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Business resistance to the cloud migration

Cloud migration is becoming a vital cog in the blueprint of growing businesses and it’s not hard to see why…   Speed, control and enhanced …

Cloud migration is becoming a vital cog in the blueprint of growing businesses and it’s not hard to see why…

 

Speed, control and enhanced technology, it seems bizarre that there are nay-sayers to its blatant advantages…

However, there is still a resistance to implement it into the workplace – usually expressed through the ‘Five stages of grief’ brilliantly explained by Diginomica:

 

 1. DismissalThe cloud is too immature, I will never use it

 2. Wrath The cloud is too insecure, uncontrolled, I can’t trust it with my data

 3. Negotiation It looks impressive, but I’m better off with a hybrid approach

 4. Despondence I can still survive for a while, it’s not that bad…

 5. Acceptance …maybe I can partner with a cloud company.

 

Being experts in Cloud Migration, we understand it’s hard for businesses to get past the hurdle of accepting new technology. Especially when the benefits of cloud services out way those of storing it on physical network.

It’s easy to overlook the basic advantages, so we thought we would outline them in a brief and digestible way.

Faster deployment times + Scalability

Migration to the cloud means that you will be able to deploy your apps, software and services much more quickly than ever before. As this eliminates the need of buying servers, installing the needed operating system and setting it up in on a network.

Alongside this, scalability is a major enhancement of Cloud migration. Before, your data storage is constrained physically meaning you are restricted in how you can scale your environment to meet the demands and requirements of your business.

Enhanced security features

When you migrate to the cloud, your cloud providers will take care of the tougher security issues. Issues like managing unwanted traffic flooding your network, or potential data breaches. As everything is synced and connected, threats can be managed and solved with more responsiveness than before.

This isn’t to say that you aren’t 100% protected, but it means that you are in a better position to resist attacks than you would be on a physical server. Getting extra protection is always recommended, especially when they work in conjunction with the cloud services you choose.

Greater flexibility

Cloud services are perfect for businesses with high hopes and ambitions. The flexibility it can provide can mean that jumps in bandwidth can be done with ease. This is the same if more memory or storage is needed. No more installing hardware, the cloud can expand as your business does.

Cost management

A common preconception is that cloud migration is an expensive and pricey option, when really it isn’t. Most providers will allow your business to autoscale – meaning you are in control of adding or removing services when you need them.

With this approach, you can even monitor time and save cost by only charging for the time those additional machines are up and running (obviously if this applies to your business and sector!)

Environmentally friendly

Last (but certainly not least) is that migrating to the cloud isn’t purely a selfish act, as the environment reaps the benefits too.

When your cloud needs to fluctuate in size, physically nothing changes. Meaning your business is only responsible for the energy you need and you don’t create damages to the environment by using sustainable solutions.

If you are interested in migrating to the cloud, or want to learn about how cloud services could benefit your company. Please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us.

If you’re looking to learn more about how your IT systems can be protected. Get in contact with us on 02920 887 362 or send us an email at info@excellence-it.co.uk

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IT considerations for your business in 2019

In 2019 IT will be rapidly progressing, so it’s increasingly important that your business is not left behind or left vulnerable to security risks.   …

In 2019 IT will be rapidly progressing, so it’s increasingly important that your business is not left behind or left vulnerable to security risks.

 

An easy way to ensure this is to make sure your hardware and software is up to date and regularly checked for weaknesses.

We are always relaying this message to our customers and other businesses, hackers are getting more and more crafty in the ways they can infiltrate and expose IT security and infrastructures, so don’t play into their hands by not equipping yourself properly.

Because we feel this way, we’ve compiled a list of 5 IT considerations for your business in 2019:

1. Say Goodbye to Office 2007

Sometimes it’s hard to say goodbye, but sometimes it’s the right thing to do…

 

 

We all know the Microsoft Office packages are globally renowned for their effectiveness and usability, but it’s amazing the amount of businesses are still using the older packages.

It’s no secret that Office 365 is now the preferred system, and it’s not hard to see why. Office 365 is delivered through the cloud and uses Exchange Online for email, ensuring users are connected and accounts are synced.

Alongside this, Office 365 comes with SharePoint for file sharing and online collaboration and comes with a suite of Office web apps which can be used on Desktop too. From a business point of view, it makes so much sense as no longer files will be lost or information not communicated.

If you want to learn more about migrating your team from an older version of Office, head on over to our training pages to see what courses we provide.

2. Advanced email protection

Unfortunately, it’s been widely reported that 2019 could be the worst year in terms of damaging email attacks for businesses. Meaning it’s going to be more vital than ever that your email security is up to the test. Surprisingly, not enough businesses have email protection in place. Or rather, they think they do with basic web security through free software.

For instance, did you know that Hackers Targeted 5 out of 6 Large Companies Using Email Attacks Last Year — an Annual Increase of 40%

It’s vitally important to be protected, even we have email protection in place – from our partners Mimecast. We use their email managing service day to day. We are alerted when a malicious file is detected, and we are given constant updates about potential weakness and risks in our network.

If you’d like to know more about Mimecast and how they can protect your business, get touch and we can give you the relevant information.

