Business Focused IT Support
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What does IT Support look like to you?

by Nicki Dowsett in Anti-virus software, Audio Systems, broadband, CCTV, cybercrime, Disaster Planning, DNS Web Hosting, Domain Registration, Engineers, Exclaimer Cloud, fibre optics, Fire Alarms, General, Hardware, Helpdesk, Hosted phone, IT Support, IT Systems, Microsoft, Microsoft Teams, MPR, MPR IT Work, New customer, Office 365, Office Move, Password Security, Point to Point Wireless, Ransomware, Remote working, Server cabinet, Software, SQL Server, SSL Certificates, Structured Cabling, Training, TV Distribution, Web Hosting, Websites, Windows 10, Wireless networks

“What does IT Support look like to you?”

Often the simple answer is a helpdesk offering daily support to end users in a fast and reliable manner.

When considering your business as a whole, IT Support is usually much more complex. Have you considered these areas?

  • Who looks after your phone system?
  • Who provides your internet connection and leased lines?
  • Where is your website domain registered and hosted?
  • Do you have malware and anti-virus software?
  • Is your office using a Wi-Fi network? Who maintains this?
  • Where do you purchase new hardware? Is it under warranty and how do you manage an upgrade programme?
  • Are your servers on site or are they cloud based? How are these monitored and supported?

If I was to ask the question again “What does IT Support look like to you?” Would the answer be the same? The chances are that answer has changed.

By choosing MPR IT Solutions, you can be assured that your business will benefit from all-round comprehensive support in all information technology aspects. With a dedicated Account Manager, simple straightforward invoicing and only one point of contact for any technical issues, MPR IT Solutions provides fast, effective and reliable IT Support to businesses throughout London and the South East. Working in partnership with our clients we believe enhances our understanding of their business needs and we always look to find the best and most effective solution. Our core products and services include (but not limited to);

  • Comprehensive IT Systems Support
  • Hosted/ Voip Telephones
  • Website domain registration and hosting
  • Internet connections and Leased Lines
  • Wi Fi Networks
  • Azure Server Support
  • Office 365 & Microsoft Teams
  • AEM Monitoring
  • Malware/Anti-virus software
  • Hardware purchasing and upgrade plans
  • Security Awareness Training (SATT)
  • Email Signature Management
Business IT Support Kent

Through the growth and continued development of MPR IT Solutions and increasing demands from clients, our sister company MPR Technical Services was born in 2019. A Technical Services Integrator, their highly experienced and qualified employees provide advice, design and installation services in residential and commercial developments.

MPR Technical Services and MPR IT Solutions will work together for larger projects, as necessary. With a collaborative relationship you can be assured of strong communication and enhanced understanding of the work carried out and on-going support required.

Extended Services through MPR Technical Services:

  • Structured Cabling
  • Wireless Networks
  • Audio Visual and Digital IPTV Systems
  • Electronic Security
  • Office re-locations

For more information on the products and services from MPR IT Solutions contact our team today on 0800 030 20 30 or email sales@mpr-it.co.uk

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Domain Ownership – Protecting your brand

by Nicki Dowsett in DNS Web Hosting, Domain Registration, General, Helpdesk, Industry News, IT Support, Uncategorised, Web Hosting, Websites

Domain Registration and Web Hosting

Many businesses have an online presence, without one your business can go unnoticed. When a potential customer is looking for a new supplier or product the first place they will turn to now is most likely the internet.

Many of our clients register their domain names through MPR IT Solutions, and it is becoming increasingly commonplace to register a variety of different domain names for websites such as: .co.uk, .uk, .com, .net and .co.

In addition to registering Domain names, MPR IT Solutions also host many of our client websites.

Whilst you only need one website to promote your business, it is possible to have more than one domain name directed to that website.  There are many reasons for this, the most common reason being the ability to secure your brand. By owning the different variations it means that no one else can buy these and create fake platforms.  This can prove detrimental to your business profile.

With the registration of a variety of domain names you cannot only help to avoid scams but also increase your on-line presence. You are more likely to appear higher in google searches if you have more options for your website to redirect to. Ensuring any potential customers looking for your company can find it more easily.

Protecting your brand

A story from BBC News highlights the importance of retaining domain name ownership, where it has once been linked to your business and how your brand can be seriously affected. In this case a domain name was no longer required by Surrey County Council and released. However it is still referenced by a number of third party websites relating to Special Needs education. The domain, after being released was purchased by a company promoting adult content.

There is nothing that Surrey County Council can do to remove the adult content from this domain as they no longer have ownership of the domain name and therefore no rights to it. Additionally, it is very difficult to monitor which third party websites reference your domain names and this example shows exactly how this could be detrimental to your business brand.

Contact us today on 0800 030 20 30 or sales@mpr-it.co.uk to discuss the Domain registration and Web Hosting options we offer.

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Disaster Management for IT Systems

by Nicki Dowsett in Disaster Planning, Disaster Recovery, DNS Web Hosting, Engineers, Helpdesk, Hosted phone, Industry News, IT Support, IT Systems, Uncategorised

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.

BA Plane

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.

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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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