Business Focused IT Support
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Windows 11 has arrived from Microsoft.

by Nicki Dowsett in Engineers, General, Hardware, Helpdesk, Industry News, IT Support, IT Systems, Microsoft, Office 365, Windows 10, Windows 11, Windows 7

What is Windows 11?

Microsoft regularly updates their operating system and Windows 11 is their latest offering.  Windows 10 was released in July 2015, and before that, we saw Windows 8 and 7, etc.  As technology and requirements evolve as does the need for the operating system for your PCs and laptops.  Windows 11 is the first version released whereby a new license is not required, it is a free update to your existing version.  A bit like Apple and Android phones regularly sending updates to your devices that improve the functionality and security of the operating system.

Is Windows 10 redundant and should I update straightaway?

The simple answer is NO.  Windows 10 will continue to be supported by Microsoft until 2025.  Allowing a 4-year crossover between Windows 10 and Windows 11.  This means that support and security updates will be rolled out to users as normal for this period.  Windows 10 is not redundant and can continue to be used without any disruption until such time your organisation decides the time is right to update.  As the saying goes if it’s not broken – don’t fix it!

Audit of Existing software and hardware?

Within your business, you are likely to use several third-party software packages, such as accounting packages, CRM’s, auditing, procurement, and monitoring programs.  It is important to understand how each of these interacts with the operating system, Windows 11.  Just because Microsoft has released Windows 11 and carried out internal extensive testing, it does not mean that these third-party offerings have had the opportunity to ensure they will continue to work as expected.  Code and commands in the programming may need to be amended and changed to suit the requirements of Windows 11, which is likely to be rolled out by third parties in time.  Without a full understanding of the packages used and what is required in terms of processing, it could potentially cause a huge issue and remove access to your data.

Similarly, hardware is not automatically going to be compatible, whilst new machines are likely to have the processing power and memory to run Windows 11, it is highly recommended that each individual machine including printers, scanners, and copiers are audited to ensure they will continue to work as expected.  As Windows 10 is supported for a further 4-years, we can identify which machines will operate as normal and which ones may need to be updated over this period.  For example, if you have a laptop that is 3 years old but not compatible, it makes sense to wait until the end of its life before purchasing a new one, rather than simply upgrading the laptop now, when Windows 10 will still work.

What can happen if updated without support from MPR IT

Updating to Windows 11, without a full audit of your software and hardware, could potentially become costly.  Not only because you will find that some devices and software packages will not work immediately, but also because you may not be able to operate as normal and your employees may struggle to complete tasks.  This can affect your business in the long term, with orders not being processed in time and customers looking elsewhere, whilst the issue is fixed.

With a varying speed on the update to Windows 11, planning the rollout across your business is important to minimalise downtime during the update.  This will avoid all devices being updated at once and having no employees able to carry out any business tasks.

Planned update with support from MPR IT

Our team has the experience and knowledge to understand the requirements of devices and software packages, to identify what can and more importantly, cannot be updated to Windows 11.  Liaising with you, we can strategically plan the project to ensure minimum downtime for each device, user, department, and company as a whole.  The project can be planned to allow for any future upgrades of devices over the next 4 years, to ensure minimum outlay is required.  Historically, with the update to Windows 10, we had the experience of businesses updating to the new operating system without expert assistance, causing work to stop as devices and some software programs were incompatible.  This meant that in addition to new devices needing to be purchased and installed, the day-to-day business could not continue.  Not to mention the cost of calling in expert advice without an agreed SLA. 

MPR Testing Windows 11

MPR IT Solutions are currently carrying out internal testing of the new operating system and its compatibility with our own third-party software packages, such as antivirus, monitoring, CRM, and Accounts application.  This will ensure that when we make the right decision to upgrade all our own devices, we can continue to support our clients.

As part of this testing, we have identified that in terms of general use Windows 11 does have some different functionalities compared to Windows 10, which once used for a little while, the end-user can adjust quite easily.  Right-hand click menus on your mouse have changed and you are now shown icons as opposed to words for actions, such as copy and paste. Overall the general feel for the operating system is very simple to use.

