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Friday, 26 June 2015

Office 365 security


I have been talking with potential customers this week over their requirements for future IT and it became obvious that a Cloud solution was what was needed - specifically Office 365.

One thing that has come up time and time again were the questions "how secure is it?" and "we work with clients who might not think this is secure enough - is it?".

So I have taken the time to research this and as you might think Microsoft has produced the most comprehensive and high quality information on this - so I have taken some of this from Microsoft and reproduced it here for people to have an overview of Office 365 security. You maybe sceptical about Microsoft telling you how great Microsoft Office 365 security is, but what they say here makes sense and is logical and relevant and I believe provides good detail and explanation to most security questions.



"With Office 365, it’s your data. You own it. You control it. And it is yours to take with you if you decide to leave the service. The core tenets of our approach to earning and maintaining your trust are:

 Built-in Security :

Office 365 is a security-hardened service, designed following the Microsoft Security Development Lifecycle. We bring together the best practices from two decades of building enterprise software and managing online services to give you an integrated software-as-a-service solution.

At the service level, Office 365 uses the defense-in-depth approach to provide physical, logical, and data layers of security features and operational best practices. In addition, Office 365 gives you enterprise-grade, user and admin controls to further secure your environment.

  • Service-level security through defense-in-depth
  • Customer controls within the service
  • Security hardening and operational best practices

  •  Privacy by design :

    When you entrust your data to Office 365 you remain the sole owner of the data: you retain the rights, title, and interest in the data you store in Office 365. It’s our policy to not mine your data for advertising purposes or use your data except for purposes consistent with providing you cloud productivity services.

  • Your data is not used for advertising
  • You have extensive privacy controls
  • You can take your data with you when you want


  • Continuous Compliance

    Office 365 is a global service and continuous compliance refers to our commitment to evolve the Office 365 controls and stay up to date with standards and regulations that apply to your industry and geography. Because regulations often share the same or similar controls, this makes it easier for Microsoft to meet the requirements of new regulations or those specific to your organization and industry.

    In addition, Office 365 provides admin and user controls, including eDiscovery, legal hold, and data loss prevention, to help you meet internal compliance requirements. These require no additional on-premises infrastructure to use.

  • Proactive processes to meet your compliance needs
  • Customer controls for organizational compliance
  • Independently verified to meet evolving standards


  • Transparent Operations

    Moving to a cloud service shouldn’t mean losing access to knowing what’s going on. With Office 365, it doesn’t. We aim to be transparent in our operations so you can monitor the state of your service, track issues, and have historical view of availability.

  • You know where your data resides and who has access
  • Visibility into availability and changes to the service
  • Financially backed guarantee of 99.9% uptime"


  • If you would like to read even more detail about the security that wraps Office 365 up then please go to https://products.office.com/en-us/business/office-365-trust-center-cloud-computing-security?tab=7d4bf5d5-8549-acb8-3852-a62cc997fb45

    I hope this has reassured anybody who has previously had doubts about Office 365 Cloud security and now understands that a great deal has been done to make O365 a robust and secure product that can be used with safety and reassurance.



     

    Wednesday, 17 June 2015

    Raise your virtual glass to PukkaGenTek and say Cheers and Welcome!!!


    Here's a toast to our newly re-branded business. Here is some of what we offer customers in varying sectors:





    ENTERPRISE

    For companies that are no longer start-ups, SOHO or micro businesses but would like the same friendly, professional support service.

    For companies who would like to be able to have any member of their staff pick up their phone or send an e-mail requesting support an unlimited number of times for any supported IT problem; or if the need arose expect an engineer to attend onsite any number of times or fix it remotely if possible.

    For companies who would like corporate standards of IT monitoring 24/7 with an allocated IT manager; but who can’t afford that.

    We can provide solutions to all of the above by providing the unlimited support, monitored by professional systems constantly and managed by experienced and fully qualified engineers – who will also fix any problems you’re experiencing.

