Business Focused IT Support
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Living on Microsoft Teams

by Nicki Dowsett in Disaster Planning, General, Helpdesk, IT Support, Microsoft, Microsoft Teams, MPR IT Work, networking, Office 365, Remote working, Software, Training, Uncategorised

Microsoft Teams was originally launched in March 2017 as a planned replacement to Skype for business. By March 2020, Microsoft Teams was used daily by 44 million people. One month later, much of the world was in lockdown and the number of daily users dramatically increased to over 75 million users.

The chances are that, as your team has been working across multiple locations, you have been using Microsoft Teams in your business. We don’t need to tell you that it is predominantly used for instant chat messaging, voice and video calls between employees and customers or suppliers.

MPR and Microsoft Teams

Since March 2020, with staff working remotely initially, and now with a limited staff level physically in the office and others still remote, Teams has been a vital tool in keeping everyone connected.

Daily morning and end of day meetings take place to check everyone is well and to discuss the activity taking place. Whilst some members were furloughed an end of week meeting was put in place to have a general catch up and keep in touch with everyone. In addition to regular group chat to ask questions and the occasional ‘Dad’ joke from team members.

As someone that has worked remotely for the last 6 years with MPR IT, I can honestly say that with the regular meetings and chat I feel more connected to the company and my colleagues in other departments. Previously, I would drop an email or quick call to someone when I needed something now, I see them all daily instead of 3 or 4 times a year when I would normally visit the office.

Click here for a Quick Start Guide to Microsoft Teams or to see the full range of training videos and resources see the Microsoft Teams website. In the meantime, here are a few features we have found to be helpful.

Video Calling Backgrounds

When making a video call to your clients or colleagues you may not want your background to be on display and be looking for a more professional image. Microsoft Teams offer a couple of options to overcome this problem

Blurred background – to avoid people in your video call seeing your homework space, or other people walking around the office you can blur out the background so that only you are on screen.

Virtual Background – a step up from the blurred background is to set up a virtual screen. If you are meeting with clients on video call or in a networking event, choosing a virtual background with your company logo can be more professional than you home or office background.

This can be activated in just a few simple steps: 

  • Generally, you should find the option under your audio and video settings as you start or join a meeting 
  • Click on settings 
  • Check under options 
  • Look for an option to blur your background or choose an image and click on it  

Group videos and Conferencing

Teams Live Events – Microsoft Teams can host meetings from 1-10,000 participants depending on your subscription and you IT Infrastructure. With many networking events, conferences or seminars moving to virtual events you can still easily reach your audience. Within a meeting you can also create individual rooms for different speakers allowing people to more around within the event.

Live Captions – Adding live captions to your meeting can be beneficial for people with different levels of language understanding or for anyone with hearing difficulties. Simply click on the 3 dots in the middle of your screen and speak slowly and clearly into you microphone and the words will appear as subtitles on the screen.

Sharing screens and content -ability to share content or PowerPoint presentations with your audience. This is a feature that has been available on many video conferencing services for many years. Simply click on the share tray and choose the application you wish to share.

Recording and transcribing video meeting – Capture audio, video, and screen-sharing activity by recording your Teams meetings. Automatic transcription allows you to play back meetings and search for important discussion items in the transcript.

Follow up – After your event or meeting you can easily share your recording, files and content and chat with attendees as well as being able to reschedule the next meeting. When all linked together it easy to review previous notes and recording all in one place.

Collaborative Tool

Microsoft Teams is much more than a communication tool, it has many additional features making it an all-round collaborative tool. With many additional apps that can be incorporated to share and edit content, plan projects, connecting with your CRM, social media channels, email platforms and live chat on your website. Additional apps are easily accessed through the main Team’s page.

If you would like to discuss Office 365, SharePoint or Microsoft Teams for your business in more detail please contact us on 0800 030 20 30

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Bogus Email and Internet Campaigns

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

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

Virus detected image

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

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

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

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

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

Our helpdesk team are committed to answering all queries as fast as we can and we appreciate your patience at this time.  We would also like to thank each and everyone of our customers for their support during this busy time and we wish everyone well.

