How safe are you online? Check out our top tips to make sure you’re Cybersecurity Savvy

Published: 05/12/2019
by Russell Gower-Leech, Technical Solutions Architect

Protecting your cybersecurity online

Unfortunately, potential security threats are everywhere, so it’s important for us to be as aware of these as possible. The following advice and tips are by no means exhaustive but provide a great starting point of how to mitigate as many avenues of attack as possible and make life difficult for the bad guys!

Ultimately, threat actors (the tech term for the bad guys) are financially motivated; cybercrime offers a very attractive money-making prospect with minimal risk vs. traditional crime and typically carries more lenient penalties if caught. So, the more difficult you make it for them to get a return, the less of them you have to worry about.

Top Tips to protect your cybersecurity

So, what can you do to improve your cybersecurity and avoid online scams?

As individuals we need to focus on sensible and simple security. Making your life too difficult defeats the point of technology and will actively discourage us from being vigilant.

Therefore, following on from our password security tips, we’ve put together a set of simple cybersecurity awareness guidelines that can help you to stay protected in your personal life. Raising awareness of our personal cybersecurity naturally changes our attitudes to security in the workplace, helping businesses to become more secure as a by-product. So, any business owners or team leaders reading this, take note!

4 Top Tips to keep you safe online

Tip 1: SmartPhone Care

The Risk:
Like it or not, your mobile phone is the Trojan horse in your pocket. We all love our phones and have far more information about ourselves and our lives on them than ever (whether we realise it or not). This means our phones are a great entry point for attackers.

The Solution:
There are several things we can do to help protect our phones and keep our information safe without impacting the way we use them:

• Lock Screen: Make sure your phone has a lock code or lock pattern or some form of bio-metric (face ID, fingerprint reader, etc.) so people can’t just pick up your phone and start going through your e-mails, messages and photos. Bio-metric is the best for convenience as you can effectively unlock your phone with zero effort.

• Encryption: Again, this is something most phones support these days and doesn’t impact the way the phone works as everything is happening behind the scenes; encryption makes the storage on the phone (including any memory cards you’ve installed) un-readable by other devices. if your phone is stolen and the thief can’t get past the lock screen they may hook your phone up to another device to access the storage that way. If you have encryption-enabled your data will be unreadable to them.

• Anti-Virus: Most phones come with a third-party Anti-virus product these days, but if not, go to the App store or Google Play and download something reputable like Avast. Most tend to offer free AV to individual consumers. Make sure you set-up scheduled scans of your phone for when you’re likely to be sleeping so you don’t have the annoyance of your phone running slow when you’re trying to use it!

• WiFi: Data is part of our day-to-day lives, we are consuming more and more internet connectivity than ever before. One thing we’re probably all guilty of is using and abusing any free WiFi we can get our grubby mitts on! Outside the office, every store or coffee shop we visit seems to have free guest WiFi these days, but how trustworthy is this? Believe it or not, it’s fairly common for bad guys to impersonate an outlet’s free WiFi so they can try to capture our traffic to extract passwords and infect our devices. What’s worse is that our phone will automatically betray us: most of us set our phones (and other personal devices) to connect to WiFi networks automatically for convenience, but did you know our devices don’t just connect to networks we’ve used before once they’re in range, they actually broadcast to see if they’re out there. This means all the bad guys need to do is pick up these broadcasts then pretend to be one of those networks. I’ve genuinely seen my device connect to my home WiFi whilst in a coffee shop 40+ miles away; as good as my home WiFi solution is, I don’t believe that was genuine! Therefore, make sure you think twice about using guest WiFi and when you’re not at home or in the office turn your WiFi off to reduce your exposure to this kind of attack.

Cybersecurity 4 Point SmartPhone Check

Tip 2: Phishing

The Risk:
For those that aren’t aware of this term, Phishing is often mixed up with Spam but it actually has a more malicious intent. Phishing emails typically impersonate persons of authority – sometimes internal to a business and sometimes external. Their purpose is to get us as users to do something not in our best interest, such as click a bad link which can infect our machine(s), get us to input our login details to a bogus login page or illicit money from us.

