Episode 135

Evolving Your Tech for Your Small Business with Liam Benson

October 4th, 2023


Today I’m chatting with Liam Benson on important topics of evolving your tech, like backing up your data and cyber security in your business.
We dive into:
  • Opportunities for building platforms as a small business
  • Recommendations for small business tech
  • Data security in your organisation
  • Human awareness training
About Liam
Liam Benson is the Founder and Managing Director of EvolveCloud, a company committed to providing top-level Managed IT & Cyber Services to help Business Owners and C-Suite Executive Teams of all shapes and sizes understand, manage and mitigate their IT & Cyber Security Risk.
EvolveCloud provides Business Owners & Executive C-Suite Teams with peace of mind their technology is secured, their reputation is safe, and their revenue is protected.
Our team is proud of our strong company culture of accountability, trust, and dedication. This allows us to provide responsive, comprehensive Managed Cyber Security Services that protect our clients’ current and future needs.
The EvolveCloud team expertise and service offerings are constantly evolving to provide clients with personalised service, strategy, and protection. This results in scalability and growth for our clients.

Connecting With Our Guest
Connect with Liam on Instagram @evolvecloudau
Connect with Nicole on Instagram and LinkedIn


Welcome to Take Control with Nicole. As business owners, we experience firsthand the fine line between our personal and business lives. During our conversations, we will look at simple hints and tips to create time, reduce overwhelm, and help you to navigate through your journey to where you want to be.

If you are looking for smarter ways to work and create space and time freedom in your day, then you’re in the right place. All right, let’s go. Hello. I’m Nicole Smith, COO, operations specialist and systems designer from the artisans business solutions, and welcome to take control with Nicole. Today. I’ve got a very special guest here, the fabulous Liam Benson, and we are going to explore all things around the key to evolving your tech to support.

Your very own small business. So first of all, I’d love to introduce you to Liam. Liam is the founder and managing director of Evolve Cloud, a company committed to providing top level managed IT and cyber services to help business owners and C suite executive teams of all shapes and sizes. Understand, manage, and mitigate their IT and cybersecurity risk.

This provides peace of mind that their technology is secured. Their reputation is safe and their revenue is protected. His team provide a strong company culture of accountability, trust, and dedication. This allows them to provide responsive, comprehensive, managed cybersecurity services that protect his clients and their clients.

In the current state and where they are going in the future, the evolved cloud team expertise and service offerings are constantly evolving to provide clients with personalized service, strategy, and protection. This results in scalability and growth for their clients. Well, hello, Liam. Hello. Hello. So good to have this conversation.

We’ve had it on the cards for a while, so I’m excited to have you here. Thank you so much for having me. And yes, it has been a. Long time coming. Uh, I think we’ve discussed this over potentially years. I love it. And Liam and I met in that funny world that where we’re all locked down and connecting on the zoom as part of our fabulous Waterman community, didn’t we?

That’s right. And I didn’t realize how much I looked forward to that Friday afternoon, kind of just hanging out and be social. I, yeah, that was a lifesaver, honestly. Yeah, it was so good, wasn’t it? Sorry. First of all, I love our fabulous humans to just give us a little bit of backstory. How did you get here today?

How, why did you start your business? You know, all the fun stuff that comes in between. Yeah, well, it’s a, it’s a fascinating story. So obviously I started my it career, not knowing anything, walked into a company, started building PCs. And then from there just kind of went up the levels and bounced around a lot of different departments.

And if I had known it at the time, well, at the time I thought to myself, I’m like, man, this. What am I doing? I’m, I’m bouncing around all these different departments, I don’t know what I want to do, and, you know, I, I don’t know if this is going to build a consistent career, and kept going, and moved up different levels, and got different experience, and then, fast forward to, uh, 2020, the infamous 2020, uh, in March, uh, there was an opportunity where, Uh, obviously everything was shutting down.

I was in a new role just within that probation window and, uh, the, the business owner said, Hey, look, we ain’t going to have to let you go to save, you know, three or four other people. And I was like, yep, totally makes sense. And to me, when they were telling me that my, I wasn’t even listening at the time, it was just like, cool, starting a business, starting a business.

This is happening because I’ve been wanting to start a business for two to three years before 2020. But. Just didn’t know how or when or when the right time was. So when that happened, I’m like, cool, this is it. We’re going to do it and we’re going to give it a go. And if it all turns south, so be it. I’ll just go get another job.

And here we are today. So that’s kind of the, the backstory of how we got here. But I think throughout my career, my professional career, I’ve always had this burning desire of what if we could. And why can’t we, those two questions would bounce around a lot. And I remember working with, with some people and I’ve got a good relationship with them now, but I, I remember working with some people and I would frustrate them to no end because I would just ask why, why can’t we do that?

Why can’t we do this? Who said that? Why, why, why can’t we make this better? You know, and, and working in a service industry too, you know, you’re, you’re hearing clients and you, you’re kind of intercepting what they’re saying. And you’re like, Oh, if they could only do this, it would just make the experience so much better.

And so I, I’ve brought that into my business in the sense of trying to not just stick to a mold and that’s just what we do, trying to be really open. And funny, funnily enough, the reason why I picked the name Evolve Cloud was because. The cloud and technology is continually evolving. So when you hear the name, there’s kind of, I don’t know what the term is for that, but, you know, continually evolving and growing and changing and, and being nimble is kind of my heart for the customers.