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Domain Ownership – Protecting your brand

by Nicki Dowsett in DNS Web Hosting, Domain Registration, General, Helpdesk, Industry News, IT Support, Uncategorised, Web Hosting, Websites

Domain Registration and Web Hosting

Many businesses have an online presence, without one your business can go unnoticed. When a potential customer is looking for a new supplier or product the first place they will turn to now is most likely the internet.

Many of our clients register their domain names through MPR IT Solutions, and it is becoming increasingly commonplace to register a variety of different domain names for websites such as: .co.uk, .uk, .com, .net and .co.

In addition to registering Domain names, MPR IT Solutions also host many of our client websites.

Whilst you only need one website to promote your business, it is possible to have more than one domain name directed to that website.  There are many reasons for this, the most common reason being the ability to secure your brand. By owning the different variations it means that no one else can buy these and create fake platforms.  This can prove detrimental to your business profile.

With the registration of a variety of domain names you cannot only help to avoid scams but also increase your on-line presence. You are more likely to appear higher in google searches if you have more options for your website to redirect to. Ensuring any potential customers looking for your company can find it more easily.

Protecting your brand

A story from BBC News highlights the importance of retaining domain name ownership, where it has once been linked to your business and how your brand can be seriously affected. In this case a domain name was no longer required by Surrey County Council and released. However it is still referenced by a number of third party websites relating to Special Needs education. The domain, after being released was purchased by a company promoting adult content.

There is nothing that Surrey County Council can do to remove the adult content from this domain as they no longer have ownership of the domain name and therefore no rights to it. Additionally, it is very difficult to monitor which third party websites reference your domain names and this example shows exactly how this could be detrimental to your business brand.

Contact us today on 0800 030 20 30 or sales@mpr-it.co.uk to discuss the Domain registration and Web Hosting options we offer.

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Microsoft Support Ending

by Nicki Dowsett in General, Hardware, Helpdesk, Industry News, IT Systems, Microsoft, Office 2007, Office 365, Uncategorised, Windows 10, Windows 7

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 sales@mpr-it.co.uk

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Webroot Anti-Virus Protection

by Nicki Dowsett in Uncategorised

Working with a wide variety of businesses, MPR is often asked which is the best available and the most suitable antivirus protection.  The team at MPR IT review new technology and software regularly to ensure that not only are we are able to offer impartial advice but also the most suitable and cost-effective solution for all customers.

The market for antiviral software is wide and varied for both home or office options.  It can become confusing and time consuming in making the right decision as to which is best for you.  From our experience over the last 11 years and the changing threats to cyber security we have researched and reviewed the options for antiviral software and can recommend Webroot as the best and more comprehensive package available presently.

Why Webroot?

With simple security management Webroot offers Predictive Threat Intelligence, keeping end users safe and productive by blocking malicious inbound traffic and stopping phishing in its tracks

Founded in 1997, Webroot has been protecting businesses and home users worldwide for over 20 years.  Offering experience and expertise by innovating, refining, and applying machine learning for effective cybersecurity since 2007.  In 2011 Webroot became fully cloud-based since 2011.

Despite numerous attacks and news stories there continues to be a rise on cyber attacks throughout the world.  While a large number, of businesses are becoming more aware of the potential threat to malware and ransomware, the criminal organisations are constantly adapting the ways in which they can attack your networks.  Webroot can protect your business both in the office and out and about with the mobile security option.

To discuss how your business can benefit from Webroot for your antivirus software please contact our Sales team on 0800 030 20 30 option 2 or email sales@mpr-it.co.uk

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March Team Member of the Month

by Nicki Dowsett in General, Helpdesk, IT Support, IT Systems, MPR IT Work, Team Member of the Month, Uncategorised

March Team Member of the Month

Each month the team at MPR IT are asked to put forward their nomination for Team Member of the Month and their reasoning behind the decision.

We are pleased to announce that this months winner is none other than Bill Van Doorn. Having been with us since 2015, Bill joined us to work and support the Tech team. 

