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Smart phones autocorrect in texting, search engines autocomplete queries, and mapping applications redirect navigation in real-time to avoid slowed traffic. These ubiquitous AI-based technologies adapt to everyday needs and learn user habits by focusing on making the algorithm better, but Army researchers want to enhance AI by providing more information about the intent of the user.

New research published in Science Advances today looks at Soldier brain activity during specific tasks for ways to incorporate AI teaming to dynamically complete tasks.

The Army envisions a future battlefield wrought with teams of Soldiers and autonomous systems, and as part of this future vision, the Army is looking to create technologies that can predict states and behaviors of the individual to create a more optimized team, said Dr. Jean Vettel, a senior neuroscientist at the Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory, the Army's corporate research laboratory also known as ARL.

Recent collaborative work between ARL and the University at Buffalo is looking at ways the dynamics and architecture of the human brain may be coordinated to predict such behaviors and consequently optimize team performance.

"While this research focuses on a single person, the purpose is to understand how an individual's brain activity can be used to create novel strategies for a teaming environment, both for teams with Soldiers as well as teams with Autonomy" said Vettel, a co-author of the recent paper.

"In military operations, Soldiers perform multiple tasks at once. They're analyzing information from multiple sources, navigating environments while simultaneously assessing threats, sharing situational awareness, and communicating with a distributed team. This requires Soldiers to constantly switch among these tasks, which means that the brain is also rapidly shifting among the different brain regions needed for these different tasks," Vettel said. "If we can use brain data in the moment to indicate what task they're doing, AI could dynamically respond and adapt to assist the Soldier in completing the task."

To achieve this future capability, the researchers first sought to understand how the brain coordinates its different regions while executing a particular task. They used a computational approach to understand how this may be characterized to inform the behavioral prediction.

To complete the study, researchers mapped how different regions of the brain were connected to one another in 30 different people via tracts of tissue called white matter. (The specific connectivity pattern linking different brain regions varies between individuals.)

Next, the scientists converted these maps into computational models of each subject's brain, and used computers to simulate what would happen when a single region of a person's brain was stimulated. The researchers then used a mathematical framework, which they developed, to measure how brain activity became synchronized across various cognitive systems in the simulations.

"The brain is very dynamic," Dr. Kanika Bansal, lead author on the work, says. "Connections between different regions of the brain can change with learning or deteriorate with age or neurological disease. Connectivity also varies between people. Our research helps us understand this variability and assess how small changes in the organization of the brain can affect large-scale patterns of brain activity related to various cognitive systems."

While Dr. Bansal points out the foundational principles of brain coordination this research describes, the method described in the work could potentially be extended outside the brain, as well, creating dynamic teaming assignments in the future.

"While the work has been deployed on individual brains of a finite brain structure, it would be very interesting to see if coordination of Soldiers and autonomous systems may also be described with this method, too," Dr. Javier Garcia, ARL neuroscientist and co-author points out. "Much how the brain coordinates regions that carry out specific functions, you can think of how this method may describe coordinated teams of individuals and autonomous systems of varied skills work together to complete a mission."

Picture credit: US Army graphic

Story Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190404143715.htm

Materials provided by U.S. Army Research Laboratory. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

U.S. Army Research Laboratory. "Robots to autocomplete Soldier tasks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 April 2019. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190404143715.htm>.

Microtechs 24x7x365 White label end user support services

Whether you are into chocolate eggs or fluffy bunnies, how are you spending your Easter?

Hopefully it’s not sat on the phone trying to fight a support emergency for one of your customers.

Wouldn’t it be great if you had a support partner, ready to hop on the case! Eggsellent!

Located in Guildford, Surrey, Our UK based support team provides a completely white labelled service to enhance your existing helpdesk team. We partner with over 90 IT, Telecoms, Wi-Fi and Software developers, providing specialist 1st and 2nd line technical support teams to work with you. A great solution for increasing demand for support, especially if outside of normal business hours.

You may ask yourself:

·        How can I offer support 24/7 without the stress & cost of recruiting and training?

·        How can I improve my bottom line?

·        How can I free up my team’s time, to enable us to grow the business?

Microtechs can help.

Here why;

·        Office hours or 24/7

·        UK based from Guildford, Surrey

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

·        Ability to learn 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

Here’s what our customers have said;

“Using Microtechs to extend the helpdesk capabilities for our organisation has been a very worthwhile venture for us. The transition was very easy and simple and we have found the Microtechs staff to be both knowledgeable and professional; in their dealings with our clients.”

“My customers receive a polite service and their issues are dealt with quickly and professionally. In short Microtechs provide a courteous, effective and cost-efficient service that enables me to offer my customers 24/7 support without the associated expense.”

