Keeping your network secure – this is a subject that should be carefully considered for any network whether business or personal. Technology is the main way that people communicate today and we increasingly rely on email communication. Cyber criminals are using this as an opportunity to send more and more scam emails, texts and phone calls. Often all very realistic. Making sure your network has the best security systems in place will help to keep your network and data secure.
Password Security and 2FA
When it comes to password security the one main rule is NEVER EVER share your password with anyone. Then next is to ensure that your password is difficult to guess. 123456 or password are sadly still often used despite them being so easy to guess. Making sure you have a password that is harder for criminals to guess is vital. Alongside using different passwords for each account. With so many passwords to remember for your work and personal accounts it is becoming harder to separate these out as well as remember them all. This is where 2FA( 2 factor authentication) is an advantage. Many on-line accounts now require 2FA, where you will enter your normal password and are then required to confirm the log in with an additional code generated by text, email or an authenticator app.
Finally if you are ever asked to reset a password via an email – check it is a genuine request. It is very unlikely that any organisation would ask you to reset a password unexpectedly. Many people unfortunately become victims of scams through realistic looking requests to update passwords.
Firewall – why do you need one?
In the construction industry, a firewall is historically the protection between two buildings to prevent fire spreading across adjacent buildings.
The computing equivalent works in a similar format. Acting as a security fence surrounding your network, a firewall observes and restricts information coming in via email or the internet. The firewall will only allow information from sources pre-determined by your firewall and can either be a network or host based security system.
In most homes and businesses, routers are used to enable the connection of various devices to the internet. Prior to routers, each individual device would need to be plugged directly into the modem. When connected directly in this way, a device has a public IP address a allowing information to be accessed by anyone on the internet. As technology has developed most devices will have their own firewall built in. However larger networks will have a separate firewall to protect the security of the network.
Antivirus Software – why do you need it?
Did you know that the first computer virus was released in 1971? The Creeper virus was not designed to be malicious or cause damage but was an experiment to demonstrate a mobile application. Today, it is believed that over 6000 new viruses are released each month.
Antivirus software, also known as anti-malware, is a computer program designed to prevent, detect, and remove malware. Antivirus software can protect users from: malicious browser helper objects, browser hijackers, ransomware, keyloggers, backdoors, rootkits, trojan horses, worms, malicious LSPs, dialers, fraudtools, adware and spyware. There are various levels of protection available on the market. It is important that your choose the right anti-virus software for your network. Some products also include protection from other computer threats, such as infected and malicious URLs, spam, scam and phishing attacks, online identity, online banking attacks, social engineering techniques, advanced persistent threat and botnet DDoS attacks.
Security Awareness Training and Testing (SATT)
In addition to Firewalls and anti-virus software, MPR IT Solutions also offer SATT, Security Awareness Training and Testing. The purpose of this is to stop security incidents on your network, by providing your end users with Security Awareness Training and regular Testing. SATT is a fully managed service that is bespoke and tailored to every individual organisation. It takes up none of your time or resources, and is guaranteed to make a difference.
The SATT service combats the weakest cyber security link in any organisation – your end users – and is delivered in three stages over a 12-month service agreement. The total cost for the 12 month SATT service is far less than the cost of just one security incident.
Contact our team today
Supporting companies from a wide number of industries, MPR IT Solutions are experienced in the multitude of options across the markets and can tailor the right security systems to keep your network secure.
For more information on protecting and securing your network contact our team today on 0800 030 20 30 or email email@example.comRead more
Have you ever lost connectivity due to a patch lead mistakenly removed, causing unwanted downtime?
Unfortunately, accidents like this do happen. Recently a site visit to Yorkshire was required for this exact reason. The network had lost connection and needed a site visit to diagnose the issue. With an eight hour round journey time plus on-site time, it was decided that 2 engineers should attend for duty of care, as there was no clear indication of how long the day might be.
Once it had been identified that a cable had been accidently removed and was the reason for loss of connection, the engineers were quickly able to replace the missing patch cable. The network was restored, and after carrying out follow up checks to ensure everything was working as it should be.
Coincidentally shortly after this, one of our suppliers contacted us to recommend a new product they had launched to market – lockable patch cable. The Category 6 Lockable Excel patch cable provides added security, preventing unwanted disconnection on secure or sensitive circuits. Disconnection can only be achieved by using the key which is supplied separately to the Patch Leads.
