Sam Selby

Manic Monday

Manic Monday

For those of a certain generation the American pop group – the Bangles song ‘Manic Monday’ resonated strongly with workforces throughout the world.  The song was released, on vinyl, in 1986 before the real mass market appeal of CD let alone Spotify, and similar instant music streaming services, existed.  The song described a woman who was waking up on a Monday morning to go to work wishing it was still Sunday so she could continue to relax, but despite the evidence of gender we could all appreciate the sentiment. 

Fast forward 36 years and we find ourselves facing ‘Blue Monday’, identified as being the most depressing day of the year.  The day was born out of research by Sky Travel having considered the normally depressing weather (though as I am writing this there is an unusual sun beaming down and showing off the natural beauty of Plymouth!), the dark evenings, end of fiscal year planning and the inevitable arrival of the credit card statement showing how much we abused it over the festive period! My cynical nature, of course makes me think they created this day to sell more holidays! Despite changes in technology not much has changed since the Bangles song and there remains a gloom about having to get up and face the working week ahead for many. 

Organising the recent mental health wellbeing lunchtime talks, which we are hosting at Delt, has made me reflect on why the world seems intent on labelling another day as being ‘special’ but with a negative connotation. Personally, I do not necessarily see it first-hand, but I do see it in others. I am fortunate that within my role, within Delt, I don’t despair about the forthcoming working week, I have a great supportive team around me and if anything, my blues come about because I did not have enough time to do the things that I wanted to do that weekend rather than what the future week looks like. 

Delt, in my view, is a progressive employer and puts other companies that I have worked for, and those I have knowledge of, to shame. Delt encourages the work-life balance that we all strive for and how to achieve it, it’s not just lip service. Our employees are actively encouraged, through our wellbeing commitments, to spend quality time on …… ourselves. OK… I have immediate access to my HR colleagues which helps of course, but for others there is always someone to reach out to for support, signposting or just lending an ear. As Ant and Dec have said its ‘good to talk’.  

If your organisation has Mental Health First Aiders, then reach out to them. They are trained in offering you a non-judgemental ear and helping you find the next step to getting the support you may need. If your organisation does not have MHFA then try your HR department and see if they can help banish those blues. 

If you don’t feel you want to speak to a work colleague, try an Employee Assistance programme. Many organisations now offer these on a 24/7 basis and have become an invaluable tool for many. Importantly find someone trusted to talk to, such help can be found in the most unexpected places. My ‘go to guy’ is someone who I have only recently met though my university degree course and, despite the 30 years age difference, is the person who keeps me grounded and is there for me when I need. Of course, it is reciprocal, and I am humbled that they allow me in their life (I should note my thanks to his girlfriend for allowing me time with him!) 

So, let us turn the manic and blue Mondays into something that can be looked forward to by reaching out to your colleagues and build those relationships where we can all look out for each other. Consider a health and wellness check in as part of a weekly scrum, create a play list based on team members suggestions and go for a walk whilst listening to it (Don’t include the Bangles manic Monday song though) but most important of all remember ‘it’s good to talk.’ 

Adrian Dinham, HR Advisor

Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

Karen Morris – Interim Chief Financial Officer

Karen Morris – Interim Chief Financial Officer

After wanting a change in her work/life balance following a fall from a horse and suffering significant injuries, Karen relocated to Devon from Northamptonshire in 2003.

Karen then joined Delt in 2018 after a varied career in multiple sectors including Formula 1, manufacturing, and retail. She enjoys the challenge of the fast pace of change at Delt and gets a lot of satisfaction from helping people to do amazing things.

When not working she is a fair-weather sailor and loves sailing around the South Coast with her husband in Wahoo, their small sailing boat.  She also enjoys kick boxing classes at an amateur level.

Connect with Karen on LinkedIn
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Computers Can Do Astonishing Things

Computers Can Do Astonishing Things

Stay with me on this one… Let’s start off with a very small camera, taking an admittedly black and white and fairly low-resolution picture. Let’s call this Picture 1. 

Then take another one but from a slightly different place. We’ll keep it simple and do this in only two dimensions rather than three. But in the second picture, the camera can have moved in both x and y by a little bit, or quite a lot. 

Now to do some computing!  