I guess if that, if that makes sense, I guess. Yeah. That curiosity thread that flows on through. Right. Um, that, I think this is why we get on Liam cause I’m exactly the same. I’m like. But what if we looked at it this way, or have we thought about this, or if we do go down this direction, what are the possibilities that are opening up towards us?

And all of a sudden that fixed, stuck mold transitioned into this beautiful potential experience of what can be. Be, and it’s wonderful when you have people that come in as an expert in an, in a particular industry who love what they do, you’ve been, you’ve been privy to some of my explosive brain conversations where it just flows out.

Cause I’m so excited about the topic, but I think that opportunity is really great to educate and support our clients to think bigger than just what’s in front of them. A hundred percent. And just on that too. I think about. You know, being in a service based business, I am focusing on specific areas, but I, I really, you know, for example, if you think about an accountant, for example, like they are trained in that field and they do that and they do that.

Well, and it’s like me being a consumer or being a business that wants to work with an accountant, I want someone who will come to me and be like, Hey, did you know? You can do this, this, and this. And if you do that, you might be able to save this. Or if you do this, you might be able to create more efficiency and, you know, things like that.

So for me, I want to bring that experience to people where it’s like, Hey, did you know you could actually do this? Or have you ever thought about approaching it this way or that way? So, yeah. And that, that comes back to that shared mindset. I think, Nicole, where it’s like, well, why can’t we? Yes. It’s like, let’s just do it.

Like make it a thing, people take some action. Yeah, exactly. A hundred percent. Yeah. So over the years I’ve had many conversations, we’ve had conversations around the right foundational set up for your tech and what. Are those important elements to look at when you’re first starting out when you’re moving through as you’re growing, you might be bringing on team members, all of those sorts of things.

I’d love to have a conversation around that. Like, what are those important things to be aware of when we’re setting up our systems at the start? So it’s going to save us time in the future to redesign it because. You’ve would’ve worked on those projects where you have to go in and let’s use document structures for an example.

Like, you know, all of a sudden we’re having to re secure and I mean, anyway, over to you, let, let’s talk. A hundred percent. It’s, it’s, it’s fascinating. You say that because in the past couple of weeks, I’ve actually dealt with a handful of people coming to me to be like, look. You know, I’ve started this business.

I just kind of use this, this, and this. And it’s kind of got me through, but I need someone to do this. So I need to fix this, or I’ve got this continual problem that’s coming up. And, um, something that I’ve noticed is, uh, you know, you, for any business, you need the core essentials, you know, you need emails, you need accounting platforms, and you need all of that.

And there’s various different ways to do that. Personally, I’d recommend Microsoft 365 to anyone. I have Been formally trained in it. I think it’s a great ecosystem. I know some people like to use Google and that’s fine. You can do that. But I think from a business perspective, I think whenever I’m talking to businesses, I’m always mindful of it’s not when I’m having conversations with people, it’s yes, it’s about the need right now, but it’s also about, Hey.

Where are you going to be in 12 months, 36 months, 10 years. And those, and you might not know the answer to that. And you know, if you would ask me that Nicole, you’re like, Liam, when do you see yourself in five years? I’ll be like, I don’t know. I have ideas. I have plans to get somewhere, whether or not that happens.

We’ll see. But I think. Having that approach when you’re building out these systems will save you so much heartache in the future. So for example, like myself, when I started my business, I picked my platforms. And the first thing I did was build out or be at a very rough folder structure. You know, I’ve got my client’s folder and everything that lives in that.

And then I’ve got a completely separate folder for the internal stuff. And then for the internal. Kind of company workings. I’ve split it out into departments, even though I don’t have a marketing department, even though I don’t have a finance department, I still have those folders there so that when, and it’s starting to happen now where I’m bringing in external accountants and I’m giving them access to.

That folder structure so they can retrieve those documents. At some point I’ll hire a marketing agency or a marketing intern or something, and they will have a folder structure there. So I would encourage any business or any business person, even if you don’t know, just reflecting and being like, you know, if my goal is to hire 30 people, Well, let me create that structure or even while I’m building my business, build it in a way that, you know, you proceed, and I’m sure you’d agree with this, Nicole, your procedures are built in a way that someone can walk in and you can hand them a process or something.

And they go, cool. I know what to do. And away you go rather than having to hire someone. And then you have to sit for. Two months trying to train them and then not even document that process at the same time. So that’s my recommendation. Coming back to the tech stuff. Yeah. Microsoft 365 any day of the week, there’s several different ways you can go about that.

I think the easiest, if I’m honest, and. It’s funny, if you’re a client of mine, you’ll hear me say this and be like, Oh, but Liam, you tell us not to do that. If you need to set up emails quickly, Microsoft 365 through GoDaddy, you’ll be up and running in 5 10 minutes flat and get everything sorted. And it’s easy enough that you can set it up yourself and you don’t have to worry about all the back end stuff.

Once you do grow… It’s, it’s, it’s like a sliding scale. Almost once you grow, the more intricate and complex things will get, and then you’ll eventually like an accountant or a marketing person, you’ll bring someone in and hopefully you might bring in someone like me in the future, not me specifically, but someone who does what I do to help build out the sort of tech infrastructure side of things, because.

