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Password flaws, unsecured protocols and out-of-date software - enterprises have them all

Large enterprises are the least prepared of all companies against cyber crime, despite having greater budgets and resources, according to new research.

Contrary to received wisdom, larger companies performed the worst when assessed by cyber security consultancy firm Coalfire, in part due to their complex organisational structure and large attack surface built from multiple acquisitions.

Researchers' assumptions that SMBs would be the most at risk due to a lack of firm process and procedure, as well as staffing and budget weaknesses, were defied in Coalfire's first annual Penetration Risk Report, with midsized businesses hitting what the report dubbed a "cyber security sweet spot".

The report's findings, based on 310 penetrations tests across 148 organisations of various sizes, showed that while large enterprises are too diverse and complex to uniformly protect their entire architecture, midsized businesses provide the best configuration to best secure their environments.

Among all types of penetration tests conducted on large organisations, 49% of vulnerabilities found were deemed high risk, versus 38% for small businesses and 34% for medium businesses.

"Large organizations do not become large organizations entirely on their good looks and charm," the report said. "For many companies, growth is largely 'inorganic', achieved through mergers and acquisitions. As the asset collection grows, the attack surface grows.

"An acquiring company with its own asset management challenges often integrates other companies that come with their unique asset management challenges. When you mix poor asset management into a growing attack surface, you find the security posture will erode quickly, as it is inversely proportional to the growth of the attack surface."

Rapid change, shadow IT and employee turnover were all highlighted as factors that contributed to a "cyber-dynamic" environment within enterprises that is harder to control and get full visibility into, with internal networks considered the biggest vulnerability.

But while large organisations proved best at defending against phishing and other social engineering attacks, midsized businesses performed best at protecting their assets and mitigating their overall security risks.

"Our extensive penetration tests flip the thinking that large enterprises are the most secure, even with significant cyber security budgets and investments in staffing and other resources," said Andy Barratt, Coalfire's UK managing director.

"However, this doesn't apply to social engineering where large corporates are more secure. Despite bigger companies outperforming their smaller rivals in this area, it's clear that human error poses the greatest risk to businesses of all sizes. Whether you're a FTSE 100 company or an SMB, the chances are that staff are your cyber security Achilles' heel."

The researchers also found that internal networks showed higher risk factors than external networks - despite their presumption that internet-based attacks represented a greater threat - while human error was the weakest security link in an organisation, given the prevalence of phishing attacks.

Unsecured protocols, password flaws, missing system patches, out-of-date software and cross-site scripting, meanwhile, comprised the top five most common enterprise vulnerabilities in both external and internal networks. But phishing attacks were identified as the gateway for attackers to infiltrate an organisation on a deeper level.

Coalfire's researchers issued recommendations for organisations of all sizes to follow, including implementing two-factor authentication, expanding patch management beyond Windows Update, as well as maintaining an accurate inventory of systems and their dependencies.

Beyond general advice, small businesses were encouraged to integrate security checkpoints in engineering and development processes, while midsized business were urged to focus investment on mitigating human error, particularly in developing programmes to boost cyber security awareness, and engaging employees in social engineering testing.

The report recommended that large companies prioritise asset management, and focus on raising the level of visibility across the entire organisation, given the greater tendency for these companies to suffer from "technology sprawl and complex, decentralised operations".

Written by Keumars Afifi-Sabet

 

http://www.itpro.co.uk/cyber-security/31513/large-businesses-are-the-most-vulnerable-to-cyber-attacks

Microtechs White label support services

With Microtechs outsourced UK remote support services you can focus on managing relationships and delivering your core business. Manned 24/7 by fully trained technical staff in Surrey, your customers will receive a personal answer to any support issue raised, at any time of the day or night.

•Are you a IT / Telecoms / Software provider with an expanding customer base?

•Are you spending so much time on IT support that you struggle to develop new clients?

•Are you struggling to find and retain the right support team members?

•Need to cover extended hours easily?

•Had a poor experience outsourcing offshore?

•Looking to increase your customers up-time?

•Need to reduce your costs and lower overheads by as much as 40%?

Our client-specific 1st and 2nd line teams can monitor your servers and support queue (email, alert or phone) 24/7 or just as overflow. When a new incident comes in, we work to resolve the issue and respond to your customers through phone or your support system, thereby maintaining 100% transparent support. This includes 3rd party escalations and incident management.

As a white label managed service provider, we operate as an extension of you, so your customers will be thanking you for the expert service they receive, the peace of mind you bring and the additional value you have added to their business.

•Fully inclusive services with an average 80% resolution rate

•15 minute NOC response times

•80% of telephone calls answered within 60 seconds

•Completely white labelled to your brand / customers brands

•Desktop / Network / O365 / Mac / Telecoms / Bespoke software / Wi-Fi

•Pricing from £500 per month

If you need overflow during the day or a whole support desk from inception or just some monitoring services overnight, please drop me an email or give us a call.

Please contact us for further information on 01483 407417.

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The past few months have been abuzz with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and how online businesses, including VPN providers, have updated their privacy policies.

How does GDPR protect internet users in general?

GDPR is applicable on all companies that process, store, log, or share personal data of European citizens, regardless of what part of the world the businesses hail from. Failure to comply with any of the GDPR policies can result in heavy financial penalties.

The GDPR makes it mandatory for all companies to provide users with an easy-to-understand privacy policy. Companies also need to provide an opt-out option for users who do not want to give their consent to share their data. In an event of breach, the company would need to inform its users about the breach within 72 hours and without any unnecessary delays. All users will be provided with options to download all of their data that they have provided to a specific company, a detailed log of how that data has been used in the past, and an option to edit or delete any of that data.

