Business Focused IT Support
Viewing posts categorised under: Industry News

Can I lose Data on Cloud Platforms?

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

By 2022 it is estimated that 70% of organisations will have suffered a business disruption due to unrecoverable data loss in a SaaS application.

More and more businesses are using SaaS (Software as a Service) such as Microsoft Office 365 or Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) 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 the following in their Service Level Agreement (SLA):

“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.”

MPR IT Solutions invests time and resources to research the Technology market for all of our products and services to establish the best market offerings for our customers, so that you don’t need to.

Datto Saas Protection is a solution that will fit a large proportion of businesses using cloud platforms such as Microsoft Office 365 or Google Workspace (formerly G Suite).

70% of businesses that experience a large data loss will go out of business within a year. By implementing a back up solution today, you will minimise your risk.

Contact us on 0800 030 20 30 to discuss your options today.

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Microsoft Edge to replace Internet Explorer

by Nicki Dowsett in General, Helpdesk, Industry News, IT Support, IT Systems, Microsoft, Microsoft Teams, MPR, Office 2007, Office 365

Microsoft announced in March 2015, it’s plans to drop to Internet Explorer.  The next major update would be re-branded and re-named as Microsoft Edge.

In the 1990’s Internet Explorer was the essential tool for accessing the internet, but later faced a battle with Firefox and Google, which is now probably the most widely used option.

Internet Explorer 10 along with previous versions have not been supported since 2016, with no new further updates.  Whilst Internet Explorer 11 continues with security, compatibility and technical support for Windows, 7,8 and 10.  See here for information on the end of life for Windows 7 in October 2020. https://www.mpr-it.co.uk/microsoft-support-ending/

Microsoft is now actively encouraging users to upgrade to Edge, ahead of support ending 17 August 2021.

Most importantly the Microsoft Teams web app WILL NOT be supported on Internet Explorer from November 2020.  With over 75 million people currently using Microsoft Teams – now is the time to upgrade your browser.

All remaining Office 365 apps will continue to be supported by Internet Explorer until the service ends in the Summer of 2021.

Failure to update to Microsoft Edge ahead of these timescales may result in non-connectivity, along with increased security threats and no on-going support from Microsoft.

Microsoft Edge is very easy to update, depending on your organisation’s administration settings.  Most users will simply be able to download the file and install.  However, if you experience any issues MPR IT Support Helpdesk are available to assist our customers.  Email the team on support@mpr-it.co.uk with a brief description of your requirements and a ticket will be automatically logged for you.

Benefits of Microsoft Edge include:

  • Faster Browsing
  • Extended Battery Life
  • Additional Security Protection
  • More control over your personal data

See the Microsoft service page here for full details: https://microsoftedgewelcome.microsoft.com/en-gb/

To contact MPR IT Solutions for support on this please email: support@mpr-it.co.uk or call 0800 030 20 30.

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How important are your email signatures?

by Nicki Dowsett in Exclaimer Cloud, General, Industry News, IT Support, IT Systems, Office 365, Software

Have you considered how many emails you might send in one day, one week or even one year? It is estimated that each individual might send upwards of 40 emails per day. That’s approximately 200 emails in a working week or 9,600 in a year allowing for annual leave.

Now consider how many employees you have and that number of emails sent has grown considerably. Emails have clearly replaced personalised letters as a form of communication with employees, customers and suppliers. Many years ago, the post would be delivered each morning and distributed around the business, to be dealt with. Now emails are sent continuously and so our working patterns have changed.

None of this is new information. If you can remember back to these times, consider the layout and presentation of the letters you might have received. High quality headed paper, with a clear indication of any certification or affiliations that might apply to a business or individual. Your letter head would set out the tone and image of the company and giving the recipient a clear impression of your business.

Now, looking again at the number of emails you might send in a year. Does your email give the same impression of your business that a headed letter paper may have once given? Does every single person in your business use an agreed font style and size along with a standard email signature? Is the email signature easily managed centrally or is it down to individuals to manually update the signature when asked?

