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The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has raided a business in Liverpool over suspected data trafficking, the acquisition, and sale of illegally obtained personal data.

The business is thought to have carried out high volumes of data farming, known as vishing or voice phishing to obtain personal data of motor accident victims to sell onto solicitors for personal injury claims.

Vishing is a form of fraud conducted via the telephone, where a third party will attempt to obtain private, personal and financial information.  Often callers pose as policyholders, claimants or other companies in a position of trust.

The post Illegal data farm found in Liverpool appeared first on The PC Support Group.

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On the back of listening to our clients and having an ear to the ground in the IT sector, we were delighted to jointly host a cybersecurity event in Liverpool last week.

We invited some of our clients to keep them updated about things happening in the technology sector as well as a number of other North West based SMEs with the aim of giving them useful tips about what they can do to protect their businesses and a chance to discuss any pressing cybersecurity issues.

The discussion was expertly chaired by Frank McKenna from Downtown with great input from everyone.   Vic Brown from the award-winning HR recruitment company, High Performance Consultancy was also on hand, providing important policy advice along with her positive experience on how tech has helped take her business to the next level.

We discussed how rapidly advancing technology has been a game-changer for those SMEs who have embraced it and yet, it has highlighted the fact that most businesses do not have the appropriate cybersecurity solutions in place.  Unsurprisingly, several companies in the room had experienced being hacked in the last month and two in the last week alone.  One business had recently lost £20,000 from one incident.

So, my advice to everyone who attended our event and indeed anyone who has a business is this:

  • Without delay, check what data backup you have in place, where it is stored and ask your IT provider, is it appropriate?
  • Make sure you have appropriate data security policies in place and that they are implemented to protect you, your staff and your business. Speak with your HR department
  • Educate yourself and your staff through internal or external training about what to look out for to avoid cyber-crime and what to do, should you be a victim

At The PC Support Group we hold regular events to educate SMEs on cybersecurity and we have produced a free cybersecurity guide. If you are interested in attending any future events or wish to receive our guide please contact us here or send us an email to info@pcsupportgroup.com  or phone us on 0330 886 116 and we would be more than happy to arrange a visit to see how we can protect and enable you to reach your business goals through our exceptional service and IT expertise.

Phil Bird

Managing Director, The PC Support Group

The post Educating clients with a cybersecurity event appeared first on The PC Support Group.

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Downtime is one of those dreaded words that gives business owners and managers nightmares. When some or all of your people can’t access core IT systems it’s always bad news – for relationships with customers, for productivity, for employee morale and, ultimately, for the bottom line.

The damage and cost of unplanned downtime depends on how long systems are down for, and how much each business relies on smooth-running technology, for income and customer satisfaction. Even planned downtime can cause problems and, these days, is often unnecessary.

Running an IT and telephony support business like I do, I’d love to be able to say that unplanned downtime is 100% avoidable! The reality is that it’s very difficult to prevent every conceivable cause of downtime. Occasionally even the best technology fails and human error is always a possibility.

Faced with a challenge like this, if you’re anything like me, you get practical – very quickly! What do we do about this then? Well, here are some key things you can do to minimise unplanned downtime – and even planned downtime too, come to that!:

  1. Create a strategy and action plan to actively manage all aspects of your IT
  2. Put a disaster recovery plan in place
  3. Organise regular automated backups
  4. Regularly check your backups
  5. Monitor and update all your devices and systems.

The thing is, for most SMEs with limited IT resources and expertise,  the most efficient and cost-effective way of ensuring that these tasks are completed and checked is to work with a trusted IT service partner with specific technical expertise and management skills.

Although there are costs involved, as there are engaging with any supplier, these are usually very reasonable, while the impact of not making this investment can be huge, even existential.

Just one more tip: Make sure your prospective partner offers flexible terms so that you can quickly and easily go elsewhere if you need to – beware those businesses that want to tie you down to long contracts with onerous terms!

If you’re concerned about the impact that downtime could have on your business and what you can do to prevent it, call us on 03300 886116 or email info@pcsupportgroup.com  for a confidential chat about how we can help. Meanwhile, we’ve also created this helpful guide to finding the right IT service provider.

Phil Bird,

Managing Director, The PC Support Group

The post Save your business from the impact of downtime appeared first on The PC Support Group.

