Cyber Awareness To Stay Safe

Universal Computer Solutions are leaders in their field and it’s no wonder that we trust them when it comes to all areas of Cyber Awareness.  Managing Director, and friend of our business has put together this article about Cyber Awareness to ensure that nobody is taken for a ride.  Introducing, Cyber Awareness To Stay Safe – Accountants Geelong l Canny Group.

As we increase our reliance on technology in both business and our private lives, it seems that more and more often we are hearing of systems being “hacked” or businesses and individuals defrauded of their funds and life savings.  And over the COVID-19 Pandemic, cyber criminals have only ramped up their activities.

In recent months we have seen a major security breach at RMIT University in Melbourne, a suspected cyber-attack has forced hospitals in Melbourne’s east to take their IT systems offline and delay non-critical surgeries, and it was not too long ago that the whole Barwon Health system across Geelong was crippled by a virus that destroyed critical data and records.

Unfortunately, as IT systems become more and more difficult to break into from a technical perspective, cyber criminals are searching for the weakest link in the equation: the unsuspecting end user.  According to Cyber Security statistics last year, over 95% of security breaches were the result of human error (namely, criminals fooling people into divulging their details, or allowing access to their systems).

People, unlike computers, can be fooled and manipulated much easier than trying to crack into a highly secured modern system, so the most used vector for all of the above examples is by trying to fool the end user either by email, phone call, or text message into divulging passwords, allowing access to their computer or mobile phone, even handing over their online banking details, but pretending to the a “trusted” source, and subsequently defrauding or taking advantage of the situation.

There are many motives for such attacks, but by far, the most common these days is simply financial, and once again, it is estimated that the worldwide information security market is forecast to reach $170.4 billion in 2022 (according to the Gartner Group).

So, it is no wonder that it is an ever-growing magnet for the criminal underworld.  Fortunately for us, it’s also a no-brainer to avoid such exploits and stop the criminals in their tracks purely by using some common sense measures:

  • Do not provide sensitive personal information (like usernames and passwords) over email
  • Watch for email senders that use suspicious or misleading names
  • Inspect URLs carefully to make sure they’re legitimate and not imposter sites
  • Do not try to open any shared document that you’re not expecting to receive
  • If you can’t tell if an email is legitimate or not, please contact your Information Technology help desk
  • Be especially cautions when opening attachments or clicking links if you receive an email containing a warning banner indicating that it originated from an external source

DO NOT //

  • Open any email attachments that end with; .exe .scr .bat .com, or other executable files you do not recognise
  • “Unsubscribe” it is easier to delete the e-mail than to deal with the security risks
  • Ever click embedded links in messages without hovering your mouse over them first to check the URL
  • Respond or reply to spam in any way.  Use the delete button

ALWAYS //

  • Check the email “from” fields to validate the sending.  This “from” address may be spoofed
  • Check for so-called “double-extended” scam attachments.  A text file named “safe.txt” is safe but a file called “safe.txt.exe” is not
  • Report all suspicious emails to your Information Technology help desk
  • Note that www.microsoft.com. and www.support.microsoft.software.com are two different domains

It’s important to remember, that big companies will *NOT*

  • Call you on your phone OR text you asking for your username or password (or any other personal details)
  • You will *NEVER* get an email from you bank, telco, internet provider (or any other business) requesting you to “click here to verify your details” (or any such nonsense)
  • And you will *DEFINITELY* never get a call from “Microsoft” telling you that your computer is infected with a virus!  (you might get called from your IT Provider who you know on a first name basis, but not Microsoft, Apple or your mobile phone provider!)
  • Or from the Australian Tax Office telling you that you are going to be arrested if you don’t pay a bogus fine

So always be *super* suspicious (err on the side of caution).  If you get an email, or text, or phone call, *SEEK ADVICE* from your IT Support provider if you think that it might be legitimate, and they will help you out and clarify if/when action needs to be taken.

You can also go to the Australian Competition & Consumer’s Commission’s website specifically set up to advise the public to see if a particular scam describes the symptoms of what you are experiencing – save this link to your favourites tab and use it any time you get a text, email or phone call which doesn’t sound right!

So, don’t become the next person to be fooled and taken advantage of.  It could cost you, your employer (and your contacts and people who you frequently correspond with) dearly.  Just like the measures we used during the COVID-19 lockdown, an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure.  Be ultra cautious, stay safe, and don’t get taken for a ride!

If you would like to know more from Universal Computer Solutions, get in touch and we can help to put your mind at ease!

 

Nenad Saffin – Managing Director

Universal Computer Solutions

Archive Wine Bar

Archive Wine Bar Wine Drinking Experience – Client Insider l Canny Group

 

IN YOUR OWN WORDS… what is Archive Wine Bar?

With over 150 wines by the glass, Archive offers a wine drinking experience you cannot find elsewhere.  All wine drinkers, from to those with a casual interest through to enthusiasts and Sommeliers will find something they love at Archive.  Unlike other wine bars, you will never get tired of our wine list!

HOW DID ARCHIVE WINE BAR COME ABOUT + to life?

Our business partners, Ray and Maree of Lethbridge Wines, purchased an existing wine bar and then approached us to help create something special.

Graham and I (like most people) always had a dream of owning our own wine bar one day, so we certainly had some ideas.  With our combined experience in the wine industry and my background in delicatessens, Archive is the expression of everything we love about wine and food.

Our children were young at the time so we also wanted to create a space that we would want to be in – Archive has a beautiful garden where families can relax while enjoying an amazing wine selection, delicious grazing platters and exceptional service.

HOW LONG HAS ARCHIVE WINE BAR BEEN UP + running for?

We opened Archive in August of 2018 and have been enjoying a nice pace of growth since then, particularly after lockdown when our garden area really started to get some attention!

EVERYBODY HAS SOMETHING… what do you love about your job?

I love working with Graham every day.  We have complimentary skill sets and a never-ending passion for food and wine, so things are never boring.

I also love working for myself and the flexibility this provides for my family.  My last job was in a government agency and the hours were long and stress levels high, so this opportunity enabled me to take more control of my working life.

WOULD YOU SAY YOUR JOB IS EXCITING… or do you just spend your days pouring glasses of wine?

Ha ha!  I actually do more of the administration and strategic planning for our businesses now so the only wine I pour is for myself!