Why VPNs needed to keep logs in the past

The two main types of logs that VPNs keep are connection logs and browsing logs. As the name suggests, browsing logs are a comprehensive report on every individual about all of their online activities, communication, online transactions, and other intricate details.

Unfortunately, majority of the VPN providers that operated from within the US were required by law to keep browsing logs. Moreover, failure to produce logs upon legal notice could have resulted in cancellation of licenses for the VPN provider.

It is worth noting that not all VPNs keep logs, but the ones that are based in countries such as the US, UK, or EU are legally bound to keep logs to be able to produce them when legally required. This compromises the entire concept of getting privacy and security from a VPN.

The second type of logs is known as connection logs. Many people confuse connection logs with browsing logs and start losing trust in their VPN provider after finding out that their VPN provider keeps connection logs. It is worth noting that without connection logs, no online service, let alone VPN providers, can operate. A connection log typically includes your name, email address, IP address, and connection timestamps. Without having record of this information, it will be impossible to authorize connection for users, or know when their account is expiring.

How will GDPR change VPN’s logging policies

With the GDPR taking its toll on the VPN industry, a few things will change for good. Most importantly, no VPN provider will be keeping browsing logs on any of its user, as it would be a criminal offence to do so without users’ consent. However, connection logs would still be kept. In the future, violation of privacy on any level will be dealt legally. It renders any violation an illegal act, which is off course a criminal offence.

All VPN providers and cybersecurity companies secure all of their sensitive data, which in this case is connection logs. Keeping the connection logs encrypted will ensure the ultimate privacy and security for users’ personal information and data.

This will put an end to the endless online debate about which VPN keeps logs and which one does not. Every VPN will become log-less, and every VPN will provide its users with an option to delete their connection logs if they desire.

Why do VPNs need to be GDPR compliant?

Now that GDPR is the data protection law, VPN providers have never been happier. Previously, they were legally required to keep logs, even though they hated it. Now they are no longer required to do so. In fact, logging users personal information, and sharing it with anyone without prior consent will be treated as a criminal offence. This is indeed a moment of relief and celebration for both, the VPN providers as well as their customers.

Every VPN that is providing its services in Europe, or has its servers based in the continent, has to abide by all regulations and policies being implemented by GDPR. Failure to do so can result in regional bans over VPN providers, barring them from providing their services to those living in Europe.

It is worth noting that the VPN providers are only required to be compliant with GDPR when providing services to those users who are living in Europe. However, many VPN providers have welcomed the change with open hands and have begun implementing the GDPR complaint privacy policy across the globe, in a bid to provide more privacy and protection to their users.

Wrapping this up: final word

GDPR is the first step taken towards making the internet a better and safer place for humans. It primarily revolves around protecting the users and their personal information, and allows companies to do business within the mentioned guidelines.

Written by Anas Baig Security Consultant

https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/opinions/vpns-gdpr-compliant/

Image: shutterstock.com

Microtechs White Label Support services

With Microtechs outsourced UK remote support services you can focus on managing relationships and delivering your core business. Manned 24/7 by fully trained technical staff in Surrey, your customers will receive a personal answer to any support issue raised, at any time of the day or night.

             Are you a IT / Telecoms / Software provider with an expanding customer base?

             Are you spending so much time on IT support that you struggle to develop new clients?

             Are you struggling to find and retain the right support team members?

             Need to cover extended hours easily?

             Had a poor experience outsourcing offshore?

             Looking to increase your customers up-time?

             Need to reduce your costs and lower overheads by as much as 40%?

Our client-specific 1st and 2nd line teams can monitor your servers and support queue (email, alert or phone) 24/7 or just as overflow. When a new incident comes in, we work to resolve the issue and respond to your customers through phone or your support system, thereby maintaining 100% transparent support. This includes 3rd party escalations and incident management.

As a white label managed service provider, we operate as an extension of you, so your customers will be thanking you for the expert service they receive, the peace of mind you bring and the additional value you have added to their business.

             Fully inclusive services with an average 80% resolution rate

             15 minute NOC response times

             80% of telephone calls answered within 60 seconds

             Completely white labelled to your brand / customers brands

             Desktop / Network / O365 / Mac / Telecoms / Bespoke software / Wi-Fi

             Pricing from £500 per month

If you need overflow during the day or a whole support desk from inception or just some monitoring services overnight, please drop me an email or give us a call.

Please contact us for further information on 01483 407417

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Why businesses are increasingly ditching proprietary vendors in favour of the open source community

Businesses have gravitated towards open source applications as they often offer low-cost alternatives to commercial applications. The Linux operating system is a good example, or the WordPress content management system that powers millions of websites.

The free software movement, which was founded in 1983 with the establishment of the GNU Project and later The Free Software Foundation (FSF) began the open source environment that we know today.

However, 'free' doesn't mean zero cost in this case. Open source applications operate with the same commercial licensing structures as traditional software, however, they fall under the Open Source Initiative umbrella that ensures these applications can be redistributed by anyone.

So should businesses commit their resources to open source applications that offer a very different approach to development and technical support?

Philippe Kalaf, CEO, Collabora tells us that you'd be hard-pressed to find an organisation that solely relies on proprietary software alone.

"Coexistence is absolutely here today, even if obfuscated from the users," says Kalaf. "Across industries and academia open source collaborative software development has already become the standard. This is evolving to open data (government, industries and academic), open designs, open hardware and more."

