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Goodbye Windows 7

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From January 14 2020 Microsoft will no longer be supporting our old favourite Windows 7. Yes its the end of an era which will affect all devices running Windows 7 including Home and Pro licenses.

Where did Windows 7 start?

Released four years after Windows Vista , Windows 7 was released on the 22nd July 2009 to overcome the critical flaws of the Vista operating system.

In just 6 months from its release, a hundred million copies of Windows 7 had been sold around the world and as of April of this year (2019) 33.38% of computers were still using the Windows 7 operating system.

Why is Windows 7 support coming to an end?

Windows 7 is old technology and as with all technology businesses, they need to allocate their time and resources to the right applications and services to ensure they remain competitive.

When will Windows 7 suppoort stop ?

Windows updates (including security patches) will cease for Windows 7.

Computers, PCs, laptops and mobile devices with this operating system will continue to work on and offline however they will be vulnerable when online.

If a PC or laptop is using Windows 7 and you never connect to the internet, this change will not be as detrimental however it may be a good time to upgrade to a new device if you intend to change your PC or laptop in the future.

This may make backing up existing files, photos and music easier whilst your older machine is still safe to use.

With the known date for the end of support, hackers will seek to exploit weaknesses in the Windows 7 operating system to take advantage of those still using it and there will be no security patches released to prevent this.

Using antivirus will limit the risks, however it will not be a fool-proof solution.

What are my options ?

If you connect your laptop or PC to the internet it’s best to move away from Windows 7, this means one of two options:

Upgrade your existing device to Windows 10 at a cost

OR buy a new device with the latest version of Windows 10.

Once you have upgraded to Windows 10 the problem has been averted and you are safe to continue using your device as before, however if your pc or laptop wasn’t suitable for the upgrade perhaps it’s time to trade it in and purchase a new computer.

There are three mainstream operating systems to choose from when making a new purchase:

  • Windows
  • Mac OS (Apple)
  • Chromebooks

All new laptops or PCs come with the latest version of the operating system they use.

If upgrading from a Windows machine you may prefer the familiarity of this platform, visit high street stores to test out different operating systems and hardware, if you’re used to using a desktop PC you may prefer the flexibility of laptop and vice versa,.

At Myriad Digital we are currently in the process of upgrading our clients businesses and charities to Windows 10.

If you’re upgrading your businesses PCs, laptops  or servers we can help. At Myriad Digital we offer a range of attractive packages with future proof specification. We also offer finance packages to allow you to spread the cost of your new kit over 2 or 3 years.

So, don’t risk being left behind and vulnerable to cyber attacks, online criminals will be ready attack as soon as the end of support date arrives. Call us on 01626 360011 to dicuss your requirements.

Is that email a scam?

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Did you know 14.5 billion spam emails are sent everyday and hidden in these emails are scamming emails. emails targeting users to click on links or provide personal information that they can use to infiltrate the security of your PC to gain passwords, usernames and logins. These types of scamming emails are known as phishing emails.

What is a phishing email?

A phishing email is an email attempting to masquerade as an individual (this may be someone known to you) or an organisation. These emails may ask for help (i.e. a friend or loved one stuck in a foreign country with no way to get home) or may offer freebies and refunds; All phishing emails usually contain a click through link or require you to confirm personal information to access your account.

The Test

A test was conducted by KnowBe4, they sent test phishing emails to 6 million email users.

They found emails which created a knee-jerk reaction in the user were the most effective, this includes the offering or loss of money, free food and drink emails, missed delivery attempts from a courier and contact requests appealing to our basic curiosity.

Social media themed phishing attacks also proved to be popular, with LinkedIn notifications the most convincing with requests to add people, join networks, reset passwords, and new messages, convincing 53 percent of test subjects to click through on dubious links.

We are all potentially vulnerable to phishing attacks and as they become more refined and harder to tell from genuine emails it is important you never click on a link in an email without considering a few tips first.

