Beyond The Four Walls: Essential Mobile Security for Businesses

The internet has revolutionised the way we do business. Securing your company used to be all about keeping things within the four walls of your office. A firewall and antivirus software could keep threats at bay and this was widely accepted as sufficient for IT security. Then the mobile device came along and turned this four-walls theory on its head. With devices coming in and out all the time, accessing sensitive emails over coffee shop WiFi networks and falling between the cracks of internet security, the issue of mobile security doesn’t come up nearly as often as it should. Every company should have a mobile security policy in place to protect sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands.

Update your company mobile security policy

Every business should have a mobile policy that includes security provisions. This should outline what is and what isn’t acceptable on a company mobile device. This includes phones, tablets and laptops as they can all be taken away from the office and are therefore at higher risk. Your policy should also specify if users can access company data from their own devices.

Designate responsibility for mobile security

Things like keeping software and antivirus software up-to-date can often fall between the cracks, particularly for personal and mobile devices. Deciding who is responsible and making sure they are aware of this responsibility is essential. This can become part of the mobile security policy and should be checked frequently to ensure employees are compliant.

Switch to the cloud

The cloud provides unrivalled security for users on the go. If you want to keep your data secure, then storing all of your sensitive data on a cloud account is far safer than saving it on a mobile device. If your phone, laptop or tablet is ever stolen and you are using a cloud account you can simply revoke access and your data will remain secure.

Use data encryption

In 2012, a NASA employee’s laptop containing the details of 10,000 employees was stolen from their car. While the laptop did have password protection, it wasn’t encrypted, which meant the data was at risk. If it can happen to NASA, it can happen to you. Encrypting all devices is an essential step for mobile security but it is often overlooked as password protection is seen as sufficient.

Mobile security is an essential component of any company security plan if you want to keep your business your business. With more and more employees switching to mobile devices and working outside of the four walls of the business, it makes sense to put a mobile security plan in place to keep your data secure.

Cloud Computing Advantages for SMEs

The cloud offers flexibility, scalability and security. Which is convenient, because these are just some of the things small business owners are looking for. For those growing a business, there can be no better IT solution than one that grows with them. The world of business is fast changing, and the business owners leading the way are those switched on to cloud computing advantages.

While it might seem like a complex concept, anyone with an email account can grasp the idea of cloud computing and its advantages. For anyone who has ever logged into their email account from a computer that isn’t their own and found all of their emails and files accessible to them, the advantages of cloud computing are fairly easy to understand. The modern company isn’t confined to one location, and the rise of entrepreneurs starting businesses from their dining table means that cloud computing is the logical choice to enable collaboration without a traditional office environment.

Here are just some of the cloud computing advantages we can think of…

Increased Collaboration

One of the most obvious cloud computer advantages is the opportunity for collaboration. An office in a box solution allows the work from home entrepreneur to scale up their operations as an when required. This might mean collaborating with someone on the other side of the city, or the other side of the world. This solution travels with the business owner, meaning they are always ready for the next step in growing their enterprise. However, the only obstacle lies in company-wide adoption. Issues with compatibility can arise if one user is reluctant to adopt new technology. For cloud computing to work, everyone will have to be on board, which means educating all of the stakeholders and staff on how the cloud works.

Speed Up Processes

The cloud has no doubt streamlined many processes which we now take for granted. For businesses, the prospect of speeding up cumbersome processes can help to free up time for other tasks. Going paperless, for example, can free up time spent stuffing envelopes or scrambling through filing cabinets. Moving processes to the cloud also opens up the possibility of using big data to make better business decisions.

Improve Security

We couldn’t compile a list of cloud computing advantages without mentioning security. The threat of cyber attacks hasn’t been far from the headlines in the past couple of months, which is prompting some companies to review their security protocols. Unfortunately, SMEs often think they’re immune to such threats until it’s too late. With the right hosted cloud services provider, security can be greatly improved. Even steps as simple as keeping software up-to-date will help to improve IT security and reduce the risk of malware infection. And if something goes wrong, data recovery from the cloud can help to minimise disruption.

BCN accelerates its public service offerings with G-Cloud 9 approval

BCN Group, the Manchester-based Digital and Cloud Service Provider has been notified by the Crown Commercial Service that it has been successful in becoming a service provider for Cloud Hosting, Cloud Software and Cloud Support for G-Cloud 9.

This latest Government award enables BCN’s increasingly popular cloud-based service offerings to be available to the UK’s public sector organisations, ensuring a compelling blend of commercial best value, flexibility and world class service. The nine newly approved services cover Application Hosting, Email Filtering, Office 365 subscription and migration, Unified Communications as a service, Windows and Linux Server, Backup as a Service, Disaster Recovery as a Service and Specialist Cloud Services.