Tech is the, one of the cornerstones of every business, whether people like to admit it or not. And it can, can easily get very convoluted, you know, bright sunny object. Oh, yes. I, I’m Fred said I need that. So I’m going to bring that into the arsenal. Oh, look, there’s another thing that actually does a similar thing, but I like the look, I’m going to bring that one in too.

And then all of a sudden you’ve got access all over the place. And I think the key message is around. Thinking about the design of who is going to be operating in these areas and how they’re going to be operating. I know, you know, in my past life as well. This is again, probably another reason why we get on so well.

That was part of my role is to help shape those security designs, um, architecture so that. The right people had access to the right things at the right level. Right. Coming back to groups versus individual application as well. You know, I’m an office 365 lover as well, but, um, I did love what you said just then around going through a GoDaddy versus going through local direct.

Sometimes it is around a different. Definitely stages of business surround getting set up, right? Choosing the platform and making sure it’s set up. And then as you’re moving through, okay, my needs have changed. The purpose of what I’m doing here has shifted. And so it’s now important I’m bringing on a team.

We want to make sure the structures and securities are in place. Yeah, exactly. Right. And building on top of that. And I think that just kind of prompted me just then to sort of think it’s like, coming back to what I was saying, you’ve as a smaller business. You’ve got that opportunity now, like the smaller the businesses, the more agile and the quicker you can move compared to your competitors who are much more mature.

And you’ve got a great opportunity now to get your platforms and start building because what you start building now will definitely impact your future. So, you know, a great example of this, which I wish I caught on much sooner than I did, but. Something like a password manager, for example, as you set up your accounts to log into websites and things, if you have a password manager.

You can set up, you know, new passwords that are unique, save it in a password manager, save your two factor codes in a password manager, so you don’t have, you know, 27, 000 different QR codes in your phone. I started using a password manager about a year and a half ago, and there’s still passwords that I’m still putting in my password manager and moving the two factor codes over and things like that.

So, you know, if you are starting a business from the ground up, I definitely recommend, uh, Microsoft 365. There, it’s, it’s actually called Microsoft 365 Business Suite, and there’s a, a range, uh, an array of different products, but if, if you look at, uh, Microsoft 365 Business Standard as a base, that gets you your office licensing, it gets you emails, it gets you OneDrive, which if you think OneDrive is like a personal cloud storage, like a Dropbox, it also gives you Microsoft SharePoint, which if you think of…

Your personal Dropbox, but then make it collaborative. You can create folders and share and collaborate in documents. And then also with that, it gives you Microsoft teams, which integrates into SharePoint and OneDrive for collaborations. So an example of that might be, or I do this all the time. I have several different sort of group chats with external participants from different businesses.

So I’ve got clients or suppliers who supply services to my clients in a chat. And we discuss and collaborate on technology things. And it just makes that experience a lot easier sharing files, uh, in, in there makes it a lot easier and it reduces and emails as well. So yeah, if you’re starting out a business would highly recommend that.

And even if you’re not like, uh, I’ve come across people still using Gmail accounts, that’s okay. If you want to get to a point where. You want to go, Hey, I want to make this official, whatever you buy a domain name, get Microsoft 365 set up, get a password manager set up from the ground, because that will, from a tech systems perspective and more so on the security side too, that will make sure that you’re giving yourself the best opportunity to build your processes.

Now that will still enable your growth in the future. If that makes sense, I hope that makes sense. Yeah, a hundred percent. And back on the document, uh, area, we’re not, this isn’t an episode just about file structures, FYI people. We are going to talk about other fun stuff too, but there have been so many examples.

I remember I was hosting a masterclass not that long ago and it was like. Talking about questions. And one of the issues that they were experiencing was the, it was not easy to share information. And so I questioned that we’re on Google and I said, Oh, just by chance, are you on using Google like a local folder and sharing that, or are you in Google workspace so that you’ve got the ability to set it up?

Like. SharePoint, and he’s like, Oh, yes, no, we’re in Google workspace. And I said, Oh, well, just go in and check and say, and I’d actually turned out that they were all creating their individual folders, wherever they were, and then there was sharing those amongst the team. And so all of a sudden it’s this interconnected web and what if Fred departs the business, where does that IP live?

So all of these things we’re talking about here, it’s not just about ease of access. It’s around the. Security of the data, making sure that, you know, that IP is your business IP, right? We want to make sure that we capture that. Why don’t we move on to security actually, while we’re talking about it? Cause I know that that’s something, password protectors, obviously are important data backups, things like all that sort of stuff.

Like let’s talk about what we can do when we’re whatever stage, really. I think all of this is important. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I think. Obviously, the world that we’re in now, uh, cyber breaches, uh, through the wazoo, that’s not going to stop anytime soon. As much as the government and private industry and all these different bodies are trying to do stuff, cyber breaches won’t stop.

And what that introduces for businesses is that question, you’ve raised a great point Nicole, uh, of IP, where does the data sit? And what is the security around that data? So, uh, funny story. I remember speaking with someone and I asked him that question, like, where do you save your documents? And he’s like, oh yeah, just save it here, here, here.

Okay, cool. And then I then come to realize that like an organization of 17 staff are all logging into like a single free Google Drive account. And I was like, oh man, hey, look, at least the data is in one place. Sure. But again, the, the control. Of that data that it’s non existent. So I think the way that I kind of try and paint a picture of, of, of data and data security is, uh, almost like I said, a building blocks.

