Uncategorised

Your Business should be using Office 365. Here’s why:


Office 365 graphic

We know that the IT department and investing in technology is one of the biggest expenses for businesses. Whether you are operating with 5 employees or 55, keeping up-to-date with hardware and software – particularly when you are a self-declared ‘Technophobe’ – is enough to bring any business owner to breaking point.

I don’t have time to sit and sort out my IT systems. If it isn’t broken and functions fine, why fix it? “

It’s dangerous to confuse functionality with productivity. Software updates are getting more and more frequent these days, and support for older software decreases over time, until one day you’re faced with the end of life for a key piece of software or the end of support for hardware.

The choice is yours: you can continue to use systems that no longer receive support or updates (exposing your organisation to cyber threats), or you can take the time to evaluate your options.

FACT:

Office 365 is used by over 55% of businesses worldwide.

Microsoft Office 365 is a cloud-based productivity tool for small and medium-sized businesses. The platform is designed to transform the way you work with both your colleagues and customers. But why is it so popular? This article examines some of Office 365’s main benefits.

work anywhere 0ffice 365

1. Work anywhere there’s an internet connection:

Office 365 is a cloud based service – this means that you don’t have to be sitting at your work desk to access it. You can work from home, abroad, your local cafe – from a PC, laptop, tablet, or your phone. The software boasts an up-time guarantee of 99.9% – no more server failures or system updates meaning work comes to a halt.


2. Collaborate with ease:

Every member of your team who needs to contribute to, or edit a document, can all work together on the same version, with changes being made in real time. This saves the inevitable (and all too common) confusion of having multiple versions of a document floating around.


3. Totally Flexible:

Office 365 has multiple options and packages – meaning you are able to select a platform that’s suited to your individual business needs. You’re also able to add and remove licenses with ease; cloud usage can be scaled to align with the growth of your business. Furthermore, business owners no longer need to worry about purchasing expensive extra servers – you simply alter your subscription plan to account for all end users.


4. Monthly Subscription:

Further to the subscription plan mentioned above, Office 365 is a subscription-based service. This makes the software a far more manageable solution for smaller operations, who may work better with a predictable monthly fee. It also helps with business cash-flow, as the month to month style payments can allow your financial teams to plan out the annual budget in an easier way.


5. Robust Security & Reliability:

It is a common misunderstanding that cloud storage is unsafe. With Office 365, you gain lots of cyber security features to keep your data safe – something that smaller businesses without the resources for complex security methods will benefit from. Some of these features include:

  • Encrypted Email
  • Data Loss Prevention: Allowing you to protect sensitive information from leaving your organisation – see Microsoft’s Data Loss Prevention policy for more information.
  • Mobile Device Management: A feature that permits you to control Office on company mobiles.
  • Advanced Threat Analytics: This analyses your systems, detecting and alert users to suspicious behaviour on the network.

6. Expert Support:

Migrating to Office 365 through ITCS gives you access to out support team, meaning that if there’s a problem you can’t solve alone, we are there.

Still unsure? Contact us today for expert, impartial advice about the best cloud solution for your business.

WebYour Business should be using Office 365. Here’s why:

Developing Trust in a Digital Environment

How demonstrating security around your IT Systems allows businesses to gain competitive advantage in a digital age.

TRUST IN A TIME OF DIGITAL DISRUPTION

Trust is crucial to attracting and retaining customers. It’s no secret that as digital engagement continues to evolve, both business and consumer markets are demanding trustworthy, secure digital experiences.

As technology innovation progresses, customers have a higher standard of expectation on how organizations deliver digital products and services, and see cyber-security as integral to their digital experience.

There seems to be a gap in perception forming between clients and organisations when it comes to technology: “Twenty-first century enterprises use technology to enable consumer engagement, realize value from intangible assets, and develop the workforce of the future,” says Greg Bell, KPMG Global Co-Leader, and Cyber Security. “But these models should be broadened to include cybersecurity as part of the investment, enabling organizations to change faster, while reducing risk.”

OPPORTUNITY AND THREAT

Business and consumer markets are fully aware of the upsides of technology advancement; they are also becoming increasingly aware of the risks that come along with it. It’s a rational concern: we are constantly reading about organisations on the receiving end of a cyber-attack, with leaked information such as passwords, activity logs, and financial records.

Clients are concerned, and rightly so, about how this will affect them personally – they’re less worried about how the security breaches will affect the organisation in question. As organisations continue their transformation journeys, those that are able to address their consumers’ concerns can have a competitive edge.

ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS

Brand trust used to be developed through consistency (and persistency) in messaging. Although this still has a part to play, growing customer knowledge means that companies now need to prove their trustworthiness as a brand. It’s easy for companies to overlook the potential ramifications of losing trust. Executives will often think about production disruption and loss of intellectual property – however, tarnished brand perceptions can permanently damage your business.

Chief Privacy Officer at Immuta agrees, “Security and privacy concerns can no longer take a back seat in the product / service development lifecycle — not simply because of the value of security and privacy alone, but for their business impact as well.”

BE PROACTIVE

So what can be done? Businesses need to be proactive in risk minimisation, and a plan should a breach occur. Communicating this to customers will help build trust and enhance the overall experience with your brand. Clients see value in companies providing more transparency and communication to assure cybersecurity protections are ongoing and present. When organisations take the time to align cybersecurity as a business priority, and invest in it properly, they create positioning as trusted leaders and providers. Reputation and trust are precious attributes that both consumers and businesses seek in this digital age.

Ultimately, understanding customers expect you to have some sort of cybersecurity measures in place will go a long way in keeping them happy and maintaining their patronage.

WebDeveloping Trust in a Digital Environment

VoIP FAQs: What is a Soft phone?

A soft phone isn’t actually a phone at all.

A softphone is actually a piece of software – similar to Skype, or Slack, that enables you to make phonecalls from other devices, such as your smartphone, tablet or PC.

If you have a softphone, a headset, microphone, and VoIP provider, you can place video calls and Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, calls.

What’s Great about a Soft phone:

As remote working becomes increasingly popular, the versatility and portability of the softphone is proving extremely appealing for many clients.

With a softphone, you can do many of the things that you can do on your desk phone, whilst unifying communications throughout the business so no call goes unanswered. With a Softphone, you can:

  • Place, receive, and transfer calls
  • Manage your contacts
  • Set call waiting and do not disturb settings
  • Update rules for how calls forward
  • Reroute calls
  • Call with a single click
  • And more

Why You need a Soft phone:

Although no one is exactly throwing their desk-phones away yet, the flexibility of VoIP has allowed business owners to easily use a mix of both handset and soft phones to allow for business versatility.

There are a range of benefits of using soft phones in your business. In addition to significant cost reduction, Soft phones:

  • Are easy to obtain and use
  • Can save money in comparison to desk phones
  • Lower monthly service charges and international call costs
  • Advanced calling features — even video conferencing
  • Adding and removing users easily
  • Provide portability: employees can work from anywhere whilst retaining the same phone number
  • Present a unified and professional company image
  • Integration with CRM systems

Should I get rid of my desk phone?

The reality is that every business is different, and therefore every businesses communication strategy will be different. The choice between the Desk phone or Soft phone solution is a question that many businesses have to grapple with.

Both IP Desk phones and Softphones have got their pros and cons. You’ll need to take your business individual needs into consideration to determine the most appropriate phone solution.

If you need help or advice determining what solution is the most appropriate for your business, get in touch with ITCS Business Telecoms .

WebVoIP FAQs: What is a Soft phone?

World Password Day should Be Every Day!

It’s World Password Day: when you look back – even as little as ten years – cyber security has never been as important as it is today. Businesses and Consumers both store some of their most sensitive details live behind online password protection. Financial information, confidential files, official documentation, personal photos, the list goes on. With intimidating statistics coming out about hackers and business all the time (Did you know there is a hacker attack every 39 seconds?), it seems that keeping sensitive online data safe needs to be at the top of everyone’s priorities.

With this in mind, World Password Day seems to present the perfect opportunity to be diligent about ensuring our passwords are secure. A few tips to keep in mind include:

1. Make your passwords 9-10 characters long:

Most websites recommend an 8 character minimum, but we would recommend using a minimum of 9 or 10 characters on all passwords.

2. Check your password vulnerability:

Go to a site such as haveibeenpwned.com – this is a completely free site built by one of Microsoft’s Regional Directors. Type in one of your passwords and see if your chosen code-word have been compromised in a breach and are generally available to hackers. If they are, change them wherever they are used.

3. The No-Name Rule – but expanded:

Do not use common passwords, and do not use basic personal details within your passwords. Info such as your birthday, family members’ names or pets’ names is easily guessable. According to security company SplashData the two most commonly used passwords are “123456”, and “password” – a dream for hackers and fraudsters.

