Essential solutions to keep your creative files and assets secure

Essential solutions to keep your creative files and assets secure

We’ve been supplying leading creative technology solutions for more than 25 years now, and we’ve worked with some of the UK’s top creatives for just as long. We realise that lots of creative teams manage with the basics when it comes to storage, security, servers, and the other less glitzy IT stuff, but it’s essential to ensure that your assets and files are protected against the unknown.

Of course, nobody ever expects massive data loss to happen to them. And while it may sound dramatic, it’s probably worth asking yourself what you’d do if your premises went up in flames overnight. If your team are working from a shared hard drive on the office floor, saving assets and files to internal hard drives on your computers, or backing up to a server sat on the floor above, you could be putting all your work at risk.

Reportedly, 58% of small business aren’t prepared for data loss, with a further 60% closing down within six months of losing critical data. And while you may even be storing duplicate copies of your files on separate hard drives, there’s still a risk of those failing too. By slacking in the backend, you could face losing years worth of clients’ work, your company’s entire history of creative branding and marketing collateral, and more. Fortunately, there are solutions out there that’ll help prevent a file-related disaster before it happens, and will have your back on the off-chance one does occur. Here are a few of our top recommendations for keeping your precious work out of harm’s way…

For data backup…

If your business currently handles over 1TB of data, our very own Backup24 is perfect for keeping your files safe. It offers secure, offsite protection for all your digital media assets, and you can leave everything with us so you don’t have to bother with the management headache. Backup24 is scalable, meaning you can increase or reduce the amount of data you backup quickly and easily, with pricing starting from just £40 per terabyte per month. Users will also benefit from professional over the phone support, anytime access to data, fast and simple data retrieval, and much more. Unlike when you go with bigger providers, we can physically check your data everyday and don’t charge you to access your backups. You can find out more about Backup24 here.

For data security…

Security should be a top priority for every creative team. It’s important to consider what protection you have against hacking and infiltration, and to have a plan in place in case your data is compromised. Lots of teams use services like Dropbox or Google Drive to store files and assets, and while they may be cheap and convenient, this can leave your data wide open to malicious attacks.

If this is something you’re concerned about and want to ensure that your files stay private and secure, or if you’re a larger organisation that needs complete control and visibility over lots of assets, we’d recommend Acronis Access Advanced, which addresses common file security and privacy issues. It’s ideal for businesses who need a safe method for users to access and share content both internally and externally across a range of devices. The solution allows users to work with business files anytime, anywhere, bolsters content security and privacy, increases IT control and ensures compliance, boosts end user productivity and improves collaboration between colleagues. It also offers comprehensive security functionality and controls to better manage and protect users, apps and data, and the whole solution is easy to install, administer and use.

To receive a 30 day free trial of Acronis Access Advanced, head over to their website. In the video below, the Acronis team asked business people where they think their data is being stored and what would happen if it was lost or stolen…

For data transfer…

If you’re going to start regularly backing up your creative files and assets, you’ll require connectivity that’s well-suited to handling bandwidth-intensive processes and applications. For this, we reckon ATTO’s ThunderLink devices are ideal. Basically, they act as external adapters for Thunderbolt 2 to Ethernet, Fibre Channel and SAS and Thunderbolt 3 to Ethernet and Fibre Channel. They connect all-in-one systems and laptops to storage devices while delivering high data transfer rates, as well as link aggregation and failover, redundancy and increased availability for critical network applications to protect against potential system failure.

ThunderLink devices provide optimised, scalable connectivity and are designed to integrate seamlessly into existing infrastructures. ATTO’s latest ThunderLink lineup boasts superior throughput to meet modern bandwidth requirements – respective devices deliver 40Gb/s Thunderbolt 3 to Ethernet and scalable 16Gb/s and 32Gb/s Thunderbolt 3 to Fibre Channel connectivity – perfect for speedy data backups and transfers of large creative files and assets. You can find out more about ATTO hardware here.

If anything we’ve discussed has got you thinking about the way your team secures, stores, shares and transfers creative files, get in touch with our specialist team on the details below and they’ll be happy to discuss any of the products mentioned above and any workflow requirements you may have.

If you’d like to find out more about our essential solutions for creative teams, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.comFor all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

Securing Macs in your organisation: The basics

Securing Macs in your organisation: The basics

If you’re managing security across a large Mac estate in your organisation and finding it both intimidating and confusing, we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be this way. With a little help from Apple’s built-in security features, as well as a few recommendations from Apple device management experts, your IT team can tackle common security issues with ease.

Security can be a tough nut to crack. The reality is, when you’re responsible for your business’ Mac estate, you want to ensure that you’re getting the job done properly, and that the devices can be used safely and securely. Of course, you need your Mac security to comply with existing network security measures, too.

How can macOS help?

If you’ve made the jump to macOS Sierra (which we recommend), there’s a plethora of ways it can help your Mac estate stay secure.