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Corporate Vision Magazine has announced the winners of the 2019 Technology Innovator Awards.

The awards now in its fifth year, showcase some of the best most innovative companies, projects, and services within the technology industry. The surge of available technology products and its constant evolution means that the technology industry now stands as one of the most vitally prominent in the world.

North West-based IT and telephony provider, The PC Support Group has been unveiled as the Best SME IT Support Business 2019 – North West of England from CV Magazine.

Commenting on the success of this year’s awards and winners, Laura Hunter, Awards Coordinator for Corporate Vision stated:

“Now in its fifth year, the Technology Innovator Awards showcase the very best of the best from across the technology space. I am proud to offer my congratulations to all of my winners and wish them all the best of luck for the future.”

Phil Bird, managing director, The PC Support Group said:

“We are passionate about helping businesses across the North West realise their business potential through world-class IT support and winning awards like these means we are achieving what we set out to do.”

To learn more about these illustrious winners, and to find out the secrets behind their success, please visit https://www.cv-magazine.com.

The post Corporate Vision Unveils the Winners of the 2019 Technology Innovator Awards appeared first on The PC Support Group.

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According to a report last year, two-thirds of SMEs now use managed services and this is rising.

A Managed Service Provider (MSP) is a third party who manages IT infrastructure on a subscription plan meaning the SME can focus on developing the business and the day-to-day responsibility lies with the MSP.

For businesses that don’t have the resources and expertise to look after their IT or simply want to spend time growing their business rather than fixing problems or maintaining IT systems, it is the perfect solution.

Managed IT services can cover a range of functions from network, systems, applications, data storage and backup, cloud service solutions, cybersecurity, VoIP telephony and printer management.

With technology being essential to all businesses to varying degrees and in particular how fast it is changing, businesses can’t afford to be left behind.

If you’re considering using a MSP for outsourcing your IT here is a useful article that outlines the benefits to help you make an informed choice.

The post What is a MSP or managed service provider? appeared first on The PC Support Group.

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PC Support Group by Helen Roughley - 1M ago

According to a report last year, two-thirds of SMEs now use managed services and this is rising.

A Managed Service Provider (MSP) is a third party who manages IT infrastructure on a subscription plan meaning the SME can focus on developing the business and the day-to-day responsibility lies with the MSP.

For businesses that don’t have the resources and expertise to look after their IT or simply want to spend time growing their business rather than fixing problems or maintaining IT systems, it is the perfect solution.

Managed IT services can cover a range of functions from network, systems, applications, data storage and backup, cloud service solutions, cybersecurity, VoIP telephony and printer management.

With technology being essential to all businesses to varying degrees and in particular how fast it is changing, businesses can’t afford to be left behind.

If you’re considering using a MSP for outsourcing your IT here is a useful article that outlines the benefits to help you make an informed choice.

The post What is a managed IT service? appeared first on The PC Support Group.

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EE has launched the first 5G network in the UK trialling 6 cities: London, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, and Belfast.

Phones with 5G will require new handsets and will start at £54/month for ten gigabytes of data.

Why should you swap from 4G to 5G?

  • Increased capacity – making it easier to get service in busy places such as railway stations and stadiums
  • Increased speeds.   4G operates at speeds of Mbps (millions of bits per second) and it is expected that 5G will use GBPS (billions of bits per second).  This means that 5G will be 1000 times faster than 4G meaning an entire HD film would be downloaded in less than a second
  • Low latency – of particular benefit for online games and new services such as those utilising augmented reality

EE plans for ten more cities to be added later this year and has confirmed that its range of phones would not include Chinese firm Huawei, which supplies network equipment to the UK’s mobile operators for their roll-out of 5G, following the US decision to not allow it to do business in America.

Rival Vodaphone plans to launch its 5G network in July.

The post First 5G network launched in UK appeared first on PC Support Group.

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You are more likely to fall victim to cybercrime than anything else.

In the past 12 months, two in five businesses in the UK have been subject to cybercrime with the average cost around £3000 per business (2018 Cyber Security Breaches Survey).

Don’t wait to be a victim.

The PC Support Group in conjunction with HR specialist, HPC and Downtown in Business are offering 30 businesses based in Liverpool with 10+employees an invitation to a select free cyber security power panel:

Date: Thursday 27th June

Time: 12-2pm (lunch & refreshments provided)

Location: Liverpool

Venue: TBC

This event is essential for business owners and directors and will take the format of an informal discussion for 30 businesses only based in Liverpool.

