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Author

Category: Business, IT News, IT Security, IT Support.

I wanted to share an incident with you that we came across recently, as it could happen to any business and be very costly.

You’ve probably heard of phishing emails – it’s when criminals send bogus emails to individuals to get them to reveal usernames, passwords, and credit card details usually by simply clicking on a link.  And while many scam emails are easy to spot, some can look very convincing.  Even if it looks like it’s from a credible source such as one of the big banks or a large corporation like Microsoft, it could just as easily be from a cybercriminal.

What business owners don’t often realise is how many of these emails come into their businesses every day and how easy it is for people to respond with devastating consequences.

A prospect called us to work out how an email had seemingly been sent from them to all their clients requesting payment into a specific account “without delay to avoid the loss of service”. The answer was that hackers had used a phishing email to trick them into providing the login details to their email system. The hackers then logged in and sent this email out as if it really was from this business owner.

Not only did one client pay – into the hackers account, but can you imagine the effect of such an abrupt and demanding email on the client relationship?! What was worse was that their only recourse was to tell their clients that they had been hacked, which made their business appear even more disorganised and vulnerable.

So, what can you do to ensure this doesn’t happen to your business?

Well, your best defences are education and motivation.  Share the problem with your people.  Build a team of committed defenders against cybercriminals.  Help them to spot the dangers – the do’s and don’ts and the need for caution and vigilance. Talk to them about the consequences of damaging their livelihoods and your business.  It could honestly be the most valuable investment you ever make.  Make no mistake, phishing could kill your business.

And of course, here at The PC Support Group, we can help you build defences against cybercriminals and provide advice and guidance to make sure your business is safe and secure.  It’s what we do! Call our team today for an informal and confidential chat on 03300 88 6116 or email them on  [email protected].

Phil Bird

Managing Director, The PC Support Group

 

 

 

 

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Category: Business, IT News, IT Support, News.

The PC Support Group has been announced as an award finalist of the 50 Best Managed IT Companies 2018.

 

The 50 Best IT Companies awards recognise and highlight the best of the best well run businesses in the UK IT sector with companies being evaluated in 12 key areas to measure their best practices.

 

The PC Support Group, which has its head office in Speke, provides fully managed IT support to SMEs across the North West.

 

Phil Bird, managing director with The PC Support Group said:

 

“We are delighted to have made it to the finals of these prestigious awards which shows that our business practices are one of the best in the country amongst other IT companies.”

 

Phil continues:

 

“We work hard to provide a world-class IT support service, working with our clients to help them grow their business by using the best technology for them and we know our business practices reflect this.”

 

The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on 13 December in London.

 

 

 

 

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Category: Business, Data Backup, IT News, IT Security, IT Support.

I’ve read several interesting articles recently about data backup and how being unable to access data and systems is the nightmare scenario for all businesses. However, one thing that rarely seems to be mentioned is the act of data recovery. Hopefully, most companies by now realise the importance of having their data backed up but few appear to think about how long it might take to recover the data onto a live system should disaster strike.

Did you know that 90% of companies experience some form of downtime whether it’s a disk or other critical hardware failure, a flooded office or the latest cyber attack?  We’ve all experienced something.  Interestingly, a lot of our prospects when they first contact us have no idea how quickly they could recover.  Unfortunately, some businesses never recover which is not surprising when the average cost of one hour of downtime is £6,500 for a small business and £64,000 for a mid-sized one2.   Very sad when you consider that 93% of data loss issues are avoidable1.

Even IT businesses like us are not immune, the difference being we have robust business continuity measures in places preventing any issue becoming a major disaster.   In fact, only a few weeks’ ago we suffered a power outage for nearly half a day at our offices in Speke, but our services remained operational and none of our clients were left without support.

How did we do this?  We use a six-step disaster recovery plan that helps assess risks, identify weaknesses and put proactive measures in place.  Once you have this plan, recovery is much easier and quicker and therefore less costly for you and your business.  For instance, businesses without a plan experience greater downtime – on average 18.5 hours to get back up and running2.  Time and money that no business can afford.   So, by planning for the worst you can make your business stronger and more resilient today.

To get you thinking, here are a few questions for you to consider:

1: What is your business-critical data is and where it is held?  Is it backed up?

2: Is your backed-up data kept separate from your computer system, in a secure place with restricted access?

3: How regularly is your data backed-up – daily, weekly, monthly?

4: Is the backup process automated and regularly monitored?

5 How quickly could you access your backed-up data?  Within hours or weeks?

6: How long could your business survive without access to its data?