4. Complex is Best:

Strong passwords normally incorporate a mixture of the following:

  • Uppercase characters
  • Lowercase characters
  • Base 10 digits (0 through 9)
  • Nonalphanumeric characters: ~!@#$%^&*_-+=`|\(){}[]:;”‘<>,.?/

5. Lather, Rinse… but DO NOT REPEAT:

Do Not Re-Use Passwords! Password reuse is extremely common. It’s extremely risky, but it’s a regular occurrence, because it’s easier to remember one or two passwords, and people aren’t aware of the potential impact. But, repeating the same password across several sites means if a hacker discovers just one password, all personal info is suddenly at risk. Therefore, it is crucial to diversify your passcodes to ensure hackers cannot obtain access to all of your accounts at once, should one password be somehow compromised.

Overall, it is absolutely crucial to ensure that your passwords are as secure as possible, every day – not just on World Password Day. CyberCrime is only escalating, and neglecting the defence of your network is simply allowing your data to be hacked. Secure your passwords now, and make sure you keep vigilant to the risks that we all face.

If you have any questions or concerns around computer security, please don’t hesitate to contact the ITCS support desk on 08456 444 200, we are always happy to help.

WebWorld Password Day should Be Every Day!

FAQs about the VoIP Phone System

With the Phaseout of ISDN Systems imminent, the technology that we are using to communicate is changing.  Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the future of business telephony.

ITCS’s dedicated account managers have been working hard to speak to both new and existing customers about future-proofing their phone systems and answering any questions they may have about VoIP (voice over internet protocol). A common hesitation with business owners, is that after years of doing things the same way, your team may be hesitant to embrace a switch a new VoIP communications system. Both you and your staff may have concerns about the new technology, and what the change will mean for you all on a daily basis.

We have put together a few of the most commonly asked questions about VoIP systems, and have answered them as clearly as possible to reassure you and your staff that the transition is well worth it.

1. What is the difference between VoIP and a traditional phone line?

The biggest difference between VoIP and traditional calling is the phone lines that are used. Traditional lines use an analog signal, and VoIP uses a digital signal. Do you remember the big Digital TV Switchover in 2012? The ISDN Phaseout is a similar concept; these legacy systems are out of date, as are the associated maintenance and running costs.

A digital signal is more efficient than analogue, and costs less money. Anyone who has used a program like Skype has used VoIP to communicate.

2. But my phone system works just fine, why do I need to change it?

VoIP technology can provide businesses with the best platform for continued future development, on a modern and flexible infrastructure. VoIP brings with it a multitude of benefits such as more mobility, cost savings, and better call quality.

3. What sort of features do VoIP systems bring to the business?

The range of features available on a VoIP phone are one of the main reasons that businesses upgrade to the system. VoIP systems include dynamic call handling, pre-recorded messages and seamless transfers at the touch of a button. The systems completely erase the barrier between phone systems and internet browsers.  Engage in video calls with any compatible device, incorporate other communication services like instant messaging, teleconferencing, receive voicemail and faxes via email, and much more.

4. Do I have to know and be re-trained in complicated software just to make a phone call?

Although feature rich and completely modern, VoIP telephones function much the same way as an old fashioned handset. You can configure the phone with the same key presses to pick up, and transfer calls. ITCS will provide you and your team with full support so that you’re confident with your new system. We provide training, number porting, provisioning and assistance. This will give you complete peace of mind.

5. What equipment is required to use VoIP?

Besides the cost savings, setting up and maintaining a VoIP system is a much simpler job than with traditional telephone systems. This is because there is so little on site equipment compared to traditional ISDN networks. Only pay for the users you need.

6. Is VoIP an expensive investment?

The expense of VoIP systems is a very common myth. In fact, with VoIP you’ll save money. Enjoy lower international calling rates, free calling features, as well as lower monthly service costs. The feature-rich element of VoIP systems means that you can get rid of single use devices and enjoy voice, video, fax, voicemail and more in one device.

7. I’ve heard that VoIP sound quality is really unreliable. Is that true?

A persistent myth surrounding VoIP is that because it relies on internet connections, the voice quality will suffer. This myth has really stuck around from the very early days of VoIP, when networks were slower and less sophisticated. Broadband has come on a long way, but as with many things in business and in life, you get what you pay for.

In other words, the better your business broadband connection, the higher quality your VoIP telephone system is going to be.