One of the big draws of open source is how it is created. The collaborative nature of the development process, and the long testing that takes place, results in applications that are closer to the ideals of their users. Moreover, customising open source applications is one of their major strengths.

Businesses that need a specific feature can quickly build these themselves as the open nature of the application's code allows this. With commercial software, changes would need to be done by the vendor, which typically takes far longer and is less suited to the user's needs - and that's only if the vendor agrees to the changes in the first place.

Is open source secure?

Today, data security is a critical component of every business. Open source has proven itself to be robust in this regard, as often the development teams of open source applications can number in the thousands.

"Several research papers have concluded that security through obscurity is a weaker model than open source code in terms of sound security and coding practices," says Kalaf. "It is nearly impossible for anyone to willingly introduce malicious software or backdoors in open source software."

The sheer number of development teams has the practical effect of mass testing of open source software, which can reveal security flaws that are quickly fixed - something that proprietary developers often can't match.

GitHub also now has security alerts which all business users of open source applications can use to ensure they are aware of any potential security threats to the code they are using.

However, businesses that use open source applications for critical systems, especially those that are customer facing, should pay close attention to the potential risks.

"These risks can manifest as costs depending on the level of dependency on the chosen software," said Richard Bultitude, experience technology director at Publicis.Sapient, who recommends having a contingency plan in place when dealing with new open source software, particularly as many are "young and unstable".

Businesses need to understand that the software changes rapidly, and each new version could contain system-breaking bugs. What's more, depending on the size of the community supporting the software, documentation and guidance may be scant.

Bultitude also highlights that a particular open source product may have a large number of competitors in the community, and may end up losing out to similar software as developer commitments shift.

How should a business approach open source?

How a business approaches open source applications will vary depending on its specific needs. Often what appears to be off-the-shelf applications such as SugarCRM or WordPress are in fact open source platforms that are in active development, combining the feel of a completed product with the ongoing flexibility of community support. Yet businesses may also turn to open source to develop their own applications, or as a cost-effective means of developing needed functionality at a fraction of the cost of developing the software from scratch.

Even proprietary software companies are starting to exploit the appeal of open source, most notably Microsoft and its recent $7.5bn acquisition of GitHub.

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It's currently unclear what GitHub's future will look like under Microsoft

"Microsoft as a company is famous for selling proprietary software licenses as their core business, but Microsoft is currently the most active organisation on GitHub in the world," says Robbie McCorkell, tech lead at Red Badger.

"Microsoft is a great example of a company that has come to understand how open source software can greatly benefit them and their community whilst complementing their business model. Particularly in the area of development tooling, Microsoft's open source contributions (for example Visual Studio Code) continue to grow in popularity and, build community engagement."

Businesses owners, of course, want to gain the most from the investments they make in software applications, even if there is in effect a near-zero cost when using open source.

However, as Shane Coughlan a consultant in communication, security and business development for Opendawn points out, business owners need to look past the zero-price tag.

"Businesses tend to choose open source rather than proprietary models because it acts as a multiplier to investment. When you put 3% or 5% into open source you still receive 100% of the complete platform. That's a fantastic return.

"Businesses tend to face challenges around open source when they focus entirely on the 'free code' part and miss the 'eco-system of development' part. It is the latter which drives down costs and increases results in the long term," adds Coughlan.

What does the future look like for open source?

Open source is continuing to expand and develop with increasing numbers of businesses adopting these applications. The future is certainly more open source-based software, but businesses far more likely to create hybrid approaches to their application needs.

"As a business you can build extremely powerful and reliable applications from open source software at a lower cost and have complete visibility of the code," said Publicis.Sapient's Richard Bultitude.

"Proprietary software can be expensive and often comes as compiled code - meaning its inner workings are opaque. Though support for open source software can be limited, or incur a slow response time, there is a worldwide community of developers who may have the answer to your question via forums like StackOverflow."

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Open source software lacks the SLA agreements provided by commercial vendors

The need for cheaper and more flexible software has pushed businesses towards the SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) model, but open source also has its place at the table.

However, it's vital to understand that open source applications don't come with an SLA (Service Level Agreement) that you can fall back to if the application doesn't perform as expected. And if you are using an open source application as a component of a wider, more complex, application, if a component is changed or fails, so too could the application your business has come to rely upon.

The recent purchase of GitHub by Microsoft speaks volumes about how open source and proprietary software development has been converging, although concerns still remain about GitHub's future under a commercial vendor.

Clearly, the future is bright for open source as a conduit of innovative applications without the vendor lock-in that is typical of proprietary applications. Businesses shouldn't be afraid of using open source software, so long as they're savvy with their choices and have contingency plans in the event of software failures.

Open source is about collaboration and community. You're not buying opaque software you can't change and improve - you're entering a rich innovative environment that your business could play an active role in.

Image: Shutterstock

http://www.itpro.co.uk/open-source/31406/is-open-source-open-for-business

Written by David Howell

Microtechs 24/7 White Labelled Support services

Most of our customers approach Microtechs as they are looking for a partnership with a fully flexible, UK based support team. We are all based from one office in Surrey and tailor our services to dovetail to your individual requirements.

Do you need help with; 

  • ·        Covering support overnight and weekends
  • ·        Need to free up your senior staff to work on project or development duties
  • ·        Issues with staff retention
  • ·        Outsourced offshore and have experienced a high number of complaints.

Cost savings, operational efficiencies and service improvements can be found through your team working in conjunction with us.

