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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  info@pcsupportgroup.com.

Phil Bird

Managing Director, The PC Support Group

 

 

 

 

Date:

Author

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.

 

 

 

 

Date:

Author

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

The Government has announced a project for the UK to become a world leader in eradicating cyber threats, to coincide with Data Privacy Day 2019.

The project challenges businesses to compete for millions of pounds in funding to design security systems and hardware that will increase businesses resilience to such attacks.  Businesses will be asked to put forward business cases to the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, which feed into the Government’s wider investment strategy, in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI).

The projects will be given the go-ahead if approved and if the funding is matched from the tech industry, the Government said.

 

 

 

 

Date:

Author

Category: Business, IT News, News.

Google mentioned last year that it would be closing its Google+ platform this year after 5 years.

The search giant that developed its social media platform, Google+ as competition to the Facebook social media platform announced that from 2nd April, the platform will no longer exist.  The reason given was that the platform had not quite taken off and due to low usage and the challenges involved it was not viable to keep the social network up and running.

As of today (Monday 4th February), you won’t be able to create new pages, profiles or groups and from 2nd April all content will start to be deleted.

 

 

 

 

Date:

Author

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

According to a study by insurance company Zurich, 1 in 6 of UK SMEs have suffered at least one cyber security breach or attack in the last 12 months and this is on the increase. They also found that of those that were affected, 21% reported that it cost them over £10,000 and 11% said that it cost more than £50,000.

Multi-award-winning IT provider, The PC Support Group together with HR specialist, HPC and Downtown In Business will be holding a free Cyber Security power panel in Manchester on:

Date: Tuesday 26th March

Time: 12-2pm (lunch & refreshments provided)

Location: Manchester

Venue: Orega King Street

This event is essential for business owners and directors and will take the format of an informal discussion for 30 businesses only based in Manchester where we will discuss the latest cyber security threats, how it can impact your business and what action can be taken to keep your business safe.

This event is perfect for you if you’re:

  • A business owner or director in Manchester with over 20 employees (one place per company)
  • Worried about the security of your business but don’t know what to do
  • Looking to introduce a cyber security strategy but don’t know where to start
  • Wanting to know what policies to implement to protect your business

To enquire about a place for this non-technical but highly informative discussion, please contact helen.roughley@pcsupportgroup.com  Places will be given on a first come first served basis.

 

 

 

Date:

Author

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 info@pcsupportgroup.com

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 info@pcsupportgroup.com for a confidential chat.
Phil Bird
Managing Director, The PC Support Group

 

 

 

 

Date:

Author

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

 

 

 

 

Date:

Author

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.

 

 

 

 

Date:

Author

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.