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Archive for category: Business Technology

Introducing IT Director as Service

Introducing IT Director as Service

Network ROI are introducing a new IT Director consultancy service aimed at SME’s and organisations who want to reboot their IT strategy.

In a year like no other organisations have been forced to rethink and prioritise what matters most to their business. In current climate many businesses and smaller organisations don’t have the budget to take on a senior full-time resource. But they still need expert advice that helps them to re-evaluate their business-critical issues, ensuring that they make smart investments for the future.

Sean Elliot, Network ROI founder and Chairman said: “We are delighted to introduce a new service for small and medium enterprises who may lack strategic IT leadership. The Coronavirus pandemic has forced many companies to find new ways of working or reinvent their business models, accelerating the pace of digital transformation and remote working.

IT Director as a Service enables organisations who don’t want the permanent commitment of a senior fulltime employee to hire a specialist who can uncover technology gaps or give them strategic board level advice on key issues such as information security”.

The service assists SME’s who need help solving their key challenges including:

–  IT cost containment and optimisation,

–  Digital infrastructure and digital transformation

–  Business systems integration

–  Risk management and security

The new service can scale up or down as organisations require.  We take a personal approach to each client, examining both the immediate business goals and the longer-term ambitions of an organisation before coming up with an actionable plan they can take forward.

Visit the website for more information

My1Login simplifies cybersecurity for Natural Power

My1Login simplifies cybersecurity for Natural Power

Network ROI security partner, My1Login recently helped Natural Power simplify cybersecurity with its innovative and award-winning Identity Access Management software.

With locations in the UK, France, Ireland and the US – among others, Natural Power has complex information security requirements. Since the introduction of the GDPR in May 2018, they, like many other organisations needed to have a tighter grip on data protection controls to eliminate the possibility of amassing huge fines. Managing a sophisticated technology estate across multiple continents and more than 340 users is a tricky task.

My1Login is easy to use and set up

Calum McLean, Head of Innovation and Data at Natural Power praised My1Login for its ease of use and short set-up time. The innovative software has helped Natural Power overcome two significant challenges; shadow IT and weak passwords.

Eliminate the threat of shadow IT

Staff members storing files in non-designated cloud apps was a big problem at Natural Power. With almost 600 instances of such applications found by My1Login, Natural Power had no way of accessing these files if a staff member left the business, which in turn made tracking and auditing an almost impossible task.

Weak passwords are no longer a thing!

Weak and reused passwords were another problem at Natural Power, as they are in many organisations. My1Login removes the problem of weak passwords by cleverly generating a new, secure password that the user doesn’t even need to see or know, increasing security and ease of use for users and administrators alike.

My1Login makes systems faster and easier to access, providing a productivity boost. Users were delighted on how user-friendly, seamless and transparent the software is. On the technical front, My1Login integrates with Active Directory, simplifying user management and reducing the burden on the IT department. Client-side password encryption instead of server-side provides more control, further streamlining the security, control and management of the software.

Case study

Download the case study here or watch the video below

Managed Service Vs. Break Fix

Managed Service Vs. Break Fix

There are two different types of IT support company – Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and those working on a traditional break-fix model. You might be in the market for a new IT support company and are wondering what type of provider is the best fit. A small business IT survey carried out by Clutch, found 59% of IT services had transitioned to a managed service contract from the traditional break-fix model.

About Managed Service Providers

MSPs typically consider themselves as your outsourced IT department and take responsibility for most, if not all the technical issues within an organisation. Working with an MSP is regarded as a forward-thinking and progressive way to manage the IT function for ambitious and growing organisations.

Reasons to choose a Managed Service Provider

Work with a strategic technology partner – One of the most important long-term benefits of working with an MSP is developing a partnership. As technology advisers with multiple areas of expertise, your MSP helps build a technology strategy that aligns the technology requirements of your business with growth plans.

Proactive network monitoring – MSPs provide round the clock network monitoring that can detect faults in real time. The software then automatically creates a ticket which is assigned to an engineer immediately.

Business continuity – Most MSPs work with clients to provide off-site backup capabilities. Protecting data in this way enables the company to get back up and running in the event of a catastrophic data loss.

Regular patching, updates and backups – Operating System updates and software patching come as part of the agreed monthly cost. Most MSPs decide on a regular patching schedule to help maintain maximum levels of network security.

Process, process, process! – Organised MSPs have a well-defined process for all areas of project management and service desk support. Having procedures in place help keep client networks secure and ensure consistent service delivery levels is crucial for long-term success.

Helpdesk support – MSPs deal with support calls via a remote service desk. Faster connectivity and sophisticated tools enable the service desk to fix many issues remotely. For more persistent problems, an engineer will jump in a car or van and attend the client’s site.

Vendor management – If you have an issue with your telephone or Internet provider and you have a contract with an MSP, they manage the support process on your behalf.

Cheaper than hiring a dedicated IT team – Hiring the breadth of talent required to manage a modern IT infrastructure is costly. Wages, staff benefits and other HR costs such as pension, annual leave and sick pay soon rack up – not to mention arranging cover when a team member goes on holiday.

