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Travelex – what happened?


We have all seen it on the news, Travelex were reportedly hacked on New Year’s Eve (2 weeks ago today) and are being held to ransom by a criminal ransomware gang known as ‘Sodinokibi’. The company is still working to get back its systems after 2 weeks, resorting to pen and paper in most of its 1200 branches. It seems clear that Travelex does not intend to pay the ransom and claiming that no customer data has been compromised despite the gang claiming to have downloaded sensitive customer data.

How did this happen?

Most are familiar with Ransomware, essentially it is malware which enters a network and encrypts the files on that network rendering them useless in the hope that a ransom is paid and the decryption key is provided in return, though don’t always bank on an honest transaction! We have seen this many times in particularly the Wannacry cryptoworm of 2017 which attacked Microsoft Operating systems. Microsoft had released a patch to prevent this however most users typically hadn’t installed it and so were at risk of being infected, equally Windows XP was vulnerable as it was no longer supported in much the same way that Windows 7 is no longer supported from today (14th January 2020) and no further patches are available.

How was Travelex Different?

Travelex were warned by a security researcher back on 13th September 2019 that they had insecurities in their Virtual Private Network (VPN) in particularly their Pulse Secure VPN Servers but that appears to have been ignored!  The issue however starts 7 months previous to this when Pulse Secure identified a vulnerability and released a subsequent patch but clearly this was not applied by Travelex. It is reported that the ‘Sodinokibi’ gang have had access into Travelex network for the last 6 months, no doubt watching and gathering data ready for the attack, this was certainly a planned and well executed ransomware attack.

Could it have been avoided?

YES without a shadow of doubt. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but Travelex IT Security didn’t miss a security patch by a few days but by several months! Regular patching of endpoints is essential, IT Security is critical, this is/was a major worldwide financial business.

Will they recover?

Good question! After 2 weeks they haven’t recovered, all servers are unavailable, branches are using pen and paper, it’s a disaster! Perhaps Travelex intend to pay and hopefully get their files back? A company like Travelex should have substantial Disaster Recovery plans and should be able to restore from backup however its likely, given the time that has now passed and the size of the attack that backups are also encrypted. As for company reputation, well its shot!

No matter how small or large your business is, do not think that you cannot be affected by Ransomware, do not ignore IT Security risks, protect your network endpoints



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How to increase your engagement on Instagram

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. Around 1 billion people use Instagram every single month

Engage with similar accounts in your industryInstagram page

Before posting content to your Instagram, engage with the content that other accounts are posting especially the accounts that are similar to yours. One rule of Instagram is that engagement feeds engagement, interacting with other accounts will increases your awareness as the more you engage with others the more noticeable your account becomes, therefore, increasing your engagement.

To find new accounts to follow and engage with, you can

  • Find accounts by searching for keywords that can be seen in the accounts bio, ensure your keywords are specific as possible as this will help you get the most relevant matches
  • Search for hashtags that relate to your industry, this will allow you to discover similar accounts and content
  • Engage with your competitor’s followers


Engage with content before and after you post your content

Within the first hour of posting your content, you want to get as much engagement as possible. When you get a lot of engagement the algorithm on Instagram will acknowledge your post as appealing to your followers meaning that your post will appear higher up in more of your follower’s pages. By engaging with other content before posting your own this will increase the amount of engagement that you will get, this will increase the number of people visiting your page, liking the most recent post which increases the awareness of your page.


HashtagsMalaga Calle Larios Malaga

Using long-tail hashtags on your posts will reflect the context of your post as these are specific and detailed. For example, you post a picture of a place you have travelled to, you can use the hashtag #malaga which has 5.4 million posts or you can use the hashtag #callelariosmalaga which has over 1,000 posts. The long-tail has fewer post associated with it which means that you have a better chance of your content being discovered or being commented on. New posts will be getting added to the Malaga hashtag every minute meaning that your post will be pushed down the page quickly. Post are being added to the #callelariosmalaga hashtag less regularly meaning that your content is more likely to stay near the top of the page.



Posts that have captions create more engagement and encourage followers to spend more time looking at your posts. A good caption will give your post context, engage your audience and show personality. Make your Instagram caption more effective and engaging, include a call to action. You can do this by asking a question or encourage your followers to tag a friend.



Post more pictures of people 

According to Sprout Social, posts that have people in them get 38% more likes than those without! You can do this by sharing a post of the team you work with, photos of your customers with your product or photos of the people your brand serves. Sharing photos of people will help to humanise your brand, connect with your audience and boost your engagement.