Bill came out on top of a close battle between several employees, here are some of the comments from the team:

“Well organised.”

“Always available to help.”

“My go to guy whatever the problem.”

Originally from Holland, Bill moved to the UK to join the team at MPR IT. Starting his career in IT in Holland, when the industry changed in the early 2000’s he decided to leave IT.

Following his passion for cooking, he trained as a chef working his way up from Sous chef to Head chef in various restaurants with expertise in classic French and Italian cooking.  After 10 years in the profession he decided he was not enjoying it as much as he had been. So decided to get back into IT, so he packed up, left everything behind and moved to Ashford to start a new chapter in his life.

Bill is a very busy person outside of his work life and is also a music producer and has co-founded his production company.  He also is very interested in on-line gaming. And still loves to cook for friends and family – not forgetting the team in the office!

Since joining MPR IT he has taken on the role on the Tech helpdesk and is also responsible for our stock room due to his great organisational skills.  He continues to further his knowledge in IT studying in his spare time and is pleased to have made the move to work within the team .

Congratulations Bill – Well deserved winner.

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Brand New Service: Tech-as-a-Service

by Nicki Dowsett in General, Hardware, IT Systems, Microsoft, Ransomware, Software, Surface, Tech-as-a-service, TV Distribution, Uncategorised

Tech-as-a-Service

MPR IT Solutions provides premier versatile IT solutions and support for businesses in London & the South East. With 10 years in a highly competitive industry, we have a wealth of knowledge and experience. Listening to our clients is key to providing the high quality of support that our clients find invaluable and unmatched.

Feedback from our clients informs us that with the fast-moving pace of technology, ensuring an office has the latest and most efficient hardware, can be both time consuming and costly. After listening to the feedback we have researched the industry to find a superior solution for this predicament. We are now pleased to announce that we are able to offer a new service, called Tech-as-a-Service, through our trusted partner TechData.

Tech-as-a-Service allows you to combine your hardware, software, and services into a single solution. Giving you access to the latest technology, optimising your IT budget, and simplifying your invoicing with simple monthly payments.

The key benefits of using Tech-as-a-Service include:

  • Predictable, lower costs
  • Access to the latest technology and employee experience
  • Unburdened IT and day-to-day management
  • Flexibility to add or remove technology hardware according to demand

Hardware Example:

The one-off total cost for the hardware and labour would be £13,104.00. By using Tech-as-a-Service you can spread the cost over 36 months, including interest you would make monthly payments of £401.00.

Look at how this breakdown can optimise budgets with an affordable and straightforward subscription:

  • £401.00 per Month
  • £92.53 per Week
  • £13.21 per Day
  • £0.62 per Seat per Day

Software Options

In addition to hardware we can also offer software services for your business. Our team of experts regularly review the market leaders in all solutions that we offer and work hard to ensure that we are providing the best services to our clients. Recommended software packages include:

Tech-as-a-Service can offer subscriptions to these packages over 36 months as opposed to making it more cost effective and affordable, meaning your business can benefit to the best products on the market.

To find out more on how Tech-as-a-Service can benefit your company, please contact our Sales Team on 0800 030 20 30 option 2 or email sales@mpr-it.co.uk

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January – Team Member of the Month

by Nicki Dowsett in Uncategorised

 Team Member of the Month

Each month the team at MPR IT are asked to put forward their nomination for Team Member of the month and their reasoning behind the decision.

James Thompson has been voted as January 2019 Team Member of the Month. James has been with MPR IT for two months in the role of Senior Installations Engineer. James has been working in IT for six so has a wide range of knowledge to support our well established team.

Winning by just one vote, James came out on top of a close battle between six employees. Some of the comments from his peers include:

“Started the job running, just gets on with it.”
“Brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to MPR.”
“Hard working and efficient.”

Congratulations James

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Exciting Start to the New Year for MPR IT

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
CCTV
Access Control
TV distribution systems
Audio 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.

 

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Why take an IT Support contract over AdHoc Support

by MPRAdmin in General, Helpdesk, IT Support, IT Systems, Uncategorised

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 £32.00 + 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 2

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