Your Clients expect WiFi

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We have all been to venues where there are ‘follow-us’ signs for the latest Social Media platform or offers to win the latest i-pad in exchange for your contact details. The fact is increasingly people are expecting to be able to access the internet from all kinds of places from Coffee shops to supermarkets and if you are in the entertainment business (pubs clubs hotels etc) its quite frankly a must have.

So why would you give away free WiFi ? Lots of reasons but we thought we would pull a few together in our latest blog. slidethreeWiFi allows businesses such as cafes, pubs and restaurants to attract customers which they would not have attracted in the past. From experience we all know that sitting alone in a café or bar is an awkward experience and discourages us from  sitting alone on a regular basis.In a recent poll 53% of people surveyed would be happy to sit alone in a cafe if WiFi was available. Free WiFi access helps people connect with friends online and removes the stigma of sitting alone. Using social platforms like Foursquare or Swarm may even bring their friends and connections to your venue.

WiFi networks require a registration process for new users. This process requires new users to supply basic details in order to create an account, this could include name, age, gender and email address. You could even request additional details as people login for a second time thus building a profile of your users that will allow you to better target their needs next time they attend – Birthdays are an easy one – an offer to bring 10 friends in exchange for a welcome drink or maybe a Birthday cake is good business!

wifi Coffee CupPeople base their decisions on which venue to chose on many criteria. Free WiFi is one of those criteria having the service will help differentiate your business from your competitors

Installing a WiFi Hotspot does not involve the costs that some businesses would imagine for example a business will spend a huge amount on a television subscription to play the latest football matches to attract customers yet many companies (including MBM) will supply the WiFi dish for FREE (with a small installation cost). Managing the collected  data collected can also be a daunting prospect but here at MBM for a monthly management fee of around 50p per day we will work with you to collate your data for you to use in future targeted campaigns.

logo_RGB_squareInterested ? Speak to Nigel at MBM today. You need customer WiFi and our solution doesn’t cost the earth.

 

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Ever thought of VOIP?

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We’ve been providing VOIP – Voice Over Internet Protocol or Voice Over IP – telephone services for our customers for years.

How does it work?

The phone call travels over the Internet as data just like email.

Benefits of VOIP

ManagedOfficeWiFiNot everyone is certain about changing to a new way of making & receiving calls. Here’s our Top 5 reasons for considering VOIP:

1. VOIP can be cheaper – that’s a pretty good reason to think about changing to a VOIP service! Operating and infrastructure costs can be cheaper than traditional services.

2. Get the most out of your Broadband – you’re already paying for broadband so make sure you use it to its maximum by making & receiving calls too.

3. Low maintenance – no more fixing of landlines, simply reboot to re-establish your connection.

4. Portability – you can take your VOIP phone with you wherever you are as long as you’re connected to the internet.

5. Lots of Features – with VOIP you get a lot of additional features such as voicemail sent to email, full call records, make calls through your laptop, use virtual phone numbers etc.

No matter what your size of business, VOIP can offer significant benefits.

Want to find out more?

Call us on 01902 32 44 94 for a chat about VOIP or visit here

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Are you letting Business Walk out of your Door?

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How often now do you check if a venue has in-house wi-fi ? From fast food outlets, Pubs, takeaways, shops and even church halls have their own in house platforms for you to login to.

Offering Wi-fi to customers of your business is highly beneficial more so in a retail or leisure/entertainment environment. Businesses can also offer guest wireless access from a private office which is ideal for contractors, visitors or associates working on-site.

wifi Coffee CupIt’s important that your business WiFi is kept separate from guest and visitor WiFi and encrypted to ensure they don’t access your wireless traffic.

Offering Free WiFi will encourage users to take your offering in exchange for their contact details.

MBM can offer you a package solution and are happy to help you implement a solution which will be a perfect fit all around.

Talk to MBM today and join thousands of businesses benefiting from this provision.

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Don’t get caught out like celebrities

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You’ll no doubt have seen the recent press coverage about personal photos of celebrities being accessed from their cloud storage. Whilst we hope that there aren’t any nude photos of you or your staff in the Cloud, how can you be sure that your cloud data is secure?

TabletCloud services, like so many other online services, are protected by nothing more than an email address and password. Mobile phones are inextricably linked to the Cloud services run by their manufacturers: Apple devices copy data across to iCloud, Windows devices copy to Microsoft OneDrive and so on. This data includes photos, videos, texts, address books, app data and settings. Clearly, this is very useful, but if someone guesses your password, they can have access to all of this from anywhere!

It is thought that a hacker gained access to one celebrity’s Cloud service and downloaded their address book. This then gave them the email addresses of several more high profile celebrities. Once you know a person’s email address, all you need to do is then guess their password.

