Our Dedicated Leased Lines are now at their lowest ever price!

From just £299/month, you can bring your business up to speed.

Ensuring your internet connection is stable, fit for purpose and secure should be of the highest priority for your business, as down time can be extremely expensive and disruptive.

A Leased Line provides a secure, dedicated and private internet connection into your business and includes Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) to guarantee you the highest possible level of service.


Features

High Bandwidth

No matter what your bandwidth requirements, there is a Leased Line to meet your connectivity needs. With speeds up to 10GB, we can provide a tailored solution perfect for your business.

 

Resilient

A dedicated and secure Leased Line is one of the most resilient forms of connectivity. An uninterrupted internet connection to your business is necessary for you to operate at full capacity.

 

Mission Critical

A Leased Line is essential for companies who operate mission critical services for their organisation, that can’t afford to lose a connection to the internet, which is also perfect for remote working too.

 

Secure

With the ever-growing amount of online threats these days, a dedicated secure Leased Line and Firewall is imperative for keeping your company safe and secure.

 

Bring your business up to speed with a dedicated Leased Line from ITVET from just £299/month.

 

Call our team on 01279 464470, email us on [email protected] or visit itvet.co.uk/contact to discuss your requirements.


disaster recovery from ITVET

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room…

 

Ensuring you have a solid disaster recovery and business continuity plan in place should be of the highest priority for your business.

Disaster can strike from anywhere at any time, so being prepared is a must. Whether it be flood, fire, or worse, it is imperative you have a tested business continuity plan in place so you have minimal down time in the event of a disaster.

If your software and services are hosted, you can access them regardless of any hardware damage and you will be able to restore your services in very little time and maintain a sense of business continuity. Alongside this, without a backup system in place, you could lose all your data entirely. If you only have paper versions of your records and data, these will almost certainly not survive smoke, fire or water damage, which could potentially lead to you being held liable for loss of records.

Another thing to plan for is remote working. Ensuring your employees can continue working either from home or a temporary location in the event of a disaster is imperative, as if your employees are not able to work this could impact your business reputation and you also run the risk of losing your employees.

If disaster does strike your business, you will need to contact your employees to warn them of the disaster. Alongside this, your clients will still need to be able to contact you, so having a phone system that can be diverted to an alternative location means that in an emergency you will be able to contact your clients, suppliers and employees.

Ensuring business continuity is important, however the most crucial element of a disaster is ensuring no one is harmed, which is why a suitable evacuation plan and being able to track where your employees are on site is essential.

Contact the ITVET team today to discuss your options and ensure you are protected, should disaster strike.


Is Your Shopping Centre IT & Data Compliant?

 

There are a variety of different IT systems and services installed at every shopping centre, including the Car Park, CCTV, BMS and Footfall, to name but a few. It would be easy to think that the respective providers of these systems would manage and maintain the networks they are installed on to make sure they are secure from hackers and other online threats, however unfortunately this is often not the case as many third-party providers will only accept liability for their own equipment and not the data network they are installed on, or the Internet connection which is used to remotely access them. This leaves a huge black hole in the IT security at each centre and could potentially lead to catastrophic failures and expensive outages if the systems go down. We have already seen several shopping centre’s car park systems unable to take payment for several days, costing the landlord thousands of pounds in lost income. Aside from this, there is the data security aspect, for which the potential fines for non-compliance are huge.

It is worth pointing out that many of these third-party systems such as the Car Park or BMS may have been installed several years ago, with the data cabling and infrastructure being even older. We have seen some cable installations dating back as far as 20 years! In many cases, they have not been maintained or checked for quality or security and are simply left untouched from the day of installation. Unlike electrical installations, which require certificated installers and regular maintenance, data networks are not afforded the same regulatory checks.

Hackers and online scammers are becoming more and more sophisticated and we are seeing an increase in third party systems being hacked into as these criminals broaden their target area. One of the highest profile cases was the hacking of the display screens in Cardiff Town Centre, where inappropriate political messages were displayed on them. Sadly, this was not an isolated incident, as there are far more hacks like this that happen but do not get publicised.