The Solution
The first two approaches – bad links and fake logins – tend to use a shot gun approach in that they are sent out automatically and indiscriminately, waiting for someone to fall victim. They tend to go for things that are ubiquitous to us as people: Facebook logins, fake news articles, missing Amazon deliveries, etc.

To check whether a link is bad, hover your cursor over the link before clicking. This displays the actual address the link is going to and if it’s gibberish or half a page long you know it’s best avoided. That said, some cloud services do have pretty long links so it can be a challenge. The best advice here is to never click on the links, never call the number(s) and definitely never open the attachments. Go to the actual page of the site in a fresh tab and log in; most platforms/services include alerts/messages/order tracking, etc that are pertinent to your account.

Schemes to illicit money from us are much more tailored. Using information gathered about a business or individual via a website or social media, allows the threat actor to create a pretext for their communication making it far less obvious. An example of this is if you are advertising for a vacancy in your team, an attacker may craft an application or enquiry email with a malicious attachment or link. In some instances, the attacker(s) could already be in the system, reviewing channels of communication and chipping in at the last minute, impersonating the more authoritative member to ‘update bank details’ or ‘release funds to’, etc. Protecting against those kinds of sophisticated attacks can be tricky and while there is technology which can help, the most simple and effective method of prevention is simply calling and talking to one another to discount any concerns.

Tip 3: Anti-Social Media

The Risk:
We’re all connected to some form of social media, whether it’s for personal or work purposes and we have all received friend/connection requests from people we don’t know. Social Media now suffers from its own form of Phishing: Threat actors use fake accounts to make contact with people to either spread malicious links via chats (these typically come in the form of “Check out this news article” or “Please take a look at a paper I’m writing/CV” etc), or glean information about us via social engineering; you’d be amazed how much info you give away in your social media profiles and how you actually use this info yourself in your day to day online activities.

The Solution:
Here’s a test for yourself: do you use a significant date(s) or telephone number(s) in any of your passwords, pins or security questions? What about the names of pets and children?
Now, do any of these feature in posts in your profiles (birthdays and anniversaries are the most common)? If the answer to any of these is ‘No’, well done you, but I’m willing to bet there is a significant number of you this does apply to (and there are plenty of industry stats out there to support my cynicism!). Therefore, although it makes me sound pretty grumpy, it really does pay to be anti-social! Quite simply if you get a request or connect suggestion from someone you don’t know or if they just don’t have a profile photo you recognise, don’t accept it. Instead, reach out via other means if this is someone you want to be involved with.

Social Media cybersecurity

Tip 4: Spam Handling

The Risk:
Spam is something we all suffer from every now and then. It comes from the good old days of leaflets and sales letters which used to come through our front doors. For the most part, Spam tends to be genuine sales noise, but some can be malicious. Typically businesses should have some established mechanism or process, so it is important to understand your Spam handling process. Processes will differ from business to business, but largely they will use one of the following methods:

• Spam management is the responsibility of the user via their Email client: For example, Office 365 Outlook users will be familiar with dropping into their Spam/Junk folder(s) periodically to check for messages and use Outlook to bock senders.
• Separate Spam management: many of you may be familiar with receiving a daily with a summary (digest) of messages that have been blocked. These digest reports give you the ability to release messages via the mail itself or you can sign into a portal to do it; one word of caution I would impart is that once again threat actors are using these digests as a means of phishing you.

The Solution:
There are several things to be mindful of from both a personal and workplace perspective when handling SPAM:

• Use your built in Spam tools: On a domestic level, if you use something like Gmail or Hotmail simply block the sender and send report messages via your mail provider
• One thing that is a definite: don’t use the ‘Unsubscribe’ link as threat actors will often use this as their bad URL to help you infect your machine
• Above all else: DO NOT FORWARD the message, NOT EVEN TO YOUR IT TEAM. At best this would be propagating Spam, at worst you could be spreading the infection. If you need to report it, take a screen shot and pass that on to IT
• Be familiar with your Spam handling process; if your company doesn’t use a digest system and no ones told you they’re introducing one, just delete it and contact IT
• Open a fresh tab to your Spam portal and login to take a look

