The Perils of Commuting – Why more companies should help their team work remotely

We’ve all been there, awake at 7 am, thinking about the commute we’re about to face. We wish we can just fall back into our dreams, but really, we must go to work. The work you enjoy… but the journey you hate. READ MORE

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Posted in: IT Support, London

Why do you need to reset your password?

reset your password

How easy is it for hackers and cyber attackers to get hold of your data?

Passwords are their first way in and if you don’t reset them regularly, you make their life much easier.

Imagine you go four months without resetting your password because you ignored the reminder. You were running late for a meeting and told yourself you’d remember to do it another time. As soon as you came back to your desk, you’d forgotten all about it.

During the last couple of months, a hacker has gained access to your password. Because you haven’t changed it, they’ve been logging in to your account for weeks, tracking and monitoring your communications.

They now have access to your sensitive corporate data and you’ve got a data breach to deal with.


5 reasons your internet connection is slow and what you can do about it


For 40% of UK workers slow internet connection is the biggest time waster, according to a study by Talk Talk.

2/3 of participants who took part in their survey said poor technology have a large effect on their productivity.

There’s no doubt the internet has become vital for daily business activities. We need it for almost everything. Working at a faster pace, to tighter deadlines and juggling heavier workloads, losing the internet is stressful for your employees. When it goes down, it’s like losing an arm or a leg.


When should you employ an IT manager?

IT support manager

You know that your business relies on your IT to function.

All your data and your files are stored on your network, whether that’s in the Cloud or a local infrastructure. You and your team get hundreds of emails per day – mostly spam admittedly, but it is still one of your key communication tools. Your phones, both mobile and landline, are critical tools as well.

With all of this IT in place within your business, you need someone to call either when it isn’t working or, ideally, in place and working to keep it all running smoothly. You know your business slows dramatically when your IT isn’t working. The question is: what are your options?


Slows PCs and 6 ways to speed them up

speed up your pc

How many times have you put your computer to sleep in the hope it will turn on more quickly in the morning?

Many of us are guilty of never turning our PCs off. You put your PC to sleep, leave the office, and expect it to work nice and quickly the next day.

The next morning, you’re staring at the ceiling, twiddling your thumbs waiting for your programs to load.

According to the latest Office National Statistics, the total annual cost of a slow PC is £3657. Slow PCs not only cost your business money, they also cost your employee’s time.

A recent survey completed by SanDisk found Britons lose an average of 5 ½ days productive work every year because of slow computers. So how can you speed up your PC and improve staff productivity?


What are you missing when staff leave?

When a member of staff leaves it could be a data breach unless you’re careful.

Imagine you have an employee who has decided to leave your business for a competitor. They’ve been with you for 10 years and have developed close relationships with clients.


4 ways to spring clean your data

Spring is here and it’s the traditional time to remove the clutter from your life.

There’s no reason why your data should be exempt from this. It may not be physically there, but it’s sitting there getting dusty nonetheless. So it’s that time of the year to ask yourself: does your data need a good de-cluttering? Is it time to spring clean your data?


Why your business needs Mobile Device Management

Every day, 90 mobile phones are left on London’s Tubes.

Now imagine your employee has confidential corporate data stored on their phone (for example emails, spreadsheets, contacts) and it goes missing. Straight away, you’ve got a data breach to deal with and there’s the possibility important business content could get in to the wrong hands.

From May 25th, you’ve got to report every phone lost, if there is data you cannot secure, to the Information Commissioners Office as a data breach. For more information about how to report a data breach, please click here.

So how can you ensure your business data remains secure whilst maximising your employee’s productivity?


The biggest drivers of bandwidth consumption

bandwidth consumption

Is slow internet connection a common complaint among your employees?

A slow internet connection can be a hassle, but there’s an easy way to solve this.

If you’re aware of the activities slowing down your bandwidth, you can change your usage and speed up your internet connection.

So take a look at some of the key culprits that are potentially slowing down your system.


Are you making these common password mistakes?

common password mistakes

How easy would it be for hackers to take control of your online accounts?

You probably think your passwords are strong and secure. There’s no way that a hacker could guess your passwords! Having elaborate, difficult-to-guess passwords is an absolute necessity in a world that spends most of its time online.

Take a look at some of the most common password mistakes that people make. Find out how to ensure you don’t put your business’ IT security at risk or leave yourself vulnerable to hacking.