So, what can be done to firstly protect your centre’s IT systems but also make sure they are compliant? In the first instance, we advise contacting the third-party provider and check if the system is installed on a data network, and if it is, whether they support and maintain it. If the answer is no, then the next step would be to contact your IT support provider and ask them to carry out an audit of the various third party systems. They will most likely need to liaise directly with the system provider, so that they have all of the information they require to access the system.

ITVET have been providing Managed IT and Communication Services to the shopping centre industry for over 10 years. If you would like us to carry out an in-depth IT audit of your centre, please contact our network security team on 01279 464470.


Important HP Battery Recall Notice

Important Update: Safety Announcement, 2017

Expansion of the HP Notebook Computer Battery Safety Recall and Replacement Program of June 2016 – Additional Batteries Affected

HP urges customers to recheck all potentially affected products

In cooperation with various government regulatory agencies HP has announced an expansion of its ongoing worldwide voluntary safety recall and replacement program for certain notebook batteries, which was announced in June 2016. The program has been expanded to include additional batteries that were shipped with the same notebook products.

The affected batteries were shipped with specific HP, Compaq, HP ProBook, HP ENVY, Compaq Presario, and HP Pavilion Notebook Computers, sold worldwide from March 2013 through October 2016, and/or were sold as accessories or spares, or provided as replacements through Support.

The batteries have the potential to overheat, posing a fire and burn hazard to customers. HP’s primary concern is for your safety. Because affected batteries pose a fire and burn hazard, it is extremely important to check whether your battery is affected.

It is essential to recheck your battery, even if you did so previously and were informed that it was not affected. Note: if you have already received a replacement battery, you are not affected by this expansion.

Please go immediately to the HP Battery Recall website to check if your battery is affected by this expanded recall program. If the validation process indicates that your battery is affected, cease use of the battery immediately and remove it from the notebook. HP will provide a replacement battery for each verified, affected battery at no cost. You may continue to use your notebook without the battery installed by connecting the notebook to external power. To order a free replacement battery if eligible, go to the HP Battery Recall website.

Note: Not all batteries in all HP, Compaq, HP ProBook, HP ENVY, Compaq Presario, and HP Pavilion Notebook Computers are affected. The validation process may show that your battery is not affected by this expanded recall program, in which case you may continue to use the battery in your possession, and a replacement is not necessary.

If you have questions on the HP Notebook Battery Safety Recall and Replacement program please see their website for more information. Alternatively, for more information, contact the ITVET Service Desk team on 01279 464 470 or email [email protected]


5 companies using technology to change the face of retail

 

Technology is booming in retail. With the high street under threat, tech companies are developing ways to optimize the retail experience. The physical store has not changed over the last century but the shopper has. With the vast changes in technology over the last 20 years, the retail sector is lagging behind. These five tech startups are examples of how adapting the retail environment and analyzing data can revolutionise the shopping experience.

Retail technology data

Retail Report allows big data to be harnessed to improve sales and customer experience

1. Retail Report

Data isn’t just online, it’s everywhere and growing fast. Data is invaluable for analysing the performance of any business, but it is a powerful tool for monitoring the standards of a retail store or centre.

Retail Report allows this data to be harnessed – it automatically collects data from around a centre and uploads it to a secure cloud portal. It then uses algorithm technology to turn this information into manageable and insightful reports, allowing management to develop and improve their centres. The sentirating feature, for example, monitors social media feeds and immediately alerts management to any sudden negative downturns in sentiment – often notifying of complaints such as long queues or broken lifts etc.

2. Augment

Augment uses Augmented Reality (AR) technology to increase conversion rates by creating an omnichannel retail experience to drive engagement and sales. Their service allows customers to try products in lifelike AR through their own device at home. This real-time augmented reality experience for retail removes the guesswork when shopping online and facilitates the path to purchase. Connecting offline and online shopping platforms not only drives sales but also makes the purchasing process easier and more convenient.