Microtechs Service Desk and NOC solutions provide the right level of support for you. 24/7 access to a client-specific 1st and 2nd line teams, scalable models to meet your requirements, proactive monitoring and alerting, backed up by a state of the art service desk infrastructure.

So, what does all this mean for your business and customers? Increased up-time, reduced costs (in some cases by more than 40%), lower overheads, incident reduction and continual service improvements – all managed by Microtechs.

  • Fully inclusive services with an average 80% resolution rate
  • ·        15 minute NOC response times
  • ·        Fully GDPR compliant
  • ·        Completely white labelled to your brand / customers brands
  • ·        Desktop / Network / O365 / Mac / Telecoms / Bespoke software / Wi-Fi
  • ·        Pricing from £500 per month

If you need overflow during the day or a whole support desk from inception or just some monitoring services overnight, please drop me an email or give us a call.

Please contact us for further information on 01483 407417.

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A new study by Unisys Corporation found that today’s employees are so keen on technology that they would consider leaving their place of employment if they aren’t empowered with the most updated technology.

The study attempted to gauge employee perspectives on the importance of deploying current and future digital capabilities in the workplace and queried more than 12,000 members of the workforce in the UK and 11 other countries around the world.

Based on the level of updated technology made available to their employees, companies were categorized as either technology leaders or laggards. More than half (56%) of the new digital workforce said they were frustrated with their laggard employees, while only 9% of workers at companies considered technology leaders expressed similar frustration.

The study found a direct correlation between the threat of attrition, as workers at technology laggards (14%) were willing to quit, while only 2% of employees at technology leaders saying they were likely to look for new opportunities. Still, less than a third of all workers surveyed in the UK (26%) identified their organizations as technology leaders. The global average of workplaces falling into the leader category was 32%, with the UK ranked 11 out of the 12 countries surveyed. 

“The data show a clear new paradigm in today’s UK digital workplace: more than one-third of those who work for technology laggards feel like outdated devices are limiting their productivity, with more than half frustrated and many with one eye on the door as a result,” Mickey Davis, global vice president of managed workplace services, Unisys, said in a press release. “Equipping devices with the right applications and productivity tools is critically important to access and engagement.”

Devices, though, are a bone of contention for workers at laggard organizations, with 35% of these workers reporting that they could be more productive but for their outdated devices. Because their companies do not provide them with the technology they need, 39% of employees said they download apps and websites not supported by their organization’s IT group.

“With a substantial number of businesses behind the technological curve, it puts them and the economy at risk from a talent retention standpoint and brings down their overall efficiency and productivity,” Davis said. "This not only costs resources but also has a negative impact on their relationship with the employer, with many considering new jobs because of their frustration."

By Kacy Zurkus

https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/employees-willing-to-leave-if/

Image: Shutterstock

Microtechs White Label 24/7 Support Services

Most of our customers approach Microtechs as they are looking for a partnership with a fully flexible, UK based support team. We are all based from one office in Surrey and tailor our services to dovetail to your individual requirements.

Do you need help with; 

  • ·        Covering support overnight and weekends
  • ·        Need to free up your senior staff to work on project or development duties
  • ·        Issues with staff retention
  • ·        Outsourced offshore and have experienced a high number of complaints.

Cost savings, operational efficiencies and service improvements can be found through your team working in conjunction with us.

Microtechs Service Desk and NOC solutions provide the right level of support for you. 24/7 access to a client-specific 1st and 2nd line teams, scalable models to meet your requirements, proactive monitoring and alerting, backed up by a state of the art service desk infrastructure.

So, what does all this mean for your business and customers? Increased up-time, reduced costs (in some cases by more than 40%), lower overheads, incident reduction and continual service improvements – all managed by Microtechs.

                 Fully inclusive services with an average 80% resolution rate

                 15 minute NOC response times

                 Fully GDPR compliant

                 Completely white labelled to your brand / customers brands

                 Desktop / Network / O365 / Mac / Telecoms / Bespoke software / Wi-Fi

                 Pricing from £500 per month

If you need overflow during the day or a whole support desk from inception or just some monitoring services overnight, please drop me an email or give us a call.

Please contact us for further information on 01483 407417

 

 

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Ofcom must demand better service from mobile operators, CLA says

Rural businesses want Ofcom to force mobile operators to improve 4G coverage in the British countryside, to save them from a "digital dark age".

Calling for the telecom regulator to "challenge this reluctance" among operators to invest in rural areas, landowner, farmer and rural business membership organisation, the CLA, told MPs that reliable and speedy data connections are crucial for rural firms to thrive.

CLA deputy president Mark Bridgeman said: "4G is vital to running a business. It is needed for marketing, communication and driving forward innovative technology. But rural businesses are being kept in a digital dark age because of mobile not-spots across the countryside.

"Many rural communities have been abandoned by the mobile network operators who will only make investments in the countryside when forced to do so. Ofcom must demand more and challenge this reluctance to invest in rural areas."

Bridgeman was giving evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Rural Business, which is set to publish recommendations this September on how Ofcom can improve mobile connectivity in the countryside.

The CLA has been campaigning on the issue this year, with its '4G For All' campaign garnering the signatures of 55 MPs in May.

A letter sent to digital secretary Matt Hancock that month, featuring those signatures, outlined members' fear that conditions Ofcom has attached to its 2020 5G 700MHz spectrum sale around improving rural coverage "fall significantly short" of government targets for mobile coverage to reach 95% of the UK by the end of 2022.

"With the challenges of Brexit, rural businesses will increasingly depend on good connectivity to become more productive and efficient," Bridgeman added.