Extended...we are offering 10% discount on our monthly fees for new customers joining before the end of June 2019. (excludes entry tiers)

It would be great to have a chat with you and understand a little about your business, even if you are not quite ready to outsource.

Call me on 01483 407405 or 01483 407417.

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As Windows 7's end of support nears, few IT departments are ready for Windows as a Service

With less than a year until Microsoft ends support for Windows 7, new research from Kollective has revealed that nearly half (46%) of IT professionals still have no plan in place to manage the “as a service” updates associated with Windows 10.

The firm's Death of Windows 7 Report surveyed 260 IT professionals from the US and UK to discover the potential costs and security threats facing businesses that fail to prepare their systems for Windows as a service following the end of Windows 7 support.

Kollective found that 15 percent of IT professionals had no idea about Microsoft's plans to transform Windows to an “as a service” updated model.

Windows as a Service

To make matters worse, nearly a fifth (17%) of IT departments were unaware that Microsoft will end support for Windows 7 on January 14th, 2020. Of those surveyed, six percent said that while they are aware of the end of support, their businesses have yet to begin planning to migrate to Windows 10.

Kollective's CEO Dan Vetras explained the security implications that an “as a service” model brings to IT departments, saying:

“With Microsoft describing Windows 10 as the ‘last ever’ version of Windows, it’s no secret that businesses will soon be moved over to a more fluid ‘as a service’ update model. While this means fewer major OS migrations, it also means a far more frequent stream of updates — with an average size of over 1GB. For many IT departments working with dispersed networks or within international organizations, installing such frequent updates on all of their endpoints simply isn’t possible.

“Businesses need to start preparing their infrastructure now to support future Windows as a Service updates. The fact that nearly half of IT teams have no plan in place is a real cause for concern.

By Anthony Spadafora

https://www.techradar.com/uk/news/it-professionals-unprepared-for-windows-as-a-service

picture via shutterstock

Microtechs Overflow and 24x7x365 White label outsourced help desk and NOC services

Wouldn’t it be great if you had a support partner, where your customers felt they were talking to your own team?

Located in Guildford, Surrey, Our UK based support team provides a completely white labelled service to enhance your existing helpdesk team. We partner with over 90 IT, Telecoms, Wi-Fi and Software developers, providing specialist 1st and 2nd line technical support teams to work with you. A great solution for increasing demand for support, especially if outside of normal business hours.

You may ask yourself:

·        How can I offer support 24/7 without the stress & cost of recruiting and training?

·        How can I improve my bottom line?

·        How can I free up my team’s time, to enable us to grow the business?

Microtechs can help.

Heres why;

·        Office hours or 24/7

·        UK based from Guildford, Surrey

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

·        Ability to learn 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

Here’s what our customers have said;

“Using Microtechs to extend the helpdesk capabilities for our organisation has been a very worthwhile venture for us. The transition was very easy and simple and we have found the Microtechs staff to be both knowledgeable and professional; in their dealings with our clients.”

“My customers receive a polite service and their issues are dealt with quickly and professionally. In short Microtechs provide a courteous, effective and cost-efficient service that enables me to offer my customers 24/7 support without the associated expense.”

Extended...we are offering 10% discount on our monthly fees for new customers joining before the end of June 2019. (excludes entry tiers)

It would be great to have a chat with you and understand a little about your business, even if you are not quite ready to outsource.

Call us on 01483 407417.

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Kaspersky Lab report finds majority of firms suffer cyberattacks

More than half of all European businesses have suffered some form of disruption caused by a cyberattack over the last two years, new research has claimed.

A report from Kaspersky Lab found that 54 percent of businesses have faced at least one cyberattack in the last 24 months which resulted in some sort of disruption in their activities.

UK companies were found to be facing the highest risks, with nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents confirming a disruptive attack during the past two years, with 45 percent of SMBs saying they had been hit.

The report identified a number of worrying effects of cyberattacks, with the most common outcomes being service disruption (seen in 31 percent of attacks), data integrity issues (18 percent) and data loss (15 percent).

The report also found that a quarter of businesses were not able to detect they had been breached, meaning they were not able to take action during the first few hours following an attack. 20 percent of attackers also left no clue to their identity, highlighting the difficulty of investigating such attacks.

The threats to businesses are not expected to diminish either, with over one in five respondents (21 percent) say that the number of cyberattacks on their business has increased within the past 12 months compared to the previous year.

“It is alarming that more than half of businesses across Europe have suffered cyberattacks recently, which managed to disrupt their operations or cause other kids of damage," said David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab UK.

"The fact that the odds of a business falling victim have increased dramatically should act as a stark warning for business owners and ITDMs to strengthen their defences."

Written by Mike Moore

https://www.techradar.com/uk/news/half-of-businesses-attacked-online-in-last-two-years

image via shutterstock

Microtechs 24/7/365 White label remote support services

Wouldn’t it be great if you had a support partner, where your customers felt they were talking to your own team?