I love my job and can make it as exciting as I can handle (at any particular moment) as there is never any shortage of great ideas floating around.

WHAT DOES A DAY IN YOUR SHOES at Archive Wine Bar look like?

I also administer another business called The Geelong Wine School too, so I am usually making sure our students are looked after, I’m checking in on my staff at Archive, and I’m following up on leads for our businesses.

Right now I’ve been working hard to help establish the Belmont Traders Inc, our new local business association, and applying for grants to hold a community event in Belmont next year.

EVERY BUSINESS NEEDS AN ADVISOR… who do YOU turn to for help +/or advice?

Amanda Wilkens has been amazing at helping Graham and I shape our thinking for a secure future for our family and businesses.

I first heard Mandy share her experiences of being a woman and young mother in business at a networking event and have since developed a deep regard and trust for Mandy.

So even on a personal level, I have taken advice from Mandy and her experiences to make sure I can maintain a family and work balance that helps me approach difficult situations with a positive and resilient mindset.

WE HEARD ON THE GRAPEVINE… that you have been doing some very exciting things, what is planned for the future of Archive Wine Bar?

We tried to use our time in lockdown effectively and put our staff and ourselves to work on a new functions space in the shed at the back of our garden.

We are very excited to have this lovely new space that is weatherproof, and our customers have been enjoying it too.

Graham has started hosting his monthly wine tasting events in the ‘Shed’ and we look forward to hosting many parties and work functions in this unique, comfortable and relaxed space once people feel like it is safe to start planning these kinds of events again.

OK, NOW I’M THIRSTY… how do I get in contact +/or find out more about Archive Wine Bar?

You can visit our website archivewinebar.com.au to find out more, view our menus, check out our upcoming events, make a reservation or functions enquiry.

Archive Wine Bar Wine Drinking Experience – Client Insider l Canny Group

Little Constructions

Little Constructions l Design + Construct

With a mission to work closely with clientele, guiding them through the build process, identify their needs and desires to ensure that their dream home is being built just as imagined – it’s no wonder that Little Constructions is taking the building industry by storm.  Pouring love into each of the 12 – 15 projects they are taking on each year and capped at that number, really proves that Mark and his team surpass their clients expectations and the commitment to each project is personalised to deliver a quality, unique home within the time and budget allocated.

Mark has been a member of Master Builders since 1998, when he joined as a student, and the many services, training and awards programs offered at that time helped him to grow both personally and professionally.  Mark started on the Geelong Section Committee, moving up to Chair, and volunteered time to help judge the Master Builders Apprentice of the Year Awards.  From there he became a representative of the Country Sector Committee, where he is now Chair, and he also currently serves on the Council of Management Board – “it’s a privilege to be involved with Master Builders at this level and while juggling time is a constant, the experience is really rewarding”.

Introducing, Mark Little – Owner and Founder of Little Constructions l Design + Construct

IN YOUR OWN WORDS… what is Little Constructions?

We are a small Geelong Based residential building company, specialising in design and construction of acreage homes.

HOW DID LITTLE CONSTRUCTIONS COME ABOUT… + come to life?

We saw an opening in the market back in 2013 as the Geelong area had/has the most acreage land to be released as anywhere else in Victoria and from there Little Constructions was born.

HOW LONG HAS LITTLE CONSTRUCTIONS BEEN UP + RUNNING for?

After developing my trade skills in carpentry and becoming a registered builder, I thought it was time to take the leap to start my own business and from there Little Constructions came to life back in 2004.

EVERYONE HAS SOMETHING… what do YOU love about your job?

Building homes for our clients but also the different homes and their different locations.

IS YOUR JOB EXCITING… or do you just build houses day in + day out?

I still love the challenges that our industry offers.  There is not a week that goes by when something new doesn’t pop up and challenge us and this is what I like to call “the building industry factor”

EVERY BUSINESS NEEDS AN ADVISER… who do you turn to for help?

Adam from the Accounting team and Richard from the Legal team – they are my go to advisers, whenever I need them!  Canny’s newsletters have often saved us a phone call or an e-mail as they are very informative!

TAKING A LOOK INTO YOUR FUTURE… what’s planned for Little Constructions?

To be honest, nothing too exciting!  I’ve capped our business at 12-15 new homes per year to ensure that we consistently deliver a product and experience that we’re proud of.

We also want to keep our momentum going.  It takes A LOT to build momentum, but not a lot to keep it going.  We’re in the early stages of planning our next Display Home as well as looking as possible locations AND floor plans!

HOW DO I GET IN CONTACT… find out more + check out the work of Little Constructions?

Checkout out website, follow our socials..

WEB // www.littleconstructions.com.au

SOCIALS // Facebook, Instagram, Houzz + LinkedIn

Give us a call at the office +03 5298 3413 or our New Homes Consultant, Ian on 0478 686 985

Visit out Display Home: 1 Farrer Drive (801 Hendymain Road), Moriac and pop in and say g’day at our new office location, Unit 3, 145-147 Victoria Street North Geelong

ByMERRIN

ByMERRIN l Merrin Schnable Resort Wear

With a keen eye for style and design, Merrin Schnable has always had a dream to have her own fashion label.  Growing up modelling was when she first had a taste of the fashion industry and her love has only grown as she brought to life; ByMERRRIN.  A resort wear label of versatile sarongs, kaftans and capes with pieces that have been designed to be worn multiple ways and for women of all shapes and sizes.

EXPLAIN TO US IN YOUR OWN WORDS.. What is ByMERRIN?

ByMERRIN is a resort wear label – it is a range of versatile sarongs, kaftans and capes.

My collection has an array of colours and designs that represent the free spirited, mindful, creative and happy souls that they adorn.

I designed the pieces so that they could be worn multiple ways. The sarongs can be used as a cape, headpiece, scarf, light jacket or shawl, while the Kaftan can easily also be worn as a dress paired with a belt and heels.  I wanted to create pieces that women of all shapes and sizes can wear.  I was thrilled to secure top Australian model and former Victoria Secret model, Jess Hart to shoot my collection.

HOW DID BYMERRIN COME ABOUT + to life?

It’s always been a dream to have my own fashion label, I have a keen eye for style and design, growing up modelling entered me into the fashion industry.  As I am a social media influencer, I really wanted to utilise my platform and that’s how ByMERRIN was created.