Current internet and 4G connections represent a huge leap in technological progress, but for anyone considering VoIP, it’s a case of ensuring you have the bandwidth to support your network.

8. Is VoIP secure?

We all know that hacking and cybercrime is regularly making headlines in modern business. But, as long as your internal network is secure, then your phone network will be too. As long as you have a good Disaster Recovery System in place and you are using a trusted IT Support Provider, the risk of falling victim to hacking or cyber-crime is minimal. ITCS ensure that security is a priority when we look at your system in readiness for VoIP.

9. I don’t run a large business – is VoIP right for me?

You don’t have to be a large corporation to benefit from VoIP. It is a truly versatile communications solution. SMEs and startups can benefit because it’s so easy to set-up and use, and you can add new phones as your business grows. Plus you can benefit from various business features that come with the system, adding to the professionalism of your company.

Are you ready to discover more about upgrading your business phone system to a VoIP solution? Do you have more questions? The ITCS team are always happy to help. Call us today on 08456 444 200, or email: info@itcs.co.uk. You can also fill out a contact form.

WebFAQs about the VoIP Phone System

Managing Director Takes on World’s Highest Free-Standing Mountain in aid of LATCH

Standing at 5,895 metres high – Kilimanjaro remains one of the world’s great challenges. Brian Stokes will be taking on the gruelling charity trek this April in aid of LATCH. On April 5th 2019 he will push himself to the extreme, with a core team of 11 people, to raise money for LATCH Welsh Children’s Cancer Charity.

Who Are LATCH?

LATCH  is currently supporting an amazingly brave little girl from Maesteg, Amira Barry. Amira was diagnosed with Leukaemia last year, and is currently receiving support from LATCH. The fantastic help and support provided by LATCH has driven Brian and ITCS to raise money to help the charity continue its excellent work.

The Kilimanjaro trek is set to take 7 days, where on average 44% of people fail, mainly due to altitude sickness. This is no mean feat, and a real challenge.

“The idea is to raise awareness around this vital support for Amira’s family,” says Brian, “LATCH Welsh Children’s Cancer Charity needs to raise, on average, £800,000 a year to cover the costs of supporting families like Amira’s. So, we wanted to test ourselves to the limit, and see what we are capable of, whilst raising money for a really worthy cause.”

The trip has been entirely self-funded by each individual, so donations are well received and go entirely towards the charity, not paying for any part of the expedition. The training has been well underway for many months, along with numerous trips to the doctors for a huge list of jabs. The malaria tablets and altitude pills are all ready to go – now they need as much support and encouragement as possible.

You can donate to Brian’s cause by visiting his JustGiving page – every donation, no matter how large or small, is gratefully received.

WebManaging Director Takes on World’s Highest Free-Standing Mountain in aid of LATCH

Keyboard Hacks – 10 Shortcuts to Help You Work Faster on Windows 10

Although it’s unlikely you’ll be able to memorise every single keyboard shortcut, they really can make you much faster whilst you work on a PC. Learning and using keyboard hacks that are most important to you is a great way to enhance your Windows 10 experience.

Compared to reaching for the mouse or navigating a menu, a single keyboard shortcut shaves a moment off your task. This might not seem like much, but add up all those saved moments over a week or a month, and you’re gaining a substantial chunk of time. That’s why it’s important to know as many shortcuts as possible for your operating system. Try a keyboard hack a few times, and you’ll find out just how useful it can be.

You could even bookmark this page, and use it as a Go-To Tool whilst you learn!

WebKeyboard Hacks – 10 Shortcuts to Help You Work Faster on Windows 10

4 Key Security Threats that Businesses Need to Prepare for in 2019

From high profile data breaches of companies like Facebook and British Airways, to mounting evidence surrounding Russian interference in the 2016 US election, it is safe to say that 2018 was a landmark year in terms of security vulnerabilities and emboldened cyber-criminals. So, with 2019 set to bring more technology advancements, what can you do to protect yourself, and what should your priorities be as a business?

The Information Security Forum – also known as the ISF – is a trustworthy source that senior security professionals and board members turn to for guidance on information security and risk management. They have identified 4 key security threats that businesses will be faced with this year – as well as tips for risk management. You can read the full report here.

Key threats for 2019 include:

1. Increased Sophistication of Cyber Crime

In 2017, high-profile incidents, such as the WannaCry ransomware attack, made file-encrypting malware internet enemy number one. 2018 actually saw a decrease in the number of Ransomware attacks, as many businesses invested in backup solutions that eased the impact of a ransomware attack – or even investing in high quality Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) systems – which basically eliminate the risk altogether.  However, there are still many high-profile ransomware attacks happening, which is why this threat remains at the top of our list as a threat to business in 2019.