Located in Guildford, Surrey, Our UK based support team provides a completely white labelled service to enhance your existing helpdesk team. We partner with over 90 IT, Telecoms, Wi-Fi and Software developers, providing specialist 1st and 2nd line technical support teams to work with you. A great solution for increasing demand for support, especially if outside of normal business hours.

You may ask yourself:

·        How can I offer support 24/7 without the stress & cost of recruiting and training?

·        How can I improve my bottom line?

·        How can I free up my team’s time, to enable us to grow the business?

Microtechs can help.

Here why;

·        Office hours or 24/7

·        UK based from Guildford, Surrey

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

·        Ability to learn 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

Here’s what our customers have said;

“Using Microtechs to extend the helpdesk capabilities for our organisation has been a very worthwhile venture for us. The transition was very easy and simple and we have found the Microtechs staff to be both knowledgeable and professional; in their dealings with our clients.”

“My customers receive a polite service and their issues are dealt with quickly and professionally. In short Microtechs provide a courteous, effective and cost-efficient service that enables me to offer my customers 24/7 support without the associated expense.”

Extended...we are offering 10% discount on our monthly fees for new customers joining before the end of June 2019. (excludes entry tiers)

It would be great to have a chat with you and understand a little about your business, even if you are not quite ready to outsource.

Call me on 01483 407405 or 01483 407417.

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Researchers have protected your pacemaker, other medical tech from remote hacks before they happen.

Someone could hack into your pacemaker or insulin pump and potentially kill you, just by intercepting and analyzing wireless signals. This hasn't happened in real life yet, but researchers have been demonstrating for at least a decade that it's possible.

Before the first crime happens, Purdue University engineers have tightened security on the "internet of body." Now, the network you didn't know you had is only accessible by you and your devices, thanks to technology that keeps communication signals within the body itself.

The work appears in the journal Scientific Reports. Study authors include Shreyas Sen, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue, and his students, Debayan Das, Shovan Maity and Baibhab Chatterjee.

"We're connecting more and more devices to the human body network, from smart watches and fitness trackers to head-mounted virtual reality displays," said Sen, who specializes in sensing and communication systems.

"The challenge has not only been keeping this communication within the body so that no one can intercept it, but also getting higher bandwidth and less battery consumption," he said.

Body fluids carry electrical signals very well. So far, so-called "body area networks" have used Bluetooth technology to send signals on and around the body. These electromagnetic waves can be picked up within at least a 10-meter radius of a person.

Sen's team has demonstrated a way for human body communication to occur more securely -- not going beyond a centimeter off the skin and using 100 times less energy than traditional Bluetooth communication.

This is possible through a device that couples signals in the electro-quasistatic range, which is much lower on the electromagnetic spectrum. Sen's group is working with government and industry to incorporate this device into a dust-sized integrated circuit.

A YouTube video is available at https://youtu.be/NHqfT1vIe6E.

Through a prototype watch, a person can receive a signal from anywhere on the body, from the ears all the way down to the toes. The thickness of your skin or hair also doesn't really make a difference in how well you carry the signal, Sen says.

The idea would be to create a way for doctors to reprogram medical devices without invasive surgery. The technology would also help streamline the advent of closed-loop bioelectronic medicine -- in which wearable or implantable medical devices function as drugs, but without the side effects -- and high-speed brain imaging for neuroscience applications.

"We show for the first time a physical understanding of the security properties of human body communication to enable a covert body area network, so that no one can snoop important information," Sen said.

Story Source:

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

Purdue University. "Your body is your internet -- and now it can't be hacked: Researchers have protected your pacemaker, other medical tech from remote hacks before they happen." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 March 2019. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190312151233.htm>.

Microtechs 24x7x365 White Label support service

Located in Guildford, Surrey, Our UK based support team provides a completely white labelled service to enhance your existing help desk team. We partner with over 90 IT, Telecoms, Wi-Fi and Software developers, providing specialist 1st and 2nd line technical support teams to work with you. A great solution for increasing demand for support, especially if outside of normal business hours.

You may ask yourself:

               How can I offer support 24/7 without the stress & cost of recruiting and training?
               How can I improve my bottom line?
               How can I free up my team’s time, to enable us to grow the business?

Microtechs can help.

Here why;

  • *     Office hours or 24/7
  • *     UK based from Guildford, Surrey
  • *     1st & 2nd line / NOC and incident management capabilities
  • *     Ability to learn 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

Here’s what our customers have said;

“Using Microtechs to extend the helpdesk capabilities for our organisation has been a very worthwhile venture for us. The transition was very easy and simple and we have found the Microtechs staff to be both knowledgeable and professional; in their dealings with our clients.”

