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Posted by on in Latest Microtechs news posts

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*****COMPETITION TIME! *******

We are giving away this incredible Virgin Wine advent calendar to a lucky winner just in time for Christmas! To enter simply answer in the comments below the following question and share the post on linked in or facebook.

"What are our hours of coverage for our white label help desk services at Microtechs?"

Competition closes Monday 26th November 2018, Winner selected at random from all entries and will be posted for 1st December 2018. Competition running across all Microtechs social media platforms.

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6468131006497980416

*****GOOD LUCK******

hashtag#competition hashtag#christmas hashtag#wine hashtag#advent hashtag#calendar hashtag#microtechs #247 hashtag#support hashtag#socialmedia hashtag#technology hashtag#it hashtag#networking hashtag#newyear hashtag#office365 hashtag#outsourcing hashtag#customerservice hashtag#monitoring hashtag#computing hashtag#msp hashtag#shares

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Do you get frustrated and angry when your Wi-Fi connection stops working? It could be because of your personality. When digital technology stops working, people with a fear of missing out (FOMO) -- the anxiety that you're missing a social experience others might be having while you're not online -- or an internet addiction have more extreme reactions, according to a new study in Heliyon.

The researchers behind the study, psychologists Dr. Lee Hadlington and Dr. Mark Scase from De Montfort University in the UK, also show that certain personality traits directly influence people's responses to failures in digital technology: people who were seen as being more neurotic and extroverted had more extreme reactions to failures in digital technology.

"The 'frustration' response is one of the things we all experience on a daily basis, so it seemed to be a logical step in our research," said lead author Dr. Lee Hadlington. "Much of the existing research on this topic is from the 1940s -- you could say that this research is the first of its kind to actually explore how individual react to failures with digital technology, and more importantly, places this in the context of the modern digital era."

If something goes wrong with digital technology that prevents us from being online, we will react in different ways. 'Maladaptive' responses include getting angry, panicking or feeling depressed; these responses are not only unhelpful, they have also been shown to have a detrimental impact on productivity and achieving goals, and can therefore lead to poor job performance. If the digital technology failure is due to a malicious cyberattack, this could affect many people and businesses, so it's important to understand the responses in order to limit the negative effects.

"If we can understand what leads individuals to react in certain ways, and why these differences occur, we can hopefully make sure that when digital technology does fail people are better supported and there are relevant signposts for them to follow to get help," said Dr. Hadlington.

In the study, 630 participants aged 18-68 completed an online questionnaire in which they self-reported their responses to failures in digital technology, fear of missing out, internet addiction and answered questions that scored them on the BIG-5 personality traits: extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness and neuroticism

The results showed that the fear of missing out, internet addiction, extroversion and neuroticism all have a significantly positive influence on maladaptive responses, meaning the people most psychologically dependent on digital technology are most likely to have maladaptive responses when it goes wrong.

They also showed a link between age and response: as age increases, the level of frustration that a person experiences decreases.

"The more we use our devices, the more we get attached to them, so when they don't work, we tend to just go a little bit 'crazy' or just switch off and stop doing things altogether," said Dr. Hadlington. "But there are things people can do when technology fails to make their lives a lot easier -- extreme reactions only make things worse!"

Story Source: Materials provided by Elsevier. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Elsevier. "People with Internet addiction react the worst when Wi-Fi fails: Do you get frustrated and angry when your Wi-Fi connection stops working? It could be because of your personality." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 November 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181101133843.htm>.

Image via Shutterstock.com

Microtechs 24/7 White Label support services

The festive season and 2019 is fast approaching and this means two things:

1. Trying to cover your Help desk to provide support for your clients when you or others in your team need to take time off with the family.

2. Statistically the end of January is when the most people hand in their notice to move onto pastures new.

Microtechs is here to help, we can:

1. Provide an overflow support to work in conduction with your current team.

2. Extend your opening hours to full 24/7 support

3. Take on the first and second line tasks to allow your team to focus on projects which bring in extra revenue.

We are trusted by more than 100 different technology companies, big to small, to support their clients from our 24/7/365 Helpdesk based in Guildford, Surrey and prices start from £500 per month.