HOW LONG.. has ByMERRIN been up + running for? 

ByMERRIN turned one on the 29th of November!

EVERYBODY HAS SOMETHING.. what do YOU love about your job?

I love that I get to create pieces for women to feel and look beautiful – designing feminine pieces so women can feel and look their best.  I have numerous projects I run and I’m all about empowering and inspiring women to be their best and to look their best!

IS YOUR JOB EXCITING?

Absolutely, YES! I adore every aspect of it.  Fills my cup to think women feel empowered and confident in my designs.

EVERYBODY NEEDS AN ADVISOR.. who do you turn to for help?

Mandy Wilkens has been absolutely outstanding for me and my business ventures – from being my accountant, to the abundance of business advice she has given me over the years and continues to give me.  The wisdom she has shared with me has been amazing, I feel so comfortable knowing I have someone like Mandy as my go-to for all my business questions I need answered.  Highly recommend seeing Mandy for all of the above!

LET’S TALK ABOUT THE FUTURE.. what’s next for ByMERRIN?

To continue creating fashion pieces that women of all sizes and shapes can wear and are going to feel beautiful in.  Also incorporate a charity in some way in 2021 – as this is so aligned to me, as I’m all things humanity and charity, helping people and the world we live in.

I WANT TO KNOW MORE!  How do I get in contact with ByMERRIN?

EMAIL // merrin@bymerrin.com

PHONE // 0431 609 058

WEB // https://bymerrin.com/

INSTAGRAM // https://instagram.com/bymerrin?igshid=15wakryzl5c6r

MERRIN SCHNABEL Instagram https://www.instagram.com/merrin_schnabel/

Ko_Ku_Bo Collective

Ko_ku_bo Collective Client Insider – Furniture Making l Canny Group

Ko_ku_bo Collective was born out of Adrian (Reg) and Andrea Zyppel’s love for sustainable design with a focus on quality, hand-made, limited-run furniture.  Their mission is to provide an alternative to mass produced, imported furniture.  Reg and Annie are the energy behind Ko_Ku_Bo Collective and we are so excited to introduce this article, Ko_ku_bo Collective Client Insider – Furniture Making l Canny Group.

WHAT EXACTLY IS… Ko_ku_bo Collective?

A small, family-run furniture making business with a passion for producing creative, functional and timeless pieces.  Our mission is to provide an alternative to mass produced, imported furniture.

Ko_ku_bo Collective products are meticulously designed and made with integrity and love.  We value traditional, hand-crafted joinery methods and take inspiration from the simplicity, quality and functionality of Swedish and Japanese design and craftsmanship.  All Ko_ku_bo Collective pieces are unassumingly simple in design with clean lines and subtle detail.

HOW DID KO_KU_BO COME ABOUT + come to life?

Ko_ku_bo Collective was born out of our love for sustainable design with a focus on quality, hand-made, limited-run furniture.  We make furniture that will grow with you.  Furniture that is worthy of migrating throughout the home as timeless, statement pieces that will last a lifetime.

We are designing and making pieces that we love but were unable to find in the marketplace.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN AROUND FOR… + has Ko_ku_bo been up + running for?

Ko_ku_bo Collective launched one year ago (18 November 2019).

It was originally launched as ‘Cali Kids Collective’ targeting the kids furniture market.  We re-launched as Ko_ku_bo Collective in August in response to a demand for our furniture to fill the entire household (not just kids rooms!).

EVERYBODY HAS SOMETHING… What do YOU love about your job?

  • Sourcing and working with ethical, quality raw materials (birch plywood, American Oak)
  • Designing new products
  • Problem-solving
  • Being creative

IS YOUR JOB EXCITING.. or do you just get to hang out making furniture all day?

I’m driven to make furniture as it should be made – handcrafted, using beautiful materials, functional and timeless in design.  Furniture that shows attention to detail, pride in its craftsmanship and gives joy.  I find that exciting!

EVERY BUSINESS NEEDS AN ADVISER… who do YOU turn to for help?

Krys Canny-Smith!  Krys is always available for great advice – both financial advice and business advice.  As a start-up company we rely on professionals like Krys to help us grow in a tough industry and unstable economy, especially during 2020!  Krys boosts our confidence and we are so grateful for her support.

LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE… What’s planned for the future of Ko_ku_bo Collective?

Currently, we sell our products via our website only and you can see our current collection here.

We are considering moving into retail to give potential buyers the opportunity to see and feel the beauty of our products.  We are also working on new products such as, beds, dining table and more storage/locker options.

I WANT TO KNOW MORE… How do I get in contact + find out more about Ko_ku_bo Collective?

Based in Geelong on Victoria’s Surf Coast, we deliver to Greater Melbourne, Greater Sydney and Greater Adelaide.  Please contact us regarding delivery to other areas.

Website: www.kokubocollective.com.au

Instagram: @ko_ku_bo_collective

Phone: Reg 0405 037 281

Cranberry Design l Interior Designer

A house that’s pretty is great!  But Cranberry Design’s overall goal is to create homes that bring that feel-good, happy feeling every time you walk in the door.  Cranberry Design is a full-service interior Design Studio based in Melbourne.  Established by Principal Designer, Wendy Davey since 2010.  Wendy continues to transform countless homes all around Australia.  Sharing her wealth of experience, creativity, and passion to any project she takes on by her friendly and approachable style makes for not only an enjoyable experience, but one that will last a lifetime.

WHAT IS… Cranberry Design exactly?

Cranberry Design is a full-service Interior Design Studio based in Melbourne. Cranberrys interior projects are renowned for their warmth, creativity and personal attention to detail.  Offering a highly personalised and tailored service; Cranberry specialises in the interior design of family homes, holiday homes and ski lodges.  Working collaboratively with their clients, Cranberry Design creates uniquebeautiful and innovative homes that are a true reflection of their owners personality, taste and lifestyle. 

HOW DID CRANBERRY DESIGN COME ABOUT… + come to life?

Principal Designer, Wendy Davey, has a diverse backgroundFinishing her degree at university, Wendy went on to practice teaching, travel the world and became a travel consultant.  Finally, in 2005, Wendy listened to her heart and followed her true passion, becoming a fully qualified Designer and Interior Stylist.  After a few projects for family and friends, word quickly spread, and within months her side project had bloomed into a flourishing full-time business. 