How can you improve your security?

You can change the settings on your Smartphone so it does not back up to the Cloud. But as it’s a really useful feature, especially if you lose or break your phone, would you really want to disable that functionality?

You can enable a ‘two-factor authentication’ on your cloud services. This means that you need two pieces of information before you can sign in. The first is your regular password and the second is often a code that gets texted to you when you attempt to sign-in. Without both the password and the code from the text message, you can’t again access. Once authenticated, this will keep you connected for a day or so. Apple, Google and Microsoft support two-factor authentication for their Cloud services.

Want to find out more?

Call us on 01902 32 44 94 for a chat about Cloud or visit http://www.mbmltd.co.uk/Cloud-Services-Overview.asp

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Making the most of WiFi wherever you are

Posted by: Mark Northall | | No Comments »

Free WiFi is used by all kinds of businesses to help attract visitors and improve their experience when they are with you. But do you use it to its full potential?

wifi Coffee CupWhilst the focus is often on providing WiFi for visitors and customers, have you thought about how staff can use it?

Staff WiFi

These days staff expect to be able to use their laptop or tablet device from anywhere in your building. Have you got full coverage in the right locations and is it managed? MBM’s Managed WiFi for your Business delivers WiFi access points to cover a single office or your entire site.

Bring Your Own Device (BOYD)

Some companies allow staff to use their own devices on company networks and use your Internet Connection. Allowing unmanaged devices to connect to your business network can be risky as you don’t know if they are infected and pose a danger to your network. So separate them from your business network by using the MBM Managed WiFi Visitor Service so they won’t impact on your critical business connection.

Customer WiFi

Turn anonymous users of your WiFi into known potential customers.

By simple use of registration forms, you can capture email addresses and add them to your mailing list.

Want to find out more?

Call us on 01902 32 44 94 for a chat about WiFi or visit http://www.mbmltd.co.uk/ManagedWiFi.aspx

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Why you should choose Office 365

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If you’re looking to upgrade, you have to decide whether the traditional desktop version of Office is the way to go, or if Office 365 is a better fit for your needs.

officeThere are a few compelling arguments in favour of Office 365. Let’s take a look at three reasons Office 365 might be the right choice:

1. Cost

Office 365 plans start on per month basis. Small businesses can get access to Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync in addition to the core Office productivity applications for only a little more per month. Larger businesses that want to take advantage of Active Directory integration can do so again for a small additional cost per user per month.

Breaking those down, it takes more than three years to reach the levels of a traditional off the shelf desktop version.

2. Updates and Maintenance

What else do you get with your Office 365 subscription? An IT department. Sure, you can set up your own Exchange Server, SharePoint Server, and Lync infrastructure. You can manage and maintain the desktop Microsoft Office software, and install the patches and updates every month yourself. How much will that cost?

Consider that implementing the same capabilities in-house requires servers, and network infrastructure, and IT personnel to install, manage, update, and maintain it all. Plus, you still have to buy and maintain the Office software itself.

With Office 365, Microsoft takes care of all the dirty work so you don’t have to. Updates, patches, and upgrades just happen in the background without you needing to worry about it. When the server crashes, its Microsoft’s problem. When a hard drive needs to be replaced, Microsoft will handle it. You get the benefits of using Office without any of the headaches of updating and maintaining it all.

NIgel_Mills_MBM3. Accessibility

Office 365 lives in the cloud. That means you have access to Word, Excel, Outlook, and other Microsoft Office tools from anywhere you can get a Web connection, and from virtually any device–Windows or Mac desktops and laptops, Android devices, iPhones, iPads, and other smartphones and tablets. Office Web Apps provide basic features and functions for free.

This isn’t quite the selling point it once was for a couple reasons. First, even with the desktop Office 2013 suite Microsoft is pushing users to save files to the cloud-based SkyDrive, or to a SharePoint server by default. So, there’s no reason the data can’t be accessible regardless of whether you choose Office 2013 or Office 365.

The second reason it may not be all that compelling is that Office Web Apps are already available for free from the SkyDrive site. So, even without Office 365 users can create, view, and edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote files from the Web.

For businesses, though, SharePoint, Active Directory, and other elements of Office 365 that go beyond simply creating and editing Office documents still make Office 365 a better value.

Your mileage will vary of course. There are a number of factors involved in calculating the cost of purchasing, installing, configuring, updating, and maintaining Microsoft Office and the accompanying back-end services versus the ongoing subscription costs associated with Office 365. Office 365 is a solid service providing tremendous bang for the buck, though, so it won’t be easy to beat the value it brings to the table.

Need help with Office 365? Choose MBM.

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Why is Malware written?