Take the first picture and shift everything up one pixel. Does that match Picture 2? No? Then move everything across a pixel. Does that match now? If not, keep moving Picture 1 around until you get a match. When you get a match, by the magic of maths, you’ll know how far the camera has moved. Now repeat the whole process, but quickly. About 1,000 times per second quickly. That’s a lot of maths. Probably needs a big, expensive computer, right? No, because that’s roughly what’s going on inside an optical mouse, like the one you might be using right now. A mouse like the one I can currently buy on Amazon for £5.39 (including next day shipping).  

That something so complicated and needing to be done so fast can be achieved in a device that appears to cost much less than the sum of its parts is some kind of weird computer magic. Is there nothing that can’t be done better, faster and cheaper with computers? 

People can do astonishing things too. I’m a fan of Cirque du Soleil, but behind all their theatrical magic, the shows would be little to nothing without the amazing things a trained human body can do. Things a normal person could never do. Even somebody much smarter and stronger (and lighter) than me. 

Just recently I have learned how to ride a bicycle. It’s not what you might be thinking! I learnt to ride a bike at the age of 5 but I could not tell you how I did it. It just happens. I have taught both my children to ride bikes and was able to do so successfully without having any idea about what to tell them to do. Yet what is going on, is not unlike what’s going on inside the mouse. Lots of calculations being made very quickly but in three dimensions, not just two. Immediate corrective action being applied when any of those calculations is out of spec. Did you know that you cannot turn a bike right without first turning it left to unbalance the whole system? It’s the recovery from that instability that allows you to turn. Try and turn right without first moving the handlebars to the left (just a bit) and I will not be held responsible for the medical consequences. 

The act of riding a bicycle, driving a car, walking upright or any number of apparently simple things is evolutionary computational mastery. That said, I’m pretty sure a computer could ride a bicycle, probably really well. Computers don’t get sick, tired or grumpy. They are happy to work long hours, or on holidays. They don’t fall out with other computers. My life would be about a million times easier if Delt employed 200 computers instead of people.  

But, and in this case it’s a huge, flashing neon but, there are some things that computers really aren’t very good at. One of them is answering the phone and fixing problems with computers. There are elements of technology support that can be automated and actually serve to benefit the consumer, not just the supplier. However, when somebody needs help, then the best way to get them working again is usually through a conversation with one of those utterly brilliant pieces of evolutionary computational mastery – a person 

A person who understands that you are frustrated, have work to do and really don’t want to engage in a machine led ‘Simon-Says’ with as much empathy as a brick to the face. 

We sometimes use recorded messages – if we have a big outage for example, but beyond that we try to answer the phone in person and quickly. It is our job to get you up and running again with minimum frustration, and the best way to do that is by talking to you, one on one. 

It’s no surprise that this approach (or rather the cost of it) comes in for some criticism but there is little point in providing a lower cost service, if the way we do it is by pushing the costs straight back to the customer in the form of increased non-productivity.  

For now, despite the astonishing things that computers can do, we’ll continue to take the position that there are some things that people do better. 

Giles Letheren, Chief Executive Officer

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

What does Workplace Wellbeing Look Like at Delt?

What does Workplace Wellbeing Look Like at Delt? 

One of the silver linings from the pandemic has been the increasing willingness of employers and employees to talk about the importance of mental health and wellbeing. There’s an increasing understanding that employee wellbeing leads to increased productivity and turnover, with a decrease in those expensive absences from work.  For businesses to remain competitive, they need to put employee wellbeing at their very core.  

At Delt, we constantly review our Wellbeing practices and initiatives – drawing on employees’ needs and feedback. We provide a tailored wellness portal with free workouts, healthy recipes, financial advice and an abundance of resources. But these online portals can miss the real problems.  

Our strategy integrates mental health awareness with hands on support. Many of our staff are trained in Mental Health First Aid and provide an initial port of call for anyone who may be struggling and unsure where or who they should turn to.  

Our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) can be accessed 24/7 and is not only available to our staff but their partners too. With one to one counselling available, employees can truly feel supported through any difficulties they may be experiencing in a confidential and safe environment.  