Wendys creativity and love of colour and texture have since seen her work featured in numerous magazines including Australian House & Garden, InsideOut, Real Living and Home Beautiful. 

HOW LONG… has Cranberry Design been up + running for?

Cranberry Design has now been up and running for just over 14 years. My first “office” was the kitchen bench at our home in Turramurra (Sydney).  

As with any new business, there were some tough times early on, but you couldnt get the smile off my face – I  knew I had found my calling.   

In 2011, my husband, Simon, took on a Project Management role in Melbourne.  For a while there, it felt like I might have to start the business again from the ground up. I can’t tell you how important having a good relationship with your clients is. My first few jobs in Melbourne were based solely on recommendations from my Sydney based clients. I’m so grateful for their support and trust in my work.  I also continued my work in Sydney with the help of good friend and designer Peta Howe of Oasis Designs.  It meant I could commute back and forwards (and see my family) and really helped with the adjustment to living in a new city.

What do YOU love about your job?

Whats not to love – we help bring our client’s dream home visions to life! There is never a dull moment; no two days are the same; no two houses are the same, and, no two clients or their styles are the same!  

There are definitely some stressful days.  Things don’t go quite according to plan – think deliveries to wrong suburbs on the wrong day!  Honestly, nothing that beats that moment when you see the joy in your clients’ eyes – when they finally get to see their beautiful made-over space. 

Im also surrounded by some amazing people! Cranberry has a great crew of suppliers and trades that go above and beyond to help our projects run smoothly, and I‘m supported daily by aincredible team of women in the studio that I trust implicitly. 

IS YOUR JOB EXCITING… or do you just get to make houses pretty all day?

A house that is pretty is great, but our goal is to create homes that bring that feel-good, happy feeling every time you walk in the door.  The making “pretty” is really such a small part of the job. First and foremost, the space that is being renovated (or built) needs to enhance our client’s lifestyle; it has to be functional and well thought out, and it has to flow seamlessly with its surrounds. To get to that stage requires lots of meetings.  A lot of spatial planning, scheduling, ordering, budgetary requirements and paperwork, I guess the not so glamourous side of things! 

WHAT ARE YOUR TOP THREE TIPS…?  When it comes to “Spring Cleaning” your house or your workspace when it comes to home styling?

Spending so much time at home now, it’s more important than ever to enjoy and be inspired in your home!  Even a couple of adjustments can make a huge difference to its look and feel. 

  • TIP ONE // Firstly, you have to think about how you use the space that needs a freshen upAre there pieces of furniture that you always bump into or that you dont like? Move them out.  Make space only for the things that you love.  Has the furniture in the room been that way since you moved in?  The look of a room can completely change simply by rearranging the furniture. 
  • TIP TWO // Bring in some colour!  Colour is more than just a visual experience; it plays a large role in how we feel.  Whether it is a fresh lick of paint on the walls or some beautiful new cushions or throwsa splash of colour can make a room feel like new.  You dont have to go with whaton trend choose a colour that makes you feel good and that works with the mood of the room.
  • TIP THREE // Invest in quality.  Everyone has a budget, but I think it is important to buy the best quality you can afford. Too often, we buy cheap, inferior products that end up costing us more in the long run.  A wellmade sofa is a far better investment than a cheap, mass-produced sofa that you have to replace every couple of years.  If your home is now your office, invest in an ergonomic desk and chair – your back will thank you for it! 

EVERY BUSINESS NEEDS AN ADVISER… who do YOU turn to for help?

Colours, lighting, joinery I’ve got you covered, but when it comes to the business side of things, I know my strengths and weaknesses and the importance of surrounding yourself with an experienced, professional team.  We’ve been working with Krys at the Canny Group for six years now, and they always offer new information, ideas and objective advice – their assistance has been invaluable.  Not only have they helped Cranberry become more efficient as a business, they’ve helped us to avoid some costly mistakes! 

LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE… what’s planned for the future?

We are currently working on some exciting design projects that will keep us very busy over the next few months, including new builds, complete renovations and some smaller residential jobs. Moving forward, we are looking to expand on the design work!  Focusing on the work we have been doing at Mt Buller, Blairgowrie and Anglesea. We have lovely builders and suppliers in many regional areas and love the joy of working on clients holiday homes – they’re always happy to take a little more risk in the design elements when its not their primary place of residence. And prettying up a home thats used for such lovely family time makes me happy. 

HOW DO I GET IN CONTACT + find out more?

We would love to hear from you! You can find us at 

Website: https://www.cranberrydesign.com.au/ 

Email: wendy@cranberrydesign.com.au 

Phone: 0414 906 301 

InstagramFacebookHouzz 

Deśa Retreat

Deśa Retreat l Hidden Oasis on the Great Ocean Road

Emma Flick of Deśa Retreat l Hidden oasis on the Great Ocean Road, has been learning practices of yoga and meditation for the past 28 years and she is sharing them with the people who are lucky enough to join her on her 3/4 acre property in Jan Juc that she has started sharing with the rest of the world.  Hosting two eco villa’s and a ‘tiny house’ as well as the most breath taking separate yoga studio you have ever seen.  Emma is also a qualified Trauma Sensitive Yoga instructor and very passionate about working with children and teens to help them to be equipped with the remarkable tools of attunement and emotional regulation.

WHAT IS… Deśa Retreat? 

Deśa Retreat provides restful luxury accommodation, person centered private and group yoga classes, education and experience in food growing and preparation practices and a holistic approach to health and well-being. 

All the services we provide relate to the realisation of individual and collective human potential.  The aim of our offering is to establish emotional safety through providing a warm welcoming space, where people are able to meet themselves as they are and discover their present moment truth. Through welcoming others into presence, via connection with nature, breath, movement and voice, we aim to support others to discover their unique flow of creativity and wisdom. This then becomes the congruent guidance people are looking for to maintain a balanced happy life. 

HOW DID DEŚA RETREAT COME ABOUT… + come to life?