·        24/7 or office hours available – packages available from £500 per month

·        A great value alternative to recruiting or expanding internally

·        NOC facilities and proactive monitoring and under 30 min response times

·        Fully white labelled to your business name

·        Various models to meet all business needs

If you would like to find out more, please contact us on 01483 407417.

We look forward to help finding a solution to improve support coverage and save you money in the process.

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Niraj Ranjan Rout, founder of a help desk software company Hiver, has identified the most important and useful metrics to use to gain insight into the effectiveness of the systems and processes being used by your support team.

He mentions that nothing is better at allowing your customer support team to see if their efforts are in alignment with the goals and values of the company.

Likewise, this ability to see their efforts assists help desk managers in staying on track, keeping agents accountable, identifying areas of improvement/training, and encouraging growth and progress.

These are the most important customer support metrics that you need to track and are explained below;

1.            First response

2.            Rate of resolution

3.            Agent utilisation

4.            Customer satisfaction

5.            Cost per ticket

First response

Put yourself in the shoes of an end user. Imagine this one:

You submit a ticket or make a complaint call, and the person who responds transfers you to another “more appropriate” person. Before you know it, there are long hold times, huge email threads, and chaotic communication exchanges.

How will you feel the next time around? Likely discouraged and unlikely to call back when you have another problem/query/complaint. The result is that you’ve lost confidence in the company’s ability to handle issues efficiently. If they can’t help you out in a reliable way, how likely are you to stick with them?

The good news for help desk teams is that first response isn’t just important to measure, it’s actually quite easy to measure.

The easiest way is through first response time trackers that you can find in help desk dashboards.

The more issues you solve within the first exchange with the customer, the happier everybody will be.

These trackers measure the number of minutes you are managing to shave off your reply times. They are a great way for an employee to keep an eye on their own progress and see if they are improving.

Rate of resolution

This is one metric you just can’t escape. Often, the user’s satisfaction is directly and heavily correlated to the rate of resolution, especially within the first exchange.

According to a study done by SQM Group, for every subsequent exchange, the satisfaction of the user could drop by around 15%.

While we all know that leaving a ticket unresolved is out of the question, it can be easy to become lax on this one: every ticket deserves a timely and informed answer.

You can again use help desk tools to track this KPI and see how many complaints are being resolved in the first exchange, how many escalations there were, and how many times a ticket has been reopened.

Knowing your rate of resolution on a constant basis allows you to take immediate steps when you see a drop.

Agent utilisation

Agent utilisation is perhaps the best measure of productivity, but it’s not as easy to assess as first response. Here’s a well-established way to measure it:

(Average calls/tickets handled per month) x (Average time to took to handle those calls/tickets)

÷
(Number of days worked in a month) x (Number of hours worked per day x 60 min/hr)

If you are hitting a 70-80% agent utilisation rate, then you should probably look out for your turnover rate. Make sure to keep an eye on this KPI so that neither your cost per ticket nor your employee retention rate will suffer.

While it’s important to remember that you have to maintain an optimal agent utilization rate, taking this to an extreme by trying to squeeze the most out of every agent you have will undoubtedly lead to increased cost due to agent turnover rates.

A happy help desk agent is crucial to having a happy customer.

Customer satisfaction

Nothing beats this help desk KPI. It’s the one your entire team will rally behind. You may think that you are getting everything right, that your systems are efficient, and your agents are productive, but the customer may not agree.

The point is, it is the customer who must be satisfied in the end.

They need to be given a way to rate and review your service. But to evaluate the overall value of this KPI, you’ll need to first measure the ratio of the number of surveys sent to customers compared to the number of surveys completed.

The volume of your customer feedback surveys should be large enough for you to draw conclusive results. If you are an early-stage start-up, getting a large enough volume of completed surveys will take time. Be patient but keep this KPI top of mind.

Cost per ticket

This is a metric that you can use to judge the overall performance of your help desk service. A lot of data inputs go into calculating this one.