Answering these questions is just the start of protecting your business. Here at The PC Support Group we can help you with further practical advice and guidance.  Our rolling monthly contracts will ensure your recovery is easy and efficient because we’re good at what we do! Call our team on 03300 88 6116 for a chat about how we can help you or email them on [email protected]

Phil Bird

Managing Director, The PC Support Group

1 The Online Trust Alliance’s analysis of security breaches 2017

2 Backbone Connect, an UK IT infrastructure firm, 2018

 

 

 

Date:

Author

Category: Business, IT News, IT Support.

I recently came across a couple of situations when speaking with prospective clients that got me thinking. The first one was a business owner that was very unhappy with the service he was getting from his current IT support provider.   He had decided to move to us but then realised he was stuck in his existing contract for another year. He has since come to an agreement, so he can move.  The second was a lady I met who spent 30 minutes telling me why her current IT provider and infrastructure was holding her business back but has decided to stay with them for now because it is easier and see how it goes.
Don’t jeopardise moving your business forward because you think it’s too much hassle to move IT provider.  Switching is usually quite straightforward.  Moving supplier can add value to your business beyond cost reductions by taking advantage of better talent, technology, processes, and innovation.  If you’ve decided that your current supplier is not right for you and your business, here are some things to think about before switching that will help a seamless transition:
Check your contract with your existing IT support company
Before you tell your current supplier you want to switch, make sure you are legally able to make the move.  A lot of companies tie you in for a year or more, require several months’ notice and even automatically enrol you into additional years if notice is not given. Even if you’re not ready to change now, make sure you know your contract terms before doing anything.
Pull together all your IT network documents
Make sure you have collated all IT documents that you can, so you can pass this on to your new IT support company and take backups of all your data if possible. If this is something you don’t have, ask your current supplier to provide it before giving them notice.  Examples of the documents that will help are your current website domain host, passwords to servers and other important systems, and information about where data is stored and backed up. 
Do your homework on the IT provider you are switching to
The more information you can find about your new IT provider beforehand, the better chance you have of a great working relationship that will last for years and the more your business will grow.
To help, we have devised a simple guide with 20 key questions to help you choose the right IT support provider, once you have decided to switch.  Please contact us to be sent this free guide.
Check the new supplier has migrated systems like yours before
When changing IT provider, most problems are caused by the new supplier’s lack of experience in migrating cloud so check they have migrated other similar ones. Do they have a dedicated project manager and project team to ensure the transfer is planned and goes smoothly?
Always be open and transparent with your current supplier re switching
Communication is key, and any ethical company will want to make sure that their reputation is not harmed.  By being open and transparent you can agree on expectations before and during the transition.
So, if you have decided now is the time to switch to a better service, feel free to give us a call on 03000 886 116 or email us on [email protected] for a confidential chat.
Phil Bird
Managing Director, The PC Support Group

 

 

 

 

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Category: Business, IT News, News.

From boardrooms to exhibitions to offices, tablets are everywhere in business these days. Is it time for you to jump on board? If you want to be productive wherever you go, the answer is a definite “yes”

Thin, light, and powerful, today’s tablets for business can replace clunky laptops and can help you get more done whether you’re typing on a keyboard or drawing on the screen.

If you’re going to rely on a tablet for work, it pays to shop around beforehand to find the best business tablets. Most are designed for consumer use and may lack features and capabilities that could benefit your business.

Here are a few things to look for when choosing a business tablet that will help increase productivity and therefore profitability.

Will it run your business applications?

If you’re just looking to do email and basic tasks, most tablets can handle your needs. However, if you really want to get work done on the go – especially if you’re looking to replace your laptop – you’ll want a business tablet that can run the applications you rely on every day. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself switching back and forth between devices, or you’ll be away from the office without the capabilities you need.

Does it have enough power?

The whole point of a tablet is the ability to be mobile, so make sure the battery life is rated for at least eight hours or more based on the tasks you’re likely to perform. You’ll want to be able to get through a whole workday, plane trip or meeting without plugging in.

Can it keep your information safe?

Tablets are easy to take with you – which means it’s also possible to misplace them. If that happens, you want to make it hard for any unauthorised users to access your valuable business applications and data. At the same time, you don’t want to waste a lot of time signing in when you want to get to work. There are various options such as MFA (Multi-factor Authenticator) also known as 2FA.

How easy is it to manage?

Giving your employees tablets can be a productivity dream, but if you’re not careful, it can become a management nightmare. Multiple operating systems and proprietary administrative tools add complexity. Ideally, you should be able to manage business tablets using the same solution you apply to laptops, desktops and other IT resources.

Is it comfortable and convenient to use in a variety of settings?

