Business Focused IT Support
Viewing posts from: December 2015

SHA1 SUPPORT ENDING IN 2016

by Nicki Dowsett in DNS Web Hosting, SHA1 Algorithm, SHA2 Algortihm, SSL Certificates

SHA1 SUPPORT ENDING IN 2016

For many internet users we simply enter the website address we require and browse – we don’t worry about all the technical information and algorithms going on in the background.  Quite simply we don’t need to know and we access information on the world wide web at our leisure.

There are a number of people in the world that unfortunately spend a lot of time and make money by trying to break the cryptographic algorithms in the back ground.  More commonly known as hackers.  We have all recently seen the news stories of large organisations being hacked and customer details stolen – Talk Talk and VTech being the most recent to hit the headlines.  Hackers are constantly looking at ways to break the system.

SHA1 is one of the most crucial cryptographic algorithms, and has for a long while been the algorithm supported by all browsers.  This is a hash function that can be used to map digital data of arbitrary size to digital fixed size.  In terms for you and me, it basically takes a section of text, computer code or other message and encrypts it to a long string of letters and numbers, individual to that message.  Any slight change to the message would mean a new hash must be generated.  This allows data to remain secure, like a fingerprint the hash must always be unique.  If the hash is not unique the door can be opened and this is when hackers can get access to secure information on banking sites, downloads and websites.

It has recently been announced that in 2016, many browsers will no longer support SHA1.  Its replacement SHA2 will be algorithm supported in the back ground by newer web browsers, however some of the older browsers will not be able to support this new algorithm. It is therefore essential that you ensure your web browser is the latest available version.  This isn’t the first time the algorithm has needed to be updated.  Back in 2008 following a number of attacks on MD5 (a previous algorithm), SHA1 was implemented.  However it took till 2013 to get all browsers to support SHA1 as opposed to MD5.  With technology constantly changing and getting faster SHA1 is now potentially open to attack.  In fact cryptographers have been warning since 2012 the advances of technology means that SHA1 could also be openly attacked.

According to Cloudflare.com  SHA2 is supported by at least 98% of browsers so many of us won’t even be aware of the potential threat.  If you are not on one of the web browsers supported by SHA2 when you try to access an encrypted site you will see the page cannot be displayed error.

We recommend that you ensure you are using one of the newer web browsers.  Should you require any assistance in updating your browsers or have any questions please contact our help desk team.

Additionally MPR IT can offer services relating to your business web site including SSL Certificates (Secured Socket Layer) and Domain hosting on our own DNS servers.

SSL CERTIFICATES

SSL Certificates create an encryption between your web server and your visitor’s web browsers to allow private information to be kept secure without the risk of data being tampered with. They are typically used on sites that have a secure log in area with password protection or where customers buy products directly from your site allowing transactions to remain secure.  When a SSL certificate is used on a website you will see a padlock in the web browsers or the start of the web address will be https://.  This means that only the business that owns the website can access secure data.  Most SSL certificates will only apply to one domain name, however please contact us to discuss your options should you have more than one registered domain name for your business.

NEW DNS SERVER & WEB HOSTING

Many of our clients use MPR to host business web sites on the internet.  In order to do this MPR uses a number of different hosted DNS (Domain Name Server)/Nameservers. A DNS is effectively a phonebook for the internet, maintaining a directory of domain names and translates these to IP addresses.

When you request a site such as www.mpr-it.co.uk it will check the nameservers for the web address, and then grab the I.P (telephone number) behind the name and point you to the “property” the “telephone number” belongs too. (The property being the webserver). This is a brief explanation but DNS “records” are responsible for pointing your businesses email, website, servers etc. to the correct “telephone numbers” of your “property”.

We are able to lease space to our clients to store their web site and any data associated with it.  With the recent installation of a new DNS we are able to offer a more stable and resilient service to our clients, with improved failover, custom branded nameservers and various reporting utilities (on request).

Should you wish to discuss the services that we can offer your business or if you feel that the issues covered in this blog may affect you Please contact MPR IT on 0800 030 20 30 or info@mpr-it.co.uk

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December Newsletter

by Nicki Dowsett in B2B, Exhibitions, General, Helpdesk, Monthly Newsletter, MPR, Newsletter

DECEMBER NEWSLETTER 

Merry Christmas from the team at  MPR IT

Merry Christmas from all MPR IT

CHRISTMAS CLOSURE

During the festive period the MPR IT team will be taking some well-earned rest.  The office will be closed from the afternoon Thursday 24th December 2015 until the morning of Monday 4th January 2016.  We will however arrange for support to be available throughout this time for those customers that have contract including out of hours support.  Please contact our hotline 0800 030 20 30 to be put through to the on-call engineer.

 SERVICE STATUS UPDATE PAGE

We have recently added a new page to our website, regarding service status on Email Filtering, Office 365, DNS/Web Hosting, AVG Cloud care, Hosted Wireless or Site Monitoring.  The page will be updated as and when required, as well as updating our Social media pages.  If you are experiencing any issues not listed on the page or would like further information regarding a listed issue please contact the helpdesk.