Cost per ticket includes calculating (at least) the following:

             Salaries and benefits for the agents

             Salaries and benefits for managerial/admin

             Tech expenses used on help desk software, computers, etc.

             Telecommunication expenses

             Facilities expenses

The majority of the cost here comes from agents and other personnel, which is why monitoring agent utilisation is just as important as monitoring cost per ticket.

If your cost per ticket is higher than the industry average, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are doing a bad job; this could even be an indicator that the quality of your service is higher than average. Balancing the quality and cost is certainly crucial here.

In general, the cost per ticket KPI is a great way to judge the efficiency of the processes and the agents. But, it’s important to balance this focus on “hard” metrics with the immeasurable “soft” aspects that are crucial to help desk success.

The full article by Niraj can be found here: https://www.klipfolio.com/blog/most-important-help-desk-kpis

Image via Shutterstock

Microtechs 24/7 Outsourced Help desk and NOC services

Most of our customers approach us as they are looking for a fully UK based extension of their support team. Now the holiday season is approaching you may notice some pain points with team members on holiday.

Do you need help with; 

  1. ·       Covering support overnight and weekends
  2. ·        Freeing up your senior staff to work on project or development duties
  3. ·        Solving issues with staff retention

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

 

  • 24/7/365 or office hours
  • 1st /2nd line remote support calls
  • 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
  • 30-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 drop us an email or give us a call.

 

Please contact us for further information on 01483 407417

 

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The cybersecurity measures needed to protect flexible workers

In an age where technology has transformed the workplace and employees can work from anywhere at any time from different devices, businesses are facing new challenges to their cybersecurity. People working away from the office may use a combination of business assigned equipment along with their own personal laptops, PCs, tablets or mobiles which might not be protected adequately or are shared with other family members, increasing the risk of data becoming exposed to information-gathering malware. According to a recent survey by HPE, 31 per cent of people have lost corporate data via mobile device misuse, emphasising the need for companies to ensure that there are strong policies in place to allow employees to work flexibly safely.

Communication and education

It is vital when creating a cybersecurity policy for flexible working that businesses understand what is required, the desired outcomes and the obstacles that may be faced for both employee and employer. Staff need to be educated on policies for using business and personal devices remotely, informed of which applications and websites are permitted for business use and situations where access to company networks or data is prohibited. Workers also need to be educated about who to contact in their company in the event of an issue or data breach.

Understand your data and who needs to handle it

Businesses need to categorise data and limit access based on the role the employee is playing in the organisation. Personal and sensitive data must only be used in-line with the consents agreed. Policies must prohibit the communication of company documents/data using employees’ personal emails and prohibit the storage of that data on any personal cloud storage sites. The IT team may enable Server level Encryption to provide a further layer of data protection.

Check your Wi-Fi

Open and free Wi-Fi is available at most hotels, coffee shops and some restaurants, and so is commonly used by flexible workers for getting work done on the go. Many people may have auto-attached set-up on their devices, for convenience. However, once attached to a free unknown Wi-Fi connection, account login details could be compromised. Public Wi-Fi connections often do not require authentication and are therefore vulnerable to ‘evil twin’ Wi-Fi attacks, where hackers set up a fake network to mirror the real one, and can steal account names, passwords, and intercept files, causing damage to company reputations or compromising a business’ network. Flexible workers should set devices to ask for user permission to connect and rely only on trusted Wi-Fi networks or connect via a 4G connection on their own mobile device.

Play it safe

The basic security measures of device login/authentication at startup and after devices are idle must be in place, along with remote wipe capability to enable the IT team to cleanse ‘lost’ devices.  Additionally, ensuring automatic software and antivirus updates are in place and local firewalls configured to safeguard against malware and viruses provides a solid base for employees to work from.

Secure private cloud technology that enables collaboration between colleagues to continue working even while away from the office is an easy way to ensure data and the business network are segregated. Businesses should enable multi-factor authentication for these applications in order to safeguard against the compromising of login credentials. This can occur because some applications now support multiple devices and allow workers to be logged-in across multiple devices concurrently. If login credentials are compromised, someone could be accessing accounts alongside the worker.

