Community Defibrillator

ITVET purchases a defibrillator for the wider community

At ITVET, we have invested in a defibrillator for our local community. This will be attached to the outside wall of our Bishop’s Stortford office. Our company was founded with the intention to provide consistent customer satisfaction and to bring a positive impact to our local community. We do this in many ways, from our laptops for schools campaign, our charity work, our client communications, and now with our defibrillator investment. This defibrillator contributes to our objective to provide a positive impact on our wider community.   

What is a defibrillator?

A defibrillator is a life-saving device when a person enters cardiac arrest. Before the arrival of an ambulance, a defibrillator is used to monitor the heart’s rhythm, issuing shocks if needed. The sooner you attach the defibrillator the higher the survival rate. 

Cardiac arrest   

Cardiac arrests can happen to anyone, at any time. Unfortunately, cardiac arrests happen without warning. Preparation is vital for survival. There are over 30,000 cardiac arrests a year in the UK that take place out of hospital.   

A cardiac arrest is when your heart suddenly stops pumping blood. It’s triggered by an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat. Oxygen can’t be transported to the vital organs including the lungs and brain which causes a person to fall unconscious and stop breathing. Immediate treatment is needed in this scenario.  

In the first instance, 999 must be called immediately. Whilst one person performs CPR another should fetch the defibrillator and carefully follows its instructions. The operator on the emergency call will talk you through what to do. 

cardiac arrest vs heart attack

How a defibrillator helps 

 The defibrillator assesses the heart rhythm and tells you when to shock the person if they require it. The purpose of a shock is to reset the electrical system in the heart to help it beat normally again. The shock is a brief electrical current that is sent through the heart. This allows the body’s natural pacemaker to re-establish its rhythm.   

In the UK, less than  2% of cardiac arrest victims have a defibrillator deployed before the ambulance arrives. More defibrillators are desperately required in public places and workspaces to help more people survive.   

Laura McNab, a registered nurse, and the Clinical Educator for Resuscitation Training informs us “providing defibrillation within the first 3-5 minutes of a collapse can produce survival rates of 50-70%. For each minute a person is without access to a defibrillator, chances of survival are greatly reduced.”

It is because of this extremely short time frame that defibrillators need to be sited on a very localised basis. Having to travel far reduces the patient’s chance of survival. Any area with a significant population density will benefit from having a defibrillator. This is why they are sited at schools, libraries, public buildings and health care centres around the UK.  

The defibrillator at ITVET’s head office ensures that if any of our staff or a local member of the community experience a cardiac arrest, they can get help quickly. We want to increase their chance of survival by getting it to them as soon as possible.  

Who can use a defibrillator?

What makes a defibrillator so useful is that it doesn’t need any official training to use. There are clear instructions on how to attach the defibrillator pads. The device tells you through visual and vocal prompts when to deliver a shock if it is needed. This guidance ensures you can’t do any harm to the person in cardiac arrest.

When should you use a defibrillator? 

when to use a defibrillator

These are the main signs of a cardiac arrest that must be acted on immediately. At this point, their heart is no longer pumping blood to their brain and they are in a critical condition.  

A stark reminder of how important defibrillators are 

The world recently watched on in horror as Danish Striker Christian Eriksen collapsed in the middle of a football match with a cardiac arrest. In his Doctor’s words “He was gone.” Having near immediate access to a defibrillator and full medical team undoubtedly saved his life. Since this event, campaigners have renewed their calls for more access to defibrillators.  

The defibrillator is now situated on the outside wall of our central office in Bishop’s Stortford. This investment is part of our corporate responsibility to the wider community of Bishop’s Stortford.  

ITVET's defibrillator located on the office wall


We are a Real Living Wage Employer!

The Living Wage Foundation is pleased to announce that ITVET has accredited as a Real Living Wage Employer. 

Their Real Living Wage commitment will see everyone working at ITVET, regardless of whether they are direct employees or third-party contracted staff; receive a minimum hourly wage of £9.30 in the UK or £10.75 in London. Both rates are significantly higher than the statutory minimum for over 25s of £8.21 per hour. The Real Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually and is calculated according to the real costs of living. Employers choose to pay the Real Living Wage on a voluntary basis. The Real Living Wage enjoys cross-party political support.

Katherine Chapman, Director, Living Wage Foundation said: “We welcome ITVET to the Real Living Wage movement as an accredited employer. Responsible businesses across the UK are voluntarily signing up to pay the Real Living Wage now. The Real Living Wage rate is annually calculated to reflect the real costs of living. We are a movement of over 3700 UK employers who together want to go further than the government minimum to make sure all their staff earn enough to live on. We have lots of small businesses as well as big household names like; IKEA, Aviva, Chelsea and Everton Football Clubs and many more. These businesses recognise that the Real Living Wage accreditation is the mark of a responsible employer and they, like ITVET join us, because they too believe that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.”