Select Technology Phishing Reporting Process

To sum up…

Improve your cybersecurity and ensure you’re security savvy by following these tips:

• Do a 4-point check on your SmartPhone to make sure you’re as protected as possible
• Be vigilant when you receive emails, particularly those with suspect URLs, attachments or phone numbers
• Pick up the phone! Double check things with your colleagues if something isn’t adding up
• Be anti-social and reject any friend requests you’re not 100% sure about
• If in doubt, report, but NEVER forward or respond to an email you suspect is malicious spam or phishing
• Overall, be mindful. By educating yourself, you are more likely not to fall into the traps of the bad guys!

If you want to find out more about cybersecurity, online scams, spam and phishing and how it can be avoided, contact us

How to be a Savvy online Shopper

Published: 25/11/2019
by Scott Relf, Projects Manager

Be cyber savvy when shopping online

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become two of the main shopping events in people’s calendars throughout the year. It’s a great time to find deals and bargains in the run-up to Christmas, but unfortunately, it also means that online scamming and security breaches are rife, so your cybersecurity could be compromised. Don’t let this put you off filling your cart though – instead, making sure you’re aware of the risks is the key to mitigating online scams. Therefore, we’ve provided some top tips for you to follow to ensure you are security savvy when shopping online.

So, what can I do to ensure I’m shopping securely online?

With the festive season upon us, we will be buying online more than at any other time of the year, but don’t let that Christmas spirit distract you from protecting your security when shopping online!

Rather than the 12 days of Christmas, we have come up with the 10 Golden Rules of Christmas Shopping to help you safely navigate your online transactions! These tips are useful across any aspect of your personal and work life, so ensuring they become habit is the best way to stay safe all year round.

10 Golden Rules to follow when online shopping

Rule 1: Stay up to date

The first step to a safe online shopping experience is making sure your device (be it mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop PC) has up to date security software running. Most modern anti-virus software can help to keep you safe when shopping online, and don’t forget your device’s operating system (base software, e.g. Windows, Android, iOS, etc.) as this will also be updated with security patches periodically.

Rule 2: Don’t trust open WiFi networks

If you’re shopping from a mobile device, be very wary of using public or open networks, such as those in coffee shops, airports or other public spaces. The data going to and from your device over these types of networks is in danger of being snooped upon and should not be considered secure. If you are shopping on a device that can use a mobile network for your web access (such as 3G/4G/5G), you’re better off using your data allowance than relying on an insecure (albeit “free”) WiFi connection.
Don’t trust open WiFi networks

Rule 3: Check for the padlock icon

Make sure the website you are just about to enter your personal or payment details into is displaying a padlock symbol in the address bar. This shows that the website has a secure coding element known as SSL and has the more secure https:// prefix, rather than http://. This shouldn’t be relied upon on its own, as there are some ways around it, but can be used in conjunction with the other tips here to add confidence that you’re in safe hands.
secure coding element known as SSL and has the more secure

Rule 4: Don’t overshare

If you’re planning on buying a new electric toothbrush, and the website wants to know your inside leg measurement and birthplace before completing your transaction, be wary. Oversharing personal data can be dangerous. Websites can get hacked, and that data could be made available to fraudsters. Consider using unique security information for each site that you set up an account for, just make sure it’s memorable!

Rule 5: Use strong passwords and Multi-factor authentication (MFA)

It’s always a good idea to make sure you use strong and unique passwords for online accounts. Avoid things that may be available via social media, e.g. pets or partners names, favourite sports team, etc. or anything obvious such as qwerty or password1. Best practice on passwords is always changing, but a good rule of thumb would be to use three distinct but unconnected words, with some number and special character substitution thrown in for good measure (i.e. TreeC4rBa!! (Tree Car Ball)). In this way you can also tailor your passwords to the account, re-using the same password across multiple accounts is a massive no-no (once one is compromised, they all are). If MFA (Multi Factor Authentication) is available for the account, this can also add a robust layer of security, as a scammer would need access to a secondary device (commonly a mobile phone) that you own to gain access, once setup. You can find out more about setting secure passwords on our previous blog

Rule 6: Do your research

Always be confident that you’re making your purchase via a trustworthy seller. Ask yourself a few questions to be sure: Are they a household name? If so, are you sure you are on their legitimate website and not a “lookalike”? Check the website address carefully. Do they have positive online reviews from trusted reviewers such as TrustPilot, Feefo, etc? Are complaints being made about them on social media? Doing a quick search is the best way to put your mind at ease and ensure you don’t lose any money!

