage and policies. The strategy and process that went into this exercise tell us unequivocally that we should do everything we can to combat this serious threat to all businesses.

Some of the things e-mail users can be tricked into

  • Sharing business or personal data  
  • Wiring money or making other fraudulent monetary transactions  
  • Visiting corrupt websites
  • Downloading or clicking links containing malware-laden attachments

The outcomes above could be so serious as to put a company out of business. It all starts with just one simple click. So, let’s explore the options open to your company to mitigate your risk and make e-mail more secure.

Email usage in the workplace

End-user training

A vast number of successful e-mail attacks rely on your people simply clicking links in e-mails. Given the risks, it seems unbelievable that most businesses don’t provide employees with any e-mail training on security policies.

Providing end-users with e-mail security training should be an essential part of your business’ IT and cyber security policy. Remember that no matter how good the e-mail security systems you have in place, there are always compromised e-mails that can evade them to land in a user’s inbox. Given the complexity, ingenuity, and technical capabilities of these highly skilled criminals, compromised e-mails are very hard to detect. Fines from a data breach can run to the millions. Losing all your company data to a ransomware attack could destroy your reputation and force you to cease trading.

The use case of e-mail

All companies and end-users use e-mail differently, and sometimes quite inappropriately, which can cause issues with security. It’s important to clarify the who, how, what, and why of e-mail use in your business.

Who?

You may think that all employees need to use e-mail, but these days that’s often not the case. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Teams usage doubled worldwide. With the adoption of Teams and similar internal messaging systems, there’s been a significant reduction in the use of e-mail internally. There are many articles in the tech community heralding the “death of e-mail” as a platform. Statistics certainly back this up as workplace behaviours shift to faster, more collaborative ways of working. Reducing email usage is an instant security improvement. On reviewing your team’s usage of e-mail, you may find that one central e-mail account is sufficient to capture inbound e-mail and overcomes the challenge of what happens to e-mails when people are on holiday. Your team members will most likely still need an e-mail account but without the ability to send externally. Reducing access to e-mail is the first line of defence to mitigating your risks.

A team of colleagues working together

How?

Many e-mail users click links inadvertently, which is a huge risk. The majority of phishing e-mails are sent from spoofed e-mail addresses, so they may look completely genuine to an innocent recipient. The field name may be a known contact, but upon closer inspection, the actual e-mail address is slightly different. Could your employees spot the difference? Training employees on how to use e-mail safely and securely is an essential part of reducing the risk of a targeted attack via your company’s e-mail.

What?

Understand what your business needs from your e-mail system and determine what is appropriate to send or receive.

  • Employees distributing and sharing files or links internally should be avoided if there is an internal messaging system like Teams.
  • Sending or receiving e-mails with content that isn’t relevant or appropriate is more common than you might think.
  • It’s possible to control and regulate e-mail content using an e-mail security system such as Trend Micro’s e-mail Security System. However, the e-mail security system must be tailored to your company’s requirements
A woman checking a long list of emails

Why?

The number of e-mails sent globally is increasing, this is mainly due to the vast amount of spam and fraudulent e-mails being sent. In contrast, e-mail usage for businesses has declined steadily. Many companies have also come to understand that e-mail is an insecure form of communication. So, as well as adopting Teams and similar platforms, many companies have also adopted secure cloud-based platforms to share files and data like SharePoint.

Although e-mail security systems can greatly reduce the amount of unwanted or dangerous e-mails, large amounts of spam are still accepted. This is often caused by employees not opting out correctly when registering for a service. Why accept these e-mails into your company’s e-mail system?

Want to find out how you can improve your email security? Get in touch with our expert team at ITVET and transform your email security strategy.


How to improve email security: 8 essential tips

2020 saw the largest ever increase in online fraud, with malicious emails containing harmful links being by far the most successful methods used by criminals. The City of London Police reported that over £19m was lost to scammers in London alone. With these threats growing in volume and complexity daily, it’s vital we understand how to improve email security.

There is no doubt that email remains the most popular, and quickest way to communicate in business. The volume of emails sent globally continues to increase annually. This trend is set to continue despite the growing popularity of instant messaging and collaborative platforms such as Microsoft Teams.

It is now estimated that over 45% of emails sent are spam. This number only accounts for those emails which have been detected by various spam filters, this does not include the high percentage of ‘allowed’ marketing emails that clog up our mailboxes daily. Russia alone accounted for 23.5% of all unsolicited emails in 2020.

Junk mail in Inbox

It is probably easier to look at the emails that are received by your company and determine what percentage is relevant to your business activities. This may surprise you, as it could be less than 30% of all emails received! If you find that figure difficult to believe, have a look through your own inbox. Like most users, the marketing and spam messages will most likely outnumber genuine work-related emails.

