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How to Choose an IT Service Provider for Your Charity

According to the Charities Aid Foundation, most charities embraced digital during Covid-19 and have continued to be reliant on advances in technology to be able to support their missions and make a meaningful impact on their communities.

An essential component in charities being able to maximise the benefits of technology is their partnership with an IT service provider. Choosing the right partner will likely enhance the organisation’s efficiency and effectiveness, whilst choosing one that is poorly aligned with the organisation’s goals will likely lead to unnecessary challenges.

If you are involved in the operations and management of a charity, and you are considering sourcing a new IT provider, you will want to pay some attention to the following areas.

Does your prospective IT provider understand your needs?

To answer this question, begin by evaluating your charity’s specific IT requirements. Consider your current technology infrastructure, future growth plans, and the challenges you aim to address. Are you looking for basic IT support, cloud solutions, cybersecurity, or a combination of services? Understanding your needs will help you communicate them effectively to potential IT service providers.

Look for experience in the nonprofit sector

Seek an IT support provider that has experience working with nonprofits and charities. Nonprofit organisations have distinct technology demands, including compliance, donor management, and fundraising systems. An IT provider with relevant experience will understand these unique requirements and offer tailored solutions that align with your charity’s goals.

Check for proven track record and references

Look for testimonials and case studies from other charities that the IT service provider has worked with. Reach out to those organisations to gather first-hand feedback on their experiences. A reliable IT provider will have a proven track record of successful implementations and positive client relationships.

Assess security and data protection measures

Security is a top priority for charities that handle sensitive donor information and confidential data. Inquire about the IT provider’s security protocols, encryption measures, and data protection practices. Ensure they comply with relevant regulations and demonstrate a commitment to safeguarding your charity’s information.

Evaluate responsiveness and support

Tech issues can occur at any time, potentially impacting your charity’s operations and communication with stakeholders. Therefore, your service provider needs to offer fast response times and 24/7 support. Timely assistance is crucial to minimise downtime and keep your charity running smoothly.

Consider scalability and futureproofing

As your charity grows and evolves, so will its IT needs. Choose an IT service provider that offers scalable solutions and can accommodate your organisation’s future requirements. A forward-thinking IT partner will help future-proof your charity’s technology infrastructure.

Review cost and pricing models

While budget is a significant factor, don’t solely focus on the cheapest option. Instead, consider the value and quality of services provided by the IT service provider. Some IT providers offer flexible pricing models or discounts for nonprofit organisations, making it worthwhile to explore your options.

Align with your charity’s mission and values:

Choose an IT service provider that aligns with your charity’s mission and values. A partner who shares your organisation’s passion for making a positive impact will be more invested in supporting your tech needs and contributing to your overall success.

Get in touch to find out more about our work in the charity sector

Selecting the right IT service provider is a critical decision for charities seeking to optimise their operations and fulfil their missions effectively. At help4IT, we have a long track record in assisting charities with improving their use of technology to help meet their end goals. You can find out more about this on our charity IT support page here. Alternatively, get in touch with our team to discuss how we can assist you today.

The Rise of AI: How AI is Leveraged in IT Services

In the ever-evolving world of IT services, AI has emerged as a driving force behind transformative innovations and improved efficiency. This revolutionary concept has infiltrated various aspects of IT services, shaping the industry’s landscape and unlocking a realm of possibilities that were once only imaginable in science fiction. In this blog post, we will explore how AI is reshaping IT services and propelling us into a smarter, more connected future.

Enhanced automation

AI’s most apparent impact on IT services lies in automation. From mundane, repetitive tasks to complex operations, AI-powered automation systems have liberated IT professionals from time-consuming activities. This newfound efficiency allows IT teams to focus on strategic initiatives, innovation, and providing better customer experiences.

Intelligent IT operations

The deployment of AI in IT operations has given rise to AIOps, a transformative approach that harnesses machine learning algorithms and big data analytics to monitor, detect, and resolve issues in real time. AIOps not only enhance the reliability of IT infrastructure but also predicts potential problems, facilitating proactive measures to prevent disruptions.

Advanced cybersecurity

As cyber threats grow in sophistication, AI has become an invaluable asset in IT security. AI-driven cybersecurity tools can detect anomalies, identify patterns in malicious activities, and adapt to evolving threats in real time. This proactive approach enhances data protection and fortifies defenses against cyberattacks.

Optimising IT-infrastructure

AI’s self-learning capabilities enable IT service providers to optimise their infrastructure continuously. By analysing usage patterns, AI can allocate resources more efficiently, reducing downtime and operational costs. Additionally, AI helps with capacity planning, ensuring IT systems are prepared for future demands.

Conclusion

The integration of AI in IT services has ushered in a new era of innovation and efficiency. From automation and AIOps to predictive analytics and advanced cybersecurity, AI empowers IT professionals to deliver more reliable, personalised, and forward-thinking solutions to their customers.

As AI continues to evolve and become an intrinsic part of IT support services, businesses that embrace its potential will remain at the forefront of the industry, ready to navigate the complexities of the digital world with intelligence, speed, and foresight. The journey to a smarter tomorrow has just begun, and AI is leading the way.

