Using Teams as our VOIP Telephone System

ITP has used Teams as a communication and collaboration app for sometime now. We use it for project planning, file storage and having our weekly team meetings. As our workflow has become more and more centralised around Teams we thought why not take the plunge and use it as our Telephone VOIP app as well.

After some configuration we are now able to make an receive external calls through Teams, while also still using it for internal calls and meetings. This means we have been able to remove our old software and integrate all into one package.

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Here are some of the key points Microsoft mention about using Teams for your VOIP system.

Enterprise cloud calling

Give people the calling features they need to get business done. Get consultative transfers, music on hold, call park, and cloud voicemail in Teams.

Collaborative calling experiences

Deliver great collaborative experiences as part of Phone System in Microsoft Teams with features such as group call pickup, delegation, and shared line appearance.

Customer support experiences

Help ensure every customer is answered and routed to the right queue with cloud auto attendants and call queues in Phone System.

Global administrative experiences

Administer and monitor your calling in Microsoft 365 with the Teams admin center and call quality dashboard. Save time for your IT professionals with a centralized experience.

If you’d like more information about Teams or VOIP calling please feel free to get in contact below.

British public help reach major milestone in fight against scammers

Two months ago the government launched the Suspicious Email Reporting Service which allows users to forward on suspicious to be investigated for fraud or phishing.

Since then they have gone on to receive over one million reports. Here is what they’ve had to say about it:

Reaching the milestone of one million suspicious emails reported is a fantastic achievement and testament to the vigilance of the British public. “The kind of scams we’ve blocked could have caused very real harm and I would like to thank everyone who has played their part in helping make the internet safer for all of us. “While it’s right that we should celebrate reaching this milestone, it is important for all of us to remain on our guard and forward any emails that don’t look right to report@phishing.gov.uk.”

Gov.uk

What's been targeted?

AN influx of cryptocurrency investment scams is among a range of online threats which have been blocked as a result of more than 1 million suspect emails being reported by the public in just two months.

More than half of the 10,000 online links to scams blocked or taken down by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) with the help of the public relate to cryptocurrency schemes, where investors are typically promised high returns in exchange for buying currency such as Bitcoin.

How do I use the service?

The Suspicious Email Reporting Service was launched as part of the Cyber Aware campaign, which promotes protective behaviours to keep your online accounts and your devices as secure as possible.

To use the reporting service, people are asked to simply forward suspect emails to report@phishing.gov.uk. If they are found to link to malicious content, it will be taken down or blocked, helping prevent future victims of crime.

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You’re of course also welcome to contact ITP if you are worried about any email that comes through. Give us a call or use the form below.

Microsoft Teams New Features

Microsoft Teams is working on some exciting new features which we would like to share with you. Here is what they’ve had to say on the matter.

As the global response to COVID-19 evolves, communities around the world have moved from an era of “remote everything” into a more hybrid model of work, learning, and life. And as we all scramble to keep up, the future of work and education is being shaped before our eyes. At Microsoft, we’ve spent the last few months learning from our customers and studying how they use our tools. We’ve also worked with experts across virtual reality, AI, and productivity research to help understand the future of work. These findings guide us as we design technology to help our customers today and in the future.

Microsoft

Together Mode

Together mode is a new meeting experience in Teams that uses AI segmentation technology to digitally place participants in a shared background, making it feel like you’re sitting in the same room with everyone else in the meeting or class. Together mode makes meetings more engaging by helping you focus on other people’s faces and body language and making it easier to pick up on the non-verbal cues that are so important to human interaction. It’s great for meetings in which multiple people will speak, such as brainstorms or roundtable discussions, because it makes it easier for participants to understand who is talking.

Dynamic View

While Together mode offers an extraordinary new meeting experience, it’s not intended for every meeting. We believe that traditional video meetings people use every day can also be more engaging and dynamic. A set of enhancements we call dynamic view gives you more control over how you see shared content and other participants in a meeting. Using AI, meetings dynamically optimize shared content and video participants. New controls—including the ability to show shared content and specific participants side-by-side—let you personalize the view to suit your preferences and needs.

Task App

The Tasks app in Teams, rolling out this month, provides a new unified view of tasks from across Microsoft To Do, Planner, and Outlook. Smart lists like “Assigned to me” bring tasks together across different shared plans, whether you’re on desktop, web, or mobile. Add Tasks as a tab in a channel and get your familiar Planner tab experience with the new list view.

For more info and features you can visit the Microsoft Teams announcement page for this here.

You can also contact ITP using the form below and we’d be happy to talk to you about how Teams can help your business.