We have also identified that the incorporated Microsoft Teams will only link to a personal account and not a business or educational account.  This is likely to cause initial confusion, as you will not be able to log in to your work Teams account, without some minor alterations made by one of our engineers in the setup.

Future expectations

Moving forward, it is expected that as with any operating system, Windows 11 will be regularly updated for security patches and functionality.  This is not unusual and will have minimum effect on the day-to-day running. 

Contact us for further information

To discuss arranging an audit of your network for compatibility to Windows 11, and an agreed project plan to update your systems please contact our Sales & Account Management Team on 0800 030 20 30 or via email sales@mpr-it.co.uk

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Are you considering a Hybrid Workplace?

by Nicki Dowsett in Anti-virus software, Audit Reviews, Back up solutions, broadband, cybercrime, Data Loss Prevention, Disaster Planning, Disaster Recovery, General, Hardware, Helpdesk, Hosted phone, IT Support, IT Systems, Microsoft, Microsoft 365, Microsoft Teams, MPR, networking, Password Security, Ransomware, Remote working, Risk management, rural broadand, SaaS Protection, Software, Tech-as-a-service, Wireless networks

We are aware that many of our customers are investigating a Hybrid Office for the future. Finding a balance between flexible home/office-based staff, those that prefer to be at home permanently and others that prefer to be in the office permanently. Media articles are suggesting that 43 out of the top 50 companies in the UK, do not plan to bring staff back full time.

Last year when everyone made the mass exodus to home working, there was a clear focus on getting everyone on-line and the business continuing. The return to the office is not necessarily as simple as everyone just turning up to work at their desk.  After almost 15 months away from the office some people may find adjusting to the office trickier than others. Individual working styles may have changed.  After working in an environment with little distraction to suddenly being in an office with colleagues on the phone or just generally catching up, may mean that they feel they prefer to be at home for some of the week.  From own conversations with industry colleagues and customers, here are some area’s that we believe you should be considering for your staff and business even if you are not considering a hybrid office.

Cyber Security

Internet Connections and Firewalls

Remote workers will require internet connections to be able to connect to the office network whether it is cloud based apps or a Voip phone system. The most important consideration is the router secured and has the password been changed since it left the factory? The standard routers issued by home broadband have basic security settings and it is unlikely that your employee has ever changed the router name or password. This puts your data at risk, as you have no control over this set up.

Another area to consider is that many home broadband connections state in the small print that they should not be used for business purposes. Although this has been overlooked during the lockdown, now is the time to consider is your employee at risk from using their BT, Virgin or Sky broadband connection. Finally is the connection reliable? Have they suffered, but put up with, outages until now? Or is their chosen home office space receiving a good signal, do they need a booster installed?

Installing a dedicated business internet connection to your employees homes gives you the control to secure the router and firewalls that connect your employee to your business network and data.

Back up Solutions

While cloud-based applications like Microsoft 365 are safe when left alone, they can’t protect you from yourself (or your employees). This is why the #1 cause of data loss in the cloud is human error.

Every day, users trigger data loss/corruption in cloud applications due to:

  • Accidental (and intentional!) deletion
  • Overwriting important data
  • Downloading malware/ransomware viruses
  • And more!

More and more businesses are using SaaS (Software as a service) such as Microsoft Business 365 or Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) and it is often assumed that your data is backed up automatically and that these providers will hold all your data, BUT this is not the case.

For example Microsoft state in their Service Level Agreement the following:

“Microsoft is not liable for data loss due to application outages, it is also not liable for data loss due to deprovisioned user accounts.
We recommend that you regularly backup your Content and Data that you store on the services or store using Third-Party Apps and Services.”

Recent reports show that it could cost your business upwards of £1million in ransom, fines, legal fees, loss of revenue and IT Support to get your business back up and running if you suffer a data loss due to vulnerabilities in your network.   From as little as £2 per seat per month, MPR IT Solutions can support your business against Data Loss see our news article here.