Seven C’s of Email Signatures

Example of email signatures

With Exclaimer email signatures, you can easily utilise your emails as a marketing tool, at the same time of promoting your company brand. With a centralised set up the one email signature is rolled out to all your users with ease.

Comply with legislation. Firstly and probably the most important element of your email signature. Depending on your geographic region there are items of information that must by law be included on your business email. For example in the UK your Legal Disclaimer must include:

  • VAT Number
  • Company Registration number and address

The information in your disclaimer is not legally binding, however in a court case regarding the sale of a piece of land, a judge ruled that the disclaimer at the end of the relevant emails were legally binding. If your emails do not contain a disclaimer you can be fined. Initially a smaller warning fine with the value increasing until resolved. The legal disclaimer does not need to lengthy but must cover the requirements of your geographical area.

Consistency to your brand guidelines. Many businesses spend a lot of time and money to design your brand. This might include business cards, workwear, vehicle signage, literature and websites – so it may come as a surprise that not all business then continue this branding in email signatures.

Contact details. The simplest and easiest way to share all your contact details is in your email signature. It is a digital business card. People are more likely to look at your last email for your contact details than hunt through your company website.

Certify/Creditability, your signature is the perfect way to highlight your individual and business partnerships, certifications, awards etc. Providing evidence of your creditability without actually mentioning it. You wouldn’t bring it up at the end of a phone call but you can share it in your email signature.

Connect through social media links. Links to your business social media pages can easily be included in your email signature. By having the hyperlink in your email, people are more likely to connect on social platforms than if you asked them personally.

Communication your email signature is the most cost effective marketing tool. It is effectively free or very low cost. With almost 10,000 emails sent each year, you can easily and simply communicate to your recipients. Showcasing new products, events or offers, via your email signature.

Collect feedback on your services. Adding a simple survey question on the bottom of your email signature, e.g “How did we do today?” allows you to collect a snapshot of the service you offer. If you wanted you could include a link to a more lengthy survey BUT you are less likely to get a response.

Images in emails

Many email clients remove images from emails, you will notice a box with a red x in the corner when an image has been removed. Image blocking occurs for many reasons, security being the main reason, but also because the image can increase the size of the email. Or it can be identified as spam.

Due to image blocking it is vital that your email signature including legal disclaimer is not an image as this may get blocked and this can result in your company not complying with the legal requirements.

Managing email signature’s

Often the onus is on your employees to update their individual email signature account or relying on a specific member of staff to go to each work station and make the update. Both options can be time consuming and unreliable. Some may decide to make small changes to the layout, some may simply not do it or some may be on holiday and miss the request for the update.

Emails on the go

In todays age of technology many of us access our work emails via mobiles and tablets as well as on a work station. However, it is important to note that you are still legally required to include the disclaimer. When you receive an email that ends – sent by iphone – all it is telling you is that someone sent you a message from their phone as opposed to their workstation.

Centrally Managed Email Signature

By having a centrally managed standardised email signature you are able to follow the above mentioned 7 C’s of email signatures simply and one person can quickly update the entire workforces email signature within minutes, without any disruption to the rest of your employees. In addition this can be rolled out to include mobile devices as it is attached to mail account as opposed to the workstation or mobile device.

Exclaimer email signatures with MPR IT Solutions

Exclaimer Email Signature

MPR IT Solutions is proud to partner with Exclaimer Email Solutions. Based in the UK, Exclaimer provide multi-award-winning on-premise and cloud-based email signature solutions to over 75 million users worldwide.

Exclaimer’s range of email signature management solutions make designing and controlling your organization’s email signatures easy and ensure that you are fully compliant and following the 7 C’s.

Your email signature is more than just a sign off at the end of the message. For more information on how MPR IT Solutions can support your business in using Exclaimer email solutions please contact us on 0800 030 20 30 option 2.

