For businesses who have chosen cloud-based data hosting services, there’s a temptation to relax and think “great, we’re paying someone else to take care of our data, we don’t need to worry about it anymore.”

Of course, using cloud-based services can deliver major benefits for businesses. But it’s vital to remember that all the data you have “in the cloud” is still stored in a physical data centre somewhere in the world, managed by your cloud service provider.

So, good data security practice means that it’s essential to have exactly the same knowledge about how and where your data is being handled “in the cloud”, just as if it was sitting on a server in your office!

Unfortunately, worrying research results published recently by leading hosting provider TeleData UK reveals that large numbers of firms are lacking this very basic information:

  • 42% don’t know the location of the data centre their provider is using
  • 25% don’t even know if it’s in the UK
  • 33% don’t know if the data centre is ISO compliant.

That’s alarming enough, but the standout statistic for me is that 43% of businesses don’t know whether the data centre they are using has a failover to a secondary location should an outage occur.

Let’s just think about the size of the huge risk that those businesses are taking. One day, everything’s rosy in the garden, customers are happy and business is booming – then bang! Suddenly they can’t access their data. They don’t know where their data is, they don’t know how long they might be without it – or if they’re ever going to be able to access it ever again!

Committing to a cloud service provider requires detailed due diligence and fact-checking to confirm the service is fit for purpose, that all risks and eventualities have been considered and minimised, and that all GDPR and ISO compliance requirements have been met.

I bet those businesses who don’t know where their data is stored, know every dot and comma about their alarm system – which company supports them, where they are based, how long it will take them to get to the office in the event of a problem. Yet many seem to know far less about their data, their most valuable asset.

At The PC Support Group, we specialise in Microsoft Office 365 because from our long experience we believe it’s the best – and a major advantage is its transparency – you can sign in (or your IT support provider can) and find out everything you need to know about the data centre where your data is stored. That’s hugely reassuring in my opinion.

If you have any concerns about how your data is being stored and handled or would like an  informal chat about how we can help provide peace of mind or improve your data security arrangements, call us NOW on 03300 886 116 or email info@pcsupportgroup.com

Phil Bird

Managing Director, The PC Support Group

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Author

Category: Data Backup, IT News, IT Security.

Whenever I’m thinking about the topic for my next bulletin, my first port of call is always our support team. These are the folks who spend their days guiding our clients, resolving issues, fixing problems – so they know better than anyone what’s going on.

Maintaining a robust backup is hard work, it’s important to not only build the correct solution for your business and trust your IT support provider to look after it, but to also maintain a sense of urgency as a business owner to ensure you’re doing everything you can to keep data backup and recovery front of mind.  Therefore, today I’m returning to the topic of backing up your data.  So, why is backing up your data absolutely essential for your business?

  • Without it you risk losing your most priceless asset – the information you hold about your customers, your products and services, your finances and your people
  • Loss of just some of this information, for long enough, will sink your business
  • Back up is an important element of GDPR – and serious breaches can result in severe financial penalties
  • By backing up, if a disaster happens – a cyberattack, a fire, flood or break-in at your premises – there’s a good chance you can recover, repair the damage and go again.

I could go on, but I know you know this stuff already!  Regular data backup – ideally on a daily basis – is absolutely central to business continuity and it needs to be regarded with the same importance as activating your alarm system when you leave the office.  If you are unsure about your backup arrangements – whether they’re fit for purpose, or whether it’s happening at all, now is the time for action.  Start by asking yourself:

  • Do you know exactly what data you hold – about your customers, your employees, your business, your suppliers, your finances, your products, and services?
  • How and where is it stored, and how is it secured?
  • Do you back it up, how, where to and how often?
  • What would happen if you suddenly lost access to your live data and onsite backups?
  • How long would it be before this became a serious issue – minutes, hours, days?
  • How often do you review your backup arrangements?

Another key consideration is the choice between onsite or offsite backup arrangements. For me, that’s an easy one. Onsite backup can be just as vulnerable as your live systems. That’s because once criminals have access to your onsite network they may also get access to your onsite backups. The answer is a secure and managed offsite backup solution.

And remember, as your business develops, so will your data backup requirements. So it’s essential to periodically review your backup arrangements to make sure they reflect the needs of your business today – and as far into the future as you can realistically predict. Even if you’re happy with your backup processes, it’s a great idea to schedule regular reviews for peace of mind. For an informal chat about how you back up your data and how we can help, call us on 03300 886116 or email info@pcsupportgroup.com

Phil Bird

Managing Director, The PC Support Group

Date:

Author

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

The latest Netwrix IT Trends report has been published which outlines the top IT priorities for organisations in 2020; in which over 1000 IT professionals took part.

