Cyber Security; Myth or Necessity?

Cyber security: A highly recognisable phrase being passed around the business world currently, and for good reason. Hopefully I’m not the first one to introduce you to cyber security.  Most companies recognise that digital security is important for the safety of their computers, programs and confidential data but they can forget, or are unaware, that the risk of not having a multi-device security strategy is becomingly increasingly dangerous and could jeopardise the overall survival of their business.

Did you know that 60% of small businesses suffered from a cyber-breach in the year leading up to October 2014? – The Guardian, 2015

Despite this, it seems that security can still be an afterthought for many, despite that hackers are looking for the least protected system to randomly hit. Consider it this way: would you own a home with no home insurance; have a car with no car insurance? If something is so vital that you wish to protect it at all costs, then cyber security should be a major element in your business strategy.

The increase of cyber threats is evidently down to continuously advancing technology across the world. For example, the captive movement of ‘The Internet of Things’ whereby data is exchanged through multiple connections and devices. This is a necessary part of our modern lives, enabling consumers to use phones when out and about; to control actions in our home; to connect our multiple devices for a seamless experience between technologies, the ideology being to make our lives easier and hassle-free. This increase in technology, for both consumers and businesses alike, causes an increase in opportunities for hackers to attack companies so needs to be at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

Where would I look? What should I invest in? Questions that immediately spring to mind. McAfee Multi Access is a great way to solve your cyber security problems as it is a comprehensive solution protecting up to 5 devices, with 1 license including PCs, Macs, tablets, and smartphones. It has great business features including the ability for the device user to wipe or locate a lost/stolen phone and also guards against viruses. Visit McAfee.

Another solution involves securing the flow of files within the business through Box. The online portal gives you full control over who can access company files and also encrypts data both in transit and at rest, ensuring that your information is always secure. Visit Box.

Thirdly, the mobile device management suite, MaaS360 from IBM, has unrivalled security benefits. It can help businesses easily manage devices whilst keeping apps and data secure by enforcing authentication and copy and paste restrictions. Visit MaaS.

These are a few options available to businesses everywhere, but if you have any concerns relating to your business security strategy and would like some advice, feel free to call our Trusted Digital Advisors on 0800 064 64 64.

Start today – put your worries to rest and protect your business.

cuber security blog

Business Tech Trends of 2017

 

As we enter 2017 it’s clear that digital technology will continue to flood businesses across the UK, transforming the way enterprises work. Here are some of the latest tech developments due to take off.

1. Migration to the Cloud

“Cloud-first strategies” have been building momentum throughout recent years, and are
due to propel during 2017 across more and more business enterprises,
according to Forbes. The strategy recommends that businesses of all sizes fully migrate their systems to the cloud in order to take full advantage of enhanced capacity and streamlined operations. Cloud based systems are hosted online and therefore free up your voipoffice infrastructure. With communications being the cornerstone to business, these systems are a good place to start by converging a data connection with voice lines through a VoIP or SIP Trunk solution. The CEO of Broadsuite Inc. adds “I believe cloud-first is key to keeping your company agile”. 

2. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is lesser known tech which overlaps virtual graphics with real-world scenery. 2017 could see more businesses utilising AR to enhance corporate presentations by bringing the content to life thereby captivating the audience. More recently, virtual reality (VR) headsets for Smartphone gaming apps have become extremely popular amongst consumers with more sophisticated and advanced models currently in production. This could lead to a transformation of internal training, with roll vrplays becoming immersive, as well as the rise of virtual meetings between suppliers and their clients. Many VR headsets can now be purchased alongside Smartphone mobile devices – could this be the future of your business?

3. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) involves teaching a machine to learn so it can interpret incoming stimuli, then complete actions/make changes. A prime example is Siri for iOS (iPhone) – it understands your words well enough, through speech recognition, to make an intelligent decision about whether to load a related image, webpage or app. Thoughtworks state this year “we will see businesses use machine intelligent insights to deliver more engaging experiences to customers, and provide better service.” Service improving AI is already out there in the form of intelligent apps. The revolutionary Inkwrx platform lets customers complete business forms on a tablet with a stylus pen. The app tabletuses handwriting recognition to autofill the form with computer text, before the company employee sends the form back to the office within 10 minutes, rather than the average 3 day processing time, allowing their request to be completed immediately for dramatically improved customer service.

4. Blockchain

Blockchain is a virtual ledger which records data in sequential blocks along a data chain. They’ve been used previously for online currency exchanges, called Bitcoins, as the blockchain creates an extremely secure transaction history which cannot be tampered bitcoinwith by coders. This future could see this technology being used to protect data of all kinds, such as medical records, identity management or retail transactions. Although, Gartner adds that this is in Beta stage of production and won’t be fully ready until nearer 2020.

5. Internet of Things

Of late, there has been a huge trend towards interconnected devices which can communicate between themselves through an internet connection. Fitness watches, digital cars and smart thermostats are all IoT products which continue to be on the rise. In terms of business, Gartner experts believe that in future years, “every organisation will have some mix of five digital technology platforms: information systems, customer experience, analytics and intelligence, the Internet of Things and business ecosystems”. Companies are already improving processes and productivity with apps such as Box whichiot allows staff to co-edit files in real-time with their customers as a collaborative method of creating the client’s perfect end product. Because it’s built for business, Box takes secure cloud storage to the next level and really demonstrates how the IOT can enhance any business.

