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How to Ensure Your IT Systems are GDPR Compliant

07th May 2021

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaced the Data Protection Act in 2018. The core objectives were to provide individuals with enhanced privacy, all made possible courtesy of a set of new rights.

 

The connotations for businesses were fairly far reaching, with various changes needing to be implemented across data collection and storage processes, as well as marketing practices.

 

In short, businesses had to ensure that any information stored on individuals was readily accessible, that the reason for collecting and retaining it was viable, and that data would not be retained for any longer than was completely necessary.

 

What data does the GDPR cover?

 

The GDPR covers all the data any organisation stores. As well as physical records, this means data kept on servers, in the cloud, on individual PCs, on portable media and on mobile devices.

 

Keeping such data safe all of a sudden became a hundred times more important when the GDPR was introduced. As did being able to demonstrate evidence of data security measures and processes put in place to mitigate the risk of data breaches.

 

Any breach must be reported within 72 hours to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Fines of €20 million or 4 per cent of annual global turnover, whichever is higher, are what businesses face should they fall short of compliance.

 

What are businesses responsible for in terms of GDPR and IT?

 

It is the responsibility of individual companies to ensure sufficient cyber security measures are in place to reduce the risk of a data breach. Your aim is to reach a level of confidence that you have done all you can to install adequate security measures, to educate staff and to prevent and contain breaches.

 

The following is a quick-check summary of the typical measures you should be adopting in order to keep your information technology secure and GDPR compliant:

 

  1. Understand what cyber security is and how it works.
  2. Ensure you have appropriate, up to date antivirus and firewall software installed across all devices, including homeworker devices.
  3. Be sure to install all available software and security updates; enable automatic updates so there is no room for error.
  4. Install a strict password policy within your organisation, including outlawing password sharing, and make use of a secure password generator and vault.
  5. Use a tiered system to set restrictions as to who can access and share certain information on your systems, so that you have better control and a clearer audit trail.
  6. Immediately change passwords and reset system permissions when a member of staff leaves. Be sure to reset building access codes too, or change locks as appropriate.
  7. Encrypt any sensitive information, particularly on portable devices and that sent via emails.
  8. Run regular online backups so that you have access to a recent copy of your data should an incident occur.
  9. When deleting data once the retention period is over, make certain that it is completed erased from all hardware as well as cloud storage.
  10. If you are using a cloud based storage and backup system, ask the provider to furnish you with their own GDPR policy so that you can do you due diligence and ensure they are as compliant as you are.
  11. Train staff to ensure they are fully aware of data breach and cyber security risks. Be sure to include training on every new staff induction, and include regular refresher training to keep everyone up to date.
  12. Take care when sending emails that only the necessary information is being shared, and with the right recipient.
  13. Keep up to date with and share details of all the latest phishing scams so that everyone is aware of the current risks.
  14. Pay attention to physical security measures such as CCTV and access control, which are just as important for protecting data as cyber security measures.
  15. Make sure that your IT support company is GDPR compliant and that they sign an agreement with you concerning data access.

 

GDPR compliant IT support from PC Docs

 

At PC Docs, we offer a comprehensive package of GDPR compliant IT support services, together with a range of cyber security solutions, all of which can be tailored to suit your individual business needs.

 

To discover how we can help protect your business against costly data breaches, and for a copy of our GDPR compliance policy, you are welcome to get in touch.

7 Common IT Risks to Business and How to Combat Them

21st April 2021

An increasing reliance on technology, and the fact we are all living and working in a progressively digital world, inevitably means that whilst we can enjoy many benefits in terms of operational productivity and business growth, there are more and more threats to deal with. Being on your guard and prepared to deal with the biggest risks is vital. But what are those risks, and how to deal with them?

 

Every day, new IT related risks and cyber security threats are evolving and putting businesses at risk. A survey conducted by the World Economic Forum revealed that cyber-attacks are top of the worry list for executives in Europe and other developed nations.

 

The trouble is that cyber criminals don’t just hack emails. They are now capable of bringing entire systems down and holding organisations to ransom. This is precisely why it is so important to be aware of how these criminals can take hold and pose a threat. To know what the IT risks to business are, and to respond with a robust IT risk management strategy.

 

Let’s take a look at the top IT risks for business.