How to Choose the Right IT Services Provider for Your Legal Practice

According to Lexis Nexis, 84% of top law firms have invested in Document Management Systems and 81% in Virtual Data Rooms. With many smaller firms also embracing the digital revolution, firms are becoming increasingly reliant on new technologies to protect their clients’ data. A critical component in ensuring the technology solutions for IT firms meets their requirements is the partnership with an IT supplier. A strong partnership will improve your firm’s efficiency, whilst meeting the robust data and security compliance requirements for your industry.

When choosing an IT services provider for your legal practice, it’s vital that you ensure that the provider is familiar with the software and regulations in your industry. Additionally, you may require your provider to be accessible both onsite and offsite to ensure you get support for any type of issue that may come your way. In this article, we cover what you need to take to account when choosing an IT solution for your firm.

Industry expertise

The legal field is unique with its specific requirements, regulations, and security concerns. Look for an IT supplier that has extensive experience in serving legal service providers. Understanding your industry’s intricacies allows them to offer tailored solutions and handle compliance-related issues with ease.

Security and data protection

Legal service providers handle sensitive and confidential information daily. The last thing you want is a data breach jeopardizing your clients’ trust and your reputation. A reliable IT supplier must prioritise robust security measures, such as encryption, multi-factor authentication, and regular security audits. Seek references and inquire about their track record in safeguarding client data.

Scalability and flexibility

Your IT needs may evolve as you grow and adapt to new challenges. Ensure that your chosen IT supplier offers scalable solutions that can expand alongside your business. Flexibility is essential in accommodating any changes in technology or service requirements.

24/7 support and response time

Tech problems can occur at any time, and you can’t afford extended downtimes in your legal practice. Look for an IT supplier that provides round-the-clock support and quick response times to tackle any emergencies promptly.

Disaster backup and recovery solutions

In the legal industry, even a brief data loss can have significant consequences. Your IT supplier should have a robust disaster recovery plan and reliable backup solutions to minimize disruptions and prevent data loss.

Integration capabilities

A seamless IT ecosystem enhances productivity and collaboration within your legal services practice. Ensure your IT supplier’s solutions can integrate with your existing systems, such as case management software, email clients, and document management platforms.

Clear service level agreements (SLAs)

Transparency in your partnership should be your priority by establishing clear Service Level Agreements. SLAs should outline the scope of services, response times, performance benchmarks, and expectations, ensuring you receive the level of service you need.

References and testimonials

Don’t hesitate to ask for references and testimonials from other legal service providers who have worked with the IT supplier you’re considering. Honest feedback from their current clients can provide valuable insights into the quality of their services.

Find out more

Choosing the right IT supplier for your legal practice is a decision that will significantly impact your firm’s success. By prioritising industry expertise, security measures, scalability, and flexible support, you’ll find a partner that aligns with your specific needs and sets the foundation for a prosperous future.

At help4IT, we provide a range of solutions to meet the requirements of law firms in the UK and overseas. For further information on our IT support for legal practices, please contact our team.

Why is a Multi-Cloud Environment Not Good for Your Business?

According to Cloudways, 94% of all businesses use cloud services and 48% store sensitive customer or business information in the cloud. Businesses, both large and small, are leveraging cloud technology to power their operations. But is a multi-cloud environment the best approach? Here are some of the key issues to consider.

What is multi-cloud?

A multi-cloud strategy is one where a business uses two or more cloud computing services from different vendors. These services can span Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), or Software as a Service (SaaS). While this strategy provides flexibility and reduces dependency on a single provider, it can also present numerous challenges.

How does a multi-cloud environment create problematic complexity for your business?

Complexity is the primary challenge associated with a multi-cloud environment. Each cloud platform comes with its unique set of tools, APIs, services, and interfaces. Operating in a multi-cloud environment means your IT team needs to familiarise themselves with each of these different ecosystems. This requirement can lead to time-consuming training, which could otherwise be spent improving your business operations.

Moreover, integrating and managing these different platforms can be a daunting task. Each has its unique operational characteristics; getting them to “talk” to one another smoothly requires a high degree of expertise and can lead to operational inefficiencies.

What are the security risks of a multi-cloud environment?

The more cloud platforms you use, the larger your attack surface becomes. Each platform has its unique security protocols and settings; configuring them correctly to ensure optimal security is a significant challenge.

In addition, managing and monitoring these disparate systems can be difficult, leading to potential blind spots where cybercriminals can exploit vulnerabilities. Lastly, the need to control user access across multiple platforms can lead to potential identity and access management issues, increasing the risk of unauthorised access.

What are the cost implications of a multi-cloud environment?

While using multiple clouds might seem like a good way to prevent vendor lock-in and potentially get the best deal on specific services, it can end up being more costly. Each cloud provider has its unique pricing structure, making it challenging to optimise costs across platforms.

Moreover, the extra resources required for management, integration, and security for multiple clouds can add to the overall costs. Also, your organisation might miss out on volume discounts that could be obtained by consolidating your services with a single provider.

How does a multi-cloud environment affect compliance and data security?

A multi-cloud environment complicates compliance and data security due to the different privacy and security policies of each provider. Navigating through these different requirements to ensure data compliance across different jurisdictions can be a complex and resource-intensive process.