From my experience with Delt we have been able to identify a number of benefits to adopting a rounded wellness strategy… 

  • Through the EAP we are able to recognise that problems can’t usually be compartmentalised; issues that affect our employee’s personal lives will often affect their work life and vice versa, so employees can discuss any and all types of problems, from debt management advice to relationships to health. 
  • Confidentiality is paramount. All our Mental Health First Aiders are educated in confidentiality and our employees know they are in a safe space. Our outsourced, third party provider of our EAP means our employees can be certain that any problems they discuss are kept in complete confidence. 
  • Accessibility and flexibility need to suit all employees. Our EAP helpline and online support is available to our employees 24 hours a day, seven days a week offering immediate information, answers and advice. 
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing is more than talking. We understand that some of our employees don’t feel comfortable talking but would rather look to fitness or other activities to help their mental wellbeing. We make sure to offer as much variety to our staff as possible. From online resources, fitness challenges to opportunities to learn new skills and develop themselves in areas of genuine interest.   

 Of course, we know we can’t solve the problems for everyone, but we work to achieve a positive workplace and happy and healthy employees at all costs.

Helena White, Head of HR Services

 

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

Delt Shared Services finalists at Project Management Awards

 

Delt Shared Services finalists at Project Management Awards 

 

Back in July, Delt’s Project Management Office were delighted to have been short-listed as one of 4 finalists for the Association for Project Management’s (APM) Project Management Award, Contribution to Project Management: Small to Medium Enterprise. 

The APM Awards celebrate excellence and endorse innovation within the project management space. The Delt team competed against an incredibly high calibre of entries from a vast number of sectors and countries. 

Unfortunately, Delt just missed the top spot. That said the team are delighted with the recognition they have received for their contributions to Helping People Do Amazing Things over the past 12 months. Congratulations to P2 Consulting for winning this year. 

Gary Pettitt, Chief Project Officer added“I am incredibly proud of the PMO team and the outstanding work they deliver to our customers. We were up against a high calibre of entries so to be included as a finalist is a fantastic achievement for all at Delt and a true reflection of how the team have continued to deliver, exceeding expectations, throughout the Pandemic. To have external validation of the excellent service our project professionals provide is an achievement to be proud of”. 

Giles Letheren, CEO said; “I’m delighted that the work that the Project Management Office does has been reflected in the finalist list at the APM Awards. The team successfully delivered over 300 business change and transformation projects for our shareholders and commercial customers in 2020/2021 and this shortlisting is testament to their hard work”. 

Delt’s Project Management Office delivers a range of technology-based change and transformation projects ranging from small office-based projects to multi-million-pound projects with regional impact. 

Delt’s profile and award category can be viewed on the APM website. Additionally, more about the work that the PMO do can be viewed on the Delt website.  

Holiday Pictures

Holiday Pictures 

 

I recently flew 3000 miles to Iceland to cross ‘see a live volcano’ off my bucket list. I should have known better. As soon as I set foot in the country the volcano went to sleep. A few days after I left, it let rip again, with glorious rivers of molten lava rolling along, blissfully far away from habitation but close enough to be a relatively short drive from civilisation. 

Iceland is not a big country and almost everyone seems to live within an hour or so of the capital. I decided not to do the typical tourist thing and stay in the comfort of Reykjavik where the hot water is delivered by mother nature (and smells like rotten eggs) but be bold and stay a couple of hours outside the nearest thing you could call a city and at least 30 minutes’ drive from the nearest paved road. This was to be blissful isolation, unbothered by phone, email, Microsoft Teams or the rest of the world. 

I was almost at my AirBnB shed, hidden in the vast, flat and largely featureless volcanic wasteland that makes up much of Iceland’s southern interior when my mobile rang with a WhatsApp call. This was super annoying because I was using my phone for SatNav and with no real roads, knowing where you were was quite important. More annoying was the fact it was my son, who having been too embarrassed to go on holiday with his father, had stayed at home, made himself a cup of tea, spilt it on the upstairs floor above where the fusebox is and was now wondering why there was a smell of burning in the house and no power. Even from 3000 miles, cause and effect was fairly obvious and a short drying time later, all was well. 

It transpired that despite being somewhere that looked rather remote, and according to the map, of having no cellular coverage, I still had four bars of solid 4G. In fact, every single place I went in Iceland, except for 50m inside a glacier and 140m down a hole that was once a volcano, I had perfect data coverage. Cornwall, where I live most of the time, is full of coverage holes. So is Devon. I’m tempted to have a rant about this but there’s probably a good reason. Iceland is mostly flat with some big mountains – perfect for cellular. Cornwall is not. I was roaming in Iceland, so could use any available signal but in the UK, we are not allowed to roam between networks due to a deal between the Telcos and Government. I’m not sure if I am madder that my son could reach me in nowhere, Iceland or that I can’t make a call from just outside Stratton. 