    We can offer support in many shapes and types; whether you just want a one off ad hoc call for a problem or issue or need a bit more for consultancy to give you strategic help or support. We can also provide a more consistent, robust and prioritised contract IT support which means you’ll always be uppermost in our thoughts when you need urgent help.

    When your business is under our care and attention with one of our service contracts you will realise the highest standards of customer care and technical support engineering. When your business has grown to this size you need it to keep working and growing and this is where we can help support that.

    If you want a service that is uniquely local but regionally professional providing robust managed solutions to a business that has outgrown its roots then look no further but get in touch with us and we’ll take care of all your IT cares, worries and concerns.


    SMALL BUSINESS

    Would you like to operate your business as a larger business and take that step beyond Micro, SOHO or start-up but don’t believe you are ready; perhaps we can help, by providing one of the first essential steps which is a first class, amazing, corporate style IT support for business, yet at a reasonable price you can afford.

    We are an IT support company that specialises in SME businesses and we believe that extends from 1-50 machines size businesses as well as its bigger brothers. So if you would like to have unlimited telephone advice and help taken with unlimited remote support and on-site engineers when required as well then you can. If you’d like to have experienced and fully qualified Microsoft engineers available to you for unlimited problems then you can. If you’d like to have all your systems monitored and managed using corporate end technology and running 24/7 then you can; and you can have all this for a price that would surprise you.

    We can offer you rolling monthly, no tie-in contracts that provide you with all-encompassing service contracts that offer comprehensive IT support for all the IT devices and systems you might have within your offices. Unlike a lot of other IT support companies we won’t just offer you an insurance style contract but instead we will provide a pro-active, managed and 24/7 monitored system contract. Along with that we can go on to offer further services such as high quality, low cost backup solutions and the best in anti-virus installed products; again both of these provided under the pro-active managed and monitored solution service.

    If you want to be able to experience the best in SME IT support for a reasonable cost no matter what your size then talk to us and we’ll show you how you can get on with your business; warm in the knowledge that all your IT concerns are taken care of.


    HOME USERS

    A lot of us buy a PC or a laptop, or maybe both or maybe in a family there are several of these; worse still whilst they’re re all working fine not a problem, but then you have problems with them. Perhaps you have a relation or friend, but they’re not qualified or completely sure or can’t look at it until next week or the following weekend?

    We can provide a high quality service typically only available to businesses in the form of our qualified experienced engineers. A one off ad hoc fix or perhaps a review and health check of your IT stock? Perhaps you would like to be relieved of the worry and concerns around all these computers around your house just waiting to go wrong.

    Maybe you would even care to take out insurance in the shape of a Home support contract which for a very reasonable no tie-in monthly payment could provide you with the comfort blanket of knowing you are under full IT support just like a big business.

    As we offer the same contract and proactive cover and support that we provide to our business support customers we will constantly monitor and manage all aspects of your day to day computer usage, giving your computers a good housekeeping routine on a regular basis. Also, likewise we can offer further products such as business class backup routines and anti-virus software and a host of other products and services that you may need to keep that warm glowing feeling of being under support with us.

    We will care for all your IT needs to stop life being a computer gamble, and provide that computer knowledge, help and advice that you can rely on and trust to be completely professional.

    So if you need help now then contact us; or if you want to take the computer gamble out of everyday life then call to discuss how we can provide a leading, friendly and professional solution to this quandary.

    Saturday, 23 May 2015

    shop window and Internet webpage - analogy

    Whilst working with a website builder to have a new website built I have realized that a website serves the function of a shop window. This is perhaps nothing startlingly new in terms of a concept but the analogy is so strong with me, as I work on my new shiny website that I thought I had to share this concept.

    40 years ago the high street represented the current internet, with all those glowing, interesting shop windows showing off their wares and beckoning you into the shop to peruse and perhaps purchase. Now we have the same as we surf the internet, all those Homepages enticing and beckoning you to purchase their goods or services and if not then at least to enjoy the front page.

    So I have used this as my driver, the definition of my website Homepage as a shop front and all the various hyperlinks and sub-sets, products and services that are available to the surfing potential customer who cares to open the door and step inside.