Types of Phishing Emails

  1. Deceptive Phishing

A very common form of phishing, these emails imitate a legitimate company, using their logos, footers, email signatures and general email format in an attempt to access personal information such as login credentials or bank account details.

An example of this may be an email from Paypal. These emails are often titled with ‘Suspended Account’ or other similar titles designed to cause worry and an instant reaction. In the body of the email they will ask you to click a link whether it’s to restore your account or act now. All phishing emails will be very similar, always pay close attention to:

  • wording, grammar and spelling in emails
  • the email address that the email has been sent from, it may look genuine but with simple letters added, changed or removed
  • the details of the URL it is trying to send you to, hover over the link provided in an email, this will provide the actual URL it is sending you to.

Never risk it by clicking on the links, simply contact the business or organisation yourself by going direct to their website, using their email addresses provided on the website or by calling them.

 

  1. Spear Phishing

Spear phishing are emails tailored to the individual they are targeting. They use personal details to make the email user believe it is a genuine email, such as your name, location etc, any personal details available on platforms such as social media.

They have the same objective as general phishing but are often harder to detect.

Always look at the style and form of the email, is it different from emails previously received from this source? Is the email asking you to do something different?

If you have any doubts, never click on any links.

 

  1. CEO Fraud/Whaling

“Hi, I’m out of the office but need to arrange payment immediately to ABC company for £3,500. Please make a bank transfer this afternoon, I can sign the necessary documents when I get back in …..”

This is a targeted form of phishing, it relies on personal information and contact details of the owner or a manager of the business which they then use to contact colleagues/staff to ask them to do something i.e. make a bank transfer to another individual or company.

 

These emails can be written in such a way to create urgency, this prevents the colleague questioning the original email before making the transaction as asked, when a quick phone call could have clarified it was actually a hoax.

If your manager, boss or colleague has not previously sent emails asking for transactions to be made, always double check by phone or in person.

Also look closely at the email address used to send the original email, the slightest change i.e. exchanging an o for an 0 or adding one extra letter to an email address is hard to detect and can make the email look genuine.

It’s better to delay a transaction rather than send money to cyber fraudsters.

 

  1. Pharming

Pharming involves domain name system (DNS) cache poisoning.

Malicious code or a trojan is installed on a computer or server, changing a computer’s host file to direct traffic away from the original URL, directing users to a fraudulent website, with the potential to install more viruses/Trojans or collect personal information. If it affects the DNS server, it can cause multiple users to visit the fake website without them been aware.

Anti-virus software can help prevent this however it is not 100% failsafe against such cybercrime as it is harder to detect and the websites users are directed to can look legitimate and genuine.

By using firewalls, you can protect and secure your IT network. For further information get in touch with us today.

 

  1. Dropbox/Google Docs Phishing

Online file-sharing is one of the easiest online scams.

You receive an email supposedly from Dropbox or Google Docs saying someone (this could be someone you know) has sent you a file. To see that file you need to click on a link, you click on the link and it takes you to the website. When you arrive on the page it all looks genuine and to see the document you need to login. You enter your username and password, click enter and end up on a very different website unaffiliated with Dropbox or any other file sharing platform.

The cybercriminals now have your login details to whichever email platform you used to try to login to the fake Dropbox (Google Docs etc) website, they can now login to your email account, hijack your account and use it to distribute the same scam to all of your contacts in your online email address book.

When using any file-sharing platforms/websites it is recommended wherever possible to use Two-Factor Authentication. This will provide a six-digit code whenever a user logins in to the platform or a new user is added.

If you are sharing files online you could login directly to your file sharing website rather than clicking on any links in emails. When logged in you should be able to see any files which are being shared with you and who they are from.

 

What can be done

Putting the right technology in place such as firewalls and antivirus software along with providing security awareness for all staff minimises the risk of phishing attacks.

Your business and your employees need to be aware of these risks and avoid them wherever possible.

