Work from anywhere

Technology started allowing us to work from anywhere remotely in the early 2000s. Laptops, VPN and increased Internet bandwidth set this trend in motion, allowing people to connect to corporate networks from home to access email, servers or other systems. Employees depended on this way of working to perform their daily duties.

What it didn’t address at the time was the human element. People’s desire to work on their own terms, anytime, anywhere and on any device. In the early 2000’s technology didn’t readily support this paradigm of “remote work”. Most workers didn’t even know what they were missing in terms of flexibility or convenience.

Work from anywhere, any device and any time

More and more large companies are realizing the benefits about working from home. Why stress your employees out with the expense and commute in to the office. Business Insider explores some of out largest companies working from home.

We’ve put together a brand new guide to show you the most important things to consider with a permanent flexible working arrangement for your people.

Work From Anywhere

The future is now… YOUR desktop, anytime, anywhere, any device! IT does not need to be complicated. Business owners need to concentrate on what they do best, running their business.

Top technical desires

Working 0nline or offline: Back in the late 90’s, for those old enough to remember, Lotus Notes pioneered this concept. Notes had the ability to replicate databases locally between servers and users’ local desktops. Today many technologies do this seamlessly to access emails, files or other corporate systems.

Instant gratification: Today users want access to information immediately and from any device. A mere 15 years ago expectations were very different. Employees had to be logged into a PC at the office to gain access to data. Expectations have taken a monumental shift thanks to new technology. Now smartphones, tablets, broadband, WiFi, and 4/5G all make information accessible at our fingertips.

Advanced communication: Recent advances in infrastructure and hardware have enabled new ways to communicate and collaborate. The use of these new platforms differs based on age, culture and social boundaries. There are so many choices available that employees can communicate via more channels than ever before. Document sharing, enterprise social media, gamification, instant messaging, phone, text, email, video, video or voice chat, screen sharing.

The new normal

Work anywhere you have an internet connection and often where you do not. There are many closed based back up solutions. We would recommend OneDrive.

With the ability to synchronise your OneDrive and your machine, you can now save your documents to a local folder. They will synchronise to the cloud in the background! Start a document at work and save it. The file will fly off gently to the cloud without human intervention. You can then pick up where you left off in a coffee shop or at home, working locally or in your browser. It does not matter which browser either, it works in Edge, IE11, Safari, Chrome or Firefox.

Work anytime

Well you can work anywhere, on any device so it follows that you can also work at any time. Now you may see this as a blessing or a curse. A blessing because you are not tied to your office and the opening times of the building. Which means you can get that report finished no matter where you are or what time it is. However, that is also a curse because you could work all night if you wanted to or even if you do not. Great for night owls!

As we adopt a more mobile workforce and many professions now run their business from a home, the office or even a coffee shop. We would recommend using Office 365 and take advantage of our Office 365 Security Package. It is easy to use and collaboration with clients and colleagues is now much easier.

Review your IT infrastructure. Enable your team to work from anywhere

Moving to Office 365 has huge benefits for productivity and collaboration. Because Office 365 has many security features built in it can be achieved safely. The extensive compliance manager gives controlled access to your data. You can remain in control and as an added benefit you quickly achieve full GDPR compliance. Have you moved to Office 365 yet and has it transformed your working life? Is your IT system set up and ready for your workforce to work from anywhere, any device and any time?

Contact the LIS Help Desk to speak to one of our experienced IT technicians. We carry out an IT audit to enable us to what recommend the best hardware and software solutions. Find out how we can make your workplace mor efficient and productive.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#FreeGuide #NewWorkingPatterns #PreparedForTheNewNormal

Happy Birthday Windows 95

On 24 August 2020 Windows 95 celebrated its 25th Birthday. We often think about the evolution of the PC in terms of hardware. Spare a moment for the software. Many of the things we take for granted today – such as the Start menu or not having to reboot your PC every single time you wanted to play a game – started with Windows 95. Happy Birthday Windows 95!

Windows 95 was not the best operating system Microsoft ever released. Many people would apply that designation to Windows XP. However, it was certainly one of the most important iterations. In addition to introducing the Start menu, Windows 95 also made things easier by supporting long file names. Up to 250 characters, versus 11 characters previously. It also implemented plug and play functionality before fetching custom-tuned drivers from the manufacturer.

It was also the first Microsoft OS to really encourage gaming directly from within the operating system as opposed to going through DOS. There was a whole lot of resistance to it at the time, partly because it often made games run worse as the OS still stole some of your precious memory and CPU cycles, but also because it was a buggy mess at the start.

Happy Birthday Windows 95

Windows 95 is twenty today. It’s hard to imagine it now, but the launch was greeted with
the sort of hype that only Apple generates today. (Image credit: Microsoft)

Look where we are now

One of the greatest things about PC gaming is the sheer amount of hardware options to choose from. This is why plug and play was, and still is, such an important feature. It allows your PC to detect a peripheral or gadget and offer at least some basic functionality.