Regular software updates from Apple ensure that your machines always have access to the latest and safest version of macOS, while Gatekeeper protects you from any malicious apps. The safest place to download apps from is the Mac App Store, but if you’re downloading from the internet, developers can receive a Developer ID from Apple that helps Gatekeeper identify unscrupulous software and block installation from unapproved developers.

FileVault 2 keeps your data safe and secure by encrypting the entire drive on your Mac – and it’s fast and unobtrusive to boot. Users can even encrypt removable drives, which makes it ideal for securing Time Machine backups or external devices. And if you want a clean start or to give your Mac to someone else, you have access to instant wipe functionality that removes encryption keys, rendering data inaccessible, then performs a complete wipe of every last scrap of data on the disk. Best of all, it’s relatively easy to set up and initial encryption won’t take long so you can get right back to work once it’s done.

The upcoming Apple File System (APFS) looks set to revolutionise everything, including imaging, backup, OS upgrades and security. Fortunately, this is a good thing as APFS is optimised for Flash/SSD storage and features strong encryption, copy-on-write metadata, space sharing, cloning for files and directories, snapshots, fast directory sizing, atomic safe-save primitives, and improved file system fundamentals. You can read more about it here.

What do the experts recommend?

The Center for Internet Security (CIS) is an organisation specialising in cyber security. As internationally recognised specialists, they set the standard for macOS security. Making their security recommendations a part of your day-to-day practices will ensure you’ve got all bases covered.

Click here to check out a few of their benchmark recommendations for macOS security – they even provide terminal level suggestions for enabling and disabling certain features.

How can you meet security benchmarks like this for large scale Mac estates?

MDM (mobile device management) solutions like Jamf Pro allow users to control the settings, security, permissions and applications on any mobile device in your organisation, whether that be tablets, smartphones, laptops and even things like POS kiosks or mobile printers. It provides a single, centralised overview of your organisations mobile estate, no matter how many locations or platforms it covers. Such solutions also bolster device security and offer superior protection for your company data.

MDM tools should provide FileVault 2 controls so IT administrators can administer encryption and recovery keys, and can also help your organisation manage system preferences for your devices. This includes enabling FileVault 2 across your company to ensure data security, as well as iCloud preferences relating to file backup. Similarly, passwords and keys can be escrowed in Jamf Pro’s Server Inventory so you can rest easy knowing they’re stored securely in a central location.

Similarly, device management platforms are also great for handling system access, authentication and authorisation processes. This includes things like certificate distribution, with any good management tool utilising computer-level certificates to protect a company’s assets in a variety of ways. Typically, this includes certificate authentication for machines being integrated into an organisation’s network. Likewise, most management solutions should permit admins to configure a server that will act as a certificate authority, which will then be used to manage certificate services across an organisation’s computer network.

MDM tools can even help with log management, which is ideal for ensuring system and network security, and regulatory compliance. Logs are created on almost all devices, and if you’re running a large Mac estate you’re likely having to handle a large volume of them. They’re essential for analysing and solving bug issues, and testing new features during early development stages. So having a device management solution that can organise logs will save you time and money in the long run, and help you tackle future problems before they arise.

MDM solutions also support patch management, which allows admins to monitor the latest software updates for devices and applications, ensuring they’re up to date and secure – take a look at our mini guide to patch management.

Want to know more about getting started with Mac security, and how MDM solutions such as Jamf Pro can help your business keep on top of everyday IT tasks and meet security benchmarks? Give us a call on 03332 409 366, email enterprisesupport@Jigsaw24.com head to Jigsaw24.com/enterprise-support or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news and reviews, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 and ‘like’ us on Facebook.

Rolling out 1700 iPhones in one day with LNT Group

Rolling out 1700 iPhones in one day with LNT Group

When they decided to roll out 1700 company iPhones in a single day, all with their company app pre-installed, LNT Group knew they would need a formidable Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution. We set them up with the ideal solution for their deployment, and helped them get the best price for their ever- growing number of licences… 

 

Making staff feel like ‘part of the family’

Comprised of five different companies and delivering everything from care homes to race cars, LNT Group have grown from a family company to a firm of almost 2000 employees. “We decided to roll out smartphones now because as our company grows across the UK, we’re finding it harder to make people feel like part of the core business, part of the family here at LNT,” explained Leigh Ellis, LNT Group’s communications and marketing developer. “One of the ways we thought we could do that was to give everyone in the company a mobile device, so that they could be involved in the company remotely.”

Leigh and his team chose iPhones because existing users in the company had fed back that “iPhone was really easy to use, people just seemed to be able to pick them up and use them straight away, without the need for much training.” There was also the feeling that a smartphone would “feel like a present” more than a standard device, and give employees the inclusive morale boost that LNT thought was needed.

Developing an in-house app

As well as handing out iPhones, the company decided to build their own in-house app, iLNT. “Although we could probably have found a solution of apps that worked together to create what we needed, we thought that if we created one app that had it all in one place, it’d be much easier for staff to use,” explained Leigh. “Some of the things that people can use our app to do include receiving the latest news and updates from the group, so that they know what’s going on here at head office and feel like part of the family. We also wanted them to be able to communicate with us, and again that’s another feature of the app. They can send us suggestions, they can send messages direct to the chairman as well.”