 

1.   Social Engineering

 

Social engineering is a tactic that involves gaining the trust of an individual, ahead of launching some form of cyber-attack.

 

This could be anything from mass spam phishing, to voice phishing or spear phishing, or whaling, which targets high value targets. Angler phishing is social media based, with attackers imitating a trusted organisation’s customer service department. Conversations are sparked, when are then hijacked and diverted to private messages, where the attacks are advanced.

 

Search engine phishing places links to fake websites top of the search results, whilst URL phishing uses tactics to mask web links so they look genuine. There’s also in-session phishing that interrupts regular web browsing with the likes of fake login pop-ups.

 

Baiting attacks take advantage of natural curiosity to coax individuals into giving away sensitive information. Strategies include USB flash drives left in public places, or email attachments offering something for free.

 

Social engineering is on the rise and, unfortunately, even the most robust cyber security measures are no match. But with a good dose of employee education, and some clearly laid out processes, you can boost the battle.

 

2.   Third-Party Exposure

 

Whilst you may have your cyber-security, data protection and IT risk management policies off-pat, there still remains the risk of third party exposure.

 

If you use third parties for the likes of payment processing or bookings management, and those parties are subject to a data breach or cyber-attack, then you will be responsible for that breach or attack should your customers be affected. This means that you will be legally and financially liable, and legally required to notify your regulators, as well as facing the potential of fines and penalties.

 

It is therefore vital to take steps to monitor the policies and procedures of third party suppliers, and to do your due diligence on their commitment to cyber and data security.

 

3.   Failure to Manage Updates

 

A large proportion of cyber-attacks occur due to outdated software and operating systems.

 

If you fail to install updates and the latest software patches, then your organisation will become seriously vulnerable to all sorts of security breaches.

 

Cyber criminals actively seek holes in software security, so be sure to keep on top of all your updates.

 

4.   Bring Your Own Device Working

 

The trend for allowing staff to work from their own familiar devices may have increased productivity, flexibility and employee satisfaction. But it has brought with it heightened exposure to cyber security breaches.

 

With personal devices often falling off the radar of organisation cyber security protocols, and often easier to hack, this can leave them exposed to security breaches, and acting as a route in to company networks.

 

It is therefore crucial to put a BYOD policy in place, and ensure that all staff are adequately informed and trained to minimise the risks involved.

 

5.   Remote Working

 

With so many employees working from home, the risk for cyber-attacks has increased. As staff log in to networks remotely, so there are more opportunities for attackers to find in-roads.

 

Setting up a virtual private network (VPN) is essential to secure the connections made into your organisation’s systems.

 

6.   Internet of Things (IoT)

 

The Internet of Things is a network of connected devices that can send, receive and store data. From voice assistants to smart security, from wireless inventory trackers to connected appliances, the fact that all these devices are capable of producing data, and that they are all connected to the internet, poses a risk in itself.

 

With hackers increasingly finding ways to compromise IoT connected devices to steal data, it is crucial that steps are taken to protect these devices, such as setting secure passwords.

 

7.   Outdated Hardware

 

Software and operating systems are not always responsible for cyber-attacks. As ageing hardware becomes obsolete, it becomes unable to support newer, more secure security measures. This can put company systems and its data at risk.

 

Monitoring devices and replacing or upgrading hardware on a regular basis is therefore vital.

 

Cyber security threats are showing any signs of abating. If anything, they are on the rise, and becoming more and more intricate, leading to more devastating consequences. It is therefore imperative for businesses to take active steps to protect their data and networks courtesy of good IT risk management strategies.

 

Expert cyber security support from PC Docs

 

At PC Docs we offer a comprehensive package of cyber security solutions, all of which can be tailored to suit your specific levels of IT risk.

 

From anti-malware and adware protection, to firewall and antivirus systems and other software, our services cover the entire spectrum of IT risks. We also offer tailored guidance on good IT risk management.

 

To learn how we can help safeguard your organisation against all the latest IT risks, you are welcome to get in touch.

Warning as UK Sees Marked Increase in Cybercrime During Pandemic

12th March 2021

Over the past year alone, UK businesses have lost more than £6.2 million to cyber scams, with a 31 per cent increase in cases during the height of the pandemic in 2020. From hacking to phishing, and ransomware to data harvesting, the threats to businesses of all types and sizes has intensified considerably. Here we look at how COVID-19 has affected cybercrime, and what businesses should be doing to protect themselves from the newly increased threats.