Imagine if you could turn off all unwanted emails into your business, and just see those that are relevant. Imagine getting rid of all those distractions, which are often so numerous it makes it easy to miss genuine emails. But best of all, imagine getting rid of the various phishing and scam emails, and making your email system safer and more secure.

While the most up-to-date and stringent email security systems, such as Trend Micros’ Hosted Email Security can mop up a large percentage of dangerous emails, it is virtually impossible to eradicate them completely. There are various reasons for this that don’t point to the security systems themselves. It is largely down to the way they are configured and the way that emails are used by businesses. So, let’s take a quick look at some email security tips.

Email security tips

Sending email with email security system

Email security systems

Initial setup & configuration – It goes without saying that if your company doesn’t already have one, it most definitely should have a dedicated email security system, like the excellent Trend Micro Email Security System (EMS). However, even if you do have email security, it’s vital that it is configured and maintained correctly. From our experience, many cases are rooted in poor setup and configuration, before being neglected by IT teams. It pays to not underestimate how important and complex the initial setup and configuration is. It’s not just a case of point, click, set, forget. Businesses should look to onboard the services of an email security specialist, who really understands the chosen product, and can also provide training to the in-house IT team if required.

The Known Good Senders List (Whitelist) – A crucial part of any email security system, is building and maintaining an accurate list of known email addresses that your company does business with. This is just as important as determining a Bad Senders List (Blacklist). Building a known good senders list will help prevent the email security system from frustratingly blocking potentially wanted emails as spam. However, it’s still possible to receive dangerous or virus-laden threats from known good email addresses. That said, if your email security system is set up correctly, it should block the vast majority of emails that contain malicious attachments or links. Given the speed that cyber threats evolve, even the most stringent system can allow the odd malicious email through. That is where the company’s own email setup and end-user training comes into play. More about that below.

Spam alert on mobile phone

Security filtering levels – Finding the right balance between being overly zealous or allowing too many spam emails through can be difficult. Users find it frustrating when a genuine email gets trapped as junk, but at the same time, the email security system needs to do its job. Again, this is where it pays to have a dedicated specialist who can work with you to strike the right balance. This may take a few weeks following deployment until the correct level is found, and any tweaks made. From a security perspective, however, it is better to have the odd email trapped than to allow too many through. It’s worth pointing out that releasing trapped emails should be a very simple and painless process for the end-user and take no more than a couple of clicks.

The Company Email Setup

Do all employees need email? – This may seem obvious, but if employees do not need or use email other than for internal use, then it’s possible to simply turn off external emails for those users. It is worth keeping in mind that as more and more companies adopt Microsoft Teams even internal email usage is dropping significantly.

Limit emails to approved senders only – If users only send and receive emails to known contacts, then it’s possible to block all emails from unknown senders. It is also possible to add an autoresponder to both the sender and recipient, so they are aware that the email has been blocked by the email security system. This can even be put in place for generic or departmental email addresses such as ‘sales’ or ‘enquiry’ for example. If an email is sent from an unknown sender, an autoresponder can be sent back with a link to the contact form on the company website. Again, an alert can be sent to the recipient to notify them that an email has been blocked, and a copy of the email is available in the email filtering system just in case.

Restrict emails due to content – While it can be frustrating for end-users to have genuine emails trapped in junk, it’s worth rethinking the type of content that is allowed to be delivered into your organisation, even from your approved senders’ list. For example, you could set up a rule to automatically quarantine all emails with attachments or links to shared documents. This would mean end users having to release them from quarantine. Although this does not completely rule out the threat, it does make the end-users stop and think before they knowingly release a quarantined email. Appropriate warnings can also be displayed at the time of releasing emails too.

Employee on laptop practising secure email

End-user training – It is well known that end users are responsible for unknowingly initiating a majority of successful phishing attacks by clicking on links or downloading harmful attachments. End-user training is probably the most important part of any email security system, yet sadly it is hardly ever provided. Most companies rely solely on the security systems and procedures they have in place, but clearly, this isn’t working. We only have to look at the data to establish that threats are increasing at an alarming rate and is only set to get worse. Training end-users not only provides them with the tools to avoid getting scammed but also the education and understanding as to why security is so important. This may help lessen the frustration when they have to release the odd email from the spam filter!

Internet security – The vast majority of phishing or scam emails rely on an active internet connection to be able to initiate an attack or scam, therefore having a sophisticated internet security solution such as ‘Cisco Umbrella’ can be key. If an unsuspecting user should click on a malicious link, there is a very good chance that the corresponding IP address will be flagged as malicious, and the phishing attack will be thwarted.

