Business Focused IT Support
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MPR IT Solutions and Day of Reflection

by Nicki Dowsett in Engineers, General, Helpdesk, IT Support, IT Systems, MPR IT Work, Remote working

Today marks one year since the start of lockdown.  The last 12 months have been nothing like anyone has ever experienced before. Our team will today be taking a minute to reflect how everyone throughout the world has been affected by the pandemic and of course the lives sadly taken too soon.  No-one ever envisioned the way the next few months would turn out, let alone the next year.

Everyone has been affected in some way – no longer able to visit family and friends, concerns about how they may be affected directly or indirectly, and key workers being recognised for their dedication. With everyone ordered to stay at home, some being furloughed and the dreaded home schooling, it has affected everyone in some form. With the planned roadmap to the end of lockdown including the amazing vaccination program taking place, we truly hope that we can start to see family and friends again soon.

IT Engineers are often overlooked as key workers, and we would like to recognise the hard work and dedication of our team.  From initially setting up businesses to work from home, with over 500 laptops delivered in the week prior to the lockdown announcement through to supporting our customers throughout the lockdown.  The majority of helpdesk team have been working remotely to support our customer base, this allowed many businesses to remain open and trading.  MPR IT Solutions provide managed IT Support across all market sectors including care homes, schools, manufacturers and food chain suppliers, who all rely on our day-to-day support. The team have worked extremely hard over the last 12 months and now as we see them return to the office, we couldn’t be prouder of all their achievements through this tough year.

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Keeping your network secure

by Nicki Dowsett in Anti-virus software, cybercrime, Disaster Recovery, Engineers, General, Helpdesk, IT Support, IT Systems, MPR IT Work, Password Security, Ransomware, Training

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 sales@mpr-it.co.uk

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Windows Server 2012 – End of Life

by Nicki Dowsett in Audit Reviews, Engineers, General, Hardware, Helpdesk, IT Systems, Microsoft, Server cabinet, Tech-as-a-service, Windows Server 2012

MPR IT Solutions are supporting businesses to upgrade from Windows Server 2012 ahead of it end of life.

Microsoft Windows Server 2012 was the fifth version of the Windows Server operating system. Released to market in September 2012, and shortly followed by it’s successor Windows Server 2012 R2, in October 2013.

All Microsoft products and packages follow a fixed lifecycle policy. At the end of life Microsoft will no longer provide support or security updates for their products. These dates tend to be pre-determined from the day of launch, clearly setting out expectations from the start.

Mainstream support on Windows Server 2012 ended in October 2018, with extended support available until January 2023, however Microsoft has since extended this until October 2023.

Type of SupportMainstreamExtendedBeyond
Request to change designAvailableNot AvailableNot Available
Security UpdatesAvailableAvailableNot Available
Non Security UpdatesAvailableAvailableNot Available
Self Help SupportAvailableAvailableAvailable
Paid SupportAvailableAvailableAvailable

For full details on the different levels of support please see Microsoft here.

What this means for your Windows 2012 Server OS

October 2023 seems a long way off, and realistically it is over 2 years until the extended support comes to an end. However there is plenty to consider in looking to upgrade your Windows Server 2012 operating system.

Existing hardware and the compatibility to new operating system

Newer operating systems often require additional memory and processing speed to work effectively. Older servers may not have the capacity to cope with a newer operating system due to the advancement of technology in recent years. Simply installing a new operating system without fully establishing your hardware capability will most likely mean that your existing server and software may not work. This can cause a loss of data and your staff being unable to carry out their tasks.

Existing packages and software compatibility

Most businesses use a variety of software packages from third parties, such as accounting, customer relationship and design software. These third party packages are written to be compatible with the available operating systems at the time of their own launch. By upgrading your existing operating system, it is possible that third party packages will not be compatible to your new operating system. An in-depth review of all the software packages that your organisation will ensure that the correct upgrade is implemented. If they are not carefully considered, the upgrade may mean that your employees are unable to use software that is vital for their role which can be detrimental to your day to day work.

Current and emerging market options

The technology market is constantly evolving, depending on your unique requirements and the packages/software there are a variety of options available when it comes to replacing your server. These include cloud, onsite or hybrid servers. Before any decision should be made on the type of server you need, we strongly recommend an in-depth consultation to evaluate the type of server best suited to your needs.

Budget

Finally, and probably one of the most important to consider is the budget. Depending on the type of new server hardware or operating system upgrade this can be a costly project. With forward planning on the upgrades required you can identify the budget and put this in place in advance. It might be that you need to plan the project to take place immediately or in the future. MPR IT Solutions will ensure that following the audit and consultation of your requirements, the costs involved will be clearly explained and set out.

Time scale – don’t leave till last minute

October 2023, is a long way off, however the project to upgrade an operating system or migrating to a new server can be time consuming.

If you are looking to upgrade your server or operating system we strongly advise that you do not delay in considering your options. For more information and to discuss your requirements contact our team on 0800 030 20 30 option 1.