"To ensure the countryside is better connected, we need to see regulation introduced which imposes a more ambitious legally binding coverage obligation on all four major operators, plus action from Ofcom to force the mobile operators into providing much greater transparency of coverage performance and plans for rural areas."

An Ofcom spokesperson told IT Pro: "We agree mobile coverage must improve, and we've announced plans that will require mobile companies to extend their networks in areas where coverage is poor, with a focus on reaching rural areas. The targets are designed to be stretching, but also achievable. We're considering a range of views, and will outline next steps later this year."

Hancock had previously pledged that 4G coverage would cover all of the UK by 2020. EE's 4G spans 86% of the UK, the best coverage available, according to OpenSignal data from September 2017.

Written by Joe Curtis

http://www.itpro.co.uk/mobile/31379/rural-businesses-demand-better-4g-coverage

Microtechs 24/7 White label help desk and NOC

Most of our customers approach Microtechs as they are looking for a partnership with a fully flexible, UK based support team. We are all based from one office in Surrey and tailor our services to dovetail to your individual requirements.

Do you need help with; 

·        Covering support overnight and weekends

·        Need to free up your senior staff to work on project or development duties

·        Issues with staff retention

·        Outsourced offshore and have experienced a high number of complaints.

Cost savings, operational efficiencies and service improvements can be found through your team working in conjunction with us.

Microtechs Service Desk and NOC solutions provide the right level of support for you. 24/7 access to a client-specific 1st and 2nd line teams, scalable models to meet your requirements, proactive monitoring and alerting, backed up by a state of the art service desk infrastructure.

So, what does all this mean for your business and customers? Increased up-time, reduced costs (in some cases by more than 40%), lower overheads, incident reduction and continual service improvements – all managed by Microtechs.

                 Fully inclusive services with an average 80% resolution rate

                 15 minute NOC response times

                 Fully GDPR compliant

                 Completely white labelled to your brand / customers brands

                 Desktop / Network / O365 / Mac / Telecoms / Bespoke software / Wi-Fi

                 Pricing from £500 per month

If you need overflow during the day or a whole support desk from inception or just some monitoring services overnight, please drop me an email or give us a call.

Please contact us for further information on 01483 407417

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Could your next colleague be a bot?

BREXIT COULD lead to a rise of the machines as more and more industries turn to automation as a cheaper way of plugging the holes left by lack of EU migrant labour in the coming years, according to industry analysts.

Mark Gray, UK sales manager for Danish bot-maker Universal Robots, told trade magazine The Manufacturer: "In the past month I've sold six cobots to companies that are struggling to find staff because eastern Europeans either aren't coming over in sufficient numbers or are returning home."

But it's not just production lines. We could be seeing more robot waiters and bartenders in the coming months following hot on the heels of Mofongo's robot-made cocktails, a regular sight to us techies who usually see the robo-shaker several times a year at trade shows.

So-called cobots (collaborative robots) are designed with limiters to make them Asimov-minty-fresh to work safely alongside humans. That's the key thing - there's no "them" and "us" here - you'll be working alongside and interacting with cobots.

Mark Bridger, VP of OpenText UK, added: "From a productivity perspective, we spend a third of our time in the workplace collecting and processing data. AI and robotics could all but eliminate this work, freeing us up from the time-consuming administration and allowing us to focus on other more creative or rewarding aspects of our jobs.

"We should stop viewing AI as an existential threat to employment. AI technology cannot replace people but it can work alongside humans to boost business productivity and make employees' lives easier."

According to the International Federation of Robotics, the UK has been a slow adopter of cobots so far with about 71 robots per 10,000 workers. France sits at 132 and hyper-efficient Germany uses 309.

The term "Industrie 4.0", referring to a fourth industrial revolution through smart automation is on the lips of mainland Europe and now it looks to be on its way here.

By Chris Merriman

Original article: https://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/3034337/robots-could-replace-migrant-workers-as-brexit-shortages-bite

Microtechs White label service desk and NOC

Most of our customers approach us as they are looking for a fully UK based extension of their support team.

Do you need help with; 

             Covering support overnight and weekends

             Need to free up your senior staff to work on project or development duties

             Issues with staff retention

             Outsourced overseas and have experienced a high number of complaints.

We have a mixture of clients which use our helpdesk and monitoring services which include;

             1st /2nd line remote support calls

             24/7/365 or office hours

             Incident management services with third party escalation

             Proactive monitoring NOC services

             Catch and dispatch only monitoring services

             Fully inclusive services with an average 80% resolution rate

             15-minute NOC response times

             Fully GDPR compliant

             Completely white labelled to your brand / customers brands

             Desktop / Network / O365 / Mac / Telecoms / Bespoke software

             Pricing from £500 per month

We are all based from one office in Surrey and tailor our service to dovetail to your requirement.

I guess that’s why we are different to other companies. We spend time to learn, develop, sculpt and continually improve our service to your customers.

If you need overflow during the day or a whole support desk from scratch or just some monitoring services overnight, please get in touch on 01483 407417

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Firms lack solid disaster recovery and backup strategies, survey finds

Almost four million UK businesses could be at risk of losing their data due to inadequate - or even nonexistent - backup practices, according to new figures.

A study of 514 UK business leaders, conducted by business internet provider Beaming, showed that companies are failing to follow best practices when it comes to protecting their data against hardware failure or cyber-attack.