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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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Adobe Flash Player Retired

by Nicki Dowsett in General, Helpdesk, Industry News, IT Support, IT Systems, Software

Launched in 1996, Adobe Flash Player is a browser plug-in designed to stream video and animation content through websites. At the time of launch it was the most popular way to stream content quickly. Many internet users had dial up or slow connection and content such as this would take too long to view. By 2009, Adobe Flash was installed on 99% of internet connects computers.

However, with the launch of handheld devices such as smart phones and tablets, Adobe was slow to react and it was not compatible. It was expected to drain the battery life as well as being a security risk. By the time that Adobe had created a flash player that would work on mobile devices the big internet names were streaming content without a flash player. In 2015, Apple disabled the plug-in on their own Safari browser, and Google Chrome started to block some Flash Content. Adobe then announced in 2017, that Flash Player would be retired in 2020.

Adobe announced that the Flash Player will no longer be supported and as of 31 December 2020 no further security updates released. It should therefore be uninstalled from all laptops and PC’s. Through our managed IT Support packages, MPR IT Solutions will be removing Adobe Flash player from our customer packages. If you have any concerns regarding this please contact us on 0800 030 20 30.

From 12 January 2021, Adobe will stop Flash Player displaying content, rendering it retired. Games and content relying on Adobe Flash Player will no longer be accessible.

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Office 2010 Support Ending Soon

by Nicki Dowsett in General, Helpdesk, Industry News, IT Support, Microsoft

As of 13th October 20201 Microsoft will be ending ongoing support for Office 2010.   Meaning from this date there will be no further updates on this package, include bug fixes, patches or security updates. If you are currently using either Office 2010, it is important to consider your options now.  Whilst Office 2010 will 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.  Office 365 is a cloud-based platform that allows access to all applications including – Windows, Excel, Teams, Powerpoint etc from anyway with an internet connection.

MPR IT Solutions are an official Microsoft Cloud Accelerate Partner and Small Business Specialist. This means we are trained in 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.

See our web page for details and pricing on Office 365 along with a few case studies on previous migrations we have carried out.

For more information and to discuss your options to upgrade Office 2010 to Office 365 please contact our team on 0800 030 20 30 or email sales@mpr-it.co.uk

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Bogus Email and Internet Campaigns

by Nicki Dowsett in Anti-virus software, cybercrime, General, Helpdesk, Industry News, IT Support, IT Systems, MPR, Ransomware, Training, Uncategorised

The National Cyber Security Agency is reporting an increase of bogus email and internet campaigns to users. With the current global pandemic and many people now working from home the criminals are taking full advantage of more people relying on email as a form of communication.

Virus detected image

Over the years, MPR, have unfortunately dealt with a number of situations involving email and Internet campaigns and virus attachments. Now more than ever we ask that you be extra vigilant for any attachments that you receive.

If you do not know the sender – DO NOT OPEN ANY ATTACHMENT, the chances are it is a cyber crime campaign.

If you do know the sender – CHECK THIS IS AN ATTACHMENT YOU ARE EXPECTING, additionally take a close look at the email address. Often criminals will use an almost identical email address to trick people into opening files for example: support@mpr-lt.co.uk as opposed to the correct email support@mpr-it.co.uk.

If you are unsure of any attachment from a known sender please contact the sender by phone to confirm they have in fact sent you an email.

With many of our customer now working from home, on either a personal computer or one provided by their employer – it is vital that all users ensure that anti-virus software is up to date. MPR IT strongly recommends Webroot as being the best on the current market. If you would like more information on Webroot please contact our sales team on 0800 030 20 30 option 1.

Our helpdesk 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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Covid-19: Disaster Management Plans

by Nicki Dowsett in Disaster Planning, Disaster Recovery, General, Helpdesk, Hosted phone, Industry News, IT Support, IT Systems, Microsoft, MPR, Office 365

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.

Telephone Systems

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.

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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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