In the age of working from home and with the backdrop of the HSE malware attack, the Meath Business Owners Network meeting was held on Friday the 21st of May to discuss how to protect your business & your trade secrets from everyday security risks. Over 50 participants logged in for the May call which was once again chaired by Raymond Gibbons of BMS accountancy. The Meath Business Owners Network is a partnership between County Meath Chamber and Local Enterprise Office Meath and is sponsored by Pinergy and Permanent TSB.
Contributors on the day were Gerry Coller – Mitigate Risk Management Solutions, Stephen Mackerel from Work Air in Dunshaughlin and John O’Shea from Data Trust, Dunshaughlin. These three companies work in the IT sector in providing secure software for your business, mitigating risk in technology security and managed services for business IT needs. With many businesses working from home and the necessity for employees to be able to access work systems, it is very important for everyone to be aware of how their data is stored. Stephen Mackerel had the following advice- “Minimise the tech software that you manage in house. Avoid local servers and make sure your windows software is up to date”. Gerry Coller stressed the importance of constant surveillance of your systems. “You should be checking your set up, changing your passwords and constantly looking at your website for any unusual activity. Worryingly, there has been an increase of people using devices to track or steal your data. For example, the use of tracking devices on CEO’s cars has increased by 17% in the last year”
John O’Shea from Data trust in Dunshaughlin has been in business for 20 years and acknowledged the changes in IT support in business. “The changes in the past number of years can seem overwhelming and IT has a name for being expensive. There is no leeway in privacy laws for budget but with a managed service looking after your IT you have a monthly cost instead of a big bill when something does go wrong”. During the panel discussion, all three contributors stressed the importance of working with reputable IT companies. Companies that have accreditations with security and resilience inbuilt. Every 3 seconds there is a ransomware attack made in the world.
Paula McCaul, CEO of Meath County Chamber felt that this topic was very relevant for Meath Business Owners “A ransomware attack is a really scary prospect for all of us in business. This morning’s speaker panel were incredible! They provided us with an overview of the current cyber security climate along with everyday tips and advice. It can be quite overwhelming but it’s important to stress that you are not alone in this. The Meath Business Directory has a wealth of qualified professionals who will offer advice, support and reassurance if you are in any doubt about your current systems.”
Participants attended a breakout session for ten minutes to speak to other business owners on what their burning issue was with IT security at the moment. The breakout rooms allowed participants to voice their concerns, receive support from other participants and gather advice on what other businesses are doing.
Clare O’Connor of Clare O’Connor Designs in Dunshaughlin spoke to participants on the call about her experience in marketing her new brand. Clare produces a luxury brand of wearable art, with a collection of Silk and Cashmere scarves in vibrant colours. When faced with marketing her collection, Clare discovered a free 7-day social media advertising course from Molly Pitman. Clare found that after the 7 days she was able to experiment more with ads and achieve successful sales as a result. “There are tools out there to help all small businesses navigate the marketing of their brand” said Clare.
The last speaker of the day was Bernard Kenny, chairperson of Core Ireland. Based in Navan, Core Ireland commits to providing a helping hand to those in need within the community. Bernard spoke of their work with the Nourish project- providing food parcels to families in need in the County, The Core Community Magazine which highlights the work of other not for profit organisations in the area and their youth diversion programme. Core Ireland are now offering Mental wellbeing courses for the workplace to bridge the gap between wellbeing and productivity in the workplace that Covid may have exacerbated. The courses are certified and delivered in conjunction with the recovery college in DCU. Bernard spoke of some of the courses available. “Courses include my home my sanctuary and self-care. Courses can be tailor-made for the business needs also.”
Lorna Cooney of the Local Enterprise Office also commented that “it is fantastic to see such support and co-operation amongst the business community in Meath. This network has provided a platform for businesses in the County, small and large, to support each other and foster a real spirit of entrepreneurship within the county. It provides an open forum where business owners can share information, advice and solve problems together to help grow and sustain their business and ultimately create employment locally.”
Paula McCaul ended the meeting on a high with congratulating The Cusack Hotel group on the recent launch of their new logos and new websites. The Cusack Hotel group sponsored the spot prize for this months’ call with an overnight stay for 2 in any of their hotels along with dinner. Paula also congratulated all the businesses who reopened their doors this week in County Meath.
To register for the next Meath Business Owners Network on Friday the 18th of June, keep an eye on the County Meath Chamber social media pages or www.countymeathchamber.ie. Pre-registration is necessary. To claim your free listing on the Meath Business Directory or to become a member just email firstname.lastname@example.org