So. At the bottom, what does everyone need access to across the entire organization and then kind of slowly step it up and you’ll find that that kind of structure will coincide with a old chart of some sort of, you’ve got all your, your staff at the bottom, and then it builds up to managers or middle managers, department managers, and then operations, and then the C suite and it kind of goes up the tree.

And that’s kind of how you can structure a security. Or a better security plan for data. I think another interesting or hot tip or a free tip, however you want to say it. Platforms like Dropbox, Google, uh, Microsoft, uh, when you sign up for these services, you get the question, do you agree to accept our terms of use?

And everyone ticks the box and doesn’t read it. But for things like Google drive, uh, Microsoft 365 Dropbox, they actually, in those terms of service, they say that they are not responsible for, uh, and the way they word it too is a bit tricky, but the way they say it is they are not responsible for, and they are under no obligation, I think is the better term to restore your data in the event of a disaster.

So, you know, if their data centers do implode, they’ve got no obligation to restore your data, which. You know, you think, Oh, yeah, it’s a cloud. It’s fine. No worries. Happy days. It’s the cloud. It’s everywhere. All at once. The thing is, it’s not. And even about two weeks ago, there was actually at one of the Microsoft data centers in Sydney, the entire data center went offline because of a cooling issue, which is The first that I’ve heard in many years, but it means that it’s possible.

And businesses who had data sitting in those data centers were impacted. Um, and that brings up a separate topic about, especially with Microsoft at a higher level with different products, there’s products you can pick and levels you can pick of redundancy, the tools we’re talking about today, that that’s not a thing, but the point is.

These businesses are under no obligation to restore your data, so they put the onus on you. But no one really knows that because, you know, you don’t read the terms of service. And I mean, who has time and who wants to read terms of service? To be honest, they so dry. But anyway, that’s something that’s important.

So how do you counteract that? Well, there’s solutions out there that will back up your platforms. Now, I’ve actually come across a few really great products to do this. And most recently, I found that there are products out there that will actually also back up your zero and QuickBooks. And when you talk about the conversation around data and security, I mean, backups is classed as a, as a security element per se, because it’s the last ditch effort.

You know, if you have a security event and everything gets wiped, what’s the next question? Hey, have we got a backup? So, um, even backing up things like your Xero files and your QuickBooks files and actually found in Xero’s end user licensing agreement, they mentioned, they don’t say that they’re not responsible for restoring your data, but they say that.

You are responsible for any modification that is made to your data. So read into that as you will, but you know, if something was to go wrong and you were, let’s say you did make a mistake in something, you can’t undo it. That’s where a backup utility will help that for one, but then also to in the actual, in the, in the absolute worst case scenario, you’ve at least got your data that’s been backed up from a cloud platform, sitting in a separate location.

And it’s not related to the platform that you’re using. So again, it’s easy to get to and export too. So that’s one hot tip. So if you want something for free, please go back up your Microsoft 365 and your Google workspace, please. You know, coming from a corporate background, like global corporate organizations, I was part of the disaster recovery team planning and running all those, you know, tests and things like that.

And so. Backups and redundancies and all this, this is language. That’s just normal for my ears. Right. But what, and yours as well, but it’s not always common knowledge to everyone. When you think about cloud, you’re like, Oh, well it’s, it’s saved. It’s not on my local laptop. So I’m okay. But if my laptop dies, I’m okay.

I can log into my husband’s laptop or whatever. But if. The cloud goes down, which it is. And all the cloud is, is a data center sitting somewhere with physical computers, right? It’s hardware, hardware fails. Cooling systems fail, right? So it’s never a hundred percent safe. So you’re absolutely right here in, you know, suggesting around these backup solutions and it is, it is not that expensive to actually have peace of mind to make sure that your IP is safe.

And so as a business leader, you’re like, I’ve done everything in my power to mitigate the risk of potential. Insert words here, right? Correct. Exactly right. And um, just on that too, I actually had a thought come to me, like, even though you’re still using the cloud, even if there is no natural disaster, something else that could happen uh, is, and I’ve actually seen it with my own eyes, there is such a thing as ransomware for cloud services.

And I’ve seen a isolated incident where A user received an email, uh, to click a link or do something. It was a phishing email, and they clicked a link there. They put their Microsoft 365 credentials into this website, which looked like Microsoft, but it wasn’t. And then within 48 hours, all of the data that that user had access to was encrypted, both in OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams.

And so that opened my eyes to the, to also how difficult it is to get Microsoft to restore data from their backups. Uh, even if you like, I’ve had some isolated incidents where someone’s deleted an email or or a text accidentally deleted a mailbox and it’s past the retention window, Microsoft purged it, it takes hours to get on the phone to Microsoft to talk to them to get them to first of all, understand what you’re asking and then even to try and even restore that.

So having. That, uh, backup in a separate location that’s isolated, that’s storing all your data means that if someone does do something accidentally, which, you know, it’s never really intentional, even if it is intentional, you’ve still got that data sitting somewhere else. And as you say, Nicole, for the price of what it is, it’s, it’s pretty, pretty cost effective to do and to know that, yeah, cool.

If something does happen to. My data then amazing. It’s it’s safe somewhere else and kind of bouncing off that too brings up a great question around email spam protection And then cyber security awareness training as well again, just because you’re using cloud doesn’t mean that companies are actively implementing Email spam solutions too.