Train strikes & bad weather: keep your business running effectively

train commuter

With wet, cold weather to come this Winter and more strikes planned, it’s time to prepare for disruption.

Here in the UK, we’re not blessed with amazing weather all year round, nor are we blessed with reliable train services.

Imagine waiting for your train, ready to start a busy day jam-packed with emails and calls. Then, the announcement is made. Your train is cancelled. You can’t get to the office – the only place you can access your desktop – and the stress begins to pile up. What do you do? Do you just go home? Do you wait hours until the trains start running again?

Train strikes and weather disruptions are a nightmare for those who can only access everything they need from the office.


Prove you trust your Office Manager

trust your office manager

Your Office Manager is pivotal to the effective performance of your business.

You expect your Office Manager to deal with many different tasks, most of which are ones you don’t want to do.
At the point your IT support provider makes another mistake or just cannot fix an issue that has been dragging on, who do you ask to look for another provider?  Your Office Manager! After all,  this is the person whose been dealing with them on a daily basis; the one who has to face the rest of your team and tell them things still aren’t working properly.


Help your Office Manager and they will love you

help your office manager love youAfter a nice, relaxing weekend, your Office Manager returns to work on Monday morning and there’s a technical glitch with your IT network. Maybe there’s a problem with your telecoms. As the rest of your team arrive, they try to log in, only to find out things aren’t working. The first thing they will do is run to your Office Manager to tell them something they already knows. Picture them now…

Your very stressed office manager already has dozens of tasks to get done that day; what can you do to help?


Posted in: IT Support, London

Would you Swap to save?

There are a lot of adverts around now explaining how customers can save money on everything from shopping bills to credit cards, from phone bills to washing up liquid.

All of which trying to make our lives easier while saving us the pretty penny in our pockets.

If you look into what you currently have in place on a monthly basis, would you look to save money straight away instead of waiting until it becomes a problem?


Trade in your old system for new handsets for free

We know you have a phone system that hides away in a cupboard somewhere and you don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it.

However, how long has that system been there? And what would happen if it all of a sudden – God forbid – failed?

If you are like many small businesses, you may not realise the benefits of a new business phone system. Often times, you can get more advanced features for less than you are paying on your current system.

You may want the benefits of mobile integration – connecting remote workers who access your network from their tablet, iPhone or Android device. You may want the ability to customise your system to work with your other third party systems.

There are many reasons businesses choose to upgrade to VoIP or Unified Communications solutions. Here are a few of the top things to consider:


What would happen if…

What would happen if your server broke down with all your data on?

Or maybe your computer froze just before you hit “save” on a document, or maybe a sudden accidental coffee spill fried your hard drive.

Whatever the problem may be, without a backup of information contained on a hard drive – either using external hardware or a cloud subscription – you have to rebuild from scratch.

But do you have the correct disaster recovery in place?

Click here to find out

When it comes to managing any accounts, the loss of information causes more than just a headache for you.

Convenience and peace of mind are the big-picture benefits that disaster recovery as a service brings to the table, and as more companies control DRaaS strategies, the advantages are becoming more apparent in various contexts in use cases.

The market for these services is growing significantly suggesting that DRaaS is on track to outpace traditional approaches to disaster recovery.

But there are even more advantages to DRaaS that may not be top-of-mind for directors.


Train Strikes – What can you do?

train delays

There aren’t many more frustrating things about living and working in London than train strikes or delays.

Having a good start to the day is essential for business in the city as it really does make sure that decision makers and the people who are talking in the industry are working as efficiently as possible.

Southern Railway has gone through two days of strikes as staff walked out and caused hundreds of trains to be cancelled at crucial times of the working week.

Imagine being on a platform and heading to work and then it is cancelled. You can’t get to the office and you have a load of emails to answer, calls to make and documents to send on and the only way of doing that is on your office desktop.

What do you do? Go home and hope everything will be OK? Wait for hours until the service is resumed which could be hours of standing on a platform?


Should you delete your Browsing History?

You’ve probably noticed that when you visit a website you normally get a pop up saying that site uses Cookies and shows a Cookie Policy, but what are Cookies? Cookies or Browser Cookies are small files which are stored on your computer. They are designed to hold data specific to a particular client and website. Cookies build up alongside your browsing history causing your computer to slow down.

 So what can you do?