    I keep this thought close to my heart when I decide on how my website looks and feels and operates; hopefully this is what encourages people.






    Thursday, 13 June 2013

    Windows 8.1 - what's new?

     For all you Office Managers out there who have responsibility for a Windows 8 estate or who are considering an upgrade of your business devices Microsoft Technet have published what changes we can expect to see in the new upgarde to Windows 8, due late 2013 which won't be Service Pack 1 but rather Windows 8.1.


    "What's New in Windows 8.1
    We built Windows 8 to bring a modern computing experience to businesses and to help professionals stay connected to their colleagues and clients from anywhere, anytime. Windows 8.1 advances this vision and introduces new manageability, mobility, security, user experience and networking capabilities that will be available later this year – with the goal of offering customers the best business tablets and versatile modern business PCs driven by the most powerful operating system designed for today’s modern businesses.

    Below is a list of some of the new and updated features that we invite to you test out when the Windows 8.1 experience becomes available later this month.

    Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Enhancements
    Workplace Join

    A Windows 8 PC was either domain joined or not.  If it was a member of the domain, the user could access corporate resources (if permissioned) and IT could control the PC through group policy and other mechanisms.  This feature allows a middle ground between all or nothing access, allowing a user to work on the device of their choice and still have access to corporate resources With Workplace Join, IT administrators now have the ability to offer finer-grained control to corporate resources.  If a user registers their device, IT can grant some access while still enforcing some governance parameters on the device.

    Work Folders
    Work Folders allows a user to sync data to their device from their user folder located in the corporation’s data center. Files created locally will sync back to the file server in the corporate environment. This syncing is natively integrated into the file system.  Note, this all happens outside the firewall client sync support. Previously, Windows 8 devices needed to be domain joined (or required domain credentials) for access to file shares.  Syncing could be done with third-party folder replication apps. With Work Folders, Users can keep local copies of their work files on their devices, with automatic synchronization to your data center, and for access from other devices. IT can enforce Dynamic Access Control policies on the Work Folder Sync Share (including automated Rights Management) and require Workplace Join to be in place.

    Open MDM
    While many organizations have investments with System Center and will continue to leverage these investments we also know that many organizations want to manage certain classes of devices, like tablets and BYOD devices, as mobile devices. With Windows 8.1, you can use an OMA-DM API agent to allow management of Windows 8.1 devices with mobile device management products, like Mobile Iron or Air Watch.

    Mobile Device Management
    When a user enrolls their device, they are joining the device to the Windows Intune management service.  They get access to the Company Portal which provides a consistent experience for access to their applications, data and to manage their own devices.  This allows a deeper management experience with existing tools like Windows Intune. IT administrators now have deeper policy management for Windows RT devices, and can manage Windows 8.1 PCs as mobile devices without having deploy a full management client.

    Web Application Proxy
    The Web Application Proxy is a new role service in the Windows Server Remote Access role. It provides the ability to publish access to corporate resources, and enforce multi-factor authentication as well as apply conditional access policies to verify both the user’s identity and the device they are using resources, and enforce multi-factor authentication as well as verify the device being used before access is granted.

    RDS Enhancements
    Enhanced Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) in Windows Server 2012 R2 with improvements in management, value, and user experience. Session Shadowing allows administrators to view and remotely control active user sessions in an RDSH server. Disk dedupe and storage tiering allow for lower cost storage options. User experience for RemoteApps, network connectivity and multiple displays has been improved. Administrators can now easily support users with session desktops to provide helpdesk style support. Administrators now have even more flexible storage options to support a VDI environment without expensive SAN investments. End users will find RemoteApp behavior is more like local apps, and the experience in low-bandwidth is better, with faster reconnects and improved compression, and support for multiple monitors.

    NFC Tap-to-pair Printing
    Tap your Windows 8.1 device against an enterprise NFC-enabled printer and you’re all set to print. No more hunting on your network for the correct printer and no need to buy a special printer to take advantage of this functionality. Simply attach an NFC tag to your existing printers to enable this functionality.

