Time-Saving IT System For Growing Pet Crematorium

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A Stourbridge business has updated its IT system to cope with the growing number of pet cremations.

Prestwood Pet Crematorium

Prestwood Pet Crematorium in Stourton was established in 1997 and is one of the leading independent pet crematoriums in the country. They have seen a dramatic increase in the number of pet owners wanting to organise more personal cremations and memorials for their pets, rather than leave it to their vet to organise.

Prestwood Pet Crematorium offers a full funeral director service and individually cremates over 250 pets per month, either for clients direct or on behalf of local vets. They also manage an on-site memorial garden. In order to cope with the increasing number of clients, the crematorium has streamlined their processes and computerised their paper-based system with a new Electronic Pet System.

Rob Andrews, manager of the pet crematorium, explains: “There is a strict code of practice that we have to adhere to. There is lot of paperwork that accompanies each cremation including details of the pet, the owner, the cremation and items ordered such as caskets. All data is now inputted directly into our new database enabling us to easily track each stage of the cremation process. We can now also automate the population of our Memorial Book.

He added: “The new system, built by MBM, typically saves us about a week’s worth of work each month which means we can spend more time providing support to pet owners during what can be a very emotional time.

The Prestwood Electronic Pet System (PEPS) was designed and built by local IT company, MBM Ltd. Jason Timmins, technical director at MBM, said: “We build bespoke databases for local businesses where off-the-shelf solutions do not meet their needs. We worked closely with Prestwood to specify their data capture requirements and designed an easy to use interface. We also built various reports to help with administrative processes. The database was built using Microsoft Access, but can also be used online.

Crematoriums interested in viewing the Electronic Pet System or any company needing a bespoke database to support their business can contact MBM on 01902 324494 or email sales@mbmltd.co.uk

Posted in: Testimonial

How Secure Is Your IT System From Hackers?

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Having a firewall, anti-virus and anti-malware in place doesn’t necessarily mean your company’s IT system is secure from hackers.

MBM Penetration Testing

MBM Ltd has launched a new Penetration Testing service that evaluates the security level of a company’s exposed services.

Jason Timmins, technical director at MBM, explains: “External facing systems such as email, intranet and websites are the main areas of exposure for a business. Penetration Testing, also known as a Pen Test, scans these systems as well as a company’s firewall and router and evaluates the levels of security. This test identifies any vulnerabilities or mis-configurations so that solutions can be made to ensure a company improves the security of its IT systems.

MBM offers one-off Penetration Testing or regular tests to help companies manage the security of external facing services.

For more information about MBM’s Penetration Testing service, call 01902 32 44 94 or email sales@mbmltd.co.uk

Posted in: IT Security

Is Your Data Safe in the Cloud?

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MBM Ltd has launched a new service which offers businesses further protection of data they store in the Cloud.

Wombourne based MBM has launched a new Cloud-to-Cloud Backup service for businesses who currently store their data in Office 365 and Google’s G Suite Cloud services.

Jason Mills, technical director, at MBM explained: “The Cloud remains a safe way to store and access your data. However, if a member of staff accidentally deletes a document, if a file is encrypted by a hacker, if data is overwritten by third party software or if there are issues with data syncing, you need to be able to quickly and easily retrieve the corrupt or lost file.

He continues: “Users think they can easily access their data when it’s in the Cloud. Whilst Microsoft, for example, guarantee 99.9 per cent up-time, they also state there is no guarantee that they can recover all or any of the files and if they can, it may take some time. We therefore recommend it is good business practice to take an independent backup of your critical Cloud-based company data.

MBM has seen first-hand the frustration experienced by businesses when they can’t retrieve their data from the Cloud. MBM’s new Cloud-to-Cloud Backup service provides a separate encrypted backup of your Cloud data on Amazon S3 SAS 70-certified data centres providing peace of mind for business owners should they need to quickly and easily retrieve a file from the Cloud.

For more information or to book a demo of MBM’s Cloud-to-Cloud Backup service, call 01902 32 44 94 or email sales@mbmltd.co.uk

Posted in: Cloud, Data Backup

Are you letting future custom walk out of the door?

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Clients and Customers now expect to log on to free, good quality and fast WiFi when they enter Retail or Office locations. If you’re not providing this free WiFi, your competitors are. Customers are also willing to swap their contact details for the use of your free Internet facilities and you can use this valuable information to proactively market to them.

