5 Top Tips for Choosing the Right IT Service Provider

1. Competence
What training or certifications do they have to make them competent enough to work on your IT systems? Any reputable IT service provider will have a recognised association with the products they supply. For example, QiC is an approved supplier of Dell and Microsoft products, including Office 365, and a certified supplier of Maximizer CRM software. Customer references should also be available on request.



2. Flexibility
Can your service provider offer a package that suits the requirements of your business? There should be a variety of service packages available to you, including ‘Pay as You Go’ Consultancy, where you’re billed as and when you need assistance; Fixed Rate Maintenance, where you pay a monthly fee for peace of mind that your network is covered for both pro-active and responsive support; Block Hour Arrangements, where you purchase a set number of hours each month, normally at a reduced rate, which you can call upon as and when you need them.



3. Ease of use
What’s the process for reporting problems? Is there a help desk for you to call, or do you send an email to request assistance? Think about what option would be best for you in the event of an IT failure.



4. Dispatching technicians
What happens if you need an engineer on site? Although it’s possible to fix most issues remotely, you may feel more confident if an engineer is available to come to your office and fix the issue on site. QiC offer an emergency call out service to get an engineer to you as soon as possible.



5. Billing
Once you’ve chosen a provider you’re confident can supply a competent service in a timely fashion, you’ll want to make sure you’re billed fairly and can clearly see what you’re paying for. Your provider should be able to show you an example statement and provide fully itemised bills as requested.



QiC’s Top 5 Tips to Protect Your Business from Ransomware

1. Emails – Most Ransomware attacks occur as the result of a user opening an attachment that has come in on an email. This email may look innocent enough, and in some circumstances could even appear to come from somebody within your own company. All users should be extremely cautious before opening attachments. If there is any doubt that the attachment could be malicious, contact the sender to ensure it’s legitimate. The same advice applies before opening links in emails. These too can be a source of Ransomware and should only be ‘clicked’ if you are 100% sure that it is a valid link. If in doubt, contact the sender before actioning anything within an email.



2. Websites – Malicious websites can be a source of attacks. Only go to reputable websites where possible. Do not click on links to get to them, it is much better to type the initial web address into your browser and navigate to the page you want.



3. Anti-Ransomware Software – due to the nature of ransomware attacks, anti-virus software is not able to fully protect you. QiC is now offering a specialist new anti-ransomware software from Sophos, one of the leading security vendors. It compliments your existing AV product, offering good protection levels at a reasonable cost.


For a short overview of Intercept X, the new anti-ransomware software from Sophos, click here.



4. Security Patches – Your PC’s and Servers should be security patched on a regular basis. If your organisation uses QiC to patch your systems, take advantage of our Healthcheck Service, then you can be assured that everything is up to date. If not, you should choose to apply Windows Updates to your systems as soon as possible. Individual software such as web browsers may also have their own security patches that should be applied where possible, refer to the vendors website for details.



5. Backups – In the event that you are hit with a Ransomware attack, you will be faced with two options. You can pay the Ransom or get your systems ‘cleaned’ and then restore backed up data. If you have employed QiC to look after your IT systems, then QiC will make sure that you have valid backup copies. If you, or a third party, look after your backups, please ensure they are valid before requiring them! Test restoration of data is one method to ensure this happens.



If you have any further questions regarding Ransomware attacks please contact QiC on 01962 711000



4 Steps to Protect Your Business from Ransomware



Ransomware is a particularly nasty malware (malicious software) that gets installed on your PC or mobile device without you knowing, and stops you from using it or accessing your files until a ransom is paid.

Here are 4 simple steps you could take to protect your businesses from Ransomware:

    1. EveryCloud Email Protection

One of the most popular ways to spread malware is by email. QiC offer EveryCloud Email Protection, a powerful cloud based spam filtering service that automatically blocks spam and potential viruses in the cloud, before they even reach your network. EveryCloud automatically blocks 99.99% of all viruses, scams and threats.


    2. Web Protection

Web threats have increased dramatically in recent years, so it’s important to have full control over the browsing that takes place and keep users away from sites that could cause a data breach. QiC offer SolarWinds MSP Remote Monitoring & Management web protection, which monitors and controls the websites which are accessed, keeping your users and systems safe from malware, phishing adware, botnets and spam.