For a laptop replacement, the keyboard is critical. You’ll want a device you can comfortably type on for hours at a time. If you like to draw or take notes, look at stylus options. They can give you the same ease of expression as a pen and paper with the benefits of digital saving and sharing.  The tablet screen size is also a consideration especially if you will be spending long lengths of time at a time on them.  Remember, like any computer screen you should still take a regular break.

Article taken from Startup Donut

 

 

 

 

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Category: Business, IT News, News.

Apps are not just for dating enthusiasts and technopreneurs.  All SME owners can use them to bolster their businesses.

Whether it’s for finding a partner, or the right restaurant for your grandmother’s birthday, the use of apps has become ingrained in our daily user-based culture.

With the on-going march of digital tech, the app industry, like many other associated industries, has become increasingly diversified. Consequently, there are some key apps that low-on-time SME business owners should be using to make their businesses more productive – and more successful.

1. ABBYY Business Card Reader (available on iOS and Android)

This cuts down on the anxiety-causing incidents wherein you meet a great business contact, only to misplace their rain-sodden business card. Instead, use this app to scan the contents of a business card straight away. The details will be organised and stored on your phone in as many different languages as you require.

2. Google Analytics (available on iOS and Android)

Google Analytics allows you to build a clearer picture of how your business is performing. Providing unique Google data, the app allows you to see how effectively you’re marketing your goods and services. With easily shareable data-driven insights, businesses can also understand how they can better reach their target customers going forwards.

3. Evernote (available on iOS and Android)

Evernote is a digital space where those ‘eureka’ business moments can be stored safely – and shared with members of your team for collaborative purposes.

These can range from photographs to notes about projects that are automatically synced across all your devices. It allows you to tap into those inspirational ideas, and invite team members to join in on the discussion – wherever you are.

4. Slack (available on iOS and Android)

Are email chains getting you down? Are you sick of your employees taking up hours of their day crafting internal emails when they should be getting on with the important stuff? If the answers to the above are a resounding yes, then Slack is the app for you.

Providing businesses with a live messaging platform that enables instant communications between team members, ideas and tasks are communicated on a time efficient basis. This leaves the crafting of long-winded emails for the purpose of proactive, and quite frankly, more important client-facing work.

5. Proven (available on iOS and Android)

Proven is the ultimate time-saving recruitment app for SMEs. Allowing users to posts a message to over 100 job boards with one single post, as well as directly to their social media accounts, users can also store the CVs of all candidates under consideration – in one place.

They also offer proactive and ‘hands-on’ customer service, including advice on how to craft an engaging job post, and what job boards to target to attract the best talent.

Article taken from Real Business.

 

 

 

 

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Category: Business, IT News, News.

Big changes are gathering pace as the telecoms industry ditches its expensive and unwieldy legacy infrastructure to take full advantage of the tremendous benefits of cloud-based telephony or VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).

In 2020 BT will begin phasing out its old-style landlines and will then switch them off altogether in 2025.  So, if you’re one of the millions of UK organisations now’s the time to make the move to the cloud.

Even without the news from BT, the advantages of VoIP telephony are so game-changing for SMEs. VoIP allows you to make voice and video calls anywhere in the world, from any device – all you need is an internet connection.

With VoIP you’ll get:

  • significant reductions in business phone line and contract bills
  • next generation technology that’s simple to transition to and easy to use and maintain
  • flexibility to use your own devices, keep the same number across all devices, add and remove users at speed and work from any location
  • access to the latest versions, updates and mobile working features
  • integration with your other business systems
  • a great phone system to boost productivity and agility, without ANY capital investment

The only things you need to do is check your current contract (don’t accidentally fall into renewal) and then find a qualified supplier with VoIP experience preferably one that doesn’t tie you in for any length of time, so you can easily change if your provider doesn’t deliver the service you need.

The PC Support Group has been providing VoIP services for the last few years to both existing and new customers across the North West.  Please feel free to contact them here to discuss your options.

 

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Category: Business, IT News, IT Processes, IT Support, Latest.

The entries for the inaugural Managed Services & Hosting (MSH) Awards 2018 have been assessed and finalists selected in each of the seven categories. The winners will be announced at the UK Managed Services and Hosting Summit 2018 on 19 September in London.

The awards build on the momentum of the highly successful series of Managed Services and Hosting Summits, which have taken place for the last eight years.  They recognise excellence within the dynamic and innovative ICT sector.

John Garratt, editor of IT Europa, one of the award judges said:

“The entry quality level is very high, and this is perhaps not surprising, given the level of new thinking that is a feature of the sector. We want to use these awards to help publicise the tremendous work going on in the managed services sector and build understanding among customers and potential customers.”

North West based IT service provider, The PC Support Group is one of seven finalists in the Best SMB MSP Project category.  They provide fully managed IT support to SMEs across the Liverpool and Manchester areas.

