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Top 5 tips for using a password manager

Passwords, we all have more that we care to admit. With every online service, telephone service and device requiring one of those pesky words, our lives are littered with them. It is best practice to have a unique password for each account, but how do you remember so many? Check out our Top 5 tips for using a password manager!

What is a password manager?

Before we start our Top 5 tips for using a password manager, let’s summarise password managers.

Password managers are secure vaults for all of your passwords. In the simplest form, it is no more than that. You typically have one strong password, the “master password”, that unlocks the vault. Once the vault is unlocked it gives you access to all of your credentials. Good password managers will allow you to:

  • Generate secure passwords.
  • Notify you if/when a password has been compromised.
  • Prompt you to change duplicate passwords (which of course, you have none!).

For all their great features, a password manager does of course come with risks. Their usage should be proportionate to the risk of the credentials being leaked. We know that every account should have its own strong password (until a passwordless society becomes the norm), but how many of those are highly confidential accounts? Which do you care about the most? Your bank account password being known only to you, or your Netflix account.

We will explore some of the risks associated with password managers in a later post. For now, let’s focus on the Top 5 tips for using password managers.

Top 5 tips for using a password manager

Here is Accelita’s Top 5 tips for using a password manager. Remember, password managers are not the only defence against credential compromise!

1. Use the password generator to generate strong passwords

Most good password managers come with the ability to generate strong passwords. The definition of a strong password is often a topic of debate, however many people converge upon a similar theme. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) guidelines are to use three random words.

Create passwords using three random words. You just put them together, like ‘coffeetrainfish’ or ‘walltinshirt’.

2. Create accounts linked to domains

Passwords should be unique, and each service is likely to have its own website address. Password managers allow you to create accounts/logins; combining the username, password and website address (URL/domain name). Entering the website address with your password entry will help reduce the chance of you being tricked into entering credentials into a cloned site. Attackers are clever, they will lure you on to a site they control, often looking identical to the authenticate site and with a very similar domain name (think netfl1x.co.uk as opposed to netflix.co.uk).

If you have entered a website address against a login, but navigate to a fake site, the login you would normally use won’t be displayed in the list of suitable options. This is just one simple, subtle, hint for you to check you are where you think you are.

3. Ace the master password

Great, you have your password manager containing all your passwords. But, then you set the master password as “password1”. Doh! Now attackers have access to all of your accounts, not such a wise move. Following the guidance in Tip #1, set a strong master password, and don’t share it!

4. Maintain good account hygiene

You will find over time that the number of accounts you have in your password manager is growing beyond belief. Starting with 1 or 2 and often reaching hundreds in a matter of months, it is quite scary just how many services we are signed up for. Think of all of those people you have shared your details with.

Just as you would spring clean your house, take time to maintain your online footprint. Look through the list of accounts in your password manager and ask yourself, “do I still use this?” and “what value does this account bring me?”. If you don’t need it, close the account. You have a right to be forgotten and companies shouldn’t be storing data any longer than needed, so close the account and remove the risk. Why loose personal details through an attack on a service you no longer use?

5. Use two/multi factor authentication

Passwords are only part of the authentication solution. Passwords can be broken, stolen, or simply guessed. Using a secondary form of authentication such as a unique code generated on your phone, a one time password sent via SMS, or a hardware dongle (take a look at Yubico) adds in a second line of defence. Again, the NCSC has some great guidance on this.

Want to read more?

The NCSC have lots of great guidance on staying safe online. In fact, they even have their own post about password managers. Whilst you are here, why not continue your journey and see what the NCSC have to say?

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Website design and development

Website design and development

DEFINING DIGITAL PRESENCE

Digital presence is a key customer channel for almost every business. In Q1 of 2019, according to the Office for National Statistics, “91% of all adults [in the UK] had recently used the internet, with almost all adults aged 16 to 44 years (99%) being recent internet users.” Accessible, engaging, up to date and searchable content is fundamental to a successful digital presence. Society moves at an incredible pace, consumers expect relevant content to be available on a multitude of devices on demand. To help our clients meet their customers needs, we provide website design and development.

91% of all adults had recently used the internet, with almost all adults aged 16 to 44 years (99%) being recent internet users.

In 2018, 78% of adults stated their preferable method of Internet access was via a smartphone. This statistic is not surprising when you consider the volume of commuters interacting with their devices during their daily commute, the ease of use of using a mobile device when visiting new places, and the social expectation to constantly share information with peers.