MBM's WiFi solution

MBM has a WiFi solution that will enable you to provide a quality service to your customers and allow you to collect data that would otherwise literally walk out of the door! MBM Technical Director Jason Timmins explains how ProWifi came about.

 

“We’ve been supplying high quality managed WiFi to hotels and businesses for years, but we noticed that smaller venues also offer WiFi and that this WiFi is often really poor quality. Almost every café, restaurant, bar and pub we visited had WiFi set up like you’d have at home. Connecting involved simply being given a WiFi code. WiFi like this gives nothing back to the venue owner as no customer data is capture. It’s also insecure as customers could see and hack each other. There’s also no control over the type of content that can be viewed and one user could consume the entire Internet connection.

 

We created ProWiFi to address this situation. Now, small venues can buy a WiFi solution online which connects to their existing Internet router and is preconfigured straight out-of-the-box. The venue owner simply screws the WiFi box to the wall and plugs it in, providing the venue with a simple but affordable managed WiFi solution. Customer data is easily captured and automatically added to a marketing mailing list. Users are protected so they cannot see each other’s data and access. Websites are filtered and blocked to prevent unsuitable sites being accessed in public areas. Usage limits are set to ensure that no one user ruins the WiFi service for other simultaneous users. It’s a major step forward!

 

At MBM we strongly feel that WiFi is particularly important to small venues. Cafés, for example, need good quality WiFi to draw in business customers. Restaurants need safe WiFi to amuse bored kids. And bars need reliable WiFi so people can ‘check-in’ and update their social media.”

 

Businesses interested in finding out more can visit www.ProWiFi.co.uk or contact the MBM Sales team on 01902 324494

Posted in: Cloud
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MBM Ltd – Microsoft Silver Partners – Press Release

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A Wombourne-based Business is celebrating achieving Microsoft Silver Partner Status. MBM Limited specialise in IT support and services for companies in the West Midlands area and offer complete Disaster Recovery and Cloud Computing Solutions.

 

IMG_0747The attainment of Silver Partner Status recognises partners and developers who integrate unique applications and solutions into various products across the Microsoft platform. It highlights companies with a high training ethic who work towards developing solutions to client problems using available technologies.

 

MBM Technical Director Jason Timmins commented ‘We’re delighted to have achieved this Silver Microsoft Competency which puts us in the top 5% of Microsoft partners worldwide and shows our ongoing commitment to high quality cloud services for business.

 

The use of cloud services continues to rise, whether in the smallest SME or the largest corporation you’ll find cloud services taking care of Email, CRM, data storage and computing resources. Our new accreditation confirms our commitment, experience and skill with Microsoft’s world-leading cloud services, Office 365 and Azure.

 

Thanks go to my team at MBM for their excellent customer service and product knowledge without which Microsoft would not have given us this recognition.’

 

MBM Limited are based on Windmill Bank in Wombourne and can be contacted on 01902 324494 or by visiting www.mbmltd.co.uk

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What might be included in the next Microsoft Exchange Server?

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For the Technology minded amongst you we have been looking at what might be included in Microsoft Exchange server 2016.

According to technology website InfoWorld ‘ We don’t know much about what will be in Exchange Server 2016 — Microsoft has provided very few details. It has said that the new features in the on-premises Exchange were “birthed” in Exchange Online, so Exchange Server 2016 will be a subset of the service.

NIgel_Mills_MBMMicrosoft did say back-end improvements to “Exchange architecture, high availability, and storage” are part of the Exchange Server 2016 mix. So too is enhanced document collaboration (perhaps involving SharePoint 2016 or OneDrive for Business) with a “new approach to document collaboration that makes it easy to send links and collaborate without versioning issues of attachments.”

Personally, I can’t get the hang of Microsoft’s current document collaboration approach when working in Office 365 or OWA, so I usually send the full attachment instead of a link to my OneDrive document.

Tony Redmond, an Exchange MVP, suspects the new document collaboration approach might still feel unnatural: “This is a laudable goal, but one that might run into the fact that it is terribly hard for users to break the habit of a lifetime and stop including full attachments with messages.” I’m one of those users, apparently.

Microsoft also promises search-related improvements in Exchange Server 2016, such as for e-discovery search performance and reliability. It appears they’ll be based on the improvements already made for search in Office 365 or the search improvements promised for Outlook 2016 based on the integration of the Fast search technology Microsoft acquired some years ago and already uses in Exchange and SharePoint.

Second guessing Microsoft can be interesting – feel free to add your thoughts.

