Altaro Partnership

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We are pleased to announce partnership with Altaro Backup Solutions.

Altaro VM Backup is the leading virtual server backup software solution to back up and restore both Hyper-V and VMware-based virtual machines from within the same application.

Altaro VM Backup offers you most of the features found in competing offers aimed at enterprise-level users at a fraction of the price. A few of its capabilities at a glance:

• Offsite Backup Replication to an offsite location for disaster recovery protection, either to your own offsite storage through your internet connection or by enabling drive swap rotation on selected drives
• Instant Exchange Item-Level Restore Browse through your Exchange VM backup’s file system and restore individual emails (or any other Exchange items) instantly
• Instant File Level Restore Also retrieve individual files directly from your VM backups with a few clicks
• Supports Hyper-V Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) & VMware vCenter great for larger environments
• Remote Management Console Easily manage all VM backup/restore jobs across your Hyper-V and VMware hosts from a central console
• Back up Live VMs with Zero downtime
• Compression & Encryption Compress VM backups and use military grade AES encryption to reduce backup storage significantly and secure VM backups
• Linux, MS Exchange & MS SQL VM backups supported
• Intuitive user interface
• Sandbox restore tests
• And more!


US government urges removal of QuickTime for windows

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Recently the US government have issued a statement asking for anyone who has “Apple QuickTime” installed on their Windows-based PC to remove it immediately.

In a public statement issued on 14/4/2016, the US-CERT recommends the removal of QuickTime for Windows. The reasoning behind this is that Apple have now announced that they will no longer be supporting the product in anyway, this includes issuing security updates. So what does this mean for its users?

This announcement has come days after the zero day initiative (a program for rewarding security researchers for responsibly disclosing vulnerabilities), released two new critical vulnerabilities that put QuickTime for windows at risk.

We’re not aware of any active attacks against these vulnerabilities currently. However, now that apple will no longer be supporting the platform it is just a matter of time before hackers act on this opportunity and you don’t want it to be your business to be on the receiving end. The only way to protect your Windows systems from potential attacks against these or other vulnerabilities in Apple QuickTime now is to uninstall it.

QuickTime for Windows is part of a growing list of widely used software that’s no longer receiving support, including Microsoft’s venerable Windows XP operating system, and Java 6, by Oracle. You should make it a priority to remove any of these from all computers on your network in order to minimize your risks.

In its advisory, the US-CERT states: “Computers running QuickTime for Windows will continue to work after support ends. However, using unsupported software may increase the risks from viruses and other security threats. Potential negative consequences include loss of confidentiality, integrity, or availability of data, as well as damage to system resources or business assets. The only mitigation available is to uninstall QuickTime for Windows.”

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Did you sign-up for BT price rises twice a year ?

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BT Rise

No of course you didn’t but it has been creeping in just ever too often now….and ‘Yes’ we did have a recent increase, just back there in September.

It is now almost becoming the norm, or so BT would love you to ‘accept’ as the ‘norm’ to see an increase on BT Business prices i.e. landlines, broadband and calls twice within any given year.

Over the last 3 years BT have raised their telephony and broadband prices 4 times, around a 6% rise on each occasion.

  • January 2014 – 6.5% rise
  • December 2014 – 6.5% price hike
  • September 2015 – Increases to call charges and line rentals
  • May 2016 – 6-7% increase

Below is a summary of the price changes that have now been made as of May 1st 2016.

While the increase may seem small each time, over the years this cumulative effect begins to stack up and 6% on £15.00 (£0.90) is not quite the same once it gets to £22.30 (£1.34) which is now the price of a ‘Standard’ analogue telephone line after the May price increase.

In fact, since 2008 , like most businesses, we’d be pretty sure that you hadn’t put up your prices once in the last 5-7 years never mind 4 times in the past two and a bit.

Fortunately, under BT’s own terms and conditions, even if you have signed a long-term contract, it says that customers can leave penalty free so long as they tell it within 30 days of receiving notification of the changes, we have until the last week of May to vote with our feet if we so choose.

This means that there is a window opportunity to break free and look at an alternative to the never ending price increases and get some control back into managing one of your unavoidable business costs.

Besides putting a stop to incessant price rises we’d also recommend that you look at combined broadband and telephone line offers and also VoIP technology.  Both will make far more efficient use of your usage and in the case of VoIP cut out the unnecessary multiple telephone lines that you may have in to service the ‘peaks’.

With VoIP your calls are going up and down your broadband and thanks to fibre and IP technology you can have 5-10 calls going simultaneously down the broadband line.  Every time you call the Helios IT support desk you are speaking to us across this VoIP technology and we have 8 phones in use.