 

Police data has revealed that almost 3,500 UK businesses became victims of cyber scams between September 2019 and September 2020, with 1,740 of those reported during lockdown.

 

The most prevalent type of cyber-attack was hacking of email or social media accounts, accounting for 53 per cent of all attacks for the period and resulting in a loss of £2.9 million. Server hacking was reported as the second most common category of attack.

 

London was the area of the country where businesses lost the most amount of money following a cyber-attack, with losses of over £300,000.

 

Why the increase in cybercrime during the pandemic?

 

As everyone was separated from their regular routines, in business and at home, so cyber criminals took advantage of the situation. As millions of people started working from home at short notice, cyber security took a back seat both in terms of actual security measures, and staff awareness training.

 

In addition, with people in a high state of emotion, making irrational decisions, such as being tricked into clicking links in bogus emails, was fairly commonplace.

 

Phishing scams, fraudulent emails urging victims to transfer funds directly or click a link or open an attachment that installs malicious software, have been widespread during the pandemic.

 

Hackers have also preyed on people’s natural vulnerability tricking them with scam pandemic-related emails, posing as official and trusted sources such government and healthcare agencies, including HMRC and the Health and Safety Executive.

 

Another fast growing trend in cybercrime is ransomware. This is a variation of malware that allows hackers to lock people out of their business systems, pending a ransom payment. Such attacks have increased since the start of the global health crisis in early 2020.

 

A study by PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed that 21% of workers have felt more vulnerable to cybercrime since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. For this reason, it is vital that every business has watertight cybersecurity, and a comprehensive staff awareness programme in place.

 

How to protect against the threat of cyber-attacks?

 

There are a number of good cyber security habits that your business can adopt in order to protect against cyber-attacks. A robust cyber strategy is vital, and has never been so important. Training and support for staff should form a crucial part of this strategy. Awareness of the scams that are causing so much disruption to organisations worldwide is essential.

 

It is also vital that everyone in your organisation is aware of why cyber security is important, and how costly a cyber-attack can be, and to be aware of how to report a cyber attack.

 

Expert cyber security support from PC Docs

 

The expert team at PC Docs offers a comprehensive package of cyber security solutions, all of which we can tailor to suit your individual business needs and cyber risk assessment.

 

From anti-malware and adware systems, to firewall and antivirus setup and management, internet and spam filters and email scanning software, our services are fully inclusive. We also offer personalised advice on good cyber security practice.

 

To discover how we can help keep your organisation safeguarded against all the latest cyber threats during the pandemic and beyond, you are welcome to get in touch.

Why is Cyber Security Important?

07th January 2021

The aim of cyber security is to protect the devices we use to access the internet, and to prevent unauthorised access to the personal and business data that’s stored on them. Why cyber security is important, and how to recognise and prevent devastating cyber-attacks, are precisely what we’re looking at in this article.

 

The importance of cyber security

 

Why is cyber security so important in today’s society? Because cyber-attacks are a very real threat, and have the potential to wreak havoc within an organisation, costing significant amounts of money, and often ruining reputations.

 

Whilst it only tends to be the larger organisations that make the news following a cyber-attack or data breach, the fact is that up to 88 per cent of UK companies have suffered cyber breaches over the past year, according to Carbon Black. Worryingly, every day, in the region of 65,000 attempts are made to hack small to medium sized businesses, around 4,500 of which are successful.

 

Cisco also estimates that 53 per cent of small businesses worldwide suffered a security breach in 2018. Over 2019 to 2020, over a third of UK companies reported a data breach incident to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

 

Why is cyber security important to all of us?

 

Technology is the main driving force behind the majority of business processes these days. It is therefore unlikely that any organisation would be able to avoid the devastation associated with a cyber-attack.

 

The problem is that cyber security breaches tend to have a considerable knock-on effect. Viruses, malware or hacking can bring business systems to a standstill. Vital data can be held to ransom, lost, corrupted or damaged, and intellectual property can be compromised. Income and profits can take a massive hit as a result, and ongoing liabilities such as notification costs, fines for data loss, legal expenses, awards and damages could really start to clock up.