Phil Bird, managing director with The PC Support Group said:

“We are delighted to have made this finalist list once again especially as we are currently undergoing an expansion plan to bring our award-winning service to more SMEs across the North West.”

Phil continues:

“We know we are great at what we do and we receive brilliant testimonials from our clients all the time, so it is equally fantastic when we get recognition from the sector.  We are proud to provide a world-class IT support service, helping SMEs grow their business through technology.”

 

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Category: Business, IT News.

It is no secret that the tech industry is very much a man’s world.

In 2017, only 17% of employees in the UK tech sector were female which proves there is still lots to do to encourage women into the sector.  Even the best tech organisations are struggling to close the gender gap when it comes to finding appropriately skilled candidates which include Millennials (young person reaching adulthood around the year 2000) and Generation Z (the next generation after Millennials) females, who are our first generation of digital natives.  The truth is, while retention is an issue, there are simply fewer women opting for a career in tech.

In particular, one of the biggest headaches for tech leaders today is finding app developers as organisations everywhere are developing their own apps to meet the needs and demands of their audiences as well as to keep ahead of their competition.

According to Elizabeth Gooch, founder and CEO of eg solutions, who pioneered the back-office workforce optimisation market, there are three barriers for girls and women entering the technology sector:

  • Gender stereotyping – there is still a perception in schools that boys are better at science and maths and consequently, young girls are put off STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects
  • Lack of awareness of careers  and role models within the IT sector
  • It’s geeky image

Encouraging a passion for STEM subjects in women, and an interest in technology, will have a positive impact on the continued growth and prosperity of the tech sector.  Not to mention, the benefit of having a more inclusive working environment.  Every piece of research done on diversity in teams demonstrates they outperform and out innovate homogenous teams hands down.  The benefits will be an increased female talent pool in the tech sector which will be more representable of the female population.

Research conducted by Debut, a student and graduate careers app, reveals that the UK education system needs to educate females on the positives of entering the STEM industry; and the variety of roles there are out there – whether its video games, programme or app developers, digital marketing or coding as well as many more.  By targeting the younger generation, educators and tech companies are creating a new workforce of successful tech executives that will change the perception of the industry.  Perhaps a reminder of the inspirational women in tech throughout history would also not go a miss.

 

Capability is not the issue, rather, it seems that external factors play a bigger role in dissuading women from opting for science-related careers.

The media certainly hasn’t helped encourage females to pursue careers in STEM-related fields with popular sitcoms such as Big Bang Theory and The IT Crowd – which has gone on to have 4 series and became a cult television series; where geeky techies are pre-dominantly IT coders.

On a positive note, there are a great number of organisations that aim to get young girls into computer science and engineering and interestingly, the NHS is Britain’s biggest STEM recruiter, according to Indeed.

Careers in the technology industry represent some of the fastest-paced, most interesting, and best-paying careers available. Further – these roles know no boundaries and can be done in any country.

There truly is something for everyone in tech.

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Author

Category: IT News, News.

The PC Support Group ranks among the world’s 501 most strategic and innovative managed service providers (MSPs), according to Channel Futures 11th annual MSP 501 Worldwide Company Rankings.

The MSP 501 identifies the World’s most forward-thinking MSPs and leading trends in Managed Services.  It is the first, largest and most comprehensive ranking of managed service providers worldwide. This year Channel Futures received a record number of submissions. Applications poured in from Europe, Asia, South America and beyond.

MSPs were ranked using an unique methodology, which recognizes that not all revenue streams are created equal. Revenue figures were weighted according to how well the applicant’s business strategy anticipates trends in the fast-evolving channel ecosystem.

Phil Bird, managing director, The PC Support Group said:

“We are delighted to have made this exclusive list once again.  We know we are the best at what we do but to be ranked amongst the top 501 MSPs globally is a huge honour.”

Pictured are some of the head office team with the award

 

Phil continues:

“We are passionate about remaining the best in our field and we realise to do this we need to constantly innovate, invest in the best technology and people whilst focusing on providing excellent customer service.”

The MSP 501 winners and award recipients will be recognized at a special ceremony at Channel Partners Evolution, held on October 9-12 in Philadelphia, USA.

“This year’s applicant pool was the largest and most diverse in the history of the survey, and our winners represent the health and progressivity of the managed services market,” says Kris Blackmon, Channel Futures content director and editor of the MSP 501. “They’re growing their revenue, expanding their customer influence and exploring new technology that will propel them for years to come.”

The complete 2018 MSP 501 list is available at Channel Futures and the full MSP 501 report will be available in the autumn.