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The Covid-19 crisis has forced organisations of all kinds, all over the world, to restructure the way they work. Technology has proven to be the backbone and pivot point of this restructuring process, with organisations transitioning to remote working environments and online services wherever possible. Unfortunately, this kind of transition is almost never a simple task—it takes time and resources. We’ve seen organisations struggle with a variety of things. They lose revenue because they can’t support their clients as well as they used to. The number of new security risks skyrocket due to unsecure data and remote access points. Problems with management and technology implementation result in downtime and productivity loss, which all feeds back into unhappy clients and lost revenue.

These things have been especially true for non-profit organizations (or, as we like to call them, “for-purpose organizations”). These organisations deliver essential services to their communities, and we at Sensible believe that it’s our duty and responsibility to support them as best we can. We’re a family business with 35 years of operational experience, and our expertise is focused on implementing information technology solutions to support various organisations. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t help in other ways.

While we can help our clients and for-purpose organisations implement and use technology solutions, there are other problems that non-profits have to deal with. Knowing that, we’ve put together a quick list of some grants that have come together to support the operation of non-profits during this Covid-19 crisis. We’ve outlined the basic information for our highlight grants below, but more information (and more grants) can be found online here.

Highlight Grants

The City of Sydney is providing Community Services Grants for between $5,000 and $10,000 to non-profit organisations up until the 27th of April. An eligible organisation must be non-profit, operate in the City of Sydney area, have experience and networks within the social service sector, and must describe how the Covid-19 crisis has impacted them. Sensible can help you apply this grant money towards implementing remote work infrastructure, staff technology training, and updating your e-commerce platform to maintain your revenue streams.

BHP has established the $50 million BHP Vital Resources Fund to support regional communities in the areas they operate. This would include, for example, the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales. The goal of this fund, which will distribute various amounts of grant money, is to build critical infrastructure for local and regional health networks, and keep essential community services operational.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is offering an Individual Capacity Building Grant Round which is offering eligible organisations from $10,000 to $500,000 per year for up to two years. This grant closes on May 6th, so act quickly on it. The NDIA is looking for programs that ensure people with disability will have the skills and confidence to participate and contribute to the community, and also protect their rights. It also focuses on strengthening Disabled Peoples Organisations’ (DPOs) and Families Organisations’ (FOs) service capabilities. The Grant Round has three different grants, based on the building capacity; up to $25,000 for small individual capacity buildings, $50,000 for organizational capacity buildings, and $500,000 for large capacity buildings.

We Can Help

Sensible currently supports NDIA-registered organisations who provide services to people with disabilities, and we are a strong advocate for empowerment and capacity-building through technology—we work hard to provide innovative and effective solutions to these clients. We want our clients to spend more of their time helping the community, especially right now. We will talk you through the outcomes of working with us, and help you respond to your grant proposal. Our goal is to help you leverage these resources towards increased staff productivity, higher quality services, and a more connected and supportive work environment for everyone. Give us a call, we’d love to help you.

Are your Business Passwords Already Up for Sale?

Over the past 12 months, I have personally spoken with over 100 Australian business owners, and found that a whopping 42% have had at least 1 Ransomware Attack or Data Breach.

I am sure you’d agree – that is just shocking. Stop tolerating….

How is this happening?

Employees, left to their own devices, don’t know how to manage passwords. This results in them being easily hacked, sold on the dark web and leaving your business as an easy target for ransomware / data  breaches.

Another independent survey* showed:

  • 60% of employees use their business accounts (often their email address) and the same passwords for everything (including for personal purposes).
  • 81% of data breaches are due to weak, default or stolen passwords
  • Worse yet, the passwords were the same as on the survey conducted last year!
  • Is your password on this list below? (link to post

Note :  Criminals read the same surveys

Once a username and password is known it is extremely valuable and likely to be useful for some time…

But what if the breach has already happened?

How would you know? What user accounts and passwords are already compromised?

Sensible Business Solutions today launches a brand new Dark Web Search service that continuously monitors the dark web for user names and passwords that are currently offered for sale and how the breach occurred.


Call Me : Kevin Spanner at Sensible to find out more on 1300-SENSIBLE (736-742)


* Survey By Keeper Security

*Not familiar with the term “Dark Web”?

There is a large portion of the internet that is not indexed by search engines like Google. This is the “Deep Web.”

The US Government created this more secure (and usually encrypted) area of the Internet. It quickly became a preferred communication channel for privacy-conscious individuals, organisations and governments to share data, without detection.

However, criminal organisations now use the deep web as a platform. The term “Dark Web” describes the pockets of the deep web that are used to buy, trade and exploit illegal items (AKA Silk Road, etc.) and illegally acquired data (credit cards, passwords, etc.).

I had the craziest experience this week.

A business owner we spoke with had a ransomware attack on Monday, and his entire team of 100 staff got locked out of their network.

Clearly his current IT infrastructure wasn’t up to scratch, which lead to this problem and his team’s productivity going out the window, costing him thousands in lost revenue and hard wage costs - essentially he was paying for an empty office.

His current IT company (which let the problem into his network), scrambled on a fix and managed to get him back up and running the next day.

The most shocking thing here wasn’t that his IT company didn’t have his protection up to scratch ... it was the comment he made to us:

“It only took 1 day for our IT company to fix it and get us back up and running... Wasn’t that good! We feel no need to change providers.”

This blew my mind.

How can a small business owner:

1. Continue to pay a provider that’s not keeping their IT up to date with best practice?

2. Accept a full 8 hours of productivity loss, across 100 staff. That is at least $30,000 of wages that result in ZERO productivity for the day?