AR technology is currently fresh and exciting, making it a valuable marketing tool with the power to engage potential customers on a new level. However, while novel, AR also improves the buying process. By engaging with a product, a customer is more likely to feel comfortable making a purchase – especially on high ticket items such as furniture.

Retail technology robot

Robots are being used to complete manual and repetitive tasks

3. Simbe robotics

Robots and robotics are being used in customer service roles and retail is no exception. Many businesses are finding robots can be used to complete manual and perhaps mundane work. Simbe robotics’ autonomous shelf auditing and analytics robot, Tally performs tasks such as auditing shelves for out of stock items and pricing errors.

 

Tally undertakes the repetitive and laborious tasks and operates safely during normal store hours alongside shoppers and employees. Tally is equipped with a charging dock that it can autonomously navigate for continuous operation. The robot includes a suite of sensors enabling it to operate reliably and safely in retail environments while capturing information on the state of merchandise in the store. The data captured by the robot is sent securely to the cloud for processing and analysis. The data is then exposed through both an API and front-end application alongside specific recommendations to improve store performance to key stakeholders.

 4. Oak Labs

Oak Labs aims to bridge the gap between the online and offline world and create intuitive customer experiences. Their feature product, The Oak Mirror, is an interactive, touch-screen mirror creating an interactive fitting room experience. It allows shoppers to customize their fitting room’s ambiance, explore product recommendations and digitally seek assistance from store associates.  Shoppers who use dressing rooms are seven times more likely to make a purchase than those who just browse the sales floor.

Some technologies may be great for marketing, but technologies such as Oak Lab aim to take away the painful or inconvenient aspects of shopping. Driving sales in physical stores is essential considering the dramatic takeover of online shopping and retail stores must adapt.

Retail technology

 Making visiting stores an experience is key to combating online sales

5. Brickwork

Brickwork also aims to change the shopping experience by merging the online and offline experience. Brickwork gives retailers the tools to turn online traffic into physical footfall. With Brickwork, retailers can activate web & mobile browsers to deliver more customers into their local stores. Up to 80% of all customers who buy in brick & mortar initially look at products or retail websites. Brickwork allows retailers to engage with these customers and draw them in store.

The physical and digital worlds are no longer separate entities and the borders between the two are beginning to merge. Technology is allowing the best features of online shopping to feature in brick-and-mortar stores to create an omni-channel experience.

Connecting with a shopper’s smartphone opens up a myriad of possibilities of how to reach shoppers in new ways. Digital displays can show items that a shopper may have recently looked at online, but not purchased. Plus, if the shopper touches the item on screen an assistant will be notified to bring the item over. Alternatively, if the item is out of stock, the assistant is able to suggest alternatives based on the shopper’s past purchasing behavior. Such technologies allow for a more personal experience, especially as mobile detection beacons can notify store assistants of your arrival, allowing them to greet you.

Automation and data analysis is the future and our partners at RetailReport can unlock the power that data holds for your organisation. For your free demo, contact us on 01279 215 915 or email [email protected].


Infographic: Is Your Business Prepared For Disaster?

 

Imagine the worst case scenario – Late Sunday evening you are alerted that an electrical fault has caused a fire at your office. The first floor has been completely destroyed and the remaining floors have suffered smoke and water damage. Your computers, servers and other hardware are unusable. Could your business continue?

Property damage, repairs, furniture and hardware aren’t the only costs to your business. The time your business is out of action affects not only your profits but also your reputation. The longer your downtime, the greater the damage to the future of your business. Up to 40% of businesses affected by a disaster never reopen.

A business continuity plan could be the difference between the survival of your company and permanent closure. IT can allow your employees to continue working and supplying your customers with the best service possible.

business continuity infographic

Hosted services vs on premises services

Does your company rely on services that are location specific? If your software and services are hosted, then you are able to access them regardless of hardware damage. You will be able to restore your services in very little time and maintain a sense of business continuity.