If this has got you thinking ‘What could VoIP and faster broadband do for us ?’  then please do request a review of your current telecom and broadband expenditure. or call us via the VoIP on 028 9094 5542


Should your business store data in the cloud?

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Helios Cloud storage

What is the cloud? – In its most simple term “the cloud” is a network of connected servers (a server being a computer that provides data or services to other computers).

The cloud is not just a few servers, but in fact a network of many servers typically stored in datacentres. These datacentres are guarded and managed by big companies with millions spent on firewalls compared to SMEs who would normally spend around £200, already we are starting seeing some of the advantages that cloud computing has to offer in terms of security.

How does it differ? – When saving work to your PC, the data you have saved will stay on your local hard drive stored away in folders you’ve created and organised yourself. The problem with this is that file you have just saved is only stored in this one local location, unless you have emailed it to yourself or saved it externally. Having a backup is essential for a company as hard drives fail, files can be hacked and viruses are all too common today.

When you save files to the cloud, you can access them on any computer, provided it’s connected to the internet and you’re signed into your cloud services platform, which is a big positive for businesses being so mobile today. In our experience cloud services have been an invaluable asset and play a huge role in the day-to-day running of Helios.

One example of how we benefit is it allows our engineers to access their work when out of office or working from home. To add to this another huge advantage is the idea of an online backup, which means that if anything was to happen to any of your work/saved files then a second copy of your work will be saved offsite, which can be easily recovered.

Advantages of cloud – One advantage of storing information via cloud storage is it’s far more secure than it is on your own hard drive. From our experience a lot of lost work is down to failed hard drives. The cloud will eliminate this risk as the work will be stored elsewhere. Cloud servers are encrypted, which makes hacking it a laborious, if not formidable, task for criminals. Whereas a malware infection on your home computer could expose all of your personal data to cybercriminals, and even leave your files vulnerable to ransomware threats. In fact, we recommend backing up your files to a cloud service as a hedge against ransomware.

Another benefit to storing data on the cloud is cost effectiveness and ease-of-access. You can store large amounts of data relatively cheaply, using the cloud. Measure that against the number of external hard drives and USBs you’d have to purchase, and the difficulty accessing data once you’ve stored to multiple other devices, and you can see why cloud storage has become a popular option for businesses and consumers alike.

Our cloud services

Below are some of the cloud services which we have to offer, each are very different and have their own unique benefits. Get additional information on these services and get in touch with our team at Helios on-   

Cloud services

Find out more:-

Beyond the costs, 9 further reasons VoIP (Cloud Voice) makes sense for business

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Undoubtedly you will have heard that there can be significant cost saving to be had with migrating your telephone calls to go down your broadband line instead of the traditional BT telephone line.

However what you may not appreciate is that the majority cost saving is not in the calls themselves but it is made in being able to do away with the underlying monthly line rental, particularly if you use 4+ telephone lines.

The reason you can do this is that if you migrate your phone system to VoIP (Voice Over IP) you can, thanks to the IP part (the Internet Protocol) put multiple calls down the one physical broadband line rather than needing the traditional one line per one phone call.

Having installed VoIP systems for approximately 100 users we have found in practice that the user benefits go way beyond the much heralded ‘slash your telephone costs’ and are perhaps worth more to your business in the longer term than the initial quick (and very welcome) payback.

The nine unexpected benefits our client have found in practice are:

  • Seamlees switchover – you can keep all of your existing telephone numbers even if you move out of the area. For instance, we are based in Lisburn which is an 028 92 code yet we kept our Belfast 028 90 number when we moved here back in June 2015
  • Connecting remote users – phone extensions in multiple locations: 2nd office, on their mobile, working from home can talk to each other for free
  • One local phone number – in the office, at home and even abroad
  • Easy set-up – No mess, no disruption, plugs into your existing internet connection. Service active within the hour
  • No-on going maintenance charges – as there is nophone hardware to maintain
  • Reduced support charges – Web based control panel, integrated support and maintenance all contribute to lower on-going costs
  • Plenty room to expand – unlimited call capacity that can scale up and down to suit (subject to having enough internet bandwidth that is)
  • Advanced features at no extra cost – such as voicemails that are sent as email attachments, call forwarding to any other number of your choice, one common shared phone directory across all users, conferencing, call recording and call logging
  • Wide variety of handsets – not only hard-wired and wireless but more crucially softphones for PCs/MACs and smartphones as well so you are always able to receive a call in person

Want to know more ? or better still see a live demonstration ? then or give us a call on 028 9094 5542, thanks to VoIP technology our calls can be taken anywhere.VOIP Blog

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