Britain and many parts of the world are currently in lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The British Government recently announced that where possible people should now be working from home. Following this we have seen a dramatic increase in requests to set up remote access.
Office 365 package makes working from home so much easier. With Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint, Teams and Word all available through one simple log. Meaning you can connect to your workspace from anywhere that has an internet connection. As someone that has been part of the MPR IT team for the last 6 years and based in Berkshire, I can confirm that being able to connect with the main MPR IT team via Office 365 is seamless.
To support our local small business community we would like to offer FREE migration to Office 365 during the current lockdown due to Covid 19.
For more information on how Office 365 can package can support you and your business please call our team on 0800 030 20 30 Option 1Read more
Covid-19 has fast become the hot topic in the media and conversations around the world. Whilst there is still much uncertainty as to how it will affect us as individuals and businesses, it is not something to completely dismiss.
The spread of Covid-19 is likely to increase over the coming weeks. With schools and businesses expected to be affected, be it due to members of staff/pupils becoming unwell or simply due to an external connection to someone that is affected.
This morning (Tuesday 3rd March 2020), Downing Street released a statement detailing various plans for the worst case scenario. Including a prediction that up to a fifth of the UK workforce potentially being unable to work due to Covid-19.
Disaster Management plans have traditionally been put in place for the scenarios where offices are inaccessible. With consideration made due to fire, flood or bad weather. It is unlikely that the current situation of a global contagion has been taken into consideration. Now is the time to consider and review your disaster management plan.
Catch it, Kill it, Bin it!
This phrase, and the recommendation of regular hand washing is promoted widely. Here at MPR IT, we are ensuring that this message is clear to all our staff members, whether they are office based or engineers visiting clients offices. We have also instructed all team members that should they be concerned they may have come into contact with someone suffering with Coronavirus symptoms, they should inform management and seek medical advise whilst self isolating.
Flexible Home Working
In line with the Disaster Management Plan already in place for MPR IT, all staff members have the ability to work from home and continue to support our clients with no loss of service. This is part of a plan that has been in place for many years. The main purpose of this plan is to ensure that our business can continue no matter what.
Office 365 and Cloud Computing
Software packages such as Office 365, and cloud based CRM’s are becoming more common place. Giving access to email and Microsoft applications such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Teams, from any location with Internet connectivity. Giving the ability to create and share documents with chosen individuals.
Along with access to documents and files, it is also vital for your business phone lines to be managed. With Hosted Telephone Systems your customers are still able to contact you. Without even having to know you are not physically in the office.
With a range of options and packages to suit businesses of all sizes, we strongly recommend that if you wish to consider the options available to your business, now is the time to contact and discuss with our team on 0800 030 20 30.Read more
Microsoft will be ending support and updates for two of their platforms in 2020. If you are currently using either Office 2010 or Windows 7, it is important to consider your options now.
Microsoft have recently announced that support for Office 2010 will be ending on 13th October 2020. This means that from this date there will be no further extension of updates on this package.
Whilst Office 2010 will still continue to function it does mean that you will be at risk of potentially harmful and serious security risks. We recommend that you look to upgrading to Microsoft Office 365 as a replacement.
MPR IT Solutions are an official Microsoft Cloud Accelerate Partner and Small Business Specialist. This means we are trained in a number of Microsoft Competencies that directly relate to implementing, migrating and configuring your Office 365 solution. We have vast experience in migrating businesses over to Office 365 and ensure minimal disruption to your daily tasks.
Secondly support will be ending on 14 January 2020 for the operating system Windows 7. Available since 2009, there have been a number of updates since the launch, with the current recommended version Windows 10 now on the market. Please see our earlier blog explaining this.
If you are using Windows 7, either on a personal computer or at your business, now is the time to consider upgrading to Windows 10. However, before you make the move, it is imperative that you consider any 3rd party software programme installed on your pc/laptop and hardware such as printers, scanners etc. as these may not be compatible. You will also need to consider the hardware resources available, as Windows 10 is a powerful operating system and therefore requires a large amount of RAM installed.
Our team of experts can audit all of your software packages (e.g Sage) and hardware (e.g RAM, printers and scanners) to ensure these are compatible and where they may not be. To upgrade without taking this into consideration, you may find that it becomes time consuming and more costly to rectify the issues.
For more information and to discuss your options to upgrade either of these Microsoft products please contact our team on 0800 030 20 30 or email email@example.comRead more
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.
Emergencies can happen in any office, as one of our clients found out one weekend.
One of our long standing clients, Russell Laboratories, has been receiving support from MPR IT for a number of years now. The package we provide includes our fully inclusive Server Support package, as well as a number of larger projects including server replacements, network cabling and CCTV. MPR IT and Russell Laboratories have a close working relationship and as with all our customers we meet regularly to discuss the support we provide, and help to identify any areas that require attention.
Russell Laboratories are a leading provider of advanced plating and finishing services to the electronics, aerospace and allied industries. Based locally in Ashford the company has been in operation for 40 years. The decision to outsource IT support was made to allow the existing staff, at Russell Laboratories to concentrate on their own main roles within the business. As well as having the knowledge of a fixed price contract for ongoing daily support and security that any additional work required would be carried out by experienced engineers who fully understand the network.
As part of the inclusive server support, our systems monitor the servers on site 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, alerting our team to any issues with the systems. This means that even at weekends or over holiday periods, Russell Laboratories are safe in the knowledge that should emergencies happen they have no costly invoices for out of hour’s support.