Reasons not to choose a Managed Service Provider

Monthly contract – Due to network monitoring and other packaged service items,  MSPs charge a monthly retainer, which usually lasts for an initial 12-months. Some businesses may not wish to commit to a lengthy contract because it suits them to be more flexible or to aid cash-flow.

Looking for a complete Managed Service?

Get in touch with Network ROI today!

About the Break-Fix IT model

As the name suggests, a break-fix support provider only reacts when a client reports a fault. The break-fix IT support method may suit organisations with an on-site IT resource, who don’t rely on technology for essential, everyday operations or those without large, complex computing infrastructures. Micro businesses and start-ups may opt for the break-fix model in the early days as it appears to represent a more cost-effective way to maintain computing inventory.

Reasons to choose a break-fix IT support provider

No commitment – No monthly service fees or contract might suit some businesses who aren’t 100% reliant on technology or with limited network infrastructure. The break-fix model may also suit their circumstances

Control – the client may feel like they have more control as they only call when assistance is needed and don’t need to worry about non-staff members having access to critical business data.

Only pay for services when needed – clients only pay for services and machine upgrades when they are required, a low-touch strategy that works for some. There is usually a price premium for businesses working this way, and it can turn out costly in the end.


Reasons not to choose a break-fix IT support provider

Support only when there’s a problem – Clients call when there is an issue, or an upgrade is required

Dated IT support model – the break-fix model is considered an out-of-date IT support method and doesn’t help with growth planning.

Costly – Break-fix providers charge for everything on an ad-hoc basis – usually at a premium rate – consultation, labour, upgrades and patching. Working in this way makes budgeting for unforeseen issues impossible.

It lacks vision – Because break-fix providers work on a case-by-case basis, they don’t implement preventative measures. Would a consultant who might get called out (and paid) the following week for a similar issue make a settings change that could halt the problem? Probably not!

More potential for downtime –  there’s a chance the technician that comes to fix the issue has little or no experience of your network and troubleshooting may take longer as a result

Minor problems can escalate quickly – small issues can quickly escalate due to lack of monitoring, regular contact and reporting.


Choosing the ideal IT support provider

Selecting the best type of IT support provider is not a simple task, there are lots of aspects to consider. Read below for more useful tips.

Decide how technology facilitates growth – Many companies achieve growth without a significant technology investment. These companies are becoming increasingly rare and for the majority of business owners, working with a strategic technology partner is the way forward.

Do your sums – Whether you plan to hire an in-house IT department or outsource IT support, it’s important to know the costs. If you opt for the latter, engage with a reputable IT company and have a frank discussion around costs.

Enquire about certifications, awards and accreditations – In a bid to differentiate service offerings, many IT providers obtain awards and certifications in specific fields such as security, telephony, service delivery and Microsoft technologies.

Talk to peers – Does anyone in your business network have dealings with either type of IT provider? Ask them about the pros and cons and figure out if they align with your plans.

At Network ROI, we’re ready to demonstrate why choosing a managed service provider is the best way forward for progressive organisations. We are among the top 20 UK MSPs on the MSP501 list, a global list of the world’s best and brightest Managed Service Providers. We also boast a wide range of Microsoft Gold and silver competencies as well as being Cyber Essentials Plus certified and IASME Gold Assessor accredited.

Call us on 0131 510 3456 to speak to an IT expert who is ready to make your life with technology easier.

What is multi-factor authentication?

What is multi-factor authentication?

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is an extra layer of security that can be used to protect online accounts and other shared computing resources against unauthorised access.

The easiest way to understand MFA is to think about your bank card. When you withdraw cash from an ATM, you need your card (something you have) and your PIN (something you know). There is also a third factor (something you are) – your fingerprint, retina or other biometric information.

When you enter the wrong PIN, the cash machine won’t let you withdraw money and will prompt you to take your card. The same is true with MFA. When you enter the wrong details, access will be denied, and your information will remain secure.

Why is MFA important?

It is more important than ever to protect online assets.

1 – The threat of identity fraud is growing. Hackers have unfettered access to a plethora of personal information from social media accounts, making this type of fraud an easy win.

2 – We have more to lose. We are increasingly reliant on digital infrastructure to manage our lives. Dating, communicating, working, shopping and banking are just some of the areas dominated by digital technology.

3 – Streamlined access. MFA offers a simple and secure method of offering access to the right people at the right time.

4 – Providing another layer of protection against weak or compromised user credentials. MFA should complement strong user credentials; however, it can also provide an additional layer of protection against weak or compromised credentials in some instances.

5 – More organisations and individuals are being targeted by hackers. The chances of being targeted by hackers are increasing. Criminals have many motivations for accessing online data including theft, service disruption, data destruction and more.

What types of authentication exist?

Authentication takes many forms, most of which you will be familiar with already.

Examples of things you know:

PIN – a numeric password such as the one typically used to access your phone or to protect your bank account.

Password – A string of user-defined characters that may include numbers, symbols, upper-case and lower-case letters. It’s important to follow best practice when choosing a password, download our free password guide to get some useful pointers.