Moreover, maintaining data integrity across multiple platforms can be difficult, increasing the risk of data breaches and losses, with potential legal and reputational repercussions.

What is the best way to consolidate your business’s use of cloud technology?

Consolidating your use of cloud technology involves identifying and focusing on a single cloud provider that best meets your business needs. This approach reduces the complexity and security risks associated with managing multiple cloud environments.

The key to successful consolidation is careful planning. Evaluate the specific needs of your business, assess the strengths and weaknesses of different cloud providers, and choose one that aligns best with your operational needs, security requirements, and budget.

Consider also working with a professional cloud service provider or IT consultant. They can help guide your decision, assist in the migration process, and ensure a smooth transition. At help4IT, our project managers and engineers have extensive experience in helping organisations of all sizes to move to migrate to cloud environments or consolidate their existing multi-cloud set-up. Get in touch with our team to discuss how we can assist you.

In conclusion, while a multi-cloud environment offers the allure of flexibility, the complexities, costs, and security risks associated with managing multiple cloud platforms can outweigh these benefits. Consolidation can streamline operations, improve security, reduce costs, and ease compliance concerns, making it a strategy well worth considering for many businesses.

Choosing the Right IT Supplier for a Financial Services Company

Choosing an IT supplier is a critical decision for any business in today’s digital age, but for those in the financial services industry, this decision is of particular significance. An IT provider’s capacity to support the specific needs of a financial services firm can determine a broad range of its success metrics including its efficiency, scalability, and ability to meet regulatory compliance requirements. In addition, VMWare reported a 238% increase in cyberattacks targeting financial institutions, a burgeoning issue that all providers of IT services to finance companies need to be able to manage and mitigate.

If you are involved in the management of a financial services company in the UK, here are some areas to consider when initiating the procurement of IT services.

How do IT support services for finance companies differ from IT services for other types of businesses?

The financial services industry has unique IT requirements that differentiate it from other sectors. Firstly, financial service companies often use specialised software packages for activities like risk management, portfolio management, trading platforms, and financial modelling. Therefore, IT support in this sector requires specific knowledge and experience with such systems.

Secondly, financial service companies handle highly sensitive information, such as personal and financial data, which necessitates stringent security measures. Lastly, the financial sector is heavily regulated, meaning companies must adhere to a variety of compliance requirements. These factors call for an IT supplier with expertise in data security, regulatory compliance, and financial software applications.

What type of IT solution is best suited to finance companies?

Companies offering financial services are best served by comprehensive IT solutions that encompass system management, cybersecurity, data protection, software integration, and support for regulatory compliance. These solutions should be scalable, adaptable, and secure, helping to meet the evolving and challenging needs of the sector.

Many finance companies find a cloud-based IT solution to be particularly advantageous due to its inherent scalability and flexibility. Cloud solutions can often better facilitate remote work environments, allow for seamless software updates, and provide robust data backup and recovery services.

At help4IT, our team has extensive experience helping financial service companies remain compliant and secure. Want to find out more? Contact our London based team to discuss your requirements.  

The importance of FCA compliance

In the UK, financial services are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This means that IT suppliers for these firms must be adept at managing the FCA’s compliance requirements. Non-compliance can lead to significant fines and damage to a company’s reputation.

IT suppliers should be familiar with regulations regarding data protection, record keeping, and reporting, as well as ensuring systems are secure and resilient to outages or attacks. The right IT supplier should provide proactive compliance support, such as regular audits, risk assessments, and updates that meet new or changing regulations.

The importance of robust cyber security

Financial services firms are high-value targets for cybercriminals due to the sensitive data they handle. A single security breach can lead to severe financial loss and reputational damage. As such, financial companies need an IT supplier that prioritises cybersecurity.

This should involve multi-layered security measures, including firewalls, intrusion detection systems, encrypted communications, and regular vulnerability risk assessments. Furthermore, the supplier should offer regular cybersecurity training for employees, as human error is a common vulnerability in any security system.

At help4IT, we provide a range of sophisticated cybersecurity services, designed to protect all aspects of our clients’ systems and infrastructure. To find out how we can help improve the security of your business, contact us for further information.  

Managing sensitive customer data

Handling sensitive customer data is a crucial responsibility for financial services firms. IT suppliers must therefore offer robust data management and protection services. These services should ensure data integrity, availability, and confidentiality, in compliance with data protection laws such as the GDPR.

Data protection measures should include secure data storage, backups, and recovery procedures, as well as tools to detect and respond to any unauthorised data access or breaches. The supplier should also help firms map out their data flows, ensuring they understand where and how data is stored, processed, and transferred.

If you are currently experiencing any issues in relation to data management and processing, help4IT has the knowledge and skills to assist you. Contact us for further information.

How managed IT support solutions can facilitate growth for financial services companies

Managed IT support can play a vital role in facilitating growth for financial services companies. With managed IT, firms can access the latest technologies and industry best practices without the need to maintain a large in-house IT department. This allows them to focus on their core business operations and strategic growth initiatives.

Furthermore, managed IT support can provide scalability, allowing companies to easily expand or reduce their IT infrastructure as needed. It also offers predictable IT costs, reducing the risk of unexpected expenses.

Talk to us about your IT requirements

Choosing the right IT supplier is a strategic decision that can significantly impact the success of a financial services company. If you are currently in the process of reviewing your IT, cybersecurity, data management, and regulatory compliance requirements, the help4IT team would welcome the opportunity to discuss how we can help you make improvements in all these areas. Take a look at our financial services IT support page for further details.

How You Can Improve Your Cloud Security

Moving your IT systems to the cloud has many benefits, however, hackers are looking to access your resources and data all the time. When the cloud was first introduced, simple antivirus and log aggregation systems were enough to keep you protected, but this is not the case anymore. These basic solutions won’t prevent all malicious activity from occurring in and around your network.

Today, the best protection for your organisation is a reliable SIEM solution that provides you with the protection your need from sophisticated attacks. Many organisations ask us how they know that the information stored in the cloud is safe. We use an SIEM platform that monitors all critical systems no matter where they are located. It can be applied either to your client’s site and managed remotely as SIEM Management, or it can be hosted in the cloud as SIEMaaS.

How do you know where the threat is coming from?

With most cloud services there are a lot of encryption codes and security measures taken, but these precautions can be bypassed by files being accessed by a large number of individuals or by being moved, replicated, and shared frequently. Faulting equipment, bugs, and erroneous actions can also create an opening for online hackers. With SIEM, a company’s online environment is monitored and you will be aware of any threats. 

With full visibility of your organisation’s cloud activity, we can notify MSPs within minutes of any threat posed to your cloud environment. Further, you have a team of experts that understand what the threat is and how to resolve the situation immediately. Our team gives MSPs specific instructions on what needs to be done to keep the environment safe. 
 
Just as SIEM Management works, SIEMaaS works efficiently in the cloud by covering multiple hosts at once. Data breaches, data loss, account hijacking, and system and application vulnerabilities are some of the threats that come from the cloud, and it is in your best interest to have a credible team of specialists on your side to recognise malicious activity. This is why SIEMaaS is an effective solution for keeping your organisation safe.

Get further advice on keeping your cloud environment safe and secure

If you’d like to learn more about SIEM and how we at help4IT can assist you to stay safe when using the cloud, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Remote work is the new normal and here’s how you can make it safe and fun

In the past 3 years, remote work has become the new normal for us. Many employees have transitioned from the office to working from home, enabling them to be more time effective and to have a better work-life balance. IT services are still critical for home workers, as they provide many processes that help you and your team to increase productivity and stay safe at the same time.

In this article, we cover 18 ways you can make remote work safe, productive, and fun.

  1. Take a picture of your computer setup before unplugging to take things to remote work including the computer cable set up in the back unless it’s a laptop.
  2. Install the updates.
  3. Update all antivirus and anti-malware tools as well.
  4. Uninstall unnecessary software from your personal computer.
  5. Use a VPN (virtual private network) always.
  6. Turn off automatic connections on your Wi-Fi.
  7. Separate your network.
  8. Lock your computer.
  9. Create a different user account for family and friends.
  10. Use a password manager.
  11. Ask the IT person in your organization about securing the DNS settings on your personal computer.
  12. Update your softphone software if you have one.
  13. Ensure secure browser configuration.
  14. Use Mozilla, Firefox, or Google Chrome as your browser.
  15. Think twice. Cybercriminals are using more and more sophisticated methods all the time and can sound trustworthy. Check email address and the sender because your CEO or other senior manager may not be the sender after all.
  16. Don’t be click happy. Not all links and attachments are safe.
  17. When in doubt, see something, say something ASAP.
  18. Check with your IT person to make sure that your data is being backed up.

If you plan to switch to remote work, make sure you take care of all the safety measures and have a chat with the IT team to ensure you can work stress-free and optimise your productivity. Remote work brings you many benefits, but it also brings initial challenges in terms of safety.

Need assistance with IT support for your remote working colleagues? Speak to the help4IT team today.

Qualities to Look for in a Microsoft 365 IT Support Company

Choosing the right IT support company is an essential business decision. A quality service provider can keep your systems running smoothly and address any issues promptly, minimising disruption to your operations. For businesses utilising Microsoft 365, partnering with a company that specialises in Microsoft 365 IT support can be highly beneficial.

What is Managed IT Support for Microsoft 365?

Managed IT support for Microsoft 365 refers to a suite of services offered by IT companies that specialise in maintaining, securing, and optimising Microsoft 365 environments. This often includes 24/7 system monitoring, security updates, user access management, data backup and recovery, and ongoing consultancy to help businesses get the most from their Microsoft 365 investment.

At help4IT, our Microsoft 365 specialists offer all of this and more. They work proactively, regularly updating our clients’ systems, identifying potential issues before they become problematic, and being on hand to resolve any unexpected problems that arise. Our team also has extensive experience in helping clients to migrate from legacy systems to the latest version of Microsoft 365, with minimal downtime and disruption to your operations.

What are the Benefits of Working with a Certified Microsoft Partner?

Working with a Certified Microsoft Partner comes with numerous advantages. Companies with this accreditation have demonstrated expertise in Microsoft technologies, meeting stringent criteria set by Microsoft itself.

A certified partner will have a deep understanding of Microsoft 365, ensuring your systems are configured optimally and securely. They will have access to the latest Microsoft training resources and technical support, meaning they can resolve issues more efficiently.

