Business Focused IT Support
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Kent Vision Live

by Nicki Dowsett in Uncategorized

MPR IT will be exhibiting at Kent Vision Live on 11th May 2016 and would like to take this opportunity to invite you along to discuss further how MPR IT can assist your business with your IT requirements.

Kent Vision LIVE is the South East’s premier B2B exhibition and the largest event of its kind in the UK: with over 3,200 unique buyers, suppliers and partners coming together for the year’s most important business gathering.  That’s more than every other B2B event in Kent put together – and all in a single day!

On the stand you will be able to meet members of technical team and our directors, we will also have representatives from some our partner companies, Rainbow Telecoms and Purdicom.  As I am sure you aware MPR IT offer various products and services including:
•    Fully Inclusive IT Support
•    Microsoft Office 365
•    Business Telephone systems
•    Wireless Networks
•    Hardware procurement
•    Point to Point wireless
•    Office Relocations and structured cabling

To attend the event, it is advised that you register in advance, click here to register for free.  Please also let us know if you will be attending on the day and I will ensure that the team are expecting you, we will have some goodies for you as well.

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Cybercrime and your business

by Nicki Dowsett in cybercrime, Industry News, IT Support, Password Security, Uncategorized

Cybercrime and you

The hot topic for the first half of 2016 has been all about cybercrime, hacking and ransomware.  It seems that no company no matter the size is safe from attack.  In this blog we will talk about some of the companies that have been attacked and how this can ultimately affect you.  We will also talk about the steps you need to take to ensure your systems and network are secure.

cyber crime

Can you name a well-known organisation that has been attacked?  Here are just a few that you will know and possibly use:

Talk Talk – 57,000 customer personal details accessed and 15,600 customer bank details taken.  This caused uncertainty for many customers as to what had happened to their bank details and at what cost to them.  This attack cost the company upwards of £35million in compensation and loss of customers.  4 people were subsequently arrested in connection to the attack.

Vtech – Over 5 million customers affected by this attack on children’s manufacturer.  Accounts set up online to allow children to play games were hacked, leaving them vulnerable.  Whilst it did not store any bank or credit card details, it did store personal contact information.  The company were not even aware of the attack until contacted by a journalist.  A 21 year old was arrested, he had carried out this attack from his home in Berkshire.

BBC News, The New York Times, MSN – One of the more recent occurrence. These news sites were unwitting victims to malicious adverts on their sites or malvertising.  Tens of thousands of people were exposed to these adverts, which could deliver malware to your device, encrypting your files.  This was a large attack on well-known news outlets and if they had been successful could have been devastating for millions of people, however all ads were removed quickly.

Ashley MadisonThe chances are you don’t know the company by name, but will have heard this story.  The company are an on-line site encouraging extra-marital affairs.  The site was hacked and user details stolen.  The information was then leaked on-line causing many spouses to be very unhappy. We can all guess how that ended up for many people.

FBISlightly concerning that the Federal Government of America are also at risk.  The same hackers also accessed the CIA director’s personal email.  Having accessed the FBI Portal the hackers were then able to view records on arrested suspects.  These details were then leaked on-line.

Donald TrumpNow no matter your view on the Presidential candidate for the US, it is surprising that even businesses owned by one of the most successful businessman at are risk.  Malware was put into the Trump Systems and stole credit card details from hotels across the US.  It is not known how many people were affected by this, but expected to be in the thousands.  The hacktivists Anonymous have also recently announced they are declaring war on Trump.

cryptolocker

Now for some of the lesser known companies, some of which are in our own region, just to show you that it is not just the large companies in the world that can be vulnerable.  Do not have a false sense of security that this cannot happen to you.  Sadly everyone is at risk.

Solar UK – Based in Battle, East Sussex, this small business of just 11 people were hacked by the current largest terrorist organisation, ISIS. The company website was vulnerable to attack and unbeknown to them, the website had been taken off line.  Anyone searching for them, would be horrified to see CCA or the Caliphate Cyber Army videos.  This hack was apparently in revenge for a drone strike in Syria.  It is believed that the company was targeted by a search Robot trawling through the internet to find unsecure websites.

Chatham Town FCIn January of 2015, this small part time football club had its page hacked and in place of the usual content an image was put up supporting the perpetrators of the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris.  Luckily all the content of the Football website was backed up and was back up and running after a couple of days with no data lost.