Through her studies in physical education, hotel management, social science, yoga and meditation, Emma has been exploring the key principles of holistic well-being for 28 years.  Deśa a Sanskrit word meaning “place” or “space”, was created to be a place of experiential learning, self-discovery and community connection. The human species is facing an array of social, environmental, and economic challenges, with 2020 being a year of unprecedented chaos on all levels. The individualistic, materialistic and capitalistic way in which humans have lived on planet earth for decades, is proving to be unsustainable. 

At Deśa we believe change will come through the mobilization of every individual to return to a “simple living, higher thinking” approach to life. We aim to guide people back to the home truths of living in harmony with mother nature and therefore themselves. To see themselves as part of, not separate to nature, to step back into the flow of nature through growing food, composting, recycling and tending to all of nature as an extension of tending to themselves. We aim to build healthy connected communities by inspiring others to be leaders of change in their own communities. 

HOW LONG HAS DEŚA RETREAT been up + running for?

Deśa has evolved in 2 key stages. The accommodation was completed in October 2017 and involved the creation of 2 new luxury eco villas that can be rented as one joint accommodation or 2 separate dwellings. They are both powered by solar, hydronically heated, and all water to the villas moves through a sophisticated filtration system.  The second phase involved the renovation of the main house and the creation of the yoga studio. 

WHAT DO YOU LOVE about your job?

I love connecting people with the free resources within themselves that they often don’t realize they have.  Primarily teaching breathwork that can quickly and profoundly change physical and mental states of being.  I love seeing people experience the softening of the stress on their faces, the easing of tension from their body, and also connecting with people from all over the world and learning from others who come to stay at the retreat.  I also love incorporating music and mantra into yoga classes to make them a unique and grounding experience. 

IS YOUR JOB EXCITING… or do you just get to sit back + relax all day? 

Teaching yoga and serving guests really is such a pleasure and a privilege for me. I do find it exciting and stimulating to meet new people, hear their stories, and connect deeply through practicing yoga together or even chatting to them on arrival or during their stay. It is a really rewarding job that I feel very grateful to have been able to create for myself. 

EVERY BUSINESS NEEDS AN ADVISER… who do YOU turn to when you’re in need of help? 

Mandy has been the main adviser for me at Canny. I really love how she came to see the retreat at our first meeting so she could get a sense firsthand of what I was doing. I feel she really cares about my business and wants to see it succeed. 

LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE… what’s planned for the future of Deśa Retreat? 

I would like to begin to run longer, more comprehensive retreat packages, involving food, accommodation and yoga. Perhaps even inviting in other highly respected practitioners to help co-facilitate a range of different offerings. 

I am also really passionate about working with children and teens and running more courses to help young people be equipped with the remarkable tools of attunement and emotional regulation.  Learning these tools early is critical for supporting resilience and equanimity to life’s ups and downs.  There is always a peaceful place inside ourselves regardless of what is going on around us, but sometimes we need a little help trying to access it.  I would love to teach more children in my community and beyond these critical life tools. 

HOW DO I GET IN CONTACT or find out more about Deśa Retreat? 

www.desaretreat.com.au 

INSTAGRAM @desaretreatjanjuc 

FACEBOOK @desaretreat.com.au 

EMAIL emma@desaretreat.com.au OR call 0400820279  

K.G Consultancy

K.G Consultancy – Katie Greig Client Insider l Canny Group

Katie Greig is a human being like no other, she loves being able to develop inclusive environments that everyone (both disability and neurotypical) can enjoy regardless of their diagnosis or challenges.  It all stemmed from doing a primary education degree at university and being offered a job to home school a non-verbal 14 year old ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) boy in Argentina!  Now she is on to designing and developing some big community playground projects which are about to be launched! K.G Consultancy – Katie Greig Client Insider l Canny Group

WHAT IS… K.G Consultancy?

KG Consultancy provides play-based therapy to address behavioural challenges, utilisng evidence-based approaches to children and teens diagnosed with ASD.  We also offer NDIA support and information as well as consulting on projects assisting organisations to develop ASD, sensory friendly playscapes.

HOW DID K.G CONSULTANCY COME ABOUT… + come to life?

It all stemmed from doing a primary education degree at university and being offered a job to home school a non-verbal 14 yr old ASD boy in Argentina.  After discovering that there was little awareness in the educational world at the time, KG Consultancy was born through a life changing experience providing ABA therapy.

Passion to spread awareness and understanding has led to collaborating on a number of projects to provide a sensory friendly, ASD aware environment for all abilities to be able to enjoy.

HOW LONG has K.G Consultancy been up + running for?

I have been working in the ASD field for nearly 10 years through various positions and self-contracting roles, KG Consultancy as a “name” is relatively new and has slowly been building over the last 3 years.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE about your job?

I love being able to develop inclusive environments that everyone (both disability and neurotypical) can enjoy regardless of diagnosis or challenges.  I thrive in being able to assist individuals to meet their goals, wheather it is around toileting, feeding, sleeping, independence skills, puberty or just community engagement.

EVERY BUSINESS NEEDS AN ADVISER… who do you turn to the most?

Mandy, every time!  She has been holding me accountable (pun intended) since I was doing VCE accounting. I turn to her with all business enquiries, big or small and trust Canny Group 100% for all my tax and business needs.

LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE… what’s planned for the future of K.G Consultancy?

Currently working on some big community playground projects, which is very exciting but am also busily developing programs and workshops to assist individuals to navigate NDIA supports.  KG Consultancy has a person-centered, family-focused approach to services.

The aim is to further educate and raise awareness so we can live in an inclusive, neurodiverse world whilst focusing on and promoting the strengths of ASD people.  We will also continue to provide support to assist with the daily challenges that ASD individuals face by providing supportive and individualised programs.

HOW DO I FIND OUT MORE + get in contact?

KG Consultancy currently have their website under construction but you can follow us on Instagram (@kgconsultancy) or contact Katie directly for any enquires or referrals via email (katie@kgconsultancy.com.au) or directly via mobile (0409 224 078)

 

Carol + Terry Crawford Funerals

Carol + Terry Crawford Funerals – Client Insider l Canny Group

Being a funeral director is a challenging but rewarding career and it is not a static role.  The most humble task is being able to assist a family to arrange a service that reflects their loved ones.  It not only gives immense satisfaction of being trusted to support them at such a difficult time in their lives, it is also very fulfilling.  Every service is unique, as is each families needs, but being honored and entrusted with many people from different walks of life and cultures adds all the more richness to Carol & Terry’s own lives. Introducing, Carol + Terry Crawford Funerals – Client Insider l Canny Group

WHAT IS.. Carol + Terry Crawford Funerals?