“My customers receive a polite service and their issues are dealt with quickly and professionally. In short Microtechs provide a courteous, effective and cost-efficient service that enables me to offer my customers 24/7 support without the associated expense.”

Extended...we are offering 10% discount on our monthly fees for new customers joining before the end of June 2019. (excludes entry tiers)

It would be great to have a chat with you and understand a little about your business, even if you are not quite ready to outsource.

Call me on 01483 407417.

 

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At work, it's healthier and more productive just to be yourself, according to a new study from Rice University, Texas A&M University, the University of Memphis, Xavier University, Portland State University and the University of California, Berkeley.

The study, "Stigma Expression Outcomes and Boundary Conditions: A Meta-Analysis" will appear in an upcoming edition of the Journal of Business and Psychology. It examines 65 studies focusing on what happens after people in a workplace disclose a stigmatized identity, such as sexual orientation, mental illness, physical disability or pregnancy.

Eden King, a co-author of the study and an associate professor of psychology at Rice, said the decision to express a stigmatized identity is highly complicated.

"It has the potential for both positive and negative consequences," she said.

However, the research overwhelmingly indicates that people with non-visible stigmas (such as sexual orientation or health problems) who live openly at work are happier with their overall lives and more productive in the workplace. King said self-disclosure is typically a positive experience because it allows people to improve connections, form relationships with others and free their minds of unwanted thoughts.

Workers who expressed their non-visible stigmas experienced decreased job anxiety, decreased role ambiguity, improved job satisfaction and increased commitment to their position. Outside of work, these workers reported decreased psychological stress and increased satisfaction with their lives.

But the study found that the same results did not apply to people with visible traits, such as race, gender and physical disability.

"Identities that are immediately observable operate differently than those that are concealable," King said. "The same kinds of difficult decisions about whether or not to disclose the identity -- not to mention the questions of to whom, how, when and where to disclose those identities -- are probably less central to their psychological experiences."

King said that because most people appreciate gaining new information about others, the expression of visible stigmas is likely to be less impactful.

"Also, people react negatively to those who express or call attention to stigmas that are clearly visible to others, such as race or gender, as this may be seen as a form of advocacy or heightened pride in one's identity," she said.

The researchers said more work needs to be done to understand the motivations for expressing different stigmas. They hope this meta-analysis will be used to help workplaces and policymakers protect individuals with stigmas from discrimination.

Rice University. "Be yourself at work -- It's healthier and more productive: Disclosing non-visible stigmas to co-workers leads to a happier life." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 February 2019. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190225105109.htm>.

Image via shutterstock

Microtechs white label 24x7x365 outsourced help desk and NOC services

As we now enter Spring 2019, it may be a time for you to take stock of the challenges your business faces in the financial year ahead, especially at a time when you may be reviewing your budgets.

You may ask yourself:

1.            How can I offer support 24/7 without the stress & cost of recruiting and training?

2.            How can I improve my bottom line?

3.            How can I free up my team’s time, to enable us to grow the business?

If you have customers that require support, this can be a costly albeit essential part of your organisation, particularly when you receive more and more demand for staff to work remotely, international offices and extended coverage requests.

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 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

Be that business that can confidently say yes to that next big opportunity safe in the knowledge that your help desk can upscale to accommodate on request 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year.

We believe that we are different to other outsourced providers in what we can offer. We take time to learn and dovetail with your existing team and systems, completely replicating your model, ethos and approach to customer service and technical support.

Hurry...we are offering 10% discount on our monthly fees for new customers joining before the end of March 2019. (excludes entry tiers)

Please contact us for further information on 01483 407417

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A new survey of 1,000 UK office workers, which was conducted by business broadband ISP Glide, has claimed that 5% of businesses suffer multiple internet outages each day and 12% lose connectivity at least once a day. Respondents added that the average time to reconnect was 107 minutes.

The study also found that Glasgow seems to be the worst for office connection stability, with 26% of workers claiming their business internet goes down at least once a day. This was followed by Bristol (20%), Southampton (18%), London (14%) and Cardiff (13%).

Perhaps unsurprisingly those who work in the IT sector were the least likely to experience a loss of connectivity, with 40% even saying their business has never lost its connection (compared with 30% overall). Some 38% of those in HR and recruitment said the same and so did 36% of self-employed workers.

Meanwhile legal workers (solicitors) were the most likely to have crappy internet connections and 14% claim to have lost access multiple times a day.

Ben King, CTO of Glide, said:

“It’s shocking to see just how many hours a year workers are losing due to the internet being down. With millions of offices across the country dependent on an internet connection to run, it really is worth investing in a fast, reliable and assured network to support your business needs.”

Glide obviously has a vested interest here (take with pinch of salt) and it’s worth noting that one underlying problem may be the lack of redundancy in such businesses (i.e. ensuring that a backup connection exists, ideally via a separate network from your primary link). Simply installing an ultrafast fibre line doesn’t make your business immune to outages.