Reply to comments

Replying to comments is very important as this helps to push your content to the top of your audiences pages. As more people comment, Instagram sees your post as an interesting piece of content that will be interesting to other people too. Reply to comments straight away making sure to be friendly.


Best time to post Instagram Global Engagement

You can find out when the best time to post is by using Instagram insights and testing which post time works the best for your engagement levels. You can also use different social media tools such as Iconosquare which will calculate everything for you and show you the times you should be posting.


Stories are a great way to boost your engagement, there are loads of things you can do to keep your audience interested. You can use Instagram stories to draw attention to new content which will boost your engagement, ensure that you encourage your followers to go to your page to find out more.


Don’t forget to check out our other latest blog posts on our website and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you think we could help your business run smoother!
You can reach us on 0333 444 5353 or email [email protected]


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How to increase your engagement on Facebook

If you have a Facebook page for your business but you’re struggling to get engagement on your posts, this blog will help you with some simple but effective tips.

The algorithm changes all the time meaning its hard to stay ahead, here at 7 tips to help you increase your engagement on Facebook.


Post times                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Facebook Global Engagement
The more engagement a post receives on Facebook, Facebook’s algorithm is more likely to reward it with reach. This shows the importance of timing your Facebook posts. Posting when your followers are most active you are increasing the chances of your posts receiving likes and comments. Below is a chart that will help you understand what times are best. It is recommended that you use a Facebook scheduling tool or Hootsuite to plan your social media days or weeks in advance.


Facebook pageYour most popular posts

Sometimes it is beneficial to have a look over your previous posts to see what was popular with your audience. Looking at your Facebook analytics can help you see this as this will show you what is receiving the most reach, your audience’s activity is key to understand what you post.



Visual posts

Visual content is important on Facebook, photos take up the majority of content posted to Facebook, which shows people would prefer to engage with a visual post than a link or paragraph. The types of images you post also make a big difference, companies should show the personality behind their business.


Comments and replies                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Facebook comment 

If someone takes the time to comment on our content, you should return the favour and send them a reply. Audiences want to interact with brands, taking the time to reply to comments shows that you’re listening to them. This encourages more interactions in the future and boosts engagement.


Facebook videoVideo content

The recent algorithm update to Facebook shows how well native video performs, some companies post videos to drive discussion among their audience. Companies should upload directly to Facebook, this could be animations, adverts or even going live on Facebook.



Shorter posts

Make sure to keep your posts as brief as possible, long posts create more opportunities for readers to lose interest and continue scrolling. Some examples of short posts include quick questions to your audience, quotes or stats from an article that would interest your audience to click to read more, short statements followed by a picture. A sentence is all you need to grab someones attention and guide them to click through and interactions on Facebook doesn’t have to be complicated.

Biggest advocates

Lower organic reach means that companies will most likely have to spend more money on Facebook Ads to get their content in front of their target audience. Instead of relying on your companies page to share your content, you can ask your employees. Bambu allows employees to create content and share it to their personal Facebook page, people are 16x more likely to read a post from a friend than from a company

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Is your data safe in the Cloud?

The cloud allows companies to store their data in third-party data centres through a cloud provider. This is becoming increasingly popular each year, however, people are still asking is their data is safe in the cloud?

Many people are apprehensive that cloud computing is less secure than conventional methods of storing data. The main reason for this is since organisations data is stored on servers and systems that they do not own or control. However, cloud computing offers organisations an array of security choices to ensure your data is encrypted and safely stored.

Banner Cloud 1

Cloud storage providers share the responsibility for cloud storage security and implement standard protection for their platforms and the data that they process including authentication, access control and encryption. This is the basic security measures they have in place, most providers offer added security measures to strengthen cloud data protection and reinforce access to sensitive information in the cloud.

To access any files you require an encryption key, without this key files look like random letters and numbers. This key can be stored by the service itself, or by individual users.

The server usually stores at least three copies of each piece of data, in different places meaning it is hard for them to get lost in the cloud. You need to have all three copies disappear at the same time to lose any data, and if this happens, which is unlikely, data can be recovered in a couple of days.


Flexible 1Quick 1











The cloud is flexible meaning that clients can scale the service to suit their needs, customise apps and can access cloud services from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection.

The cloud is also efficient as clients can get applications to market quickly, without thinking about infrastructure costs or maintenance.

The cloud also provides clients with a competitive advantage as they provide users with the most innovative technology that is currently available.

Users of the cloud can choose public, private or hybrid storage options which varies on security needs and other considerations.

If there ever is a hardware failure this does not mean that there will be data loss as with the cloud there are networked backups.

Don’t forget to check out our other latest blog posts on our website and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you think we could help your business run smoother!

