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Category: IT News, Latest.

Whilst we have all been enjoying the recent heatwave, our computer equipment definitely has not.  When switched on, our computers’ internal components generate heat, so if they are exposed to additional heat, it can cause major problems.  For example, the hard drive can expand in heat and consequently fail which could result in you losing your files.

Here are our top tips to keep you and your equipment working safely:

  1. Avoid direct sunlight

If your computer is near a window, make sure it is not in the direct sunlight otherwise it could overheat and even become dangerously hot to touch.

 

Consider closing a blind and opening a window or if either of these are not possible move to another part of the room that is not in direct sunlight.

  1. Think cool temperature

Make sure any place or room with equipment in is below 23 degrees centigrade. An airconditioned office is obviously best for maintaining a reasonable temperature but failing that get a fan to blow air onto the computer

 

Equally, if you have to leave your laptop or equipment in a car, make sure they are switched off and in a shaded place, preferably the coolest place within your vehicle.

  1. Equipment positioning

Make sure your computers and other computer equipment have access to an airflow/ventilation to keep them as cool as possible and, try not to put devices too close together. Servers in particular need to be kept cool so a small unventilated cupboard is the worst place for them in hot weather.

 

Also, laptops typically have fans underneath, so try to avoid having your laptop on your knee, better to have it on a flat surface.  If you can hear the fan constantly, it’s a sign of potential overheating.

  1. Unplug equipment that doesn’t need to be on

Make sure you unplug unneeded equipment to stop unnecessary heat from circulating.  If equipment is plugged in and switched on, it is generating heat.  Likewise, once your equipment is fully charged, remove the charger which can also overheat.

  1. Consider a move to the cloud

A move to the cloud means less physical equipment in your office or wherever you work which means less hassle for you.  Instead, any equipment is looked after externally in a professional and well-equipped environment, that would take all of the above into consideration.

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Category: IT News, Latest, News.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has raided a business in Liverpool over suspected data trafficking, the acquisition, and sale of illegally obtained personal data.

The business is thought to have carried out high volumes of data farming, known as vishing or voice phishing to obtain personal data of motor accident victims to sell onto solicitors for personal injury claims.

Vishing is a form of fraud conducted via the telephone, where a third party will attempt to obtain private, personal and financial information.  Often callers pose as policyholders, claimants or other companies in a position of trust.

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Category: Business, IT News.

Downtime is one of those dreaded words that gives business owners and managers nightmares. When some or all of your people can’t access core IT systems it’s always bad news – for relationships with customers, for productivity, for employee morale and, ultimately, for the bottom line.

The damage and cost of unplanned downtime depends on how long systems are down for, and how much each business relies on smooth-running technology, for income and customer satisfaction. Even planned downtime can cause problems and, these days, is often unnecessary.

Running an IT and telephony support business like I do, I’d love to be able to say that unplanned downtime is 100% avoidable! The reality is that it’s very difficult to prevent every conceivable cause of downtime. Occasionally even the best technology fails and human error is always a possibility.

Faced with a challenge like this, if you’re anything like me, you get practical – very quickly! What do we do about this then? Well, here are some key things you can do to minimise unplanned downtime – and even planned downtime too, come to that!:

  1. Create a strategy and action plan to actively manage all aspects of your IT
  2. Put a disaster recovery plan in place
  3. Organise regular automated backups
  4. Regularly check your backups
  5. Monitor and update all your devices and systems.

The thing is, for most SMEs with limited IT resources and expertise,  the most efficient and cost-effective way of ensuring that these tasks are completed and checked is to work with a trusted IT service partner with specific technical expertise and management skills.

Although there are costs involved, as there are engaging with any supplier, these are usually very reasonable, while the impact of not making this investment can be huge, even existential.

Just one more tip: Make sure your prospective partner offers flexible terms so that you can quickly and easily go elsewhere if you need to – beware those businesses that want to tie you down to long contracts with onerous terms!

