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Blog Posts from the Helpdesk
Office 365 or Office 2019
What’s the difference between Office 365 and Office 2019? Microsoft explains it quite well.
In general, the different ways you can buy the Office suite from Microsoft are what we might politely call confusing. The devil is in the detail. Do you need the online and/or offline access, software and/or services, multiple devices or just office pcs, rights to use older versions for compatibility, additional cloud storage and so on. If you want professional unbiased advice talk to LIS . For immediate support click on the green chat phone icon.
#tech #IT #software #microsoft #office365 #office2019
Hardware security risks happen obviously. But we all trust our phones, tablets, PCs and laptops to be fundamentally secure. Built that way. Right?
Well maybe mainly hardware is secure but some recent news does beg the question as to whether we are right to assume all is well. Perhaps we are reaching the point where we need some mechanism to check and warrant and continually prove that we are secure and not open to unexpected risk. Recently we have had 2 big cases where fears have been raised but there is precious little fact to go on.
The first is the Huawei issue. Essentially, cutting through the technobabble, this boils down to political risk. If the Chinese Government put pressure on the company would they and could they use their power as a supplier to do something we would not want. All this is masked in “are there backdoors” or exploits they could use. These are technical questions but largely irrelevant. The products could be squeaky clean today and tomorrow a new driver update might change all that. So the fundamental question is do we trust the company and can we prove nothing underhand has been done?
The second recent issue is the Intel VISA bug. This is nothing to do with a well know credit card company by the way! The key facts here are that Intel buried a little monitoring and debugging tool into their chips so they could run internal tests. Unfortunately whether by accident or design they left it turned on in production systems. The result is that someone could plug a USB stick into many current PCs servers and laptops and gain access to just about everything. It wouldn’t be simple but it would be possible. Interestingly it is quite a hard problem to fix because, well, it is in the hardware! The only saving grace for this fiasco is that physical access is required to exploit the bug. As far as we know any way!
Can We Trust Manufacturers?
What both these cases have in common is that we live in a very complicated technical world. The average user cannot be expected to even understand the hardware security risks let alone mitigate them. So we have to rely on trust. Trust that we are safe. But trust is built on the premise that someone is checking to make sure that no-one is trying to be naughty. And that someone can put it right if abuse is found.
But is anyone actually looking? Well, Intel have a department whose only job is to deal with this stuff. Not sure they are sufficient protection for us given that the VISA bug slipped out. Huawei offer all the assurances in the world but Mr Trump is not falling for that one (allegedly). A cynic might suggest that this is more to do with trade wars with China than any technical concern!
But surely any manufacturer supplying the military or 5G infrastructure or your phone is just as much of a risk? Do we trust Cisco or any of the other big players? Just because the political risk is this side of the fence does that make it less risky? Just because AMD hasn’t fallen victim yet does that mean a bug isn’t there latent in the hardware.
Is there anything to be done. Well yes, its not actually that complicated to solve hardware security risks but it does require political will, technical knowledge and worldwide agreement. Does that seem likely in these fractured political times? In a word, No! So it’s time to keep your fingers crossed, backup like mad and make sure you encrypt everything that leaves your sight. Right? Ok, but then there’s the Whatsapp bug. Even encryption isn’t perfect!
Might be the right time to find a nice warm sandy beach and dig a head shaped hole and pretend nothing is wrong for a year or two! If that’s you and you need someone to keep an eye on your IT security the do contact LIS. It’s what we do!
This could change the Internet forever… What you need to know about Article 13 (“the meme ban”), the new copyright directive and Article 11 (“the link tax”).
MEPs approved Article 13 in a vote in the European Parliament. This went unnoticed by many camouflaged by the Brexit excitement. However this is no minor issue, it is going to be a sea change for the Internet. Now the vote has been passed, the next step is for the laws of individual European countries to be changed to enact the new rules. Countries are free to interpret it and legislate as they see fit. So the only certainty right now is that there is going to be a lot of heat generated. Small businesses, bloggers and all users of the web are likely to be caught in the fall out one way or the other. You do need to be aware if you publish or link to content online. Who doesn’t?
If your business is going to be affected start planning now and contact LIS to assist.
#copyright #internet #business #brexit #memeban #linktax #article13 #article11
Never waste a car journey! The business podcasts you should be listening to in 2019
#biz #podcasts #business
Building a business that people want to work for
8 lessons on building a business that people enjoy working for: a TED Talk from Patty McCord. She created the culture at Netflix.
Getting the tech right is key whether you are a one man band or a budding world player. Nothing is more frustrating than “the system” stopping you from delivering your vision. Contact LIS to help get the tech right and keep your people happy.
#tedtalks #business #netflix
Coughs and sneezes spread diseases … and so does poor internal cyber security. Find out about how computer viruses work in this handy article, and then talk to us about keeping your systems secure. Our managed antivirus system with a managed firewall, managed antispam and managed DNS keeps you as safe as it is possible to be. Oh and then backup, backup , backup! Contact LIS for more information.