By implementing clear policies and educating workers on simple ways to employ cybersecurity best practice, businesses will ensure employees can reap the benefits of working flexibly and foster a more productive and satisfied workforce. 

Written by Chris Martin, CTO at PowWowNow

https://www.techradar.com/uk/news/the-cybersecurity-measures-needed-to-protect-flexible-workers

Microtechs 24/7 White Label Support Services

The festive season and 2019 is fast approaching and this means two things:

1. Trying to cover your Helpdesk to provide support for your clients when you or others in your team need to take time off with the family.

2. Statistically the end of January is when the most people hand in their notice to move onto pastures new.

Microtechs is here to help, we can:

1. Provide an overflow support to work in conduction with your current team.

2. Extend your opening hours to full 24/7 support

3. Take on the first and second line tasks to allow your team to focus on projects which bring in extra revenue.

We are trusted by more than 100 different technology companies, big to small, to support their clients from our 24/7/365 Help desk based in Guildford, Surrey and prices start from £500 per month.

·        24/7 or office hours available – packages available from £500 per month

·        A great value alternative to recruiting or expanding internally

·        NOC facilities and proactive monitoring and under 30 min response times

·        Fully white labelled to your business name

·        Various models to meet all business needs

If you would like to find out more, please contact us on 01483 407417.

We look forward to help finding a solution to improve support coverage and save you money in the process.

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To send a text message, there's not only "an app for that," there are dozens of apps for that.

So why does sending a message through Skype drain over three times more battery than WhatsApp? Developers simply haven't had a way of knowing when and how to make their apps more energy-efficient.

Purdue University researchers have created a new tool, called "DiffProf," that uses artificial intelligence to automatically decide for the developer if a feature should be improved to drain less battery and how to make that improvement.

"What if a feature of an app needs to consume 70 percent of the phone's battery? Is there room for improvement or should that feature be left the way it is?" said Y. Charlie Hu, the Michael and Katherine Birck Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the CEO and co-founder of Mobile Enerlytics, LLC.

The tool, which was announced on Oct. 8 at the 13th USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation, aligns with Purdue's Giant Leaps celebration, acknowledging the university's global advancements made in AI, algorithms and automation as part of Purdue's 150th anniversary. This is one of the four themes of the yearlong celebration's Ideas Festival, designed to showcase Purdue as an intellectual center solving real-world issues.

In 2012, Hu's lab was the first to develop a tool for developers to identify hot spots in source code that are responsible for an app's battery drain.

"Before this point, trying to figure out how much battery an app is draining was like looking at a black box," Hu said. "It was a big step forward, but it still isn't enough, because developers often wouldn't know what to do with information about the source of a battery drain."

How code runs can dramatically differ between two apps, even if the developers are implementing the same task. DiffProf catches these differences in the "call trees" of similar tasks, to show why the messaging feature of one messaging app consumes more energy than another messaging app. DiffProf then reveals how to rewrite the app to drain less battery.

"Ultimately, in order for this technique to make a big difference for an entire smartphone, all developers would need to make their apps more energy-efficient," said Abhilash Jindal, fellow co-founder of Mobile Enerlytics and a former Ph.D. student in computer science at Purdue.

"The impact also depends on how intensively someone uses certain apps. Someone who uses messaging apps a lot might experience longer battery life, but someone who doesn't use their messaging apps at all might not," he said.

So far, the DiffProf prototype has only been tested for the Android mobile operating system.

The work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation (Grant CSR-1718854).

Purdue University. "AI tool automatically reveals how to write apps that drain less battery." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 October 2018. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181009135825.htm

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.

Microtechs 24/7 White label support services

             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

             80% of telephone calls answered within 60 seconds

             Proactive NOC monitoring

             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 us 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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New research sheds light on how people decide whether behaviour is moral or immoral. The findings could serve as a framework for informing the development of artificial intelligence (AI) and other technologies.