3. Office 365 protection

For those businesses who have converted over to Office 365, it’s agonizing to hear that so many businesses think that Office 365 has advanced protection and security built in. Ransomware, botnet, and banking Trojans have all affected Office 365 users, but they are so easy to avoid.

Here are just a few data protection gaps in Office 365:

  • An inability to independently locate review or verify the completeness and accuracy of data stored within Office 365
  • Data loss or damage caused by technology failure or human error could go undetected for extended periods of time
  • Malicious or unauthorized access (stolen credentials) to Office 365 could result in data loss or damage

It’s incredible to think that businesses are potentially left wide open because they simply don’t know the limitations of their package. Our advice? Make sure your data isn’t compromised.

As security experts, we believe in advanced protection. If you need more information about our security services, head over to our overview page.

4. Update and Improve hardware

Aside from have processes and regulations in place, it’s just as important to make sure that the software and hardware is up to date and performing at the appropriate level.

“Saving a little now can cost you a lot more later on”

It may seem crazy, but recycling machinery for brand new models can save you a fair bit of money in the long run. Working with SME’s we know the lifespan of a work PC can be shorter than a personal PC due to the nature of what the machine will go through – against an established company with a history of devices.

So, what could be some surefire signs that an upgrade is needed?

  • Hardware is impeding productivity because of crashes or slow performance
  • You are running “legacy” operating systems, such as Windows XP or Windows 7
  • Your systems are “end of life” and no longer supported by the manufacturer

If you do feel it is time to replace your equipment, make sure you’ve read up on how to use the Brexit resilience fund, as you could receive funding for ‘improving processes’

Aside from this, it’s also important to dispose of old computer equipment so your data isn’t at risk. We’ve explained in the past about why it’s vital, but we can advise on the methods of destruction

As much as replacing your IT systems can be beneficial, don’t make your business vulnerable!

 

5. Eliminate user error, suspicious email training

“…from April 1 to June 30, 36% of all reported data breaches were thanks to human error. In total, there were 305 reported data breaches over the quarter.” Via Smart Company

Finally, it’s down to your employees. Don’t be tricked into thinking that you need to replace anyone, in fact the fix is incredibly simple. And cost effective.

Training your staff to know what to do in a tricky situation is imperative, as it could theoretically save your business from a data breach or office downtime.

The solution? Make them aware of the dangers.

We’ve found that guiding businesses through a Cyber Essentials scheme is the best way to make sure your business is covered against the common threats. It allows us to gain real valuable knowledge of how a client’s network and infrastructure are set up, meaning we can provide solutions that will be most effective.

Following this, there is specific courses that you can put your team through – such as Phishing Awareness Training and Phishing Simulations. Creating situations where employees must decide for themselves whether an email is dangerous or not.

Our partner Mimecast offer specific material for this, if you’d like to explore this option please get in touch or visit our managed security overview.

In summary, 2019 will be a testing year for businesses against Cyber Threats.

If you’re looking to learn more about how your IT systems can be protected. Get in contact with us on 02920 887 362 or send us an email at info@excellence-it.co.uk

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SME’s and Brexit – What to do?

It’s the word on the lips of SME’s (even after 2 years) …Brexit.   Aside from people of the UK being into constant confusion and …

It’s the word on the lips of SME’s (even after 2 years) …Brexit.

 

Aside from people of the UK being into constant confusion and worry, we’re hearing more and more about the difficulties that British businesses are going to be facing due to new Brexit regulations. Yahoo Finance reported that Brexit’s influencer has seen the number of businesses drop for the first time since 2010.

It’s been well documented that SME’s are the backbone of the UK economy, with the conversation reporting that of the 5.7m SME’s in the UK account for over 99% of private sector forms and 60% of UK private sector employment.

There has been increased pressure for the government to make sure that businesses are protected and don’t see them suffer.


What’s the good news for Welsh Businesses?

The good news is that the worries are being listened too and being acted upon.

The welsh government has been very clear in its approach to keep businesses in the know and up to date with relevant information. Last week, Business Wales launched a portal dedicated to Brexit issues for businesses in Wales – with clear sections outlining changes in business, innovation, sales, export, people and finance.

This week we have seen a huge boost from the Welsh Government after they have announced the launch of a £1million Brexit Resilience Fund, set up to help businesses adapt to situations in a post-Brexit Welsh economy.

The Brexit Resilience Fund aims to:

  • Develop capacity
  • Improve processes
  • Retain competitiveness
  • Safeguard jobs
  • Guarantee the trade flows between Wales and the rest of the world

 

Business Wales is offering eligible businesses the opportunity to apply for funding of between £10,000 and £100,000 up to 50% of project costs.

 

What can you do to help your business?

As an IT services provider, we are always championing our clients to embrace and respond to new technology. Just like software being updated, hardware needs to be improved to provide maximum security against cyber threats. The ‘improve processes’ category of the fund can be used for exactly this.

Our advice is simple, take advantage of this.

Make sure projects in progress are signed off, and that upcoming ones are pushed forward. SME’s will remain in a state of limbo until Brexit fully takes shape.