78% of adults stated their preferable method of Internet access was via a smartphone.

ENGAGE DIGITAL

From websites to mobile apps, social media to customer relationship management platforms, a multitude of avenues are available to be explored. We find that working with clients to deliver solutions that solve their immediate needs, whilst presenting options for future developments, ensures the best value for money whilst delivering the best customer experience. The approach we take is tailored to every client; factoring in time, budget, requirements and the ongoing technical support. Whether you are looking for a website or a mobile app, the three categories of development listed below broadly apply.

Bespoke development

+ Unlimited scope

+ Fully customisable

+ Complete control

+ Most suitable for integration

–  Typically higher cost

–  Ongoing support requirement

Customised off the shelf

+ Community support

+ Quicker to market

+ Customisable

+ Common integration options

–  Requires infrastructure

–  Constraints of flexibility

Managed platform

+ Fully managed

+ Supported infrastructure

+ Low maintenance

+ Limited set of integration options

–  Platform portability restrictions

–  Constraints on flexibility

Why wait?

Get in touch with your account manager at Accelita today! Use our experience, passion and knowledge to help your business engage digital with our website design and development services.

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office applications

The power of G Suite for business solutions

G Suite is the cloud based office productivity suite offered by Google. It is a great way for businesses to deliver efficient and cost effective solutions to all of their employees. Using well known tools such as G Mail and Google Docs, businesses can achieve the most common office tasks right from within their browser.

How is G Suite different to Office 365?

Office 365 is an office productivity suite offered by Microsoft. Office has a long standing reputation as the go to productivity suite for both home and business users, but such a reputation comes at a great cost.

Some of the key differences between the two products include:

  • Office 365 provides users with native desktop applications, whereas G Suite is all based in the browser (although there is still support for offline working).
  • Office 365 limits each user to 1TB of storage whereas G Suite gives users unlimited cloud storage (for 5 or more users, otherwise 1TB each) and Google Docs/Sheets/Slides don’t count to storage anyway.
  • Mobile Device Management with Office 365 is limited in capabilities without an additional Intune licence, G Suite provides full functionality for everyone.
  • Office 365 provides shared mailboxes, great for enquiries/sales/admin addresses, G Suite is lacking a bit in this area but do provide a collaborative inbox feature which gets you about 50% of the way there.

How does the cost compare to Office 365?

At the time of writing, the Office 365 Business Premium plan at £9.40 per user/per month (plus VAT). Compare this to Google’s G Suite Business plan at £6.60 per user/per month (plus VAT).

When evaluating Office 365 for our business and for clients needs, we were unable to find any discounts. For G Suite we have a 20% discount code for your first year of basics or business, just get in touch.

How do I build custom business applications?

Both platforms provide a low code platform for developing business applications on top of the productivity suite. Microsoft have PowerApps, a basic licence for which is included in your Office 365 subscription. G Suite comes with App Maker which is again included in your subscription but has full access to the G Suite API.

As we work with customers on business solutions, we continue to investigate and invest time into G Suites App Maker as we have found the documentation more accessible, the extensibility greater and the integration options more complete.

How popular is G Suite?

This is a very interesting question, one that we were initially quite shocked by. From small businesses to well known brands such as Morrisons, it appears G Suite has a strong and loyal user base. The G Suite pricing page itself provides a large number of success stories and claims that millions of business use G Suite.

Chosen by millions of businesses, from small companies to the Fortune 500.

What are the limitations of G Suite?

There are a few considerations to make before jumping into or over to G Suite over Microsoft’s offering.

  1. G Suite is a web browser based productivity suite so desktop extensibility is limited. Whilst you are able to extend functionality in many ways, you cannot run G Suite offline PC’s as there are no desktop applications.
  2. Microsoft Office is more feature rich, for many years office applications were – and in some cases, still are – one of their main products. Whilst Google does a great job at providing the standard functionality, there is often the odd gotcha along the way.
  3. Video conferencing in Office was recently reinvigorated with Microsoft Teams. Google have a long standing history of replacing their video conferencing products Google Hangouts, Duo, Meet. For team collaboration their offering is good, but they don’t yet have an equivalent to Teams.
  4. Shared Mailboxes aren’t really a thing in G Suite. This is one of the biggest drawbacks for businesses used to having a shared inbox for their generic sales address, for example. There are features available which provide similar functionality, but these aren’t as slick as you would like (although we have put some feature requests in to Google to try and improve this).
  5. Interoperability between Microsoft file types of G Suite can be sometimes limited. The more complex the Microsoft Word document, the more likely it is you are going to have some formatting issues. That being said, G Suite can open and export to Microsoft Word and does a fairly reasonable job at it.