KEEP YOUR IT SAFE AND SECURE OVER THE CHRISTMAS PERIOD

With many offices closing down or running with less staff over the Christmas period please follow our top tips to help keep your systems safe and secure over the holiday period.

  • Probably the most important thing you will ever do – BACK UP all your systems
  • Turn off any equipment that is not needed to avoid over heating
  • Ensure that any servers or IT equipment left on have plenty of ventilation
  • Make sure that passwords are not written down to avoid any unwanted access to your data
  • Ensure that all files and cabinets are locked securely
  • Check pipes and taps are protected in case of cold weather – no one wants to return to a flooded office
  • Ensure you have the MPR IT contact details in case of any IT emergency 0800 030 20 30
  • Do not open any Christmas greeting emails from unknown sources, in case of malicious emails/content.
  • Ensure you have a Disaster Management plan in place in case anything unfortunate happens or in the event of bad weather and staff cannot get back into the office after the festive period
  • Make sure your Anti-Virus is fully installed and up to date. MPR IT can guide you to the best options for your business.
  • A final reminder of the most important of all steps – BACK UP all of your data.

 NEW DNS SERVER & WEB HOSTING

Many of our clients use MPR to host business web sites on the internet.  In order to do this MPR uses a number of different hosted DNS (Domain Name Server)/Nameservers. A DNS is effectively a phonebook for the internet, maintaining a directory of domain names and translates these to IP addresses.

When you request a site such as www.mpr-it.co.uk it will check the nameservers for the web address, and then grab the I.P (telephone number) behind the name and point you to the “property” the “telephone number” belongs too. (The property being the webserver). This is a brief explanation but DNS “records” are responsible for pointing your businesses email, website, servers etc. to the correct “telephone numbers” of your “property”.

We are able to lease space to our clients to store their web site and any data associated with it.  With the recent installation of a new DNS we are able to offer a more stable and resilient service to our clients, with improved failover, custom branded nameservers and various reporting utilities (on request). If you are interested in MPR being responsible for hosting your web site please contact us.

NEW YEAR – NEW IT BUDGET

If like many businesses you are reaching the time that you need to review your IT budget – contact us to discuss your needs and how best to save money.   MPR IT can help you audit your existing IT equipment and identify any areas that require upgrade for the forthcoming year.  As we are not tied to any particular supplier we can ensure you get the best deal for your budget.  MPR IT can also offer support packages to help you budget through the year.  With our all-inclusive package you know exactly the amount you will be spending each month to ensure your IT is supported without any hidden or unexpected charges.  Please contact us to discuss your business needs. Or in the event you have reached the end of the financial year and have money in the budget you need to spend, MPR can review any areas that require any improvement to support you through the next year.

HELPDESK TEAM NEWS

Last month a massive 640 tickets were closed by the help desk and November is on course to meet that again.

Our closed survey questionnaire has been updated with new questions, thanks to Gaby.  We are pleased to say that the survey responses have been fantastic, and we now are bringing awareness to our social media through them.  We currently achieving a standard response of 4.95 out of 5 for our assistance.  Well done to Tom and all the guys on the helpdesk for your great work.  If you have anything that you would like to discuss regarding the service you have received from MPR IT please do not hesitate to contact Gaby in Customer Service.

In addition to the daily calls we receive for support the team have also had a number of site visits and installations including:-

  • Construction company required installation of QNAP and new internet connection
  • Educational and Child services organisation installation of– 3 new pc’s and monitors
  • Locally based national company for senior services installation of cat 5 cabling and wireless link with antenna
  • Local automotive repair company – installation of Office 365 for all users

SALES TEAM NEWS

The Sales team have also been working hard in the last month, exhibiting at our last event of the year in Sandwich at the Kent Invicta Chamber B2B.  David has also been networking with a number of local businesses at various networking events and the local BNI group.

We are delighted to say that with the hard work from all the team has helped the Sales team to secure a number of new contracts in the last month, work at some of these has already been carried out by the Tech guys.  We would like to welcome to the MPR family all our new clients and we look forward to working with you.

  • Large car sales company based in the South East, providing daily support to 50 staff in addition to a complete system overhaul, installation of Office 365 and upgrade of all Microsoft Office platform
  • Multinational leisure and tourism business, providing improved and upgraded security for all people and vehicles entering the site.
  • Local building company have contact us for support, and we will shortly be visiting the site to review the full business needs

MPR IT BLOGS & SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS & GOOGLE

We are working hard to promote and improve the ranking for MPR IT on Google at the moment and the best promotion that we can ever get is from you – our clients.  We would therefore really appreciate if you can possibly spare a few moments to write a review on Google for us.  Simply enter MPR IT into the google search and it will list all matches and a chance to write a review.  If you could also add this to our Facebook page that would be amazing.

Additionally please ensure you follow us on social media and our blog page to make sure you are kept up to date on any news stories we feel that would be of interest to some if not all our clients.

Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter and if you know of any colleagues that don’t receive our newsletter and would find this of interest please forward their details to us so we can add them to our database. If any of the news stories we have on our site may affect you please let us know or if you wish to discuss the services we currently provide to your business please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to help

 

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