Following similar incidents to this and much feedback, the product was designed and has now been launched to market.
The team at MPR IT Solutions are very impressed by the lockable Excel patch cable and will be recommending their use in the future to our clients.
If you would like to discuss replacing your existing patch cables to avoid a similar situation, please contact our team on 0800 030 20 30 option 2 for Sales.Read more
Congratulations and a huge thanks to all the team at MPR IT.
With the uncertainty over the last couple of weeks surrounding the Covid-19 outbreak – Alex, Andy and Richard would like to acknowledge the outstanding effort put in by all the team here at MPR IT.
Since it first became apparent that companies should consider alternative plans for working from home – every member of the MPR IT team has put in an outstanding performance, going above and beyond to ensure we can continue to support our customers.
The main priority for the Sales team has been to source hardware – which very quickly became almost as difficult to get hold of as toilet rolls and hand sanitiser. The advantage of MPR IT not being tied to one particular supplier has been an enormous help, and we have been able to source pretty much all the laptops that were in stock. Additionally, Nicki from Marketing has been supporting the Helpdesk Team with taking calls and logging tickets to allow the team to work as efficiently as possible.
The Engineers have been rushed off their feet with the setting up and installation of over 500 laptops in a week. Everyone and anyone in the MPR IT family that could work on this task was pulled in – including the team from MPR Technical Services.
Number of tickets raise and percentage closed within 24 hours
|2 weeks ago||281||61%|
|3 weeks ago||296||61%|
During the last two weeks the team has seen an increase in the number of tickets raised. A number of these tickets have been to set up remote access for an entire company which can range from 1 to 20 users. Normally a ticket would be raised for an individual issue and not multiple users. Despite this increase the team have continued to average a 60% close rate within 24 hours. An incredible effort with such a large increase in workload.
Dealing not only with the normal everyday queries, but also supporting our clients that require individuals to be set up for remote working via VPN, access to emails and small glitches as it all comes into effect. In total we have sourced, set up and installed over 500 laptops, and enabled over 1000 users to be able to work from home.
Finally not forgetting setting up our own team to work from home to continue to be able support our customers during this time. The helpdesk team are now all working hard from home to provide continued support to our customers and continue to be contacted on 0800 030 20 30 option 2 with full access to all our systems and phones.
Finally we must say a huge thank you – to you our customers for being patient and understanding during this incredibly busy time. We have had an incredible increase in demand for support. We value each and every one of you and we will continue to support you above and beyond.
Comments such as these mean so much to the team when they are frazzled and weary – please keep them coming in:
We were really impressed by the speed at which Mitch responded to our call and were SO grateful that he got everything working again!
Ian was very efficient and explained what he was doing and the cause of the issue.
Thank you for sorting this so quickly! much appreciated
If you do require support over the coming weeks – please contact us in the normal ways 0800 030 20 30 option 1 for Sales and option 2 for Support. Please also follow us on social media for updates and news articles – Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn.
Keep safe and we look forward to supporting during this time.
Alex, Andy and RichardRead more
Looking After Your IT During Lockown
Many offices are much emptier than usual with people working from home and it probably feels very surreal. It’s much the same here at MPR IT, many of the team are working hard from home to provide continued support to our customers.
For remote working sessions to continue to the best of network capability we are recommending a few ‘Out of Office House Keeping’ tasks. These should be carried out when anyone visits the office to collect post or a random forgotten folder and will help to keep your IT (and business) running.
Server Room Temperature
The temperature in your server rooms is kept low to ensure that machines do not overheat and stop working. Whilst we have monitoring systems to check that servers are running well, we unfortunately cannot monitor the temperature. If your air-conditioning fails the fans will kick in but will ultimately blow hot air around causing the machines to overheat. Whenever anyone visits the office please ask them to check the air-conditioning is still working and that the temperature is at the recommended level.
Warning Lights or Alarms
Please inspect the servers to check for any warning or unexpected lights. If you do notice anything unusual please take a photo of the issue and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will check this for you. With the recommendation to stay at home, to keep everyone safe we would like to avoid site visits if possible, photos or videos of the issue will help our team to diagnose the problem.
Back Up Systems
Checking that your back up storage is doing its job could be one of the most important things. Should there be a failure to the servers your back up will be invaluable in restoring your data and keeping your business running.