The list seems to go on and on of varying different business types that are vulnerable, we highly recommend that you review all your network and personal security.  The Government Cyber Essentials scheme backed by the FSB is key to help win any government contracts and is good practices for all businesses.  It is no longer something that businesses should think it would be nice to have in place, it is essential.  The risks are extremely high, not just for your customer’s details, but also your business as a whole.  If you are unfortunate enough to be attacked, it will be costly both in monetary value for custom, but also in getting it fixed and downtime for your staff.

These are the 5 key points on the Government Cyber Essentials scheme

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 updated.  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 national cybercrime website or if you have any concerns about any of the issues raised in this blog – please contact MPR IT to discuss the current state of your network and if there is anything else we can help you with to improve security.

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MPR NOVEMBER NEWSLETTER

by Nicki Dowsett in Newsletter, Uncategorized

MPR IT SOLUTIONS NEWSLETTER – NOVEMBER 2015

Welcome to the November edition of the MPR IT newsletter.  The last two months  have been extremely busy here in the MPR office, we have been out and about busy with installations at a number of client sites as well as continuing to support our clients via the helpdesk.  We thank you for your continued support and hope this edition of our newsletter will give you some insight of what we have been up to.  You will notice we have developed a new format for the newsletter and would welcome any feedback on this new look.

HELP DESK EXPANSION

Help desk support

Help desk support

Following our very successful month in September closing 581 tickets, October has continued to be busy with 693 with a 1st response rate of 91%.  For those you that have contacted the helpdesk you will be aware that we ask for your feedback on the ticket and our overall average score is 4.8 out 5.  This feedback helps us to identify and improve any areas that require looking at.

Taking into consideration the increase in activity on the helpdesk over the last couple of months and due to the additional clients joining the MPR family, we have now employed a new member to the team – Mitch Wright.  This now brings the team to a total 5 members on the helpdesk.  In addition to the daily calls we receive for support the team have also had a number of site visits and installations including:-

A national company that’s locally based recently contacted us to install a wireless link within their offices. This has been successfully implemented and they are pleased with the result.

Following a review on an existing network infrastructure at an existing and long standing client, we are currently renewing the network which covers to 2 sites and is linked by wireless connection.

Leased managed lines have been installed at to 2 of our larger existing clients providing them with the secure knowledge that in addition to PC support we are also the first point of call for phone systems

A local engineering company has been supported with the installation of a new the installation of a new ERP (Enterprise re-source planning) software solution called Winman

 SALES & MARKETING TEAM

North Kent B2B

North Kent B2B

David & Gaby exhibited at the Brands Hatch B2B organised by Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce during October, as sponsors of many of the events it was a pleasure to be part of the North Kent event.  It was a busy day networking with potential clients and also meeting existing clients.  The last event of 2015 took place in Sandwich on 4th November and this was another busy day, we believe in not only being in the office but also getting out to meet clients is one of the best ways to deliver the best service to all our clients.

As well as the exhibits, all of the team – Andy, David, Gaby and Nicki have been working hard on supporting our clients with a number of visits to site to discuss the service we offer and gathering feedback.  We have had a busy month securing a number of new clients to join MPR IT, and work is currently being carried out by the tech team to audit, install and support these.  More information on these will be in next month’s newsletter.

Gaby and Nicki are currently working hard to ensure that our database is in tip top shape so that we have all the correct information on our clients and their employees, over the coming weeks you should be contacted to re-confirm all the information we hold is correct.

 TEAM MEMBER BIO – BILL VAN DOORN

BVD

Bill Van Doorn – Tech Team

One of our newest members of the team, Bill joined us in the summer to work and support the Tech team.  He joined the team after knowing Lewis for many years. Originally from Holland, Bill moved to the UK to join the team.  Starting his career in IT in Holland, when the industry changed in the early 2000’s he decided to leave IT and became 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 was not enjoying it as much as he had been and 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.

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 also 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 – which he says are great group to work with and have made him feel very welcome.

 MPR IT BLOGS & SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS

Recently there have been a couple of issues we felt important to alert our customers to as a matter of urgency and have issued emails to all users on our database.

Following feedback from customers, we have now made the decision that should any such issues arise in the future, we will initially notify our customers by email, however all further updates relating to the issue will be found on our social media pages.  This will enable clients that are interested in a particular issue to keep up to date – without causing any frustration with additional emails to customers that are not interested.

Gaby in Customer Services has recently completed a NVQ course on Social media for Business.  One of her main tasks here at MPR is to keep our social media up to date with news stories from the IT industry.  We have now reached 500+ followers on Twitter – please follow us to keep up to date with news stories daily.