You can reach us on 0333 444 5353 or email [email protected]

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Hacker Halloween

Monsters may be out of your age range, however, technology can be a scary place, it’s always connected and open for hackers, malware and viruses. Halloween is the scariest time of the year with ghosts, monsters and demons, however, is the horrors found in technology more terrifying?

New devices are being created each year to make your everyday lives smarter and more efficient but it is up to you to ensure your devices are secure. This involves any device that is connected to the internet such as televisions, gaming consoles, home router, Google Home, Alexa, security cameras, baby monitors, smart locks and even smart thermostats, these can all make your home vulnerable.

Hacker banner

These devices are known as the Internet of Things devices or IoT for short, IoT devices have provided cybercriminals with new ways of gaining access to devices and the reason why these devices are targeted is because they have little or no security.

Heres how to keep your devices safe not just on Halloween but all year round.

Router security 1

How to become secure 

Equip your home router with strong passwords as this is the key element in connecting all of your devices and make them operable.

Rename your router, don’t keep the name that it comes with as this may distinguish the make or model. Give your router an unusual name that doesn’t relate to you or your address, as you don’t want to give away any personal information.

Strong password 1

Set up a guest network that visitors or friends and relatives can use and doesn’t link with your IoT devices.

Change any default username and passwords that come with your devices as some hackers may already know the default passwords for some IoT devices which makes it easier to access them.

Random password 1

Also, use strong passwords and avoid the common words, use more complex passwords which you can do by mixing up letters, numbers and symbols. You may want to consider a password manager.

Keep software up to date, if you get notified of a software update don’t ignore it. These updates could include security patches, make sure that you are downloading the updates to ensure that you are secure.

Two-factor authentication, you can receive one time codes that get sent to your phone as well as entering a password which helps you become more secure if this is offered it is beneficial to use it.

Password 1

Can it be stopped?

It is very unlikely as hackers find new ways each day, you can stay one step ahead of hackers by following the steps provided above.

Don’t forget to check out our other latest blog posts on our website and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you think we could help your business run smoother!
You can reach us on 0333 444 5353 or email [email protected]


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Benefits of Cloud Computing


What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is the distribution of a service which is hosted over the internet and can be divided into three categories: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (Iaas), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

This can include servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics and intelligence which are completed over the internet providing innovation, flexibility and scalability.

 Internet security

Top benefits of cloud computing


Relocating to cloud computing may lower the cost of running and maintaining your IT systems. You can reduce costs by using the resources of cloud computing such as Cloud53’s Cloud Desktop service – this removes the expense of purchasing expensive server equipment and software as well as setting up and running data centres or computer rooms on-site. More ways costs can be reduced involve the cost of upgrading systems, hardware and software may be included in your contract, energy intake costs may be reduced, there are fewer time delays and you do not need to pay for experts managing the infrastructure as it is all included in a monthly cost usually in a ‘pay as you grow’ model which allows for flexibility and scalability whilst delivering a clear monthly cost.

Cut costs


Cloud computing services are usually provided as a self-service and are on-demand meaning that a large amount of computing resources can be supplied within minutes. Businesses can also get applications to market swiftly, without thinking about capital costs or technical delivery or maintenance. Cloud computing services usually run on a global network of secure data centres and these data centres are updated and maintained regularly to ensure fast and efficient computing hardware. For example, Cloud53’s datacentres are situated on the Internet backbone of the UK providing blazing speeds for clients.



Cloud computing also allows for a business to be more productive as it delivers the ability to access any data from any location, worldwide. This allows businesses to offer employees the ability to work from home with exactly the same resources as they would have in the office. This saves staff commuting to and from the office which results in the employees being more productive. Similarly, the “office” is never closed – you are free to work from wherever, whenever. Giving staff freedom to manage their own workload.
Cloud computing also removes the need to deal with hardware. Whether it be setup time and costs, server racking and stacking, hardware set-up, software patching and other IT tasks that can be time-consuming. This allows for more time satisfying customers, achieving goals and concentrating on the business.

Human error


Many cloud service suppliers offer a wide range of policies, technologies and controls that reinforce your security overall which helps protect data, apps and infrastructure from potential threats. 94% of business saw an improvement in security after switching to the cloud found a survey conducted by RapidScale.



Cloud computing makes it easier for business continuity, disaster recovery and data backup, as well as making it less expensive as data can be mirrored at multiple sites on the cloud providers network. This avoids human error as all documents are stored in one place and in a single format meaning consistency in data can be maintained and this provides you with a clear record of any revisions or updates.