So Microsoft don’t by default, they have add on products. If you want to spend more money with them, uh, which I could understand from a business perspective, you can’t give everything. You know, the top tier, you have to break it out, but Microsoft don’t give you email spam filtering by default. You have to put that in yourself and they’ve got solutions to do that.

But for me personally, I’m also a big believer of not having all your eggs in one basket either. So for my clients, I intentionally opt for an email spam solution that integrates with Microsoft, but doesn’t run on Microsoft platform and is not, uh, Is physically managed outside of Microsoft for that continuity element so that if something does happen with Microsoft and again, there was another instance of this where I don’t know how long ago must have been within six months that one of the email spam filtering solutions that Microsoft provide either was compromised or it had a bug or something happened to it and it impacted a bunch of people that were using that solution.

And, uh, yeah, I’m a big believer in India and not putting all your eggs in one basket in that regard. So that brings up another element of, um, especially when you have, uh, team members too, the classic one is, uh, obviously accounts departments get targeted. So I think it’s accounts receivable. I’ll just get this random email that looks like it’s from one of their suppliers, say hey I need you to pay this invoice urgently, you know, they might be under the pump, they might be distracted, something might be going on, you know, at a worst case, I don’t know, this is, this is a bit wild, but again, it has happened, I’ve seen it happen where, you know, the accounts receivable person is feeling ill, they’re not concentrating properly, they’re not, you know, 100 percent Go Uh, paying attention to what they’re doing and all of a sudden, you know, 250, 000 just walks out the door because the, the, there wasn’t the protections in place to be able to pick up and say, Hey, this is a spam email, but then also on the other side, the staff member also doesn’t have cybersecurity awareness training to be able to recognize and go, Oh, that.

Yeah. So those, those two things also credibly important as well. I don’t know where I read it. I don’t know who said it, but there’s a stat that’s floating around. That’s basically the number one prevention method of cybersecurity incidents and breaches is actually human awareness training. So you can have all the systems in the world, but.

You know, those systems are going to be working against people who are not trained to be able to spot these malicious, uh, messages. And let’s be honest. I think everyone, even people listening to this call can agree that. They’ve definitely seen some very well crafted spam, text messages, emails, whatever they are.

They’re stepping up their game. They’re really, well, it’s a whole business, isn’t it? Yeah. I’m just interrupting this episode to share a special offer from one of our trusted providers, Evolve Cloud. As a small business owner, you are doing all the things in your business and don’t have the time. All the knowledge on how to structure your tech systems to ensure that you are operational and secure.

This is where Liam and his team come into play as a valued listener of the take control of the goal podcast evolve cloud are here to support you with a solution. Curated just for you, whether you’re looking to get your tech foundation set up right from the start or looking to grow and scale Evolve Cloud are here to work with you to keep you, your data and your clients safe, having access to someone who understands the tech stuff and knows which buttons to press will support you to focus on that fabulous thing of Servicing your clients, pop on over to contact.

evolvecloud. com. au backslash artisans and book a call with Liam to explore how he can support your business.

I know one of the examples that floated through one of the businesses I was supporting was one of the sort of senior people who does use the bank account, makes payments. The email appeared to come from the owner of the business. So the username in the email was his name. The email address. It was nothing like it should be.

And that’s sort of one little tip. If you’re ever dubious of things, actually just click into see what that email address is, that’s a pretty big tip, but, um, luckily she was savvy enough because we had been aware of situations like this before that she actually just picked up the phone and said, Hey, did you ask me to just transfer this, that, and the other, and he was like, that was not me.

So instantly blocked reported off it goes. Which from a procedural perspective and process, especially when it comes to accounts, banks, and money. Always have a physical two step process in place where it’s a case of pick up the phone and confirm, hey, like that person did. So glad they did. Hey, is this you?

No, it’s not me. Or even if someone does have access to the bank, having two signatories on a bank account, if possible, is also incredibly important. And from a cybersecurity insurance perspective, which Uh, when your business starts to grow to a certain size, that’s something that you want to look into. A lot of cyber security insurance providers or underwriters or insurers are now starting to ask that businesses have a physical to step approval process for bank account transactions over a certain amount.

Cause I’ve got countless stories of the CFO getting an email from the CEO saying, Hey, transfer this. And the CFO is just, Oh yeah, cool. No worries. Again, not, you know, distracted or the pressure’s on or something’s going on. Yep. Just transfer it. And then, you know, money leaves and the word, Oh, that’s the other thing too.

The worst part about. Money leaving your account and going to the wrong person was done in mistake. There’s ways that you can get it back. Sure. But what, what tends to happen is if you’re being targeted and you transfer some of money, even 5, 000, 50, 000, whatever it is, if you transfer a sum of money to, uh, a criminal cyber criminal, who does have a bank account, they are going to transfer that money offshore as soon as possible.

And as soon as that happens, the banks cannot get your money back. And that is real world experience of a client that I dealt with where. They were a home builder and the accounts payable. So this instance was a hacker was sitting in this person’s emails, just reading emails coming through, not doing anything, picking out invoices.

And then what they did was they. Intercepted an invoice from a supplier, changed the bank details, and then re delivered that email to the accounts person. And also put a lot of urgency. Oh, you’re late. You’re late on payment. They did it, you know, make, make the person feel bad. And so they transferred the money.

And then three weeks later, their supplier calls and said, Hey, our invoices haven’t been paid. And the girl’s like, no, what do you mean? I paid it. Here’s the remittance advice. And they found that the bank account. Uh, details have changed. And by that point, they called the bank and said, Hey, you really need to stop this money.