Please ensure you follow us on social media and our blog page to make sure you are kept up to date on any news stories we feel that would be of interest to some if not all our clients.

Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter and if you know of any colleagues that don’t receive our newsletter and would find this of interest please forward their details to us so we can add them to our database. If any of the news stories we have on our site may affect you please let us know or if you wish to discuss the services we currently provide to your business please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to help

Telephone: 0800 030 20 30

Email :info@mpr-it.co.uk

 

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Windows 10 User Experience

by Nicki Dowsett in Uncategorized

 Windows 10 Diary.

 11/09/15

I have downloaded windows 10. It took about an hour to download, and then half hour to set up. It’s definitely a change going from windows 7, to windows 10. I am not using the Windows 10 default browser ‘Edge’, I’m using ‘Internet Explorer’ instead as my browser, because ‘Edge’ doesn’t allow you to set a homepage, whereas ‘Internet Explorer’ does. I had some issues with the resolution, I fiddled with it and had some colleagues have a look at it as well, and although it’s a lot better, but it’s still not the same as before because obviously it’s not windows 7. The lay out is different, I didn’t try windows 8 or 8.1 so I don’t know the difference between, 8 and 10. Other than that everything I’ve been using today is pretty much the same, but as time goes by I’m sure other things will crop up that are different.

15/09/15

So I have had Windows 10 for a couple of days now, I’m still getting used to the layout. I needed my sticky notes, and I couldn’t find them just under ‘S’ I had to search ‘notes’ and then they came up. The search bar is handy. I haven’t come across any major issues yet, and I don’t think I will as I know it works with our systems and software, as most of the office have Windows 10 now. My screen still doesn’t look the same as it did before, everything looks stretched, but it’s bearable at the moment.

22/09/15

I have been using Windows 10 a little over 2 weeks now, and apart from the few issues at the beginning I haven’t experienced any other problems. It is easy to use once you get used to the layout.

I don’t advise companies to download it just yet, it may have worked well for me but that is because our technical team had tested it out before I took the plunge. Wait until Microsoft have fixed all bugs, and you know it is compatible with all software that you already use. Within a year of Windows 10 being released we are expecting all the kinks to be worked out by Microsoft.

If you do decide you can’t wait 6 months to a year for Windows 10, then please ask us for advice, we can check the specs of your machines to see if they are powerful enough to run Windows 10.

 

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You can’t always trust Artificial Intelligence

by Nicki Dowsett in Uncategorized

Cortana Embarrasses Microsoft Boss On Stage

WC Fields once said you should “never work with animals or children” – it might be time to add voice-activated assistants to that list.

Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella gave a keynote speech at a sales conference in San Francisco in which he wanted to show off the capabilities of Cortana.

The feature is a direct rival to Apple’s Siri, and responds to the human voice to carry out tasks and offer up information in an instant.

But the demonstration didn’t go to plan.

When he asked Cortana to “show me my most at-risk opportunities”, the assistant offered to remind him to buy milk instead.

“No, that’s not what I want,” he said, as a Bing search bar appeared with the milk request.

He tried a second time, to no avail. “Oh come on,” he said.

After a third unsuccessful attempt, a visibly frustrated Mr Nadella apologised to the crowd, saying: “No, this is not going to work.

“Sorry about that. Someone’s trying to save me from backstage.”

The mobile assistant has recently been incorporated into Windows 10, a feature the Microsoft boss had been keen to show off.

At least we know, that Cortana will make sure we have enough Milk before she takes over the world.

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Microsoft & McAffee Email Filtering

by Nicki Dowsett in Uncategorized

There is an ongoing issue with Microsoft and Email filtering at present. There was a SPAM outbreak on Friday, unrelated to MPR which has caused a Global issue, resulting in some emails being blocked by Microsoft. This means they will bounce back to your email inbox.

 If this is affecting you, please try to resend your email as it may go through from another server – the chances are it will go through eventually.

 McAffee hope to have this resolved at some point today. In the meantime, we will press McAffee to put pressure on Microsoft and will keep you full updated as the day progresses.

 We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

 

 

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Exciting new IT career opportunity

by Nicki Dowsett in Uncategorized

Are you looking for a new challenge and a job in IT?

MPR IT is a well-established and growing business providing leading IT support and services to business across the southeast. With 15 current members of staff we are looking to expand our in house workshop and helpdesk facilities side of the business and are now looking to give an enthusiastic and hardworking individual an exciting job with strong career prospects.