If you’re concerned about the impact that downtime could have on your business and what you can do to prevent it, call us on 03300 886116 or email info@pcsupportgroup.com  for a confidential chat about how we can help. Meanwhile, we’ve also created this helpful guide to finding the right IT service provider.

 

Phil Bird,

Managing Director, The PC Support Group

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Category: IT News, Latest, News.

Corporate Vision Magazine has announced the winners of the 2019 Technology Innovator Awards.

The awards now in its fifth year, showcase some of the best most innovative companies, projects, and services within the technology industry. The surge of available technology products and its constant evolution means that the technology industry now stands as one of the most vitally prominent in the world.

North West-based IT and telephony provider, The PC Support Group has been unveiled as the Best SME IT Support Business 2019 – North West of England from CV Magazine.

Commenting on the success of this year’s awards and winners, Laura Hunter, Awards Coordinator for Corporate Vision stated:

Now in its fifth year, the Technology Innovator Awards showcase the very best of the best from across the technology space. I am proud to offer my congratulations to all of my winners and wish them all the best of luck for the future.”

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

We are passionate about helping businesses across the North West realise their business potential through world-class IT support and winning awards like these means we are achieving what we set out to do.”

To learn more about these illustrious winners, and to find out the secrets behind their success, please visit https://www.cv-magazine.com.

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Category: Business, IT News, IT Support.

According to a report last year, two-thirds of SMEs now use managed services and this is rising.

 

A Managed Service Provider (MSP) is a third party who manages IT infrastructure on a subscription plan meaning the SME can focus on developing the business and the day-to-day responsibility lies with the MSP.

 

For businesses that don’t have the resources and expertise to look after their IT or simply want to spend time growing their business rather than fixing problems or maintaining IT systems, it is the perfect solution.

 

Managed IT services can cover a range of functions from network, systems, applications, data storage and backup, cloud service solutions, cybersecurity, VoIP telephony and printer management.

 

With technology being essential to all businesses to varying degrees and in particular how fast it is changing, businesses can’t afford to be left behind.

 

If you’re considering using a MSP for outsourcing your IT here is a useful article that outlines the benefits to help you make an informed choice.

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

According to a recent study, 86% of the top UK websites failed to comply with GDPR.  Considering GDPR is now a year old, this alarming news.

The findings by ImmuniWeb, a global security testing provider, highlighted that the majority of UK websites were using non-compliant processes or insecure systems to host and manage user data.   Eighty-six percent were found to be using insecure cookies and 17% of sites had either missing or hard to reach privacy policies.

On a positive note, 100% were using Secure Socket Layer (SSL) or HTTPS and had up-to-date content management systems.

The stats also revealed that sites operating across the rest of Europe are more likely to be compliant with GDPR.

Here are some tips on how to make your website GDPR compliant:

  1. Make sure your privacy policy is very clear about the data you are capturing and easily accessible.  It needs to outline the usage of advertising, marketing, transferring data to third parties (who must be named) and IP tracking
  2. Make sure an SSL certificate is obtained for your website to encrypt data to stop people hacking it
  3. Make sure any data capture forms on your website have active opt-in boxes for acceptance reasons including for social media
  4. Make sure users can unsubscribe their consent/withdraw their permission easily and clearly and this should be separate to accepting terms and conditions
  5. Your website should have procedures in place to detect, report and investigate personal data breaches.

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Category: IT News, IT Security, News.

With hackers getting smarter and malware having increasingly devastating results, cybersecurity has never been more important to keep your business safe.

One way of increasing your cybersecurity is with an antivirus (AV) software. That is why it is essential to invest in good AV software. However, it should be stressed that this should be in conjunction with other security measures.   Previously, AV software was renowned for slowing your computer down and therefore an excuse for not investing in it; however, software has come a long way.  According to independent testing by IT PRO, the best business antivirus software for 2019 is Kaspersky Internet Security 2019, which came out as virtually faultless.