Much of these trends will see a huge increase this year, but some will completely saturate the business market by 2020. Researching your digital business options now will allow you to get ahead of the competition, so that the more efficient processes are deeply ingrained into your business strategy way before other organisations have even began to consider the idea.

For guidance on how you can digitise your business, speak to Welcomm’s Digital Expert, Corran, on 0800 064 64 64.

Or visit www.welcomm.co.uk.

Ref: http://www.forbes.com, http://www.techradar.com, http://www.gartner.co.uk.
Welcomm Communications can offer flexible working digital platforms

Could You Function Without An Office For The Day?

Most businesses would struggle to function if their employees were banned from their desk and PCs for the day. Picture it – a sales team trying to photograph contracts to send from their personal phones; customer care teams jotting notes onto hundreds of post-its every time a call comes in; the accounts department trying to draw up invoices by hand and fax them to clients. Potential chaos. 

With this in mind, O2 launched the country’s biggest flexible working pilot where 2,500 people worked away from their Slough head office for the day, using only portable devices to communicate with their team and the outside world. The cloud-based platform, Office365, allowed them to access all their office files and collaborate securely.  The exercise gave O2 employees a chance to experience and realise the benefits of flexible working for themselves, rather than just speaking about them.

The savings that were recognised were incredible. From this flexible working trial, O2 have since reduced their permanent desks and now save up to £3.8 million a year. A further £160,000 has also been saved from closing their overflow car park, reducing an estimated 30 tonnes of CO2 emissions per month and avoiding over 100,000 miles of commuting.

In terms of how the employees felt, the outcome was extremely positive with around 64% of O2 employees now feeling more productive when operating under flexible working conditions and 85% feeling confident in continuing to do so.

This entire project was only possible thanks to O2’s newly strengthened networks and upgraded technology. Nowadays, if you need to work online or communicate with another employee who is half way across the world, you are able to do so.

 “Line managers are used to managing people they can see. Managing them remotely is a completely different thing. Our Pilot on 8th February didn’t solve all of those problems, but it is a good start. We can do a lot more to support line managers in charge of remote teams, but we know it’s not going to happen overnight. We’re educating people about the whole future of work here and there’s still work to be done, but we’re pleased to say this is a fantastic start.” – Ben Dowd, Business Director for O2

Did you know that 75% of companies have a flexible working policy?

Digital services, such as the aforementioned Office365, can improve the way employees collaborate and mobilise their potential to work anywhere, whilst still tightening security and management systems. Due to technology advancing at such a rapid rate, we as businesses and employees need to adapt to these changes and take advantage of the new capabilities that digital, cloud-based products can offer us.

At Welcomm, we offer a wide range of digital enablers which help businesses to work smarter and offer flexible/remote working options to their staff team. Employees can still access company files and communicate across the organisation, thereby staying productive and connected at all times.

These products range from Office 365 which allows documents to be shared across the cloud whilst connecting your office files, calendars and contacts, Box which allows large files to be tracked when they are opened or downloaded and again accessed anywhere on any device; Microsoft Intune which lets your IT team manage all of your business devices from the office to ensure company data is protected and secure.

If you would like to find out how your business could work smarter, call 0800 0646464 for a free business consultation today.

Written By Katie Ford

Welcomm Communications can offer lower energy rates for your business

Brexit and Protecting your Business Energy Costs

Ofgem state, “73% of businesses are out of contract and paying higher run-on-rates of up to 40% more than energy prices in the market at the moment”

Towards the start of the year we discovered that Welcomm were paying an extortionate rate of 50% over the current market price for our electricity. When considering the amount of electricity our computers and servers use on a daily basis, this saving racked up to 1000s of pounds over a year period. This will undoubtedly make a huge difference to Welcomm’s end of year figures and help raise our profits.

So this resulted in an exciting new venture from Welcomm. We added Energy to our portfolio of services offering gas and electricity savings reviews to our customer base to see if we can help them save money too. This discovery made us think about how many other companies are also overspending each year, unnecessarily.

The Oil Industry

As you may be aware, the UK energy prices are directly affected by the commodity market price of oil.

Oil prices have been steadily increasing from an all decade low since last November (see the graph below). According to the Telegraph, Market Experts at ICIS said the price of gas increased by 29% over the second quarter, while wholesale electricity prices rose 25%; this is due to a significant collapse in the value of the pound.

The increase in oil prices since all decade low following Brexit results

A Graph to Show The Fluctuation In Oil Prices

The recent Brexit result has also added a further degree of uncertainty around what this could mean for energy many businesses are concerned that oil prices will increase as we leave the EU, having a huge impact on their annual spend. Although we cannot predict what will happen, we can help control your business costs reviewing your current bills, comparing these to the cheaper tariffs that are available right now and locking in lower prices for the next 5 years. Then, no matter what Brexit brings, your finances will be safe.

Welcomm Energy are offering businesses a free energy audit to find them the best deal available from the top 12 UK energy suppliers. We will then help you to switch with minimal hassle. We regularly save our customers 10-50% in their gas and electricity bills, enabling them to re-invest this capital into growing their businesses.

If you want the reassurance of knowing you are paying the best rates for your gas and electricity from an unbiased, independent source simply call our friendly Energy Team on 0800 064 64 64 or email nicola.bingley@welcomm.co.uk for your free audit.

                                                         Written by Katie Ford