Crypto Recovery

We recently had a client who was hit with a Crypto attack which we have now fixed and restored all their data. The infection got on the machine via a malicious link in an email. It then encrypted all of the local files as well as spread onto the network and encypted all of the network shares.

We removed the infected machine from the network and have formatted it back to factory settings so there can be no doubts about it causing another infection.

The client are using a very powerful Cloud Backup solution provided by ITP and we were able to use that to recover the data back onto the server quickly and efficiantly.

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How can you protect yourself against these kind of attacks?

There are many ways in which people can a Crypto infection onto your PC but the most common one now days is by sending what looks like a perfectly legitimate email out and getting someone to click a link within that email. At this point the local machine is infected along with any network shares.

It is there for extremely important to never click a link in an email unless you are positive that this email in genuine. Some ways you can check to see if an email is legitimate is to check the senders address and make sure that is correct, also check the URL of any links before clicking them by hovering your mouse over them and seeing what comes up in the bottom status bar.

If you’re in doubt, get in contact and we’ll be happy to help. We also provide Cyber Security Training to help train you and your staff against these sorts of things happening.

Sutton Business Awards – 1 Year On

Its almost a year since ITP won both Business of the Year and Best SME at the Sutton Business Awards. And what a year it has been ! Full of challenges and excitement. We can’t change that, so we have been busy building even better and relevant solutions and creating services with our Suppliers and Partners to deliver  technologies and strengthen our existing offerings to enable Businesses to survive and even thrive in the “new Normal”

We’d like to thank all of our clients for their continued support and we look forward to working with new ones in the future.

To chat about how we can help your business navigate the future, Get in contact using the form below, or give us a call on 02039715757

Phishing attacks on Microsoft Teams

What is this attack about?

It has recently been reported that attackers are exploiting the surge in the use of Microsoft Teams in an attempt to trap unsuspecting users. This is being done by emails being sent out with links to a Team’s meeting. When you click the link you will be taken to a spoofed Microsoft page and asked to log in with your Microsoft credentials. This allows the attackers to steal your username and password and then use it themselves.

How can I avoid it?

  • The first and most important thing is never click a link in an email unless you are 100% sure it's legitimate. This goes for any email, not just Microsoft Teams.
  • Check the email sender, often it will be from a random email address rather than Microsoft. Although this is worth checking we must note that email addresses can be spoofed
  • Check the URL of the link in the email. If it's a real Teams link it should start with teams.microsoft.com
  • If you're still unsure, please contact us and we'll be happy to help

What are we at ITP doing about it?

It’s difficult to combat these sorts of attacks as they often look very legitimate and therefore can bypass spam filters. However, the best way to avoid being hit by these kinds of attacks is to be aware of them and know how to avoid them in the first place. ITP offer a range of Cyber Security help and training so please feel free to get in contact if you’d like us to help protect you.

Customer Survey Results

Latest Customer Survey Results

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Our customer survey has been sent out 10,377 times as of the 23/04/2020 and below are the results:

On a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is Poor and 5 is Excellent, how would you rate the overall Service:

Five
89.91%
Four
6.85%
Three
1.26%
Two
0.18%
One
1.44%

Did the Support / Solution you received:

Meet Your Expectations?
68.47%
Exceed Your Expectations?
29.01%
Fall Below your Expectations?
1.44%

On a scale of 1-5 please rate how likely you are to actively recommend / refer ITP to others who may need us?

Five - Very Likely
90.07%
Four
6.68%
Three
1.62%
Two
0.36%
One - Unlikely
0.72%

Here are some recent comments from our clients:

"Oliver and Mike could not have done more to help - super service as always!"
Survey Comment
A long standing residential customer
"ITP were efficient and very supportive. No matter who I spoke to within the team, they all knew about our issue and helped the best they could."
Survey Comment
Administration Manager of a charity
"As usual my computer problem was dealt with very efficiently. Have always had excellent service from both the particular member of staff as well as all the others at IT Partnership. Never been anywhere else in 20 years!"
Survey Comment
A long standing residential customer

If you’d like to get in touch with ITP to help with your technology needs, please go to our contact page here.

5 remote issues Microsoft 365 solves

1. Always Available

MicrosoftOffice 365 is a Cloud based solution meaning it’s always online and always available. With Office 365 you can have 24/7 access to the following features:

  • Emails - One of the best and most robust email platforms around
  • OneDrive - An online storage platform allowing you to save files and then access them anywhere on any device
  • SharePoint - A collaborative platform for sharing and working on company files

2. Collaborating without being in the same place

With Microsoft Office 365 you have the ability to work on documents along side other people in real time. This includes programs such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel plus many more.