The main active volcano in Iceland is only a 45-minute drive from the capital but bear in mind that a 10-minute drive from said capital removes you from most signs of humanity. There is no tourist sign saying ‘Volcano’, just an unmarked gravel track. But SatNav in hand, it was easy enough to find. There was a field to park (no charge – clearly, we aren’t in England) in followed by a 45-minute hike up the ridge of what is probably a relatively small and not very steep hill. Google maps tells me its roughly 2km with a vertical climb of around 250m. This should not be that hard a walk but when it’s blowing a force 8 and raining, this is not a fun afternoon stroll. I really got to understand what ‘leaning on the wind’ means. After nearly deciding to give up several times I finally made it to the top where I should have been able to see the crater of the Fagradalsfjall Volcano in all its glory. You already know I didn’t find my view of a lava spewing monster at the top. But what did I find? 

 A cellphone tower, microwave link and webcam. 5 bars of 4G, so I could WhatsApp my son and tell him that I was standing next to an invisible volcano, but that if he looked on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BA-9QzIcr3c and could see through the rain, he might be able to see me waving. 

 

Giles Letheren, Chief Executive Officer

 

Photo by Giles Letheren.

What Would Happen If?

What Would Happen If?

 

How often after an amazing meal in your favourite restaurant do you baulk from adding a tip electronically? The rationale is often that it gets subsumed into a wider tip pot and you’d prefer to hand some crisp clean banknotes to the chirpy and efficient server who has made your night so special. We habitually see the person or activity in front of us and forget that the delivery of an excellent meal is a long process involving many people, it is a team effort. What would happen if; the buyer failed to buy enough food, finance failed to pay the utility bill, the chef overcooked the veg or the plates weren’t cleaned. The simple answer is disaster would reign. The server on their own cannot deliver the service required. I fell into the trap of tipping the server directly very recently and was annoyed with myself afterwards because at work I take time to recognise the role everyone in the team plays when we deliver our project work. 

The Delt Project Management Office delivers a range of projects that allow our customers to excel. Our incredible project professionals at Delt support thousands of staff working in the NHS and Plymouth City Council, we are a vital enabler in helping staff do their jobs in GP surgeries, providing adult and children’s social care, in vaccination centres, in world class museums and in a wide range of local government activities. Our work is not always visible and after my recent restaurant experience it got me thinking…….what would happen if the Delt PMO didn’t deliver? 

When I think about just a handful of the projects that our teams have delivered, it’s awe inspiring to depict the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes. The ‘stuff’ no one really accounts for or notices when visiting their GP or viewing an exhibition.  

Delt is blessed to be based in Plymouth, Britain’s Ocean City a jewel in Devon’s magnificent crown. In our city we have a stunning museum, The Box, which has recently undergone a £40M+ renovation.  

The City hosts a plethora of amazing events, most recently the British Sail Grand Prix. This race saw some of the most capable and technologically advanced sailing yachts in the world racing at speeds in excess of 60 knots, that’s nearly 70 mph!  

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic Devon CCG quickly implemented several vaccination centres in Plymouth and across Devon in pubs, leisure centres and even a car park. We also saw an increased number of GPs working from home and even the use of video consulting.

The Delt PMO contributed to all the above and that represents a very small example of the work we do every year. In FY 21/22 Delt will deliver more than 500 projects. So, returning to my self-imposed question, what would happen if we didn’t deliver, apart from having some very angry customers and me losing my job! Well, looking at the few examples above, The Box would not be able to function. It would have no wi-fi, no website, no means of selling tickets, no CRM, no alarms on the display cases, no storage capability for the film and TV archive and meeting rooms deprived of AV equipment. The monetary value of our work was relatively low, but all our behind-the-scenes work is crucial to enabling day-to-day operations at this world class cultural attraction.  

The British Sail GP was broadcast live to a global TV audience showing the beauty of Plymouth Sound around the world. A broadcast that was enabled by Delt project managers and technical staff managing the installation of additional network capability on Plymouth Hoe and at Millbay Docks. Who’d have thought that without Delt’s project professionals millions of people might have missed seeing this spectacle live on their screens? 

Without the work of the Delt project managers the utility of some vaccination centres would have been limited, potentially without wi-fi and the IT equipment they needed to operate. And without our work doctors’ ability to work from home using any device, in a safe and secure manner, would have been hampered. 