The ideal candidate will have a strong interest in IT with excellent time and personal management skills, be able to demonstrate a good level of understanding of PC hardware repair and builds, be able to troubleshoot and repair Windows operating systems and office products, be able to work closely as part of a team yet be able to self-manage workloads and report back on progress.

 

2nd Line Support Engineer

Ashford

The role of 2nd Line Support Engineer combines a clear commitment to customer satisfaction with a desire to progress technical skills. The 2nd Line Support Engineer is responsible for the day-to-day support of customers. The role will include ticket logging, second line support of desktops, servers, other associated devices and acting upon monitoring generated alerts. Support will be provided through email, tickets generated by the online portal and telephone direct to the customers. The role will also be responsible for managing escalations to other parts of Operations and vendors or partners, to ensure the prompt and satisfactory resolutions of customer support cases.

Key Duties

  • Provide Support for IT customers via telephone, email and online tickets.
  • Support, maintain, and improve customer service.
  • Provide accurate and timely diagnosis and rectification of customer faults.
  • Resolve or escalate problems and service requests according to established procedures
  • Work pro-actively to ensure prompt resolution of support cases and the highest possible levels of customer satisfaction.
  • Raise, update and close calls on service desk call management system.
  • Escalate call to other 3rd Line support/external maintenance companies.

Person Specification

Essential:

  • Microsoft Windows and Office.
  • Excellent communication skills and telephone manner.
  • Ability to follow procedures and mindful of attention to detail.
  • Able to make progress with minimal supervision.
  • Ability to work consistently in a dynamic and sometimes high pressure environment.
  • Fluent English.
  • Cisco
  • Microsoft Windows Server technologies.
  • Active Directory.
  • Network experience.
  • Experience of working in a service desk environment.
  • Good PC / Peripheral hardware skills

A CRB check will be required for this role.

This is a full time position Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5:30pm

Salary is negotiable

To apply please send a cover letter and your CV to Info@mpr-it.co.uk

 

 

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Windows 10 Launch

by Nicki Dowsett in Industry News, IT Systems, Uncategorized

What should you do about the Windows 10 update?

Windows 10 - the last major revision

Windows 10 – the last major revision

We have recently blogged about the new and final major revision of Windows 10.  This is due to be launched in the coming days.  As IT professionals we would strongly advise against downloading the new Windows 10 when it is first launched. From experience we have come across many issues when new updates arrive, and fully expect there to be issues with this new version.  You download it and it’s not compatible with many 3rd party software programme you use or even your hardware such as printers, scanners etc.  Every new upgrade will have bugs, there is no a way around that, but you can save yourself time by being patient and letting others discover the bugs for you, let them be human guinea pigs. Once the bugs have been found Microsoft will then get rid of them. When this process is completed a few times for different bugs and glitches it is probably then the right time for you to upgrade to the new windows 10 without the bugs! Now doesn’t that sound good?

For those of you with windows 7, windows 8.1 and windows phone 8.1, windows 10 is a free upgrade, and for most with a few clicks of your mouse it is downloaded. Now that sounds good to me, because firstly it’s FREE! And secondly I don’t have to spend time trying to install it myself. This then removes two of the biggest barriers to upgrading. The big question is though, can you upgrade? If you cannot see the icon it may be because the PC is not up-to-date, you have ‘windows update’ turned off, or you’re running a pirated version of windows, but as a customer we know that is not the case. For you to be able to have Windows 10 you have to make sure your PC’s are compatible, meaning other windows programmes, 3rd party software and drivers.

Windows 10 Specification

In order to run windows 10, you will need to have the latest version of either windows 7 SP1 or windows 8.1 update.

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2GB for 64-bit
  • Hard Disk Space: 16GB for 32-bit OS – 20GB for 64-bit OS
  • Graphics Card: DirectX9 or later with WDDM 1.0 Driver
  • Display: 800×600

In Windows 8.1, OneDrive placeholders, also called smart files, let you see all of the files in OneDrive, even if the files are located in the cloud and not on your device. When you double-click a placeholder on your PC, the file is downloaded. However, when Windows 10 ships, OneDrive placeholders won’t work because of the upgraded OneDrive software.  Microsoft says it will try to bring OneDrive placeholder functionality to Windows 10 by year’s end. But if OneDrive placeholders are important to you, don’t upgrade until they work with Windows 10.

If your system doesn’t qualify, then you’re going to have to upgrade your hardware before you upgrade your operating system. (Or just buy a new computer with Windows 10 already installed.)