Offsite Data Backup Vs desktop saving/Paper archives

Without an onsite backup you could lose all of your data entirely. By losing your property and data, a disaster could be fatal. If you have only paper versions of your data without any kind of digital backup these will almost certainly not survive. Client records destroyed? Will you be liable for any loss of records? With smoke, fire and water damage any paper in your office is unlikely to survive. Of companies that suffer total data loss: 43% never reopen and 51% close within two years

Remote working

Could your employees continue working as normal? If your business has remote working prepared, your employees are able to work from home or an alternative temporary location. If your employees are unable to work your business reputation would undoubtedly suffer and you could risk losing your employees too.

Phone system and contact plans

How will you contact your clients to warn them of the disaster? How will you contact your employees to notify them? And will your clients still be able to contact you? You may overlook your phone system, but in a disaster communication will be an important factor in restoring business continuity. Ensure your phone system can be diverted to an alternative location and that in an emergency you will be able to contact your clients, suppliers and employees.

Evacuation plan

While business continuity is important; the most crucial element of a disaster is ensuring no one is harmed. Do you have a suitable evacuation plan and are you able to track where your employees are on site? Property is repairable, but losing your employees or colleagues would be a greater disaster.

If you would like to discuss your business continuity or disaster recovery plans please contact us on 01279 464 470 or email [email protected]

 


5 hardware upgrades for an efficient 2017

 

Purchasing new hardware may feel like an excessive cost to your business, especially if your machines seem to be working. However, by investing in your IT systems you will see the benefits dramatically outweigh initial purchase costs. A faster network and more efficient hardware will boost productivity allowing you to focus on growing your business. These are the top five pieces of hardware you should consider updating or upgrading in 2017.

PC icon

 

 

1. PCs and laptops

Have you been avoiding purchasing a new PC? Old machines are prone to faults and slow machines mean wasted time. For each PC or laptop older than 3 years your business is losing around £4,805 a year. See our recent blog post for the full breakdown.

Older machines are also less compatible with new software, making them even slower as they try to run the latest operating systems. It also means that once your hardware is unsupportable, your machines and network are vulnerable to viruses.

Server icon

2. Server

If your business doesn’t already have a server…
Are you using an old PC as a server? PCs are not designed to be running constantly and have the potential to stop working. This leaves you vulnerable to losing all your data and the costly downtime whilst your makeshift server is being replaced. A server is more reliable, it is designed to manage, store and process data 24/7, 365 days a year. By implementing a network in your company, you will benefit from:

  • Increased security and data recovery
  • Ability to update all machines from central point
  • Virtual working
  • Shared resources
  • Larger capacity on faster workstations

Why not consider moving to the cloud…
By moving your network to a virtual server you will no longer need physical hardware that needs to be maintained or updated. Instead, for a monthly subscription your network, files, and data will be hosted online. The benefits are:

  • Flexibility – easily scale your business up or down when needed
  • Higher level of security
  • Less risk of downtime
  • Efficient data recovery
  • Business continuity in case of disaster

SSD icon

3. SSD (Solid State Drive)

If you do not want to upgrade your hardware, installing an SSD is a good alternative. You can see a detailed list of the benefits in our previous post Supercharge your PC: 5 reasons why you need an SSD. Some of these include:

  • Breathe new life into an old machine
  • Energy efficiency – a longer battery life on your laptop and less energy needed to power your PC
  • Durability

Switch icon

4. Switches

Network switches are a critical part of the connectivity structure between your end-user devices (PCs, Laptops & Phones etc) and your servers and internet connection. Outdated switches could be reducing your potential network speed by 10%. 100Mb switches are a common cause of a slow network and internet access, disrupting your employees from loading files, running database software, viewing websites and downloading emails. Replacing outdated switches with standard 1Gb versions will deliver the best end-user experience and speed up your working potential.

UPS icon

5. UPS

A UPS (Uninterruptible power supply) is installed between the electrical mains and your IT equipment to protect your hardware from power surges and failures. This gives you enough time to save documents and to let systems shut down correctly, avoiding hardware damage from unexpected power surges and data loss.