Even the smallest businesses can have redundant connections, such as through something as simple as a 4G mobile broadband link (coverage allowing). One other possible caveat in a survey like this is that office workers might easily confuse local network problems with a fault on the internet connection itself.

Original article: https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2019/03/1-in-8-uk-workplaces-lose-internet-connectivity-once-a-day-or-more.html

As written by Mark Jackson

Image: Shutterstock

Microtechs White label 24x7x365 outsourced and overflow UK based Help desk services

As we now enter Spring 2019, it may be a time for you to take stock of the challenges your business faces in the financial year ahead, especially at a time when you may be reviewing your budgets.

You may ask yourself:

1.            How can I offer support 24/7 without the stress & cost of recruiting and training?

2.            How can I improve my bottom line?

3.            How can I free up my team’s time, to enable us to grow the business?

If you have customers that require support, this can be a costly albeit essential part of your organisation, particularly when you receive more and more demand for staff to work remotely, international offices and extended coverage requests.

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 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

Be that business that can confidently say yes to that next big opportunity safe in the knowledge that your help desk can upscale to accommodate on request 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year.

We believe that we are different to other outsourced providers in what we can offer. We take time to learn and dovetail with your existing team and systems, completely replicating your model, ethos and approach to customer service and technical support.

Hurry...we are offering 10% discount on our monthly fees for new customers joining before the end of March 2019. (excludes entry tiers)

Please contact us for further information on 01483 407417

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Many modern laptops and an increasing number of desktop computers are much more vulnerable to hacking through common plug-in devices than previously thought, according to new research.

The research, presented on 26 February at the Network and Distributed Systems Security Symposium in San Diego, shows that attackers can compromise an unattended machine in a matter of seconds through devices such as chargers and docking stations.

Vulnerabilities were found in computers with Thunderbolt ports running Windows, macOS, Linux and FreeBSD. Many modern laptops and an increasing number of desktops are susceptible.

The researchers, from the University of Cambridge and Rice University, exposed the vulnerabilities through Thunderclap, an open-source platform they have created to study the security of computer peripherals and their interactions with operating systems. It can be plugged into computers using a USB-C port that supports the Thunderbolt interface and allows the researchers to investigate techniques available to attackers. They found that potential attacks could take complete control of the target computer.

The researchers, led by Dr Theodore Markettos from Cambridge's Department of Computer Science and Technology, say that in addition to plug-in devices like network and graphics cards, attacks can also be carried out by seemingly innocuous peripherals like chargers and projectors that correctly charge or project video but simultaneously compromise the host machine.

Computer peripherals such as network cards and graphics processing units have direct memory access (DMA), which allows them to bypass operating system security policies. DMA attacks abusing this access have been widely employed to take control of and extract sensitive data from target machines.

Current systems feature input-output memory management units (IOMMUs) which can protect against DMA attacks by restricting memory access to peripherals that perform legitimate functions and only allowing access to non-sensitive regions of memory. However, IOMMU protection is frequently turned off in many systems and the new research shows that, even when the protection is enabled, it can be compromised.

"We have demonstrated that current IOMMU usage does not offer full protection and that there is still the potential for sophisticated attackers to do serious harm," said Brett Gutstein, a Gates Cambridge Scholar, who is one of the research team.

The vulnerabilities were discovered in 2016 and the researchers have been working with technology companies such as Apple, Intel and Microsoft to address the security risks. Companies have begun to implement fixes that address some of the vulnerabilities that the researchers uncovered; several vendors have released security updates in the last two years.

However, the Cambridge research shows that solving the general problem remains elusive and that recent developments, such as the rise of hardware interconnects like Thunderbolt 3 that combine power input, video output and peripheral device DMA over the same port, have greatly increased the threat from malicious devices, charging stations and projectors that take control of connected machines. The researchers want to see technology companies taking further action, but also stress the need for individuals to be aware of the risks.

"It is essential that users install security updates provided by Apple, Microsoft and others to be protected against the specific vulnerabilities we have reported," said Markettos. "However, platforms remain insufficiently defended from malicious peripheral devices over Thunderbolt and users should not connect devices they do not know the origin of or do not trust.”

Story Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190225192119.htm

Materials provided by University of Cambridge. The original story is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Image via Shutterstock

Microtechs 24x7x365 white label end user technical support services

As we now enter Spring 2019, it may be a time for you to take stock of the challenges your business faces in the financial year ahead, especially at a time when you may be reviewing your budgets.

You may ask yourself:

1.            How can I offer support 24/7 without the stress & cost of recruiting and training?

2.            How can I improve my bottom line?

3.            How can I free up my team’s time, to enable us to grow the business?

If you have customers that require support, this can be a costly albeit essential part of your organisation, particularly when you receive more and more demand for staff to work remotely, international offices and extended coverage requests.

