Why becoming Cyber Essentials Certified should matter to you and your business

Here at excellence IT, we can now proudly say we are Cyber Essentials Plus certified! This week, we are celebrating becoming Cyber Essentials Plus certified. …

Here at excellence IT, we can now proudly say we are Cyber Essentials Plus certified!

This week, we are celebrating becoming Cyber Essentials Plus certified. We have worked hard to ensure we are fully compliant because we want to reassure our customers we are providing the most secure service we possibly can.

Why Cyber Essentials should matter to you…

Cyber Essentials is a Government supported scheme established to help companies protect themselves against common, online threats by adhering to a set of technical controls.

The five key technical controls that are the focus of a Cyber Essentials audit are:

  • Testing Firewalls and internet gateways to confirm hardware and software are working correctly.
  • Ensuring secure configurations have been arranged on all systems and are aligned with the company’s needs.
  • Access control has been set up to provide staff with relevant access to necessary areas of the system(s).
  • Ensuring all Malware protection has been installed, is up-to-date and working correctly.
  • Checking the latest supported version of all applications are being used and all necessary patches have been applied.

Implementing these five key technical controls within a business can prevent many cyber-attacks and is strongly recommended to comply with the upcoming GDPR this May.

How Cyber Essentials can benefit your business…

There are two different levels of certification that a company can achieve; Cyber Essentials (CE) and Cyber Essentials Plus (CE+). Each level of certification can help an organisation improve their cyber security and data protection.

The first level of Cyber Essentials helps a company establish basic processes to protect against cyber-attacks. Cyber Essentials Plus takes a more in-depth investigation into your IT infrastructure which is verified by an expert.

Each certification enables a company to demonstrate how serious Cyber Security is within their business. Becoming Cyber Essentials Certified adds value to a company through the following:

  • Increased opportunities within the public sector – Being CE certified allows a company to bid/tender for contracts within the government.
  • Demonstrates compliance and commitment to CyberSecurity – Shows current and potential customers the correct tools have been implemented within the organisation to stay cyber secure and ensure data is protected.
  • Assists in preparation for GDPR – supports the creation of relevant policies and procedures that are crucial for GDPR.
  • Helps to identify risks within a business – not only does it identify weak spots within a company’s IT setup, it helps put the measures in place to eliminate the risks.

Excellence IT is now a Cyber Essentials accrediting body…

Being an IT support company, gaining IASME Gold, CE and CE+ status was crucial to our development. Providing high quality IT support to our customers is extremely important. These certifications provide us with the opportunity to demonstrate our dedication to protecting our customers from cyber-attacks and data breaches.

We wanted to assist our customers in acquiring Cyber Essentials certification. excellence IT worked tirelessly through audits and exams to become a Cyber Essentials accrediting body.

We want to help all businesses ensure their work environment is safe from avoidable cyber-attacks. To receive a quote for Cyber Essentials or Cyber Essentials Plus audit, please call us on 02920 887 362.

For more information on Cyber Essentials, visit:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cyber-essentials-scheme-overview

Managed IT Support for companies who want to feel cared for!

A little about excellence IT and the Managed IT Support Service we provide. Over the years, excellence IT have grown our Managed IT Support service …

A little about excellence IT and the Managed IT Support Service we provide.

Over the years, excellence IT have grown our Managed IT Support service organically through word of mouth and referrals from current customers. We have spent years building a strong foundation for our company focused on providing a high-quality service. We offer no lock-in contracts with no exit fees as we are confident in the quality of the IT Support we provide.

The conception of excellence IT.

excellence IT was born when our 2 directors decided to build a company based on their genuine passion for IT.  For the past 25 years, both Andy Beer and Andy Green have lived and breathed IT.

We pride ourselves on delivering a full-cycle IT service to help organisations IMPROVE, INNOVATE and TRANSFORM; these 3 words are what form the foundation of our company’s DNA.

What we do for the companies we look after and support.

Here at excellence IT, we understand that IT isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Your passion and focus is the industry in which you work. We want to take all of your IT woes off your hands, so you can focus on your core business.

Excellence IT likes to think of the companies we support as partners in business.   We want to become an extended arm of your company, getting to know your staff and how your business works. (So much so, we have been known to enjoy many a social with our customers). This allows us to provide the most relevant and productive Manage IT Support for you.