Whether you’re putting together a proposal, presentation or project plan, you’ll be able to work on it together. These products allow employees to collaborate on work together, even if they’re halfway around the world.

3. Secure and safe

Having your work on the cloud means it has to be safe as well as easily accessible. Microsoft incorporates all the latest security including:

  • Advanced Threat Protection: keep your files, emails and Office 365 products protected against attacks.
  • Windows Defender: keep your Windows computer protected against adware, spyware and viruses.
  • Mobile device management: securely manage employee’s mobile devices. You can manage security policies, wipe a device and view device reports.
  • Secure Score: you can find out how secure your organisation truly is in Office 365. View recommendations based on your activities and security settings.

4. Communication and meetings

One of the keys to working remotely is being able to communicate with your colleagues as if you were all working in the same office. Microsoft Office 365 does this with the use of teams, allowing you to do video conferencing and also the ability to be able to share and collaborate on files. Together these tools allow your team to carry on working together where ever they are in the world.

5. Daily time management

Office 365 offers a ‘My Analytics’ package which allows employees to see a summary of how they have spent their time.

  • Meeting hours
  • Time spent on emails
  • How many focus hours you had
  • Time spent on chats and calls
  • The documents worked on
  • After hours work

From this information, MyAnalytics will provide employees with suggestions on how they can improve their working habits at home – whether it’s reducing unproductive meetings or getting a better work/life balance. This allows you to make better use of your time when working.

Rise in demand for people to work from home

ITP are seeing a rise in the demand for people to be able to work from home in the current contact and travel risk situation. It has become more critical that people are able to work from any location, where possible.

We have been actively working with clients to facilitate these needs and make it as easy and seamless as possible. This generally involves a number of factors and services that ITP can provide.

  • Being able to make calls as if you were in the Office
  • Being able to securely access your files stored in the cloud or in the Office
  • Having the hardware (PC, Laptop etc) to be able to work on

Making Calls

One of the key features to being able to work from home is being able to make and receive calls as if you were sitting in the office. This can be achieved by using a VOIP Telephone System. You can either have a desk phone which connects to the internet and then to your VOIP provider, or you can have a soft phone app which runs on either your desktop PC or mobile device. Either of these methoods allows you to make and recieve calls exactly the same as you would if you were sitting at your desk in the office. If your company doesn’t currently have a VOIP phone system then feel free to speak to ITP about how we can help you connected with one.

Company Data Access

While working from home you’ll still need to be able to securely access your company files and data. If the data is stored on a server or NAS drive this can be achieved via VPN or MPLS connections to the office. If files are in the Cloud then this should be as simple as connecting to your Cloud service provider on your home machine in a secure manner. ITP are able to supply and set up any hardware or software you might need to facilitate this.

Hardware

To work from home you need a device to be able to carry out your day to day tasks. This would normally be a Laptop or Desktop PC or in some cases maybe a Tablet or Phone. ITP can supply all of these and help you with any set up needs you may have.

Contact Us

Please feel free to contact us if you would like help or advise on any of the points mentioned above.

ITP’s Recovery of ERP Software on SQL Server

Recovery of ERP Software

Recovery of ERP Software – ITP were recently tasked with recovering a client’s SQL server which had run out of space due to an errant log file expanding to 400gb.

The first issue we had to contend with was the amount of complexity involved with the server. It was running on virtual machine software, had virtual machine backup software schedules, the ERP software, and finally the SQL databases and log files.

  • Virtual Machine Software
    We were alerted to a space issue on one of the servers which held the SQL server’s virtual machine, which was caused by the aforementioned log file. This issue needed to be addressed and required consolidation of the virtual disks. While this was being completed, we moved onto step 2.

  • Backup Software
    We then had to ensure that the backup services were running correctly and not interfering with the changes we needed to make to both the virtual server and the SQL databases on the server. Once this was completed, and the consolidation was finished we moved onto step 3.
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  • SQL Database Log File
    As soon as the consolidation of the virtual machine files had completed, we were able to address the space issue on the virtual server and then power it on. We were able to shrink the SQL transaction log file, allowing the customer to get back up and running with their ERP software.

  • Final steps
    Before we could be happy that the client’s ERP needs were met and their business was fully functional, we would have to ensure that the problem wouldn’t reoccur. We pinpointed the root cause as a log backup issue between SQL and the virtual machine backup software and were able to rectify it.

If you are having issues with your enterprise software, give us a call on 02039715757 or contact us here.