Speak to Myriad Digital today to discuss how we can help keep your business safe from cybercrime.

 

Is Your Business At Risk of Being Hacked?

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The Wannacry cyber attack targeted the NHS in 2017, it shut down hundreds of thousands of computers, affected 1/3 of Hospital Trusts and 8% of GP Practices in the UK.

The cyber attack came from no-where, infiltrating NHS systems, with 200,000 locked out of their computer and ransom messages appearing on screen demanding Bitcoin payments to release their data.

It cost the NHS £92 million in total, £72 million of which was used to ‘cleanup’ and upgrade their IT infrastructure and systems after it had happened, but could this have been prevented?

How did it happen?

WannaCry, a hard-drive encrypting malware, exploited a vulnerability in the Microsoft XP operating system which is no longer supported but still has a whopping 4.59% market share. A patch had been released that year in March, however it is user dependant to ensure updates and patches are applied to each computer. Are your computers patched up to date ?

It was speculated that the WannaCry malware was spread via an email campaign (phishing) however, it was found, this wasn’t the case. Using a leaked NSA hacking tool, Wannacry looked for vulnerable public-facing SMB ports it could establish a connection to.

Once it had found a way in, it could then apply itself to that machine and any other vulnerable machines on the connected network. It took just one computer which led to a whole network being infected with the ransom ware.

The NHS had clarified, after the attack that no patient information had been stolen; the Wannacry malware instead encrypted all documents, photos, videos and databases on each infected PC/laptop. Staff had to return to a pen and paper operation, using their personal mobile phones to carry on working.

It is estimated that 1% of the entire NHS workforce was disrupted over the course of that week.

What were the consequences?

In this situation more than 19,000 appointments had to be cancelled, costing the NHS £20m.

In another case, the Hilton Hotel group were fined £525k for risking 363,000 accounts in two credit card data breaches when they were hacked in a similar style which could have been avoided if goog IT practice was in place.

Is a data breach really likely in my business?

Over 4 in 10 businesses (43%) in the UK have had a data breach within the last 12 months (UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Cyber Security Survey 2018)

It is estimated that only 3 in 10 businesses currently have a formal cyber security policy in place.

Why invest in cyber security?

Scammers work around the clock, sending emails and creating viruses to infiltrate IT infrastructure of companies like yours. Did you know if your customer data is harvested through a hack you can and held liable and fined ?

Viruses, Trojans, malware and ransomware can cause downtime to your business. If your files on your PC were encrypted and you could not access them what would you do?

Prevention is always better than the cure and with hacking on the increase it’s time to get your IT up to scratch to ensure you’re not vulnerable.

Things you can do to prevent a data breach

  1. Backup your data regularly, with regular off-site automated backups
  2. Deploy strong passwords, using a password generator if necessary
  3. Train your employees in safe working practice when online
  4. Encrypt your data
  5. Invest in the latest technology now rather than take the risk

At Myriad Digital we offer entire solutions, from secure offsite backups, to Award-winning antivirus software, encryption programs and contingency planning so that you are covered should anything go wrong. Why not call us to arrange a meeting about keeping your business secure. Tel. 01626 360011

Remember Windows 7 will not be supported beyond February 2020 – so why not look at replacement options for your older computers and consider our leasing packages to make thing affordable.

Is it time to move your business to the cloud ?

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Embracing The Cloud

Amazon, Google Drive, Drop Box all offer cloud storage solutions and as the amount of UK businesses now using cloud computing continues to grow, have you considered how moving to the cloud could help your business?

Before the cloud, finding the right software and applications for any business was often difficult and potentially costly without any guaranteed results. Many business programs or software would offer a one-size fits all approach without considering the business type, size or industry that your company was in.

