Business Focused IT Support
Viewing posts from: February 2016

SQL Server 2005 – support ending

by Nicki Dowsett in General, Helpdesk, IT Support, SQL Server

From researching this subject there are many blogs, reviews and pages giving information on SQL Servers and the end of support.  As well as the many different options out there to replace the 2005 version.  Much of which washes over my head and confuses me more.  I am sure the same could be said for many people out there.  When I write our blogs, my aim is to make a subject simple and easy to understand.  Thankfully I am not at MPR for my tech expertise, I leave that to our helpdesk and engineers.  That’s their speciality, they have it down to a fine art of understanding and reviewing all products on the market.  So here is what I have learnt about SQL servers in normal simple terms that you & I will probably understand.

SQL server

Microsoft SQL server is a database server developed by the Microsoft Corporation back in the 90’s and has progressed as with many things over time with various new releases.  The time has now come that Microsoft will stop providing updates and support for this particular version, as with many of their older systems. We have previously experienced the end of support for various Windows operating systems, such as Windows 2003 server in July 2015.

In basic terms a SQL server is mainly used to fetch the data requested by any other software from the data stored in the server itself.  The software, which requests the data from the server, could be on the same computer or either could be located away on a different computer connected remotely via the internet.

Microsoft SQL 2005 a.k.a. Yukon was launched in October 2005 by the Microsoft Corporation.  At the time of its launch, it consisted of some advanced and extra features which the preceding version didn’t have. The same is for the new launch of any new product.  Since its launch there have been further versions released as time has gone on that have been more advanced and effective.

From 12 April 2016, if you are running the 2005 version you will no longer receive any security updates from Microsoft and so could be at risk to attack or loss of your data.  Microsoft are now recommending that you upgrade your SQL Server 2005 to either SQL Server 2014 or to Azure SQL Server to maintain security and compliance.

Our team at MPR can help you make the decision between all the options available based on your business needs and help to plan the upgrade and roll out to your business with minimal disruption.  There are many different variables to help make the choice between SQL servers, whether cloud based (Azure SQL Server) or on-site (SQL Server 2014) MPR will investigate which of the options are most suited to your business.  Additionally giving you the peace of mind that the upgrade has been carried out professionally along with any additional support you may require.

Please contact the team at MPR if you are running SQL Server 2005 or if you are unsure of the SQL Server version you are operating to discuss your options.

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IT Audit Reviews

by Nicki Dowsett in Audit Reviews, IT Support, MPR, Password Security

Many new customers that join MPR IT require an IT Audit review – we can offer this to any company irrespective of you coming on board with MPR for full support.  For many businesses the new financial year is April and so now is the time to identify the needs of your business going forward.  We can help direct you to the most cost effective and efficient technology to suit your business needs.  An IT audit review has 3 aims:

  • Provide an objective and independent review of an organisations, policies, information systems and controls.
  • Provide reasonable assurance that appropriate and effective IT controls are in place.
  • Provide audit recommendations for both corrective actions and improvements to controls.

With technology and security changing so quickly, it is surprising how out dated your equipment can become and unable to cope with the daily demands of the current operating systems.  I have recently experienced this with my own hardware such as my Kindle and IPad.  Despite them both having up to date operating systems and only being approximately 4 years old, they are both increasingly becoming slow and unable to cope with some of the latest apps.  I was then faced with the minefield of different versions of Kindle and IPad to review and decide which suited mine and my family needs.  Did we need both now that the Kindle has advanced in terms of what it can be used for or could we manage with just one tablet.  As you can imagine in this day it is highly unlikely that one item will serve the family without constant squabbles as to who can use what and when.

it audit

Office hardware is just as easily affected.  When you have an office with even just 5 members of staff it can become very expensive to renew all the hardware such as PC’s, printers and laptops all in one go and many businesses do not have the budget to replace these all at once.  Not to mention servers that store all of your important data.  Security is also changing so quickly to keep up with the ever increasing threat of hacking and new variations of viruses.  How do you decide which PC is the first to be updated – from my experience when working in large companies it was always the director that got the latest tech.  Very annoying for the poor admin person that is on an old PC that crashes every hour and spends more time in the day screaming at the computer than actually working.  Meanwhile the Director was at yet another lunch meeting and the brand new PC was collecting dust.  This means that your staff are not working efficiently and actually costing you more money than you might think.

It is surprising how many businesses are not aware of the most vital IT hardware in their office – for example if you are an internet based business such as an E-bay shop, it is actually your internet that is most vital.  If you cannot connect to the internet you cannot see your orders.  This could be viewed on a smart phone, tablet or PC.  So your PC is not necessarily the most vital piece of equipment.  Or if you are a printing firm – without the best printer you cannot satisfy your customers.  The list can go on but I am sure you get the picture.

MPR IT can offer IT audits for all companies, our trained and experienced team have knowledge of all the most up to date and efficient hardware and software available on the market.  One of our team can spend time to listen and understand the needs of the staff and identify where and when new hardware should be procured if necessary.  Today there are so many options for both hardware and software, we can help identify the most efficient options for your business.

MPR IT are completely independent of any one hardware supplier and so are able to offer you the best price on the equipment needed for your business. Our staff regularly review the latest tech on the market and so can offer an informed view of how your business can continue to run cost effectively without any hassle from outdated systems.  Please contact us if you would like to us to review and audit your companies’ IT equipment in advance of the new financial year, with the right information and direction we can assist your business in identifying where your IT budget is best spent to support you through the future.