"At issue is intuitive moral judgment, which is the snap decision that people make about whether something is good or bad, moral or immoral," says Veljko Dubljević, lead author of the study and a neuroethics researcher at North Carolina State University who studies the cognitive neuroscience of ethics.

"There have been many attempts to understand how people make intuitive moral judgments, but they all had significant flaws. In 2014, we proposed a model of moral judgment, called the Agent Deed Consequence (ADC) model -- and now we have the first experimental results that offer a strong empirical corroboration of the ADC model in both mundane and dramatic realistic situations.

"This work is important because it provides a framework that can be used to help us determine when the ends may justify the means, or when they may not," Dubljević says. "This has implications for clinical assessments, such as recognizing deficits in psychopathy, and technological applications, such as AI programming."

Moral judgment is a tricky subject. For example, most people would agree that lying is immoral. However, most people would also agree that lying to Nazis about the location of Jewish families would be moral.

To address this, the ADC model posits that people take three things into account when making a moral judgment: the agent, which is the character or intent of the person who is doing something; the deed, or what is being done; and the consequence, or the outcome that resulted from the deed.

"This approach allows us to explain not only the variability in the moral status of lying, but also the flip side: that telling the truth can be immoral if it is done maliciously and causes harm," Dubljević says.

To test this complexity and the model, researchers developed a series of scenarios that were logical, realistic and easily understood by both lay people and professional philosophers. All of the scenarios were evaluated by a group of 141 professional philosophers with training in ethics.

In one part of the study, a sample of 528 study participants from the U.S. also evaluated different scenarios in which the stakes were consistently low. This means that the possible outcomes were not dire.

In a second part of the study, 786 study participants evaluated more drastic scenarios -- including situations that could result in severe injury or death.

In the first part, when the stakes were lower, the nature of the deed was the strongest factor in determining whether an action was moral. Whether the agent was lying or telling the truth mattered the most, rather than whether the outcome was bad or good. But when the stakes were high, the nature of the consequences was the strongest factor. The results also show that in the case of a good outcome (survival of the passengers of an airplane), the difference between a good or a bad deed, although relevant for the moral evaluation, was less important.

"For instance, the possibility of saving numerous lives seems to be able to justify less than savory actions, such as the use of violence, or motivations for action, such as greed, in certain conditions," Dubljević says.

"The findings from the study showed that philosophers and the general public made moral judgments in similar ways. This indicates that the structure of moral intuition is the same, regardless of whether one has training in ethics," Dubljević says. "In other words, everyone makes these snap moral judgments in a similar way."

While the ADC model helps us understand how we make judgments about what is good or bad, it may have applications beyond informing debates about moral psychology and ethics.

"There are areas, such as AI and self-driving cars, where we need to incorporate decision making about what constitutes moral behaviour," Dubljević says. "Frameworks like the ADC model can be used as the underpinnings for the cognitive architecture we build for these technologies, and this is what I'm working on currently."

Story Source:

Materials provided by North Carolina State University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

North Carolina State University. "How people judge good from bad." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 October 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181002102844.htm>.

Microtechs 24/7 White label 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

 

·        30 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 us an email or give us a call 01483 407417.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The world is edging closer to a reality where smart devices are able to use their owners as an energy resource, say experts from the University of Surrey.

In a study published by the Advanced Energy Materials journal, scientists from Surrey's Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) detail an innovative solution for powering the next generation of electronic devices by using Triboelectric Nanogenerators (TENGs). Along with human movements, TENGs can capture energy from common energy sources such as wind, wave, and machine vibration.

A TENG is an energy harvesting device that uses the contact between two or more (hybrid, organic or inorganic) materials to produce an electric current.

Researchers from the ATI have provided a step-by-step guide on how to construct the most efficient energy harvesters. The study introduces a "TENG power transfer equation" and "TENG impedance plots," tools which can help improve the design for power output of TENGs.

Professor Ravi Silva, Director of the ATI, said: "A world where energy is free and renewable is a cause that we are extremely passionate about here at the ATI (and the University of Surrey) -- TENGs could play a major role in making this dream a reality. TENGs are ideal for powering wearables, internet of things devices and self-powered electronic applications. This research puts the ATI in a world leading position for designing optimized energy harvesters."