Other innovations included the task bar and recycle bin, both introduced with Windows 95, and later the addition of DirectX to the mix. According to Microsoft, Windows 95 sold 7 million copies during its first five weeks. That was quite a bit for the era it debuted in.

The launch event was a spectacle, which undoubtedly helped move some copies. Former late-night television host Jay Leno introduced Bill Gates at the Windows 95 launch event. Microsoft also paid The Rolling Stones $3 million to use its “Start Me Up” as the soundtrack for the festivities and subsequent ad campaign. And of course Steve Ballmer was bouncing up and down on stage and throwing fist pumps.

If you’re feeling nostalgic, you can kick the tires on Windows 95, right inside Windows 10, using an app uploaded to GitHub by Slack developer Felix Rieseberg. It’s a little less than a 300MB download.

Are you up to date?

Funnily enough LIS are also 25 years old this year. So, happy birthday Windows 95 and LIS. We have been around and seen it all. From the launch of Windows 95 through to Windows 10. We even helped clients resolve issues with Windows 8 and ME (we won’t talk about these versions 🙂 ).

Are your systems running slow? Do you have out dated hardware? What office package are you using? If your software is out of date, then you have security risks? Contact the LIS Help Desk to discuss your options.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#win95 #HappyBirthday #ITSupport #Upgrades

Councils get connected

Local authorities invest in networking and contact centre technology through IT outsourcing contracts. Helping local councils get connected.

Councils get connected and help the wider community

Cheshire East Council is working with technology service provider Capita to build a wide area network (WAN) to connect more than 500 public services sites. An article published yesterday by Computer Weekly explains all.

The £8m, five-year contract will see council, school, fire service and police operations in the county connected by the network. This is part of the government’s £5bn Network Services 2 framework.

Councils get connected

Councils to connect hundreds of its sites through wide area network.

Why set up a WAN?

A wide area network (WAN) is a data network, usually used for connecting computers, that spans a wide geographical area. WANs are used to connect offices, towns, counties and help councils get connected. WANs are often used by larger organizations to facilitate the exchange of data. A wide variety of industries have embraced WANs with facilities at multiple locations. Increasingly, however, even small businesses are utilizing WANs as a way of increasing their communications.

The benefit of WANs

Although WANs serve a purpose similar to that of local area networks (LANs), WANs are structured and operated quite differently. The user of a WAN usually does not own the communications lines that connect the remote computer systems. Instead, the user subscribes to a service through a telecommunications provider. Unlike LANs, WANs typically do not link individual computers, but rather are used to link LANs. WANs also transmit data at slower speeds than LANs. WANs are also structurally similar to metropolitan area networks (MANs), however provide communications links for distances greater than 50km.

Advantages of WANs

Do you have a wide area network (WANs) at your company? If you have multi sites or operate globally, you probably do. That is because WANs are powerful business tools. They make it possible for large organizations to communicate internally faster and more efficiently. They also make it possible for consumers to enjoy company benefits they could not enjoy in the past.

  • Boosts your privacy: Setting up a WAN allows you to share sensitive data with all your sites without having to send the information over the Internet.
  • Increases bandwidth: Corporate WANS often use leased lines instead of broadband connections to form the backbone of their networks.
  • Eliminates Need for ISDN: WANs can cut costs by eliminating the need to rent expensive ISDN circuits for phone calls. Instead, you can have your WAN carry them.
  • Guaranteed uptime: Many WAN providers offer business-class support. That means you get a specific amount of uptime monthly, quarterly, or yearly as part of your service level agreement.
  • Cuts costs and increase profits: In addition to eliminating the need for ISDN, WANs can help you cut costs and increase profits in a wide variety of other ways.

Disadvantages of WANs

While WANS provide numerous advantages, they have their share of disadvantages. As with any technology, you need to be aware of these downsides to make an informed decision about WANS. The three most critical downsides are high setup costs, security concerns, and maintenance issues.

  • High setup costs: WANs are complicated, complex and expensive to set up.
  • Security Concerns: WANs open the way for certain types of internal security breaches. such as unauthorized use, information theft, and malicious damage to files.
  • Maintenance Issues: Maintaining a WAN is a challenge, no doubt about it. Guaranteeing that your data centre will be up and operating 24/7 is the biggest maintenance challenge of all.

The best solutions for your business

We are unable to predict when businesses will return to normal due to the pandemic. We all must try and operate in the new normal way of business. With staff working from home and some of the team working at the office, which solution is best for you? Make sure your business stays connected, secure and efficient.

Contact the LIS Help Desk to make sure your security is appropriate. Do you have good Firewalls in place, or do they resemble swiss cheese? Use encrypted connections when using online banking. Are your Virtual Private Network (VPN) secure? Our friendly and experienced team will asses your options for connectivity and be able to help you with your telecommunications.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#Networking #Telecoms #Business #ITSupport

Return to work traps

As businesses transition their workforces back to the office, hackers are distributing phishing emails and malicious files disguised as COVID-19 training materials. Return to work traps are becoming more common as cyber criminals take advantage of the pandemic.