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Another benefit of cloud computing involves the ability to scale up or scale down your operation and storage requirements quickly providing businesses with flexibility. It is for this reason that Cloud computing is often referred to as elastic computing.
Using the cloud will free up your time allowing you to concentrate on growing and running your business.


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A Day in the Life of a Digital Marketer.

Meet Ellie our Digital Marketer.

Why Digital Marketing?

I studied travel and tourism for 3 years at college and International Tourism Management at university for another 3 years and throughout my courses over the 6 years, marketing was a unit I had to learn, which I loved and wanted my career to be in marketing once I had graduated.

I graduated from university on July 10th and the first thing I started doing is looking for a job role as a digital marketer and came across Cloud53. I passed my interview with Cloud53 and everyone here was so welcoming and a pleasure to work alongside.







Day to Day

The first thing that I make sure to do every morning is checking Cloud53’s Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts and I do this as this gives me an insight into what is trending on that day and this allows me to share any stories that are relevant. I then see if I have anything to post on each social media account. I show Dan some of my ideas I have created as he likes to be picky so as soon as he is happy the posts are scheduled to Hootsuite.

I had a meeting with Stephen on what he wants me to do marketing-wise for Cloud53 and asked me my ideas and opinions. I learned a lot from Stephen as he showed me some tricks that I didn’t know and he told me that he liked what I was doing so far.

The team at Cloud53 has a weekly meeting which allows everyone to be updated on what each of us is up to and what plans we have in place for the company as everyone has a different job role.

Before I leave I make sure to check all of our social media accounts to see if there are any comments I can reply to and see what engagement the posts have got. When I get home I also create more posts to make sure I’m ahead and this allows me to post regularly.

It is my second week at Cloud53 and there is still so much I haven’t done but I will be doing, such as meeting Cloud53’s clients, visiting our data centers and attending network events.

Don’t forget to check out our other latest blog posts on our website and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you think we could help your business run smoother!
You can reach us on 0333 444 5353 or email [email protected]

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What does Cloud53 really mean?


What is Cloud53?

Why do businesses choose their name? Do they put thought and meaning into choosing one or is it simply the first thing that came to mind? This blog post will tell you why and how Cloud53 became Cloud53 so keep reading!

Lost in the cloud

Firstly, the cloud in our name is obvious isn’t it? We are a cloud computing business that offer a range of cloud services. You might be thinking “what is this cloud everyone’s talking about” but we’ll save that for another blog post. So if the cloud part of our name is clear, why is the 53 there and what does it mean?

Image result for herbieWhy the 53?

Number 1 on our list of reasons is that the Cloud53 head office is based in the city of Manchester, the heart of all our operations. Manchester is located along the 53rd degree of latitude. This is what sparked the initial idea for the 53.

Reason number 2 for the 53 is slightly more technical and appropriate to our business. The DNS (Domain Name Server) port is 53 and fundamental to the internet. DNS ensures the internet is not only user-friendly, but also works smoothly. This is another reason why 53 is such an important part of our name.

Not only did we choose to have the 53 in our name, there are also some coincidences that we have come across along the way. For example, our office happens to be located along the bus route of bus 53. Although this may not be a coincidence, it’s still a fun fact that one of our directors only puts £53.53 litres of fuel in his car. There’s also a C53 hidden in the green cloud icon of our logo and have you ever noticed the 53’s in our telephone number? As you can see, our name isn’t just a name to us. To us, our name is what we’re all about and we hope you enjoyed another blog post with an insight into what our business is about.

Don’t forget to check out our other latest blog posts on our website and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you think we could help your business run smoother! You can reach us on 0333 444 5353 or email [email protected]

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Day in the life of a technical support engineer

Day in the life of a technical support engineer

IT support is at the heart of what we do here at Cloud53. So we thought we’d let you in on what a day in the life as a technical support engineer is like…

We thought it would be great to give you an insight in to what goes on behind the scenes when you call for IT support, and who better to ask than Brad one of our longest working technicians.

What does a technical support engineer do?

“To start my day off in the morning, I focus on our proactive monitoring; I ensure all backups have ran successfully throughout the night and check if any machines on our network are identifying any possible issues. Potential issues can range from unsuccessful virus scans to hard drive failures. Once these tasks are dealt with, I can begin to work on any internal projects that we are currently working on. At the moment, most of my effort is spent on our new network monitoring software. I have been adding required servers and putting in place active checks which run around the clock. This is designed to let us know as soon as a problem has occurred before it becomes serious or could affect our customer’s productivity.

As well as this, each day I take multiple calls and queries from our customers who actively report any IT issues they are experiencing. At this point, I take as much information as I can regarding the issue and then create a ticket which details the problem that has been reported.”