Ishara Dharmasena, PhD student and lead scientist on the project, said: "I am extremely excited with this new study which redefines the way we understand energy harvesting. The new tools developed here will help researchers all over the world to exploit the true potential of triboelectric nanogenerators, and to design optimised energy harvesting units for custom applications."

Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Surrey. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

University of Surrey. "Smart devices could soon tap their owners as a battery source." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 September 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180927105647.htm>.

Microtechs 24/7 Outsourced 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

             80% of telephone calls answered within 60 seconds

             Proactive NOC monitoring

             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 us an email or give us a call.

Please contact us for further information on 01483 407417.

 

 

 

 

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Want to be a better boss? Check your email less often. Research from Michigan State University shows that keeping up with email traffic places high demands on managers, which prevents them from achieving their goals and from being good leaders.

The research, led by management professor Russell Johnson and published in Journal of Applied Psychology, is one of the first to examine how distractions from email impact managers, their productivity and their role as leaders.

According to the research, employees spend more than 90 minutes every day -- or seven-and-a-half hours every week -- recovering from email interruptions. Managers, Johnson said, are no different, and their distractions have further-reaching implications.

"Like most tools, email is useful but it can become disruptive and even damaging if used excessively or inappropriately," Johnson said. "When managers are the ones trying to recover from email interruptions, they fail to meet their goals, they neglect manager-responsibilities and their subordinates don't have the leadership behavior they need to thrive."

What further makes managers different from other employees is that when feeling overwhelmed and unproductive because of email demands, they recover by limiting leader behaviors and pivoting to tactical duties. This action, Johnson said, is strategic and intentional so that they feel more productive.

"Interestingly, we found that managers scaled back 'leader behaviors' more so than initiating 'structure behaviors,'" Johnson said. "The former behaviors relate to motivating and inspiring subordinates, talking optimistically about the future or explaining why work tasks are important; the latter are more concrete and task-focused, such as setting work goals, assigning duties or providing feedback."

So, not only are managers not managing -- but they're also focusing on smaller tasks for the sake of feeling productive.

To test how email demands hinder managers, Johnson and colleagues collected surveys from a group twice a day for two weeks. Managers reported their frequency and demands of emails, their perceived progress on core job duties, how often they engaged in effective transformational leader behaviors and initiating structure leader behaviors.

"We found that on days when managers reported high email demands, they report lower perceived work progress as a result, and in turn engage in fewer effective leader behaviors," Johnson said.

Beyond failing to complete their own responsibilities, email distractions cause subordinates to suffer from a lack of leader behaviors, or those that motivate and inspire.

"When managers reduce their leader behavior and structure behaviors, it has been shown that employees' task performance, work satisfaction, organizational commitment, intrinsic motivation and engagement all decrease, and employees' stress and negative emotions increase," Johnson said.

Importantly, Johnson said, leader behavior has a strong correlation to employee performance which, unfortunately, were the behaviors that got put on the back burner because of email distractions.

"The moral of the story is that managers need to set aside specific times to check email. This puts the manager in control -- rather than reacting whenever a new message appears in the inbox, which wrestles control away from the manager," Johnson said. "As we cite in the paper, findings from prior research suggest that it takes time and effort for employees to transition between email and work tasks, so minimizing the number of times they have to make that transition is to their benefit."

Michigan State University. "Is email evil? Bosses are getting boxed in by their inbox." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 September 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180918110931.htm>.

Image: Shutterstock

Microtechs 24/7/365 Outsourced Helpdesk and NOC

With more demands for 24/7 support and quality customer service in the forefront for many businesses, now may be an appropriate time to review how you deliver support and what it costs your business in resourcing, customer retention and new business wins.

Advantages of Outsourcing your support desk.

·        Flexible hours

·        Reduced cost

·        Easier management

·        Higher profits

Microtechs can help.

We can provide a completely UK based support function for your customers or products whilst simultaneously saving you money and improving your service levels.