And the bank said, unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do because that money’s gone to a different bank. We’ve contacted that bank and that money’s now gone overseas. And they couldn’t get it back. And also, I know this might sound a bit pessimistic, but banks… I’m not generous enough to just go, yeah, here you go.

Here’s another 50 K no worries. All good, bro. Don’t worry about it. It’s really, really sits with us. Isn’t again, all of these things, regardless of your IP, your internal training, your, whatever it might be, those preventative measures that bigger organizations, even though some don’t do it. As well as they probably should as a, as a smaller business, we have this opportunity to shine that light on it and actually invest some time and some focus and some money to set ourselves up for success and secure success as well.

Because it’s, it’s the, Oh, it will never happen to me moments that, uh, you know, keep us in this kind of. Rainbows and sunshine world. And I’ve got sunshine floating from the back window towards me, but it’s the minute that it happens and cashflow, if you, you lose 50 grand, like that’s not, you know, buying a red from the shop.

Is it, that’s can be detrimental to your business. And especially the other thing you think about too, is like, yeah, if you lose 50 grand, how many paychecks is that for your staff? Like it’s, it is a bit of a morbid conversation to have, but it’s like. You know, if you lose 50 grand, does that mean your staff can then put food on the table?

You know? And, um, I always say this and I, I’m always in countless arguments with business owners who say that, Oh, it never happened to me. I’m like, yeah, until it does, then what, by then it’s too late. And it’s actually a fantastic quote that I saw. It’s actually on my website. Uh, one of the former directors of the FBI at some point, uh, what did he say?

Uh, security is always too much until the day it’s not enough, which when I heard that, I’m like, That is the actual truth. And yeah, you’re, you’re so right in the sense that it, it does sit with us and it’s something that we have to be aware of. And, you know, like if I, if I was to look back 10 years ago, the problems that we faced 10 years ago to now.

At least from a technology perspective are completely different. Like this cyber thing, wasn’t all that much. I still remember the first day I was sitting in one of these businesses that I was working in. And, um, I heard the, for the first time that someone clicked on an Oz post email and. Now, all of a sudden, there’s files showing up with the extension of encrypted and, you know, staff can’t access files.

What’s going on, guys? What’s this all about? To now, where we are, it’s so much more advanced and so much harder to spot and to stop, too. Yeah, it’s really the wild, wild west out there in terms of the security challenges.

Business on its face. So, yeah, it’s, uh, it can be scary, but let’s put the bright light on it. That’s true. Today we’ve had this conversation to bring awareness. We’re not here to scare you, doom and gloom, because there are lots of things that you can easily do by having a conversation with yourself or another provider or educating yourself on what is important for your industry.

Um, and also our legal responsibilities, I guess, as well around, uh, if you’re holding client information, what from a legal point of view is, is your responsibility for that information? I hope everyone’s excited about going and getting themselves secure by the way. Cause I know we are over here. Let’s talk about the nimbility and the agility that we have a small business leaders, right?

So like an example today, they’ve listened to this conversation and tomorrow they can go and get those things set up. Like that is such a benefit. I remember working in global corporate and you’d be like, I’ve got an idea, let’s do a thing. And then all of a sudden had to go up the chain of command with all the business cases and all the cost analysis and all the things.

And then we either get a tick or a no. And then if we had a tick comes all the way back down and then we got to implement, whereas as a business leader, we can go, Ooh, there’s a thing. This is why I want to change it. Purpose change as well. Intentional design change is what we want to lean into as well.

But we had that real opportunity. Don’t wait to make those business. Yeah, absolutely. And I know we, we sometimes, and I know I get, I fall into this trap all the time. I look at, you know, how my business compares to the competitors that I want to be competing against. And I get frustrated because I’m like, Oh, I’m not there yet.

But the quite often the thing that I don’t realize is the fact that when I need to change what I need to change, or if I do need to make changes in my business, it can happen in the span of days or weeks rather than months. years or several years, you know, and I think that is, that is super encouraging in the sense of, you know, if, if you’re sitting here going, Oh, I need to do something about this.

It actually doesn’t take that long. And I will say this too, like cyber security is not a, not a start and a finish. It’s a continual evolution. So it’ll be like, you’ll start on this journey of let’s get things secure. And then you’ll hit a point where you’re like, okay, fantastic for now. Things are good, happy days.

And then as the business grows, so then the need for. Newer solutions or newer problems or newer risk elements will start to make themselves known. And you’re like, okay, cool. We need to do something about that. So that’s probably one thing I would say to, to business owners and especially small businesses, you never get there.

You never reach the end. And I would encourage you to change your mindset in that too, that it’s. That it doesn’t end. It’s like a revolving door effectively. But in saying that though, the best thing to do, if you don’t know where to start, or you’re like, Oh, I need to make a change or whatever is to simply, first of all, make the decision like, cool.

Okay. I need to educate myself in this. And the moment you make that decision, you’re already one step ahead and it’s impossible to know everything. But, uh, I think something that you and I, Nicole, we really succeed in is if we go, okay, I need to understand more in this area. Who do I know in my network that I can reach out to?