3. Then think that 8 hours to resolve the problem is a good result!

4. Want to stick with a company that caused all this headache, loss of revenue and $30,000 expense?

5. Keep operating the same way, with the possibility of having to tolerate it again?

Is this what the IT industry has come to? Is this the accepted expectation levels?

We’re really proud to be able to say that not a single client of ours has ever lost 1 hour of productivity due to Ransomware or Virus attacks.

I know it may be hard to believe, but it’s the lengths we go to, and the expectation we set for our clients.

Has this happened to you?

Do you think you’re settling too?

Do you no longer want to settle?

If you can spare 4mins, I would love to hear about your experiences or expectations around this – it’s been bugging me all week!

Stop Settling!

“Never before in the history of humankind have people across the world been subjected to extortion on a massive scale as they are today.” That’s what The Evolution of Ransomware, a study by California-based cybersecurity firm Symantec, reported recently.

If you have any illusions that your company is safe from cyber-attack in 2017, consider just a few findings stated in a recent report by the Herjavec Group, a global information security firm:

  • Every second, 12 people online become a victim of cybercrime, totalling more than 1 million victims around the world every day.
  • Nearly half of all cyber-attacks globally last year were committed against small businesses.
  • Ransomware attacks rose more than an astonishing 300% in 2016.
  • Known corporate data breaches in 2016 include: Australian Red Cross, Telstra, Dropbox, JB HiFi, David Jones, Domino's Pizza, Snapchat, Tumblr.
  • The world’s cyber-attack surface will grow an order of magnitude larger between now and 2021.
  • In 2016, The Australian Federal Government estimated that known losses from cybercrime cost Australians more than $1 billion in 1 year.
  • There is no effective law enforcement for financial cybercrime in Australia today.

Clearly, your company’s information and financial well-being are at greater risk than ever in 2017. And you cannot count on the federal or state government or local police to protect your interests. That’s why I STRONGLY SUGGEST that you implement the following resolutions starting TODAY.

Resolution #1: Tune up your backup and recovery system. The #1 antidote to a ransomware attack is more frequent and up-to-date backup copies of all your data and software. Yet managing backups takes more than just storing a daily copy of your data. For one thing, if your business is at all typical, the amount of data you store grows by 35% or more PER YEAR. If your data management budget doesn’t expand likewise, expect trouble. What about important data stored in cloud solutions like dropbox?

Resolution #2: Harness the power of the cloud—but watch your back. Huge productivity gains and reduced costs can be achieved by making full use of the cloud. Yet it’s a double-edged sword. Any oversight in security practices can lead to a breach. Here are two things you can do to harness the cloud safely:

  • Determine which data matters. Some data sets are more crucial to your business than others. Prioritise what must be protected. Trying to protect everything can take focus and resources away from protecting data such as bank account information, customer data and information that must be handled with compliance and regulatory requirements in mind.
  • Select cloud providers carefully. Cloud vendors know that data security is vital to your business and promote that fact. Yet not all cloud vendors are the same. You can’t control what happens to your data once it’s in the cloud, but you can control who’s managing it for you.

Resolution #3: Set and enforce a strict Mobile Device Policy. As BYOD becomes the norm, mobile devices open gaping holes in your network’s defences. Don’t miss any of these three crucial steps:

  • Require that users agree with acceptable-use terms before connecting to your network. Be sure to include terms like required use of hard-to-crack passwords, conditions under which company data may be “wiped” and auto-locking after periods of inactivity.
  • Install a Mobile Device Management System on all connected devices. A good system creates a virtual wall between personal and company data. It lets you impose security measures, and it protects user privacy by limiting company access to work data only.
  • Establish a strong protocol for when a connected device is lost or stolen. Make sure features that allow device owners to locate, lock or wipe (destroy) all data on the phone are preset in advance. That way, the user can be instructed to follow your protocol when their phone is lost or stolen.

Resolution #4: Ensure you have the latest Security Technology Layers in place. The fact is that attacks are becoming more sophisticated every month. Do this at least:

  • Ensure all of your staff are regularly trained and tested on the latest threats that are designed to trick them on clicking on the wrong things. (It's just not email any more).
  • Replace traditional antivirus software with systems that monitor program behaviour.
  • Implement systems that block unusual web links (even in online advertisements).

Free Network And Security Audit Resolves Your Biggest Data Security Problems and Makes Your Systems Run Like A Fancy Swiss Watch

Ever asked yourself why some business owners and CEOs seem so blithely unconcerned about data protection? Don’t let their ignorance lull you into a false sense of security. If you’ve read this far, you are smart enough to be concerned. Contact us today at 1300-SENSIBLE (736-742) or info@sensible.com.au and we’ll send one of our top network security experts over for a FREE Network and Security Audit. It’s your best first step to a safe and prosperous 2017.

Setting up meetings might seem like a trivial task, but it eats away at your productivity a few minutes at a time. Online Appointment scheduling software can help you track and schedule meetings with colleagues and customers much easier. Just send your clients a link to your booking page and they can book appointments online. Say goodbye to phone and email tag for finding the perfect meeting times.

Many of these programs synchronise with programs such as Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook.

More advanced appointment scheduling solutions offer additional functionality. For example, some provide online forms that customers can use to request or cancel appointments, handle multiple timezones, link with automation systems like Zapier or even accept payments.

Some good examples are: AppointybookedInCalendly, SimplyBook.me, Vyte.in

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