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 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

Be that business that can confidently say yes to that next big opportunity safe in the knowledge that your help desk can upscale to accommodate on request 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year.

We believe that we are different to other outsourced providers in what we can offer. We take time to learn and dovetail with your existing team and systems, completely replicating your model, ethos and approach to customer service and technical support.

Hurry...we are offering 10% discount on our monthly fees for new customers joining before the end of March 2019. (excludes entry tiers)

Please contact us for further information on 01483 407417

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The annual roundup finds UK blockchain developers earn 66% less than their US counterparts

Demand for developers and engineers with blockchain skills has risen 517% over the last 12 months, a survey of almost 100,000 developers has found.

Moreover, the salaries offered for blockchain engineering roles are among the highest for developers in London, averaging $89,000 per annum (approximately £68,000). This is second only to embedded engineers, who earn an average of $90,000 (£71,000).

Demand for engineers with security expertise grew the second quickest during 2018, rising by 132%, likely due to the rising number of data breaches and public data privacy concerns, according to recruitment firm Hired.

The company released its annual report into the state of software engineers today, examining how the demand for developers has changed in 13 major cities including London, San Francisco, and Toronto during 2018.

The findings were collated and analysed after interviews with more than 98,000 developers.

The average salary for embedded engineers was also used as a point of comparison against the UK average for all sectors, with Hired finding these workers earn 145% than the UK average of £29,000.

This is despite the fact UK-based developers earn far less than their US counterparts, with San Francisco-based blockchain engineers, for example, earning 66% more on average, or £118,000 per year.

"Empowering tech talent with data that helps them understand their market worth and reveals hiring trends will help them have a more seamless job search experience," said Hired CEO Mehul Patel.

"We hope this insight will fuel thoughtful career conversations among the developer community and provide actionable data that will help software engineers reach their goals."

Among the report's findings were that one in five software engineers are self-taught coders, 21%, and that less than half, 46%, have a computer science degree.

When asked which technologies they were most interested in pursuing, the majority of respondents, 61%, listed machine learning as their first or second preference. User experience and blockchain came second and third, followed by mobile and hardware.

When asked about their ten-year goals, meanwhile, more than a third said they "just want to continue building cool things", 37%, while 23% of developers said they aimed to become a leader in the mould of a senior vice president or CTO. Around one in five, 19%, hold ambitions to start their own company.

The report also examined which programming languages were most commonly-used, with JavaScript topping the chart for the language most often used across the world, 62%, followed by Java and Python, both 42%, and HTML, 36%.

The most in-demand coding language in London, meanwhile, based on the number of interview requests granted during 2018, was Microsoft's TypeScript, as well as the languages Scala and Go.

Written by Keumars Afifi-Sabet

https://www.itpro.co.uk/business-strategy/careers-training/33113/hired-report-reveals-the-most-in-demand-software-skills

Microtechs Outsourced Overflow & 24x7x365 White labelled service desk & NOC

As we now enter Spring 2019, it may be a time for you to take stock of the challenges your business faces in the financial year ahead, especially at a time when you may be reviewing your budgets.

You may ask yourself:

1.            How can I offer support 24/7 without the stress & cost of recruiting and training?

2.            How can I improve my bottom line?

3.            How can I free up my team’s time, to enable us to grow the business?

If you have customers that require support, this can be a costly albeit essential part of your organisation, particularly when you receive more and more demand for staff to work remotely, international offices and extended coverage requests.

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 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

Be that business that can confidently say yes to that next big opportunity safe in the knowledge that your help desk can upscale to accommodate on request 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year.

We believe that we are different to other outsourced providers in what we can offer. We take time to learn and dovetail with your existing team and systems, completely replicating your model, ethos and approach to customer service and technical support.

Hurry...we are offering 10% discount on our monthly fees for new customers joining before the end of March 2019. (excludes entry tiers)

Please contact us for further information on 01483 407417

Posted by on in Latest Microtechs news posts

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How one company aims to stop ISPs and businesses from tracking your activities online

Businesses and consumers alike have grown increasingly concerned with protecting their privacy online. Whether it’s avoiding falling victim to a data breach or even a ransomware attack, the tactics used by cybercriminals have become quite sophisticated. However, while we’ve been busy protecting our privacy from hackers, many of us have forgotten about how ISPs, governments and even businesses track our activities online by following the websites we visit and the apps we use.

To help protect consumers from unwanted tracking online, Winston Privacy has launched a new device that sits between a home modem and a wireless router to block users from ads and hackers as well. TechRadar Pro sat down with the company’s CEO Richard Stokes to learn more about its product and how consumers can protect their privacy online.