Ransomware and Phishing Scams

Ransomware and Phishing scams are increasing and it is becoming more prolific. This is affecting all industry sectors whether your employees are at home or in the office. Employees using their own hardware are unlikely to have the same level of anti-virus or malware software to protect your data against phishing scams and ransomware. As it is a personal computer you do not have the control over this as you would with a business device. Implementing Security Awareness Testing across your business can identify individuals that require further training on how to spot a scam. For only £2 per seat per month you can help to protect your business by ensuring your staff are more aware of the potential risks on email scams. See our blog articles on Network Security and Is my Network Vulnerable? for further information.

Hybrid Office Workspace and Risks

Suitable environment

Personally I have worked remotely for 7 years. I am therefore well situated to understand the needs long term, as opposed to the last year. I have friends sharing the dining room table with their partner, or know of people that have been using a lap tray to balance their laptop and phone whilst sat on the sofa. These don’t work short or long term. If you partner is in Sales and on the phone constantly and you are in an admin role there are going to be clashes. You can’t both be holding a MS Teams or Zoom meeting at the same time, it is unprofessional and distracting.

Your office is likely to have LED lighting to create a bright environment, and these are on all day long. At home your staff are working in natural daylight and this can cause strain on their eyes when looking at their screen all day. Is their home in a busy street? If so, it can be distracting to hear vehicles or pedestrians going passed constantly. These are all areas to consider along with lone working risk assessments. It is your duty of care as an employer to ensure that your staff when working remotely are safe, cables and power leads across the room are a trip hazard and even though it is their own home you can still be liable if proper provisions and risk assessments are not offered.

Hybrid Office Equipment

Is there a clear separation of home and work space? Is your employee expecting to be able to work from the kitchen or dining room table or do they have a desk? Not every home is large enough for a full office desk, however there are many home office desks available on the market to suit most needs. Having a dedicated work space, allows for your employee to define work and home time.

As a business, if you decide that you want staff to work from home, you need to consider that they have the same equipment and furniture available to them as they would in the office. Desk space, chair, printer and office stationary. Often overlooked are ergonomic items such as wrist or feet rests to allow them to sit comfortably and without risk of long term injury such as back pain or RSI. Be prepared that if staff are working part remote, part office based you will have to pay and provide these items for both home and office, the same as you would if they were in the office full time.

Computer Hardware

Are your staff working on business computers or personal computers? Last year the focus was just to get everyone on-line, many businesses invested in laptops for staff, others sent staff home with their desktop computer. However, for some it was simply a case that staff would use personal computers (Bring Your Own Device – BYOD) as no one expected it would be this long. Linking back to cyber security, it is important to consider the security of the hardware as well as the lifecycle. If your staff are using aged or personal hardware you should consider upgrading or purchasing business hardware to secure your network and ensure employees are able to work remotely long term.

Alternatively, if staff are going to be working in a hybrid office routine, what are your plans for hardware? Whilst cloud platforms are great for being able to connect anywhere, if your employee only has a desk PC, they are not going to be able to transport it back and forth.

VOIP Phones

Hosted telephone systems ensure a professional first impression for your customers, no matter the location of your employees or the size of your business.  With a hosted phone system, staying connected to your customers by telephone is seamless for remote working or the return to the office – it is very simple to switch between the two. Bringing the ultimate in flexibility, with a minimal initial capital outlay, along with an easy to manage monthly subscription. A hosted telephone system will allow your employees to connect whether it be a hybrid office or at home with customers and colleagues. Flexibility comes with the option of using a softphone on your laptop or PC, a physical handset or an app on your mobile.

Employee Status

Re-integration to work place

Expecting your employees to return to a hybrid office or any office, as if the last 15 months hasn’t happened, is not an option. Everyone will have had different experiences and you need to accept that it wont be smooth and there will be friction. For someone that may have been in the office for the majority of the lockdown, they will be used to working in the office, however they are now used to almost silence. For someone that has not set foot in the office for 15 months, it will be daunting. Surrounded by people after being isolated at home with limited interaction to suddenly be around colleagues can be stressful.