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Carrying on from last weeks Blog the answer to the “what is malware?” question cannot be complete without exploring the ‘why’ of its creation. By now, you should have a pretty clear idea of what type of damage can be done as a result of malware, but you might be wondering – why do programmers create malware in the first place?
Student Hackers and Cyber-crooks

MBM_42Emails_Blog_smallIn the early days of software, programmers wrote malware mostly to prank one another, or to show off their technical skills. These programmers, who were usually students had a great sense of humour but did not have much business sense. These students eventually graduated and got jobs. Their new motivation was now money, and how to make more of it using their skills. Some of these programmers learned that they can make thousands a day if they successfully exploit malware to their advantage.

These people went on to become cyber-crooks, defrauding individuals and organizations for financial gain. These criminals steal personal banking information to transfer money out of users’ bank accounts and into their own. They also launch distributed denial of service attacks against corporations and ask for money in exchange for an end to the attack.

Worms, zombies and distributed denial of service attacks are a good way to inflict mass damage on a global scale and are therefore very appealing to cyber-activists. These people want to get a message across and are ready to do so by utilizing any means necessary and this includes writing malware that causes damage, gets them noticed, and enables them to announce their messages and beliefs to a large audience.

Governments are also part of the game. A cyber-war between countries is raging. Some countries such as China, Syria, and America are rumoured to be state-sponsoring cyber-gangs whose only purpose is to research and develop new malware techniques capable of infiltrating government agencies and infrastructures. Malware has recently been spotted in the wild that was designed to infect SCADA systems with the scope of shutting down nuclear reactors. Some reports suggest that this worm, which might have been created by the Americans, was successful in shutting down several Iranian nuclear power plant coolers.

The malware problem is huge and is growing fast. By the end of 2010 the counter for unique malware programs stood at 14 million, with a staggering 60,000 pieces of new malicious code detected every day. Recently a worm called Koobface — which targeted people on social networks — netted its creators over 2 million dollars in just 12 months. Another worm, the Mariposa is said to have created the biggest network of zombie machines in the world. Experts could never determine its exact size, but estimated that over 12 million computers were infected. This worm dropped spyware capable of stealing sensitive information from victims, such as bank account numbers and credit card details. All this was created by a single hacker in Spain who fortunately made a mistake which exposed him and got him arrested.

The industry is fighting back. Numerous security solutions are available from many vendors that help stop malware infections. The threat however is a moving target. Hackers keep finding new ways to write bigger and better malware, the incentives are all there and the waging war is showing no signs of slowing down.

Worried that you might be exposed ? Speak to MBM

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Do you know what Malware is ?

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So what is Malware? Short for malicious software, malware is as old as software itself, and  programmers have been authoring it for as long as they have been authoring legitimate software. There are many reasons why a programmer might create malware. These reasons vary from simple pranks and experiments to serious organized Internet crime. Malware exists in many forms, most of which you’ve probably already heard of. The most common types of malware are viruses, trojans, worms, spyware and zombies.

SOSThis article will cover the inner workings of the most common types of malware, and will also explain why malware is created and the kind of damage that it can inflict on individuals, corporations and governments.

Virus

Malware manifests itself in different forms; the most well-known is the virus.

Computer viruses are similar to their biological counterparts because they are capable of self-replication. The prime motivation of a virus is not to cause damage, but to clone itself onto another host so that it can spread further. If a virus causes damage it is more likely to be detected, and for this reason virus authors employ stealth techniques to keep it unnoticed. A good virus has a very small footprint and can remain undetected for a very long time.

Damage is not always a side-effect of infection. Sometimes damage has been purposely built-in by the programmer. Some viruses are time activated; they silently spread for a number of days, months or years and will suddenly activate and do damage on one particular date. Other viruses are event driven. They will activate when something particular happens on a host, or when a command is sent to them via a covert Internet channel.

Worms

Worms are very similar to viruses in many ways. The biggest difference between a worm and a virus is that worms are network-aware. A virus finds it very easy to replicate itself amongst files on the same computer, however it has a hard time jumping from one computer to another. A worm overcomes this computer-to-computer hurdle by seeking new hosts on the network and attempting to infect them.

This is an important difference: in the past viruses could take years before moving from one corporation to another, or from one country to another. Worms are capable of going global in a matter of seconds. This makes it very hard for them to be controlled and stopped.

Spyware

The primary function of spyware is to snoop on a user’s activity and send back the information it gathers to a hacker. Spyware does not have any infection mechanisms. It is usually dropped by trojans (and also by viruses and worms). Once dropped, it installs itself on the victim’s computer and sits there silently to avoid detection.