Being a certified partner also indicates the company’s commitment to staying updated with Microsoft’s latest updates and innovations. This ensures that your business can take advantage of new features as they become available, keeping you ahead of the competition.

At help4IT, we are proud to be a Certified Microsoft Partner and have been providing expert Microsoft support and advice to businesses of all sizes for over 20 years.

What Questions Should I Ask a Potential Provider of Microsoft 365 Support Services?

Choosing the right provider to implement and maintain Microsoft 365 requires due diligence. Be sure to ask the following questions to any prospective IT partner.

  • What experience do you have with Microsoft 365? Look for a company with a strong track record of managing Microsoft 365 environments.
  • What certifications do your technicians hold? Technicians should hold current certifications, demonstrating their expertise in the latest Microsoft technologies.
  • How quickly can you respond to issues? Fast response times are crucial to minimising disruption to your business.
  • What security measures do you implement? The provider should prioritise security, implementing robust measures to protect your data.
  • Can you provide customer references? A reputable provider should be able to share testimonials or references from satisfied customers.

How Will Hiring a Certified Microsoft Partner Help My Business?

Hiring a Certified Microsoft Partner can bring significant benefits to your business. They can help ensure your Microsoft 365 systems are optimised, secure, and reliable, minimising downtime and improving productivity.

A good Microsoft partner will also offer strategic guidance, helping you leverage Microsoft 365 to achieve your business goals. They can help you identify which Microsoft 365 features could benefit your operations and assist in implementing them.

By freeing you from the need to manage your Microsoft 365 environment yourself, a certified partner allows you to focus on your core business, confident that your IT is in expert hands.

What are the Key Qualities that all Managed IT Support Plans Should Offer?

When evaluating managed IT support plans, look for the following key qualities:

  • A proactive approach – The best IT support providers work to identify and address potential issues before they cause problems.
  • Round-the-clock support – IT issues can arise at any time. Look for a provider that offers 24/7 support to ensure minimal disruption to your business.
  • Expertise in your industry – Different industries have different IT requirements. A provider with experience in your industry will understand these unique needs.
  • Regular reporting – Regular reports allow you to monitor the performance of your IT systems and the effectiveness of your support provider.
  • Scalability – As your business grows, your IT needs will change. Look for a provider that can scale their services to match your evolving requirements.
  • Data protection and recovery – In today’s digital world, data security is paramount. Your provider should have robust data protection measures in place and offer comprehensive backup and recovery services.
  • Training and consultancy – A quality provider won’t just manage your IT systems; they’ll also help you and your staff get the most from them. Look for providers that offer training and consultancy to help you leverage your Microsoft 365 investment.

Choosing the right Microsoft 365 IT support company is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your business’s efficiency, security, and growth. By carefully evaluating potential providers and looking for these key qualities, you can ensure that you select a partner that will help you get the most from your Microsoft 365 environment.

Looking for assistance in migrating to Microsoft 365, or require assistance in getting the most out of the system? Contact the help4IT team today for assistance.

The Key Benefits of Migrating to the Cloud

One thing every organisation wants is optimised processes, cost-effectiveness, and security. The reason for the popularity of cloud migration is that it helps you optimise in all these areas with savings in resources, real estate, and maintenance costs. To top that it enables you to optimise your workloads so they are more efficient.

Here are some more benefits of moving your IT systems to the cloud.

Flexibility and scalability

Cloud solutions are flexible and scalable which means that you pay only for the cloud resources you use – you don’t pay for maintenance of resources you don’t use actively. When the demand grows, you can easily alter your resources on demand, instantly, which enables you to always operate effectively. When you want to keep getting value from your existing IT investments, you can implement a hybrid cloud model where you migrate part of the workloads to Cloud and keep the remaining workloads on your on-site environment. Cloud platforms enable you to have your workloads close to you and your customer at all times, ensuring fast access no matter where you or your clients are located.

Enhanced security

Many public clouds come with built-in security features and specialised cloud security tools that ensure your resources are safe.

Compliance

Some cloud platforms have specialised offerings to meet compliance requirements. This is ideal for regulated industries like finance, healthcare, and government.

Backup, recovery, and continuity

To improve business continuity, many cloud platforms provide you with built-in one-click backup and recovery capabilities, and to add value, some also enable you to store your backups in different geographical locations.

Simplified management and monitoring capabilities

You can manage and monitor your on-premises data centers and cloud resources from a single screen making the management and monitoring more simple and effective.

You don’t have to give up on Linux when you migrate

Like many other business owners, you may be wondering if you must give up on less commonly used systems such as Linux. The answer is no. Microsoft Azure could be described as providing you with an upgraded Linux experience. Red Hat, SUSE, and Ubuntu work well with Azure. You can also create your own Linux virtual machines, deploy and run containers on Kubernetes.

How does cloud migration help you?

Imagine being able to alter your resources easily and optimise your operations without wasting time and money. This is what cloud solution does for you. Pharos Marine was struggling with costly IT solutions that were also outdated with applications that were resource-intense. The help4IT team stepped in to assist them with cloud migration and provided a holistic solution that met their requirements.