Our Values.

Here at excellence IT, we want to work with and support companies whose values align with ours. We understand the importance of relationships built on trust. We pride ourselves on our honesty, high-quality customer service and exceptional service delivery; which is what we believe is the perfect recipe for a trusting relationship between businesses.

This trust is what allows us to build and create successful IT infrastructures within our customers’ organisations. We would never recommend any service or product we feel isn’t going to directly benefit your business.  Making sure you are looked after and supported successfully is what makes your day-to-day IT lives more relaxed, and our jobs easier.

Future plans for our Managed IT Support.

Excellence IT are looking to grow. We want to provide other companies out there with the high quality and honest service we have spent 15 years developing. We want to be part of your company’s progress, ensuring we are supporting and evolving your IT infrastructure as you grow.

If you want to outsource your IT support to a company who is passionate about IT, cares about the people we work with and wants to find our success through helping other companies find theirs, give us a call on 02920 887 362.

To see how our Managed IT Support has helped some of our customers, please visit our case studies here.

Never mind the KPI’s – what happened to good old fashioned customer focused services?

Never mind the KPI’s – what happened to good old fashioned, customer focused services? As an owner and director of a South Wales based Managed …

Never mind the KPI’s – what happened to good old fashioned, customer focused services?

As an owner and director of a South Wales based Managed Service Provider, I like to keep a watchful eye on trends in the industry. In the past few years I’ve witnessed a few interesting, and concerning, trends.  These trends often focus on unrealistic and misleading statistics around what a good Managed Service Provider looks like.

There seems to be a race to the bottom with providers trying to do outdo each other.  They are often using statistics based around the time it has taken to answer the phone (in seconds!) and service level agreements being met 100% of the time etc – really?  What does this actually mean? Is your call answered and a call logged / fixed / escalated? The devil is in the detail and in my opinion the statistics are mainly irrelevant.

My point is you still need good processes and suitably qualified/experienced engineers to provide a good level of service and not be blinded by misleading and irrelevant statistics and KPI’s.  I would argue the best service would be where there your call is answered by a suitably qualified and experienced engineer who sees you call through to a satisfactory completion at first response. A great ideal but not always achievable.

In my opinion, a more objective view of the performance of a service desk is evidenced by amount of engineering time required to fix the issue and the amount of tickets that are closed without escalation to more senior members of the team. These are very strong indicators of high service levels and properly trained and qualified engineers.

We are constantly meeting with prospective new clients and hear the same stories day in day out – poor service being hidden behind KPI’s and stats.

For example, having an agreement in place where a service provider is contracted to respond within 2 hours in the event of a critical problem – what does this mean exactly?

From what I’m being told, the call is acknowledged within 2 hours and someone may start working on it but as far as the service provider is concerned the service level agreement has been met so no breach of contract.

With business-critical systems unavailable, costing your business thousands of pounds per hour, you are stuck on the phone wasting more time hassling the service provider to fix the problem only to be tied up in an escalation procedure you don’t’ really understand as it wasn’t explained to you in the first instance. We get it, not good enough!

When I look around the South Wales Managed Service Provider market I don’t see many companies where the leadership team is from a technology company background, in our case HP (Hewlett Packard). The point I’m trying to make is that in our time working at HP on service contracts for huge multinational organisations, there were service delivery managers, engineers and escalation teams as you would expect but we never hid behind a ticking clock or SLA where customer service was concerned. Understanding of the customer business was foremost in our thoughts – when the proverbial hit the fan it’s was all hands to the pump and get the job done. That’s still how I see it today.

It’s this element of customer focus and a pragmatic approach to service delivery is what I believe is getting lost in the quagmire of KPI’s and statistics. We understand you need processes and procedures in place (we are certified ISO 9001) or carnage will ensue. However an understanding exactly when our clients  ‘really’ need us is what sets us apart. It’s a bit of a cliché, but there are service providers who see themselves as partners to the business and those that are mainly transactional with a different focus I don’t think I need to point out which camp we are in.

We still believe KPI’s and statistics have a place in service delivery, just not for hiding behind poor service. We rely heavily on this type of information in evidencing business cases for updating systems or identifying training needs, stuff that really adds value to your business.