    3. Managed Anti-virus

For compete peace of mind QiC offer a managed anti-virus solution. We’ll install anti-virus software on all of your devices and make sure its kept up to date for continual protection.


    4. Backup!

If your files do get locked by Ransomware, one of the resolutions is to restore from a recent backup.  If you are unsure of your current backup procedures, or have never tested them fully, QiC can help make sure you have the best protection in place.


What additional features of Office 365 should I be using?

Make sure you’re getting the most out of your Office 365 subscription, and explore the additional benefits it could be bringing to your business – there’s far more to it than just the Office suite!


Features you may want to try…


Planner – Make it easy for your team to create new plans and organise/assign tasks. Share files, chat about what you’re working on and easily receive progress updates.



Sway – Create and share interactive web-based reports, presentations and newsletters right from your phone, tablet or browser. ‘Sways’ are easy to share and look great on any screen.



Yammer Social Networking – Tap into knowledge across your organisation. Yammer is an internal social network for your employees, allowing them to share ideas, work collaboratively and progress projects faster.



OneDrive for Business – Office 365 offers 1TB of storage for every user, allowing them to access their documents virtually anywhere. Share files with others inside and outside your organisation, control who can see and edit files and easily sync documents with PCs/Macs and other devices.


How Can QiC Help Your Business?


QIC offers a range of cost-effective IT support services to small and medium sized businesses throughout the South of England. These services include…


• Full Microsoft Office 365 set up and support, including email hosting and management

• Server management and optimisation

• Backup solutions for your business-critical data

• Installing and administering anti-spam and anti-virus solutions

• Ensuring you have remote access to your work applications and documents anywhere in the world

• Sourcing and installing new PCs, servers, printers and other IT hardware

• Fast onsite response to IT issues

• An hourly rate for support of a budget-friendly monthly service charge


Contact us today on 01962 711000 for more information and a no-obligation quotation!

What are the top 6 new features of Maximizer 2017?

  1. Business Processes for Each Customer Segment – tailor your business processes and opportunity stages to match the buying lifecycle of each customer group.
  2. Automatic Elapsed Time/Duration Calculation – easily setup to track critical timeframes such as time passed since last contact and contract renewal dates.
  3. Simplified Reporting Setup – simplified one-click report generation gets you relevant information faster and easier.
  4. Customised Templates for Appointments and Reminders – create branded email templates for notifications and reminders.
  5. Modern Clean Interface – fresh colours and easy to read text.
  6. Integration with Outlook – easily add new contact details and email communication, and quickly set up a Sales Opportunity or follow-up Task in Maximizer from within Outlook.

Why should my business invest in anti-spam software?


Every day millions of unsolicited and potentially harmful emails are needlessly downloaded into inboxes. Some are just irritating and take up precious kilobytes of bandwidth, whilst others may contain scams and viruses that pose a serious threat to your computers and data.


7 Reasons to Consider EveryCloud Email Protection for Your Business

1. EveryCloud automatically blocks 99.99% of all viruses, scams and threats.


2. Simple to use with no training required.


3. Fully customisable spam reports are available as often as required, offering easy access to quarantined emails.


4. You can customise your email blocking rules, so emails containing content on a certain subject can automatically be forwarded to a specific member of staff.


5. EveryCloud updates automatically, so there are no software updates required.


6. No more lost emails – if your servers go down, EveryCloud queues your emails on its network so they can be safely restored to you.


7. Manage filtering through Outlook – request spam reports and white and black list senders directly via a simple-to-use Outlook plugin.


If data security and email viruses are something you have been affected by, or are concerned about, why not give QIC a call on 01962 711000 to see how EveryCloud Email Protection can benefit your business.

Jeffery West Finds Its Feet with Office 365

The Cloud vs on premise debate is one that affects many businesses, with companies typically opting for what they perceive to be the safe option of keeping everything onsite and in house. However, no one can deny that the Cloud offers tangible benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked, including better accessibility for remote workers, improved security and reliability and even financial savings.

For esteemed British footwear designers Jeffery West & Co, switching to Office 365 was a no brainer. With stores across the UK and in New York, upgrading from their old SBS server was essential to the collaborative efforts of their sales force.

Mark Jeffery, from Jeffery West, said: “The main motivation for us to move to Office 365 was the improved document and data visibility and collaboration that it offers to our remote workers. Geographically our sales team may be scattered, but through the use of Sharepoint and Skype, we can bring them all together in real time to get things done. Important documents can be shared and organised much more efficiently and accessed from almost any device with an internet connection. Emails can be received and responded to much more easily, which has immediately increased productivity.”