Oh, let me give Nicole a call. Nicole, do you know someone who can help me with da, da, da, da? Yeah, cool. Liam, let me introduce you to da, da, da, and away you go. And then all of a sudden you’re surrounding yourself with people who. have a lot more knowledge and can help guide you, even if it’s paid or an unpaid engagement, there’s still a lot of resources out there that you can sort of self learn yourself and, and grow into understand more.

And that’s really the step that you need is just. I want to get better in this area and how do I do that? And from there, the rest will happen. So it is really exciting. Isn’t it? And that’s why I love the small business landscape is like yesterday, Liam and I were both at an event and you’re standing in a room with all these fabulous people.

You have a conversation, you’ve learned something new, right? You’ve made a new connection that in the future could be something that yeah, I could refer people to, I could work with directly, but we’ve had that conversation. And. That’s what’s amazing about that exact thing. There’s awareness. I I’m looking to educate myself on insert words.

Who can I see in my remit that can come in and support me to do that? And that is around sometimes investing in that, right? Cause whenever we’re investing in something, we’ve obviously make a decision in our minds. We’ve looked at all the information. Why am I looking to do this? What service am I looking to receive?

What’s the outcome. So we’re going to do is the budget in the remit of what I can afford to right now. And if not, what is it at a minimum that we can actually do to get ourselves to a point that is.

Um, and it’s, it’s really, really exciting. 100%. Absolutely. And just off the back of that too, I think, again, coming back to the conversation of small businesses being agile, like if you’re directly competing with someone. You’ll, you’ll, there’ll be software solutions out there like Sass apps and Sass tech are a dime a dozen.

Like I met someone who I, when I heard him speak, I was like, Oh my goodness. That is such a great thing for that industry. This, this guy that I met from Waterman Bandura of all places, I heard that him and his wife are building a support worker management solution. Uh, and when I spoke to him, I’m like.

How’d you land on that idea? And he said to me, he was like, yeah, you know, my wife is a support worker and she works in the NDIS support workspace. And there’s just no one solution that is right. And I said to him, I was like, I just smiled at him. I was like, you are so right. Because that’s the, that’s the gripes that I’m hearing.

And all of that to say that. There are solutions out there. There’s tech, there’s tech stacks and software. And there’s people out there who have got these new solutions and being a small business. You do have an advantage that if you are able to adopt new ways of doing things, new solutions, new technology, new process or whatever over time.

You will be taking leaps and bounds ahead of the competitors who are so much bigger because, as you said, Nicole, in global corporate land, there are so many levels and so much red tape to go up and down the food chain to make changes and this and that, but if you get in now at the ground floor of your business, and it’s, uh, even if it’s smaller, You can make those changes so much quicker and bring on clients and they will even rave about their experience with you and using these platforms and how good’s that this new platform can do this and that just saves me so much time rather than having to pick up a phone or whatever.

So, um, yeah, it, it gets me excited. As it does with me, the, you know, the world is endless. So, uh, everything is possible. Just got to find the right solution that aligns with the way that you want to operate your business. So, yeah. Ah, so good. Well, is there anything else you want to leave us with before we jump on into our questions, our three questions we ask our guests?

Yeah. So I think, uh, I mean, obviously we’ve discussed a lot of different things. There’s so much going on and I guess you might be listening to this and going, Oh man, I, I want all these things, but I don’t even know where to start or, you know, where, where do I even start? I have a small sort of small tangent.

I’ve been in a similar position with yourself, Nicole, where I’ve been, I’ve worked at a high level, worked in bigger organizations. I’ve got to play with technology that. Is not that common yet. And, you know, got to play at that level, which is amazing. And it’s a whole bunch of stuff that happens there, but then obviously starting my business and working with the small businesses, a lot of the stuff they don’t need of, of that big end of town, you know, the big stuff.

But I’ve come to understand that there is a kind of core, core amount of solutions or a core. mixture of things that small businesses need. And what I’ve done is I’ve put that into a very flexible package for businesses. And I want to bring this to the artisan world because I know Nicole, you’ll be a big believer in this of like, how can clients get access to this technology, but also the skillset without being so grossly overpriced or expensive because You know, whether we like it or not, budgets are always going to be a constrictor.

So I’ve created this new service offering for, uh, the, the small business community. And I, I want to offer it up here that if you do need. Assistance or even it’s not even about signing new clients. Like if you have a question, jump on, book a call and I will try and guide you in the right direction.

Because when I was starting my business in other areas or be it, I wish that I had someone that could be like, yep. If you need this, just go in this direction or speak to this person or do that or, or, hey, check these things out and you can go about it yourself. So I wanted to offer that up. There will be a link and I’ll give that to yourself, Nicole, and you can distribute that.

But, um, yeah, if you have any questions or you need some guidance, even, uh, please do book a call with myself. I’d be more than happy to point in the right direction because. You know, we all need to stick by each other and help each other out at the end of the day. And I know that tech is not everyone’s expertise.

It’s the same. Me and numbers accounting. Oh, can’t do it. The best I can do is what’s coming in, what’s going out and what’s in the middle. That’s The limit of my accounting knowledge. So, you know, I understand that tech is not everyone’s forte, and if I can at least guide you and point you in the right direction to solve a headache, that’s, that’s why I do what I do.

So, uh, yeah, if you’re, if you need some help, please do reach out. Thanks, Liam. I think it’s, um, if anyone’s been sitting here and, uh, some brain thinks have been happening throughout the conversation, pop on over and say, hi, we’ll share, um, all the contact details and you’ll share where we can find you in a little bit, Liam.