When you want to improve your IT operations, cloud migration is a good starting place. You can optimise your costs and have a flexible and scalable solution that is safe and ensures you’re compliant. At help4IT, we assist business owners like you in optimising IT operations with fully managed IT support services. To see how you can optimise your IT, book a complimentary assessment with us today.

5 Key Tips for Migrating to Microsoft 365

The era of digital transformation has necessitated a shift towards cloud-based platforms, with Microsoft 365 becoming the go-to choice for many organisations. This software suite offers businesses a range of collaborative, communication, and productivity tools such as Word, Excel, Teams, and more. However, migrating to Microsoft 365 can seem daunting. To simplify the process, here are some tips to make the transition smoother and more effective.

1. Plan Your Migration Strategy

Any significant IT project should begin with a clear, detailed plan. This includes setting objectives, identifying potential challenges, and devising a timeline. Determine which features you want to use, who will need access to them, and what data needs to be migrated. For larger businesses, this may involve migrating in stages to avoid disrupting business operations.

The planning phase should also include assessing your existing infrastructure. Will you need to upgrade any systems to ensure compatibility with Microsoft 365? Are there any potential data security risks to address?

2. Use the Right Migration Tools

Microsoft provides various tools designed to assist in the migration process. For instance, the SharePoint Migration Tool can help move your files from SharePoint Server to SharePoint in Microsoft 365. Similarly, the Exchange Server Deployment Assistant can guide you through moving your email to Exchange Online. Selecting the right tools for your specific needs can save considerable time and effort, reducing potential disruption to your business.

3. Train Your Staff

While Microsoft 365 is generally user-friendly, some users might struggle with the transition. It’s crucial to offer adequate training to ensure your team can use the new platform effectively. Microsoft offers a variety of training resources, including guides, tutorials, and videos.

Additionally, consider nominating ‘champions’ within your team who can provide peer support during the transition. These individuals can assist others with troubleshooting and answer any questions, helping to foster confidence and competence among users.

4. Ensure Data Security

Data security is a significant concern when migrating to a new platform. Microsoft 365 has robust security measures built-in, but it’s essential to review these settings to ensure they meet your organisation’s needs. This includes setting up multi-factor authentication, configuring data loss prevention policies, and regularly reviewing user access permissions.

You should also establish a comprehensive backup strategy. Although Microsoft 365 has built-in data redundancy, this doesn’t replace the need for backups, especially for critical business data.

5. Seek Professional Help If Needed

If the migration process seems overwhelming, consider seeking assistance from an IT consultancy specialising in Microsoft 365 migrations. At help4IT we regularly assist our clients with the management of their migration, as well as post-migration support and training. Our service ensures that our client’s migration is seamless and minimises any impact on their business operations.

Conclusion

Migrating to Microsoft 365 presents a host of opportunities for organisations to boost productivity, collaboration, and efficiency. However, a successful transition requires careful planning, appropriate tool usage, effective training, a focus on security, and the willingness to seek help when necessary. Following these tips can help ensure a smooth migration, enabling your business to fully leverage the benefits of Microsoft 365.

How do Cyber Breaches Affect Your Business?

In the past two decades, the way we conduct business has changed significantly and many processes are taken online. It’s not only your business slowing down that happens as the result of a data breach. It can impact your business in more ways than one. Here are a few examples of how many household names have been affected.

YAHOO! Once worth over 100Bn, it was sold to Verizon for 4.5Bn after they suffered the worst breach in their history. The company’s value dropped over 95Bn as a result of the data breaches between 2013-2014.

Marriott hotels lost 327 million users’ data ranging from name and address to banking details enabling hackers to access practically anything they wanted.

TARGET – While plenty of people love the feeling they get when they walk into this modern and clean grocery/retail store, of 110 million customers, 40 million could not stop hackers from accessing their banking data. The other 70 million are victims of their their personal data being hijacked. 
 
Other companies that are not listed that you are likely to recognise include JP Morgan/Chase, eBay, and Home-Depot. No matter what size business you run, you may become the next target for hackers.

Data breaches impact your company’s value, brand, and customer relationships. To thrive in a competitive world, you can’t afford to think it won’t happen to you.

What can you do to protect yourself?

Having a proper cyber security strategy and taking proactive measures to prevent attacks must be a priority for you. Ensure you have a firewall, SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) solutions and staff training are the best ways to always keep you and your customers safe. Also having strong sign-on credentials and preferably a two-step verification in place helps you protect everyone and keeps your business’s value and brand strong. Performing regular cyber security assessments are important in mitigating risks and the first steps in building a proper cyber security strategy.

Unlocking Business Potential with Managed IT Services

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, businesses of all sizes rely heavily on technology to drive growth, improve efficiency, and stay competitive. However, managing complex IT systems and ensuring their optimal performance can be a daunting task for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This is where managed IT services come into play, offering a proactive and cost-effective solution to address the ever-evolving technology needs of businesses. In this article, we will explore the benefits and key considerations of leveraging managed IT services to unlock the full potential of your SME.

The ROI of managed IT services

As a business owner, you may wonder why you should look at outsourcing your IT services instead of having an in-house IT manager take care of your IT. So, what is the ROI of outsourcing your IT requirements to a managed service provider?

