Maintaining computer and data security is not just a challenge for the larger organisations.

Business owners, the self-employed and sole traders also have to keep a watchful eye on their digital safety.

If you watch, read or listen to the news you may have noticed how the threats from malware, phishing scams and hacking are on the rise.

You may even know a friend or colleague who has had their Facebook account or website hacked.

Use Your Common Sense

There are some simple tips to protect your computer:

  • Use strong passwords and keeping them safe
  • Browse the web with care (avoiding ‘dodgy’ sites)
  • Only use your own external devices or USBs (or ones from a trusted source)
  • Use a firewall (Windows 10 already has one built in)
  • Have the latest antivirus security software running
  • Ensure all your software is up to date
  • If something doesn’t ‘feel right’ it probably isn’t. Don’t take the risk.

Check your settings to make sure automatic updates are ‘on’ to keep your machine safe, whether Windows or Mac.

Apple users may think that their computers and devices offer more security than PC alternatives but that does not mean they are infallible.

Whether you are just starting out or an established business owner, build in time and resources to keep you and your technology safe from the wrong hands.

Back Up Your Work

Have you ever been working on a long document or complex spreadsheet and lost the work?

I know people who have and it’s such a frustrating, stressful thing to happen.

The shock can quickly be replaced by relief if you have backup systems in place.

There are many options available today and they can give the hard-working VA, EA or PA simple peace of mind.

External Hard Drive – This is the traditional way of backing up your files. Well-known brands include WD (Western Digital), Seagate, LaCie and SanDisk. They can offer a range of storage capacities, to provide security for even the most data-hungry computer.

Cloud Backup – This is an increasingly popular way of storing files, with information stored securely online. Options include Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive and Dropbox.

Disk Image Backup – With this safety option, software takes an image of the entire hard disk on your computer. It allows you to restore the entire system to another computer, including the operating system, applications and more.

Having something in place means you can recover and retrieve important files in case of a mishap or malevolence.

Maintain Secure Communications

As a VA, EA or PA, the company and clients place their trust in you.

The expectation is for confidentiality to be a given.

As part of your role, you may be asked to handle or exchange sensitive information. Organisations – cautious about security – will often use encryption when sending or receiving communications.

They expect professional assistants to do the same.

This is where an application like Microsoft Outlook with Microsoft 365 comes into its own. When linked up with Microsoft’s Azure information rights management system (included in 365 Business Premium) confident confidentiality is at your fingertips.

It works for both PC and Mac.

Because security is such a big issue today, I created an online Outlook course which covers how to set up and use encryption with ease.

Sometimes it’s only when you lose something that you realise the value of it. That’s true of your data – and your company or client data.

Stay safe. Stay secure.

The session was well structured and the explanation was very clear. It was amazing how Shelley managed to squeeze so much info in just one hour and a half! Colin’s support and contributions were also very valuable, and so were “Virtual Veronica”‘s. Thank you for a most interesting and useful training session at the Miss Jones Virtual Summit!

Laura Carizzo- Royal Norwegian Embassy in Argentina

I haven’t used PowerPoint in 20 years, this has really boosted my confidence.

Lyn Parker

Course is packed with so much valuable information in a easy-to-understand and follow language, even for a complete beginner. I can respect the fact that sometimes it’s very hard for an expert to break the information down to basics. but Shelley has done it brilliantly. I was sure that I knew quite a bit but Shelley has proven me wrong even at the very beginning of the basics of PowerPoint. Lessons are short and precise which allowed me to easily transfer the new skill into practice without being overwhelmed and to carry on adding on more with each lesson. I had so many ‘Aha!’ moments and for most of them I couldn’t believe I used to pay graphic designer to do it for me, now, thanks to Shelley, I am looking forward to creating, designing, converting my presentations all by myself!

Iva Freeman – Vertex Human Capital

Shelley was very thorough and knew a lot of tip’s for using Teams, thank you 🙂

James O’Connor – Cavannah Homes

Very informative, constantly getting everyone in the meeting involved, loved every bit of it!

Dylan Teal Hopkins – Cavannah Homes
Fantastic and informative training and great to see all of the exciting functions with Microsoft Teams.
Laura Rigby – The Apprenticeship College
Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.
Leigh Dowling – Innuous

Microsoft Teams One to One Training Session

Shelley was approachable, easy to work with, and agile with answering questions to apply the session to my specific needs

Melissa Marshall – Present Your Science

A course on Outlook had been on the top of my list when Shelley asked VA’s what they wanted to learn.

It was a real case of ‘so that’s how you do it’ or ‘I never knew that’. I have to say that I learnt so many great tips it has definitely improved the way I work in Outlook and my inbox is looking colourful and organised and I can’t wait to share this knowledge with my clients.

Jacqueline Leake – JLeake VA Services – Outlook

A great course with lots of examples and step by step instructions. I can now confidently create infographics and as a bonus, I learnt a lot of new PowerPoint functionality that will enhance all my PowerPoint work and save me so much time.

Jessica Bailey – Integral Resource

I really like Shelley’s courses. She has a clear and easy to follow teaching style. In ‘How to Create Fillable Forms’ I’ve learned about the functions of the Developer ribbon which will mean I’ll be able to create a bespoke Returns Form for a client who has an online shop

Freya Henderson – Virtual Office Orkney

Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.

Sarah Clements – Inuous

Absolutely superb course, easy to follow and to refer back whilst putting it all into practice! I was unaware of the extent you can customise a presentation and it’s just made me want to know more – what’s next Shelley?

Denise Williams

I thought I had a pretty good grasp of Outlook until I did this course! In her videos, Shelley is clear and concise, and the language she uses is straightforward and jargon-free. Each module is broken down into manageable chunks, which helps keep your attention and means the course is easy to fit in around other commitments. I’ve created email templates and implemented rules that are already saving me time, and as all the other things I’ve learnt start to become second nature, the positive impact on my efficiency is fast becoming clear. This course has been incredibly beneficial and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to strengthen their skills and boost productivity.

Pip Doleman VA

I thought I knew Powerpoint really well, but I wanted to specifically learn how to use Powerpoint to create better infographics, easily and quickly. Shelley explains everything in a very logical and clear way, so I understood everything the first time I heard it. The most useful thing I learnt was that Powerpoint can do so much more than I thought it could. By also using the short cuts that Shelley showed me I am much quicker than I have ever been and I thought I was already quick!

Susan Marot

Shelley Fishel of Tomorrow’s VA has a wealth of experience in Microsoft Office. I met her in person 2 years ago at the PA Show in London. I also saw her in action in a fab workshop and knew she was the whizz that everyone had told me she was. I have since bought a lifetime access to her HUB and all the courses in there are a MUST if you are a VA on a mission. The courses will give you confidence in all the Office 365 components and will catapult you to dizzy heights

Alex Hughes