As well as keeping staff up to date with the latest company news and allowing them to send key messages to individuals or sectors within the group, iLNT allows staff to clock in and out, book holidays and perform other HR tasks – all of which helps to encourage staff to use their phones every day and therefore give LNT Group the best return on their investment.

Deploying 1700 devices

The LNT Group’s chairmen felt that making an event of the iPhone launch and giving everyone in the organisation their device on the same day was key to creating a buzz about the scheme and making sure staff were excited by it. However, it meant that LNT Group’s eight-strong IT team would have to roll out 1700 devices at once, register them to the company, install iLNT on each and handle any teething problems – all in a single day.

Leigh immediately began comparing MDM solutions to find one that would ensure the rollout went smoothly. “I compared about 20 different companies in the market. I managed to narrow it down to about five that had all the features that we’d need, and the one that came out on top from an ease of use point of view, as well as many other things, was Absolute Manage. It really seemed to do everything we needed, and not only that but it did everything we’d have liked it to do as well, and it did it in an easy to use package.”

For the initial rollout, the key thing about Absolute was that everything could be automated. The iPhones would be enrolled on the group’s system automatically, and LNT could create their own app store to push out iLNT updates to employees who didn’t have iTunes accounts. “Originally we thought there might be some problems with it taking too long on each individual enrolment,” explained Leigh, “but we went to Absolute support about this and they were very forthcoming in giving us a solution where we could speed it all up and automate the process.”

Since the rollout, Absolute Manage MDM has continued to shine. “We can track all the devices, we can make sure that they’re all safe, and we can make sure that everything that goes out to the phones is secure and restricted,” said Leigh. “And in fact, if anyone’s not using their phone we can see that [using Absolute Manage MDM’s use tracking tools] and go to them and say, ‘what do we need to do to get you using your phone?’ It might just be a case of training, or it might be the case that they need something else on the phone so they can use it better.”

Supporting and maintaining the deployment

“The great thing about Absolute MDM was that we really didn’t need any training – the software just worked exactly how we expected it to and everything was where we needed it to be,” said Leigh. “We have a team of eight IT support staff here, and it’s been so easy that we haven’t even needed all of those to run the support for the phones. It’s down to one person to do it, and they’re managing that very easily. On the couple of occasions when we have needed support, [Absolute’s team] have been very quick.”

The response from staff

“The staff response to the iPhones has been excellent – better than expected, actually,” said Leigh. “When we rolled out this many phones we thought we might get quite a few teething problems, but actually staff have taken to the phones really well, they’re all using them every day, and we can see that from the tracking reports.”

“When I first found out about the iPhone scheme I was quite sceptical to be honest, I didn’t think it would work,” said Matthew Crumpton, LNT Group’s resident videographer, who uses the iLNT app to push out training videos to staff phones. “But now that I’ve seen it happen, it’s really impressive. I thought all the stuff about the new app and the things it can do was quite groundbreaking. It’s kept me in touch with all my work colleagues as I was up and down the country travelling with Ginetta and Ideal Care Homes, and it’s allowed me to do HR tasks – booking holidays, clocking in and clocking out when I’m in different places, it’s revolutionised the way I do my job.

“We can send out messages as often as we want to particular parts of the company, so if you only want to send out a message to construction or people in Ideal Care Homes or people in a particular care home, say in Newark, we can send out a message, and it keeps it feeling like a family business. And as the company’s grown and got bigger and expanded its staff, that we can still keep in touch like that is fantastic.”

Most of the staff have found it easy to get to grips with their phones, and any support issues are usually resolved quickly. “Leigh does receive quite a few calls every day, but they’re usually quick fixes and it’s usually just people who aren’t familiar with using the phones,” says Matthew. “Some of them were quite sceptical about using iPhones at first, but I think as their confidence in the phones grows and they see other staff members benefitting from them, they do start to use them a lot more.”

Constantly expanding the scheme

“With every member of staff here at LNT receiving a new phone, and new care homes opening every month, we’re constantly rolling out new phones to staff, and every time we do we’re constantly learning a bit more about how to roll out and get the best out of these phones,” said Leigh, who also makes sure that the iLNT app is regularly updated with new features. “For anyone looking to roll out mobile devices at the minute, I really would suggest Absolute as the main product to use. It’s really taken away a lot of time from our workload, and because it’s invisible to the end user, they don’t even need to know how to use it, it just works.”

“I think the success of the scheme here at LNT proves that it can be such a success at any company,” agreed Matthew. “We were new to it when we started, we threw ourselves in at the deep end and we didn’t really know what we were getting ourselves into, but it’s proved an amazing success and I’d definitely recommend it to other companies.”

For more about mobile device management and Absolute Manage, get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email B2B@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and tips, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook