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Mastering the Cloud for Business in Five Easy Steps

cloudIn today’s business world, you and your workforce need to be able to access your computer systems at any time in any place from any PC, laptop or mobile device.

You need the flexibility to match your IT needs to your business and the marketplace, and you certainly shouldn’t be investing in expensive server hardware or software for the privilege.

That’s why Cloud Computing makes absolute sense for any SME interested in a dependable IT solution that costs less when business is slow and only adds extra cost in line with your business growth.

Putting it simply, Cloud Computing means you can store and access the data and programs that are critical to the success of your business over the internet instead of your computer or company server. This includes your documents, emails, customer information, business applications and other assets.

If Cloud Computing with its flexibility, accessibility and affordability sounds like an IT solution you’d like to explore, here’s how you can master the Cloud for business in five easy steps:

  1. You Need Guaranteed Internet Connectivity: If you cannot connect to the internet, most Cloud Computing solutions simply won’t work. Since, in most instances, you use the Internet to connect to both your applications and documents, if you don’t have an Internet connection you can’t access anything. Also, web-based software can require a lot of bandwidth, as do large documents. If you’re suffering from a low-speed connection, it might take seemingly forever just to change from page to page in a document. If you cannot guarantee regular, sustained access to the internet, Cloud Computing is not for you. There are, however, some hybrid solutions that might be perfect for your business. Speak impartially to our experts at The PC Support Group about what your other IT options may better meet your needs.
  2. Transition to Microsoft 365: Microsoft Office 365 is a Cloud-based service hosted by Microsoft themselves. It brings together familiar Microsoft Office desktop-based applications with Cloud-based business email, shared calendars, instant messaging, video conferencing and file sharing. If you’re already familiar with Microsoft Office tools such as Outlook and Word, Microsoft Office 365 can be a smooth transition to using Cloud technology. One of the key benefits, especially if you’re a business that does not have an internal network, is the ability to share calendars; to message each other and to access the system via the web. If you already operate on an internal network you can still benefit through reduced support costs; reduced licence replacement costs; improved security and improved resilience. Learn more here.
  3. Define your IT Strategy: Cloud Computing is one of the world’s leading enablers for business. It brings overseas marketplaces closer to your doorstep; supports agile and paperless working, and makes running a virtual team a reality – saving you overheads like business premises and utility bills. Discuss how and where Cloud Computing will fit into the ‘bigger picture’ for your growth strategy with one of our experts who can explain and recommend options for all different sizes and styles of business and make sure that common pitfalls are avoided. At The PC Support Group we can provide various Cloud-based solutions and Non-Cloud solutions and so can provide you with the best independent advice
  4. Future-proof Your Business: Be careful when you’re choosing a Cloud Computing vendor that you’re not locking your business into using programs that are the exclusive property of their developers or publishers and bound by specific formats and licensing agreements. Also make sure that you can add and subtract Cloud Computing users as necessary as your business grows or contracts.
  5. Trust a Managed Service Provider: You’ve opted for Cloud Computing; you’re all set and ready to go. Now what? Too often, computing solutions are implemented and only revisited when something goes wrong. A Managed Service Provider will monitor your Cloud Computing set-up – taking pre-emptive action to mitigate against potential problems and ensuring your set-up continues to run at its optimum. Not convinced you need ongoing support? What would you have done if any of these IT disasters had befallen your company? The PC Support Group is proud to be one of the top 500 Managed Service Providers in the world.

Got a question about Cloud Computing for your business, contact us today.

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Switching IT Support Companies… The Why and the How…

New support contract photoIf any of these sound like they might apply to your IT Support Company… then it might be time to consider switching to a new provider and starting afresh with a new business relationship

  • “… we never used to have problems but since we/they got bigger….”
  • “… it take ages to get through by phone and even then it’s often an answering machine or someone that just logs the call…”
  • “…we have no way of knowing if and when they have completed a task…”
  • “…why are we always at the end of the queue?”
  • “…I have to assume our data back-ups are working, no-one ever tells us…”
  • “… they never seem to be able to just fix stuff. There’s always an excuse …”

I’m sure you can add more scenarios to that list! I think that covers the WHY.

So now the HOW…

If there is a problem – first try to resolve it amicably – especially if you are locked in to a contract. If those discussions fail, then you will probably want to seriously consider making the switch.

Check the conditions of the contract with your existing IT support company. You may find you are tied in for a set period and you may also have to give notice a number of weeks or even months before the end of that period. Make sure that if you switch you don’t get tied in again.

Before choosing a new IT support supplier, think about what did/didn’t work for you with your current one. Take a look at the list above and add your own thoughts about how your support company struggled to cope with your needs

You may be the person responsible for choosing a new IT Support Service… but it’s well worth canvassing the opinions of all the IT users in your workforce. What frustrations have they been encountering with the current support service? What do they think would make for a great relationship with a new supplier? Is there any immediate work or any improvements to the system that are needed? You can then use all this feedback in selecting a new IT support company.

Take all your thoughts and the comments from your workforce and craft them into questions to ask when interviewing alternative IT support providers.

So…. You’ve found a new IT Support Company. They’re approachable and seem proactive and professional. Their testimonials speak volumes about their customer service, and you really like the thought of switching to them because they ticked all the boxes when you interviewed them.

A smooth handover can help create the foundations of a long, happy partnership.

Take backups of all your data if possible …

If your IT support company maintains your website and network for example, some of your website files, shared documents, etc might actually be stored on computer equipment owned by them. At the very least, they are likely to have high-level access to your systems.  If your IT Support is provided by an unethical company with whom your relationship is quite poor, they may change vital settings – giving them the ability to lock you out of your own business IT! In effect, holding your data to ransom. So ask for all the access passwords and information about where things are stored before you give them the cancellation notice.

Help the new IT Company to hit the ground running…

If you don’t already keep documentation on your IT network… now is a great time to pull it all together – it can really pay off in terms of helping to minimise any level of disruption. This should include as much of the following as possible: network diagrams, usernames, passwords and log in addresses, plus software and hardware inventories. Also ensure you know where all your original software disks are. Do you have a support log? If you can let your new IT Support company have sight of this, they’ll be able to identify the main recurring issues you’ve been facing. They might even be able to suggest some better, and permanent solutions.

Will your outgoing IT support provider work with the incoming one to help smooth the handover? If they will (and ethical ones should) then this is an excellent way for the new team to understand how your systems work. Be aware that this may be hard to arrange and that you may have to pay the outgoing company for this extra help.

Be prepared – it’s almost inevitable that there will be some level of disruption – but remember that it will be very much worth it when you end up with an IT support company you can truly rely on.

And finally….

Once you have switched suppliers, change passwords so your old support company cannot access your systems.

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5 IT Health Checks To Keep Your Systems Secure

Close-up of stethoscope on laptop keyboardYou may have read the news that Sony’s PlayStation online store was recently compromised.

It’s news that further illustrates just how important it is to protect data given how vulnerable it can be – even for massive corporations like Sony.

The company immediately said the problem had lasted only two hours and there was no sign of any damage, or more worryingly, data theft.

All of the data stored on our computers and electronic devices can be vulnerable if we are not careful, but there are a number of ways we can go about protecting our IT devices and more importantly – the information stored on them. Here are five of them.

1) Encrypt Your Data

Encrypting your data ensures that if someone were to get their hands on your computer, they wouldn’t be able to easily access your files or get hold of your personal data. On certain versions of Windows it’s a pretty simple process and on other systems there is software available to enable this.

2) Use Strong Passwords

Let’s face it, there’s no point encrypting your data if someone can just turn on your computer or laptop and log straight in by guessing your secret code. So you need to use a strong password that is at least 8 characters long (longer is better!) and contains a combination of numbers, symbols and letters that will make it more difficult for someone to gain unauthorised entry. So take some time to come up with a password that’s unique to you and meets these criteria.

3) Secure Your Network

Are you regularly using insecure or shared networks? What about when you are out on the road, at airports or in hotel rooms? You can never be absolutely sure who is sharing the same network. Even your home wireless network can be used by others to gain access to your equipment. So if you spend a lot of the time online via a wireless network, make sure you are using all the security measures available to you. And if you don’t trust it – don’t risk it.

4) Avoid using the cloud to store sensitive information

Yes, using cloud technology has made it easier for all of us when it comes to storage limitations and easy access to our files from remote locations. But it also presents its own dangers when it comes to storing valuable information. Rather like storing all of your valuables in one place in the home, if the worst does happen, you have nothing to fall back on. So if you have crucial and sensitive information be careful which cloud service you use, always have your own backup or in the most sensitive situations consider whether the cloud is right for you.

5) Update your Operating System

Operating systems are constantly updated to stay in tune with technological advances, as well as fixing vital security holes which may have appeared since your last update. So when you have a notification that a new update is ready to be installed, don’t ignore it. You can even turn on the “automatic updates” feature that operating systems provide, so you won’t even have to lift a finger when the time comes.

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The 10 worst cloud computing outages in 2014

Cloud systems are generally very robust but they are fallible. As we look forward to ushering in the New Year – let’s take a look back at what are probably the 10 Worst Cloud Outages of 2014

cloud

  1. Dropbox Goes Down … 10th January – Within 3 hours the service was back up and running!
  2. Gmail Interrupted… 24th January – This outage lasted less than an hour, but it did raise questions about Google’s ability to handle cloud outages.
  3. Basecamp Attacked … 24th March – Hackers attacked project management application Basecamp and shut it down for about 2 hours when they submitted bogus Basecamp requests to flood the Basecamp network.
  4. Adobe Creative Cloud Made Unavailable …. – May 14th and 15th – Photographers, students and small and medium-sized business could access the cloud-based creative services for a 24-hour period.
  5. Internap Outage … May 16th – Hybrid Internet hosting solutions company Internap (INAP) suffered a data centre outage. At least 20 Internap customers lost service, including streaming video platform Livestream.
  6. Joyent’s East Coast Data Centre Fails… May 27th – When the Cloud services provider data centre shut down the company said the minimum downtime for customer instances was 20 minutes, and the maximum was 149 minutes.
  7. Evernote Targeted by Hackers … June 10th  - This Evernote outage lasted at least 10 hours when a massive attack (DDoS) against Evernote servers left many users in the dark.
  8. iCloud Outage Affects 0.1% of Users… July 14th – When iCloud Mail stopped working, Apple said the incident ultimately affected 0.1 percent of all iCloud Mail users.
  9. Google Drive Slows Down… October 14th  – Since this incident, when Google Drive went down for several hours, Google said it is focused on making “continuous improvements” to its cloud storage and file backup service.
  10. Microsoft Azure Storage Services Outage Affects Users Worldwide -This is the most recent cloud outage of 2014, lasting roughly 11 hours, but it but could it be the last one of the year? Microsoft is said to be already taking steps to prevent another cloud outage from happening. Microsoft Corporate Vice President Jason Zander has apologised to Azure Storage customers for the outage and pointed out that his company is investigating the incident. “When we have an incident like this, our main focus is rapid time to recovery for our customers, but we also work to closely examine what went wrong and ensure it never happens again”

Posted in Cloud Computing, IT News, Latest | Comments Off

Is this iPhone alternative the latest “must-have” piece of kit?

nophoneYou know how it is.

You shut the door behind you and even before you’ve got the key out of the lock, you’re checking your pockets to make sure your mobile phone is safe and sound.

It’s a sad fact, but so true for many smartphone users today who just can’t bear the thought of being separated from their handset – or indeed the urge to stare blankly into a screen at regular intervals.

This could all be about to change, however, with the arrival of the “noPhone”.

This rectangular-shaped piece of black plastic (not completely dissimilar to a certain popular brand of smartphone) has been described as a new way of helping you manage your app addiction – despite being unable to send a text or make any calls.

The brainchild of a group of friends from the Netherlands and America, the idea came about after a night out socialising.

“A thin, light and completely wireless design, acting as a surrogate to any smart mobile device, enabling you to always have a rectangle of smooth, cold plastic to clutch without forgoing any potential engagement with your direct environment.”

Creators Van Gould, Ingmar Larsen and Ben Langeveld said the noPhone came about as a “satirical security blanket” which makes a statement on our present addiction to technology.

“On a night out we stare at our phones and occasionally look up from our screens to order another round, which is the norm nowadays,” they explain.

“However, after we created the project the response from people actually wanting to purchase the NoPhone was overwhelming.”

And despite being just a redundant, phone-shaped object the “device” is proving popular thanks to a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, raised nearly £9,000 by using the rather catchy description; “Never again experience the unsettling feeling of flesh on flesh when closing your hand.”

So what do we know about the noPhone and how does it compare to other models on the market?

Well, not only will it never distract you at concerts or disrupt your visit to the cinema, some of the most impressive features include its very own “selfie” feature (a mirror stuck to one side of the phone), a 0-megapixel camera, infinite battery life as well as being waterproof and shatterproof if dropped from a great height.

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Why should IT Support be part of your business strategy?

Q. Why should IT Support be part of your business strategy?

A. Because your whole business may depend on it!

enterprise3

  • If you sell online through your company website or even just use email to receive orders or send quotes then downtime due to IT failure most certainly means lost sales and revenue
  • Unplanned IT support can be a quite hefty expense you hadn’t planned for!
  • Attempting to secure an IT expert to call out at short notice to fix a serious problem can be a problem in itself.
  • A serious data loss incident could put you out of business altogether
  • Slow or unreliable computers mean slow productivity and frustrated staff

 Q. What difference will IT Support make?

A. You will be able to plan properly, set a realistic support budget, prioritise the most important areas and anticipate future needs.

  • Ensure the people working on your IT support have full understanding of your business objectives so that they can evaluate where your IT systems fit in and how they will need to evolve.
  • Like insurance, IT Support can save your business from much larger losses if disaster occurs.
  • The right IT support can give you a distinct advantage in your market, bring overall cost savings and improve your business efficiency, ultimately helping to make your business more successful

Q. Should I outsource IT Support?

A. There can be many advantages to think about, including…

  • The salary for just one full-time member of IT support staff could be anything upwards of £25k, but outsourcing can be a small fraction of the cost of in-house staff.
  • Outsourcing means you don’t have HR issues, holiday and sickness cover to deal with and can afford you access to more Engineers, a greater range of skills and often for longer hours than an in-house team.
  • If the outsource team doesn’t perform you can quickly and easily change it. Changing in-house staff isn’t so simple.

Q. I’m not sure about being tied into a Support contract – what should I do?

A. Look for an IT Support Company that doesn’t tie you in because…

  • As your business changes, so will your IT Support requirements and it’s important to keep on top of this.
  • You may decide to move to a new IT Support company if you outgrow the one you are with or they don’t perform

Most businesses these days rely on IT and support is too important to leave to chance. As a bare minimum you need somewhere to go when problems occur. Good business IT Support is about more than just repairing faults or ‘troubleshooting’. The more diligent, like The PC Support Group, perform regular preventative maintenance on your IT systems, help you plan for the future, install new equipment and provide monitoring of back-ups and anti-virus amongst other things. Look for evidence that they provide great customer service.

Truly great IT Support can definitely help take your company where you want it to go.

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5 Warning Signs That It’s Time To Upgrade Your PC

upgradeimageYou only bought it a couple of years ago, so it can’t be time to upgrade your PC just yet.

Can it?

Well, for a start, it was probably much longer ago than you think that you purchased your latest desktop, and even so, there are no cast-iron assurances that your hardware will stand the test of time year-after-year.

Unfortunately for your wallet, technology runs in cycles. What was considered “mod” and revolutionary five short years ago (you know, 2009) might just be well past its sell-by-date.

Like any diagnosis, discovering you have a problem early can help you when it comes to finding the cure and limiting the damage.

So, if you’re sensing a little sluggishness or noticing some nasty noises, it could be a warning sign that all is not well with your computer.

Here are five signs it’s time to upgrade.

1) It runs infuriatingly slow

When you’re sitting waiting for what seems forever for your computer to spark into life, this is a strong sign that your PC is not up to the job. There is a chance that a clean-up will improve things but modern software will stretch older PCs to their limits.

Whatever the cause, a slow computer means less productivity (and more anger!).

So you need to ask yourself, as a business, are you sure you can you afford that?

2) Unexpected noises

A loud groaning noise from your fan or hard drive is a pretty good indicator that hardware failure is imminent.

So if you’re not in a position to upgrade just yet, at least take these noises as a warning and make sure you have a backup of all your important files.

3) Repairs are costing you a small fortune

Computers are rather like cars, there are so many individual components that have the potential to go wrong at any one time and they suffer from wear and tear.

So, if you find yourself constantly making-do and mending, it may be time to bite the bullet and opt for a new PC all together.

4) Continual Crashing

Fortunately most ”blue screens” aren’t fatal and you can simply re-boot your PC with little harm done. But if crashes are occurring with concerning regularity it might be time to ask why.

Constant crashing is usually either a sign that you have a virus or it’s a pretty good sign that the computer is running up against the limits of its ability and an upgrade is the only solution.

5) You’re out of space

If there’s not enough room for software to run properly and your demands exceed the systems’ specifications, then put simply – you need a new PC.

It’s no good just trying to manage a space or memory crisis on a day-to-day basis, so you need to think about your long-term requirements and planning for the future is key.

You need to ask yourself, will the software you are buying now be able to run on your patched up PC in 12 months time?

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Windows 10: What you need to know

whatyouneedtoknowAt a rather low-key ceremony in San Francisco last week, Microsoft announced to the world the imminent release of its brand new and hotly-anticipated operating system.

Wait a minute, where’s Windows 9?” I hear you cry.

Okay, new software will be released in 2015, but Microsoft has decided to skip “Windows 9” and bizarrely shoot straight for Windows 10 instead (presumably because the number 10 sounds a lot more complete than 9 does – at least in theory).

So why the change of heart?

Well, the problem for Microsoft is that around 1.5 billion people use Windows in one form or another but very few use the platform on their phones, tablets and other mobile devices.

So, if anything, tweaking their already successful Windows OS could be more of an effort to move with the times than cornering a new fan base.

Some even see it as an attempt to win back the traditional PC user, who has been on the receiving end of some serious flirtation from the likes of Apple and Google in recent years.

On first impressions it would appear that, rather that adding a load of new and unnecessary features, the latest package has been designed with simplicity very much at the forefront in an attempt to seduce those lost to Microsoft’s previous incarnation.

So what else can we expect from a company that is so keen to move on from Windows 8?

Here’s what we can all look forward to when Windows 10 is released next year.

1) A new name

First and foremost, the name of course… The official explanation; “When you see the product in fullness, I think you’ll agree with us that it’s a more appropriate name”. So it would seem it’s simply a case of putting a little numerical distance between the two packages rather than any technical rhyme or reason.

2) Back to the start

The Start button had been part of the furniture since the days of Windows 95, only to be kicked into touch with the introduction of Windows 8. Well, it seems Microsoft has listened to public opinion and brought back this most basic of tools – with a vengeance. Users will now be able to customise the start menu and even add live tiles displaying personal appointments, emails, even what the weather is doing.

3) Multiple desktops

Windows 10 allows users to switch quickly between apps and desktops through a feature called “Task View”. This is activated either by clicking on a button in the taskbar, or by swiping left on a touch screen device. It is then possible to access different apps through a range of mini-screens, which crop up at the bottom of the interface and enable users who spend a lot of time on their machine to grab apps from other desktops. This makes life a lot easier when using lots of programmes all at once and for extended periods of time.

4) Greater control of apps

Users will now be able to resize apps from the Windows store rather than always having to run them in full screen mode. Windows 10 will allow everything from the store to open in resizable windows that can either be minimised to the taskbar or completely closed.

5) Emphasis on business use

Put bluntly, serious businesses shied away from Windows 8 in their droves. This is mainly due to the fact that it was just too different from its predecessors. For this reason alone, Windows 10 is seen as being more familiar, more compatible with all the modern management systems, with productivity being very much at the heart of the product. There is even an option to allow the separation of personal and corporate data, allowing for varying levels of security and keeping confidential business information just that – confidential.

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Staff AND Technology – must unite in the fight!

Spam2_2-300x200If you’re in the habit of checking the news online you will have noticed that almost daily now there are reports of data breaches by attackers. Cyber security headlines are all too frequent and alert us to the skill and persistence of hackers.

Many organisations still rely on traditional security controls in the form of technology such as anti-virus software and firewalls, etc. to protect their critical assets but it is now clear that this is not enough. The increasing importance of employee security awareness is often overlooked with companies providing little or no basic awareness training.

Personnel and processes are often disregarded when it comes to improving security, partly because the security risk they pose to an organisation is difficult to measure and track.

These days, this a crucial issue with cyber security, but businesses that (very sensibly) put in place IT software security often struggle to get senior management to address a risk that they haven’t been able to quantify, or even prove exists.

The problem is that as the technical, on-line security of organisations increases, attackers are looking instead to a much weaker area: employees.

Investing in improving security via staff and processes can vastly reduce the chances of undermining the investment in your technology-based solution.

If you think about it – there is so much information regarding an organisations employees available online and the most common way to exploit them is a phishing email that attempts to attract them to click on a link or attachment. Such e-mails can be anything from promises of deals or offers, to false claims of attached invoices or bank statements. Phishing assessments against employees have shown that as many as 60% to 90% of employees are susceptible to these attacks – effectively allowing an attacker to jump right over the traditional security controls.

So… how can you combat this?

How about some practical employee security awareness training?

Managed phishing assessments, for example, can act as a ‘cyber fire-drill’ for employees, regularly exposing them to various realistic attacks but in a controlled environment – it isn’t unusual for businesses to have 80% susceptibility the first assessment, but see a reduction to less than 10% after the second or third assessment.

Now for the processes … what do your computer users do when they do actually detect an attack? Do you have a process in place for them to follow if that happens? When employees fail to report attacks, it results in a greater exposure than your business would otherwise have had.

Regular “controlled” attacks can not only teach staff how to spot them, but also drills the security process to follow – dramatically reducing your exposure to attack.

Action you can take:

  • Teach employees to recognise bogus emails and not click anything they do not fully trust. Not all security technology will stop malicious emails getting through, therefore they must be vigilant
  • Carry out regular phishing assessments or “cyber-attack drills”
  • Have in place a process to report phishing emails and who to notify in case they clicked purposely or by error; ideally to be carried out within 15 minutes

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What are the chances of your Smartphone being stolen? (And how to avoid it happening to you)

IMG_1119A new Mobile Phone Theft report compiled by the Home Office has indicated that over 740,000 people were victims of phone theft over the last two years – with Apple handsets more likely to be stolen than any other phone.

In London alone, almost 100,000 mobile phones were reported stolen to the Metropolitan Police during the 12 months of 2013.

The report states that the iPhone 5, 5C, 5S and 4S were most targeted followed by the Blackberry 9790.

Apparently, 37% of mobile phone thefts took place on public transport or in another public place, with under a third taking place in bars, pubs and clubs. Surprisingly, nearly 20% of thefts occurred in places of work.

And as for those more likely to be the victim of mobile phone crime, the report suggests 4.7% of phone theft victims were women aged between 18-21, while 14-24 year olds are the targeted more than any other group – either stolen directly from their person, through pick-pocketing, or when the handset is briefly left unattended.

Interestingly, there is only a small difference between the numbers of thefts during the day and in the evening. Forty per cent of reported incidents were reported between 6am and 6pm, while 60% occurred between 6pm and 6am.

Despite the alarming numbers, the research suggests that the introduction of stronger security features in phones is likely to have reduced theft levels, and in recent years mobile phone manufacturers have been stepping up security measures to try and combat this trend.

Apple claim to be leading the industry in protecting people’s devices mainly due to the new finger print recognition system as part of the iOS7 operating system introduced with the release of the iPhone 5 in September 2013.

While Samsung have introduced the Find My Mobile and the Reactivation Lock.

But it’s not just the phones themselves that criminals are keen to get their hands on.

It’s no surprise that smartphones are much more desirable than older models due to the technology they can offer, but they also provide access to more personal content like bank details, which can also be exploited or sold on.

How to avoid your Smartphone being stolen – 5 tips

So what can be done to stop you being the next mobile phone crime statistic and how can you ensure you don’t give would-be criminals an easy ride?

In addition to the security functions introduced by the industry, there are some simple steps that mobile phone owners can take to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of mobile phone theft. Here are five of them.

1. Register your mobile

Register your mobile device for free at Immobilise.com. This will help the police to identify you as the owner if your phone is recovered and allows you to keep a record of your IMEI number, which you will need if your mobile is lost or stolen.

2. Use a PIN

It might seem like a pain, but using a security PIN might just deter someone from stealing your phone as it locks the device and means nobody else is able to access your information. But try to ensure your code is not easily guessed.

3. Don’t leave it unattended

Never leave your phone unattended in a public place, like in an unattended handbag. Keep your eye on your phone at bars, cafes, coffee-shops, restaurants or music venues – anywhere that criminals are likely to be active.

4. Install a tracker

If your device is stolen a tracker/security app could help trace your device and allow you to wipe personal data before it falls into the wrong hands. If you are unsure which app to install, seek advice from the manufacturer.

5. Report theft immediately

If your phone is stolen, the quicker it is reported, the quicker something can be done about it. Tell your network about the theft immediately and report it to the police, informing them if you have a tracker app installed. Ensure you have the IMEI number available for the police, which your network will provide for free, or you can type *#06# into your handset and make a note of the number should you require it at a later date.

Key points

- Over 740,000 people were victims of phone theft in the last two years

- 100,000 mobiles were stolen in London alone during 2013

- 37% of thefts took place on public transport

- Nearly 20% in places of work

- 4.7% phone theft victims were women 18-21

- Apple’s iPhone most desirable smartphone at around 55%

- Blackberry second with around 17% and Samsung 15%, Nokia 6%

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