·        VPN can keep your communications private and secure. Here are the best VPN services

·        For home users, having an updated antivirus is key to fending of cyber criminals. Make sure the one your are using is on our list of the best antivirus.

·        Businesses can look at our list of best endpoint security software to secure their perimeters.

Where do traditional security solutions fall short when it comes to protecting user privacy?

The usual security solution offers well known benefits, such as firewall, antivirus and even occasionally a VPN. However, none of these products or software do anything to protect user privacy. For instance, VPNs are often cited as a privacy solution when in fact all they do is encrypt internet activity and cloak the internet end point. Modern user tracking technologies are much more sophisticated than that, and generally rely little on static IP addresses. Moreover, VPNs are notorious for logging and selling user data, even Facebook has a VPN, while antivirus companies crawl the pages that users are viewing and sell that data to advertisers.

How aware are consumers that ISPs and corporations are keeping tabs on their activities online?

Consumer awareness of lack of data privacy exploded in 2018 with the Cambridge Analytica revelations. Our internal data shows that VPN usage in the US increased by 400% between October 2017 and May 2018. The current challenge is that consumers aren’t aware of all the other products that are tracking them outside of the internet, like apps and connected products.

Have users become more reluctant when it comes to sharing their personal data with businesses?

Anecdotally, there is still a great sense of resignation. Our data indicates that most consumers know there is a problem but lack any real solutions. While privacy software has been around for about 20 years, it generally is beyond the technical capabilities of the average consumer. With the easiest, most widely used solutions, browser-based ad blockers, known to collect and sell user data or offer backdoors for partners. They’re continuing to prove that if the product is free, you're the product. There needs to be an increased awareness on how current ad blockers work and what consumers can do to truly protect their privacy.

You describe your company’s product as a hardware filter for the internet. Can you elaborate on how it filters internet traffic and the kind of traffic it protects consumers from? How does your product differ from a VPN and what makes it more secure?

Winston is designed to be a comprehensive privacy defense for the non-technical home user, so we've tightly integrated a number of technologies, some proprietary, to defeat user tracking. Through Winston, internet activity is encrypted and scrambled through a distributed peer-to-peer (P2P) privacy mesh network, making it impossible to correlate requests with individual users or devices. A beneficial side effect of this is that the user's physical location is hidden, preventing hackers from determine the locale (or even exact location) of a hacked Nest or other device.

At its core, Winston monitors all internet traffic occurring on the home network and assigns every website a privacy risk score (ie: 1-10 where 1 indicates little risk of data collection and 10 a high risk). Based on this risk assessment, dynamic security policies are set which impact how data is exchanged with that site. A few examples on how it blocks ads and hackers is: 

Within Winston, cookie policies are set based on privacy risk, origin, destination and likelihood of breaking a site. For instance, third-party tracking cookies are typically blocked completely as are most disguised first-party tracking cookies. However, a cookie required to play a YouTube video on another site may be allowed, but on Winston it will have its expiration time set to 30 minutes from now while a Twitter cookie may be rewritten with false data.

Browser fingerprinting - a technique which can even deanonymize users in incognito mode - is deactivated within Winston as well.

User agent strings are rotated on a regular basis and shared between all compatible devices in the home, further obscuring the true origin of a particular request.

Domain Name System (DNS) queries are intercepted, encrypted and resolved via Cloudflare or IBM X-Force (Quad 9) services. This includes DNS activity for all devices on the network, which makes Winston an effective defense against DNS rebinding attacks. 

What do you think the future holds for the online advertising industry and will we see a noticeable shift in the types and frequency of ads we see online?

It used to be that we traded 30 minutes of our time and attention to advertisers in exchange for a show, like Friends or Seinfeld. It was a fair trade, but today, we give up every personal detail about ourselves in exchange for spam and clickbait. It follows us around incessantly, and who pays when those massive databases get hacked? We do.

As a former insider in the advertising and marketing industry, it appears likely to me that the demand for programmatic (micro-targeted) advertising will decline as users push back on the invasive tracking that these methods require, which is a good thing.

That said, advertising is not going anywhere. Both brands and consumers want to connect, but not in the outdated way that the Silicon Valley powers have decided we should. My hope is that well-executed creative will again come to the forefront of the industry. After all, it's not that consumers hate advertising per se, rather; they hate being spammed and harassed by bad advertising.

Richard Stokes, CEO of Winston Privacy - https://www.techradar.com/uk/news/avoiding-unwanted-tracking-online

 

Microtechs 24x7 white label support services

Based in Surrey, Microtechs are an established and experienced end user support centre. Our Help desk and NOC experts can monitor your servers and support queue (email, RMM & phone) 24x7 or just as overflow. The Microtechs White Label support service offers a cost effective, 24x7 support option perfect for providers with an expanding customer base.