‘We are delighted to be recognised again as a provider of cloud services’ said Stewart Dalziel, Sales Director at BCN. ‘Achieving a place on G-Cloud 9 is a recognition of our established track record and on-going work with the public sector along with our commitment to customer service excellence.  We are genuinely excited by the opportunity this presents and we are fully committed to supporting the Government’s Digital Workplace Strategy.’

Ends.

Why Ransomware loves your secret shame

The very high profile exposure of the WannaCry ransomware exploit has once again shone a light on this ever-expanding business problem. And whilst such an event is nothing to smile about, in some respects, it’s important that it has happened in such a public way. According to IBM Security, Ransomeware-infected emails expanded 6000% in 2016 compared to the year before, with no sign of slowing this year. To make matters worse, 70% of the victims interviewed paid up.

As an organisation that advises businesses on a wide range of IT security matters, we know that only a small proportion of customers are proactively doing something to mitigate this terrible phenomenon. It’s a common theme to find that those freely wanting to do something about it, have very recently fallen victim themselves!

And therein lies one of the biggest challenges … real-world awareness.  Too many organisations prefer to remain in denial that ransomware is as widespread as it is until it’s too late. It is no exaggeration to state that not one client who has been through this issue is comfortable with their name being associated with it to help prompt or educate others to take preventative action.

We couldn’t agree more with all the helpful advice that is freely available regarding updating software, hardware and security appliances. However, as sensible as this is, it is no substitute for getting professional and impartial advice from a security expert.

Advice, although often free, can result in an unplanned but necessary business purchase. But is that such a bad thing? Surely keeping your business secure and productive is more important?  If only our clients could tell you their stories… But we respect that they won’t, as the brand is everything.

So, what will it take before you seek professional security advice?

 

Come and see us at the Northern Business Exhibition for your chance to win an Apple watch

BCN Group are excited to be exhibiting at stand B64 at the Northern Business Exhibition at Event City in Manchester on the 6th – 7th April.

The aim of the exhibition is to introduce new business owners or owners trying to expand their business to providers who can offer services to both benefit and support growth. It gives you a chance to speak to the experts in various industries and forge valuable relationships.

We are using the exhibition as a platform to promote our ‘Office in a Box’ service – a fast and flexible ready-to-go IT package comprising secure internet, robust communication and computer systems, all wrapped with friendly 24×7 technical support. And all at competitive and easy to understand pricing.

We will be taking our arcade game machine with us and highest score wins an Apple watch… So why not come and visit us at stand B64? To get your free ticket click here.

 

 

 

BCN Group are recruiting!

BCN is one of the UK’s fastest growing IT and Cloud Service Providers – experiencing 25% year on year growth – with particular success in Hybrid IT/ Cloud services – expanding equally in Commercial and Public Sector verticals.

 

We’re looking for two dynamic, hungry salespeople to help us grow our annuity business so if you’re good at selling software solutions, managed services, off-site back-up and DR – we’d like to talk to you!

 

We are offering a competitive salary, quarterly bonus, plus uncapped commission … and you never have to share commission with a specialist or overlay, or hand over your renewals – your customer is YOUR customer.

 

At BCN we encourage entrepreneurship and we do the right thing for the most important people to us – our customers.

 

If this is you, and you want the job – give Stewart a call on 07736 454582.

 

Please – No recruiter calls. Just potential candidates, thanks.

Are Avaya going out of business and what exactly is Chapter 11?

If the rumours are true (as suggested by the Wall Street Journal), Avaya are due for yet another bad spell. On top of the rumours circulating that they’re about to sell of their Contact Centre business, speculation is growing that they may also file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Rather than focus this post on why they have such woes, I thought it’d be useful to explore the basic principles of what Chapter 11 means, because the word bankruptcy tends to have a very finite meaning to many.

In the US, filing for Chapter 11 isn’t a ‘pack up your kit and go home’ affair, where all the investors end up fighting over the bones of a dead company. Rather, Chapter 11 is a form of bankruptcy that allows a company to re-organise itself in order to extract itself from a failure.

According to the US Courts Chapter 11:
…provides for reorganisation, usually involving a corporation or partnership. A chapter 11 debtor usually proposes a plan of reorganisation to keep its business alive and pay creditors over time.

So, this will likely mean the management stays in place (with big decisions being approved by the bankruptcy court), and a new business plan is put in place to help revive the faltering organisation back to days of former glory – or at the very least to a position where they can continue to repay the creditors.

The new business plan needs creditor, shareholder and other interested party acceptance and bankruptcy court approval to be allowed. It is possible for the court to approve the plan even if creditors et al reject it – though this would need to satisfy the court that the plan is fair in its treatment to all interested parties.

Assuming the green light, trading continues as normal until one of two things happen within an agreed time frame. 1) the company gets itself to the business plan state, or 2) they don’t.

All said and done, history has shown the odds are against a happy ending, but you never know.