    Wi-Fi Direct Printing
    Connect to Wi-Fi Direct printers without adding additional drivers or software on your Windows 8.1 device, forming a peer-to-peer network between your device and the printer.

    Native Miracast Wireless Display
    Present your work wirelessly with no connection cords needed; just pair with a Miracast-enabled projector via NFC and Miracast will use Wi-Fi to let you project wire-free.

    Mobility Enhancements
    VPN

    We have added support for a wider range of VPN clients in both Windows and Windows RT devices. We have also added the ability to have an app automatically trigger VPN connections.

    Mobile Broadband
    At Windows 8 launch, the devices had embedded radios that were separate components within the devices.  Windows 8.1 supports embedded wireless radio, which gives you increased power savings, longer battery life, also enables thinner form factors and lower cost devices.

    Windows To Go
    With Windows To Go in Windows 8.1, the Windows Store is enabled by default. Windows To Go users may roam to any number of machines and access the Windows Store and use Windows Store apps.

    Broadband Tethering
    Turn your Windows 8.1 mobile broadband-enabled PC or tablet into a personal Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing other devices to connect and access the internet.

    Auto-triggered VPN
    When you select an app or resource that needs access through the inbox VPN – like a company’s intranet site – Windows 8.1 will automatically prompt you to sign in with one click. This feature will be available with Microsoft and third-party inbox VPN clients.

    Security Enhancements
    Remote Business Data Removal

    Corporations now have more control over corporate content which can be marked as corporate, encrypted, and then be wiped when the relationship between the corporation and user has ended. Corporate data can now be identified as corporate vs. user, encrypted, and wiped on command using EAS or EAS + OMA-DM protocol. This capability is requires implementation in the client application and in the server application (Mail + Exchange Server). The client application determines if the wipe simply makes the data inaccessible or actually deletes it.

    Improved Biometrics
    All SKUs will include end to end biometric capabilities that enable authenticating with your biometric identity anywhere in Windows (Windows sign-in, remote access, User Account Control, etc.). Windows 8.1 will also be optimized for fingerprint based biometrics and will include a common fingerprint enrollment experience that will work with a variety of readers (touch, swipe). Modern readers are touch based rather than swipe and include liveliness detection that prevents spoofing (e.g.: silicon emulated fingerprints). Access to Windows Store Apps, functions within them, and certificate release can be gated based on verification of a user’s biometric identity.

    Pervasive Device Encryption
    Device encryption previously found on Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 is now available in all editions of Windows. It is enabled out of the box and can be configured with additional BitLocker protection and management capability on the Pro and Enterprise SKUs. Consumer devices are automatically encrypted and protected when using a Microsoft account. Data on any Windows connected standby device is automatically protected (encrypted) with device encryption. Organizations that need to manage encryption can easily take add additional BitLocker protection options and manageability to these devices. 

    Improved Internet Explorer
    Internet Explorer 11 improvements include faster page load times, side-by-side browsing of your sites, enhanced pinned site notifications, and app settings like favorites, tabs and settings sync across all your Windows 8.1 PCs. Internet Explorer 11 now includes capability that enables an antimalware solution to scan the input for a binary extension before it’s passed onto the extension for execution

    Malware Resistance
    Windows Defender, Microsoft’s free antivirus solution in Windows 8, will include network behavior monitoring to help detect and stop the execution of known and unknown malware. Internet Explorer will scan binary extensions (e.g. ActiveX) using the antimalware solution before potentially harmful code is executed.

    Device Lockdown
    With Assigned Access, a new feature offered in Windows 8.1 RT, Windows 8.1 Pro, and Windows 8.1 Enterprise, you can enable a single Windows Store application experience on the device. This can be things like a learning application for kids in an educational setting or a customer service application at a boutique, Assigned Access can ensure the device is delivering the intended experience. In our Windows Embedded 8.1 industry product, we deliver additional lockdown capabilities to meet the needs of industry devices like point of sale systems, ATMs, and digital signs.