Rule 7: Check the small print

Being aware of your statutory rights as well as the company’s shipping and returns policies before you hit that final button at checkout is vital. If there’s a long delay before your purchase can be shipped, ask yourself why. Make sure any shipping charges are stated before confirming your purchase to avoid additional charges being made against your payment method. Are you able to return your purchase for a full refund should it not be as advertised? This is particularly important if you are buying something from an international retailer as lead times might be longer and returns could be costly or difficult.

Rule 8: Credit is always better than debit

You will have more protection if you use a credit card rather than a debit card. Credit card providers have an additional layer of security and fraud protection to make sure you stay safe. Simply make sure you pay the credit card off in full at the end of the month to ensure you don’t get charged any interest. Alternatively, online services like PayPal mean scammers will not be able to get hold of your bank details.
Credit cards are always better than debit

Rule 9: Be wary of links in emails

If you receive a parcel tracking link in an email from a delivery company, are you expecting it? Can you be sure that this is in relation to a purchase you have actually made? Scammers are devious and known to send emails appearing to be from well-known carrier companies at the times when people are likely to be making an increased level of online purchases (such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Amazon Prime Day), tricking shoppers into clicking links that can download harmful applications or harvest personal data.

Rule 10: If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is

Our final tip for safe online shopping dates back, in its original form, to the late 16th Century… well before online shopping! And it’s as true now, as it was then. Don’t let excitement turn off your common sense, that’s exactly the response the scammers are after! So, if something is telling you it doesn’t seem right, steer clear.

: If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is

So, stay safe folks and have a very Merry Christmas!!

Select Technology Celebrates 25 Years of Business Success in South East

Select Technology, one of the top 25 managed IT Service Providers in the UK, has reflected on 25 years of business success with a special anniversary event at its headquarters in Paddock Wood, Kent.

Geoff Miles, Chairman, Kent and Medway Economic Partnership and Simon Ryan, Investment Director at Locate in Kent were among the guests attending to mark the occasion at the company’s Transfesa Road offices on Friday 8th November. A number of Select Technology’s customers including RIFT Group and Progressive were also present.

Nigel Potter, who founded the family-owned company in Sevenoaks in 1994 and continues to lead the business as managing director, took the opportunity to share the story so far. A new brand identity was launched, together with plans that are in place to drive future growth. He said,

“From the start our ambition was to push the boundaries of what people think of when it comes to IT, with a customer-focused ethos that has proved a winning formula over the past 25 years. Our event provided a great opportunity to reflect on our story so far, but just as importantly, to share how we will continue to evolve and grow that success for years to come.

We will continue our focus on managed services and consultancy and have revealed a new brand identity as a ‘Lifetime IT Partner’. This captures our values, our offer and great people, which will support us in reaching new customers across Kent and the wider south east region.

We continue to grow fast, sustained by the success we make for our valued customers supported by the fantastic team of people we have built through the years. Every one of them has played their part in all we have achieved as a business to date and the story to come. We’re looking to the future with great excitement.”

in Paddock Wood in Kent

Geoff Miles, Chairman of the Kent and Medway Economic Partnership commented, “It’s great to be here to celebrate as Select Technology recognises this milestone anniversary. We have heard their story of innovation, and how the business has adapted to changing technology and the requirements of their customers to evolve and grow the business. They have been hugely successful and I wish them every success for the next 25 years and beyond.”

Select Technology celebrate their 25th anniversary in Paddcok Wood Kent

Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Select Technology are officially ISO 27001 certified!

Select Technology are officially ISO 27001 certified!

