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.Read more
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.Read more
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.Read more
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 email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0800 030 20 30.Read more
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 Support||Mainstream||Extended||Beyond|
|Request to change design||Available||Not Available||Not Available|
|Security Updates||Available||Available||Not Available|
|Non Security Updates||Available||Available||Not Available|
|Self Help Support||Available||Available||Available|
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.
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.Read more
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 email@example.comRead more
by Nicki Dowsett in Anti-virus software, Audio Systems, broadband, CCTV, cybercrime, Disaster Planning, DNS Web Hosting, Domain Registration, Engineers, Exclaimer Cloud, fibre optics, Fire Alarms, General, Hardware, Helpdesk, Hosted phone, IT Support, IT Systems, Microsoft, Microsoft Teams, MPR, MPR IT Work, New customer, Office 365, Office Move, Password Security, Point to Point Wireless, Ransomware, Remote working, Server cabinet, Software, SQL Server, SSL Certificates, Structured Cabling, Training, TV Distribution, Web Hosting, Websites, Windows 10, Wireless networks
“What does IT Support look like to you?”
Often the simple answer is a helpdesk offering daily support to end users in a fast and reliable manner.
When considering your business as a whole, IT Support is usually much more complex. Have you considered these areas?
- Who looks after your phone system?
- Who provides your internet connection and leased lines?
- Where is your website domain registered and hosted?
- Do you have malware and anti-virus software?
- Is your office using a Wi-Fi network? Who maintains this?
- Where do you purchase new hardware? Is it under warranty and how do you manage an upgrade programme?
- Are your servers on site or are they cloud based? How are these monitored and supported?
If I was to ask the question again “What does IT Support look like to you?” Would the answer be the same? The chances are that answer has changed.
By choosing MPR IT Solutions, you can be assured that your business will benefit from all-round comprehensive support in all information technology aspects. With a dedicated Account Manager, simple straightforward invoicing and only one point of contact for any technical issues, MPR IT Solutions provides fast, effective and reliable IT Support to businesses throughout London and the South East. Working in partnership with our clients we believe enhances our understanding of their business needs and we always look to find the best and most effective solution. Our core products and services include (but not limited to);
- Comprehensive IT Systems Support
- Hosted/ Voip Telephones
- Website domain registration and hosting
- Internet connections and Leased Lines
- Wi Fi Networks
- Azure Server Support
- Office 365 & Microsoft Teams
- AEM Monitoring
- Malware/Anti-virus software
- Hardware purchasing and upgrade plans
- Security Awareness Training (SATT)
- Email Signature Management
Through the growth and continued development of MPR IT Solutions and increasing demands from clients, our sister company MPR Technical Services was born in 2019. A Technical Services Integrator, their highly experienced and qualified employees provide advice, design and installation services in residential and commercial developments.
MPR Technical Services and MPR IT Solutions will work together for larger projects, as necessary. With a collaborative relationship you can be assured of strong communication and enhanced understanding of the work carried out and on-going support required.
Extended Services through MPR Technical Services:
- Structured Cabling
- Wireless Networks
- Audio Visual and Digital IPTV Systems
- Electronic Security
- Office re-locations
For more information on the products and services from MPR IT Solutions contact our team today on 0800 030 20 30 or email firstname.lastname@example.orgRead more