    Modern UI experience
    Variable, Continuous Size of Snap Views
    You have more ways to see multiple apps on the screen at once. You can resize apps to nearly infinite sized windows, share the screen between two apps, or have up to three apps on each monitor.

    Boot to Desktop
    We have made configuration options available which will allow you to boot directly to the desktop in Windows 8.1.

    Desktop and Start Screen
    Improvements have been made to better support users who prefer a mouse and keyboard experience to access applications.

    These are just some of the key features available in Windows 8.1 We encourage you to test out and try these features when you evaluate Windows 8.1 for use both in your work environment as well as at home in your personal life. Please note that Windows Server 2012 R2 may be required in order for some of these features to be available."

    Thursday, 29 November 2012

    Is your business ready for Windows 8 with The PC Support Group




    Say hello to Windows 8.


    Everything you want. Everything you need.


    Do everything faster and easier with a new Windows built for today’s devices:

    ·         Windows has been reimagined: From the beautifully fast and fluid Start Screen, apps are a touch away. It just feels natural.

    ·         Apps at its core: Apps are at the heart of Windows 8. The things you need are built in and work together to make each other better.

    ·         Stay in the Cloud: Sign in to your Microsoft account on any device and instantly get connected to the things you care about most. Access files anywhere with Skydrive and pick up where you left off.

    ·         Get more at the Windows Store: Free and paid-for apps bring Windows 8 to life. When apps are bought or downloaded, they can immediately be used on up to 5 Windows 8 devices.

    ·         Experience browsing freedom: With a minimalist design and fast performance, IE10 is more web and less browser. We’ve also made it more secure and private for safer surfing.

    ·         Be productive everywhere: Take the office anywhere, access work files on the go while staying secure.

    ·         Use any device: From tablets to laptops to all in ones, get the same personal, immersive experience on any form factor.

    ·         Rock solid foundations: Familiar Windows 7 apps and devices will run with the full power of Windows 8.

    Open a wider world with Windows 8.

    Wednesday, 22 February 2012

    Cloud Computing

    Flexible and cost effective cloud based solutions.

    Cloud computing is one of the important trends shaping technology for the business market today. Cloud solutions enable you to manage your IT requirements using resources via the internet rather than through a local computer or server.
    Cloud computing can:
    • increase flexibility – add and reduce computer resources as required
    • greater accessibility – access systems from anywhere using PCs, laptops or mobile devices
    • reduce capital expenditure – no requirement to invest in expensive server hardware and software
    • lower support costs – cloud based systems often require less support as the infrastructure provider takes care of some of this as part of the service
    The PC Support Group understands that one size does not fit all and every business is different. We are committed to providing our customers with unrivalled support by offering a range of cloud solutions to suit every need. Whether your focus is cost, security, flexibility or functionality we can provide you with the right solution for your business.

    Why choose cloud computing with The PC Support Group?

    • Personalised solutions to fit your needs
    • Partnerships with leading companies including Rackspace, Microsoft and Google allow us to offer a wide range of value-added solutions
    • Support is key to well managed infrastructure… even when it’s in the cloud. Our team takes pride in our speed and quality of response.

    What can we do for you?

    Here are just a few common business requirements that can more cheaply and easily fulfilled by our cloud solutions:
    • File sharing – systems that enable you to share files and folders seamlessly in real time, no matter where you are, and without the need for an expensive server adding to your support costs and IT headaches.
       
    • Email/Calendar – in just the same way as servers have provided for many years, it’s now possible to have access to emails, calendars and contacts on any device at any time in any place thanks to the cloud. You and your staff can instantly share, check and set up appointments, wherever they are, all without the need for a server and its associated costs.
       
    • Remote desktops – how would you like your staff to be able to access and work on their desktop wherever they are in the world from any PC or mobile device? There is no longer a need to be in a specific location to get on with your job. Maximum flexibility, minimum cost.
       
    • Virtualisation – for those that still need servers, cloud solutions can offer greater flexibility and reduced risk. By virtualising your servers we can remove your single point of failure, and therefore the risk to your business of a server letting you down. Your servers will sit on your own private cloud, either at your premises or hosted in a secure data-centre with engineers on-hand 24/7. Your business will carry on even if one of your physical servers lets you down.
       