Carol & Terry Crawford Funeral Services is a locally owned and operated family funeral home, offering funeral care, pre-paid or pre-arranged funerals and bronze plaques for Memorialization needs.  Carol & Terry Crawford Funerals is unique to Geelong and district.  We offer a beautiful chapel nestled on manicured gardens overlooking the Bay towards the You Yangs.  We believe our chapel offers a warm and inviting environment for families to farewell their loved one.

EVERY BUSINESS NEEDS AN ADVISER… who is it that you turn to?

Terry and I believe a good adviser is essential and would be impossible to run a small business without one.  Danny Grigg is the person we turn to constantly for our accounting needs together with Krystine Canny-Smith.  More recently we have been seeking Samantha Butcher’s assistance for our financial planning needs and are looking forward to continued work with her and the start of this exciting venture together.

DO YOU ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO PLAN… when it comes to thinking about their funerals?

The concept of pre-planning a funeral has been with us for quite some time with families having the option to pre-pay their funeral, to pre-arrange their funeral without payment until the funeral is required or to partially pre-pay their funeral, for example covering the cemetery or cremation costs only.  There is no cost or obligation to discuss pre-paid or pre-arranged funeral needs.

We also encourage families to think about estate planning in tandem with their pre-planning their funeral as this can be very beneficial in so many different aspects.

IF YOU HAD TO PICK ONE THING… what do you love the most about your job?

Being a funeral director is a challenging but, rewarding role.  Being able to assist a family to arrange a service that reflects their loved one, gives immense satisfaction that we have been able to help people at a very difficult time in their lives.  Funeral Directing is not a static role.  Our day constantly changes as each funeral service is unique, as is each family’s needs.  We also engage with many people from different walks of life and cultures and this adds a richness to our own lives.

LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE… what are your plans for Carol + Terry Crawford Funerals?

Covid-19 had been a huge upheaval for our society, leaving many people confused and unsure about their futures.  At the moment, we are assessing what this means to us.  However, the one constant is being there for families when we are needed, just as we have been in the past.

HOW DO I FIND OUT MORE… + get in contact?

P // +03 5248 5500

E // admin@crawfords.net.au

W // www.carolandterrycrawfordfunerals.net

Fresh Creative Entertainment

Fresh Creative Entertainment – Client Insider l Canny Group

From roller skating and flash mobs to huge group entertainment, there is nothing that Chantelle and Benji Fava-Leeks will let stop them from doing what they love – performing!  Catching a big break in 2010, Chantelle wowed the audience AND the judges of Australia’s Got Talent and took the show by storm, from there it’s all about keeping fit, raising four beautiful boys and bringing more entertainment and sparkle into each day!  Introducing, Fresh Creative Entertainment – Client Insider l Canny Group.

WHAT IS… Fresh Creative Entertainment?

Fresh Creative Entertainment devise and produce amazing entertaining concepts Australia wide.  We also provide workshops and touring productions, plus we were also invited to entertain at Canny Group’s amazing new office for their launch party in February last year.

HOW DID FRESH CREATIVE ENTERTAINMENT COME ABOUT/TO LIFE? 

Chantelle started the business as Rolling Entertainment and had her big break on Australia’s Got Talent in 2010.  To shake off the roller skating only image, she rebranded to Fava Productions in 2014, and Benji became more involved than just one of the performers.  He officially partnered Chantelle in 2018 and this year the company took its final shape as Fresh Creative Entertainment.

Moving our company to Canny sparked this image shift.  Mandy pushed us to achieve far more than we could have ever imagined and putting us in contact with Roxie Bennett who was instrumental in establishing who we are and why we do what we do.

IF YOU HAD TO PICK ONE THING… what do you love the most about your job?

We are all about the creative.  We love watching an idea develop from inception to final product!  Seeing the audience/participants reaction and the passion in our performers.  We also love being able to create work for the arts industry and nurture young talent.

IS YOUR JOB EXCITING… or do you just dress up in costumes + get to play on roller-skates all day?

Isn’t dressing in costumes and skating around exciting?!  We think so!
We are pretty lucky to work in an industry where each day brings something a little spectacular, breathing fire, acrobatics, dancing and even pretending to be Aussie bogans in our theatre show, Memoirs & Mullets.  It’s not all glitz and glamour however, we also need to fit in raising 4 boys, keeping Xero reconciled & costumes clean … so that part is pretty ‘normal’.

LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE… what’s planned for the future of Fresh Creative Entertainment?

Well Covid-19 has definitely been a challenge for the entertainment side of our company.  We look forward to re-opening the Potato Shed season with Memoirs & Mullets when restrictions ease and hope to start performing for live and online events later in the year.  In the meantime, we are redirecting our focus to teaching more circus and Musical Theatre workshops as well as offering hump day entertainment for office’s when staff return.

TELL ME MORE… how do I get in contact or find out more about Fresh Creative Entertainment?

INSTAGRAM // https://www.instagram.com/fresh.creative.entertainment/

FACEBOOK // https://www.facebook.com/Fresh.Creative.Entertainment/

WEBSITE // https://www.freshentertainment.com/

E-MAIL // chantelle@freshentertainment.com + benji@freshentertainment.com

Colour Muse Design

Colour Muse Design – Client Insider l Canny Group

Lauren McDonnell has always had a passion for arts and crafts and it was also a way to help her sleep after busy nursing shifts in the emergency department.  It wasn’t until she was 36 weeks pregnant that she decided to start studying graphic design and she hasn’t looked back since! Introducing, Colour Muse Design – Client Insider l Canny Group

WHAT EXACTLY IS… Colour Must Design?

Colour Muse Design is a graphic design business, offering a broad range of services from print media, logo design, custom illustrations to mural paintings, book design and wedding stationary and decor.

HOW DID COLOUR MUSE DESIGN COME ABOUT/TO LIFE?

Colour Muse started originally as a way to help me sleep after busy nursing shifts.  I then decided to undertake a Diploma of Graphic Design while 36 weeks pregnant!  I started doing small jobs for family and friends and then broadened my scope by starting social media accounts (massive step for me).