·        Office hours or 24/7

·        UK based from Guildford, Surrey

·        1st & 2nd line / NOC and incident management capabilities

·        Ability to learn and support bespoke applications

·        All white labelled to your brand

·        25-50% reduction in overheads

·        Pricing from £500 per month

·        Sole traders through to enterprise companies supported

"We transitioned our first line tech support for our entire subscriber base across to Microtechs in 2015 in order to offer a true 24/7 helpdesk service. Since that point, we have been delighted to see a huge reduction in calls unanswered together with a substantial increase in first time fixes and a subsequent dramatic increase in customer satisfaction levels and retention rates. Most noteworthy of all, we have also seen an overall reduction in cost to our business. It’s vanishingly rare to come across a service that is simultaneously more competent, more comprehensive and less costly – but that is exactly what Microtechs is currently providing to us"

Please contact us for further information on 01483 407417

 

 

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During her keynote at this year’s Infosecurity Europe, Baroness Dido Harding - former chief exec of TalkTalk - warned other business leaders about the threat of legacy tech, and she was well placed to do so: TalkTalk customers had their details comprised in a large breach in 2015, resulting in huge damage to brand reputation for the company as well as a £400,000 fine from the ICO.

However, the threat of outdated systems is hardly a new one, and private businesses as well as public sector bodies are facing the same dilemma.

In brief, the shackles of legacy tech are inhibiting companies from fulfilling their digital transformation journeys and leave them exposed to new and emerging threats. So what are the barriers that are leaving organizations exposed?

Lack of awareness

Firstly, organizations can find themselves uninformed to the fact that they are running technology that is no longer supported by its creators and therefore poses a security risk. This can be the case for organizations that are rapidly progressing; part of this process might be making planned consolidations such as mergers and acquisitions, which in turn could mean inadvertently inheriting outdated technology.

This is essentially the situation that TalkTalk found itself in, as Harding explained: “We were a fast-growing company, acquiring others, and were hit by a simple SQL vulnerability in a legacy website that no one noticed.”

This mindfulness of legacy technology and infrastructure, particularly during times of amalgamation, is crucial; paramount to this is communication between IT teams and wider business leaders. Otherwise, organizations can find themselves out in the open to security risks – as Harding explained: "...there was the IT equivalent of an old shed in a field that was covered in brambles. All we saw were the brambles and not the open window."

Greater still, lack of awareness and understanding can also be found when it comes to vital software reaching its end of life. Many organizations still run legacy operating systems such as Windows XP which haven’t received security updates from the vendor in several years; an astonishing fact given the rate at which security threats are evolving and becoming more sophisticated.

It may be the case these organizations who still run legacy are simply naïve of the risks, but, often enough, the problem goes far deeper.

Time, cost and risk perception

Many organizations that run outdated software are not uneducated to the risks, but are still forced to host applications in an environment that has reached its end of life due to perceived limitations.

When it appears that their bespoke applications are incompatible when newer alternatives become available, organizations are seemingly left with the dilemma of either rewriting the applications or keeping them where they are.

The former scenario has the potential to present a huge time and budget expense that could extend into the millions for a large enterprise and, even more dire still, some organizations may not even possess the ability or talent in-house to undertake this process even if money and bandwidth permit.

Additionally, it is often the perceived notion of vendor lock-in that deters organizations from making the sensible and imperative decision to move away from legacy technology. Many organizations may feel that after sinking immeasurable amounts of time, effort and money into one particular vendor, it is difficult and painstaking to move to a more modern alternative.

The reality is far less bleak

It is important for organizations to understand that the barriers that seemingly hinder an organization’s journey away from legacy technology and towards a more modern future often do not exist.

Technology is available that provides portability for these applications; compatibility that does not discriminate against technology suppliers and can provide unification where it otherwise cannot be achieved.

The use of compatibility containers, for example, offers a ‘lift and shift’ option that does not require a single code change - saving time, money and resources in the process. With this in mind, the biggest obstacle to the modern threat of legacy technology is simply cognizance of the issue: a fact that, as more and more influential business leaders speak out about, will hopefully be diminished.