If you cannot improve your technology to keep up with the latest security offerings, then your information and data could be at risk. Improve your processes, and make sure your business remains protected after Brexit begins.

If you’re looking to learn more about how your IT systems can be protected. Get in contact with us on 02920 887 362 or send us an email at info@excellence-it.co.uk

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End of life! Is your Microsoft desktop/server software about to expire?

As another year ticks on by, the inevitable is happening… Windows  end-of-life support dates loom!   It may seem like a familiar feeling, as a …

As another year ticks on by, the inevitable is happening… Windows  end-of-life support dates loom!

 

It may seem like a familiar feeling, as a lot of our IT clients went through this with Windows Server 2003, but we were on hand to make sure security systems were not left unprotected.

Therefore, we feel it’s vital to give as much warning as we can to businesses who could be potentially affected by this. If you are running on Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7 or Exchange 2010 then you will be at risk.

For those unaware of what this means or how to address it, we’ve outlined it all:

 

What does it mean?

End of life means that Microsoft will no longer offer support for the affected servers, meaning that no new features or fixes are released. This means that there will be support for the operating system, which will mean the system is open to and exposed to external threats and dangers.

Essentially that means that all your data and information could be at risk, so it’s incredibly important that you are in contact with your IT company planning what next steps to take.

 

When is it?

Here are the following dates for server changes effecting Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7 and  Exchange 2010.

 

Windows 2008 R2

January 14th 2020 is the end date for Windows 2008 R2 extended support.

 

Windows 7

January 14th 2020 is the end date for Windows 7 extended support.

 

Exchange 2010

January 14th 2020 is the end date for Exchange 2010 extended support.

 

More information about other servers can be found here.

What do I do?

Simple, contact your IT support company and plan to upgrade your infrastructure. The process can be very streamlined and effective when managed properly.

Our advice would be to make sure you upgrade – whether it’s an upgrade to Windows 10, or converting to Office 365. We’ve found that there is a lot of confusion and worry around upgrading, but it shouldn’t be a massive issue.

We have begun to implement our training with our clients, meaning that when a business IT Infrastructure is upgraded or changed, we arrange the appropriate training courses to help familiarise employees with the new layout and functions of their software.

Alternatively, if you are worried about your current server status and need advice we are always here to help.

If you’re looking to learn more about how your IT systems can be protected. Get in contact with us on 02920 887 362 or send us an email at info@excellence-it.co.uk

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What’s Lexcel and why should I have it?

For any members of the Law Society , we know how important and precious data protection is.   Without proper protection, hundreds of case information …

For any members of the Law Society , we know how important and precious data protection is.

 

Without proper protection, hundreds of case information could be exposed via a hacker or group cybercrime. As we work with a host of legal clients, it is always in our best interests to look for developments and updates that will help our customers out in the long run.

At the start of November, it was announced that ‘LEXCEL’ would be the new quality mark from the Law Society. This would become a new quality mark that legal providers could display to potential clients.

Therefore, we are educating our existing legal clients on how to achieve the accreditation and what steps they need to take.

We also feel that any firms seeking advice could gain some valuable insights from a brief article on the topic…

So, what is Lexcel?

 

Essentially, it is a quality mark for legal practices – to ensure that their practice management and client care has been recognised by the Law Society. Ensuring that a high standard of practice will be implemented and to give potential customers peace of mind and reassurance when choosing their provider of legal services.

The standard is outlined in seven different areas; Structure and strategy, financial management, information management, people management, risk management, file and case management and client care.

Their goal is to give organizations a management framework to help improve the way they deliver information and advice. As well as providing a consistent level of client service.

The accreditation last for 3 years, and intends to lower the risk of claims, increase client satisfaction, potentially win more business and boost operational efficiencies.

The Law Society have produced this extremely helpful video to understand it’s benefits in an easy and digestible way:

 

 

So, why are we interested in this?

 

We’re interested as Cyber Essentials is included in the management requirement sector of the certification:

As a business, we are qualified to guide businesses and individuals through the Cyber Essentials scheme. We have an onsite Cyber Essentials Auditor (Antony Woodward) who has been providing businesses with the Cyber Essentials accreditation over the past year. We asked Antony to explain why this should be in the forefront of people’s minds:

‘Cyber essentials is an easy way to cover your business against the most common threats. It’s an industry recognised standard and shows you have acknowledged and committed resources to the standard. Prior to this, the standard can be built upon with an IASME certification extending the businesses awareness of Cyber Threats. Our managed process ensures you’re not left in the dark about any of the phrasing/lingo used, or left with any questions’

It’s important that more and more businesses are protected and with the Cyber Essentials standard, we can ensure that they are in a stronger position than ever before.

What should your next steps be?

 

Evaluate whether you are able to undertake and apply for the Lexcel accreditation. If you are, the Law Society provide a free starter guide and short form to fill out.

Following this you should get the ball rolling with your cyber essentials certification, where you can find more out about it here or alternatively contact us on 02920 887 362 and we can talk you through how to get started.

If you’re looking to learn more about how your IT systems can be protected. Get in contact with us on 02920 887 362 or send us an email at info@excellence-it.co.uk

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