 

Reputation damage is another damaging effect of cyber breaches. Around a third of companies have said they have lost customers following a breach, according to Cisco, and 44 per cent of UK consumers claim they will stop spending with a business temporarily following a security breach. 41 per cent say they will never return at all. There is also the risk that shareholders may also lose confidence and sell shares, in doing so devaluing the company.

 

The cost of cyber-related security breaches

 

In November 2020, it was reported that Ticketmaster UK was fined £1.25 million by the ICO for failing to keep its customers’ personal data secure. The ICO discovered that the company had failed to put adequate security measures in place to avoid a cyber-attack on a chat-bot installed on its online payment page, and also failed to identify the source of the fraudulent activity in a timely manner. The failure constituted a breach of the GDPR.

 

The effects of cyber breaches are clearly devastating, demonstrating just why cyber security is important.

 

The problem of cyber-crime and data breaches has worsened since the pandemic hit. Criminals are increasingly finding cunning ways of breaching systems, from highly sophisticated phishing attacks to malware and ransomware.

 

With so many staff now working from home making it more challenging to keep a close check on security, and with risks considerably augmented, it has become even more vital to have robust cyber security systems in place.

 

Cyber security services from PC Docs

 

At PC Docs, we offer a fully comprehensive package of cyber security solutions which we can tailor to suit your individual business. From firewall and antivirus installation, to internet and spam filters, anti-malware and adware and access control, we have the technology and expertise to keep your organisation as safe as possible online, so that you do not have to face the costly and devastating consequences of a cyber-breach.

 

Cyber security. Why is it important? Because it could be the very thing that keeps your business afloat and competitive. To learn more about how we can help with cyber security solutions for your business, please get in touch.

How COVID-19 Has Changed the Way we Work Forever

12th December 2020

This time last year, no one could ever have imagined how within the course of just 12 months, the way we live our daily lives, and the way we work, would change so drastically.

 

But will the changes we have all adapted to remain temporary, or have things changed forever?

 

For businesses, remote working became the enabler for continuity. Virtual desktops, VPNs, video conferencing and cloud phone systems have all made it possible to provide a near-seamless service, whilst workforces stay safe and companies stay resilient. But is remote working set to take over for good? Or will it be a case of compromise and balance?

 

A number of multinational organisations have extended their work-from-home policies. Twitter and Facebook have allowed employees to go on working from home indefinitely, whilst Google, Amazon, Spotify and more have stretched their back-to-the-office dates into 2021.

 

The importance of working ‘together’

 

But whilst the pandemic has proved that remote working is perfectly viable, it is clear from many sources that there is a desire for a return to office life, albeit with a split between home and office working.

 

Author of office-themed books, Lucy Kellaway, believes in the importance of the office, saying that it helps maintain sanity amongst workers and provides a routine, also allowing them to be a different person, wearing different clothes and seeing different people between home and office.

 

Working alongside colleagues offers many benefits that video conferencing just can’t bring. Mentoring, training, creative inspiration and collaboration, a feeling of belonging; these are all productivity-boosting factors that come only with working together.

 

What are the working trends of the future?

 

Decentralisation of the office is a blossoming trend. The ‘hub and spoke’ model was already gaining traction even before the pandemic, but its popularity has accelerated as organisations realise the merits of blending in-person collaboration with home working, reducing overall time spent commuting, but strengthening company culture and relationships at the same time.

 

Stewart Butterfield, CEO and co-founder of Slack, sees the advantages in retaining the good parts of office life, whilst moving away from the inefficiencies that traditionally held back productivity. His company’s Future Forum research of 4,700 knowledge workers found the majority never want to go back to the old way of working. Only 12 per cent want to return to full-time office work, and 72 per cent want a hybrid remote-office model moving forward.

 

Eric S Yuan, founder and CEO of Zoom agrees. He says that now video communications are second nature, the way businesses and individuals communicate and connect will be forever changed. He says that in the near future, the hybrid work model will be adopted by some organisations, with a spread of working days across office and remote locations. Others though will stay completely remote, but both models will “enjoy increased productivity and deeper collaboration, and the ability to attract a more diverse workforce.”

 

Is remote working here to stay?

 

Whatever happens, it appears that remote working, in some form, is here to stay. The work life balance achieved even with a flexible, part-remote, part-office approach to working, has to be a good thing.

 

IT services for remote working are growing increasingly more sophisticated all the time.