I’ve always loved art, creating things and obsessed with very bright colourful things.

I never thought I would make such a big career swap, that I’d only ever be an appreciator of art and creations, but here we are!

HOW LONG… how long has Colour Muse Design been up + running for?

1st January 2017 I started advertising on social media accounts for friends and family.  It was the top of the ‘to-do’ list for that new year! Three months later I started receiving weekly orders and haven’t stopped since!

EVERYBODY HAS SOMETHING… what do YOU love about your job?

I love the freedom and flexibility of this job.  I’m able to work at night once my daughter is asleep, of an afternoon after a nursing shift or weekends at the beach or you yangs.  I can take work with me camping and sitting by the fire or I can sit at my favourite cafes and sketch away.  I am very passionate about creating affordable art and design and mostly I just love adding colour to everyone’s life.  I love seeing things be turned from boring and dull to bright and energetic.  I think art can me used as a healing method and good design can aid a business to next level success.   As I have branched out I have also met some truely admirable people who have now become friends.

IS YOUR JOB/S EXCITING… or do you just do arts + crafts all day?

Arts and crafts are as exciting as being an emergency nurse, sometimes I think even more so! I’m often caught saying I wish there was an extra day in the week called ‘artday’, and I could honestly do this job 7 days a week if I could.  I get such a thrill when I’m approached to start a new job or meeting a new client.  I love delving deep into my thoughts to bring a concept alive and truely appreciate when the client gets as excited as I do about brainstorming and talking through ideas.  Not to mention seeing the client’s reaction with the final design, concept or painting.

LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE… what’s planned for the future of Colour Muse Design + what keeps you motivated in these troubled times?

Just before the pandemic hit I had been busily creating and sourcing a lot of items to hire for weddings and events which will launch once the world is back on track.  I’m currently working on a website build so that the business will be able to run while I take off with my family on a trip around Australia and work remotely! We are also currently working on some huge projects at this point in time, so it’s really reassuring that people still believe in small business and supporting locals throughout this world-wide tough time.  I am lucky to have a backup career, but Colour Muse has been receiving order after order since this ordeal as people are taking the time to set up their businesses correctly, style their homes and appreciating hand crafted gifts like no other time in history.  I’m also using this down time to set up my business admin and organisation side of things- it’s only taken a pandemic to get myself sorted!

TELL ME MORE… how do I get in contact + find out more about Colour Muse Design?

You can find me at @colour_muse_design on Instagram and facebook, @colour_muse_art for commission based canvases and coming soon at www.colourmusedesign.com.au

 

 

Keeping Vigilant During Troubling Times

Keeping Vigilant During Troubling Times l Canny Group

The COVID-19 crisis has shocked and astounded us all, and we are a long way from knowing where it will end.  Both the local and global economies are under tremendous pressure and we are all being heavily tested on multiple fronts.  Our friends at Universal Computer Solutions are here to ensure we’re all keeping vigilant during troubling times l Canny Group.

It is pleasing to hear some early good news, with signs that here in Australia, and in other parts of the world the tough measures that we are taking seem to be having an impact and slowing the number of cases.

Sadly, though, while our minds are all so focused on this important situation, cybercriminals are using this crisis as an opportunity to exploit people and to fill their own pockets.  We are intercepting an increasing number of COVID-19 related email threats, as well as other malicious email scams, so this is not a time that we allow ourselves to complacent in keeping our computers, and personal information safe from threats, and even more so now that many are working from home, on personal computers, laptops and mobile devices, and perhaps have lower security configurations that those of workplaces and manages office systems.

Last week AustCyber [The Australian Cyber Security Growth Network], a federal government initiative, also shared similar sentiments encouraging Australians to:

  • TRAIN THEIR TEAMS, WITH CYBER SECURITY TRAINING
  • STAY ACROSS THE LATEST SCAMS, INCLUDING THOSE EXPLOITING COVID-19 CRISIS IN PARTICULAR
  • REPORT IT IF YOU’VE RECEIVED AN SMS OR EMAIL YOU THINK IS A SCAM TO SCAMWATCH [OR YOUR LOCAL AUTHORITIES] TO VERIFY IF WHAT YOU’RE SEEING IS REAL OR MALICIOUS
  • USE LOCAL IT SUPPORT SPECIALISTS TO PROTECT YOU AGAINST THREATS + PROVIDE INFORMED ADVICE ON HOW TO ADVICE BEING TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF

So, in light of the above, here are just a few ways that scammers and cybercriminals are using to take advantage of the unsuspecting.  Knowledge is power, so simply being aware of these mechanisms with thwart cybercriminals and give you back some much-needed control and prevent you, your workmates and loved ones from being exploited.

1. PHISHING EMAILS // the word “phishing” [aka “fishing”] was coined around 1996 by hackers stealing America Online accounts and passwords.  By analogy with the sport of angling, these internet scammers were using e-mail lures, setting out hooks to “fish” for passwords and financial data from the “sea” of internet users.

In layman’s terms, scammers sent out [literally] millions of emails to unsuspecting users by pretending to be from a legitimate source.  For example, from a social media or email account [Facebook, LinkedIn, SnapChat, Gmail, Microsoft Office, Telstra Bigpond], or from a web page you use for internet banking or financial services [Westpac, NAB, Commonwealth Bank, PayPal, Western Union], or from a whole myriad of other businesses.  Because we do so many things online, it’s really easy to grab a business that has a login page online, and pretend to be that businesses.

Here is an example which we recently received which was actually really professionally done:

  • A Scammer sent an e-mail pretending to be from “Westpac” to indicate that the person’s bank account had fraudulent activity and had been “locked” to prevent any possible exploitation.
  • The e-mail asks the user to click on the link contained in the email and to enter their username and password for the person’s internet banking in order to confirm that the activity was from them and to prevent the account being locked.
  • If the customer was to click on that link it would take them to a “bogus” web site which the scammer has copied to look like the normal login page for Westpac Internet Banking, but is really just a front.  When the person types their real username and password t o log into their bank account, they are simply giving up their details directly to the scammer.
  • The website then [automatically] diverts the customer back to the “real” Westpac site where the message will pop up that they entered their details incorrectly, and to retry.  The customer enters them again, and then they login to their normal internet banking, none the wiser that they have just given cybercriminals the keys to the financial bank accounts.
  • A short time later the cybercriminals will login to Westpac using the customers *actual* login details and proceed to transfer funds to their own accounts [usually via a series of other stolen or illegal money laundering accounts or other bank accounts etc.]
  • By the time the customer realises that their account has no money left, the criminals have withdrawn the funds or transferred them to offshore bank accounts which are no longer accessible, leaving the end user high and dry, leaving them to try and sort out with their bank to try and recover their money.