If you want a head start on the upgrade process, you can ‘reserve’ your download. Reserving just means the file you need for the upgrade at the end of the month will be downloaded to your PC ahead of time, to make the final installation quicker. You are still able to cancel the download before launch day. 29/07/15

Microsoft has a habit of pushing people to its latest operating system by ending support for its old operating systems, halting security updates and leaving users potentially open to security threats. If you have Windows 7 or Windows 8, you’ve got years before that happens. Microsoft will keep issuing security patches for Windows 7 until January 2020 and for Windows 8 until January 2023. Even Windows Vista will get security updates until April 2017.

As long as you have all the specifications for Windows 10, then you are eligible to download / purchase it, but there’s no need to rush, to download it free you have a year, and your current windows software will have security for many more years, so take your time to find if it works for you, and especially for all the bugs to be got rid of, let someone else be the Guinea pig for once.

If you have any queries or questions about this new update and our approach with it, please give us a call on 0800 0302030 or email info@mpr-it.co.uk.

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Ransomware – CryptoLocker

by Nicki Dowsett in Uncategorized

Ransomware – Cryptolocker

In simple terms this is a version of ransomware based on holding users to random for their data.   Malware is installed on your system through spam emails and will hijack your data, then hold you to ransom by demanding payment to release the data.  Chances are you will never see your money or your data again.

How this works

Using social engineering, CryptoLocker will trick the user.  A Trojan email will be sent to you with a Zip file and ask you to open this with a password that is included in the email.  Once the system attempts to open the files, CryptoLocker will take advantage of Windows default behaviour by hiding the real malicious file and installing this on your system.  It will save itself to a folder in your user profile with a key register to make sure it runs every time your computer is started.

Once installed it will generate a random key for each file that it encrypts, the only person with the key is the person that has sent the Trojan email and only they can decrypt it to open your files.  Once it has encrypted all your files, it will pop up a message on your screen asking for a ransom to obtain the key and a time limit for you to pay.

Cryptolocker pop up warning

Cryptolocker pop up warning

How to ensure you are not affected by this

Essentially this is down to the individual.  The one main rule everyone should follow is ‘Never open an attachment from someone you don’t know’.  Following this rule is the first step to avoid any virus, not just CryptoLocker.  The second key rule to follow is ‘Regular and consistent back up of all files’.  This means that you will effectively only lose the data that has been created since the last back up e.g the night before. The third and quite possibly one of the most important rules ‘Never pay up’.  By paying these ransoms you are effectively letting them win.  Scams such as these and many others will only continue if people pay up.  It becomes a source for a large amount of income and encourages these scammers to come up with new and wonderful ways to scam people. Make sure that your Operating system is regularly updated to ensure that any fix/patch from Windows is installed in your system to avoid any infiltration.  Operating systems are regularly updated to combat any new virus threat as they become known.

Rules:

  1. Never open an attachment from someone you don’t know
  2. Regular and consistent back up of all files
  3. Never pay up
  4. Make sure that your Operating system is regularly updated.

 

As time has gone on and Operating Systems have been patched for these threats, we are now starting to see variation on Cryptolocker and it is now often seen as CrytpowallIt is essentially the same threat, however sticking to the above rules you are more likely to escape this threat.

We have had a number of cases of this being reported to us from companies.  If you have any concerns for your current email filtering and virus protection, please contact us a matter of urgency to discuss your options.  It is easier and more cost effective to protect you from virus threat than it is fix the problem.  If you become a victim of any virus it will not only be costly to fix, you may lose valuable data and work time.

 

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Upgrading your PC

by MPRAdmin in Uncategorized

So it is time to upgrade or your machine has failed. So what do you do go for a bargain laptop or get quality advice on the machine you need.  It would be nice to buy a basic machine and it does everything you need. We have come across this time after time where we go into premises after they have bought cheap machines only to find out that it was not fit for their purpose.

We look at your current applications you use and find out what exactly you would like to use this for. if you are looking for a cheap computer, you will find 6 months down the track that it will no longer be a great buy.  We understand networks, computers and more importantly people  and how they use their machines on a day to day basis. We look at the whole picture and can point out problem areas that you might need advice or solutions for. When it come down to computers it is like cars or sofa’s, you need to know what it is going to be used for and how good it is for you before deciding on a cheap machine that will not fill all your needs. We all do not go and buy the cheapest car to drive we look at features and budget.

So when you come to look at replacing an old machine or buying a new computer, please do not go to places like pc world or your local computer shop. Talk to us about your needs and we will advise you on  a machine that will do the job and last the distance for you and your company. For help and advice and to find out more please contact us on 08000302030 option 2

Basic HP    VS        c03889408_100x75

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