Business Focused IT Support
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Celebrating 13 years in Business

by Nicki Dowsett in General, IT Support, IT Systems, Microsoft, Microsoft 365, MPR, MPR IT Work, Security Policies, Uncategorised

This week we celebrate 13 years since the day MPR IT Solutions was born. In 2008, Alex Mendes, Richard Procter and Andy Ransley took the decision to start a business together. The main aim and idea “to never sacrifice our high level of customer service for growth, we hope and believe that through good customer service our business will become the market leader in Kent.” .

Having worked together and separately for many years in IT Support they were driven by the belief that the way IT support was being delivered by so many businesses; with poor time scales, sub-contracting, outsourcing, non-customer focused, was generally a poor service.  They believed there must be another better way. Talking about their vast experience and brainstorming what they could do to change how IT services are delivered. They came up with the idea that would change IT support for the better and take away the complications and ridiculous charges from businesses.

The company started life in a garden office and now resides in Fraser House, Henwood Industrial Estate, Ashford, Kent. MPR delivers IT Support and Technical solutions to over 440+ businesses throughout the South East, whether an SME or large corporation. Across MPR IT Solutions and the sister company MPR Technical Services the organisation now employ’s 25 members of staff.

Why people choose MPR

Information Technology is a business-critical tool in every type of industry and our client base reflects this; it includes, Hospitality, Leisure, Manufacturing, Finance and Energy industries, amongst others.

Many of our clients have been with us since the start, creating long-term relationships and a nurturing environment, where we can pro-actively support their business requirements in full.  MPR IT Solutions offers inclusive solutions with the ability to support our clients end-to-end; from consultation periods through to implementation and on-going support.   All the while, ensuring that we offer the highest level of support that our customers require. 

With IT support and solutions constantly changing it is vital for our team to have a thorough understanding of new and forthcoming products and solutions. The team at MPR are encouraged to further their knowledge and qualifications to ensure we can offer the highest level of service.  This knowledge, coupled with a clear understanding of our customer’s needs, means we can proactively assist our clients in future proofing their business and staying one step ahead of technological advances.

As technology has evolved, so has MPR.  We have continued to diversify and expand our offering whilst safeguarding our ability to provide outstanding customer service.  With the addition of MPR Technical Services, a complete system integration specialist, our extensive and proficient skill set perfectly positions our team to be able to design, manage and deliver the most demanding technical installations; ensuring that our clients get the best systems working seamlessly together. Typically, MPR Technical Services will manage the design and installation of all “technology” within a project, tailormade to our client’s IT requirements. On completion of the project on-going support can be provided by MPR IT Solutions.  Our clients benefit from our full understanding of their business, which allows us to provide day-to-day support with a simple and straight-forward choice of fixed price agreements. One firm, full responsibility!

Utilising our knowledge and experience; and partnering with major industry manufacturers, suppliers and service providers; MPR can plan, source, install, monitor and manage computer hardware, software and network systems. This maximises the benefits from infrastructure and allows businesses to gain a competitive edge, both now and in the future. Our approachable and experienced team offer honest and impartial advice through a consultative approach, ensuring the best decision is made by our clients.

MPR offers a range of services including:

  • Day-to-day IT Support and Guidance
  • Networks – Design, Installation and Support
  • Server Infrastructure
  • Management and Deployment of Virtual Servers
  • Intelligent Wireless Networks
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Cyber Essentials, Security Awareness Training and Penetration Testing
  • Cyber Security Assessment Tools
  • Structured and Fibre Optic Cabling
  • Business Internet Connections
  • Point-to-Point Wireless Solutions
  • VOIP Telephony Systems
  • Electronic Security – CCTV & Access Control
  • IPTV distribution

For more information on how MPR IT Solutions or MPR Technical Services can support your business contact us today on 0800 030 20 30 option 1.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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