Most worryingly, the survey showed that 17% of all respondents do not back up their business data at all, with the only official copy residing on the individual system it was created on. This figure is predominantly influenced by sole traders and micro-businesses of less than 10 people - 20% and 10% respectively say they keep no backups, while that figure plummets to 2% for medium businesses of between 50 and 249 employees.

However, almost 50% of survey respondents said that their backups were kept on a separate system within the same office - indicating a troubling lack of disaster recovery plans. Scaling up the findings of its survey to reflect the UK government's figures for the number of businesses in Britain, Beaming claimed this implies that around 3.8 million businesses are not adhering to best practices.

"Our research shows that almost four million UK businesses are vulnerable to data loss from single events and could potentially become unable to operate," said Sonia Blizzard, Beaming's managing director. "Most businesses, particularly at the smaller end, don't do enough to safeguard their information."

This figure was relatively consistent across all company sizes; 42% of medium-sized businesses admitted to keeping no offsite backups, as did 30% of large companies with at least 250 employees.

This contradicts guidance from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which advises that backups should not be accessible to staff or connected to the system housing the original data. Ideally, they should also be in a separate physical location to the system of origin.

The reason for this is that while backing up data to an external device such as a NAS drive or file server within the same office protects against hardware failure, disk corruption and other technical issues, it does not provide any defence against disasters such as fires or floods, which can wipe out both the original data and your backups in one fell swoop.

It also leaves businesses open to malware. Ransomware infections, for example, can often spread through the network to other machines. If the system on which your backups are stored is on the same network as the rest of your IT, this means that your backups could become infected as well.

Of the businesses that do make use of offsite backup services - around 21% of respondents - the method varies depending on company size. Small, medium and large organisations tended to prefer external data centres and colocation facilities, while sole traders and micro-businesses were more likely to go for a cloud-based option.

The NCSC advocates the use of cloud as an easy, hassle-free solution for organisations who want to back up their data, and advises companies to make it a part of their routine.

"We know that backing up is not a very interesting thing to do (and there will always be more important tasks that you feel should take priority), but the majority of network or cloud storage solutions now allow you to make backups automatically," it advises.

"Many off-the-shelf backup solutions are easy to set up, and are affordable considering the business-critical protection they offer. When choosing a solution, you'll also have to consider how much data you need to back up, and how quickly you need to be able to access the data following any incident."

Article source: http://www.itpro.co.uk/backup/31273/50-of-uk-businesses-are-leaving-data-at-risk

Written by Adam Shepherd

Microtechs White label 24/7 Outsourced Helpdesk and NOC

Most of our customers approach us as they are looking for a fully UK based extension of their support team. This is normally to help with covering support overnight and weekends, because they want to free up their senior staff to work on project or development duties, because of issues with staff retention or because they have already outsourced overseas and have experienced a high number of complaints.

We have a mixture of clients which use our helpdesk and monitoring services which include;

             1st /2nd line remote support calls

             24/7/365 or office hours

             Incident management services with third party escalation

             Proactive monitoring NOC services

             Catch and dispatch only monitoring services

             Fully inclusive services with an average 80% resolution rate

             15-minute response times

             Fully GDPR compliant

             Completely white labelled to your brand

             Desktop / Network / O365 / Mac / Telecoms / Bespoke software

             Pricing from £500 per month

We are all based from one office in Surrey and tailor our service to dovetail to your requirement.

I guess that’s why we are different to other companies. We spend time to learn, develop, sculpt and continually improve our service to your customers.

If you need overflow during the day or a whole support desk from scratch or just some monitoring services overnight, please drop me an email or give us a call.

Please contact us for further information on 01483 407417.

Posted by on in Latest Microtechs news posts

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Virtually every mobile provider offers 4G contracts now, but which one is the best for you?

4G has been up and running for over six years now and it's become the industry standard as consumers and businesses users alike need a high-speed connection to power their streaming, social media networking and of course mobile working. As devices have morphed into mobile offices, employees need access to a solid network and the evolution of 4G has accommodated this.

In fact, mobile provider Three has so much faith in 4G tech, it has phased out all of its 3G handsets in recent months, backing 4G tech wholeheartedly. But now all mobile networks offer competitive 4G services and many have invested a lot of money to boost coverage to beat their rivals, how can you choose which is the best 4G mobile network for you?

There are lots of things to consider, beyond cost. Although all of the UK's major networks offer 4G services, some are more reliable and offer faster speeds than others. The other consideration is which device you want to go for as different networks also offer different phone models.

We've rounded up the best deals and benefits for each of the four major networks in the UK to see which suits your lifestyle and usage best.

(NB: these are the costs for an individual, SIM-only, 12-month contract. Business contracts and contracts with a phone can and likely will vary. Average speed results taken from www.opensignal.com. All data correct as of June 2018)

EE: 4G cost and reliability

EE is hailed as one of the first proponents of 4G in the UK, helping to bring the technology to more customers than any other network. According to OpenSignal's State of Mobile Networks report for the UK from September 2017, EE continues to be the best network overall for availability, speeds, and latency.

Customers currently enjoy the fastest 4G speeds, with an average of 28.99 Mbits/sec, almost 6 Mbits/sec more than its nearest rival, although this represents a slight drop from earlier in the year.

EE also continues to serve the largest area in the UK, with coverage now at 99% of the population, representing 86% of the country's geography. The company aims to extend this geographical coverage to 95% by 2020, ensuring some of the most remote areas receive access.

EE's cheapest 4G plans start at £10.99 per month with 250MB of data and unlimited texts. At the top end, you can expect to pay £44.99 per month for 40GB of data, unlimited calls, and texts. All of EE's 4G plans allow for the option to use UK allowance for minutes, data and texts while abroad.