For customers with monitoring as part of their contract we will be continuing to monitor as normal, however these housekeeping tasks should additionally take place where possible.
If you currently do not have monitoring as part of your contract with MPR IT and would like to consider this please contact our Sales team on 0800 030 20 30 option 2.Read more
Britain and many parts of the world are currently in lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The British Government recently announced that where possible people should now be working from home. Following this we have seen a dramatic increase in requests to set up remote access.
Office 365 package makes working from home so much easier. With Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint, Teams and Word all available through one simple log. Meaning you can connect to your workspace from anywhere that has an internet connection. As someone that has been part of the MPR IT team for the last 6 years and based in Berkshire, I can confirm that being able to connect with the main MPR IT team via Office 365 is seamless.
To support our local small business community we would like to offer FREE migration to Office 365 during the current lockdown due to Covid 19.
For more information on how Office 365 can package can support you and your business please call our team on 0800 030 20 30 Option 1Read more
Due to Coronavirus and the recent Government assertations to work from home where possible, we are experiencing a large increase in the number of calls and emails to the Helpdesk. In order to manage this we have reallocated resources to ensure that the day-to-day requests can be acted upon as close to our usual levels of service as possible.
There are three main methods for raising support requests with MPR. These are;
1 – Call us on 08000 30 20 30 select Option 2. This will direct you straight to our Helpdesk. We are available between 0830-1730 Monday to Friday. If you are unable to get through in the first instance we do have a voicemail system on the helpdesk that is regularly checked.
2 – Email email@example.com – Once we have received your email for an initial ticket request, you will then be sent a confirmation email with your ticket reference. Our email is manned throughout our normal working hours but will not be picked up out of hours. ty4
3 – Email firstname.lastname@example.org – This is if you are following up existing support requests. You will need to ensure you have your ticket reference in the subject and one of our Helpdesk Team will pick this up and respond in kind to your existing query/new query ity4
To ensure we can assist you effectively we will need as much information as possible from you regarding your fault or problem. i.e.
- How many users the issue is affecting?
- How long has the issue being occurring for?
- Have you made any changes recently to cause the problem?
- What is the impact to your business?
Along with as many details as possible relating to the fault (Error messages, users affected etc.) so we can replicate the issue. We will also need relevant contact details so we can keep in touch with you.
If we need to remotely log onto your servers / workstation, we will require secure access enabled to get there. We are able provide a direct secure access through our website http://www.mpr-it.co.uk/remote-support/ – it is probably best you are at this website in your browser and waiting for us (unless you are calling us about connectivity issues).
Our team are committed to answering all queries as fast as we can and we appreciate your patience at this time. We would also like to thank each and everyone of our customers for their support during this busy time and we wish everyone well.Read more
We know your business depends on our ability to provide reliable, uninterrupted service, so in light of the recent developments around Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), we would like to share with you the measures we are taking to ensure service continuity.
MPR continues to monitor the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) developments with a primary focus on ensuring the health and safety of our staff while mitigating business impacts. In support of this, we are convening regular meetings with teams across the business and regularly sharing information about the virus and how to prevent the spread of illness.
Risk assessments will be undertaken for all off-site work, meetings etc. to determine if this can be postponed or carried out remotely.
We will act according to the instructions and recommendations of the relevant authorities and in a manner that safeguards our staff. As always, consistent, timely communications with all our stakeholders are critical, and we will communicate any relevant information, when possible.
We have made investments in our technology infrastructure and business continuity planning to ensure we can operate all our systems and processes remotely to provide you with seamless service should any of our staff need to work remotely (e.g., due to self-isolation, school closures, etc.) or should we decide to close the offices and/or switch to a remote working model. We continue to test our business continuity strategies to confirm we can provide ‘business as usual’ should our entire workforce need to work remotely. In the event of this happening, we would operate as follows
- Desk phones would revert to soft phones, allowing continuous phone access to our teams, and ensuring all skill groups would continue to work seamlessly.
- Microsoft Teams would be used internally for productive collaboration and content sharing.
- Meetings, events and training would be switched to virtual environments.
As always, we remain committed to supporting your business with an unparalleled level of service and will continue to monitor the situation, providing you with updates appropriately and promptly.