Summary

Although the reliance on email in business may be reducing, there is no doubt that it will continue to play a significant role as a communication tool for the foreseeable future. But given the sheer volume and complexity of attacks, it is essential that we understand how to improve email security and make systems as secure as possible. If you would like to find out more or would like to arrange a free initial consultation, please contact us.


A person reading the top tech news

July 2021: Top Tech News

This month witnessed scorchingly high temperatures and an unfortunate low in the Euros final for the England team. On the 19th, of July 2021, almost all COVID-19 restrictions were lifted. In our ever evolving technology industry, there have been innovations, progressive conversations, and unstoppable transformations. From sustainable solutions, PropTech, to social media, let’s take a look at this month’s top tech news.

1. IoT AI services are expected to generate £2.6 billion in revenue by 2026

This month, IoT Tech News reported Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning services within the Internet of Things (IoT) industry are growing by 40% annually. By 2026, they should reach £2.6 billion.

The IoT market has accelerated since the beginning of the Covid19 pandemic. This is partly because people need solutions for remote asset management. Employers monitor their offices without needing to be present in the building. Homeowners use ‘predictive maintenance’ to proactively alert them when an issue arises with a home appliance. Early warning notifications prevent minor issues escalating into expensive repair jobs.

There have also been huge innovations in IoT AI services within healthcare as a reaction to the Covid19 pandemic. Every industry is seeing the potential in IoT AI services. Hospitals benefit from diagnostic accuracy with AI. Diagnostic accuracy ensures there’s no visual noise in scans. Patients are monitored remotely using IoT, which is especially effective for contagious conditions. IoT sensors are placed on chairs, beds, doorways to understand where the patients are and what space is available. The sensors constantly collect data that hospital staff can see on a clear dashboard.

Find out more about IoT.

A doctor checking his patients using IoT

2. Microsoft increase their sustainability commitment

Microsoft has high expectations for its sustainable impact. They aim to be carbon negative by 2030, meaning they intend to store more carbon dioxide than they emit. To achieve this, they have released a new strategy this month.

How sustainable is electricity?

Electricity is considered a clean form of energy when you ignore the generation and transmission of electricity. The electrons supplying the electricity need to be generated from zero-carbon energy sources. This includes wind and solar power. They are then stored and transported to where they are needed. The current issue is most electrons flowing onto grids are coming from carbon-intensive sources. This is compromising the sustainability of Microsoft. They need a new strategy to ensure they are carbon neutral by 2030.

The “grid” refers to substations, transformers, and power lines that connect electricity producers and consumers.

Microsoft changes how they buy renewable energy

Currently, Microsoft doesn’t run on renewable energy at all times. This is because their energy purchases don’t always come from sustainable energy grids.

The new goal is to ensure their clean energy purchases are feeding into local grids where it operates. They refer to this as 100/100/0; on all the world’s grids, 100% of the time, are generated from zero-carbon sources. Here in the UK, the same commitment is referred to as “Net Zero”. Many companies have already joined the fight to become Net Zero as quickly as possible to minimise the damage we are doing to our planet.

Microsoft will achieve this aspiration by using their influence. Already in the last year, Microsoft has signed new purchase agreements for renewable energy in 10 countries. They will be innovating their energy purchasing contracts to take away the high carbon intensity off the grid whilst bringing more zero-carbon energy onto the grid. As huge industry influencers that can create quite a buzz in their own right, Microsoft are sharing and promoting their efforts. By doing this, other companies will sit up, take notice, and do more to emulate their actions.

ITVET’s reaction

At ITVET, we are a Microsoft Gold Partner. We provide sustainable technical solutions and IT support. Therefore, we’re thrilled to hear about this tech news that Microsoft is increasing its sustainability commitment.

Find out more

carbon neutral electricity grids

3. Plastic bags are the solution for sand shortages

The need for technological solutions

The construction industry is responsible for 39% of all carbon emissions in the world. We are building at an unprecedented rate. New sustainable solutions are needed desperately to reduce this percentage.

Sand is a raw material used in huge quantities in construction and manufacturing. It was reported this month, 40-50 billion tonnes of sand are used around the world annually. Sourcing sand can entail removing it from rivers which causes environmental damage. There is a huge sand shortage taking place. This shortage leaves many people jobless. In India, political intervention has previously been needed to assist in the sand shortage.

How plastic can be used

Research from Bath University demonstrated that wasted plastic could swap sand within concrete. Dr. John Orr, a lecturer in concrete structures, believes this innovation “saves the need for a huge amount of sand and helps to reduce the vast amount of plastic waste on India’s streets.”