Once chosen, the software would require the right IT infrastructure to support the installation and configuration, regular testing and updating to ensure it could be used smoothly by all users.
This was a challenge to small and large companies alike; even those with their own in-house IT often struggled to find and implement the right software successfully.
With the introduction of cloud computing it has eliminated these risks, reducing the costs, making it easier to use on any platform and removing the need for on-going maintenance and updates in house. With online software such as Office 365 you only pay for what you need and use as opposed to offline programs that would require the purchase of the whole package, with many applications going unused.

Up-scaling and downscaling in the cloud is also a lot easier, with upgrade options available the very same day, which means your business continues to operate without any IT restrictions. Apps can be customised to suit your employees, whether they are working from home, the train or even on holiday, everything is available at their fingertips, quickly and securely.
The cloud can be accessed by PCs, laptops, tablet devices as well as smartphones and as more employees are now working with mobile devices, moving to the cloud could provide the flexibility your business requires.

We work with businesses that are permanently online, removing the need for a ‘traditional’ office and the costs that this can incur. The world is on the move and keeping your business just as adaptable can be a strong advantage over competitors.

Moving to the Cloud

Changing any business’s IT infrastructure and systems can seem daunting and without experiencing the cloud for yourself it can be difficult to see the true advantages and reasons to make the switch. This is where we are here to help, we offer advice tailored specifically to your business, from its size through to the industry, we can help find the right Cloud solution for your business.
Moving to the cloud can remove the requirement for daily backups and updates, reduce your operational expenses and make working life a lot easier and simpler, with one-click user logins you can access all of your files on the move wherever you are, making your business mobile and operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without the need to have an onsite team based in an office.
Installation is quick and can even be undertaken remotely by one of our technicians to minimise any office disruption.

Our Cloud Package
At Myriad Digital, we understand that internet and data security is paramount to any business, this is why we only use cloud solutions provided by the most respectable providers in the industry.

Please click below to see what we have to offer and call us if you are considering moving to the cloud
G Suite
Office 365
AWS or Amazon Web Services

We also offer a full range of IT services, support and maintenance. This means whether you need a helping hand onsite or some remote assistance to help with any queries, our team are here for you and your business whenever you need us.

Looking to replace your laptop computer ?

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Choosing the right laptop for you and your business

There are many brands, hundreds of models, so when it comes to selecting the right laptop for your business and employees it can be difficult to know what you need from the machine itself its operating system.

There are three main components to look at in any laptop

  • Power
  • Performance
  • Portability

Laptops available on the high street may appear tempting with special offers or bundled options, however nearly all models in retail stores will be suited and designed for simple home use, i.e. browsing on the web, doing homework etc; or created for gamers, with expensive graphics cards and added RAM for speed and effective visual output when gaming.

The cheaper the laptop the more basic it will be with a lack of ability to join it to a domain, run business software or multi-task with various windows/tabs open at the same time.  Cheaper laptop deals often also feature older generation CPUs (more about this later).

Laptop power & performance

When looking at any laptop consider the size and speed of the hard drive, the RAM, CPU and screen size.

These four components will make up the performance of the machine and generally the bigger the specification, the faster and smoother the computer will be to use.

Let’s break them down and explain the components.

The hard drive stores your information, documents, files etc. The larger the hard drive, the more you can store. The smaller the hard drive the less storage available and as it is used, the laptop may slow down and you may experience ‘freezing’ whilst accessing applications or files.

Anyone in a creative industry, working with larger files types such as videos or high-resolution graphics will require larger hard drives.

Measured in Gigabytes and Terabytes, the minimum specification for an office environment is 1TB however for maximum performance on any machine an SSD (Solid State Drive) may be worth investing in, although it can be costly, it can provide long-term effective performance.

The RAM manages the smooth running of tasks. A good average RAM for any office environment is 8GB – 16GB, however advanced graphics and web design will require a RAM of 32GB and above.

The Central Processing Unit or CPU has three elements to look at, the generation i.e. i5 (5th Gen), the number of cores (dual-core, quad-core), and the speed of each core.  Dual-core should be the bare minimum used for an office laptop.