By Mat Clothier CEO, CTO and Founder at Cloudhouse

https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/opinions/legacy-threat-outdated-systems/

Image: Shutterstock

Microtechs 24/7 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

             80% of telephone calls answered within 60 seconds

             Proactive NOC monitoring

             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 me a call.

Please contact us for further information on 01483 407417

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Most modern computers have a weakness that allows hackers to steal encryption keys and other sensitive data, according to new research.

Cyber security firm F-Secure said it had managed to revive a decades-old attack that involves stealing user data during a computer's reboot process, warning that the majority of modern-day computers are vulnerable to the exploit.

The exploit, known as a cold-boot attack, which has been known to hackers since 2008, involves rebooting a computer without initiating a proper shutdown process, then scalping the residual data that briefly sits on the machine's RAM. While most modern laptops have been designed to overwrite this data by default, the research team was successfully able to disable this overwrite function.

Researchers warn that the attack could mean that businesses risk losing data through machines they have either lost or ditched in recent replacement cycles, and that current security measures are not good enough to protect against the exploit.

"Typically, organisations aren't prepared to protect themselves from an attacker that has physical possession of a company computer," said F-Secure principal security consultant Olle Segerdahl.

"When you have a security issue found in devices from major PC vendors, like the weakness my team has learned to exploit, you need to assume that a lot of companies have a weak link in their security that they're not fully aware of or prepared to deal with."

F-Secure said that although the exploit requires some extra steps to the classic cold boot attack, it's proven to be effective against every modern laptop tested. It added that because the threat is typically used against devices that are stolen or lost, hackers have plenty of time to execute the attack.

Segerdahl also added that there's no reliable way for organisations to know their data is safe if a computer goes missing, and because nearly all company laptops will have things like access credentials for corporate networks, it gives attackers a consistent and reliable way to compromise corporate targets.

Rather worryingly, there is no easy fix for this issue either, but Segerdahl stressed the importance of invalidating access credentials once a machine is reported lost, stolen, or no longer in use.

When contacted by IT Pro, Microsoft senior director Jeff Jones said: "This technique requires physical access to a target device. We encourage customers to practice good security habits, including preventing unauthorized physical access to their device." Crucially, however, there was no mention of a potential fix for the problem.

F-Secure's advice is for businesses to configure laptops so they automatically shut down or hibernate instead of entering sleep mode, or require employees to enter an encrypted system's BitLocker PIN each time they boot up their machines.

Written by Bobby Hellard

Original article: http://www.itpro.co.uk/security/31911/businesses-at-risk-of-data-theft-through-classic-cold-boot-attack

Image: Shutterstock

Microtechs 24/7 UK White label support services

With more demands for 24/7 support and quality customer service in the forefront for many businesses, now may be an appropriate time to review how you deliver support and what it costs your business in resourcing, customer retention and new business wins.

Advantages of Outsourcing your support desk.

*     Flexible hours

*     Reduced cost

*     Easier management

*     Higher profits

Microtechs can help.

We can provide a completely UK based support function for your customers or products whilst simultaneously saving you money and improving your service levels.

*     Office hours or 24/7

*     UK based from Guildford, Surrey

*     1st & 2nd line / NOC and incident management capabilities

*     Ability to learn and support bespoke applications

*     All white labelled to your brand

*     25-50% reduction in overheads

*     Pricing from £500 per month

*     Sole traders through to enterprise companies supported

"We transitioned our first line tech support for our entire subscriber base across to Microtechs in 2015 in order to offer a true 24/7 helpdesk service. Since that point, we have been delighted to see a huge reduction in calls unanswered together with a substantial increase in first time fixes and a subsequent dramatic increase in customer satisfaction levels and retention rates. Most noteworthy of all, we have also seen an overall reduction in cost to our business. It’s vanishingly rare to come across a service that is simultaneously more competent, more comprehensive and less costly – but that is exactly what Microtechs is currently providing to us"

Please contact us for further information on 01483 407417

 

 

CONTACT US

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Microtechs Head Office

Microtechs Ltd
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T: +44 (0) 1483 407400
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