  • Choose what history you delete. Browsers allow you to automatically schedule the deletion of your history, where it can either delete content every week to every month. This will allow you to free up space on your computer and stop it from slowing down.
  • Be careful what you delete. You don’t have to delete everything, particularly if you rely on your machine to save your passwords. You can choose not to delete this if you wish.
  • Think about whether you wish to clear cookies. Whilst they are tracking your web activity, they can be useful.

Top 4 reasons to delete your cookies

  • They pose a security threat – Hackers can use cookies to get into your account without a password. You might remember back in 2015/16, hackers stole the code related to Yahoo’s cookies allowing them to forge cookies for over 32 million users and give them access to people’s accounts without needing a password.
  • Cookies can be outdated/corrupted – This can cause error messages to appear.
  • They fill up a lot of space of your hard-drive – When you first visit a website, the pages you visit get saved onto your hard-drive. When you visit the website a second time, instead of re-downloading the pages it loads the website a lot faster. However, a build up of cookies on your hard drive causes your system to slow down.
  • They store personal information about you – Cookies remember the sites you visit and the purchases you make and advertisers (and hackers) can use this information to their advantage. So to improve your privacy, it’s best to delete them regularly.

How to delete your browsing history

How does GDPR affect cookies?

Cookies have been causing concerns around privacy for a few years now and new GDPR has changed how they can be used.

New GDPR states that cookies must be treated as personal data because they can be used to identify an individual through their IP addresses.

To comply with GDPR, organisations using cookies must ask for consent to process and store personal data. They must tell users how they are planning to use their data and are not allows to restrict access to websites or services based on whether or not consent was granted.

To find out more about how to keep your data secure under new GDPR, click here.

Our job is to keep your data and your network secure and this is just one in a series of emails to help you with this. If you would like to talk more about keeping your data safe simply click on the big blue button below!

Improve your Network Security

Posted in: IT Support, London

Don’t get burned by train delays!

train delays

HAVING a good start to the day can often set up a great time at work and create a positive environment for everyone.
But when something gets in your way, or agitates you early doors, it is almost impossible to be as productive as you can be.

Imagine being on a train heading to work and then it is cancelled. You can’t get to the office and you have a load of emails to answer, calls to make and documents to work on and the only way of doing that is on your office desktop.
What do you do? Go home and hope everything will be OK after the train delays? Wait for hours until the service is resumed which could be hours of standing on a platform?

Eight main lines into one of London’s busiest stations were out of service following the devastating fire at Vauxhall station meaning millions could not get to work, either at all, or until late in the day.

So what is the solution?

Many business owners are rightfully wary of the security hazards inherent in online communications in the cloud. The truth is that there is no such thing as 100 per cent IT security, but by speaking to experts like those at Systems IT, you can learn about best practices and the safest ways to make good use of all the fantastic opportunities that cloud computing offers. Each employee can easily log in to a their Cloud Server from any device and access the files they need to work on, while levels of access can be restricted so that specific employees can only access certain projects or files.

Cloud based workflow is also ideal for online cooperation, so multiple employees can access the same project and see updates which are synchronised in real-time. Just like you are sitting at your desk.

What that means for employees?

When it comes to performance, productivity and the ability to work from home incentives are a key driver. The happier your employees are, the more likely it is that they’ll engage, and the less likely they are to seek another job.

Want to give your staff the ultimate incentive? Do away with the daily commute, and let them log on to a hosted desktop from home. Free everyone from the tyranny of tube stations and traffic jams. Give them the gift of extra hours in the day. Sir Richard Branson is a massive supporter of home-based working. I mean, who wouldn’t be when you live on a tropical island?

But when you don’t have that luxury and have to suffer the morning commute and then something disrupts your daily routine, a remote working solution could put you on cloud nine.

What is the true cost of downtime?

the cost of downtimeBet the cost of downtime is more than you thinki!

If your IT goes down, what will it really cost your business?
The average London salary is £659 per week and in the City, it’s £923 per week. As salaries are only about 50% of the cost of running a business, let’s look at the costs of your IT being down for a day.

If you have 20 people in your business:

  • Salaries: £2,640
  • Running your business costs: £2,640

Now what other costs?

Lost Sales?
The opportunity costs of lost sales and lost prospects can quickly add up. Not being able to deliver to current clients’ deadlines because your IT is down can quickly add up. The average consultancy day rate across the country is £430 senior consultants in London can be on £6,000 per day. If 60% of your team are fee-earners, what will a lost day add up to? £5,160.
Reputational damage?
There is no accurate way to put a cost on this and it should be negligible for a one-off outage, but if you lose your IT repeatedly, it could easily start to bite.