Each individual needs to be considered separately. You cannot assume that everyone is the same. Some may have lost family or friends, some may have been in hospital themselves, whilst others may have thankfully escaped any such experience. Some may live alone and have had extremely limited interaction with the outside world due to restrictions. The return to the office will have an affect on mental health in some shape or form. For those returning from furlough it will be a huge step to get back into a routine, whilst others that have worked all through may resent those that were furloughed.

Mental Health

Going forward, employees that want a flexible working approach will benefit mentally by being able to have a better home/work life balance. For those that are parents will value the opportunity to be more available to their family without a long commute or staying late in the office. With the option to work from home they might stop to take a half hour break to play with younger children. This doesn’t mean they won’t be making the extra effort to get the tasks completed. After all, for the last 15 months much of it has involved home schooling and they still got it done then, nothing will change on that front.

Staff returning to the office will also need to be accommodated. Suddenly being tied to a desk 8 or 9 hours a day will require regular breaks as they settle back in. They will be used to not being observed for every move they make and it really does make for a better environment overall when staff are trusted. In the past many business were concerned that out of sight meant out of mind and that working remote should never be an option. However, these last 15 months have proved that it can be done in most cases.

Communication, Collaboration, Concentration

I found that the last 15 months brought me closer to the team. I have worked at MPR IT for 7 years, all of it remotely and being based in Berkshire my visits to the office are not regular. Initially, when we all started to work remotely and had weekly social gatherings on MS Teams, I suddenly got the opportunity to get to know some of my colleagues better. I would have regular quick teams calls to ask colleagues questions where as before I would probably have dropped them an email. Using teams we were able to throw ideas around quickly and easily in a chat or quick call.

Now that they are all back to the office, I still feel that sense of connection, however I do miss out on the ‘corridor conversations’ as some might call them. Where one person will mention something and it then becomes a discussion. They are great and do keep me up to date with any decision made and ask for my opinion, and with a small team this is easy to overcome. For those businesses that are considering a Hybrid office environment, you will need to ensure that employees do not feel left out by being at home, as opposed to the office and continue to hold regular sessions as a whole team.

How can we help?

Contact our team on 0800 030 20 30 option 1 or email us at sales@mpr-it.co.uk to find out how MPR IT Solutions can support your business with technical solutions for a Hybrid Workplace. Whether just one member of staff will be remote or the whole team, we can identify vulnerabilities in the network, support you in upgrading hardware alongside day to day managed IT Support.

  

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Is my network vulnerable?

by Nicki Dowsett in Anti-virus software, Audit Reviews, Back up solutions, cybercrime, Data Loss Prevention, Disaster Planning, Disaster Recovery, General, Hardware, Helpdesk, Hosted phone, Industry News, IT Support, IT Systems, Microsoft, Microsoft 365, MPR IT Work, Office 2007, Office 365, Outlook 2007, Password Security, Ransomware, Remote working, Risk management, SaaS Protection, Security Policies, Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows Server 2012

At the end of every working day, you ensure your workplace is secure with windows and doors closed, an alarm set and CCTV in place. So why don’t businesses consider that protecting their IT network is just as important? Many businesses are of the opinion that it wont happen to them – when actually the statistics show it probably will.

  • Globally 30,000 websites are hacked daily
  • 64% of companies have experienced some form of cyber attack
  • 75 records are lost every second of the day
  • 94% of malware is spread through email
  • 24,000 apps are detected on the internet daily
  • 300,000 pieces of new malware are created daily
  • 70% businesses that experience large data loss will go out of business within 1 year.

According to Government statistics on cyber security breaches, approximately 54% of businesses are now seeking information and guidance on cyber security. That leaves 46% that are not taking this seriously.