O2: 4G cost and reliability

O2's 4G offering has improved in recent years, connecting more areas of the UK than ever before, however, it still disappoints when it comes to speeds and is still positioned as country's slowest operator.

According to OpenSignal data, the network currently has an average 4G download speed of 15.06 Mbits/sec, almost half that of EE. Despite this, the network enjoys 97% coverage, meaning plenty of customers are able to access 4G services.

However, O2 does offer slightly cheaper services, with its 4G packages available from £10 per month for 250MB of data. At the top end, you can expect to pay £42 for 30GB of data.

Three: 4G cost and reliability

Three has always been the smallest of the UK's four network operators, although its coverage is growing all the time. Currently, it's able to provide services to 91% of the population, although it plans to expand this to 98%.

Despite its smaller coverage, the network boasts the second highest 4G speeds, with an average of 22.31 Mbits/sec.

It's also highly rated by its customer base for having a variety of mobile packages, unlimited data tariffs, and deals that prioritise downloads over traditional minutes and texts.

Three's contracts range from as little as £5.00 per month for 500MB of data and unlimited texts, up to £35 per month for unlimited data, texts, and minutes, and free international roaming.

Vodafone: 4G cost and reliability

Vodafone's 4G network began life as a London-only service when it launched in 2013, but efforts to upgrade the network has helped position the provider as one of the UK's leading providers, with speeds that are competitive with the likes of Three and O2.

Vodafone 4G infrastructure currently covers 95% of the UK population, and customers can expect average download speeds of 18.94 Mbits/sec, making it the third-fastest operator.

It's considered to be a great all-rounder, with a good mix of high data tariffs, fast 4G connections, and extra rewards for spending with the company.

Cheapest packages are comparable to O2 - 250MB data allowance, 250 minutes and unlimited texts for £10.50 per month. At the higher end, you can get 40GB of data and unlimited calls and texts for £41.

Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs)

Although the companies above control their own network infrastructures, they are by no means the only choice when it comes to 4G. There are a number of companies that make use of these infrastructures to provide their own services, although 4G coverage is still tied to the controlling company.

GiffGaff

Infrastructure: O2

Voted best MVNO in multiple years, this mobile network is known for its adaptable contracts and reward schemes for community members. Unlike traditional operators, it does not have a high-street presence and relies on its community for customer support.

As it uses O2's 4G network, it has the same coverage at 97%, with average speeds of 15.06 Mbits/sec

Virgin Mobile

Infrastructure: EE

Although Virgin once restricted its 4G services to its enterprise customers, now everyone can benefit from the super-fast speeds. The company is known for its incredibly low starting prices, with rollover data that allows you to carry over any unused allowance from month to month. WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are also free to use on this service, so they don't eat into your monthly data.

The best part is that Virgin Mobile makes use of EE infrastructure, meaning customers get access to market-leading 4G with 99% coverage at average speeds of 28.99 Mbits/sec.

Sky Mobile

Infrastructure: O2

Sky Mobile is a relatively new MVNO that has only been available to the public since January. Its biggest selling point is the idea of 'roll-over' data, where customers are able to make use of unused data from one month and add it to the next. Sky Mobile will also let you switch between tariffs each month, even if you are locked into a contract.

Sky Mobile also uses O2 infrastructure, so expect 4G coverage of 97% and average speeds of 15.06 Mbits/sec.

Tesco Mobile

Infrastructure: O2

One of the first supermarkets to dive into the mobile provider market, Tesco Mobile offers capped services, so you don't go over your allowance, and free roaming in 31 countries. You can even earn points as you use the service, which can be linked to your Tesco Clubcard.

Tesco Mobile also uses O2 infrastructure, so expect 4G coverage of 98% and average speeds of 15.06 Mbits/sec.

Written by; Clare Hopping, Dale Walker, Jane McCallion

Image: Shutterstock

http://www.itpro.co.uk/mobile/28073/the-best-4g-network

Microtechs 24/7/365 White label Support Services

Most of our customers approach us as they are looking for a fully UK based extension of their support team.

Do you need help with;  

  • §  Covering support overnight and weekends
  • §  Need to free up your senior staff to work on project or development duties
  • §  Issues with staff retention
  • §  Outsourced overseas and have experienced a high number of complaints.

We have a mixture of clients which use our helpdesk and monitoring services which include;

  • ·        1st /2nd line remote support calls
  • ·        24/7/365 or office hours
  • ·        Incident management services with third party escalation
  • ·        Proactive monitoring NOC services
  • ·        Catch and dispatch only monitoring services
  • ·        Fully inclusive services with an average 80% resolution rate
  • ·        15-minute NOC response times
  • ·        Fully GDPR compliant
  • ·        Completely white labelled to your brand / customers brands
  • ·        Desktop / Network / O365 / Mac / Telecoms / Bespoke software
  • ·        Pricing from £500 per month

We are all based from one office in Surrey and tailor our service to dovetail to your requirement.

I guess that’s why we are different to other companies. We spend time to learn, develop, sculpt and continually improve our service to your customers.

If you need overflow during the day or a whole support desk from scratch or just some monitoring services overnight, please call us on 01483 407417 or email lisa.copley@microtechs.co.uk

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Spyware refers to any software that can be used to track or spy on your activity on a computer, mobile, tablet, or any other digital device.