Challenge/response – Answers to questions that only you should know. This type of authentication method is less effective due to the amount of personal information available online. Pet names, high-school name, place of birth and even date of birth can, in many cases be accessed by online criminals.

Examples of things you have:

Magnetic stripe cards – Cards that contain user ID data.

Smart cards – A smart card has a pre-programmed integrated computer circuit, usually taking the form of a small chip. Examples include bank cards and mobile SIM cards.

Security tokens – Mobile apps and physical USB tokens that generate a unique one-time passcode (OTP) typically within a minute before generating a new code. Many companies also use SMS messaging to deliver OTPs.

Example of something you are:

Biometrics – Examples of biometric data include voice recognition, fingerprint and iris scanning.

It’s important to note that multifactor authentication is where two unique factors are used in conjunction with one another at the same time – i.e. a smart card must be used with a PIN. Similarly, a security token or authentication app is used to deliver a passcode which must then be entered into the system.

Identity Access Management

Many organisations are seeking to further streamline the login process by using Identity Access Management (IAM) solutions. IAM removes the need for users to know their login credentials and is used to login into apps. Passwords are generated automatically by the software, reducing the possibility of a simple weak password being chosen by the user.

Another benefit of using IAM is during offboarding. If users don’t know the login credentials to various web apps, they can’t access critical business files once their employment comes to an end, making life easier for system admins and business owners.

Why should I care about multi-factor authentication?

Multi-factor authentication on its own won’t be enough to protect your business online, but it will help to ensure your people are taking steps to protect their vital information. As your business grows and becomes more reliant on digital services to function, the threat from cybercrime will increase significantly.

Adding an additional layer of security to business and personal logins will help protect your information and will reduce the threat of becoming another hacking victim. Multi-factor authentication should definitely be in your IT security strategy wish-list this coming year if you haven’t already thought about it.

Network ROI can recommend MFA solutions to suit the needs of your business. Call us on 0131 510 3456 for a chat with one of our security experts today.

In your corner in the fight against cybercrime

In your corner in the fight against cybercrime

Network ROI is helping Scottish SMEs take advantage of the latest scheme to bolster Scotland’s digital infrastructure and protect SMEs against cyber threats. The Scottish Government is offering SMEs in Scotland up to £1000 towards the cost of Cyber Essentials accreditation in a brand new initiative to support business.

Cyber threats come in many forms, and your business network is always under attack. Here is a list of common methods used by hackers to target organisations:

  • Email phishing – usually involves targeting many individuals within an organisation
  • Spear phishing or CEO fraud – a highly targeted attack method that focuses on top earners within the organisation
  • Ransomware – typically activated by clicking on a link in an email or web page to disable computers, enabling the criminal to extort funds
  • Viruses and malware – deployed using various methods to disable devices, causing downtime and disruption
  • Weak passwords – criminals use methods to target weak passwords to gain entry to company systems
  • Web-based threats – criminals compromise legitimate web pages to harvest data such as payment card details
  • Dormant user accounts – hackers exploit unused user accounts to enter the company network to suit their nefarious needs
  • Outdated software – Hackers target vulnerabilities across devices due to poor patching and OS updates

Hackers and malicious actors don’t discriminate. They pick on the weakest link – whether that’s a person, a weak password or an unused email account. SMEs are especially vulnerable, and it is wrong to assume they only target large corporations.

What is Cyber Essentials?

Cyber Essentials is a Government-backed scheme designed to help organisations demonstrate their commitment to cybersecurity, helping reduce cyber threats by as much as 80%. Given that cybercrime is the most common offence in the country, that’s a considerable reduction.

Cyber Essentials involves implementing a set of five technical controls that will help you:

  1. Secure your Internet connection
  2. Secure your devices and software
  3. Control access to your data and services
  4. Protect from viruses and other malware
  5. Keep your devices and software up to date

Benefits of Cyber Essentials accreditation

Achieving Cyber Essentials accreditation has many advantages, such as:

  • Drastically reducing the threat of falling victim to cyber-crime, protecting profits and reducing long-term costs
  • Boosting consumer confidence that you are taking cyber-security seriously
  • Allows you to bid for Public Sector contracts (Government will not consider bids from non-CE certified businesses)

Qualifying for the grant

To ensure fair distribution of the funds, – £500,000 in total has been allocated – the Scottish Government has set out some conditions.

To qualify for the grant, you must:

  • Be a Scottish private business with an SC company number or a charity registered with OSCR
  • Have not completed Cyber Essentials previously
  • Be a designated SME under EU guidelines
  • Obtain a pass certificate for Cyber Essentials before you can claim
  • Complete the pre-approval process

The grant can be used for any work or services that result in your company obtaining Cyber Essentials.

About Network ROI

Network ROI is committed to helping our clients protect their information against all types of cyber threat. We are Cyber Essentials, Cyber Essentials Plus Assessor and IASME Gold Assessor accredited as well as being a Trusted Police Scotland Cyber Essentials partner – we are ideally placed to support Scottish SMEs with their Cyber Essentials journey.

Want to know more about Cyber Essentials?

Call us on 0131 510 3456 or email Ronnie Fraser at to find out how becoming Cyber Essentials accredited can boost your Scottish SME.