  1. Comprehensive IT Support:

One of the primary advantages of a managed IT service is access to comprehensive IT support. Instead of relying on a reactive break-fix approach, where issues are addressed after they occur, managed service providers proactively monitor and manage your IT infrastructure. This includes round-the-clock system monitoring, timely software updates, and troubleshooting potential problems before they disrupt your operations. By having a dedicated team of experts who specialise in managing IT systems, you can minimise downtime, improve system reliability, and ensure your business operates smoothly.

  1. Cost Efficiency:

For many SMEs, investing in an in-house IT department with the required expertise and resources can be financially burdensome. Managed IT services offer a cost-efficient alternative, as they allow businesses to access a full suite of IT capabilities without the high overhead costs. With a fixed monthly fee or pay-as-you-go model, you can tailor the services to your specific needs and budget, enabling better cost predictability. Additionally, by outsourcing your IT needs, you can redirect your internal resources toward core business activities, fostering growth and innovation. You save up to 60% in hiring, training, and employee retention costs when you use managed IT services.

  1. Enhanced Security:

Cybersecurity threats pose a significant risk to businesses today. SMEs are not immune to these threats, and the consequences of a data breach or network compromise can be devastating. Managed IT service providers prioritise security by implementing robust measures such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and regular security audits. They also ensure that your systems and data are protected by employing best practices for data backup, disaster recovery, and employee awareness training. By partnering with experts who stay up-to-date with the latest security trends, you can fortify your defenses against cyber threats and safeguard your sensitive information.

  1. Scalability and Flexibility:

As your business grows, so do your IT requirements. Managed IT services offer scalability and flexibility to adapt to your changing needs. Whether you need to add new users, expand your infrastructure, or integrate new technologies, a managed IT service provider can quickly and efficiently scale your systems to accommodate growth. This eliminates the need for significant upfront investments in hardware or software that may become obsolete over time. By leveraging the expertise and resources of your managed IT service provider, you can embrace innovation and stay ahead in the dynamic business landscape.

Conclusion

In the digital age, leveraging technology effectively is crucial for SMEs to thrive. A managed IT solution provides a strategic and proactive approach to IT management, empowering businesses to focus on their core competencies while ensuring their technology infrastructure remains secure and optimised. From comprehensive IT support and cost efficiency to enhanced security and scalability, partnering with a reliable managed IT service provider can unlock the full potential of your SME, enabling you to drive growth, improve productivity, and stay ahead of the competition in today’s ever-evolving digital world.

Are Your Credentials For Sale on the Dark Web?

What’s a hacker’s payday? The day when an employee of an organisation picks up and plugs in a thumb drive he found on an employee parking lot giving the hacker access to sign-on credentials and the ability to deploy a malicious payload. According to research, a staggering 60% of employees did exactly that. This results in employees potentially establishing a hacker’s beachhead within the network with little to no effort. That’s where we are right now with security. Collectively, we know we should be doing more, but it never seems to become a priority—until a security event happens, at which point it is too late. 

Are your employees’ user credentials for sale on the dark web?

A critical step in understanding your overall security posture is conducting a risk assessment for the identification of unknown security vulnerabilities and defensive gaps. As part of this effort, a dark web scan can help further identify risk exposure and act as an early warning to cyber risks lurking in the shadows.  

Running a dark web scan against your email domain can provide illuminating results.   

  • One organization’s email domain uncovered 30 compromised emails, including the business owner’s login credentials for his bank account  
  • Instances of several hundred to thousands of compromised emails have been found 

The results of a dark web scan will uncover employees who may have used their business email for non-business reasons and had their credentials compromised, bringing unnecessary risk to the organisation. This is why business email addresses should never be used for non-business-related activities, and separate passwords should be used for each site or application that you use. A dark web scan will report on exposed users and tools can be set up for ongoing monitoring. This means that whenever an employee’s credentials get exposed in the future, you can be notified and take appropriate remediation measures.   

The dark web is a lot to take in, but we are here to help. To learn more, download and review our Dark Web Scanning: Understanding the Why and the How e-book. We break down what the dark web is and the threats to your business that might be hidden there. We explain the process and value of running a dark web scan for the identification of threats, and how it informs prioritization of remediation measures to better protect your business.   

Even better, give us a call, and let’s schedule a dark web scan on one of your domains today. Imagine the shock and surprise if you found your employees’ access information available for sale on the dark web. Whether you’re a large enterprise or small to mid-sized enterprise—be sure you aren’t a target for the dark web! 

Different Areas of IT Support Explained

IT support is essential for the smooth running of any business or organisation that relies on technology to deliver its services or products. At help4IT, we provide a range of IT support packages to help organisations keep their hardware, software, and network infrastructure running efficiently with minimal downtime for staff and operations.  

Here we explain the different areas of IT support and how partnering with us can help you to manage these areas far more effectively.

How do you assist with hardware support?

Hardware support is an essential component of any IT support package. IT companies provide hardware support services to help organisations keep their hardware running smoothly. At help4IT, we provide hardware support in several ways, including:

  • On-site Support – where we arrange for one of our engineers to attend on-site to help fix hardware-related issues. This type of support is particularly useful for organisations that have many hardware devices that require maintenance and repair.
  • Remote support – where we provide support to our clients using remote access tools. This type of support is particularly useful for organisations that require ad-hoc assistance with smaller numbers of devices.
  • Preventive maintenance – much of the work we do at help4IT is around helping clients to prevent hardware-related issues. This type of support involves regular inspections, cleaning, and testing of hardware devices to ensure they are running smoothly.