Often, the term applies to malware that is installed on a computer with a malicious intent to watch a user's actions and replicate them in order to steal data or other information referring to a user. Whether it's the original hacker's intent or not, once a criminal has gained access via spyware, they are able to track anyone's actions on the computer - not just the owner's.

It's normally installed on a device without the user knowing and once it's running, it's often unlikely they'll be able to see anything different happening to their machine or mobile.

The types of information hackers are able to track include keystrokes, the websites someone has visited and their usernames and passwords for those websites, plus other sensitive data that can be used to hack into accounts and carry out other fraudulent activities.

Performance issues

One of the reasons spyware can be such a problem is not only can it give criminals a way into your computer and the opportunity to steal data, but it can also significantly slow down a user's computer as it tracks everything you do.

Spyware can also be used to redirect web searches to questionable websites (used for phishing, fr example), and change the settings of your computer, throttling bandwidth, memory and other processor tasks in the meantime.

“Legitimate” spyware

There are times when software that acts like spyware is installed for reasons that are not just criminal. Organisations may install tracking software on corporate-owned hardware to track an employee’s browsing habits. Parents may also use similar software to spy on their kids’ online activity.

Advertisers use cookies to track users in order to target advertising at them. However, if a user is notified that data is being collected on them, such actions may not be considered spyware (even if the data collected is the same).

Different types of spyware

Spyware can take many different forms, each having their own functions and purpose. The four main types are:

Adware – this spyware tracks information about a user, sucking up data such as web searches, frequently visited websites and downloads. This information is then used to display window ads or pop-up ads.

Trojans – this is malware that appears to be legitimate but can fool users into installing it onto their computers and mobile devices. These Trojans are used to access sensitive data and files and can affect system performance.

Cookie trackers – third-party tracking cookies monitor a user’s internet activities such as web searches, history, downloads, etc for business, marketing or other reasons, depending on the motives of the hacker.

System monitors and keyloggers – this type of spyware is designed to monitor activity on a computer and record data such as keystrokes, sites visited, emails and more, often for nefarious purposes.

Dealing with spyware

If you suspect your computer has spyware on it, you can do the following.

Disconnect the computer from the internet. This may seem like an extreme move but can help prevent the spread of malware and leaking of sensitive data.

If you boot into Safe Mode on a Windows PC, this will only load the minimum number of programs and processes. It may also prevent spyware from loading. When in Safe Mode, delete temporary files. This will speed up spyware scanning. Use can also use the Disk Cleanup utility in Windows; just type Disk Cleanup into the search bar and click on this to start the process.

You can then run an anti-spyware application to remove any spyware or malware from the computer (if you have disconnected the PC from the internet, you may have to either reconnect it to download the anti-spyware app or download this app to a USB drive on another computer).

After this you can then scan the computer to find and remove any spyware or malware you suspect is on your computer, hopefully purging it and the opportunities for cyber criminals to steal your data from your computer.

Written by Clare Hopping & Rene Millman

http://www.itpro.co.uk/spyware/30001/what-is-spyware

Microtechs white label help desk and NOC

Most of our customers approach us as they are looking for a fully UK based extension of their support team. This is normally to help with covering support overnight and weekends, because they want to free up their senior staff to work on project or development duties, because of issues with staff retention or because they have already outsourced overseas and have experienced a high number of complaints.

We have a mixture of clients which use our helpdesk and monitoring services which include;

  • ·        1st /2nd line remote support calls
  • ·        24/7/365 or office hours
  • ·        Incident management services with third party escalation
  • ·        Proactive monitoring NOC services
  • ·        Catch and dispatch only monitoring services
  • ·        Fully inclusive services with an average 80% resolution rate
  • ·        15-minute response times
  • ·        Fully GDPR compliant
  • ·        Completely white labelled to your brand
  • ·        Desktop / Network / O365 / Mac / Telecoms / Bespoke software
  • ·        Pricing from £500 per month

We are all based from one office in Surrey and tailor our service to dovetail to your requirement.

I guess that’s why we are different to other companies. We spend time to learn, develop, sculpt and continually improve our service to your customers.

If you need overflow during the day or a whole support desk from scratch or just some monitoring services overnight, please drop us an email or give us a call.

Please contact us for further information on 01483 407417

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Our customers approach us as they are looking for a fully UK based extension of their support team.

We help with;

  • •Covering support overnight and weekends
  • •Overflow during the day
  • •Freeing up your senior staff to work on project or development duties
  • •Removing issues with staff retention, cover and training
  • •Improvement in SLA's and customer experience

We have a mixture of clients which use our help desk and monitoring services which include;

  • •1st /2nd line remote support calls
  • •24/7/365 or office hours
  • •Incident management services with third party escalation
  • •Proactive monitoring NOC services
  • •Catch and dispatch only monitoring services
  • •Fully inclusive services with an average 80% resolution rate
  • •15-minute NOC response times
  • •Fully GDPR compliant
  • •Completely white labelled to your brand / customers brands
  • •Desktop / Network / O365 / Mac / Telecoms / Bespoke software
  • •Pricing from £500 per month

We are all based from one office in Surrey and tailor our service to dovetail to your requirement. If you need overflow during the day or a whole support desk from scratch or just some monitoring services overnight, please drop us an email or give us a call. 01483 407417 

 

CONTACT US

Our business truly is 24/7, We operate entirely out of this office using our own staff.

Microtechs Head Office

Microtechs Ltd
Sussex House
11 The Pines
Broad Street
Guildford
GU3 3BH  

T: +44 (0) 1483 407400
Einfo@microtechs.co.uk

Alternatively, please use our Contact Us Form

 

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