Business Continuity Plans often only investigate if the building is inaccessible and as we have all experienced in the last 12 months this can be solved. BUT if your network is compromised, your staff cannot even do that. You will most likely be locked out of the entire network and in turn, need to consider these points:

  • No access to data
  • All records potentially lost
  • All data potentially sold on the dark net
  • Held to ransom running into hundreds of thousands of pounds
  • Potential law suits
  • Large fines for breach of compliance
  • Staff unable to work
  • Loss of revenue
  • Extremely unhappy customers
Do businesses survive data loss?

Vulnerabilities in your network such as out dated hardware and operating systems put your business at risk and recent reports show that it could cost your business upwards of £1miilion in ransom, fines, legal fees, loss of revenue and IT Support to get your business back up and running if your suffer a data loss or network attack. It is expected that 70% of businesses that experience a large data loss will go out of business within a year. If your network is vulnerable so is your business.

With the increase in threat from ransomware, phishing, DDOS and scams, the market for products in cyber security is wide and ranging. MPR IT Solutions invest time in researching the market and carrying out in-depth training to find the best products available, so you don’t have to.

Contact our team today to discuss your Network security and how we can support your business to reduce the risk – 0800 030 20 30.

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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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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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Flexible remote working or back to the office? How technology helps

by Nicki Dowsett in Disaster Planning, Disaster Recovery, General, Hardware, Hosted phone, IT Support, IT Systems, Microsoft, Office 365, Remote working

During the last few months the majority of our team have worked remotely from home. With minimal cover in the office to accept deliveries, or work on hardware. Whilst some of our team have had to carry out socially distanced site visits. All this has taken place with no reduction in level to service for our customers.

Now as restrictions relax, like many business we must now consider the options for staff to continue remote working or a return to the office. We need ensure that this is as flexible as possible, to suit the needs of the business and our staff.

Here are a few key questions that we are having to consider:

  • Social Distancing – is there enough office space?
  • Do staff feel comfortable to be back in the office?
  • Are some staff concerned about mixing with other people on their commute?
  • What if there is a local lockdown?
  • Can it be a flexible and seamless mix between the two?

As a result of using the right technology, these questions can be easily resolved.

Hosted Phone Systems

Hosted telephone systems ensure a professional first impression for your customers no matter the location of your employees or the size of your business.  With a hosted phone system staying connected to your customers by telephone is seamless for remote working or the return to the office – it is very simple to switch between the two. Bringing the ultimate in flexibility, with a minimal initial capital outlay, along with an easy to manage monthly subscription.

MPR IT are highly experienced in both design and deployment of telecoms solutions for residential, commercial and hospitality phone systems. Offering the ability to integrate with onsite services such as CRM or MS Outlook, contacts and caller details automatically pop up when they’re on the phone. Choosing an MPR IT Solutions hosted cloud-based telephone system is the ideal solution.

With the latest connected solutions, we ensure that the design meets your requirements and ensure it is correctly deployed to your organisation and end users.

Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 has changed the way that many companies work over the last few years. A cloud based solution combining collaboration, communication and security tools at an affordable cost for everyone. Your staff can access their email and files anywhere with an internet connection. With 2 factor authentication you can be sure it remains secure.

MPR IT has invested time and resources into becoming an official Microsoft Cloud Accelerate Partner and Small Business Specialist. We are trained in a number of Microsoft Competencies that directly relate to implementing, migrating and configuring your Office 365 solution. MPR IT focus on a smooth and trouble free migration ensuring your business has minimal disruption. Followed up with seamless  ongoing support our team are on hand to advise and solve any problems should they arise.

Microsoft Teams

Superseding Skype for Business – Microsoft Teams was launched in March 2017. In November 2019, Microsoft announced that Teams was used by 20 million end users. Fast forward to April 2020 and 75 million people were using Teams. Integrating with Office 365, Teams is a platform combing communication such as video calls, workplace chat and file sharing and storage.

All the staff at MPR IT have been using Teams over the last 4 months. With daily morning meetings we can connect and be set up for the days task ahead, quick messages or video calls to team mates rather than emails. Having been a remote worker for a number of years, I feel more involved with my colleagues and more connected to the day to day activity within the business.