As we continue to recognise Cybersecurity Awareness month, Select Technology are very pleased to announce that we have now achieved our ISO 27001 certification in Information Security Management! We all know that cybersecurity is of paramount importance in business and we like to lead by example. Furthermore, because we are looking after our clients’ data, we recognise that it is our responsibility to ensure we are doing our utmost to keep any information and data safe. Becoming ISO 27001 accredited is the perfect way to demonstrate that we have the systems and processes in place to maintain an excellent level of security at all times and across all levels of the business.

What is ISO 27001?

ISO 27001 is the only auditable international standard that defines the requirements of an information security management system. An ISMS is a set of policies, procedures, processes and systems that manage information risks, such as cyber-attacks, hacks, data leaks or theft.

By becoming an ISO 27001 certified business we are demonstrating that we have implemented a framework for best practice in information security process both online and offline, so you can be assured that you’re in safe hands.

For further information, read more here

 

So, why have we become ISO 27001 Certified?

 

Aside from a lovely certificate and accreditation logo, there are many benefits of becoming ISO 27001 Certified, including the following:

More Secure

Implementing an ISO27001 certified framework means we are more resilient to cyber-attacks and we can adapt to evolving security threats.

Constantly Maintaining and Improving Security

It is invaluable for monitoring, reviewing, maintaining and improving a company’s information security management system.

Reducing risk and being compliant

The certification demonstrates that we have identified the risks, assessed the implications and put in place systemised controls to limit any damage to the organisation as well as ensuring security controls to make regulatory compliance, such as GDPR.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month: 5 essential top tips you need to know for a secure password

Password Security – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Published: 08/10/2019
by Russell Gower-Leech, Technical Solutions Architect

When it comes to remembering things, humans can be pretty rubbish at retaining information. Increasingly in our lives we rely more and more on technology to assist us in the form of smart assistants and wearables to remind us of appointments and details. The same applies to passwords: as an average we have approximately 23 online accounts or personas with only 13 unique passwords, which means we are re-using passwords across multiple accounts.

Re-using passwords may seem harmless and even logical: who can really keep track of 23 individual passwords?! But this habit can be detrimental to our cybersecurity. We hear more and more about password data being lost/leaked online and more often than not, our e-mail address is the main anchor for all of our other personas, so if we share the same password between the personas or even our e-mail account and that password is leaked or compromised, we’re giving over the keys to the kingdom!

Select Technology Online Password Security

So, how can you make sure your passwords are secure?

As it’s cybersecurity awareness month, we wanted to share our knowledge with you to make sure you are being as secure as possible online, and a big topic at the moment is how safe and un-hackable our online passwords are.

There are some really simple things we can do to address this risk and what’s great about this advice is that it works right across our personal lives to our workplace. Raising awareness of our personal cybersecurity naturally changes our attitudes to security in the workplace, helping businesses to become more secure as a by-product – so, any business owners or team leaders reading this, take note!

5 Top Tips for better password security

Tip 1: Complex Passwords

Typically, people will use predictable and personal words, such as football team names, pet names, dates of birth, etc. as the basis for their passwords. There’s some interesting research on this as well as a list of the worst passwords to use here Ensuring we add complexities to our passwords can really make a difference to password security. For instance, making sure the password length is between 8-12 characters in length, contains numbers, upper & lower-case characters and special characters (which most IT support services should implement these days) not only makes your passwords that much harder to guess, but also to ‘crack’ electronically. A good example is something like this where we combine random words (Audi & Trees) and substitute certain characters: 4Ud!Tr3e5! Better yet are completely random passwords like ‘m8Pjy5=eFZ%T’ but these are tricky to manage without help (see tip 3)!