About the Living Wage Foundation

The Real Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually. The Real Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. Employers choose to pay this wage on a voluntary basis. The Real Living Wage enjoys cross-party support. The UK Real Living Wage is currently £9.00 per hour. The London Living Wage is currently £10.55 per hour. This figure covers all boroughs in Greater London. These figures are calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission, based on the best available evidence on living standards in London and the UK. The Living Wage Foundation recognises and celebrates the leadership shown by Living Wage employers across the UK. There are currently over 3700 accredited employers. We are an initiative of Citizens UK. We believe that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. We support responsible employers to voluntarily go further than the government minimum and pay the real Living Wage, to all their staff, so they can earn enough to meet the cost of living. We receive guidance and advice from the Living Wage Advisory Council. The Foundation is supported by our principal partners: Aviva; IKEA; Joseph Rowntree Foundation; KPMG; Linklaters; Nationwide; Nestle; Resolution Foundation; Oxfam; Trust for London; and Queen Mary University of London.

What about the Government’s national living wage?

In July 2015 the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that the UK Government would introduce a compulsory ‘national living wage’. This new government rate is a new minimum wage rate for staff over 25 years old. It was introduced in April 2016 and the rate is £8.21 per hour. The rate is separate to the Real Living Wage rate calculated by the Living Wage Foundation.  The government rate is based on median earnings while the Living Wage Foundation rate is calculated according to the cost of living.


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 business based in London? Head over to our dedicated page on IT Support London to see how we can provide you with exceptional levels of service.


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]


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]m. 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]


Infographic: how much time is wasted by slow machines?

slow machines infographic

Slow machines may be the office joke, but did you realise how much time is wasted because of slow machines?

On average 30 minutes of time is lost every day due to lagging machines and crashes. That is 15.75 days lost every year! Buying new machines may seem like an expense but the annual profit loss of aging machines outweighs the one off cost of upgrading your IT equipment. Check out our infographic with the breakdown of how much you could be losing a year.

slow machine infographic

Our competitive workstation and laptop deals are designed to replace your older machines to make sure you are working at top speed. Our devices are in-stock and ready for fast deployment. Special requirements? No problem! We also source specific machines to fit any purpose and can upgrade devices to suit custom requirements.

Call us on 01279464470 or email [email protected] to discuss the best solution to your IT needs.  

Find out more about our hardware solutions on our website.

 


Sustainability: 5 examples of how sustainable tech improves productivity

IT sustainability

We recently visited Regent Street’s annual sustainability day at the newly refurbished 7 Air Street to discuss their environmental initiatives. From waste repurposing to endorsing health and well-being amongst their staff members, the management behind the Regent Street’s buildings are conscious of how their work affects their carbon footprint and the surrounding community. Introducing measures such as rooftop allotments and bee keeping, Regent Street Management Direct are pioneering interesting ways of promoting sustainability. We were at the event to discuss how technology reduces your carbon footprint and boost the productivity of your employees.

These five changes to your IT will improve your company’s sustainability but at the same can save you money too:

 

paper free

Encourage your team to go paperless

Printing documents wastes paper, toner and energy. Going paperless cuts down on deforestation, pollution and fuel consumption; do you really need a hard copy of that Excel spreadsheet? The benefits don’t stop there though, a paperless office is more organized and secure. Instead of searching through scraps of paper and needing giant filing cabinets to store documents, going digital allows speedier file searching, secure backups and a tighter hold of document version control.

If there are essential documents that must be printed, encourage double sided printing and ensure that your printer’s toner settings are optimized to the lowest settings. This saves on resources to guarantee that your machine is not using more ink than necessary.

Night energy saving PC

switch PCs off at night or when not in use

Encourage your team to turn off machines or on to power save mode at night or when they are away from their desks. This will save money on bills but prevents power wastage, improving your sustainability. Computers also benefit from an occasional reboot as it allows updates.

sustainable technology

Replace old hardware and processes

Old hardware is less energy efficient. We can provide you with lower energy, fully recyclable hardware solutions, saving you money on your energy bills. Updated equipment prevent your employees from being held back by slow, laggy, overheating machines, alleviating frustration and boosting productivity. Replacing redundant technologies such as fax or franking machines with newer technology allows speedier working and saves money on resources.

remote working

Consider working remotely

Allowing employees to work remotely cuts down on space needed in office with fewer desks and less hardware needed. Home workers pay for their own computers, electricity and other utilities saving you money. Plus, Reducing the number of employees commuting to the office cuts down the pollution caused by traveling. Video conferencing for meetings is a further example of how remote technology improves efficiency, by saving you on travel cost and wasted time. Again, this allows resources to be used more effectively and promote greener ways of working.

data automation

Can you automate this process?

Using software to automate processes where possible, reduces the amount of labour required for potentially simple tasks. This saves on resources and improves productivity by allowing repeated tasks to work seamlessly in the background so your team can work on more important tasks rather than inconvenient menial ones. Automation reduces errors, enforces standards and ensures accountability by taking out the potential for human error and being able to track steps of processes.

Once automated, collecting data from the different aspects of your business allows you to capture key info and help pinpoint where productivity can be optimized. This gives you insight into what parts of your company works well and what can be done to improve. The ability to streamline processes and work more efficiently as a company improves sustainability reducing lost time, benefiting the whole team.

If you would like to discuss how you can improve your business’ sustainability email [email protected] or call 01279 464 470.


