by Nicki Dowsett in Access Panels, Audio Systems, broadband, cabinets, CCTV, Engineers, fibre optics, Fire Alarms, General, Helpdesk, Hosted phone, IT Support, IT Systems, MPR IT Work, Office Move, Server cabinet, Strcutured cabling, TV Distribution, Uncategorised, Wireless networks
Exciting start to the New Year for MPR IT
Since the start of January, a lot has been happening here at MPR IT. As you will be aware it is now 10 years year since Alex, Andy and Richard started MPR IT. We are continuing to grow and strive with thanks to the continued custom from all our loyal clients. To ensure that we can continue to provide customer focused support, providing outstanding IT support and solutions, the Management team have been making lots of decisions.
Firstly, we are recruiting a number of roles for our Technical support team. Currently we are recruiting for:
1st Line Support Admin
2nd Line Support Engineer
3rd Line Support Engineer
We hope to have all these roles filled in the very near future, with some new team members already on board. As with any new member of the team, we will be ensuring they are inducted to the high standards both our customers and ourselves expect.
Next, it has become apparent that with our continued expansion we have out grown our current offices! Our second piece of exciting news is that we have now secured new premises in the Henwood Estate. With a large amount of work to carry out we hope to be able to move in time for late spring/early summer.
We are currently in the first phase which includes taking down walls and making the space more suitable for our ever-growing team.
Once the construction/demolition phase has completed, we will be entering the next phase. This is where our own expertise will be utilised and our own team will be installing following:
Structured Cabling – Copper and Fibre
TV distribution systems
Fire Alarm System
Internet Services and so much more!
As you can imagine its going to be a busy and exciting few months for us all. We will keep you all updated on the progress and of course our move date.
MPR IT are market leaders in offering customer focused support, providing outstanding IT support and solutions throughout the Southeast & London. Highly respected and valued by our clients, we continually strive to exceed expectations ensuring your IT is worry-free with our priority to listen, ensuring we understand and advise accordingly. We are pleased to be a part of this years Business Vision Live on stand 135.
Now in its fifteenth year, Business Vision LIVE is the South East’s premier business showcase and the largest regional business event in the UK: with over 3,000 visitors and 250 exhibitors coming together for the year’s most important business gathering. That’s more than every other business event in Kent put together – and all in a single day!
For 2018, Business Vision Live assembled a superb team of business superheroes to help your organisation increase sales, improve customer service, enhance the skills of your team and dramatically improve the performance of your organisation and they are back again for 2019.
Throughout the day at Business Vision LIVE, you can access a comprehensive programme of free keynotes, workshops & special networking events – providing fresh insights into current business challenges, identifying new opportunities on the horizon and unlocking your personal and organisational superpowers to help you thrive in the years ahead.
Whether your customers are general consumers or other businesses, or a combination of both, you and your team can meet new suppliers, pick up valuable new skills (or superpowers), enhance your market knowledge and make new contacts from across the South East.
Business Vision LIVE is aimed at business owners, senior managers, departmental heads and other executives working in forward-thinking organisations from the commercial, public and not-for-profit sectors.
To unlock your business superpowers, register for your FREE placeRead more
London Build is attended by 20,000+ contractors, architects, developers, engineers and construction professionals. The show covers the future trends, opportunities and construction projects in London and the UK.
London Build features: 240+ speakers across 8 conference theatres (Future London, London Design, BIM & Digital Construction, Sustainability, Interior & Fit-out, Innovation, Skills Hub and Fire Safety), 220+ CPD knowledge sessions, 300+ exhibitors across 9 exhibition zones and a range of exclusive free-to-attend networking events including: Constructing Excellence Breakfast, Constructionline Meet the Buyer, Women in Construction Morning Tea, Doyle Club Meeting, BIM Open Mic, an Oktoberfest beer festival, the Festival of Construction, prize giveaways, celebrity guests and much more.
Introducing MPR Technical Services
A division of MPR IT Solutions our Technical Services team work with Contractors, Project Managers and Architects. With a vast experience in working on builds of all sizes, our team have knowledge in all aspects of the project to ensure that the most suitable and cost effective network infrastructure is incorporated from the start of planning.