Tip 2: Multi-Factor Authentication

MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication), or Two Factor Authentication (2FA) is, as the name suggests, a means of combining another element to your login rather than just a single password. The most common examples of this in your day to day life are those TXT based codes you get from your bank or Amazon account. TXT based MFA is actually one of the weakest forms of MFA and is actively being retired by most large technology companies, but if it’s a choice between TXT MFA and no MFA there’s no choice at all! The best type of MFA is Push Based. This is where you have an App on your smartphone which actively prompts you to authenticate once you’ve put your password in. These are great as they are much more secure than TXT based MFA and have the added benefit of providing a bit of an early warning that someone may be trying to login to your account.
A common solution you may come across is the Google Authenticator which uses a frequently changing OTP (One-Time Passcode). It’s a great free tool for personal use but doesn’t really cut it for businesses as there is no local security for the device. For businesses, combining it with tools like AuthPoint can address this and can reduce the number of MFA solutions you need to manage.

Tip 3: Unique Passwords

Granted this is easier said than done, but having a different password for each account you have is a great way to reduce the impact of leaked/breached accounts, however it can be very hard for individuals to manage. Having your own cipher can help with this: substituting letters with numbers and using a standard format so ‘OneDrive’ becomes ‘0N3Dr1v3!’ for example. However, this isn’t ideal because once your method is known it opens the door to guessing your other passwords. Password Managers are a great solution to this, they allow you to generate and store strong random passwords for each account which you simply copy & paste each time you need to login. You’ll need to be careful which Password Manager you choose and keep the devices it’s synced with to a minimum. Avast has a great tool which is free and built into their AV solution. Even better, this service is only accessible by their applications and notifies you when apps/devices are added, which can be a great heads-up to an attack.

Tip 4: Hack Check/Breach Notification

Some of you may be familiar with services like ‘HaveIBeenPWNED’, which collect data from public data breaches and allow you to search if your account(s) is among them. Again, Avast has a great free service for this which provides pro-active notifications. Once you register your e-mail address(es) should they appear in any new data breaches you’ll receive an e-mail letting you know so you can immediately change your password for that account.

Tip 5: Sharing isn’t always caring

Hopefully this last little tip goes without saying but you should never ever share your account or password with anyone. No emergency Post-It notes stuck to the monitor or under the keyboard -nothing! Businesses sometimes utilise departmental accounts for some staff but these should really be discouraged not just for security but also audit-ability; ensuring the business can track actions back to an individual is key for security, quality and compliance needs.

Cybersecurity tips

To sum up…

Improve your cybersecurity and ensure your passwords are secure now by following these tips:

• Be sure to use complex passwords
• Ensure you have multi-factor authentication at the very least
• Try to use a different password for each account if you can
• Sign up to a hack notification service so you can be notified if anyone attempts to use your account
• Keep your passwords to yourself

 

If you want to find out more about business cybersecurity, password security or how WatchGuard and Cyber Essentials can help your business, please get in touch with our tech team today.

Diary of a Technophobe: Sharing’s Caring

Diary of a Technophobe, by Tess Parsons-Broome, Marketing Executive

Entry 2: Sharing’s Caring

I’m back with another blog! August was a bit of a write-off with holidays and people thin on the ground, but have no fear, I have found time to teach myself some more tech!

Recently, all we seem to hear is how technology is alienating us from each other and making us less collaborative. One of my main objectives within my role is to improve internal communication, ensuring that this doesn’t happen and that the whole team are aware of news and updates from different areas of the business.

When I set about thinking of the best way to facilitate this communication, my classical marketing brain thought a regular newsletter sent via email with the latest goings on would do the job. However, I knew this would be fairly time-consuming (designing, artworking and creating content); a monthly issue seemed unachievable and quarterly wouldn’t be nearly regular enough, as most information would be outdated by then. After discussing the idea with the wider team, someone suggested that a better way to share the information would be via SharePoint. Initially, I was sceptical – wasn’t SharePoint just a place where we save files down?

Microsoft SharePoint is available from Select Technology IT support in Kent

At that point, that was all we were using SharePoint for to be honest, which is a great function of the platform: It’s the new and improved version of the ‘Shared Drive’.  Most businesses use a Shared Drive where files can be collectively saved down, viewed and worked on by varying members of the company. This is great as it means when you are out and about you can still access files, or if someone is off sick, you can still access a presentation they were working on. There is also the element of security. Generally, a shared drive is backed up on a server so there is less risk of files becoming corrupted or losing data if your PC dies. This is great, but it can be verrryyyy, verrryyyy slow to access large files remotely and sharing files and documents externally is very difficult and time-consuming. Most people end up having to use free transfer sites like ‘We Transfer’ and ‘You Send It’ for larger files, which are not secure, or set-up a costly FTP site which then involves having to upload selected files manually.