 

Virtual desktops for example offer a secure way to work remotely and flexibly, as well as driving down overheads by cutting capital outlay and taking away costly hardware maintenance and upgrades.

 

Cloud VoIP phone systems support remote and flexible working in a big way too, and have the potential to significantly cut communication costs. This is especially the case for businesses adopting the hub and spoke office setup model, because calls between satellite offices are cost-free. What’s more, unified communications are at the heart of cloud telecoms, providing the opportunity to centrally manage everything from calls and voice messages to emails, SMS, faxes, live chat and video conferencing. In other words, the entire communications package for the company that needs to work flexibly.

 

Future-Proof Flexible working IT solutions from PC Docs

 

At PC Docs, we offer a variety of remote working IT solutions, all designed to provide businesses with the ability to work flexibly, in whatever way they choose.

 

Why not get in touch today to discover more about the remote IT services London businesses have been switching to in order to keep their operations flowing during the pandemic? Our experts are ready to create a remote working solution for you that fits with your individual requirements.

Which Backup Solution is Right for Your Business?

18th November 2020

Data loss can be devastating to a business, not to mention costly and highly disruptive. Whether it’s due to a hard drive or server failure, a natural disaster or a cyber-attack, without recent, robust backups of your vital data, documents, media and system files, you could be left unable to operate and facing extensive losses.

 

Backups should be part and parcel of your information technology infrastructure. But which backup solution is right for your individual business? Let’s take a look at the options.

 

External drive backups

 

There are a host of external backup drive options available, and the process is a simple one. Just plug the device into your PC and copy your data over. A solid state drive (SSD) is one of the most popular external backup options, because it has no moving parts, which means less risk of failure, plus these drives offer exceptional performance, especially beneficial when you have lots of data to copy.

 

Of course, you will have to remember to do this on a regular basis, and you will only ever have access to the data from your most recent backup, which could be hours or even days ago. Another consideration is where you will store your backup. If it’s on-premise, and you lose access to your building, or there is a fire or natural disaster, then your backed up data could be compromised.

 

Disc backups

 

CD, DVD or Blu-ray backups are one of the most old-fashioned options, although they are still widely used. Modern PCs don’t tend to incorporate disc drives these days, so if you have recently upgraded your IT system and were previously using a disc backup, you will need to rethink things.

 

Disc backups are limited in terms of the amount of data which can be copied, although the discs themselves are usually quite cheap to buy. Copy speeds can be very slow however, especially if you have to keep changing discs throughout the process.

 

Again, you’ll need to ensure the backup discs are kept offsite so that you can access your data should something happen to prevent access to your premises.

 

USB backups

 

USB drives are almost as inexpensive as discs, even though their storage capacity is generally a great deal higher.

 

The trouble with USB drives is that their portability, often considered an advantage, can be their downfall. Being so compact, these drives are easy to misplace, and are also prone to theft. However, they are easier to safely store in a fireproof safe, taking up much less space than a solid state drive or set of discs.

 

Network Attached Storage (NAS)

 

Network attached storage devices are drives that live on your IT network. Sometimes referred to as ‘home servers’, they are accessible by all network users.

 

NAS devices do more than simply back up files. They can back up multiple PCs, stream media to devices and share files across networks and the internet. Most will feature online remote access, security controls and flexible configuration options. Some will be fitted with ports to connect via USB, Ethernet and Wi-Fi so that you can backup files from the likes of cameras and video cameras.

 

Cloud backups

 

Whilst all the backups we have explored so far offer their own forms of peace of mind and some degree of flexibility, they do have their limitations. The fact that you have to remember to run the backup, ensure it is done correctly, and then find somewhere secure to store it, leaves the safety and security of your data prone to human error. You are also only protected as far as the last backup, which could leave you with a data gap.

 

The solution that resolves all of these issues is the cloud backup. Not only do cloud backups provide the ultimate disaster recovery solution, they can also reduce IT operating costs.

 

Cloud backups remove the need to continually invest in expensive hardware. They also allow users to access systems and files from any device via the internet, plus your organisation will have full control over who can access what data.

 

Online backups provide the answer to protecting yourself against hardware failure, cyber-attacks and natural disasters. No more having to remember to run the backup. And data is backed up continually, which means no gaps.