One Saturday morning, our out of hour’s team were alerted to an issue with the server at Russell Laboratories. Our on call engineer contacted them to discuss this and it was then discovered that a water leak had occurred and the server had been damaged by water. With the knowledge and expertise of our engineer, within a short period of time we were able to transfer email access to Office 365 enabling the flow of email to continue uninterrupted. After a quick site visit to identify the equipment affected, new hardware was ordered to arrive the next working day ready for installation. As part of the support package we provide, Servers are backed up daily by MPR IT and with the data from the Friday night incident it meant that no data had been lost. The team at Russell Laboratories lost no data and they were able to continue working, with access to their emails and the total downtime from the first notification of the incident was 48 hours over the weekend.Read more
Office 365 – allowing flexible working approach in the modern day
Having spent most of my working life in an office environment with onsite servers and personal PC’s and shared drives, I now work from home on a laptop with little option for back up. When I first took on this role at MPR IT I was little concerned as to how I would connect easily with the office and what would happen if my laptop died on me. I had taken a break from my career for 2 years after having my son and so had lost touch with some of the new ways that software and technology had moved on in what I thought was a relatively short period of time. When the team almost laughed at me hysterically I was a little surprised – “Office 365 Nicki, it’s so simple even you can use it.” Charming I thought. So 2 years later working with MPR IT, I have no worries at all about how safe my documents and emails are should my laptop decided it has had enough, and whether I am working at home or visiting the office I have access to all my documents and emails with ease. I can easily share a file with a colleague, and they can edit the document as required without having to email it back and forth, same as when I was office based with shared drives on the servers. I can also share documents with a customer should the need arise. When sharing files the recipient will only have access to the information I allow and not all my files.
No matter where I am in the world (though the days of travelling are pretty limited now), as long as I have access to the internet I can access all my files and emails by simply logging on Office 365 website. In the couple of years that I took out it seems the whole style of working for many organisations has changed and become a lot more flexible. We no longer need to be in the office and at a PC, we can use our phones, tablets and laptops wherever we are even on a train with WiFi. It means no more working late in the office because you have been out at meetings all day, with Office 365, you can log in and catch up at a location more convenient to your needs.
Office 365 is a cloud based service, so depending on your business needs there is no need for large servers taking up valuable office space. The data is stored off site at a data centre or “in the cloud” and you are safe in the knowledge that everything is secure and easily accessible for you.
Please see our Office 365 web page for for full details, case studies and a guideline of some of the package prices we can offer, however MPR IT can offer a wide range of options. Whether you are a sole trader or a large corporation we will discuss your needs and priorities, and ensure you have the package that suits your requirements. Migration from your current set up is simple and can be timed to ensure minimal disruption for your business, with no loss of historical data and the knowledge that our team are highly experienced in this field you too will soon be able to access your documents from your smartphone, tablet or laptop anywhere with an internet connection.
You may have seen our recent blog about Microsoft Lync changing to Skype for business. This was effectively a re-branding of the current service offered for instant messaging and video calling for the office. At the time it was said there would be further updates.
Skype has recently announced the next phase of the re-branding, and these programs look to be promising tools for businesses. With three new programs currently being launched for Technical previews from the 1st of July. These programs will be part of the suite of Office 365 apps and will require users to use Office 365.
The first and probably the most effective will be Skype Meeting Broadcast, this will work as a similar product to GoTo Meeting. This program will allow users to hold meetings with up to 10,000 people in a browser. This will be beneficial for companies that want to hold a company meeting or Town Hall Meeting, without the hassle of travel for all staff members and finding the space big enough to hold everyone. Saving a business time and money. It will also allow businesses to hold Webinars with clients on a large scale, so not just viable for internal contacts but also external.
The second is Public Switched Telephone Network or PSTN Conferencing. This function allows for users of Skype for Business to hold a meeting within Office 365 via land line or mobile. A great additional tool to the Skype Meeting Broadcast for anyone not able to connect via a browser. This is currently only being previewed in the US but should be available in the UK in the near future. Something for us to look forward to.
The third part of this phase is Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling. This program will allow users to effectively use Skype for Business as a traditional phone system. You will be able to receive and make calls via Skype in the traditional manner and to manage these calls with the option to place calls on hold or transfer to a colleague. This is currently only on preview in the US and will use voice technology of Skype for Business and will run on the Azure OS. They expect this to be available worldwide by the end of 2015. It will require a configuration option to allow users to use existing phone lines to link in with the Azure OS and phone systems so will involve an amount of set up to be operational. However this is an interesting step forward in terms of communication.
At this stage of preview/testing period the trials are only available to selected end users, however it is promising to see a new phase already in the pipeline such a short time after the re-branding of Lync to Skype. Microsoft are clearly planning to move a step ahead in terms of programs and tools to assist businesses work more efficiently with less travel and time spent away from the desk, whilst still having a small personal touch of video conferencing.
Personally for us here at MPR we prefer to meet our clients on a face to face basis as we find this is the best way of keeping in touch with our clients, however there will always be occasions when a simple phone call is not enough and the advantage of the video conferencing will be beneficial with clients that can’t get away to meet us. Additionally the instant messaging feature is great to ask a quick question which may not need a full email or phone call. With Skype for business a video call can allow you to share your screen and present documents, this is a great tool for us when offering support to our clients.Read more