Me losing my job would barely shift the Richter Scale compared to the other impacts that would be seen if the Delt PMO failed to deliver. I am in awe of my team who repeatedly, behind the scenes, deliver high-quality project work. Their first-class work has been acknowledged by the Association of Project Management who selected Delt as a finalist for their 2021 awards in the category contribution to project management small to medium enterprise.  

My message is simple, when you are celebrating your next big success don’t forget the chef in the kitchen, don’t forget the crucial work done by everyone and remember that every partner adds value.  

The lesson, acknowledge and tip the team, not just the individual! 

Gary Pettitt, Chief Project Officer

 

Photo by Sam Dan Truong on Unsplash

Customer Newsletters

Customer Newsletters

It’s a reasonably common observation that our stakeholders don’t know about all the good work that Delt is doing. Given we deliver lots of different services, in multiple sectors, this isn’t really a surprise. Producing a bi-annual customer newsletter is one way we are trying to improve the understanding of what we are doing and where we are doing it.

To make the newsletter practical as well as communicative, each issue will contain guidance on avoiding some of the issues that most commonly require Delt support because better than us solving your problem quickly, is avoiding it in the first place.

We hope you find the newsletter useful and would very much welcome feedback on what else you might like to see.

The Stuff of Nightmares

The Stuff of Nightmares 

 

Ronald Reagan once said ‘The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’  

Whatever your politics, when the American government decides to spend $2B of taxpayers money on helping, it’s probably something important. In this case it’s cyber security. The Senate have now passed Joe Biden’s big infrastructure bill and assuming it makes its way back through the House largely unchanged – far from certain, it will see £1.9B being made available to secure national critical infrastructure, of which the majority will go to local government. 

Senator Maggie Hassan from my adopted home State of New Hampshire said: ‘A cyberattack on a state or local government network can put schools, electrical grids, and crucial services in jeopardy. Even though cyberattacks are becoming more and more common in today’s threat landscape, state and local governments often do not have the adequate resources to defend against them. This new grant program will be a crucial resource for state and local governments…’ 

Our public services have become utterly reliant on technology, which has (or should have) significantly increased speed and quality of service. It has also driven huge costs savings. I had a job in local government over 30 years ago in which not only did I not have a computer, but my boss nor bosses boss nor bosses bosses boss didn’t have one either. The only computer was in finance…. and I still got asked to help fix it.  

We have adopted all the benefits of technology and wilfully taken many of the operational savings, whilst complaining how expensive IT has got. In fairness I should note that we’ve also shouldered the burden of huge failed projects, projects that delivered late, or projects that cost far too much. That’s misery of the world of IT.  On balance though, I hope the benefits have significantly outweighed the disadvantages. 

The public sector in the UK is facing an unprecedented level of cyber threat. Almost as fast as you can close one door, somebody levers open another. For both the amateur and professional criminal alike, let alone sovereign states, the potential upside is huge and the downside pretty much negligible. If you held up a local government cash office (in the days when local government still handled cash) you’d likely be caught and go to prison for quite a long time. If you hold up a local authority now – as happened not so recently at Hackney and others, the odds are that whilst the authorities might be able to figure out who did it, they almost certainly won’t be brought to justice. There’s little incentive for the bad actors not to try. 

I don’t know what the UK government are spending on local government cyber defence but, the Hackney article referenced above suggests £50m. By head, of population, that’s about 75p a person. In contrast, the US investment, if approved, will be closer to £2.21 a person. I don’t know what the right number is, but having run headlong down the digital path, turning almost everything we do into 1’s and 0’s, spending appropriately to protect our ability to keep delivering public services in the face of a fast growing threat feels like exactly the sort of help you’d expect from government. Unless perhaps you are Ronald Reagan. 

Lest anyone think I’m suggesting the American way is better rather than simply different, let me restore some balance. With half my working life spent in the States, I’ve found a balanced view to be important. In the same infrastructure bill, the Senate have agreed to fund the Office of the White House National Cyber Director. That post was appointed in June but with no funding – no one will get everything right.  

Giles Letheren, Chief Executive Officer

 

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

How can you make public Wi-Fi as safe as possible?

How can you make public Wi-Fi as safe as possible?

 

Having warned you off public wi-fi in a previous post, this post covers how to protect yourself if you do need to use it. 