At ITVET we design a perfect solution for your requirements. To discuss your hardware or your company’s IT efficiency contact us on 01279 464 470 or email [email protected]


Microsoft Office 2007 No Longer Supported From Oct 2017

 

As a part of a process to increase security and help users to keep up to date with the latest software editions, Microsoft have announced that on October 31st 2017, Office 365 users will no longer have support for the Microsoft Office 2007 application. If you currently use Office 2007, and more specifically Outlook 2007, then you will no longer be able to continue to use this software to access your email from this date.

Why is this happening?

Microsoft, as with all software vendors, are under increasing pressure to combat cyber security threats. As a result, Microsoft is keen to ensure users are working from the most up to date software. As software products reach 10 years old they are now retired from support and will no longer receive patches/updates and will become more vulnerable to security threats. The same process was recently undertaken with Windows XP and Server 2003.

What happens on this date?

Users with Office 2007 will no longer be able to use their Office 365 email accounts in Outlook 2007. Users may also suffer incompatibility and synchronisation issues if they use Microsoft SharePoint Online or Microsoft OneDrive with Office 365.

How can I get up to date and avoid this issue?

Please speak to us to look at the upgrade path available to you. There are a number of options available to upgrade to the latest Office platforms, via one-off purchase, recurring annual, or monthly licensing.

Read the full Microsoft’s full announcement here.

If you would like to discuss your IT, please contact us at [email protected] or call 01279 464 470. You can find out more about our IT solutions here


Top Five Tips for Using Technology to have an eco-friendly Christmas

Christmas festivities have an alarming impact on our environment due to wasted food, unnecessary packaging and extra travelling.

83 square km of wrapping paper and 6 million roles of sellotape are sold every year leading up to Christmas, while 4.2 million Christmas dinners are wasted across the UK. Small changes can be made to our Christmas routine such as ensuring our festive feasts are bought locally or buying a sustainable tree. However, technology can help decrease your carbon footprint beyond the holiday season. Surely, the environment is for life, not just for Christmas!

Christmas waste statistics infographic

LED lights

We are guilty of leaving our Christmas tree lights on for 10 hours a day over the 12 days of Christmas. This produces enough CO2 to inflate 12 balloons. Switching to LEDs (Light Emitting Diode) is a quick and simple way to dramatically reduce your Christmas impact. LEDs use up to 95% less energy than traditional bulbs and can last up to 100,000 hours when used indoors, before being replaced. Plus, their low energy means that their running costs are minimal.

Smarten up your home

With the extra time spent at home watching Christmas movies, it is a good time to consider the smart technology. Smart tech can reduce your footprints and your energy bills for Christmas and beyond. From remotely controlled bulbs to smart thermostats, there are a variety of ways that you can connect your home and be more smart about energy usage. Smart switches, for example, allow you to control your appliances automatically from your smartphone. With smart thermostat like Hive or Nest, you can manage your heating schedule, while GPS can detect when you’re on your way home.

Go online

It is debatable whether online shopping is a more environmentally friendly alternative to visiting a shopping centre. Once the extra pollution and traffic congestion caused by returns or rush delivery are factored in, online shopping may not be as green as we think. Scientists calculated Santa would have to visit 822 homes a second to deliver all his presents, travelling at 650 miles a second! Rushed shipping may be causing more carbon emissions than if presents had been when running errands or bought locally.

However, going online for other aspects of your Christmas routine cuts out unnecessary production of products. More than a billion cards are delivered every year- that’s enough to stretch around the world five times. While Christmas cards are considered an unbreakable tradition, the environmental impact is an unnecessary use of resources and postal mileage. With the ability to add video and interactivity, e-cards can be as exciting as a handwritten greeting. In a recent survey, a third of young people chose to send virtual messages over a card. A fifth of people admitted they won’t send a Christmas card this year at all. 47% of young professionals will simply send a text to their friends and family, while 38% would choose Social Media. Although some may consider this the end of a tradition, online greetings is a big step towards an eco-friendly Christmas.