“74% of organisations name data security as the dominant priority for 2020.”

Given the rising number of breaches and the shortage of cybersecurity experts, it is no surprise that data security was seen as the highest priority.

The top IT priorities highlighted in the global survey included:

  • Maintaining data security                                                             74%
  • Automating manual tasks                                                             70%
  • Digital transformations                                                 57%
  • Cloud migrations                                                             52%
  • Increasing cybersecurity awareness among employees             39%
  • Adhering to compliance standards                         39%
  • Integrate existing solutions                         35%
  • Educate/train IT staff                         30%
  • Employ additional IT talent                         22%

To read the survey in full, visit netwrix.com

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Author

Category: IT News, IT Security, Latest, News.

UK travel money firm Travelex is still offline more than 5 days after a cyberattack.

The foreign-currency seller has been working on the issue since the software virus attack on New Year’s Eve.

“We regret having to suspend some of our services in order to contain the virus and protect data,” Travelex boss Tony D’Souza said.

The company has resorted to carrying out transactions manually, providing foreign-exchange services over the counter in its branches.

Travelex has a presence in more than 70 countries and has over 1,200 branches and 1,000 ATMs worldwide, with exchange machines a common sight at airports, and customers can also use a smartphone app.

It has affected Sainsbury’s Bank, Barclays, and HSBC amongst others which all use the Travelex platform.

For more information about how to protect your business, please download our free cybercrime bulletin here

Date:

Author

Category: IT News, IT Security, Latest, News.

As of January 2020, Windows Server 2008 and Microsoft Exchange 2010 have both officially reached end of support. So, if you’re still using either of them, you’re issuing an open invitation to cybercriminals.

Whilst the systems will continue to work, Microsoft will no longer support them through security patches, upgrades or customer support; which means that your software will no longer receive updates to protect against viruses, malware or other cyberattacks.

If security is important to your business or you are required to maintain a cybersecurity accreditation standard such as Cyber Essentials, then it’s vital that you address this issue as soon as possible as not doing so will fail most security audits and accreditation standards.

So, what should you do? There are several options including migrating to Microsoft Office 365 or upgrading to a later version of Windows Server, depending on your requirements.

To ensure you protect your data from today, contact us NOW and we can discuss which is the best option for your business.   Email us on info@pcsupportgroup.com  and mention Windows Server 2008 or call our friendly team on 03300 886 116.

 

 

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Author

Category: Windows 7, Windows 10, IT News, IT Security, Latest, News.

Make sure you make this year a Happy New Year by not missing the imminent Windows 7 deadline. 

At The PC Support Group, we have kept our clients up-to-date with the approaching deadline, January 14th when Windows 7 will reach its end of life.  So, if you’re one of the thousands of UK businesses still using it, you have exactly a week today to upgrade – or you could be issuing an open invitation to cybercriminals.

While your PCs won’t suddenly stop working, from next week, Microsoft will stop updating or supporting your operating system, meaning that automatic security and bug fixes will end, making it increasingly costly to maintain and vulnerable to attack.

And you can guarantee that cybercriminals will be targeting Windows 7 users after January 14th, because they know that their defences are down.

While Windows 10 isn’t right for everyone, there are many advantages of upgrading from 7 to 10:

  • It’s simple, with a minimum of disruption – in most cases you can keep your files and software on your existing PC
  • Many programs you use will already have been updated to work on Windows 10, so you can just carry on as normal
  • Although, the layout and interface is different with a little patience you’ll be able to transition and use it relatively easily
  • There are many great additional features and functionality on Windows 10 that will be a big help for your business, such as the Cortana virtual assistant and enhanced security
  • Support for Windows 10 is expected to run until at least 2025, so a small investment now will provide peace of mind for the next five years or more.

So, if you’ve decided to go-ahead and upgrade, here are just a few things to bear in mind:

  • You’ll need to calculate how many users you have and how many licences you need
  • While Windows 10 will run perfectly happily on most existing hardware, it may struggle on older machines, so now may be the time to upgrade some of your hardware too
  • Although as mentioned earlier, most software has been updated to enable it to run on Windows 10 you will need to check that this is the case with all the software you use before going ahead
  • Once you’ve established what you require, you’ll need to identify a budget and potentially look into financing options
  • Time, resource and investment will be required but upgrading will almost certainly bring productivity and business efficiency benefits, which will deliver a fast return on your investment.

It’s not too late – if you’re still using Windows 7  – contact your IT support provider to discuss if upgrading is the best solution for your business before the support ends next week,  or contact our friendly team on 03300 886 116 or by email on info@pcsupportgroup.com to find out about our IT and telephony services.

www.pcsupportgroup.com

Date:

Author

Category: Business, IT News, Latest, News.