Return to work traps take advantage of employees

According to a new report from UK Tech News, criminals are setting “return to work traps”, taking advantage of the training employees need to go through as they return to the office in its new form.

They claim many workers now need to go through various tutorials, webinars and training sessions. Ensuring they are compliant with new workplace rules set up to prevent viral transmission. Sensing an opportunity, cybercriminals are disguising malware as webinar recordings and other educational material, it was said.

According to the report, these new practices are mostly reserved for businesses in North America and Europe, where lockdown measures are slowly being eased up and people are being allowed to return to work.

Return to work traps.jpg

Workers return to their offices and cyber criminals will abuse Covid-19 to spread malware and steal sensitive data.

Open emails and documents with caution

Make sure emails and documents are from a legitimate source from within the company. We are seeing a trend of hackers leveraging household names, such as Microsoft Office 365, to trick employees. One thing is for certain: the coronavirus pandemic is leading us towards a cyber-pandemic.

Protect you staff at home

Organizations are allowing employers to access work-critical information from their homes. This is  a vulnerability as many employers working from home are in need for a VPN (virtual private network). Unconsciously they are downloading software from untrustworthy sites leaving their computers infected.

In addition, the tech support scammers will also emerge, pretending to be trying to fix an IT problem. They attempt to gain control of a target’s computer; and hackers may call pretending to be another department of an organization to get access remote and tricking general staff. On a bigger scale, cyber criminal groups in Russia, China and North Korea were exploiting the growing chaos to target national governments like the US, Japan, and Italy.

While some organizations are using tech to fight coronavirus, attackers are using healthcare organizations as a target. This will be particularly dangerous as those are the most vital among us at the time. A recent example was the ransomware attack against the University Hospital in Brno, Czech Republic. One of the largest COVID-19 research labs in the country, shutting down the entire IT network and causing anxiety to an already stressed staff.

Stay safe. Protect your business

Unfortunately, we do not see cybercrime going away in the near future. Cybercrime has rocketed since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic as many try to exploit people’s fears. IS your  operating system and software up to date? Do you use the latest Anti-Virus and Anti-Spam solutions?

Contact the LIS Help Desk to discuss the most cost-effective solutions for your company. Our experienced and friendly team will make sure you have the correct protection in place. We will carry out an IT Audit and recommend upgrades to hardware and software. Why worry about your IT security? LIS take care of all your IT requirements.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#Cybercrime #Security #ITSupport #AntiVirus

Messaging could be easier

Testing has started on a new feature that would merge Messenger with WhatsApp. Messaging could be easier for end uses of either system in the future. The huge tech move would mean that users of either app would be able to send messages to people on the other app seamlessly.

Messaging could be easier for users

An example would be that if you had a Facebook account, you could reach your friends on WhatsApp without downloading the app. Discovered by tech expert WABetaInfo, known for figuring out tech updates and new developments before they’re announced. He came across the update hidden in the code of Messenger.

Messaging could be easier

Facebook users could message those on WhatsApp without the app. Picture: PA

WABetaInfo has made a name for himself through scanning innards of apps to figure out new features. He also explained that this new merging of apps isn’t available yet.

He said: “The integration of WhatsApp into Facebook Messenger isn’t available yet. This is a very complicated feature and it requires time. We’ve no idea if the plan to merge those services will continue or if it will be abandoned.”

Facebook own WhatsApp and Instagram. They plan to combine features between both apps. Last year, Facebook announced its plans to merge all three services into one. However, nothing has been mentioned since.

 

What could the merge mean for users?

Should the merge go ahead, one person could reach another contact on WhatsApp through the Facebook Messenger app, and vice versa.

That raises some interesting security questions. WhatsApp is famous for its end-to-end encryption, which keeps the content of a user’s messages secure. Users will also need only a phone number to sign up. Facebook requires a person’s “real” identity to register. Messenger is not currently encrypted in the same way WhatsApp is.

Facebook has previously said, “We’re working on making more of our messaging products end-to-end encrypted.” The news of the potential merger comes just a year after Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg said he wanted to see greater integration between Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

“As you would expect, there is a lot of discussion and debate as we begin the long process of figuring out all the details of how this will work,” said Facebook.

How to communicate with your IT provider?

Good communication between you and your IT provider is essential to your business. This can be challenging to communicate your problem over the phone or email. Contact the LIS Help Desk to find out about our IT Support Services. Our team can remote control into your device and fix the problem straight away. Alternatively, if it is not an emergency schedule a time that suits you. IT does not have to ruin your day, just contact us and consider us as your IT therapist.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#Facebook #Messenger #WhatsApp #SocialMedia #ITSupport