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Cyber Security Awareness Month Q&A: Jonathan Viana

As Australian Cyber Security Month comes to a close for another year… we take the time to sit down with Jonathan Viana, Mac Centre’s own Head of IT Services – to have a chat about all things Cyber Security.

As Head of IT Services – how do you feel about ‘Cyber Security Month’?
Cyber Security Month started in the USA back in 2004 and it has since been adopted across the globe. October marks the time when government, education and industry leaders collaborate to assist businesses and people to protect themselves online. For me though, it’s more of a reminder that being “cybersecurity aware” is an everyday thing – not a once-a-year endeavour.

The easiest way I can explain it is to think of it as being “street-smart”. You cannot put a pause on that. It is something that you “activate” when you leave home. In the same way, you should activate your cybersecurity awareness when you go online.
In your position, do we see some really common problems amongst businesses coming to us, time and time again that could be avoided?
Absolutely – multiple things come to mind.

Most businesses wait until they have been impacted financially to have a proactive approach against cyber criminals. Obviously, this has positively changed in the last 2 years (thanks to remote work and the C-word!).

Another thing we see a lot is, businesses think that because they have a backup or a strong password, they don’t see themselves as a target. Big mistake. Cyber-attacks are incredibly profitable, and money is all the motivation a bad actor needs to make you, their target.

What would you say businesses need to do ALL year long to help fight Cyber-threats?
Never trust and always verify. Zero-trust is not a new process, but it’s certainly been modified over the years to suit the fast-changing workplace. In essence, businesses should no longer consider anyone or anything to be “trusted” until they have gone through the process of verifying themselves.

I recommend businesses take a multi-layered approach to security. A “good” anti-virus doesn’t cut it anymore – you need to study, embrace, and implement the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s (ACSC) Essential Eight, as a minimum. Zero-trust

The key things I would look at implementing ASAP if your business doesn’t have a cyber security strategy are:
·      Implement MFA
·      Implement end-point protection
·      Have backups
·      Patch and update all systems
·      Implement SSO and/or implement a password manager
·      Above all, educate your staff – the ultimate firewall/defence against bad actors are your people.

It’s vital to not only be aware of the data that you hold – but to also understand the data and who has access to it. This is super daunting and challenging for businesses, but this is where having a good IT partner is key.
As a business, has Mac Centre done anything in particular, to ramp up our own Security?
Absolutely! Security is extremely important to us; we have implemented more security controls and policies in the last 36 months than the last 10 years.
Let me put it this way, every single offering we put in front of our customers, we have implemented, tested, broken and re-deployed internally. We must be 150% sure a solution is the right fit for our customers and ourselves.
What advice would you have for Businesses considering a Partner to assist them on their Cyber Security journey?
Here are some critical things businesses should consider when choosing an IT partner.
Technology and business alignment – don’t partner with someone specialising in Windows PC when your business is a full Apple house.
Evaluate their experience, certifications, and reviews.
Make sure that your IT partner can grow and scale with your business – don’t let technology be a roadblock to your business growth.
Ensure they understand cybersecurity and what they can do to improve your cybersecurity strategy.
Company culture – ensure your IT provider will be a good fit for your company. You should have a long-lasting relationship with your IT provider – after all, this will be a trust-based relationship.
How do you feel about the state of the world & reports of recent cyber-attacks within Australia?

It is evident that Australia is externally profitable for bad actors – the lack of updated policies and laws is also letting the Australian people down. Having said that, there is traction right now and I hope the current government is agile and assertive regarding this topic.
It has never been more critical than ever to partner with the right IT provider for your business.
And one last question, to help close us out… In a Zero-trust world – who do you trust?!
The answer is: “trust no one Mr Mulder” (Jonathan laughs as he delivers the famous line from the X-files) Hey! I’m a geek after all!
Looking to explore the ACSC Essential Eight model in more detail <click here>

To find out if Mac Centre is the right partner for you in your fight against cyber criminals, reach out to the team today.
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