- Structured Cabling Fibre & Data – Installation, Termination & Certification, Brand leader accredited, certified installers.
- Systems Integration – Our tried and tested solutions work to give you peace of mind. Back of house, front of house & client experience all working seamlessly.
- MPR IT can offer complete IT Solutions – Hardware, Software, Services & On-going Support.
Since 2008, customer service has been a high priority and the main ethos of MPR IT Solutions. Now in our 10th Year we are keen to ensure that this continues to be the case.
We have recently noticed a significant increase in the number of tickets being generated on our Helpdesk and we are aware that this has had a small impact on our response time. Our Management team have carefully considered and evaluated the increasing demand and feedback that we have received from clients. We are now pleased to announce that we have successfully recruited a further two members of the team to join the helpdesk. Our new helpdesk technicians will be joining MPR in the next couple of weeks.
As with any new member of the team, we will be ensuring they are inducted to the high standards both our customers and ourselves expect. In the meantime, we appreciate that you may notice a small delay in your ticket/query being resolved.
We would like to assure you that the existing team are working extremely high to ensure that any delay is minimal, during this induction period.
If you have any concerns in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact your account manager or Tom Lyng the Helpdesk manager, both of which will be happy to discuss this with you.
Thank you for your understanding in this matter.Read more
Why take an IT Support Contract over Adhoc Support??
Why take an IT Support contract over Adhoc support? This is a question that we get asked frequently. There are a number of reasons as to why an all inclusive IT support contract is a positive step to take for your business. The main reasons being:
- Fixed price service – with no hidden costs
- A guaranteed support desk available 24/7
- Guaranteed service level agreement (SLA) in place – 1 hour call back
- Your business is assigned both a designated business account manager and technical account manager
- We get more involved in your business, helping plan, budget and advise according to your business plans and requirements.
Whilst not everyone feels the needs for a contact, there are a number of pitfalls to an Ad-hoc arrangement. The biggest being there are no service level agreements in place. Other main issues being:
- We operate an “as soon as possible” approach to any support tickets falling into this category
- Unexpected costs can become expensive & detrimental to your budget planning
MPR IT’s Fully Inclusive Business IT Support package, is our most complete and rewarding contract. In fact it is used by 90% of our clients. With a fixed price contract there can be no nasty hidden surprises, for your IT Support. Our contract includes both remote and on-site support for your business, meaning you are safe in the knowledge that a Technical Engineer is on hand to solve any issues. The cost for this service is £30.00 + VAT per workstation per month and inlcudes 24/7 monitoring. This cost per user covers all of your IT support needs – there are no other hidden support costs, allowing you to manage your IT budget effectively.
In addition to workstation support, we are aware that many of our customers are now using Cloud-based servers and storage, therefore server support is not always a requirement and is therefore a separate option. For those business that do require this, there is an additional charge of £82.50 + VAT per month per server, please contact to discuss your requirements.
The Service Level Agreement for an All Inclusive contracts is a 1-hour callback with a 4-hour response along with emergency out of hours cover.
Emmanuel Charbonnel from DAD UK says:
Moving to a “Monthly Fixed Rate” support cost from a “Pay as you Use” scheme has improved our IT support structure in many ways. Firstly, there are no hidden surprises at the end of the month with invoices. We know what our bill will be and can budget accordingly, allowing us to invest in our IT infrastructure during the year.
Secondly, any of our employees can now contact the MPR support desk, which in turn, improves the reaction and solution speeds. And lastly it has resulted in a closer working environment between all employees across our two companies making MPR a true partner
To discuss your business requirements please contact our team on 0800 030 20 30 option 2Read more
Email security and cybercrime – Almost daily there is a story that covers this subject in the news, whether it’s a large global corporation or an elderly retired person. So many people are still unaware of the risks that can be faced with email security.