Rechargeable batteries

How many batteries will you need this year to feed new toys and gadgets? The toxic chemicals used are bad for the environment and harmful to humans and wildlife. Rechargeable batteries not only conserve resources but also can save money despite their initial costs. USBCELL batteries can be charged using a USB stick and the powerslayer USB charger only delivers energy when needed preventing overcharging and wasted energy.

Green gadgets

Promote sustainability amongst your friends and family by giving a fun green gadget. The port solar charger charges your phone while attached to a window, converting natural daylight into power for your devices. The Water Pebble is a gadget that helps reduce the amount of water wasted by taking long showers. It monitors the amount of water used and displays different lights to help you to shorten your shower. Alternatively find hand powered alternatives of gadgets that won’t require batteries, such as the Sun & Cloud Camera, a digital camera that is solar powered or wound by hand.

At ITVET we are keen to promote sustainability. Technology doesn’t only help maintain our environment but it also makes good business sense.

Read our previous blog post for information about how sustainability can boost productivity. If you would like to discuss how to improve your company’s footprint email [email protected] or call 01279 464 470.


Business Email Crime scam is on the rise – 400 businesses hit every day

 

Imagine: You return from holiday to discover that your accounts team have wired hundreds of thousands of pounds of company funds to a stranger. What’s more shocking is that it was supposedly by your request. This email scam is trending – CEO fraud or Business Email Compromise (BEC). Over $3 billion have been lost over the past three years with over 22,000 victims across the globe.

How the scam works

Attackers spoof the email address of CEOs or directors. They then send messages to the company’s finance department posing as the CEO, tricking them into wiring money. The fraud usually begins with phishing emails to gain access to inboxes, and also to check whether an out of office reply is received. Scammers use Out of office replies and social media to determine whether their target is absent. Each attack is well-researched and targeted specifically to that company, so it is important to be aware that this scam is around and gaining momentum.

Who is targeted

Small and medium sized business are most targeted by scammers. However, while nearly 40% of victims identify as small to medium businesses, larger corporations have equally been affected. Earlier this year the CEO of an Austrian aerospace parts manufacturer was fired after the company lost 42 million euros to a BEC attack. The fraudsters posed as the CEO in order to transfer money to an account for a fake ‘acquisition’. Scammers often focus on companies that work with international suppliers where transferring or wiring money to international accounts is not out of the ordinary.

For many companies such a request may not seem unusual, which is one reason BEC scammers have had so much success. Likewise, throughout a busy workday an emailed request may be plausible enough to fly under the radar. Scammers follow a working day sending emails when you would expect to receive them – during business hours and avoiding lunch time. It is important to be wary, even in the daily commotion of the office where urgent tasks and distractions may cause security to be lax.

How to stay safe

Hackers cleverly disguise their scams so it is important to be aware of common signs of phishing emails. However, these are a few telling signs to look out for and advice on how to safeguard your company. You can also click here for our blog post with ITVET’s tips for spotting phishing emails.

BEC scam statistics

1. The subject line
‘Request’ is the most commonly used subject line or other single-words such as payment, urgent or transfer. These are hard to filter as the simple mundane subject lines do not arouse suspicion.

2. The email address
Occasionally, the scammer’s email address may on first glance appear to be from your director. On closer inspection you might notice that the domain may be off by one letter e.g. [email protected] Scammers are aware that during a busy day such small, sly changes could go unnoticed.

3. Education
Make sure your accounts team are aware of this thriving scam and to reinforce the importance of acting cautiously around financial transactions.

4. Communication
When it comes to protecting your company from a scam, communication is key. Cross-checking financial requests or two-factor authentication is important, ideally through multiple modes of communication. Verify significant transactions verbally or in person, especially if the request seems out of the ordinary.

To discuss your email security contact our team on 01279 464 470 or email [email protected]