Topics we will cover:

  • The latest cyber security threats and how to identify them
  • How they can impact your business
  • What you can do to keep your business safe
  • Policies to implement to protect your business.

If you are serious about keeping your business safe, you don’t want to miss this non-technical but highly informative discussion.  

Early bird incentive: Reserve your place by Friday 7th June and after the event you will take away with you a FREE cyber Crime guide. 

RSVP to helen.roughley@pcsupportgroup.com by Friday 14th June 2019.  Places will be given on a first come first served basis.

The post Your business is at risk of a cyber attack – ACT NOW appeared first on PC Support Group.

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According to a recent study, 86% of the top UK websites failed to comply with GDPR.  Considering GDPR is now a year old, this alarming news.

The findings by ImmuniWeb, a global security testing provider, highlighted that the majority of UK websites were using non-compliant processes or insecure systems to host and manage user data.   Eighty-six percent were found to be using insecure cookies and 17% of sites had either missing or hard to reach privacy policies.

On a positive note, 100% were using Secure Socket Layer (SSL) or HTTPS and had up-to-date content management systems.

The stats also revealed that sites operating across the rest of Europe are more likely to be compliant with GDPR.

Here are some tips on how to make your website GDPR compliant:

  1. Make sure your privacy policy is very clear about the data you are capturing and easily accessible.  It needs to outline the usage of advertising, marketing, transferring data to third parties (who must be named) and IP tracking
  2. Make sure an SSL certificate is obtained for your website to encrypt data to stop people hacking it
  3. Make sure any data capture forms on your website have active opt-in boxes for acceptance reasons including for social media
  4. Make sure users can unsubscribe their consent/withdraw their permission easily and clearly and this should be separate to accepting terms and conditions
  5. Your website should have procedures in place to detect, report and investigate personal data breaches.

The post UK’s Most Popular Websites Fail GDPR appeared first on PC Support Group.

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As a marketing manager, I have been asked on numerous occasions by MDs whether posting on social media accounts is really necessary and beneficial for business.

Like it or loathe it, we live in a fast-paced digital era today so social media needs to be embraced as part of an overall business marketing strategy; prospects are savvy and with lots of competition no doubt on your doorstep, they want to know that you are keeping up with the times.   However, I can appreciate that social media marketing is just one element of your sales and marketing function, and it is a minefield that looks very time-consuming; but it doesn’t have to be.  It’s about being smart and looking at means and ways of doing things efficiently and knowing some basic things that can help the end goal – getting more business.   Here are some basic tips to get you started:

  1. Quality over quantity

It is not necessary to be on every single social media channel and it wouldn’t be possible as there are 100+ platforms.  It is important to be selective.   Think of your target audience and find out which platforms your target audience spend time on and focus your efforts on doing those selected platforms well

  • Automate where possible

There are some useful scheduling social media platforms out there such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Buffer etc. that allow you to schedule posts in advance to help better manage your time or when staff are away on holidays to make sure you are always engaging with your prospects

  • Images/videos are key

Images, gifs and videos have higher engagement that just text so make sure you are utilising them where possible

  • It’s meant to be social

The key is in the title itself – it’s called “social” media for a reason so bear this in mind as well as your brand in what you post and how you word posts.  As a guide 2 out of every 5 posts should be something not necessarily to do with your business

  • Short but sweet

Don’t make posts too word-heavy otherwise your audience will switch off. Where possible post hyperlinks to send prospects directly to your website for a full article; also remember you are limited on characters on some platforms. And not to mention a long link of letters and numbers not only looks like it could be spam but also ugly.  There are some helpful URL shortener tools such as Bitly, Tiny etc.

  • Evaluate evaluate evaluate

Although a lot of social media is about engagement and not direct leads, it is part of the process of a prospect becoming a lead, therefore you need to know what is and what isn’t working.  There are some useful social media analytic tools out there – free and paid for such as Google Analytics, Twitter Analytics, Facebook Insights etc. as a starter.

Helen Roughley

Marketing Manager, The PC Support Group

The post 6 Tips to Make Sure Your Social Media Marketing is Helping Not Hindering Your Business appeared first on PC Support Group.

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