Select Technology launches Microsoft SharePoint for staff to keep them up to date and keep them connected and collaborate

 

SharePoint solves this issue immediately – it is your shared drive, but in the ‘cloud’. To share a file externally you can send a secure link to a specific contact outside of your organisation, which they can easily access. They will only have access to what has been shared though, so you’ll be safe in the knowledge that everything else is secure. What’s more, is you can access files and work on them in the cloud wherever you are, without having to download onto your desktop.

This all sounds amazing, however, that’s not all SharePoint can do – it is so much more and in fact Microsoft describes the platform as follows:

 

“Share and manage content, knowledge, and applications to empower teamwork, quickly find information, and seamlessly collaborate across the organization.”

 

So, what does that mean in real terms?

Well, our newly updated version of SharePoint, fondly named Selectranet, acts as our hub for all internal communications, news, updates, events and useful links. It’s a living, breathing, evolving wealth of knowledge that is available 24/7 to all staff. A bit like a social media platform, it also allows users to engage with anything that’s on there. People can comment their ideas, ‘like’ comments or news articles and ultimately engage. You can even send email notifications when a news update has gone live, so the team know there is new content to read.

In terms of populating it with content, I was quite apprehensive, thinking I’d be shouting at my screen and feeling hopelessly out of my depth. I had a horrible feeling it would take me days and days to make any progress and to figure it all out. Thankfully this wasn’t the case at all – I was pleasantly surprised. I was able to fill the page with images, links and content in just half a day. The maintenance will be straightforward too; it will be a matter of just uploading new stories every time an announcement or an update needs to be made to the team. If I do say so myself, it looks pretty slick and professional.

There is much more I can learn and I am certainly no expert, but I like to think that this blog will give other people confidence that it is something positive that their business could adopt. It cuts down on emails, file sending and overall, it encourages employees to engage with the company and with one another. Streamlined, efficient and friendly – what’s not to love?!

If you’re interested in finding out more about SharePoint, drop us a line and contact us!

CRN Channel Awards 2019 – We’re Finalists!

We are excited and proud to announce that we have been shortlisted as Managed Services Provider of the year 2019!

 

Known as the greatest awards in the UK IT industry, the CRN Channel Awards celebrates and gives recognition to achievements and innovation across the channel. Although the awards are now in their 26th year, this is the first time Select Technology have entered. We are more than delighted to have made the shortlist in the first year of applying!

We are sure this will be one of many awards nominations Select receives as we grow as a world class MSP – we’ve already been named as one of Channel Futures 501 MSPs this year.

We hope to bring home the accolade at the awards night on 14th November, so wish us luck and watch this space..!

Diary of a Technophobe: There’s no ‘I’ in Teams

Diary of a Technophobe, by Tess Parsons-Broome, Marketing Executive


Entry 1: There’s no ‘I’ in Teams

 

Firstly, a confession: I’m a bit of a technophobe. So, you may be wondering why I’m working for an MSP! Well, long story short; after working in consumer marketing within the children’s toys and games industry since 2010, I made the jump to B2B marketing this year and seized the opportunity to work for Select Technology. An exciting, but also daunting prospect. I seriously needed to brush up on my IT speak and technical knowledge! Luckily for me, the IT experts that work here have been great at sharing their tech genius and teaching me all about this new world.

In my previous working life, I of course used all the usual forms of IT: desktops, mobiles, PCs, Macs, as well as fancy systems such as Cognos 10, Oracle, AS400. I created budget trackers and marketing schedules in Excel, built brand plans on PowerPoint, trying (and often failing) to present these via wireless connections. The list goes on. Anyhow, as an ‘end-user’, or as I like to call it, a ‘tech muggle’, I thought I was quite proficient when it came to utilising IT to get the best possible outcome in my work; however, I have to admit that it wasn’t often that I asked myself, ‘how could IT help me to do my job better?’.