In summary, I would strongly advise anyone looking at a Managed Service Provider to see past the meaningless stats that seem so prevalent in the industry and speak with companies with similar requirements of their experiences with providers in your area. In any walk of life anecdotal evidence has a considerable gravitas for me, particularly from people I have worked with and trust.

I’ll finish my blog with a point which I believe holds true in almost every walk of like. You won’t get to really know your service provider until you really need them. I hope you are not left high and dry in your hour of need!

Andy Beer, July 2017

Key reasons why Disaster Recovery limits cyber-attack damage

Experts are already predicting a bumpy year for cyber security in 2017. Whilst proactive security is essential, effective disaster recovery could just save the day …

Experts are already predicting a bumpy year for cyber security in 2017. Whilst proactive security is essential, effective disaster recovery could just save the day if a dreaded cyber-attack hits your business.

Think 2016 was a bad year for cyber security? In 2017 security experts are predicting that cyber criminals will execute more sophisticated, advanced attacks.

It’s a no-brainer that in your business there will be a keen focus on keeping the hackers out but there is always a risk of a security breach. Cyber criminals are determined to exploit vulnerabilities. A key part of your defence should include your plan of action should your business suffer a cyber-attack.

A cyber-attack could be critically damaging

We all know this is the truth, and this is why businesses across the globe are awakening up to the importance of cyber security. But what happens if a hacker succeeds in executing a breach?

The short answer: You risk exposing your business data, disrupting service delivery and the repercussions could be costly.  If your business suffers a cyber attack, it’s essential to limit the damage. It’s at times like these when disaster recovery steps in to save the day.

Reducing the impact of a cyber attack with disaster recovery

When developing a post-attack strategy in your business, take a well-rounded approach. If you assess how your data could be compromised, who this will affect, and how it will impact business operations then you can prioritise your disaster recovery process.

Disaster recovery looks different in every business, therefore, you need to consider how this fits with your organisation and your sector.

It’s important to think about the following:

  • How are you going to be able to recover data? Attacks such as ransomware hold data hostage. Effective backups can be your lifeline if you hit by this malicious malware.
  • What is your communications strategy? Your staff will need to know how to respond and customers will need to be made aware.
  • How can you measure the impact? If your business is breached, you will need to know the extent of the damage.
  • How can you analyse what happened? To recover your business, you will need to understand how the breach happened and how it can be prevented in the future.

How can the cloud transform your business?

The majority of organisations are now operating in the cloud and reaping the benefits. Has your workplace migrated to the cloud? There are many ways …

The majority of organisations are now operating in the cloud and reaping the benefits. Has your workplace migrated to the cloud?

There are many ways to deploy cloud computing in your business. You could migrate an area of your business or your entire operation. Either way, there are many benefits to be reaped from operating in a cloud environment.

These benefits can be ‘transformative’ for both SMBs and enterprises alike. Focusing solely on SMBs, the cloud can enable significant growth and improvement.

To capture the reasons behind our statement above, we’ve compiled a list of 3 reasons to highlight how the cloud could transform your business:

Cutting costs

What could your business do with extra room in the budget? You could invest in service updates, new employees or incentives to reward customers. The cloud helps you cut back on your IT expenses. You could save on hardware, maintenance, support fees and energy.

By saving in these areas and reinvesting into other areas of the business you can achieve more year on year.

Flexibility in the workplace

A cloud-based work environment is flexible, agile and scalable. Your employees can collaborate more efficiently and work off-premise, giving them more freedom in their role.

It’s been reported that by 2020 there will be 6.1 billion smartphone users globally. To adapt your business and workplace for the rise of mobile, the cloud is the ideal solution. Your employees can leverage working on mobiles without storing data directly on devices.

Customer experience

Your employees are not the only ones who can benefit from a cloud environment, there are perks for your customers. The high availability of cloud computing helps you maintain an efficient, consistent service to keep up with customer demand.

The scalability of the cloud can also be a great advantage to your customers. The increased level of storage can help you scale up and adapt in response to demand and volume.

 

Adapt these to your business. What are you trying to achieve in your organisation? Migrating to the cloud could be a strategic move that could transform how you operate as a business.

Take note that Gartner Analysts have predicted that “by 2020 a corporate ‘no-cloud’ policy will be as rare as a ‘no-Internet’ policy is today.” The cloud will continue to transform businesses as it evolves. Is your business ready?