How do you help our customers?

“I try to go the extra mile for all of our customers, no problem reported is too big or too small! During any support I provide, I ensure the customer is kept up to date regularly as I’m dealing with their issue. Once the problem is resolved, I explain what the issue was and how I resolved it, without all the technical jargon. I always check if there’s anything else I can help or support with to make sure the customer is satisfied with the result of the service!”

What is office life like a Cloud53?

“I’ve been with Cloud53 for just over two years, we all work together to create a relaxed but professional office environment. I enjoy working here for multiple reasons; I am able to work with a wide range of technology and there is always something new to learn. Not to mention the free fruit all week and cups of tea on demand, oh and a day off on your birthday! I think I can speak for everyone here when I say it’s a rewarding job and a great company to work for.”

Brad Roberts – Technical support engineer

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Password security 101

Do you know how strong your passwords are?

They’re probably not as strong as you think. Why wait until the one day a year where everyone talks about the subject? World Password Day is an annual celebration to promote safer password habits. It takes place on the first Thursday of May each year, but why wait another 10 months to tighten up your password security?

While passwords are a common form of authentication on the Internet, they’re more often than not the only line of defence between hackers and your personal information. Our helpful team at Cloud53 HQ would be happy to talk things through with anyone who is concerned about their security and anyone who wants better defences. In the meantime, the information below may give you some quick pointers!image

What is Password Security?

Password security, though often overlooked, plays an extremely important role when it comes to protecting your identity on the Internet. After all, it keeps unauthorised users from breaking into your online accounts and stealing your personal information for their nefarious purposes like impersonating you to commit crimes in your name.

You can free yourself from risk by resetting your old, weak passwords to long, un-crackable ones and remind your friends, family and colleagues to do the same. With identity theft and other cyber-crimes at an all-time high, setting robust passwords is crucial and we’re going to show you exactly how to go about that.

How Hackers Can Steal Your Passwords?

Have you ever wondered how hackers go about cracking your passwords? Well, here are some of the most common ways through which they can steal your passwords, and ultimately, your personal information:

1. Brute force attack

One of the most common password cracking techniques out there, a brute-force attack involves checking all possible key combinations until the right one is found. Since hackers use complex algorithms to try multiple combinations at super-fast speeds, rest assured that your short passwords will be cracked in no time!

2. Password sniffing attack 

A password sniffing attack is a technique used by hackers to collect your credentials on unencrypted connections. By using a combination of easily available tools on the Internet, they monitor all incoming and outgoing traffic on a network so they can intercept your usernames and passwords as they’re being transmitted.

3. Phishing attack 

Even though phishing is an old trick in the hacker’s playbook, it’s still going strong and doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Typically, it entails sending an email to the victim by impersonating a legitimate entity and requesting that they provide sensitive information like usernames, passwords, and even credit card details.

4. Social engineering attack 

A social engineering attack requires little technical knowledge and relies on human error, tricking otherwise unwary employees or users into performing certain actions or revealing confidential information such as passwords or bank account details.

5. Dictionary attack 

In a dictionary attack, a hacker tries hundreds – or sometimes even millions – of likely possibilities derived from a predefined list of words or dictionary in order to defeat an authentication mechanism like passwords.

6. Keystroke logging

Keystroke logging, also known as keylogging, is a technique that involves the use of a program to record or log every keystroke so they can obtain confidential information like passwords without the knowledge of the unsuspecting user.

So how do I make a secure Password?

Now that you know the common password security mistakes you need to avoid, let’s discuss how to create strong passwords. The following are some password tips to prevent hackers from accessing your online accounts:

 1. The longer your passwords, the better.

The passwords you decide to use should be at least 12 characters in length so that they’re difficult to break. The longer a password is, the more combinations a hacker would need to try in order to successfully crack it.

2. Aim for complexity.

Password length and complexity go hand-in-hand in the quest to creating strong passwords, so make sure you include lower-case and upper-case letters along with numbers and symbols. Mix them up like you mix your cocktails on a Friday night!

3. Unpredictability is key.

Unpredictability is key when it comes to password strength. Avoid predictable words, passwords based on dictionary words, as well as any references to your personal life or popular TV shows, video games, and movies.

4. Unique is the way forward. 

We’ve already highlighted this before, but its importance can’t be emphasised enough: Only use one password for one account.

Hopefully you are now equipped with the knowledge and ready to update your passwords. However, if you are still feeling uncertain and would like some more advice, don’t hesitate to give one of our friendly staff a call on 0333 444 5353 or drop us an email at [email protected] and we’ll be in touch with some more helpful tips!

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