The other recommended AV software included BitDefender Internet Security 2019, McAfee Internet Security 2019, Panda Free Antivirus and Avast Free Antivirus.

If you’re unsure about which antivirus software to install or how to configure it, speak with your IT provider for advice or contact The PC support Group here.

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Category: IT News, IT Security, News.

New research says that almost 90% of SMEs are now looking to switch to the IT Managed Service Provider with the best cybersecurity services, above all other selection criteria.

Global IT management company Continuum spoke to SMEs across the UK, US, France, Germany and Belgium about their cybersecurity concerns. Its main conclusions included:

  • Almost all SMEs are now aware of the business-critical importance of cybersecurity
  • 89% of those surveyed would consider switching to a new IT support provider if it offered the right cybersecurity solutions
  • Almost a quarter have already switched following a cyber attack.

The research highlighted that cybersecurity is now the most important issue for SMEs selecting an IT provider and that virtually all businesses were willing to move away from their current provider if it meant getting a better service elsewhere.  Interestingly, the majority don’t feel like they are protected sufficiently and therefore are considering switching for better security

Is your business protected against cyber attacks like ransomware or email phishing? Do you feel that your current provider is giving you good advice and being proactive with measures to protect you and your customers? Or is it time to look at other options to keep your business safe?

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Category: IT News, Mobile Computing, News.

What makes the iPhone such a smart business device is its power.

The iPhone’s security features are market-leading and with a wealth of apps available to power your entire life (it is estimated there are 2.2 million apps worldwide) there is no better device for mobile working.

According to IT PRO, here is a summary of some of the best (free and paid-for) business apps for productivity and collaboration purposes for the iPhone for you to consider.

  1. Bear

This is a powerful writing app for notes, essays, to do lists and coding

  • Genius Scan

Your own portable document scanner that uses the iPhone’s camera to produce copies of documents in PDF format

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader

A file viewer and editor necessary for anyone who regularly works with PDFs

  • Airwatch Agent

This is an app that manages and supports devices across your company.  Great for companies that rely on communication and collaboration between teams.

  • Dropbox

This is a cloud storage app that allows you to store and share files and documents between team members allowing you to work from anywhere

  • CamScanner Pro

This app allows you to get high quality scans from wherever you are which are easily accessible and backed up using just your iPhone

  • Enlight

This is a mobile photo editing suite app which allows you to touch up images.

  • Evernote

This app allows you to sync across all of your devices, so you don’t have to keep switching between them.  It is a great workspace for everything from note-taking, creating checklists and more

  • Inbox by Gmail

This mail app is great for bundling similar messages together and making reminders in separate entries for easy reviewing to minimise the amount of time and attention given to inboxes

  1. Invoice2go

This app allows you to create and send professional invoices using a variety of templates.  It is a comprehensive way to track money owed, paid and received.

  1. iPlanner UK

This is a highly customised app to keep track of meetings and events

  1. ITranslate Voice

This app can help you communicate more efficiently across languages allowing you to translate spoken language into written English for example

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Category: IT News, IT Security, News.

Under new government plans, tech companies and social media platforms will be compelled to abide by a duty of care relating to online content.

Those companies that breach standards set out in the duty of care, which will be established by a digital regulator, will be issued notices or receive “substantial” fines for failures to remove harmful or extremist content.

The statutory requirement is seen as necessary following repeated calls to action by The Government to tackle harmful and illegal content that is still too readily available online as well as the growing mistrust of online services.

The Government has hinted it will target the biggest companies first such as internet giants Facebook and Google or those companies that pose the clearest risk to users.

“Tech can be an incredible force for good and we want the sector to be part of the solution in protecting their users. However, those that fail to do this will face tough action” said The Government’s Digital Secretary, Jeremy Wright.

To find out more visit https://www.parliament.uk/business/news/2019/april/government-announce-world-first-online-safety-laws/