 

An online backup works by scanning hard drives for file changes, encrypting them and then transferring them to the cloud server. Once files are uploaded, they can be accessed and restored from any location. Not to be confused with cloud storage and file syncing services such as Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive, online backups can also protect servers and all types of devices, with no file size limits.

 

A full range of industry-leading online backup solutions from PC Docs

 

Whether you are looking for disaster recovery solutions in London, flexible remote work solutions, or you just want to reduce your business risk by switching to an online backup system, you can rely on PC Docs to provide you with industry-leading options that will give you the reassurance you need to stay competitive and profitable.

 

To discover how PC Docs can transform your backup processes, and improve your IT structure in general, you are welcome to contact our helpful team.

Why it’s Worth Building a Disaster Recovery Plan for Your Business

14th October 2020

From natural disasters to burglaries, terrorist attacks to data breaches, hardware failure to human error, and of course pandemics, there is a great deal that can spell disaster for a business. Whilst some businesses are ready for whatever life throws at them, others are not quite so prepared.

 

The fact is that as many as many as 68 per cent of businesses don’t have a disaster recovery plan in place. Without a plan, in the event of an unexpected event, businesses can literally come to a standstill, and some will never get over it. It is said that 93 per cent of organisations without a disaster recovery plan that encounter a major data disaster go out of business within a year.

 

With this in mind, let’s take a look at the vital importance of creating a disaster recovery plan, and how to go about it.

 

What is a disaster recovery plan?

 

A disaster recovery plan is a written document that sets out how your business will be protected should the worst happen.

 

Your plan should incorporate things like how you’ll recover your IT infrastructure, and where you’ll work from should you be unable to access your regular place of work, or the tools you need to meet your customers’ needs and fulfil orders. It doesn’t have to be a complex document, in fact, the more straightforward it is, the easier it will be for everyone to follow.

 

Disaster recovery planning helps you to forward plan by working out which assets are most important to keep your business running smoothly. It also assists in minimising the financial and reputational impact if you find yourself unable to operate for any given period.

 

The importance of data protection

 

Data is the lifeblood of any business, and losing it or being unable to access it can be catastrophic. Whether it’s a hard drive failure, a data breach or human error, you need measures in place that will ensure your business can continue in the event of data loss.

 

Disaster recovery specialists will help you formulate a plan that will provide you with access to emergency IT services such as hard disk repair, data recovery and backup restoration. They will also put measures in place to help limit the impact of any disaster. Such measures might include:

 

IT security – to help prevent malware and ransomware attacks

 

Online backup – allows you to access your data from any internet enabled device and keeps it in a safe location off-premise

 

Remote working solutions – so you are ready to run your business from home or any other location, providing a totally seamless service to your customers, so keeping your financial position and reputation intact in the event of any form of business interruption

 

For disaster recovery solutions in London, choose PC Docs

 

At PC Docs, we have our own in-house disaster recovery specialists ready to help you forward plan in order to mitigate the impact of any business interruption event on your organisation. When it comes to formulating a company disaster and recovery plan, London and Hertfordshire businesses know they can depend upon our expertise, and our commitment to stepping in and getting them back up and running whenever there’s an issue that poses a threat to their livelihoods.

 

To learn more about how we can help with disaster recovery solutions in London and Hertfordshire, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

3 IT Services That can Help Keep Remote Workers Afloat

07th October 2020

Remote working may have become the talk of the business world this year, having been the solution to the pandemic-induced lockdown and social distancing measures. But in actual fact, working away from the office has formed a vital part of critical business continuity plans for numerous forward-thinking organisations for some time. So, even if you haven’t experienced the need to work remotely so far, now is as good a time as any to start making plans just in case it does become necessary. With this in mind, read on as we share our insights into three of the top remote working IT solutions that will make it all possible for you.

 

1.     Virtual desktops

 

A virtual desktop is a cloud based version of a user’s physical desktop. It allows access to all their usual files, documents, data and apps, but instead of having to sit at their usual PC in the office, they can login via the internet from any device, in any location.

 

Numerous benefits are offered by the virtual desktop. These include reduced security risks; increased control over the use of applications; lowered costs and enhanced freedom.

 

Operating a virtual desktop is a lot safer than allowing staff to keep local copies of files on their remote devices, and way more secure than letting them to use their own applications to work from.