In this case, we have over £5,000 not coming in and another £5000 going out, so a total cost exceeding £10,000. Can your business afford to lose that much for just one lost day?
So what are your options?

CLICK HERE TO SAVE £10.000 per day*


*Savings will vary and depend upon your company size, as well as other factors
Posted in: IT Support, London


Today’s BT failure highlights the importance of your internet connectivity and shows the impact that not having your internet has on your business.

Most of London has been hit, along with a corridor reaching up as far as Manchester.

If you lose your internet connection, what are your options?

  • You sit there doing nothing and waiting for the connection to come back up
  • You join the crowds at your local coffee shop and pray it’s not too loud for you to get some work done.
  • You go home and work from there, assuming your kids aren’t monopolizing the bandwidth
  • You can tether to your phone and pray you don’t use up all your allocation. At £6.50 per MB afterwards, you could face a hefty bill.
  • Your backup solution automatically fails over and you keep working.

Let’s look at the implications of these options:

Sitting doing almost nothing will cost you, on average, £200 per user per day (your average daily wage x 1.4 – to include other business costs) and that doesn’t include the opportunity costs for lost sales.

Dependent upon the size of your team, this can quickly add up to a lot of money and so really isn’t a viable solution.

Your local coffee shop is a better solution, especially if you’re confident it’s only a short term issue. The cost of a couple of lattes really isn’t much considering you’re still working.  You can’t make those really important phone calls because of the sounds wafting over from the yummy mummies and the students.

Going home is one of the better solutions, particularly if its early in the day and you don’t know how long your office connection will be down.  The commute home will be quicker than normal and the kids will still be at school. It’s quiet and the coffee is free. Hopefully your VoIP solution means you have a softphone app on your phone and so any calls can be made and received in much the same way as if you were at your desk.

Tethering is an option but with the average email using 75Kb of data, you can quickly burn through your xGB of monthly allowance, but it can be a solution for a short term loss of connectivity. Just be careful and keep an eye on your data usage. As previously mentioned, excess data is expensive and so your bill can quickly add up.

Here’s just a few of the images on Twitter under the hashtag #BTdown – thought you might like them.

CaOOHraWQAAV0yqCaOeB2pWIAIsLNfwhat do you do when your internet goes downCaOQifsWwAEPqil

Finally, a redundant failover solution.  Of course, this is the best solution, but it does mean investing in something you hope you’ll never use. It’s connectivity insurance.  There are multiple ways of doing this:

  • Another internet connection, through another physical pipe in the ground and ideally away from the other one so the gasman doesn’t put his spade through it.
  • A wireless solution such as Urban Wimax’s wireless solution. A line of sight solution where a box sits on your roof and connects to one of their aerials around the city
  • 4G connections. Unlimited data via a 4G device that simply connects to the network. Assuming you can get a 4G signal in your office, we can connect it to your router as an automatic failover device.

So if you want to see how mad the world is about BT’s latest failure, have a look on Twitter here.

If you want to see how widespread the damage is, click here.

If you want to discuss your redundancy solutions, click here.

How not to choose an IT support provider

I wonder how choose an IT support providerWhen you Google “how to choose an IT Support company” you get a lot of results: just under 2000 when we did it.

Shall we tell you to look for proactive monitoring, the certifications they hold and the level of qualifications their engineers have? Should we talk about their proximity to your office and exactly what is covered by their support contract before the extra charges start piling on? I could start wittering on about response times and contract lengths, but I’m not going to.

All of these should now be considered hygiene factors. What I mean is that they are expected. They are required and anyone who doesn’t meet them shouldn’t even make it onto the long list, never mind the shortlist.

Let’s look at this from a completely different perspective…

What was your first experience of them like?

Whether it was their website, an email they sent you, you calling them or them calling you; what was the experience like? If it was a good experience, the chances are it will be the same going forward. To me it is a sign of good management if they ensure there is always a good experience.

Did they deliver on their promises?

  • I will get our Sales Manager to call you ….
  • I will call you tomorrow to discuss…..
  • Your proposal will be with you on ……

If they cannot get this right, the chances are it won’t happen in the future either.

Do they have the evidence?

Any sales person can tell you they will be able to look after you and provide you with a top notch service, but where’s the proof? Do they have the case studies available for you to see, either publically on their website or ones they can email to you?