As for Avaya, this is all rumour and conjecture right now. Whatever they decide, it’s likely it’ll be sooner rather than later that we will all get some news. Like the once mighty Nortel before them, Avaya are up against it.

Watch this space…

You can only spend your pound once – don’t wait until it’s only worth 80p

It’s been called the ‘Brexit Effect’, the ‘Trump Effect’, and the ‘Exchange Rate Impact’. But whatever you choose to call it – let’s agree on Trumbrexchange – the result is the same: prices are going up, and not just in a small way.

Across the board, vendors and suppliers, mainly outside of the UK have made significant pricing adjustments upward to ensure they don’t fall foul of the exchange rate fluctuations. As we now know, these changes are ranged quite dramatically between manufacturers, with a popularly unpopular 10% by global PC builder Lenovo, a nerve jangling 15% from VMware, to an eye watering 22% from Microsoft. HP (like many that have already pushed prices north) have revisited the price hike booth with a further round of rises varying between 6 and 12%.

Yet whilst we may all know about these price changes, many of have forgotten that they don’t actually come into force until January 1st, 2017. With no rocket science required, If you have budget to spend on your IT now and where holding it off until the new year, you might want to think about changing that view.

In less than a month, your beloved pound will buy your a as much as a fifth less product than it used to.

2017 is certainly looking like it’ll be an interesting year in both politics and business, and with so much uncertainty it might just be wise to do your new years’ shopping early this time round. At the very least, today you definitely know what you’re dealing with. Tomorrow, who knows?

5 Reasons why Hyperconvergence might be right for you

Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) – may be a buzzword right now, but once it is better understood, its meaning makes sense – as combining multiple complex processes together helps make our IT lives easier. But how does hyperconvergence achieve this – and is it right for you? Below are five key considerations why this could be your next step in improving both your infrastructure and business performance.

But before we get to the five, let me quickly summarise HCI for context. If you’re familiar with converged infrastructure (CI), you’ll know it combines the 4 set pieces of a data centre – compute, storage, networking and virtualisation through a single interface. Hyperconvergence (HCI) on the other hand goes one stage further and manages all of these components of hardware through one piece of software, which is known as a hypervisor. This allows for the fast addition and removal of resources to the base unit.

With that in mind, here’s five HCI advantages:

1 Safe and sound
Let’s be honest – protecting and backing up data is boring, but it has to be done. However, many businesses only undertake the basic steps of protecting their data, because it’s tedious and it can be very expensive. HCI won’t make data backup thrilling, but it will make protecting your data simpler and cheaper, as backup and recovery features are all built in.

2 A moveable feast
Businesses are required to be adaptable and respond quickly to changing situations. The term agility comes to mind – staying fresh on your toes so you can move resources and infrastructure quickly and efficiently. In a HCI system, the entire data centre is stored in an easy to handle all-in-one box, so businesses can relocate quickly and easily without compromising the expectations of their customers.

3 A useful interface
The more separate components you have in a data centre, the more software you need to ensure everything runs well. HCI takes all these units, whether it’s storage, backup, or cloud gateway functionality, and combines everything into a neat, comfortable software package known as a hypervisor, which uses a centralised interface to mange it from – which saves training time, and cuts costs maintaining multiple layers of software.

4 One vendor, fewer problems
Under the traditional cloud deployment, businesses would have to get their storage from one provider, their networking from another, and so on. Because the hypervisor manages all of the hardware in an umbrella-like structure, only one point of contact is necessary, which can improve the efficiency of every stage of its lifecycle, from the analysis to the installation, management and maintenance.

5 It’s just cheaper
Given the above, this may seem like an obvious point, but new HCI systems are much cheaper than their standard counterparts up front. For small and growing businesses, the savings exponentially grow as more systems are required, with less time and effort is required to install the hardware, and less money needed to maintain and manage the software as more components are added, as only one interface is ever used.

That’s our quick take on HCI – if you’d like to learn more or request a demo, drop us an email at info@bcn.co.uk.

New Health Sector Launched

The new BCN health sector page is now live. Following on from BCN’s recent award on all 4 Lots of the G-Cloud 8 procurement program, we have created a Health specific destination for IT experts and clinical professionals.

Found within the Public Sector area of our website, the new page offers straightforward insights in to we do to help existing customers, and what is possible for our future ones.

‘We’re getting known for being friendly, knowledgeable and affordable’, said Stewart Dalziel, BCN’s sales director. ‘Knowing this industry well, understanding its core and peripheral challenges means we can quickly help develop and deliver impacting IT solutions and services that save time and money.’

BCN’s services cover a wide range of IT areas – spanning solutions that improve clinical mobility, patient care and experience, FTE reduction, data security, help desk, paperless and digitisation, and naturally easy group purchasing through G-Cloud.

To find out how BCN Group can help your business, contact us on  0345 095 7000.