Flexible working

By using technology systems such as these, the question of enabling staff the flexibility of working either in the office or remotely is much simpler. Staff can connect to their files, email and colleagues through Microsoft and your customer calls can be answered seamlessly.

If you would like more information on more permanent flexible working approach for your staff that wont affect the running of your business please contact us on 0800 030 20 30 or email us 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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Out of Office Housekeeping

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

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 support@mpr-it.co.uk 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.

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JUST IN – NEW OFFER NOT TO BE MISSED

by Nicki Dowsett in General, Hardware, Helpdesk, IT Support, IT Systems, MPR

  • Are you looking to upgrade PC’s in your office due to end of life?
  • Are you expanding and need new PC’s for new staff?
  • Or are you running Windows 7 but need to update Windows 10 and your current PC isn’t powerful enough?

If the answer is yes then look no further than these two amazing offers currently available. (Subject to availability and stock for new sales only.)

Now that Microsoft are no longer supporting Windows 7 with updates and security patches, it is recommended that you up date to Windows 10. However, before you make the move, it is imperative that you audit your current software systems and hardware. Windows 10 is a powerful operating system and therefore requires a large amount of RAM installed. Our team of experts can audit all of your software packages (e.g Sage) and hardware (e.g RAM, printers and scanners) to ensure these are compatible and where they may not be.  To upgrade without taking this into consideration, you may find that it becomes time consuming and more costly to rectify the issues.

We understand that when it comes to purchasing new hardware for your office it can be costly. Whether its due to natural end of life, additional staff members or needing to upgrade to more powerful PC’s, these two offers should not be overlooked.

HP PRODESK 600 G2 SFF at only £499

Refurbished With intel core i5 16GB 360SSD + 3 year warranty

Configuration additional cost

DELL OPTIPLEX 9020 AT ONLY £399

Refurbished With intel core i5 8GB 360SSD + 3 year warranty

Configuration additional cost

Contact our sales team today on 0800 030 20 30 to discuss the options available for these offers.

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Microsoft Support Ending

by Nicki Dowsett in General, Hardware, Helpdesk, Industry News, IT Systems, Microsoft, Office 2007, Office 365, Uncategorised, Windows 10, Windows 7

Microsoft will be ending support and updates for two of their platforms in 2020. If you are currently using either Office 2010 or Windows 7, it is important to consider your options now.

Microsoft have recently announced that support for Office 2010 will be ending on 13th October 2020. This means that from this date there will be no further extension of updates on this package.

Whilst Office 2010 will still continue to function it does mean that you will be at risk of potentially harmful and serious security risks. We recommend that you look to upgrading to Microsoft Office 365 as a replacement.

MPR IT Solutions are an official Microsoft Cloud Accelerate Partner and Small Business Specialist. This means we are trained in a number of Microsoft Competencies that directly relate to implementing, migrating and configuring your Office 365 solution. We have vast experience in migrating businesses over to Office 365 and ensure minimal disruption to your daily tasks.

Secondly support will be ending on 14 January 2020 for the operating system Windows 7. Available since 2009, there have been a number of updates since the launch, with the current recommended version Windows 10 now on the market. Please see our earlier blog explaining this.

If you are using Windows 7, either on a personal computer or at your business, now is the time to consider upgrading to Windows 10.  However, before you make the move, it is imperative that you consider any 3rd party software programme installed on your pc/laptop and hardware such as printers, scanners etc. as these may not be compatible.  You will also need to consider the hardware resources available, as Windows 10 is a powerful operating system and therefore requires a large amount of RAM installed.

Our team of experts can audit all of your software packages (e.g Sage) and hardware (e.g RAM, printers and scanners) to ensure these are compatible and where they may not be.  To upgrade without taking this into consideration, you may find that it becomes time consuming and more costly to rectify the issues.

For more information and to discuss your options to upgrade either of these Microsoft products please contact our team on 0800 030 20 30 or email sales@mpr-it.co.uk

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