Sand comprises around 25% of concrete. With a sand shortage, the construction industry suffers. 10% of that sand can be replaced with finely ground plastic particles. Using plastic doesn’t impact on the longevity of the concrete, and also provides a cheaper resource.

Read in more detail.

Construction workers using plastic in concrete

4. President Joe Biden comments on misinformation taking place on Facebook

The use and abuse of social media

Earlier this month, an administration report was circulated regarding online COVID-19 vaccine misinformation. It was published by the science journal, The Surgeon. It calls for a push to address vaccine and COVID-19 misinformation across all social media sites, predominantly Facebook. Companies are urged to redesign their algorithms to avoid further spread of misinformation. The Surgeon requested clear consequences for those who violate social media sites through misinformation.

The reaction of the White House

It was reported the majority of COVID-19 anti-vaccine misinformation originated from just 12 people. It then spiralled out of control. On this topic, Biden told reporters at the White House: “Facebook isn’t killing people. These 12 people are out there giving misinformation. Anyone listening to it is getting hurt by it. It’s killing people. It’s bad information.”

Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki provided further comment on the subject: “We’re not in a war or a battle with Facebook. We’re in a battle with the virus.”

The conversation of online misinformation and social media responsibility picked up momentum following the release of Netflix’s 2020 documentary, The Social Dilemma. The documentary and the COVID-19 pandemic misinformation are showing social media platforms are failing to responsibly regulate their sites. This month, the sites failed to regulate racist abuse targeted towards England’s football players. Which begs the question, how big of a part will social influence play in our lives moving forward?

The white house

5. UK scientists develop AI that detects sleep disorders

Researchers from the University of Sheffield have developed Artificial Intelligence (AI) that can monitor snoring levels and diagnose sleep disorders. This technology is in the form of a simple to use app named SoundSleep.

Various sleep disorders, such as apnoea, are difficult to diagnose. A symptom of sleep apnoea is somebody’s breathing stops and starts. Getting a diagnosis of a sleep disorder can be an expensive and time-consuming process. It usually requires trips to specialist sleep clinics. Many people are undiagnosed and unaware of what solutions there are.

The app records the sounds you make whilst asleep and provides a daily report with solutions to help you. You can be accurately diagnosed with AI. The app invites you to log information about your lifestyle. It can inform you how to ease the symptoms of your sleep disorder.

Take a closer look.

The app SoundSleep working as someone is asleep

In this month, there were presidential intervention and AI-powered solutions. Want to keep up to date on top tech news? Why not follow us for regular updates?

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Example of smart building energy efficiency

How retrofitted IoT sensors and data monitoring features create smart building energy efficiency

ITVET were founded with an eco-conscious purpose. We provide solutions that have a positive impact on our environment and local community. Smart building energy efficiency is one facet of our smart building expertise. When leveraged to its full potential, the ascension of technology can make a positive impact on our environment. We’re transforming our ITVET offices into energy efficient smart buildings by introducing a range of energy efficient IoT features. As specialists in smart building strategy, we retrofit older buildings to incorporate smart building features that support their sustainability goals. In this article, we look at why offices need to be revolutionised with smart energy management using IoT, and the changes ITVET is making to reduce our carbon footprint.

The need for energy efficient smart buildings

Analysing our energy usage is key to reducing the carbon footprint of our offices

Retrofitting smart IoT technology creates energy efficient smart buildings. According to the International Energy Agency, buildings are “accounting for more than 30% of global energy use today and 30% of energy-related CO2 emissions”. Retrofitting should be prioritised over new build projects. This reduces energy demand in the construction sector, an industry with an exponential carbon footprint.

The 2020 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction notes electricity consumption in building operations represents nearly 55% of global electricity consumption. Every day actions from heating entire buildings to leaving screens on overnight, soon add up. Humans are inherently unreliable and forgetful creatures. This unreliability leads to careless waste of electric, water and many more of our planet’s precious resources. The inefficiencies of our manual processes wreak disastrous consequences on our planet.

Consequence of not utilising energy efficiency

Manual processes invite mistakes

It’s hard to set high standards for your office’s sustainability if you rely on human compliance. People frequently forget to switch off the heating, or an office light at the end of the day.

Office temperature is always a heated subject. There’s always that one colleague who feels the need to keep the air conditioning on ‘artic mode’. They turn it up high whilst their colleagues are sat shivering in their coats. They don’t consider how many people are in the office and what spaces are in occupation. With smart technology, you can ensure only the necessary parts of the office are heated up or cooled down. For example, if a few people are working overtime, the IoT sensors will detect their presence. The smart technology ensures perfect working conditions. There is no need to waste energy in parts of the office where no one is present.