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Lockable Excel Patch Cable

by Nicki Dowsett in Disaster Recovery, Engineers, Industry News, IT Support, IT Systems, MPR IT Work, Structured Cabling

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.

lockable excel patch cable
Keys for lockable excel patch cable

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.

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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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Outstanding Effort by MPR IT

by Nicki Dowsett in Disaster Planning, Disaster Recovery, Engineers, General, Hardware, Helpdesk, IT Support, IT Systems, MPR, MPR IT Work

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.

Sales Team

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.

Engineers

Just a few of the laptops

Engineers

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.

Helpdesk

Number of tickets raise and percentage closed within 24 hours

This week32859%
Last week36359%
2 weeks ago28161%
3 weeks ago29661%

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.

Our Customers

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 Richard

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Increased Demand in Helpdesk Support

by Nicki Dowsett in Disaster Planning, Disaster Recovery, Engineers, General, Helpdesk, Hosted phone, IT Support, IT Systems, MPR IT Work

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 support@mpr-it.co.uk – 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 helpdesk@mpr-it.co.uk – 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.

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NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) SERVICE CONTINUITY PLAN

by Nicki Dowsett in Disaster Recovery, Engineers, General, Helpdesk, Hosted phone, Industry News, IT Support, IT Systems, MPR, MPR IT Work

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

  1. Desk phones would revert to soft phones, allowing continuous phone access to our teams, and ensuring all skill groups would continue to work seamlessly.
  2. Microsoft Teams would be used internally for productive collaboration and content sharing.
  3. 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-thepublic

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National Apprenticeship Week 2020

by Nicki Dowsett in Engineers, General, Helpdesk, IT Support, IT Systems, MPR, National Apprentice Week 2020, Training

National Apprenticeship week is being celebrated this week, an annual celebration supporting and promoting apprenticeships in the workplace.

To celebrate National Apprenticeship week, we would like to recognise Ben and Jacob. Having both joined MPR IT four years ago as apprentices, are now integral members of the team. Since completing their apprenticeships they have worked their way up to 2nd line engineers within the helpdesk team.

Keep up the good work Ben and Jacob, we are proud to have you part of our team.

Ben Lane-Bailey
Ben Lane- Bailey

Some of the feedback received from customers on Ben’s support:

  • Ben was great!
  • Thanks Ben for your swift response in sorting out the issue, greatly appreciated
  • Ben was very professional and took the time to explain what He needed from me so He could carry out the system check to confirm the error and what as needed, which Ben emailed to me to help get the issue resolved.
  • Many Thanks for your timely response
  • As usual Ben sorted the problem quickly and efficiently
  • Perfect service as usual!
Jacob Little
Jacob Little

Some of the feedback received from customers on Jacob’s support:

  • Super quick to assist as usual! Thank you
  • Job done quickly with the right result
  • Jacob was a very good help
  • Excellent service in resolving issue
  • Jacob attended to my request quite fast, and I appreciate him considering our time difference
  • As always, Jacob sorted out the issue really quickly.  Thank you
  • Brilliant first class services

For many years, MPR IT has been a strong supporter of apprenticeships and encouraging the progression from full time education to the workplace. Giving young people the opportunity to learn key skills and gain knowledge in the IT industry. We strongly believe that staff development at MPR is important to staff loyalty.  Working on several initiatives we support each team member on an individual basis.  No member of staff is the same and they each have a different path they wish to take. 

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MPR IT are recruiting again

by Nicki Dowsett in Engineers, General, Helpdesk, IT Support, IT Systems, Recruitment

After our previous recruitment drive we are pleased to welcome on board several new members of the team, however as a very busy summer draws to a close, the time has come for MPR IT to recruit again

The vision at MPR IT Solutions has always been to never sacrifice our high level of customer service for growth.  To enable us to provide the high level of service, that our clients demand, we are currently recruiting a number of positions to our Helpdesk.

We are looking for hardworking, experienced individuals to join our ever-growing team.  We require team members with a variety of skills that will allow us to maintain the exemplary service we already provide.  Interacting with customers will be required daily via multiple forms of communication, including on the telephone and through email, so excellent communication skills are essential.

2nd Line Support Engineer

The role consists of providing technical IT support to a wide variety of companies and will require someone who can adapt to different situations and changing demands using their skills to work through issues in a methodical and dynamic manner.

Daily tasks will include customer liaison, processing tickets for support requests using remote access tools and sometimes on-site visits, being the escalation point for the 1st Line team whilst managing their own workload.  Strong investigative and technical skills are critical for this position within a fast paced and sometimes high-pressure environment role.

3rd Line Support Engineer

The position of a 3rd Line Support Engineer covers the more complex areas of design, configuration and support of Windows server environments and networks.

You will be liaising with clients as a technical lead, supporting new client onboarding, future planning of client IT systems; including system design, deployment and maintenance, whilst also providing ongoing 3rd line support as a key member of our Helpdesk team. The successful candidate must show a diverse mindset and hard-working ethic with exceptional verbal and written communication skills.  You will be able to manage your own workload, be an integral team player and have a genuine passion for IT.

For more information and full job descriptions please email: Claire@mpr-it.co.uk

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