The generation is very important, a 1.9GHz CPU from three years ago will not perform as well as a 1.9GHz CPU built today. Newer chips are more efficient and less power-hungry, meaning the laptops are a lighter weight with a much longer battery life.

When looking at which screen size to opt for, consider the battery life and quality of screen required. Size does not equal quality, you will need to look at individual screen resolutions from the laptop specifications.  The finish is also important for some users and comes in matt or gloss which tends to reflect more making the screen harsher on the eyes.

The more creative your business i.e. if you work with images or videos the better quality screen you will require therefore opt for a higher resolution screen.

An average laptop screen may be 1366 x 768p, through to a decent screen of1920 x 1080p, some offer Full HD.

The larger the two numbers on the spec, the clearer the laptop screen image will be.

Laptop portability

Portability will depend on the size, the weight and the battery life.

Laptops can range from 10.1” through to 17”, with ultra-thin laptops weighing from 1kg with larger bulkier models weighing sometimes four times as heavy at 4kg.

If you or your employees are going to travel with a laptop daily or frequently, a lighter laptop is the best option.

Laptops with the biggest screens are great when working however the larger the laptop the more battery power required for it to operate, therefore always check the average battery life before making a purchase and read reviews from other users of the machine to see if the manufacturers claims of battery life are true to their word. Charging points in public places i.e. on trains and at airports are more common these days, however the longer the battery life, the better.

Let us help you find the right laptop

At Myriad, we’ve assisted many businesses and charities finding the right laptop, from an initial chat, discussing what you require we can provide competitive quotes and offer commissioning, data trasnfer and joining to your domian so that it’s ready to go when you receive. If you are in the market for a newmodel then please dont hesitate to contact us and we’ll see what the best current deals are then select something that suits your criteria

 

Myriad partner up with 2Circles

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Myriad have recently become a partner with 2 Circles, O2 Wholesale Communications of the Year Winners for 3 consecutive years.

2 Circles Communications are an award winning communications specialist who provide complete communications solutions, promising best in class service and guaranteed cost savings to our business clients throughout the UK.

This means that here at Myriad we can now offer better value broadband, mobile and land line deals to all of our clients with the confidence that we are backed by an industry leading specialist with many years of experience and proven track record.

As a 2 Circles client appointed by Myriad you will benefit from:
All calls are answered in 3 rings by a real person, based in the UK
All customers receive a named account manager
We provide proactive support in identifying on-going cost saving opportunities
You have one supplier and one bill for all your communications requirements
All customers get Free Online billing and usage alerts to help manage your costs

This service offering extends to the whole of the UK. Established in 1999, 2 Circles have shown impressive growth in one of the most competitive comm sectors and can now boast a network of 200 Business Partners and Engineers and Over 6500 clients throughout the UK (including Northern Ireland), across every single UK business sector.

We are very pleased to be able to offer these services at competitive pricing all backed up by 24/7 support.

Myriad offer lease finance solutions

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We are now able to offer attractive flexible finance options on both hardware and software purchases. Working with 2 finance houses we now offer a range of products aimed at making your IT systems affordable.

Working with two specialist Technology Finance companys, both of which are fully aligned to the IT supplier channel, we are able to finance IT hardware and software and as such able to offer the best terms in the market for both established and start-up businesses. In mnay cases this can extend to financing the total solution including all pre-delivered services such as installation and training.

We have a fantastic range of products available for you to consider and some very effective ideas on how to successfully implement leasing to assist your business. Please contact us for more information for finance on purchases of £1000 net and over.

Myriad Digital celebrates its 11th birthday

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Myriad Digital was incorporated at companies house on 28/10/2003.

With two of its founding directors still in place, Myriad has bucked the trends of many many new businesses and survived some of the toughest years the business world has seen. Our registration with companies house lists us under the Information technology consultancy activities section for the nature of business. However we have had to diversify and broaden our horizons over the past few years in order to survive recent challenging times.