#cybercrime #viruses #computers #IT
Can going digital transform society as well as business? These experts think so.
Contact LIS for help in transforming your business.
Hard to believe, but it’s been a whole year since GDPR came into force. How time flies when you’re having fun 🙄 Find out what’s been happening since then
Boom or bust? The evidence is at best unclear!
UK business hits the brakes: 2019’s first quarterly report from the Chambers of Commerce.
PS we refuse to take part in a recession. Business is booming here 👍
Confused? Well yes!
How do you fix the 2020 problem without breaking the bank? Are we facing a massive recession? Is Brexit a cloud with a silver or maybe even gold lining? Are we just putting a brave face on things as we rearrange the deck chairs on the titanic? Is it boom or bust?
With all this going on companies are expected to managed the phasing out of old technology and take on increased business obligations with all the associated costs and risks. To make your tech decisions easier, LIS has finance options which can spread the costs over many years, including hardware, maintenance, support and setup. We can increase business efficiency through automation and systems integration. If you need to look at ways to improve your IT without monster cost then contact LIS and we will give honest, realistic, professional advice.
#business #finance #brexit #commerce #2020
If you don’t know about Office 365 Teams, this quick video from Microsoft will get you up to speed.
Office 365 Teams is a great solution for small and large work groups, for adhoc projects or permanent working parties.
#office365 #productivity #teamwork #business #microsoft
We have been made aware that not all our clients have seen the following Apple recall notice. Apple users please do check whether you are impacted. Better safe than sorry.
We have introduced enterprise-level Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection across our shared hosting platforms. These include general Windows, and Linux shared hosting as well as a dedicated shared WordPress system optimised for performance.
DDoS attacks flood a target with traffic with the intention of making a website unusable. Our shared platform is less vulnerable to these attacks than others because we use unique autoscaling servers. We have now added web hosting DDoS protection to strengthen our overall security offering at no extra cost.
The protection mitigates attacks even of Terabit per Second-levels of data. During an attack the system works by identifying the malicious traffic and isolating it, while letting normal, ‘friendly’ user traffic through so sites will function as normal. Overall this gives your website increased up-time and less vulnerability should the worst happen.
To find out more or to migrate your websites contact LIS. We will be pleased to help.
How encouraging your staff to do charity work can actually boost business.
At LIS we donate significant time and resources to various charities and provide reduced cost IT support for the charity sector, so we already do our bit. We will soon be formalising this by adding some charity time to our employment contracts too. Did you know that many charities can benefit from free or low cost software and services from large providers? We have helped charities to identify and claim those discounts and formulate a strategy to make best use of the schemes available. Contact LIS to find out more
Why working from home is good for business. If it is well done you don’t need to feel isolated in your home bubble – you are not alone!
LIS will help you identify the best remote working solution for you. Whether an on-premise remote desktop server, cloud based web application and data service like office 365, secure vpn to your back office or private cloud network, we have the skills and experience to help. There are many choices and the correct answer for your business will depend on lots of factors. We can give you the information you need to support the business decision and then once you have chosen, LIS can supply, configure, support and maintain the system and support your users. Contact LIS by email email@example.com or call 01245 323900. If you want a chat with an expert then book a call It is free for new clients and included in all our managed services packages.
From the LIS helpdesk
Some of our more memorable helpdesk calls: “I am on top of a mountain in Nepal and the internet is patchy but I need to work on my laptop” – sorted in 20 mins; “iplayer isn’t working from my hotel. Will my company vpn let me watch the footie” – sorted in 10 mins (it was the MD and he had a TV license!); “I need to work from home tonight. Help” – it took an hour but we got there.
#management #business #flexibleworking #remoteworking
Support Posts from the Helpdesk
The earlier reported routing issues were caused by a network failure in a third party supplier and have now been resolved. Apologies for the disruption.
We are receiving reports of routing issues for some of our broadband customers. Engineers are investigating and we will put out an update as soon as we have more information. Apologies for any inconvenience.
Contractors have today advised us of possible disruption to power and communications at our Woodham Ferrers office. We will be operating on generator for the day, testing out our fail-over systems, but there is a risk of disruption to phone calls and email to the helpdesk. Our power backup maintains essential services only which does not include the kettle so there is also increased risk of grumpiness in our support team. No direct client systems are affected.
We apologise in advance for any issues.
Investigating – We are currently experiencing some network connectivity issues on our shared hosting platform. Engineers are investigating and we will update you as soon as possible. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.
We are aware of a failure affecting some client website, email and our remote support tools. Services have largely been restored although there are some remaining issues due to server problem on restart which we are working on.
The underlying problem is a third party supplier who suffered a power failure but this appears to have impacted some of their redundant fail-over systems across multiple sites. Once their engineers have completed repairs and submitted reports we will review any lessons to be learned to remove any single point of failure.
Apologies if you have been affected by this issue.