A whole new world…of technology

Since entering this new industry my eyes have been opened to a whole host of technology and intuitive tools at my fingertips that I never knew existed. I have embraced technology in a whole new way, and I can honestly say it really has changed my (working) life. A thought crossed my mind: I can’t be the only end-user to feel like this. Hence this ‘diary’ has been created with the purpose of sharing the new things I have learned, in a fun and jargon-free way, with the aim of passing my new-found knowledge on to you other tech muggles!

One example is my discovery of the wonders of MS Office 365. I always thought MS Office simply consisted of Word, Excel and PowerPoint and a few other obscure programs that I didn’t really need to know about or use. How wrong I was!

 

Life’s a breeze with Teams

I’m still getting to grips with some programs, but one I have (almost) mastered is Teams. Teams is the ultimate way to communicate with colleagues and even people outside your organisation. It allows you to not only ‘IM’ (instant message) with your colleagues to get quick answers, you can also share files, create working groups where you can communicate together on a project, sharing ideas and notes. Its easy functionality saves the need for endless back and forth emails clogging up your inbox. If you’re working remotely, you can also have a virtual face-to-face or voice call on the platform, saving the need for phone calls or meetings in person, and you can even share your screen. What’s more is that Teams is completely secure and backs-up all conversations, files and group activity so if you can’t remember something that was discussed or you want to refer back, you can easily search and find what you need. There’s a mobile app too, so if you’re out an about you can still receive IMs or chat whilst on the go.

 

Ultimately, it acts as a hub for all communication and I believe it is pretty much a necessity in any modern business. I have loved being able to use it to make my working day that much easier. For instance, I was working on a presentation with 2 colleagues, Nick and Russ. Within the ‘Team’ we exchanged notes and could work on the presentation simultaneously as a saved file. I didn’t need to trawl back through emails trying to find attachments or notes on the subjects the guys wanted to have included. Even when it came to running through the presentation, Nick was working from home, but we could easily have a Teams voice call with each of us having access to the presentation without needing to send attachments or share files beforehand.

So, if you have it, start saving time and use it now! My tip is next time you’re working on a project, set up a Teams and reap the benefits for you and your colleagues. Best of all there’s a FREE version, so even if you don’t have the rest of the MS Office 365 package you can still download and use it. Download it here.

That’s all from me for now, but I’ll be back with a new diary entry soon. Next time, I will explore SharePoint and how you can use this for more than just file sharing…

Full Marks: Achieving 100% Positive Customer Feedback

9th July 2019: We have achieved 100%! Over the last 30 days every single customer survey response has been positive.

 

You’ll notice on our About page, we talk about our values, one of which is providing Exceptional Service:

“We constantly challenge ourselves and each other to excel at all times, exceeding expectations and delivering an unrivalled service.”

Our amazing colleagues totally embrace this, and we are proud to say that today the team have surpassed excellence once again.

We are always adapting and improving to ensure we provide the best possible service to our customers. One way we do this is asking customers, “How did we do on this request?”, every time a ticket is resolved by the Service Desk. This gives us a real insight into what each end user thinks of the service we have provided.

We’ve been consistently achieving 98%+ positive responses for some time now, but today, we can confirm we have achieved 100%, which is recognised in the industry as World Class! This means that over the last 30 days every single survey response has been positive.

This is a great achievement and reflects the hard work and effort that each employee puts in at Select Technology.

Well done team!

Prepare for Windows Server 2008 End of Support

End of support is coming for Windows Server 2008. Support ends 14th January 2020, but don’t panic, we have the information and solutions to help you.

 

Now is the ideal time to upgrade, modernise and transform to current or newer versions of Windows Server and Azure services for more security, performance and innovation.

Check out this useful infographic to understand the reasons why as well as the opportunities, benefits and advantages of upgrading.

For more information and to discuss how we can help you, please give us a call on 01892 830111 or email us at Sales@Select-Technology.co.uk today.

PARTNER ACCREDITATIONS AND CERTIFICATIONS