We are a relatively small company with strong foundations which has helped us build an expanding client base. Most of our clients have opted to become contracted clients over the years helping us to build and maintain a stable and profitable business model with scalable operations to meet our clients requirements. Clients who enter in to a contract with Myriad benefit from a host of features including guaranteed response times, fixed IT support costs and assistance with planning their businesses IT infrastructure.

To celebrate our 11th anniversary we will be focusing on improving our outward facing profile and entering the realms of Social Media to help put our message across that we will be here for the next 10 years and will continue to offer a first class service to our expanding client base.

If you are not a client but are interested in acquiring support for your IT infrastructure including network support, server support, network security or any other aspect of IT then please call us on 01626 360011 so that we can discuss your requirements. Remember we cover most of Devon and parts of Cornwall, focusing on small businesses and charitable organisations in the Exeter, Plymouth, Newton Abbot and Torbay.

 

Computer Sales and Installations

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We can supply all major brands of computers

We can assist you with every aspect of a successful installation from a single computer to a local area network, VPN or WAN. We cover Devon including Torbay, Exeter, Plymouth and most of the South West.

In essence, whether you are a large corporate organisation or a small home-based business, we will help you from the selection and procurement stage, through to installation, configuration and testing of the computer system. We believe in using and providing high quality branded computer equipment to ensure a reliable, stable and upgradable system. In our experience this provides a lower cost of ownership and a prolonged service life of your IT infrastructure.

From the provision of a replacement memory chip to a multi-user network, we can look after all your computer hardware requirements. We supply leading brand names such as DELL, Apple, HP/Compaq, Fujitsu and Toshiba at attractive prices.

All computer systems purchased from us are delivered to your premises, set-up and configured in person. We also offer a data transfer service from your old PCs or server to your new equipment where applicable.

Where servers are supplied, we include basic instruction on routine administration tasks, such as setting up new users, backing up your data and file management – we don’t leave the job until you the client are satisfied and familiar with the installation. Our post-installation service is second-to-none and we always allow sufficient time to iron out even the smallest of system niggles.

For competitive prices, attention to detail and personal professional attention, please call us to discuss your hardware / software requirements today. We can supply and install in Devon including Torbay, Exeter, and Plymouth.

Network Support

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Call us to discuss your network problems

Our main area of focus is to provide a high level of expertise in the design, analysis and provision of network services. If you are experiencing problems with any aspect of your network whether its slow, unreliable or down entirely we can help. We can generally visit within hours to offer free advice in all areas of IT and Telecommunications and see ourselves as the ‘IT Manager’ for small businesses.

Our customers can be assured that they will at all times receive the highest level of advice and support. We are Microsoft qualified engineers and are experienced in complete network designs and installations, supply and installations of servers, computers and other network equipment.

Our customer base is wide and ranges from accountancy firms, building contractors, leasing and finance, through to hotels and the leisure industry within Devon, including Torbay, Exeter and Plymouth.

Support contracts can be set up to ensure that you receive the prompt attention that you require, letting you relax knowing that your computer network and systems are running smoothly an efficiently.

Our support contracts provide cover from 5 to 7 days per week with on-site response times ranging from 2 hours to next day, depending on the nature of your business and the importance of your IT system. Much of the work we do can be conducted remotely, helping us to offer a competitively priced support service.

We prefer a proactive approach whereby we provide the support that ensures the risk of disruption is minimised. This proactive monitoring gives you peace of mind allowing you to concentrate on your core business, knowing that your IT system is being looked after.

Tariff:

Cost per server per month: £50

Cost per PC per month: £15

For example a business with 10 PC’s and a single server, the cost would be £200 per month.

What does this cover ? Our basic cover provides same day support for PC’s, printers,server(s) and associated networking issues. We are able to resolve most issues remotely, but where necessary we attend your site. The basic contract provides labour only cover. Hardware and software that needs replacing or upgrading is paid for by you the client. Please see out terms and conditions for more detail.