Ultimately, the best way to protect yourself on public Wi-Fi is still not to use it, enabling you to sidestep all the issues caused by not controlling the local network or the people on it. I would encourage anyone who spends a lot of time on these networks to investigate a large data plan for their mobile phone, or alternatively a “Mi-Fi” device that uses a SIM card. 

With that in mind, this post is written assuming that this is not an option.  

1. Practice mindfulness 

Not in the sense that you’ve probably heard the term more recently (though perhaps given there’s a need for it in this scenario, it doesn’t hurt to be thankful that there’s Wi-Fi available). Rather, be aware of what you’re doing on the network – if you don’t need to check your bank account, don’t. Some attacks don’t need to compromise your device, and instead will look for the traffic being sent on the network. Despite the encryption applied by many websites, it’s still possible to see the domain you’re using. For example, in normal use, it would be possible to view the domain of your bank’s website when you access it, even though the pages you view and data you send will be protected by that encryption. This would give a malicious party a foothold in terms of information about you, and they may in turn be able to combine this with other leaked information to carry out a comprehensive phish 

There are other challenges, especially with the use of apps, where security warnings and errors may be suppressed so that you don’t even know they’ve occurred. Some may hide that they don’t even encrypt the data at all!  

2. Use a VPN, if you can. 

VPNs are a game of trust – you’re effectively saying, “I would rather the operators of this VPN see my web traffic rather than the operators of the network I’m on”. With that in mind, I’d strongly emphasise you have some scepticism about VPN services that advertise heavily on YouTube or other social media. Ditto the services that advertise that they don’t log any traffic – they almost certainly do in one form or another, but it comes with the added bonus that you’re associating your activity with those of other people interested in a “no logs” service – which may not be what you want (and remember that you’ve probably tied your activity to “you” via a credit card or similar payment, so it’s much less private!). 

If you’re shopping for a VPN, I’d recommend looking at those offered by security companies (such as Antivirus vendors) who have been operating the service for a while and have a proven track record. Many of these will also make their own software available to make the connection process easier.  

To check the VPN is running as intended, access a service that tells you your IP (e.g. https://www.whatismyip.com/) – between the listed location and the ISP, this should give you an idea of whether you’re running traffic through it as it should tally up with the VPN you’re using if it’s working!   

Some operators of networks may actively block the use of VPNs – this may be a point to reconsider whether you want to use the network at all. 

3. Make sure your firewall is enabled 

This is a simple one – go into your security settings and check that your firewall is active. In Windows 10, you can search for “Windows Security” which will open this part of the Settings Menu. You’ll see your firewall status under “Firewall & network protection”. A green tick means you’re good to go – anything else means you need to look at what’s wrong.  

If you get asked what type of network, you’re on when you connect to Wi-Fi, pick “Public” for the highest security. 

Even if you use a VPN, your device will still be able to communicate with the local network (including other people trying to connect to your computer), so it’s important that you check the firewall is active.  

4. Check that your Antivirus is enabled and up to date 

This is more likely to protect you if someone is able to access your system or get you to click a link, but you never know what might happen – in Windows 10 you can check this in the same “Windows Security” menu, this time against the “Virus & threat protection. Green tick again should mean everything’s in a good state.  

5. Check other Windows 10 security features 

It’s well worth making sure you’re in a good place with the other security features in Windows 10 as well. Click into Account protection, App & browser control, and Device security to check that you’re aligned to the Microsoft recommended settings. These include settings like the ransomware protection that’s part of Windows 10 and will be as useful at home as they are on public Wi-Fi. 

6.Patch, patch, patch! 

Install updates for Windows and any applications you have installed! If you’re running woefully out of date software, it can be trivial for an attacker to use an exploit tool like Metasploit and gain access to your system from the same network – having your firewall and antivirus active will make this more difficult for them, but sometimes all it takes is one mistake.  

7. Think about whether you can justify changing your data plan or getting a separate “Mi-Fi” unit 

You had to use public Wi-Fi this time, and whilst I said this guide would be written from that perspective – do you need to do it next time? If you regularly need the access on the go I would strongly recommend getting yourself set up to do this in a way that helps protect you from the pitfalls of public Wi-Fi.  

And that’s it – basic steps you take to protect yourself and your data when you’re out about with the help of technology which is, in many cases, already available to you. 

For more general tips on how to protect your digital presence, check out NCSC’s Cyber Aware, which includes a set of questions you can answer for a personalised action plan.

Joseph Smith, IT Security Specialist  

 

Photo by Petter Lagson on Unsplash