Who can you talk to?

How do they offer you references, if indeed they do? Do they give you a list of 5 or a list of 50? Do they provide email addresses or telephone numbers?

If they are confident in their ability to deliver and the quality they are providing to their current clients, it will be a long list of phone numbers and the offer for you to pick from any of them.

Do you trust them?

Let’s be honest, we can all sniff out a snake oil salesman at 20 paces. The suit may be a little too sharp and the promises just a little too perfect. Trust is a personal thing, but it is critical.  After they’ve left your office, do you have that warm, comfortable, feeling that shows you trust them? They want to earn your trust and then keep it. After all, IT support companies don’t actually make any money for the first few months as they get to know you, your team and your network.

Let’s face it, there are huge numbers of IT support companies in London and the surrounding counties. They will all promise 4 nanosecond response times and be able to show you a wall of MCITP certificates, but if they meet the criteria above and the numbers make sense, you’ve just made choosing that IT support provider a much easier task.


It’s coming

Normally the classic line in a bad horror film, so what do we mean here?

The bad (or should I say worse) weather, of course. The leaves are already here and the snow may be coming.

Now if you’re from one of the Scandinavian countries, or anywhere on a similar line of latitude, you’ll be choking on your latte about now. After all, there’s no such thing as bad weather – just inappropriate clothing surely.

For us in London and the South East, it’s not the clothing that’s the issue (although the extremes of heat we face between outside and on the tube/bus/train does make things complex), it’s public transport and their ability to generate excuses as to why they cannot possibly run on time. There’s a good list here but our personal favourites are the classics: “the wrong type of leaves on the line” and, of course “the wrong type of snow”. Of course, there are different types of snow but it’s still a poor excuse.

Anyway (as usual), we digress.  What is this blog all about: business continuity plans and how to avoid having to deal with our “friends” at TfL and their minions.

I am sure you are aware of the requirement to review all requests for flexible working arrangements when they are made by your staff. If you have already implemented this across your workforce, to be honest you can return to work now as you’ve probably done everything I’m about to talk about. If not, stay with me just a little while and let’s look at the two key issues:

1. Can your staff take landline calls on their mobiles?

At the very least ensure people can auto divert any calls to their landline to their mobile. This can often be done on individual handsets, although some phone systems will require you to make changes in the portal. Ideally there will be an app on their smartphone so they can work anywhere with a WiFi signal, be that at home (didn’t go out to face the transport excuses), at the station (got stuck because of the excuses) or in a coffee shop/pub (can’t get home because of the excuses).  Although they may not be as productive as they could be, they can do some of their work this way.

2. Can they access data?

I’m assuming your staff have their email going to their phone, whether it is BYOD or a company phone, so at least they can get some of their data and respond to queries. But can they get to the rest of the information they need?  Although they may not need a laptop for work, having an ability to get to your files from anywhere will enable them to do almost all their work. Of course, a cloud-based IT solution will provide all of this, but there are plenty of options for local infrastructures too. Remote Desktop Services, from Microsoft, is one solution as is Citrix.

If your staff can access data and make calls, they will be productive, even if not in the office. If you are concerned your staff cannot do these, let’s talk and ensure they can.


Posted in: Cloud Solutions, London

Cloud Computing & the central London power failure

Productivity is being hit in central London today as an underground fire has cut power to over 5000 homes and businesses.  This is in addition to the, admittedly short, power cut that denied power to a large part of Shoreditch and Bethnall Green yesterday.

Cloud computingWhilst it could be said it was lucky it took place in the Easter school holiday, meaning more people are on holiday than usual, these power cuts will impact the business affected quite dramatically.  The theatres and cinemas around Covent Garden and the Strand were seen to be emptying out, presumably with vouchers for another show in the new future. Shops have had to lock their doors and are losing trade every minute they remain closed.

Six options for emergency internet access

EFM Internet Lines from Systems IT Support

For some people, being unable to get online feels like losing a limb. But for businesses, losing internet access can be much more serious. You can be looking at missed enquiries, lost orders, a lack of productivity … potentially, you’re losing money every minute you’re offline.

If you rely on the internet, it’s a very good idea to think about how your business would cope if your connection failed. Obviously, you’ll hope this never happens, particularly if you’ve chosen a good quality broadband supplier. However, even the best internet connections can fail occasionally – so here are six ways to get back online in a pinch.