Recent businesses have joined Microtechs services because;

             Communications provider - requiring out of hours incident management

             MSP – customer pressure for UK telephone support agents

             Telcom’s VAR – needing to save costs on end user support

             ISP – growth in hospitality sector requiring 24x7 end user Wi-Fi support

             Cloud provider - requiring end user support desk from inception

             Developer - requiring 24/7 load support for inhouse team

We want to help your business.  We are not a massive call centre operation, we are family run, with a great team of staff who are experienced at both customer service and technical support.

We work very closely with our clients to provide an extremely bespoke service that compliments existing support models and systems.

Hurry...we are offering 10% discount on our monthly fees for new customers joining before the end of March 2019. (excludes entry tiers)

Benefits of using our white labelled service:

             Fully inclusive services with an average 80% resolution rate

             A dedicated and skilled team ready to give you a hand at busy periods

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

             A cost effective and scalable solution

             A seamless extension to your current support team

             Fully staffed 24/7 for those clients who need Out of Hours support

             Pricing starts from £500 per month

What next:

 

If you would be interested to find out some more, then please get in touch with a member of our solutions team, who can talk you though our offering.

Please contact us for further information on 01483 407417.

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Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a method for evaluating and selecting optimal antenna designs for future fifth-generation (5G) cellphones, other wireless devices and base stations.

The new NIST method could boost 5G wireless network capacity and reduce costs.

5G systems will avoid crowded conventional wireless channels by using higher, millimeter-wave frequency bands. Transmissions at these frequencies lose a lot of energy along the way, which weakens received signal strength. One solution is "smart" antennas that can form unusually narrow beams -- the area in space where signals are transmitted or received -- and rapidly steer them in different directions.

Antenna beamwidth affects wireless system design and performance. NIST's new measurement-based method allows system designers and engineers to evaluate the most appropriate antenna beamwidths for real environments.

"Our new method could reduce costs by enabling greater success with initial network design, eliminating much of the trial and error that is now required," NIST engineer Kate Remley said. "The method also would foster the use of new base stations that transmit to several users either simultaneously or in rapid succession without one antenna beam interfering with another. This, in turn, would increase network capacity and reduce costs with higher reliability."

This is the first detailed measurement-based study of how antenna beamwidth and orientation interact with the environment to affect millimeter-wave signal transmission. In the technique, NIST measurements covering a broad range of antenna beam angles are converted into an omnidirectional antenna pattern covering all angles equally. The omnidirectional pattern can then be segmented into narrower and narrower beamwidths. Users can evaluate and model how antenna beam characteristics are expected to perform in specific types of wireless channels.

An engineer could use the method to select an antenna that best suits a specific application. For example, the engineer may choose a beamwidth that is narrow enough to avoid reflections off certain surfaces or that allows multiple antennas to coexist in a given environment without interference.

To develop the new method, the NIST team collected experimental data in a hallway and lobby of a NIST research building, using a special robot loaded with a customized channel sounder and other equipment. A channel sounder collects data that capture the signal reflections, diffractions and scattering that occur between a transmitter and receiver. Many such measurements can be used to create a statistical representation of the radio channel, to support reliable system design and standardization.

NIST study results confirm that narrow beams can significantly reduce signal interference and delays, and that an optimized beam orientation reduces energy loss during transmissions. For example, the time interval during which signal reflections arrive (a metric called RMS delay spread) dropped dramatically from 15 nanoseconds (ns) to about 1.4 ns as antenna beamwidth was reduced from omnidirectional (360 degrees) to a narrow 3 degrees or so-called pencil beam.

Future research will include extending the method to different environments and analysis of other wireless channel characteristics.

Story Source:

Materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181210115756.htm

Microtechs 24x7 White Label Support Services

Based in Surrey, Microtechs are an established and specialised support centre providing 24x7 outsourced helpdesk and NOC monitoring solutions to businesses on a completely white labelled basis.

Are you set for the New Year? Perhaps it’s a good time to consider what savings you could achieve through outsourcing with Budget reviews approaching.

Benefits of using our white labelled service:

•Fully inclusive services with an average 80% resolution rate
•A dedicated and skilled team ready to give you a hand at busy periods
•Desktop / Network / O365 / Mac / Telecoms / Bespoke software / Wi-Fi
•A cost effective and scalable solution
•A seamless extension to your current support team
•Fully staffed 24/7 for those clients who need Out of Hours support

Benefits of working with Microtechs:

•We are not a massive call centre operation, we are family run, with a great team of staff who are experienced at both customer service and technical support.
•We work very closely with our clients to provide a service that compliments existing support models.
•Our operation is well practiced, and we can provide elevated levels of service to all end users.
•We can be extremely bespoke to you and your customers support requirement.

What next:

If you would be interested to find out some more, then please get in touch with a member of our solutions team, who can talk you though our offering. 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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