Northwest-based IT & telephony provider, The PC Support Group has been announced as a winner of the “50 Best Managed IT Companies in the UK 2019” awards.

The awards, held last night in London and now in their fourth year, are organised by the global news media group eChannelNews.   They highlight the best-managed businesses in the UK IT sector in terms of their performance and capabilities.

Companies are evaluated in 12 key business areas with questions developed with the input of over 30 professional business coaches from the IT sector.

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

“We are delighted to have received this award for the second year running which shows that our business practices are consistently amongst the best in the IT sector.”

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 right technology for them.  We also truly believe we have the best staff delivering the highest IT expertise.”

The PC Support Group provides fully managed IT & telephony support to SMEs across the North West.  Their focus is to protect and enable their clients to achieve their business goals through exceptional service and IT expertise.

For more information about the services, The PC Support Group can offer your business contact the sales team on 03300 886 116.

Date:

Author

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

Acquisition International Magazine has announced the winners of the 2020 Global Excellence awards and Northwest-based IT provider, The PC Support Group is:

Most Outstanding SME IT Support Specialists, 2020 – UK

Acquisition INTL’s Global Excellence Awards were launched in 2016 to recognise and reward the firms and individuals whose commitment to sustained outstanding performance has seen them leading the way, not only in their own sector or industry, but across the entire global corporate spectrum.  The awards showcase the work of businesses and individuals at the top of their game, getting an inside look at how they go above and beyond for their clients time and time again.

The PC Support Group provides fully managed IT and telephony support to SMEs across the North West of England.  Its core focus is to protect and enable its clients to achieve their business goals through exceptional service and IT expertise.

Phil Bird, managing director of The PC Support Group said: “We are thrilled to have received this award that recognises us as an outstanding business as we are very proud of our unique customer service that means we go above and beyond with all our clients whenever we get the opportunity.”

Phil continued: “We actively request feedback from our clients so we can constantly improve our service.”

The rigorous selection process undertaken by Acquisition INTL’s in-house award specialists guarantees that all award recipients were chosen purely on merit based on the proven performance over the last 12 months.  Whether you run a single office firm or a multinational corporation, we reward those that are succeeding in their endeavours, innovating, growing, and improving.

To find out more about these prestigious awards, please visit www.acq-intl.com

To contact The PC Support Group to see how they can help you realise your business potential with world-class IT support, call 03300 886 116 or contact them here

Date:

Author

Category: Windows 7, IT News, IT Security, Microsoft Office.

Windows 7 officially reaches end-of-life in January 2020. So, if you’re one of the thousands of UK businesses still using it, now’s the time to upgrade – or you could be issuing an open invitation to cybercriminals.

 

While your PCs won’t suddenly stop working, from January 14 Microsoft will stop updating or supporting your operating system, meaning that automatic security and bug fixes will end, making it increasingly costly to maintain and vulnerable to attack.

And you can guarantee that cybercriminals will be targeting Windows 7 users after January 14, because they know that their defences are down.

If you haven’t already, my advice is to start planning now to upgrade to Windows 10 and make the switch well before the January deadline. This way you’ll avoid any period where you’re not supported and the associated risks.

 

While Windows 10 isn’t right for everyone, there are many advantages of upgrading from 7 to 10:

  • It’s simple, with a minimum of disruption – in most cases, you can keep your files and software on your existing PC
  • Many programs you use will already have been updated to work on Windows 10, so you can just carry on as normal
  • Although the layout and interface is different with a little patience you’ll be able to transition and use it relatively easily
  • There are many great additional features and functionality on Windows 10 that will be a big help for your business, such as the Cortana virtual assistant and enhanced security
  • Support for Windows 10 is expected to run until at least 2025, so a small investment now will provide peace of mind for the next five years or more.

So, if you’ve decided to go-ahead and upgrade, here are just a few things to bear in mind:

  • You’ll need to calculate how many users you have and how many licences you need
  • While Windows 10 will run perfectly happily on most existing hardware, it may struggle on older machines, so now may be the time to upgrade some of your hardware too
  • Although as mentioned earlier, most software has been updated to enable it to run on Windows 10 you will need to check that this is the case with all the software you use before going ahead
  • Once you’ve established what you require, you’ll need to identify a budget and potentially look into financing options
  • Time, resource and investment will be required but upgrading will almost certainly bring productivity and business efficiency benefits, which will deliver a fast return on your investment.

If you’re still using Windows 7 and would like to discuss your options and find out how we can help you, leave a message here and mention Windows 7 upgrade and we’ll get back to you or call our friendly team on 03300 886116.

Phil Bird

Managing Director, The PC Support Group