    • Software as a Service (SaaS) – software that can be used on demand for a monthly fee. No high upfront costs, no more complex installations and no more licensing headaches. Imagine logging onto any web browser and having your fully functional software available to you instantly. Totally flexible software, when and where you need it.
       
    • Flexible Printing – print any time anywhere. We can set you up so that you can hit print on your iPhone, or other mobile device and your document will print straight out at your office, ready for you on your return… Even if your printer is in York whilst you’re in New York.

    Wednesday, 21 December 2011

    SEO tips for small business

    Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Tips for Small Business

     

    Virtually every business can benefit from having a high profile on the web. There are two ways to achieve this, one is to pay for every click (Pay Per Click - PPC) and the other is to gain a natural ranking position through optimisation your web page for the search engines - search engine optimisation (SEO).

    So how do you optimise your web site so that it appears high in the rankings?

    The important thing to remember is that the search engines generally have one aim in mind - to bring to the fore the most appropriate web sites for any given word or phrase that is used.

    Imagine that you are manually choosing the most appropriate web site for a particular phrase. What rules would you use? Here are a few you might use:

    • A page that uses that phrase a number of times - if it keeps repeating that phrase then the page must be providing information about it
    • A page that perhaps includes the phrase in the title - that must mean that this page considers the phrase important to what is written on the page
    • A page that lots of other web sites point to (have links to) - if others think that page is worth "pointing to" then it indicates it's useful
    • Which sites are pointing to the page? You would probably consider some sites to be more discerning than others.
    • How large is the site? If it has lots of pages then it is likely to have more useful information
    • How often is the web site updated? Sites that are updated more often are more likely to be current and therefore more useful.
    All of these form the basis of the rules governing most search engines.

    So how do you use these rules to help the visibility of your site?

    Search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN are always changing their rules and using more sophisticated techniques to achieve the best results so there is no simple fixed solution but there are some basics that will always help.

    The basic rules to follow are:

     
    1. Decide which short phrases are important. I.E. What phrases are your customers likely to use when searching for your type of business? You will achieve better results focusing on a 2 or 3 word phrase rather than a single word. For example, if you clean wheelie bins in Newcastle then focusing on a phrase such as 'wheelie bin cleaning in Newcastle' is likely to produce better results than simply 'wheelie bin'.
    2. Try to include the phrase in the name of the page
    3. Try to include the phrase in the heading on the page.
    4. Include the phrase a number of times throughout the page but keep the phrase in context and don't simply repeat the phrase.
    5. Now here's a "techie bit" - in any web page there are three pieces of information called Meta Tags that need to be completed correctly (your web developer can do this for you).
      1. Title - Make this short, precise and make sure you include the phrase within the first 10 words
      2. Description - This can obviously describe your page more fully but don't waffle. If possible use your phrase twice in this but don't simply repeat it.
      3. Keywords - Make sure your main phrase is first in this list
    6. You need to add credibility to your site by getting as many links to it as possible. The simplest ways to achieve this are as follows:
      1. Ask customers, suppliers and/or partners to place a link to your site from theirs - perhaps as part of a testimonial?
      2. Write articles about your business and your main subject and place those articles on the many free article web sites - find these by simply searching for 'free articles'. Make sure each article (or the information about the author) includes a link to your site.
      3. Register your business on every free online business directory site that you can find on the web.
    7. The final important element is to make sure your site is accurate, up to date and highly relevant to your business area and the subject phrase that you feel is most important. Things to look out for are:
      1. Broken links I.E. Links to other pages on the site that don't link to a live a working page
      2. Update pages regularly - a site that has the same content for many months will be "marked down" by the search engines
      3. Size matters - a more substantial site with many pages of information will be considered to be potentially more important. Bit don't pad the site with rubbish!
    Gaining and keeping a high ranking on the search engines takes time and effort but it's not complicated. If you follow these basic rules you will improve your search engine rankings and you could even gain that coveted page one spot!