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Wi-fi In-flight a threat warns report

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Technology News – The Guardian warns of possible security breech with the introduction of in-flight internet

Hackers on commercial flights could now bring down the plane they are on by using the on board Wi-Fi, a US government watchdog has warned.

wifi Coffee CupThe US Government Accountability Office (GAO) does not suggest it would be easy to do but it points out that as airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration attempt to modernise planes and flight tracking with internet-based technology, attackers have a new vulnerability they could exploit.

The GAO says: “Modern aircraft are increasingly connected to the internet. This interconnectedness can potentially provide unauthorized remote access to aircraft avionics systems.”

The report highlights the fact that cockpit electronics are indirectly connected to the passenger cabin through shared IP networks. The connection between passenger-accessible systems and the avionics of the plane is heavily moderated by firewalls, but information security experts have pointed out that firewalls, like all software, can never be assumed to be totally infallible.

“Four cybersecurity experts with whom we spoke discussed firewall vulnerabilities, and all four said that because firewalls are software components, they could be hacked like any other software and circumvented,” explains the office.

“According to cybersecurity experts we interviewed, internet connectivity in the cabin should be considered a direct link between the aircraft and the outside world, which includes potential malicious actors,” the report adds.

The Federal Aviation Administration does not currently verify the cybersecurity of a new airliner before certifying it for scope, although it “currently issues rules with limited scope, called Special Conditions, to aircraft manufacturers when aircraft employ new technologies where IP interconnectivity could present cybersecurity risks”.
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The report praises the FAA for the steps it has taken to get its cybersecurity policies in order, but says that “opportunity exists for further action”, and particularly highlights as a cause for concern the fact that cybersecurity responsibility is split over multiple FAA offices.

A worst case scenario is that a terrorist with a laptop would sit among the passengers and take control of the airplane using its passenger Wi-Fi, said Rep. Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee who requested the investigation.

“That’s a serious vulnerability, and FAA should work quickly” to fix the problem, DeFazio said.

slidethreeThe GAO released a separate report last March that determined the FAA’s system for guiding planes and other aircraft also was at “increased and unnecessary risk” of being hacked.

One area of weakness is the ability to prevent and detect unauthorised access to the vast network of computer and communications systems the FAA uses to process and track flights around the world, the report said. The FAA relies on more than 100 of these air traffic systems to direct planes.

In January 2015, the GAO praised the FAA for taking steps to protect air-traffic controllers, but warned that “significant security control weaknesses remain that threaten the [FAA’s] ability to ensure the safe and uninterrupted operation of the national airspace system”.

Posted in: Cloud
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Who can be trusted with your data?

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Think about a day without computers or tablets, whether for personal or business use – could you cope – how would you feel?
So what do you do when your computer system fails? Who are you trusting at the moment with all the information on your computer?
logo_RGB_squareYou could Google your options and find there are thousands of choices, including real companies or web-based organisations.
This is when it could get tricky as many web-only computer repair concerns have very impressive websites and offer rock-bottom prices. The problem is, you have no way of knowing where these companies are operating, who the people are behind the scenes and what kind of things they may be doing to your systems in the background but the premier concern is can you trust them with your company’s data?
Most remote software allows the third party access to do things you cannot see. Some may advertise you can watch everything the technician is doing unfortunately this is not always the case – would you give complete strangers your passwords or your wallet?? . Although there will be companies that are legitimate, they often use remote technicians operating out of their home locally and this could be situated anywhere typically in a third-world country call centre.
What precautions should you take?
• Research the business. Take advice from satisfied clients. Whilst there are some repairs that can be done remotely, making location not as important as ratings, complaints and reviews. Search out testimonials on their website. If they’re all written in a similar style, it’s possible they’re not as genuine as they make out.
• Contact the business. Call the business to test how responsive they are. If the business does not answer the first time, do they call back within a reasonable amount of time? Are the calls or emails handled professionally? Avoid doing business with companies that don’t respond in a timely fashion; it could be a sign of how queries are handled as well. Good customer service is endemic in an organisation.
• Check the website. Does the company’s website represent its business well? If the website is poorly organized maybe even on a self-build platform, it may be a sign to take your business elsewhere.
• There is the old adage about paying peanuts don’t always go for the cheapest price. When it comes to computers, you want the job done correctly the first time. Businesses with more experience and expertise may charge more for their services, but it should ensure that you get quality service. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. NIgel_Mills_MBMCompanies that seem to offer the lowest price might not be the best deal for you.
Just one parting thought your computers and your systems in effect ARE your business. Look after them and you will never have to worry about not being able to access your data. Paying cheaply can lead to paying twice. Never has there been a better example of getting what you pay for.