So, Office 365 wins hands down on accessibility over on premise solutions, but what about security? There’s a common misconception that Cloud storage is less secure than onsite options, but for businesses who have this concern, they can rest assured this is not the case. Office 365 applications are encrypted, so if a transmission is intercepted by an unauthorised party they won’t be able to read it. Microsoft also ensures all antivirus signatures are up to date and constantly monitors for suspicious activity.

To read more about Office 365 please see our Blog, Office 365 vs the On-Premise Suite, or give us a call on 01962? 711000 – we’d be delighted to help.

10 Top Tips to Improve IT Security

  1. Practice good password management. Use a strong mix of characters, and don’t use the same password for multiple sites. Don’t share your password with others, don’t write it down, and definitely don’t write it on a post-it note attached to your monitor!
  2. Never leave your devices unattended. If you need to leave your computer, phone, or tablet for any length of time then lock it while you’re gone.
  3. If an email contains sensitive information, consider whether it should be encrypted or password protected.
  4. Always be careful clicking on attachments or links in an email. If it’s an unexpected email, or you have any doubts, don’t click on it!
  5. Encrypt your wireless network to stop unwelcome snoopers! (QiC can help with this)
  6. Back up your data regularly, and make sure your anti-virus software is always up to date.
  7. Be careful what you plug in to your computer. Malware can be spread through infected flash drives, external hard drives, and even smartphones.
  8. Securely remove all personal information before disposing of old computers.
  9. Restrict software and set up administrative rights so that nothing can be installed on company computers without authorisation.
  10. Consider removing or disabling USB ports so that malicious data can’t be downloaded.

15 Top Tips to Improve Your Website’s SEO

  1. SEO results aren’t instant.The results of SEO work done today might not become apparent for weeks, or even months. If your website is new, it could take even longer.
  2. A website is never finished.If you want your site to continue to rank higher, and attract more visitors, you should regularly add new content.  Short, sharp blogs, news or team pieces are an excellent way to do this.
  3. Set-up and use Google Analytics. This free software will show you how many visitors your site receives, the keywords they use to find it, and what pages they visit.  You can then tailor your content accordingly to get more hits, and keep visitors on your site for longer.
  4. Create content for people, not search engines. There’s no point creating content that ranks well if it doesn’t help people, interest them, or persuade them to buy from you. Draft useful content that you would like to read first, and then carefully embed a few keywords relating to your service to help search engines ascertain the focus of your content.
  5. Remove duplicate content. You can be penalised for having the same, or very similar, content on multiple pages.
  6. Don’t copy content from other websites. If search engines find that content on your site has been taken from elsewhere they may downgrade rankings for some, or even all, of your webpages.
  7. Claim authorship of your content. Create a Google+ account, and link this to your content to improve rankings and click-through-rate.
  8. Make your content engaging for visitors. The more engaging it is, the longer people will stay on your site, and high viewing times mean good rankings. Videos are useful for this.
  9. Add a blog to your website. This is a quick and simple way of regularly adding new content.
  10. Avoid keyword saturation.You’re more likely to be penalised than credited if you use a keyword phrase repeatedly on a page (see 5 above)
  11. Every page of your website should be linked to from at least one other page.Search engines don’t include pages in their results that do not have links to them either internally (from another page of the same site) or externally (from another site).
  12. Link out to relevant websites and blogs.There’s a good chance that if you link to someone’s site, they will link back to yours.  In a search engine’s eyes, this link back suggests that your content is useful to others, and they will give your site a higher ranking accordingly.
  13. Add your address and phone number to every page of your website. Good if you’re targeting keyword phrases that contain your town/city name.
  14. Be personal.Putting your individuality and personality across throughout the off-site SEO (e-shots, guest posts, social media) makes others more likely to engage with you.
  15. Optimise your website for mobile users.Your site needs to be clear and simple to use for people accessing via smartphones and tablets.


Maximizer CRM 2017

Maximizer New Release

Out October 2016, find out what's new....

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Jeffery West Find Its Feet with Office365

The Cloud vs On Premise debate...

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Why Invest in Anti-SPAM software?

Why needlessly download harmful email?

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