How to Prepare:

John Zorabedian, author of Sophos NakedSecurity Blog – suggests that preventing ransomware attacks can be as simple as getting the basics of cyber security right. Back up your files regularly,  train and retrain employees in your business (we can help with that if you need). Use a password manager and never reuse passwords. Keep up to date with operating system patches and app or software updates. Change the default administrator passwords on things like home routers, modems, and network-attached storage servers.

2.Legislation Falling Behind 

ClickDimensions-GDPRBoth regional and national legislators are struggling to keep pace with the fast-paced developments in Cyber-security. They are set to fall even further behind in 2019, with most current legislation in place being years behind the technological curve. At the same time, as businesses cry out for more regulation, sweeping changes get made with tight deadlines that don’t allow adequate time for organisations to attain compliance. The ISF identifies how national regulations will also provide a hindrance: “legislation by its nature is government and regulator driven, resulting in a move towards national regulation at a time when cross border collaboration is needed. Organisations will struggle to keep abreast of such developments which may also impact business models which many have taken for granted”.

What Can I do?

Unfortunately, this one is mostly down to government and regulation. Without doubt, there remains much to be done and it requires the collaboration between governments, private initiatives, the academic sector, and of course, users.

3. Smart Devices will Challenge Data Integrity

Picture+for+ArticleAs the world enters a new era of technology, businesses are implementing smart devices enthusiastically in an effort to impact their business. This is a huge positive; however, many users won’t realise that these devices are often insecure by design, and therefore offer many opportunities for attackers. These types of attacks are on the rise; in 2018, SophosLabs saw significant growth in the volume of attacks targeting IoT devices. One of the reasons for this is that it’s challenging to detect a device is affected until something goes horribly wrong.

There will also be an increasing lack of transparency – vague terms and conditions will allow organisations to use personal data in ways customers did not intend. This will prove problematic for business, as it’ll become less clear to pinpoint what information is leaving their networks or what is being secretly captured and transmitted by devices such as smartphones or conference phones. To add insult to injury, when breaches occur, organisations will be held liable by regulators and customers for inadequate data protection.

The Fix:

Again, the main advice for preventing these types of attacks is to focus on mastering the basics. Make sure all devices are kept updated, and continually updating passwords. A new device that’s being introduced as a replacement for old devices makes it increasingly easy to forget about every connected device on your network. But old devices may carry old security protocols, forgotten passwords, and a whole host of other threats to your networks.

Each device is a potential weak point that has to be secured. So, if there are old access points that you no longer use, you’ll want to thoroughly disconnect them from the network – even going as far as doing a factory reset on the gadget.

4. Supply Chain Assurance Myths

Supply chains are a vital component of any B2B or B2C organisation. They are integral to the smooth running of a business, with valuable – and often sensitive – business information being shared with trusted suppliers. It’s important to remember that when this information is shared, direct control over your data is lost. This year, many organisations will realise that gaining traditional reassurance of their supply chain security is a lost cause. Businesses that continue to focus on assuring supply chain security with approaches such as self-certified audit and assurance, may preserve the illusion of security in the short term, but will inevitably discover that the security foundations they believed to be in place were lacking. Even the smallest supplier, or the slightest supply chain disruption, can have serious impacts on your business. Brand management and brand reputation are subject to the successful security of your supply chain; both are constantly at stake.

What to do:

Refocus on managing key data and understanding where and how it has been shared across multiple channels and boundaries, irrespective of supply chain provider. The best method is to implement a supply chain information risk assurance process, which is focused on information shared with upstream suppliers. This can be done by using supply chain maps to follow the information. Such an upstream information-sharing assessment tracks what is being shared with the suppliers’ suppliers and beyond. The results draw attention to significant concentrations of information, triggering the implementation of additional controls on your suppliers and can mitigate risks.

In Summary:

The unfortunate reality of today’s complex digital marketplace is that it is impossible to prevent every security compromise beforehand, and that no matter how much you prepare, there are still risks. However, being proactive now also means you, and your business will be better able to react rapidly and intelligently when something does happen.

For more information, guidance, and support on making sure your infrastructure is as secure as possible, get in touch with one of our engineers.

email header

Web4 Key Security Threats that Businesses Need to Prepare for in 2019