Posted in: Cloud, Office, Online Backup
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Uk SMEs facing an unprecedented level of attempted online fraud

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According to experts at smallbusiness.co.uk the Uk is experiencing an unprecedented level of attempted online fraud this month – the reason is a simple one as the article explains
slidetwoData from payment processing company Worldpay suggests instances of fraud could rocket by as much as 80 per cent in February as hackers start to capitalise on customer data harvested during a hectic Christmas shopping period.
Tim Lansdale, head of payment security at Worldpay says, ‘We see a dip in fraud around Christmas as hackers go on the hunt for information, using the online sales rush to stockpile thousands of customer card details.
‘It isn’t until February that they start cashing in on all the data they’ve collected. Other breaches can last much longer; attackers might decide to keep returning to their targets, sometimes for years.’
During 2011-2014, the average data breach exposed 284 days of card payments. Worldpay’s analysis shows breaches lasting from 11 days at the lowest end of the scale, to 1,723 days at the other extreme.
The company says small businesses are by far the biggest target for hackers, accounting for 85.7 per cent of UK data breaches. Virtually all data breaches (99.3 per cent) happened online, rather than at the point of sale, as the UK’s e-commerce market continues to boom.
SOSIn 2014, businesses in the entertainment, hobby and leisure industries accounted for 23.3 per cent of all card data breaches, followed by clothing and footwear stores (16.3 per cent) and jewellery, beauty and gifts (11.6 per cent).
Businesses in the entertainment industry, particularly online ticket booking systems, tend to make easy prey for hackers due to the high number of credit and debit card transactions they process online each day.
The clean-up costs of being targeted can run to tens of thousands of pounds, with a standard investigation costing £11,250 on average, and attracting at least a £8,000 penalty, not including the costs of lost goods and damage to reputation.
Lansdale says, ‘Data breaches can be ruinous, so its vital small business owners know the risks and take the necessary measures to protect themselves and their customers and employees.
‘You wouldn’t leave your store unlocked overnight, yet so few businesses are doing enough to protect their online shop fronts and keep hackers at bay.’
Worldpay advises taking measures such as changing all your default passwords, having a third party host your payment page, and testing your firewalls at least every three months,
NIgel_Mills_MBMSecurely destroying all card data records when no longer needed, and avoiding storing the three digits ‘CVC’ number on the back of the card, are also measures that should be observed.
At MBM we can help Small Business combat this fraud. We would love to speak to you about protecting your data.

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Put your IT in the cloud – not your head!

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There are great advantages to cloud computing services and no wonder it is becoming an easy choice for businesses: the minimal upfront costs, pay-as-you-go cost structure, flexible access to software and data, and the fact that the expensive and awkward parts of the IT setup are someone else’s burden!
Cloud services can make applications that were once the preserve of only the largest organisations, like CRM, sales management, contact centre software, call recording – available to any company, from a two-person business to a £20 million turnover organisation.
officeOne of the biggest benefits of Microsoft Office 365 is that it gives you virtually anywhere access to the Microsoft Office tools you know and rely on – your complete office in the cloud.
Some businesses are concerned about exactly how to choose the right cloud applications, how to get the best use from them, and if their data will be secure when it’s up there. To help dispel these doubts, here are the key questions you should ask a cloud service provider before committing.
logo_RGB_squareSo do you know what the cloud is? Simply put, cloud computing is computing on the internet. Rather than installing programs on a computer, for example, people can run applications directly from a website. This principle also applies to storage of data; rather than keeping folders full of important work on your own PC, it can be stored remotely online this gives you data you can access from any computer regardless of where you are
And the reason why you should be using it ?Cloud computing and storage has a huge number of benefits for small businesses – as well as being more efficient, it also gives you a little protection if the worst happens and you lose access to the files on your computer – no real need for an IT disaster recovery plan !
Cloud computing allows you to store as much or as little data as you need to, usually charging on a pay-as-you-go basis. SOSThis means that you don’t need to upgrade your own hardware, and allows you to keep saving and working without worrying about limitations. The vast number of servers involved in a cloud system also means that bandwidth requirements can be increased on demand, so you don’t have to wait around to gain more space.
Would you like to discuss Cloud Computing for your Business? Give MBM a call.

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