Here at MPR IT, we have sadly gained a considerable amount of experience in dealing with these threats. We would therefore like to remind our customers of some simple guidelines that you should ensure your staff follow for email security. These include recommendations from the Government Cyber Essentials Scheme. We also strongly advise if you or any employee is concerned they have an affected PC/Laptop – call us asap
- Email Attachments – Never open an email or attachment if you don’t know the sender. If you are not expecting an attachment from a known sender – call them and check they did send you something
- Check email addresses – criminals will set up accounts with very similar email addresses making it easy to trick you into thinking you know the sender firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
- Malware Protection – do you have a robust malware in place? This will stop viruses and ransomware from getting through to your emails and employees
- Access Control – encourage your staff to choose passwords that would be hard to guess and not simply change the number on the end each time it needs to be Password or 123456 are not ever going to be good choices. Also ensure that admin passwords are only given out to members of staff that should have access to these.
- Firewalls – investing in a high end firewall can prevent hackers from gaining access to your systems and to make certain there are no leaks.
- Secure configuration – Is your system configured to ensure security for your organisation. Are all laptops, PC’s and phones password protected? Do files need to be password protected?
- Patch Management – the likes of Microsoft and other operating systems regularly release new updates to their software. Ensure you are fully up to date as these updates will often include patches to ensure your systems are more secure. As hackers become more clever the software providers work hard to identify areas to increase security.
We also recommend you view the following websites
- National Cybercrime Website
- Thames Valley Police – Little Book of Cyber Scams
- Thames Valley Police – Little Book of Big Scams
Whilst the majority of news stories cover ransomware and data being lost or damaged, we have known criminals to spend months watching systems, gathering information and general daily routines. Then with a simple email, that looks to have come from a sender you know they have managed to gain access to your bank accounts and emptied them before anyone has realised. Either way it is extremely costly to your business. Please ensure your staff are fully briefed on email security and the types of scams and crimes that can & have happened. If any doubt or you would like more information please contact us to discuss.
Office 2007 was launched a decade ago, and included the Microsoft products – Excel,Word, Outlook, Powerpoint, and One Note. Since its launch there have been significant advancements in connectivity and productivity for many companies. This means that the majority of companies have left Office 2007 behind, and moved to Office 2016 or more likely to Office 365, however there are a few companies still using Office 2007.
Most Microsoft packages are only supported for 10 years and therefore it is the turn of Office 2007, to receive the end of life treatment. Meaning by the end of October 2017 there will be no further:
- Technical support
- Bug fixes for issues identified
- Security fixes for vulnerabilities released
In addition to the end of life support coming to an end, it is important to note Outlook 2007, will no longer connect to Office 365 mailboxes. Therefore users of Outlook 2007 will not be able to receive or send emails.
Microsoft are now urging users of the 2007 version to consider upgrading to the latest offerings. There are a number of advantages to this, not least the fact that support will be ending in a few months time. During 2017, there has been a number of global cyber attacks. People using packages that are no longer supported by Microsoft are at greater risk.
Earlier this year, in an unusual step Microsoft were pressured into releasing a fix for the Wanna Cry virus on Windows 2000. Despite having stopped supporting the package in 2010, they still had a larger number of users, who were subsequently affected by the virus. It is highly unlikely that they will make this move again in the future and are already publicising the end of life for 2007 package, with recommendations to urgently update software. The most popular choice for businesses these days is Office 365. Please see our page on Office 365 for full details on this product.
MPR IT Solutions has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in supporting companies in making the change to Office 365. We have worked with a number of companies to ensure the transition is smooth, & there is minimum disruption to staff. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your options to migrate to Office 365 – whether you are currently using 2007 or another version of the Office Suite.
Disaster Management Plans
Over the weekend, the big story in the news was all about the IT system failure at British Airways. The CEO of BA has released a statement that the systems crashed due to a short power surge knocking out the main servers, unfortunately for the company the back-up systems then failed to take over. This resulted in over 75,000 customers being affected and flights grounded around the world.
When the story first broke, BA did not release much information to the public, no doubt as the Directors were scrambling to find out what had gone so badly wrong. However, this resulted in various speculation such as systems being hacked, no back up servers in place or that this was due to cost cutting by out sourcing IT Support. It would appear, that none of these were the case.
Many people in the IT industry are watching this story closely to understand how this situation happened. With many questions being asked, including:
- Why did the back-up servers not take over?