 

Not only does a virtual desktop ensure all software applications are fully up to date and protected by the latest security patches, it will also keep data safeguarded on your own company servers and protected by your firewalls so that it is less likely to be subject to local malware or ransomware attacks, as well as data loss or corruption. This also ticks the GDPR compliance box for your organisation.

 

2.     VPNs (Virtual Private Networks)

 

We’ve already ascertained that a virtual desktop is beneficial to remote work solutions, but if you are allowing access to your company servers via Windows Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) or similar, then you are effectively opening your network to the entire internet. This could pose a significant security risk for your business.

 

The solution is a virtual private network, or VPN. A VPN connects a remote user’s device directly into the company’s internal network, bypassing the internet, and all its dangers.

 

This means that cyber criminals cannot see your company’s remote server, and therefore won’t be in a position to intercept communications between your workforce and your network. This makes it safe to work even from a public WiFi connection.

 

3.     Cloud phone systems

 

Cloud phone systems, another remote working IT solution, work by transmitting calls over the internet, rather than though a traditional physical exchange. This means that an organisation’s phone system can be used outside of the premises, without any interruption in service, and without customers knowing any different.

 

A cloud phone system, also known as cloud VoIP, allows calls to be made and received via PCs, smartphone apps or regular handsets. These systems are plug and play, so users can instantly set themselves up anywhere there’s an internet connection, so seamless lines of communication are maintained, wherever your teams are working from. Because calls are made over the internet, this means that network tolls are avoided, allowing local, regional, national and international offices can all be connected, without incurring any call charges.

 

Features abound, from video conferencing to call recording, call transfer, voicemail to email, multi-line conferencing, auto-attendant and many more. It is literally like having your work phone system at your fingertips, ready to use wherever you are working from.

 

Remote working IT solutions from PC Docs

 

At PC Docs, we offer a variety of remote working IT solutions, all geared up to set your business free to work from wherever is most convenient.

 

Why not get in touch today to find out more about the remote tech services London businesses have been relying on to help them through times of crisis? Our helpful experts are ready to tailor a remote work solution to suit your precise requirements.

Why Virtual Desktops are Best for Remote Work

28th September 2020

One of the most significant working trends this year has to be the shift to remote working, and its widespread adoption, due mostly to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Without certain remote work solutions, many businesses, quite frankly, would not have survived the past few months.

 

There are various remote working IT solutions that have made a considerable difference to businesses of all sizes. These include the virtual private network (VPN) that offers a secure connection to office servers; cloud servers for enhanced flexibility; cloud phone services for seamless communications between onsite and remote working, and virtual desktops.

 

The virtual desktop is a cloud based desktop that provides total flexibility for your workforce, allowing them to access all their familiar apps, files, documents and data from any device, any location, any time. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of virtual desktops when used as remote work solutions.

 

A secure way to work remotely

 

With staff working via a virtual desktop, your organisation’s security risks are reduced. This is because company data stays on your company’s servers rather than on a local device, so is not subject to local malware or ransomware attacks, loss or corruption. This also delivers in respect of GDPR compliance.

 

Virtual desktops are designed with built-in security and compliance features. Because you don’t have to rely on the security of the hardware that your worker is using, you can enjoy greater peace of mind that your data is protected.

 

Greater control

 

By deploying virtual desktops as a remote work solution, you get to take control of the applications being used by your workforce. Because instead of using apps installed locally, staff are accessing the programmes you have had installed on your server. Programmes that fit with your policies and security control measures.

 

This means that if a staff member’s hardware fails, they won’t lose all their work, and they’ll be able to get back up and running quickly, simply by logging into the virtual desktop from a different device.

 

Reduced costs

 

Virtual desktops have the potential to reduce business costs in a variety of ways. Firstly, capital outlay is cut, because there is no need to invest heavily in individual, memory-heavy PCs and on premise servers. You won’t need to worry about costly hardware maintenance and upgrades either.

 

Secondly, because all the latest software releases come as standard, you’ll save on software licensing costs. You and your teams will also be working safe in the knowledge that every application you access will be the latest version, updated with all the most recent security and enhancements downloads.

 

Enhanced freedom

 

Remote working may not come naturally to everyone, and it is not always the option of choice for some. But in some cases, the fact is, it’s necessary. So if there’s anything you can do to make things more streamlined for your workforce, it’s in your best interests to adopt it in the name of morale and productivity.