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MPR IT February 2016 Newsletter

by Nicki Dowsett in Disaster Planning, Disaster Recovery, Helpdesk, Hosted phone, Industry News, IT Support, Monthly Newsletter, MPR, SHA1 Algorithm


Welcome to the first 2016 edition of MPR IT newsletter. Christmas seems such a long time ago, that lovely time off we all spent with friends and family is a distant memory.  We decided against a January Newsletter as we know how busy everyone is after 2 weeks off.  Emails to be ploughed through and general catch up takes a toll on everyone those first few weeks.  Its now almost time for Valentines day, so here is our first offering of 2016.

Hosted Telephone Systems

Over the last few months we have been increasingly asked if we offer Hosted Telephone systems. This has not been something we have been able to provide, until now.  Working in conjunction with a highly regarded supplier, MPR IT are pleased to have secured a partnership which can offer our clients an all round solution.  Hosted phone systems have a number of advantages to improve efficiency within your business.  They can integrate into your CRM, allowing caller details to appear on your screen, link up with booking systems so confirmation can be instantly sent to your client.  Hosted phone systems are a cloud based option with a set fee per month per user, it is not only time saving when linked to your CRM, it is also more cost effective, no more high phone bills just a set monthly fee.  We also talk about Disaster planning in this newsletter, hosted systems can assist in your plan.  If you cannot access your offices this system can be switched over instantly to your back up plan.    For more information please contact our Sales team on 0800 030 20 30 to discuss how this can benefit your business.

PC & Network Security

Please read our latest blog on Password Security and how to protect both your personal and company information from the risk of being hacked.  Hackers are becoming more and more sophisticated in accessing your information.  Do not be complacent and think you cannot be at risk.  Everyone knows someone that has been hacked in some way shape or form, not just social media but also online shopping accounts.  Now we are increasingly becoming aware of businesses being hacked for bank details and customer information.  If you have one thing to do today that cannot be left till tomorrow – its change your passwords.

Disaster Management Planning

Businesses devastated by 2015 Floods

Businesses devastated by 2015 Floods

Oxfordshire Council Office Fire 2015

Oxfordshire Council Office Fire 2015

Some people in the UK over the last few weeks may have been wondering when Noah was going to appear with his Ark!   You may know that the Lake District is very much a favourite holiday place for Richard and the devastating floods in the North of UK were shocking to us all.  In the past the South East has also sadly been affected by adverse weather, not just rain but wind and snow.  How prepared is your business in the case of such an event or if there is a burst pipe or fire at your offices.  Can your business continue in the situation that your staff cannot physically work in the office.  We have previously posted a blog about Disaster planning, its not just small businesses that can be affected. Last year Oxfordshire Council offices burnt down and it has recently been announced that they will not be able to return to the building.  MPR IT can help to ensure your data is safe and secure and that your staff can continue to work from an alternative location, however it is key that these plans are in place in advance.  If your servers and PC’s are not protected in advance this could have a devastating effect on your business. Contact us to discuss how we can help you plan for the unexpected & make sure your business can continue should the worst happen

 Blog Posts & Social Media

In case you missed it with all those Christmas parties, we issued a blog in December about support ending on SHA1.  What is that you ask?  Check out the blog to see how this is actually important for all web users.

Our first blog of the year is all about how important IT Support is for your business to run effectively.  As an existing customer of MPR you are already safe in the knowledge of how we can support you efficiently and within budget.  However please read our blog for a reminder how life can be without a reputable support company.

Do you follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Linkedin?  As part of our marketing plan for 2016, we will be more active on all forms of social media.  Make sure you follow us for up to date information and tech news.

Database Spring Clean

You may have recently been contacted by either Nicki or Gaby regarding the contact details we hold for your company.  We would like to say a huge thank you for helping us complete the mammoth project of ensuring all the details we hold are correct.  Should you have any changes in staff and would like to remove or add members of staff please contact us so that we can keep our database up to date.  We have in the past been contacted by an ex-employee of one of our customers, trying to get access to information they are no longer entitled too. Please therefore ensure we know of any staff changes that you feel we should be aware of.  If you have not yet responded to our communication please can you do as soon as you get a chance.  Thanks

Tech Team News

First off the team have had 750 tickets raised within the month of January, of these 691 have been completed and resolved.  Tickets include site visits for new installs and so cannot always be resolved straight away. Our SLA response is to resolve tickets within 4 hours and in fact 75% of these tickets were actually resolved within an hour so well ahead of our target for 4 hours.

The team are not only working hard on resolving tickets but also having to do this whilst the office is being re-organised with extra space being created, walls coming down and general mess that comes with all the work involved.  The office desperately needs to be expanded with the addition of a new workshop apprentice joining the team as well as being on the hunt for a new 2nd Line Engineer to join the team.

A number of site visits have taken place during January for the usual reasons of installations and cabling, however we have had to visit several companies as unfortunately security has been breached.  Please read our separate blog on hacking and site security.

Should you have any queries regarding any of the stories in this months newsletter or with regards to the support we provide to your company.  Please do not hesitate to contact us either by email or call us on 0800 030 20 30.



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