There are a whole host of variations on the above scam.

In another variation of the scam, a hacker tries to “phish” out a business username and password to an e-mail account, and then [once has access] will sift through the sent items folder looking for invoices or statements that the business has sent to their clients, and will then form them, changing the bank account payable details on the invoice and re-sending them to the original recipients, asking them to take note that the business has changes their bank account details and to make payment into the [criminal’s] bank accounting instead of the legitimate one.  The list of variations on such scams is endless, but the fact of the matter is that the cybercriminal does not actually “hack” into anyone’s systems, they just fool the legitimate owner into simply “telling” the criminal what their login details are, and then it’s easy street for them to take advantage of that to exploit wherever and however possible.

The lessons to be learned from the above:

  • NEVER click on links directly in e-mails to get to websites
  • NEVER call back numbers sent to you as an SMS
  • ALWAYS treat e-mails or SMS text messages asking you for login detail or personal information as suspicious, and never give anyone your personal details, logins or passwords either via email, or over the phone.
  • REMEMBER that your bank, or ISP, or service provider will already have your details, and they can reset your password if you have lost it.
  • IF YOU DO NEED to verify a suspicious transaction, call your bank, ISP, service provider on their known, registered phone number, and ask them to verify and suspicious activities.
  • CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD REGULARLY, and especially if you feel something suspicious has happened – change it anyway, just to be safe.
  • IF POSSIBLE, use 2-factor authentication on any/all of your online services wherever possible to thwart illegal transactions occurring without you knowing.

2. VIRUSES + WORMS // as our PCs, laptops and phones become more and more sophisticated, viruses, trojans and worms [all different types of programs used to infect your technology] are becoming scarcer, however, there are still viruses out there which are still seen from time to time.  Once again, the aim is to exploit the end used by any means possible.

Cryptolocker is a really nasty virus, for example, that will infect a PC or Mac and systematically “scramble” all documents, files, photos, videos, emails and other critical data on your computer, and then demand a ransom payment in order for you to get your information back.

Others are less obvious – for example another type of virus called a “keylogger” will sit quietly on your computer just “looking” at you typing all your personal information, and then sends it to a listening criminal.  It’s the more sophisticated variation of the “phishing” scam, but you are unaware it’s even happening.

To protect yourself from viruses and hackers:

  • NEVER click on links directly in e-mails to get to websites
  • NEVER click on random links on websites which are dubious and resist the temptation of clicking into illicit websites [many criminals will deliberately host porn sites and other questionable web pages purely to lure unsuspecting users, and then use it as a springboard to infect computers].
  • ANTI-VIRUS, make sure you use a reliable anti-virus package and keep your anti-virus up to date [and yes, Mac Users, that means you too – Macs CAN and DO also fall prey to most scams and also have viruses, there are just fewer Mac users than PCs, so they are less publicised].
  • IF YOUR COMPUTER IS INFECTED, [particularly with a cryptolock virus] DO NOT pay any ransom demands – you will NOT get your data back, even if you do pay, you’re just going to lose money to top losing your data.
  • BACKUP, make ABSOLUTELY sure that you BACKUP your data.  Syncing your data to the OneDrive, DropBox or other Cloud service is NOT good enough – that can also be scrambled.  Use a verified, secure, offline backup mechanisms to that if something does happen to your data, you have something to recover from.

3. SCAM PHONE CALLS OR SCAM E-MAILS // this is also becoming extremely prevalent these days.  Scammers [usually from overseas] will just systematically call numbers listed in the phone book and spin up a story to fool you: “Sir/Madam, this is John Doe from Microsoft and I’m calling you because we have detected a virus which has been sent from your computer“, then try and get you to allow them to connect to your computer remotely so that they can [again] perpetrate some kind of scam to either exploit you, siphon funds from your bank account, or perhaps convince you that your computer is infected, and charge you a “bogus” amount of money to “clean” it for you.

A variation of this is being perpetrated about the current COVID-19 virus asking for donations to support fundraising efforts for a cure or asking for some kind of payment.

And then you have the classic scam where someone tells you that you have a “long lost relative” who has died, and you have some fortune to inherit, but you just need to pay for some legal/admin fees in order to access it.  The mind boggles on the sheer number of variations criminals use to exploit people.

Some simple guidelines to follow:

  • NEVER trusts a total stranger cold calling you.  If you have any doubts, call back businesses or organisations using their *published* known phone numbers.
  • NEVER divulge personal information over the phone.
  • NEVER make payment or provide credit card details or banking information to anyone on the phone, and never allow anyone access to your computer remotely unless you know they are a reputable IT support provider [preferably ones that you know personally].
  • AND if something sounds too good to be true – it probably is.  [If you really had a long-lost uncle John who was the sole heir to a fortune, they you will soon know about it via official channels when the executor of their will sends you the details].

I hope the above examples give you reason to pause when dealing with e-mails, text messages and phone calls, and disarming criminals from doing you any harm.

Despite the increased risk to you or any of your staff members – whether they’re on the front line in high-pressured healthcare or emergency services roles or working remotely to keep the economy on its feet, our IT managed services and my team are committed to stopping any threats intent on doing your business harm.  That’s the last thing that you need right now.

If you find yourself doubting an e-mail, text or phone call, then pause and seek help and clarification.  Please reach out to our support team should you require assistance, at support@universal.com.au or on our dedicated support lines for customers and partners on +03 5277 9797.

To our customers and partners here in Australia, and to those throughout the world, my thoughts are with you and your teams for continued good health and safety.  In times like these, it is important that we stick together and survive personally and on the business front, and I sincerely appreciate you sticking with us.  Get in touch so we can help ensure you’re keeping vigilant during troubling times l Canny Group

 

Nenad Saflin – Managing Director

Universal Computer Solutions