How do you assist with software support?

Software support is another critical aspect of any IT support package. At help4IT, we provide software support services to help our clients keep their software up-to-date and running as expected. We regularly assist our clients with:

  • Software installation – if a client is introducing new software into the business, we can help ensure that it is rolled out correctly across all device types.
  • Software updates – we often assist our clients with licensing renewals, updates, and training for new staff members. This type of support is important because software updates can fix security vulnerabilities, improve software performance, and enable staff to work more efficiently.
  • Software troubleshooting – if our clients are having trouble with any aspect of their software, our team provides support in identifying the root cause of the problem and providing a solution to fix it.

How do you assist with network infrastructure management?

Network infrastructure management is critical to operational efficiency, particularly for larger-sized businesses. At help4IT, we assist our clients with:

  • Network design – this involves identifying the hardware and software required to build the network and designing the network topology.
  • Network installation – this involves installing the hardware and software required to build the network and configuring the network settings.
  • Network monitoring – this involves using network monitoring tools to identify network-related issues and provide a solution to fix them.

How do you assist with cloud computing?

Cloud computing has become a popular way for organisations to store and access data and applications. At help4It, we help our clients with cloud computing through cloud support services such as:

  • Cloud migration – this involves identifying the data and applications that need to be migrated and selecting the appropriate cloud provider.
  • Cloud management – this involves monitoring the cloud infrastructure to ensure it is running smoothly and providing a solution to fix any issues.
  • Cloud security – this involves implementing appropriate security measures such as firewalls and data encryption.

How do you assist with mobile device management?

Mobile devices have become an essential part of business operations, and IT companies can help organisations manage their mobile devices by providing mobile device management (MDM) services. At help4IT, we often assist our clients with MDM services such as:

  • Device configuration – this involves selecting and configuring a range of mobile devices to meet the demands of the client’s business.
  • Security management – mobile devices present a significant security risk so it’s important to ensure all devices are secure by implementing appropriate security measures such as passcodes, encryption, and remote wipe capabilities.
  • Application management – this involves installing and updating applications and ensuring they are secure and compliant with company policies.

How do you assist with cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity has become a top concern for businesses as cyber threats continue to evolve and become more sophisticated. At help4IT, we assist our clients with:

  • Risk assessments – helping to identify and assess our clients’ cybersecurity risks. This involves analysing their infrastructure, policies, and procedures to identify potential vulnerabilities.
  • Security implementation – including firewalls, antivirus software, and intrusion detection systems.
  • Incident response – helping our clients respond to cyber incidents. This involves identifying the cause of the incident, containing the damage, and restoring normal operations.

Do you require assistance with your IT support?

At help4IT, we provide a range of solutions for keeping our clients’ hardware, software, network infrastructure, cloud computing, mobile devices, and cybersecurity running smoothly and efficiently. Contact us today to find out more.

Are You Monitoring Your Front Door to Check You’re Not Being Raided?

A couple of decades ago it was rather common for MSP providers to tell clients it’s enough to monitor a couple of choke points to stay safe. The reason for this was that it was extremely expensive to monitor all the devices, so the common procedure was to monitor only 1 or 2 devices.

These days it’s not enough as cyber security attacks evolve and become more sophisticated. Imagine yourself watching the front door and the thief enters from the bedroom window and kidnaps your child without you noticing. This is what happens when you focus on a couple of choke points using a traditional wired security solution which is expensive. Now, it’s more cost-effective to monitor your whole premises as you can have sensors installed in all vulnerable areas like windows and doors around your house. The same goes for cyber security. With the development of new solutions, you can cost-effectively monitor and secure all your devices at once, mitigating all your cyber security risks.

The threat can come from many sources

Where traditionally the threat comes in form of a phishing email, now hackers also use existing companies to execute their malicious plans. Just a few days ago a business consultant contacted us telling that she was contacted by a US-based company enquiring about her services on LinkedIn. The person who had either hacked into the actual marketing manager’s profile or had created a fake profile sent the consultant a folder link that seemed reliable and legit. Once the business consultant downloaded it, her cyber security system alerted her of Trojan viruses in that folder. She took appropriate action that saved her from harm being inflicted on her devices. This shows how important it is to have proper cyber security installed on your devices and how smart cybercriminals have become.

What can you do to stay safe?

It’s surprisingly common for organisations and especially for SMEs to think they won’t become a victim of a cyber-attack until they experience it. This results often in losing valuable data and in the worst case can also lead to a recovery time of weeks or even a month. So, what can you do to stay safe? If you’re already using Microsoft’s products, it’s a good idea for you to also leverage Microsoft Sentinel which is a SOC platform that gives you a bird’s-eye view across your whole organization. It detects, hunts for threats and responds accordingly, giving you peace of mind. Sentinel leverages AI in hunting and identifying cyber threats and attacks which makes it an extremely efficient tool for protecting you, your team, and your customers.

Book a cybersecurity risk assessment today.


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