Looking for other reviews?

There is lots of information out there comparing the two productivity suites. A fairly comprehensive review can be found on Style Factory which we originally read when considering options for productivity suites.

Looking for a free trial and a discount?

If you are looking for a 14 day free trial, head over to Google G Suite. If you are seeking a discount on your first years subscription then get in touch, we can send you a code for 20% off your first year Basic or Business plan.

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Tech us Together launch speakers

Inspiring the next generation of technologists

Technology careers and technologists have many a stereotype and misconception associated with them. Whilst society and the industry is trying to dispel some of the myths, here at Accelita we believe everyone has a part to play.

TECH US TOGETHER LAUNCH EVENT

We were privileged to attend the launch event of Tech Us Together, a social enterprise whose goal is to inspire, explore and connect through technology. Bringing people together who are interested in tech, are curious about careers in tech, and who are already in the tech sector; to network and explore opportunities.

The launch event, hosted at the LCB Depot in Leicester, saw our Director of IT and Cyber, Tom Noble along with 3 other guest speakers take to the stage to discuss their background in technology and to answer questions from the audience.

Tech us Together audience

With a diverse and strong attendance, it was great to discuss some of the routes into a tech career and where it could take you. Kate Lowe, the founder of Tech Us Together and event organiser, said;

“Everyone left feeling inspired and new connections were formed.” – Kate Lowe, founder of Tech Us Together

As Tom took to the stage his talk focused on the personal gains that can be achieved with a career in technology and that technology careers are diverse and open to everyone; no matter your background, no matter your interest, no matter your skill set! In fact, Tom Noble, co-founder of the IT Consultancy firm Accelita, used his career in technology to take to the skies by acquiring his Personal Pilots Licence (PPL).

Speaker, Tom Noble

Tom Noble at Tech us Together launch

“Technology careers are diverse and open to everyone.” – Tom Noble

The future of Tech Us Together is bright, with many events scheduled for the rest of the year. If you are interested in what a technology career could offer you, visit Tech Us Together today.

Original post: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/inspiring-next-generation-technologists-tom-noble

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Teaching and tutoring

Computer Science in education, where are we now?

In September 2012, the UK Government made Computer Science part of the national curriculum. In a bid to bring future generations into the 21st century, to promote the UK as a centre of excellence for technologists, and reduce the ever expanding skills gap present throughout our societies, all pupils were to be given access to Computer Science lessons from age 5.

Bill Mitchell, of the BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, said: “It is tremendous that Michael Gove is personally endorsing the importance of teaching computer science in schools.” We could not agree more, high level endorsement, both from Government and the BCS is imperative to any success of a transformation of this kind.

Bill Mitchell followed his statement up by saying “There are, of course, significant challenges to overcome, specifically with the immediate shortage of computer science teachers.”

It is this comment that still today, in 2019, stands true. We see a significant shortage of qualified teachers with the resources to deliver Computer Science lessons to young people. One of our Directors, Tom Noble, has been delivering Computer Science tutoring sessions for students aged 11-18 throughout Gloucestershire since 2015 and has seen a continued growth in uptake but very little noticeable shift in the quality of teaching from students schools.

"...immediate shortage of Computer Science teachers"

We have seen some fantastic schemes start up from the likes of QA and the NCSC with their CyberFirst programme to BCS Apprenticeships. These schemes are in place to help students who are coming to the end of their compulsory education journey, however we still see a growing need for tutoring across the board to help students develop and refine their skills.

Tom Noble took part in a BCS course in teaching Computer Science, which we are very pleased to say he passed in May 2018. A course designed to appraise an individuals skills in delivering Computer Science lessons to students, it consisted of:

  1. An up to date CPD log with relevant links to education;
  2. A software development project;
  3. A study on the pedagogical methods of teaching Computer Science.

This is a great offering from the BCS and helps teachers to develop their skills in this area of the curriculum. For those who are coming out of a PGCE or considering diversifying into Computer Science teaching from their current topic, this would serve as a good foundation.

Whilst this is a great start, more needs to be done. As businesses, how could we help? What policy should Government implement to expedite the aims set out by their predecessors? How much of an involvement will private tutoring play in the progression of Computer Science students in future years? These are all still questions to be answered but one thing is for certain, without a significant change in finances and resource, substantial and sustainable progression may be far in the future.

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