Mistakes happen. Whether it’s leaving the light on in the bathroom, not closing the fridge or leaving the tap to drip. With smart building features retrofitted into traditional office infrastructure, human error is minimised.

The financial disadvantages of manual processes

Cooling an entire building uses a huge amount of energy. The Facilities Management Journal reported in January 2020 that “office buildings are losing £60m energy every year.” This energy could power over 100,000 homes.

Not only are office buildings haemorrhaging money, but they are also significantly contributing toward the effects of climate change.

Energy wastage in an empty office

IoT and energy efficiency

The Internet of Things (IoT) and energy efficiency go hand in hand. We are employing a range of IoT sensors and data monitoring features to our offices to improve our sustainability performance.

What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?

IoT means various objects are connected to the internet, enabling them to network and collect data from each other. The ‘IoT agenda’ describes IoT features as an ecosystem.’ This consists of “web-enabled smart devices that use embedded systems, such as processors, sensors and communication hardware, to collect, send and act on data they acquire from their environments.”

These features, and the data they collect, give you invaluable information about your building. They add functionality to the most mundane items such as bin wastage. For example, a sensor on a bin alerts you when it requires emptying. It logs the data it collects so you understand how much waste your company disposes of. Additionally, IoT brings protection to valuable equipment. For example, with IoT-enabled asset tracking you can locate stolen laptops that contain confidential information.

The capability of a robust IoT strategy

IoT is more than connected appliances. You can manage your building and permit smart building management using IoT. These features ensure our sustainability standards are met even from a remote location.

ITVET’s smart energy management using IoT

A building is considered sustainable if it conserves energy. Energy efficiency in smart buildings also improves employee wellbeing. Here are the smart features ITVET is introducing to our offices.

Building occupancy detection

There is no need to heat an entire building if there are empty rooms. To create the optimum working environment for your employees you need to know where they are. Manually, you monitor CCTV footage or walk around the office to gauge numbers and location. This disrupts your working day and it’s not an efficient process. Most importantly, this can’t be done if you’re out of the office.

IoT sensors detect the presence of people, known as ‘occupancy monitoring’. This is also referred to as ‘people counting’. It detects how many people are in a defined space. Sensors collect the data and an action is triggered. Mobile applications such as UltraHR can also map employee locations live in real-time.

Occupancy monitoring detects the movement of employees

Data triggers an action

Like many heating systems, the ITVET offices previously had just one main thermostat, with thermostatic valves at each radiator location. When nobody was working in a room, it still heated up, unless the individual radiators were manually switched off.

ITVET now ensure all employees are in a comfortable work environment, using IoT sensors to detect how many people are in a room and adjusting radiator heat accordingly.

IoT is now consistently used to collect room temperature, lighting, and ventilation data. This data is used to action triggers, such as automatically turning of any non-essential energy when employees leave for the day..

Consistency with a Building Management System

All of the features outlined above combine to become one BMS (Building Management System) . A modern BMS is an intelligent software platform that monitors the technical systems within a building. This controls temperature centrally. We set parameters to enable the smart management of our heaviest power usage systems. For example, one parameter could be for all lights to switch off when a door is locked each evening. It constantly monitors office activity around the clock to create the most energy efficient work environment. This provides huge savings and minimises energy waste.

Our BMS was designed and custom-made by our ITVET software development team. The custom features ensure it works efficiently for our office and it maximises cost and energy savings. There is a clear dashboard that shows us our energy usage at any time.

Metrics from ITVET's energy efficient BMS system

With our existing experience in the property management sector, our data experts can aggregate data from most systems into one central, usable console and data feed. Making your building’s data accessible is essential if you want to maximise the efficient use of power and utilities in your building

The wider impact of data metrics

With access to these data metrics, we can make more informed decisions. Are employees charging their devices longer than needed? Is the kettle overfilled to make one hot drink? IoT data can show all of this. The data helps us zero in on repeated unsustainable behaviours. We can communicate this with our team using metrics to understand how our actions affect energy usage. This in turn will help us apply sustainable practices at home.

ITVET is a company made up of eco-conscious individuals whose principles are equally balanced between home and work life. Smart building energy efficiency, using IoT features retrofitted in our head office, ensure we meet the high standards we set for ourselves. IoT devices constantly capture data that allows us to understand how our building is used. We can make responsible decisions with this information. We feel at peace knowing the BMS ensures energy is only used when it’s required.

How could IoT features optimise your workplace? Get in touch to find out!