Supercharge your PC: 5 reasons why you need an SSD

SSD-upgrade

Is your machine slow and lagging? Does it take an eternity for programs to load?

If your machine is holding you back, then it may be time for an SSD upgrade. You may be worried that a new PC may be an excessive cost to your business. However, slow machines may be costing you more than you think!

Rather than replacing your PC or laptop entirely, you should think about replacing your hard drive and the best thing you can replace this with is a SSD. A solid state drive (or SSD) will bring your slow machine back to life – these are the top five ways that an upgrade will getting you working at top speed.

 

SSD infographic draft two

For more information email [email protected] or call us on 01279 464 470.

Find out more about our hardware solutions on our website

 


Trends You Need to Know About Fraudulent Emails

We are all aware of the potential for spam and phishing emails to hammer our inboxes on a daily basis. This is why it’s prudent to protect your network with a hosted email filtering service, such as Trend Micro. However, even with the best email filtering service in place, an amount of spurious emails will most likely still make it to your inbox. This is mainly because the criminals who send out such emails are employing ever more sneaky ways to fool their victims.

Although there are hundreds, if not thousands of different types of dodgy emails being sent round, there are two particular types which merit taking immediate action to protect your data and your bank balance. These two types of emails have taken things to the next level in terms of how far these crooks will go to part you or your company from your cash or data.

Urgent Request from the MD to make a bank transfer

text boxAn email arrives from your MD, or other senior person who can authorise payments. It instructs you to make an urgent payment to the company detailed in the email. The MD will usually be out of the country or away when this email arrives. The crooks know this as they have most likely sent a phishing email and received an out of office response with the recipient’s job title. They then do some research on your company and establish the hierarchy and who would deal with bank payments. The crooks edit the “From” field of the email so it does indeed look like the MD’s email address and usually use the signature: “sent from my mobile” or similar.

We are aware that globally this type of email con has managed to trick some pretty large companies out of some significant amounts of cash. In one instance a US company transferred a six figure sum to the fraudster’s bank account. This may seem incredible but remember these crooks have done their homework on their victim’s company. They probably know the turnover of the company and possibly some of their clients or suppliers. They have even been known to hack their way in to the company’s email system, and obtain their contact database. This means that when they send the request for payment, the name may even be that of one of the company’s clients or suppliers, just with a different account number and sort code.

So what can be done to try and prevent this type of targeted attack?

In terms of preventing this type of email arriving, it is actually quite hard as they look like genuine emails. However, there are a number of measures that can be taken to protect your company.

1. Make it the company policy to never make bank transfers based upon the receipt of one email, even if it is from the MD. Do not reply to the email. Use an alternative contact method such as a text or phone call to confirm the payment request. Admittedly this is more about the company’s internal payment methods than the email system but it is an effective way to prevent this type of fraud.

2. If your company has a hosted email filtering service, then implement a policy that will detect any email with the words “Sort Code” as this is pretty much a unique term which relates to banking. The email can be tagged in the header with a message of your choice such as “Warning potential phishing email”. The warning should alert the recipient to the potential risks. It is also possible to Quarantine emails with these trigger words although this may cause disruption to your accounts department. If there are a number of genuine emails received containing these phrases, these will need to released from the quarantine.

Crypto locker Ransomware in older Office documents (Word, Excel etc.)

This type of threat has been doing the round for some time but we are now seeing a huge increase in the frequency of them. These emails are worded with titles that are deliberately chosen to lure you into opening the attachments with subjects such as “Invoice for service” or “Your Order Receipt”.

Opening the attachment will usually run an application which will encrypt your data. Not just on your PC but on any network drive that you have access to. Once all of your data has been encrypted, a message from the hackers will appear on your screen advising you that your data has “been secured” for you. If you would like access to the data they will decrypt it for a sum of money that must be paid in Bit Coins. The amounts demanded vary around $500 but can be as much as $5000.

Unfortunately once your data has been encrypted there is no way to decrypt the data without the decryption key, which only the crooks know. You will have to restore your data from the most recent backup, which is not ideal to say the least.

So what can you do to protect yourself from this type of threat?

cryptolockerSo far these types of attacks only use old style Office documents, such as .doc/.xls. If you have a hosted email filtering service, then it would be very easy to quarantine all old style Office documents. However, with so many companies still using these old document formats, it means that there might be quite a lot of genuine emails caught in the spam filter that will need to be released.

Alternately, emails containing attachments with old document formats could be tagged in the message title with a warning to alert the recipient of the potential danger of opening the attachment.

The most obvious and easiest form of protection is not to open any attachment unless you are expecting it and it has been sent by the correct person/company. However, in the heat of the day in a busy office, it is so easy to accidentally open an attachment. In the event you believe you may have accidentally opened an infected attachment, speed is of the essence. Steps to follow:

1. Unplug the network lead from the back of your PC, or shutdown as soon as possible

2. Call the IT support provider

The above outlines just two of the many thousands of online threats, which are growing rapidly by the day. If you would like to discuss any of the above, or if you have any other questions, please contact us at [email protected] or call 01279 464 470.