- Are the back-up systems in the same location as the main servers?
- Are the communication systems such as website and mobile app in the same location?
- What was the Disaster Management Plan?
Irrespective of your IT Support being in house or outsourced these questions should not be being asked. Here at MPR IT, we support a wide range of customers for IT, on both a daily basis and, also with larger projects such as server/network installations and server hosting. With all our customers, we hold the same approach, no matter the size of your company – you need to be prepared for any eventuality. Whilst we have not had to deal with an incident the size of BA’s problems at the weekend we have had to deal with various situations where a company server has gone off line. These include a flood in an office, or a system hack. Essentially the plan is the same – get the company back up and running in the shortest time possible and preferably without their customers ever knowing there was an issue and with the least cost involved. I think we can quite safely say this is going to be very expensive for BA.
Disaster Management Recovery plans are one of the most important things that your business can put in place. The aim of a DMR is to ensure that your business continues smoothly with little or no disruption, and your company needs will differ from that of any other company. The main points that you need to consider are:
- Is your data/server backed up daily?
- Is this back up stored in a secure separate location to the main server?
- Can your customers still contact you?
- Can your staff continue to carry out their duties?
- Can your operation continue and will your customers be affected?
We have written blogs in the past about important it is to have a Disaster Management Plan in place, however the events this weekend have shown that it is not just in the case of fire, flood or bad weather that your company needs to plan, in advance for. In the case of BA it was apparently due to a power surge, that the systems failed. Not as many speculated in the first few hours, that it was due to out sourced IT Support or being hacked with a virus. If you and your company would like to discuss your current Disaster Management Plans please do not hesitate to contact us.Read more
Wanna Cry Cyber Attack – Over the last couple of years, I have spent several hours if not days reading articles on cyber crime and hacking as part of my role here at MPR IT. If you follow us on social media you will also see how this is a hot topic for us and we quite often post news stories of hacks and how you can protect yourselves, I have also written a few blogs on the subject (all of which can be found on our website). So, the breaking news on Friday and all over the weekend of the hack affecting over 150 countries around the world, with some 200,000 machines affected this wasn’t entirely a shock for me. All too often I see stories of both large corporations and small one person business being hit by hacking or ransomware.
As a company that takes pride in providing the best support and advice to our customers, our priority is prevention rather than cure, although we do unfortunately have experience on the cure as well. Our key guidelines for protecting your systems are pretty simple:
- Ensure you Operating System is the most current and up to date – Microsoft release patches and updates regularly. This particularly virus is targeted towards out of date, older systems. Please ensure your system is fully up to date. If you have any concerns please contact us and we can check this for you.
- Many virus’s are spread through email attachments – NEVER open anything from someone you don’t know or aren’t expecting. If you are unsure about an email or attachment, call MPR IT or the company where the attachment has come from and enquire as to whether it is legitimate.
- Ensure you permanently delete any emails with attachments that you do not need, or where you don’t know the sender.
- Make sure that you have an up to date Anti Virus – MPR IT can check this for you if you are unsure how up to date this is or if you don’t have anti-virus we can provide anti virus software to your company.
- NEVER share passwords with anyone and make sure that passwords you do have are always different. PASSWORD1 is surprisingly still a popular choice – it’s not a good idea as very easy to guess.
- Back up your data daily and store a copy off site securely as well on site. The worst that can happen if data is backed up is that you lose one days’ work, and not everything.
The virus ‘Wanna Cry’ that hit the world on Friday, and spread over the weekend is mainly targeted at Government departments. Where systems are older and the networks are very large, this allows it to spread so quickly, we are therefore not expecting for this to affect many of our customers, however please be assured that our team are prepared and ready to deal with any issues that you may experience.
To our customers with a contract that includes workstation monitoring, we have already rolled out emergency patches to any potentially affected machines. If you do not have a contract that includes workstation monitoring please contact us and we can look to update any patches or we can review your contract to include workstation monitoring should you wish.
Please take this simple advice and pass to your colleagues and get the message out on how to avoid potential cybecrime hacks and viruses. Hopefully one day soon I won’t be spending so much of my time reading articles on cybercrime.Read more