But having one conversation can really change the trajectory of where you’re heading. I think that’s a really good little nugget to keep in the mind, whatever service or support you’re looking for. Have that conversation. Be old school. Pick up the phone. Oh my goodness. That is,

that is so true. And, uh, I recall so many conversations with even yourself, Nicole, where I remember this one time I was sitting next to you and I’m like, Nicole, I don’t know how to do this. I need to do this, but I don’t know how to do it. And you gave like, it was just the, a fresh set of eyes, a fresh outlook, just to, you know, just having that conversation can, like you say, just be an absolute game changer.

And now, and I look back at that conversation and we had Nicole and I’m like, Why didn’t I see that? It was so easy. It was staring, staring me right in my face. And I’m like, why didn’t I think of that? But that’s exactly, you’re exactly right, Nicole. Cause we’re in it. This is the thing. We’re in our businesses each and every day and we’re doing the doing and doing and doing, and we’re looking forward, but sometimes it’s just over to the right, you know?

Yeah. Yeah. Yes, exactly. Well, let’s jump into three questions. Are you ready? I’m ready. Okay. Oh, this will be an interesting one. Okay. What is your go to app that creates ease in your day? This is not sponsored at all. And this is not, not designed this way, but genuinely ClickUp in, in how that I use it. And that’s not a sponsored or plugged post.

Genuinely ClickUp has like, ah, it’s a fantastic tool for keeping me on track and helping me reduce the amount of repetitive things I have to do day in day out. And especially being. The go to guy for everything. You have to do a lot. Yeah. So it’s, yeah, game changer, lifesaver, honestly, the best. Love it.

Well, you know, you don’t have to convince me. That’s for sure.

Are you an online paper or hybrid to do list lover? I was going to say, I’m definitely a hybrid and, and I have no rhyme or reason, but there’ll be some times where I’m like, I need to grab a notebook and just start writing. Other times I’ll grab my tablet and start scribing. Other times I’ll just pull out my phone and just start doing, you know, checkboxes.

Yeah, definitely a hybrid, but I’m a big believer in at least writing it down. Whether to me, it’s like. At least to me, I’m like, it doesn’t, to me, it doesn’t matter if it’s a phone, if it’s a tablet, it’s a piece of paper, I just need to get it out of my head onto something so that, you know, I can free up my mind for other stuff.

Because if I don’t, it will disappear and it might be three hours, it might be three days, it might be three weeks, three months before I have that thought again to go, Oh, I should do this. So, yeah. A number of my clients have started to use the Remarkables. Um, and have all those set up and, um, obviously the, the notes just go straight back into the systems.

And so that’s another thing on technology, but on, uh, note taking is if you are using these pieces of technology, keep them in mind in the wider ecosystem, because it is part of your tech ecosystem, the same security things all apply to it. So, you know, when you’re having those discussions with, with a Liam or whoever else, make sure that we keep those things in, in the minds as well.

So. Um, okay. Final question. What would you do if you created more space in your world? Oh, great question. What would, what would you do if you created more space in your world? Selfishly. I’d probably spend more time with family. Love it. There’s no selfish about that. you need to

do, then try to automate it or try and scale it so that you can bring someone else in to do it for you to then free you up to do more of what you love. And in that case, it would be spending time with friends and family. The human connection more than anything would be, would be the driver for that. Yeah, a hundred percent.

Great question. Great question. It’s a thought provoker. Isn’t it? Definitely. Definitely is. Yeah. A hundred percent. Amazing. Thanks so much for joining me, Liam. This has been amazing. I knew it would be. You’re most welcome. We’ve been talking, geeking out, nerding out, whatever word you want to call, but, um, it’s been really informative, um, you know, from whatever stage you’re at, I think this conversation can be applied to wherever you are in your journey.

So thank you so much. You’re most welcome and, uh, hope to be back at some point soon with some more stories. Yeah, sounds good. Where can we find you? On all of the socials? Yeah, I predominantly hang out on LinkedIn. Uh, you can find me on Instagram. Uh, I’ve got a company, uh, page set up. So LinkedIn will just be Evolve Cloud and then everything else, Facebook, Instagram, uh, Twitter will be evolve cloud au.

And I post, uh, a lot of stuff on there, but. I’m trying to really post social content that is engaging and helpful. So yeah, if anyone has any thoughts or feedback, please do message me because social media again is not my forte. So marketing, another one of those systems that we are responsible for as small business leaders, right?

That’s right. That’s right. Absolutely. Amazing. Well, we are going to put all those contact details in the show notes as always, along with the link for the offer and service that Liam mentioned that he’s going to share with us for all you fabulous listeners. But, um, for now, thank you so much for joining us today.

And I hope you have a fabulous rest of your week, creating clever systems for your business. Oh, goodness. Definitely ask me a Thursday. See you later. Well, there we go. Thank you so much for joining me. today. It’s been such a pleasure having you on board. Have we connected on the socials yet? If not, please come on over.

Say hi. I’m on all the platforms @theartisanssolutions So I’d really look forward to seeing you over there. And if you enjoyed today’s episode, don’t forget to tag me. And I’d love it if you could leave a review and of course, share this with others so others can come and join us next time. All right, then everyone Have a fabulous rest of the week, and until next time, see you then.


Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we work and live. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We celebrate the stories, culture and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of all communities who also work and live on this land.