Once spyware is successfully installed it will begin collecting information. It is very common for spyware to log all the keys that the user types. This type of spyware is called a keylogger and can capture interesting information such as user names, passwords, credit card numbers and email addresses. Keyloggers capture every key stroke, so entire emails, documents and chats can be read by the malicious hacker.

There are more sophisticated forms of spyware that hook themselves to the network interface and siphon off all network data that enters or leaves the infected computer. This allows the hacker to capture entire network sessions giving them access to files, digital certificates, encryption keys and other sensitive information.

If you would like to know more from guys who don’t speak Geek – call MBM

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Microsoft action interupts innocent users

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Microsoft has obtained a court order to halt traffic to servers in order to halt the Cyber-criminal activity of some users. This has had the effect of interupting millions of innocent users. The giant has been accused of being’heavy-handed as in stopping the criminals it also interupted data to legitimate sites.

In a blogpost, Microsoft lawyer Richard Boscovich said it had taken the action against domain administration firm No-IP.com for its “roles in creating, controlling, and assisting in infecting millions of computers with malicious software”.

He said No-IP’s infrastructure had been used to spread the Bladabindi and Jenxcus family of malicious programs in 93% of the cases it had seen. Over the past 12 months, he said, Microsoft had detected variants of the two viruses more than 7.4 million times.

The thieves behind the malware could steal data from infected machines, record keystrokes and listen to any sounds taking place around a computer, he said.

officeMicrosoft had taken the legal step of making itself the controller of the 23 domains because No-IP had not done enough to police them, wrote Mr Boscovich. A federal court in Nevada granted Microsoft the right to take over the No-IP domains.

Once it had had control of the suspect domains, he said, Microsoft had applied filters so only “clean” data had got through and that helping the malware spread had been caught and discarded.

In response, No-IP said Microsoft’s action had been “draconian” and had wrongly “affected millions of innocent internet users”.

No-IP speculated that Microsoft had underestimated the amount of data traffic flowing towards the domains it was now administering, which had caused service disruptions for many legitimate customers.

“Millions of innocent users are experiencing outages to their services because of Microsoft’s attempt to remediate hostnames associated with a few bad actors,” wrote No-IP in a statement posted on its site.

Having problems – Call us at MBM and we will be happy to take a look

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How does your computer become infected ?

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There are literally dozens of different ways a computer can become infected with spyware, viruses, and other malware. Below is a list of the most common ways a computer can contract these infections listed in the order we believe are most commonly done.

Please be aware –  everyone  who uses the computer should be aware of how to properly use it  and protect it from malicious software.

NIgel_Mills_MBMAccepting without reading

By far one of the most common ways a computer becomes infected is the user accepts what he or she sees on the screen without reading the prompt or understand what it’s asking.

Some common examples:

  1. Whilst browsing the Internet, an Internet advertisement or window appears that says your computer is infected or that a unique plug-in is required. Without fully understanding what it is you’re getting, you accept the prompt.
  2. When installing or updating a program, you’re prompted (often checkboxes already checked) if it’s ok to install additional programs that you may not want or are designed to monitor your usage of the program.

Opening e-mail attachments

Another very common way people become infected with viruses and other spyware is by opening e-mail attachments, even when from a colleague, friend, or family member. E-mail addresses can be made up and even when genuine your acquaintance may unsuspectingly be forwarding you an infected file.

When receiving an e-mail with an attachment, if the e-mail was not expected or from someone you don’t know delete it. If the e-mail is from someone you know still be cautious when opening the attachment.

Not running the latest updates

Many of the updates, especially those associated with Microsoft Windows and other operating systems and programs, are security updates. Running a program or operating system that is not up-to-date with the latest updates can be a big security risk and can be a way your computer becomes infected.

In addition to running operating system updates, the plugins associated with your browser can often contain security vulnerabilities. Make sure you have the latest versions of plugins. Contact MBM for details of the latest updates.

Pirating software, music, or movies

If you or someone on your computer is participating in underground places on the Internet where you’re downloading copyrighted music, movies, software, etc. for free, often many of the files can contain viruses, spyware or malicious software. This is a highly dangerous practice and you should have procedures in place to stop users doing this.

No antivirus spyware scanner

If you’re running a computer with Microsoft Windows it’s highly recommended you have some form of antivirus and spyware protection on that computer to help clean it from any infections currently on the computer and to help prevent any future infections.

Downloading infected software

Finally, downloading any other software from the Internet can also contain viruses and other malware. When downloading any software (programs, utilities, games, updates, demos, etc.), make sure you’re downloading the software from a reliable source and while installing it you’re reading all prompts about what the program is putting on your computer.

Where can I find out more?

We are happy to advise on your business protection at MBM. We are your IT department at the end of a phone – keeping your business – in business.

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