For further information visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-thepublicRead more
Covid-19 has fast become the hot topic in the media and conversations around the world. Whilst there is still much uncertainty as to how it will affect us as individuals and businesses, it is not something to completely dismiss.
The spread of Covid-19 is likely to increase over the coming weeks. With schools and businesses expected to be affected, be it due to members of staff/pupils becoming unwell or simply due to an external connection to someone that is affected.
This morning (Tuesday 3rd March 2020), Downing Street released a statement detailing various plans for the worst case scenario. Including a prediction that up to a fifth of the UK workforce potentially being unable to work due to Covid-19.
Disaster Management plans have traditionally been put in place for the scenarios where offices are inaccessible. With consideration made due to fire, flood or bad weather. It is unlikely that the current situation of a global contagion has been taken into consideration. Now is the time to consider and review your disaster management plan.
Catch it, Kill it, Bin it!
This phrase, and the recommendation of regular hand washing is promoted widely. Here at MPR IT, we are ensuring that this message is clear to all our staff members, whether they are office based or engineers visiting clients offices. We have also instructed all team members that should they be concerned they may have come into contact with someone suffering with Coronavirus symptoms, they should inform management and seek medical advise whilst self isolating.
Flexible Home Working
In line with the Disaster Management Plan already in place for MPR IT, all staff members have the ability to work from home and continue to support our clients with no loss of service. This is part of a plan that has been in place for many years. The main purpose of this plan is to ensure that our business can continue no matter what.
Office 365 and Cloud Computing
Software packages such as Office 365, and cloud based CRM’s are becoming more common place. Giving access to email and Microsoft applications such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Teams, from any location with Internet connectivity. Giving the ability to create and share documents with chosen individuals.
Along with access to documents and files, it is also vital for your business phone lines to be managed. With Hosted Telephone Systems your customers are still able to contact you. Without even having to know you are not physically in the office.
With a range of options and packages to suit businesses of all sizes, we strongly recommend that if you wish to consider the options available to your business, now is the time to contact and discuss with our team on 0800 030 20 30.Read more
Disaster Management Plans
Over the weekend, the big story in the news was all about the IT system failure at British Airways. The CEO of BA has released a statement that the systems crashed due to a short power surge knocking out the main servers, unfortunately for the company the back-up systems then failed to take over. This resulted in over 75,000 customers being affected and flights grounded around the world.
When the story first broke, BA did not release much information to the public, no doubt as the Directors were scrambling to find out what had gone so badly wrong. However, this resulted in various speculation such as systems being hacked, no back up servers in place or that this was due to cost cutting by out sourcing IT Support. It would appear, that none of these were the case.
Many people in the IT industry are watching this story closely to understand how this situation happened. With many questions being asked, including:
- Why did the back-up servers not take over?
- Are the back-up systems in the same location as the main servers?
- Are the communication systems such as website and mobile app in the same location?
- What was the Disaster Management Plan?
Irrespective of your IT Support being in house or outsourced these questions should not be being asked. Here at MPR IT, we support a wide range of customers for IT, on both a daily basis and, also with larger projects such as server/network installations and server hosting. With all our customers, we hold the same approach, no matter the size of your company – you need to be prepared for any eventuality. Whilst we have not had to deal with an incident the size of BA’s problems at the weekend we have had to deal with various situations where a company server has gone off line. These include a flood in an office, or a system hack. Essentially the plan is the same – get the company back up and running in the shortest time possible and preferably without their customers ever knowing there was an issue and with the least cost involved. I think we can quite safely say this is going to be very expensive for BA.
Disaster Management Recovery plans are one of the most important things that your business can put in place. The aim of a DMR is to ensure that your business continues smoothly with little or no disruption, and your company needs will differ from that of any other company. The main points that you need to consider are:
- Is your data/server backed up daily?
- Is this back up stored in a secure separate location to the main server?
- Can your customers still contact you?
- Can your staff continue to carry out their duties?
- Can your operation continue and will your customers be affected?
We have written blogs in the past about important it is to have a Disaster Management Plan in place, however the events this weekend have shown that it is not just in the case of fire, flood or bad weather that your company needs to plan, in advance for. In the case of BA it was apparently due to a power surge, that the systems failed. Not as many speculated in the first few hours, that it was due to out sourced IT Support or being hacked with a virus. If you and your company would like to discuss your current Disaster Management Plans please do not hesitate to contact us.Read more