 

Virtual desktops make the transition from office to home working a breeze. The familiarity of a worker’s own desktop instils confidence and a sense of comfort.

 

Remote work solutions like this also bring freedom for employers when it comes to recruiting. No longer is geographical location a concern, which means a much wider pool of talent is available. This can have a significantly positive impact on the way a business is able to grow.

 

Remote working IT solutions from PC Docs

 

At PC Docs, we offer a range of remote work solutions including virtual desktop services. Our clients enjoy the flexibility and scalability that comes as standard, as well as the cost savings and peace of mind provided by the security.

 

If you’re looking for trusted remote tech services London businesses are happy to recommend, choose PC Docs. To learn more, you are welcome to get in touch and talk to one of our dedicated, helpful experts.

Cloud Office Phone Systems: What Are They and How Do They Work?

14th September 2020

Cloud office phone systems are rapidly being adopted by businesses across the world, especially those switching to remote working.

 

A cloud phone system, also known as a cloud based VoIP system or hosted VoIP, works differently to a traditional phone system, and in fact differently to an on-premise VoIP system that’s run over an in-house IP network.

 

Supplied on a subscription basis, so easily scaled up or down to suit changing business needs, cloud VoIP transmits voice calls as data packets over the internet, rather than as voice communications through copper wires or optical fibres.

 

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephony has been around for a while, but until it went cloud-based, it wasn’t too different from the traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PTSN). It just used the internet instead of a physical exchange. The cloud has, however, transformed VoIP. Because there’s no longer any need to use an on-premise network, it completely frees the entire communications system so it can be accessed anywhere, any time. Perfect for the remote working generation.

 

What are the advantages of the cloud based VoIP system?

 

Cloud office phone systems are hosted in secure offsite data centres. They can be used with a number of devices, from traditional handsets to special VoIP phones, PCs and smartphone apps. Flexibility is one of the main advantages. Cost savings are another.

 

Because calls are made over the internet, network tolls are completely avoided. This can lead to considerable cost savings, especially if calls are regularly made to overseas destinations. The great thing about a cloud based VoIP system is that it makes it possible to connect local, regional, national and international offices, with no charges for calls made within the organisation’s network.

 

Even better, cloud telephone systems support unified communications, the ultimate way to manage everything comms-related from a single portal, from calls and voice messages to emails, SMS and faxes. Real time chat and video conferencing are included in most packages too, making cloud VoIP the perfect one-stop flexible communications solution.

 

What other features are included with cloud office phone systems?

 

This really is a feature-rich product that has the ability to enhance competitive edge considerably. It also sets businesses free to work flexibly, switching seamlessly from home to office working; and from smartphone, PC or traditional phone use, without any need for IT intervention.

 

Cloud VoIP never lets you miss a call, because you are free to make and receive calls on multiple devices, all using the same number. Receive a call; your desk phone and smartphone will both ring, and you get to choose which to answer it on. You can also park and transfer calls, and operators get to see who’s available via a main portal, so there’s no time wasted on false transfers when someone’s engaged.

 

Voicemail and group voicemail are delivered as voice files to email, and faxes are converted into PDFs and emailed too, so everything’s in one place. Calls can be recorded for training, compliance and quality, and auto-attendant helps reduce workloads by directing calls to the right places. Multi-line conferencing is another popular feature, again especially useful for remote working.

 

What to consider ahead of switching to cloud VoIP?

 

It’s clear to see there are many benefits when it comes to cloud office phone systems, but there are some considerations to factor in.

 

Firstly, all cloud telephone systems are totally reliant on the internet. So you’ll need to ensure you have a consistent connection. You’ll also need to think about security, because anything cloud-based will be susceptible to hacking and malware. A protected connection is crucial for this reason, and you’ll want reassurance from your cloud phone system provider that the necessary security measures are in place.

 

Cloud office phone systems from PC Docs

 

At PC Docs, we make it straightforward to choose the right cloud based VoIP system for your particular business. Our dedicated communications experts will identify your needs, and then put together a package that works perfectly for your organisation. We’ll also provide training, and we offer a full installation service too.

 

Why not get in touch today to discover how a cloud telephone system could save your business money, streamline communications, and enhance your competitive edge?

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