Oasis Dental Care new partnership with Nimbus CS

We have been named as the All Ireland IT partner for Oasis Dental Care. With over 40 dental practices across NI & ROI and a combined total of almost 400 across the UK & Ireland, Oasis chose Nimbus not only through quality but because we have an all-Ireland presence with both offices in Belfast and Dublin we were delighted to be chosen by such an ambitious and growing company. What a great way to end on a Friday and well done to all the team.

This week saw the end of free Windows 10 upgrades

Microsoft has been offering Windows 10 for free over the last year – longer if you include the Insider Ring preview service that saw it become easily the most tested operating system in history. However, Microsoft now needs to return to normal service and will be charging for the OS for small business users. That’s around £110 per install, while larger businesses have always had their own enterprise volume agreements.

If you upgraded and don’t like it, then you can downgrade back to your older operating system. If you haven’t upgraded then you missed the boat – or did you? If you use assistive technologies, such as text-to-speech, you can still upgrade for free.

If you did upgrade what are the benefits to Windows 10? For a start it integrates with all Microsoft’s cloud services like Office 365, Skype and OneDrive so you can be more connected and it is easier to collaborate, communicate and back up data. Then, there’s Cortana, who’s way better than Siri when it comes to being a virtual digital assistant. She brings search and an increasing array of services to the start menu and will be of greater use as the operating system matures, especially for Windows Mobile users.

Those features and the improved security, plus plenty of smarter interface and user experience features, should make Windows 10 a natural and valuable upgrade for most users, even those who only use Outlook and Office apps. While some users may be keen to stick with Windows 7 Pro, which we understand and indeed advised for may of our business users. Waiting until hardware is replaced is a valid and preferred strategy for may businesses.

We may well see the cost of Windows 10 go up due to the weaker pound after the Brexit vote, with lots of technology firms increasing their UK prices.

If you have missed the boat on this one, don’t worry, if you are running Windows 7, it is a great OS and will continue to sere you faithfully. We are on hand to provide and IT and business support you need.


Windows 10 cortana by brar_j licensed under Creative commons 4

How to protect your company against phishing attacks

Phishing involves tricking a worker into giving away passwords, login details or other company information and is a common tactic used by hackers. Phishing attacks can be delivered via email, instant message, text message or even over the phone. Some even pop-up in a web browser, claiming the PC is under attack, with a number to call.

The aim of phishing is for the hacker, usually pretending to be a technical support worker, either from the company or a major IT vendor like Microsoft or Apple, to find out account access details. They claim your computer or an email account is insecure, and need the existing password or details to update a new, secure account.

Naturally, email phishing messages can be blocked at source with a good spam filter, while corporate firewalls and personal security software can manage the threat on the desktop or mobile device. However, some will still get through and only timely training for staff will help prevent them inadvertently giving away vital information.

Staff need to be taught what to look for, and what to be suspicious of. Increasingly these attacks look like genuine business emails or messages. However, key things to look out for are spelling mistakes in the text, and weblinks that do not match the site they claim to represent. Staff should never click on a link unless the are sure of the address it goes to. If they hold a cursor over most spam, scam or phishing links, even though they may say “www.microsoft.com/security” or similar in the text, the link will actually be some totally different location.

If your business lacks a dedicated IT security officer, we can provide computer support and features like Hosted Exchange for email that comes with a highly efficient scam and spam filter. We also offer offsite backup to help protect your business data, should a hacker ever break in and try to encrypt your essential data files and hold them for digital ransom.

Even with all this IT support and protection, ultimately, your staff, however well-intentioned, can easily be fooled into being the weakest link when it comes to security. So train them well in what to look for to minimise the risk. Nimbus CS can help you create the in house working practices you need to keep your company safe.

If you are interested in a free audit of your in house practices and your IT security please get in contact with Nimbus CS today.


Hook by Chang’r licensed under Creative commons 6

Business owners beware latest Lenovo flaw

Lenovo PCs are very popular among businesses for their ruggedness, longevity and support. However, in recent years the machines have struggled with a couple of issues. Last year, small businesses and individual buyers found their machines pre-loaded with some spyware products, which seems at odds with the company’s claim of a security-first focus.

Now, here comes something that isn’t the company’s fault, but poses a greater threat. The new worry is caused by a new zero-day vulnerability. It can disable the protected areas of any Lenovo ThinkPad PC’s firmware. The protected area plays host to a range of security features, including Microsoft Windows’ Secure Boot, Virtual Secure Mode and the enterprise feature Credential Guard.

Lenovo laptop

Lenovo Thinkpad x100e by acidpix licensed under Creative commons 4

As it is a zero-day exploit, there is currently no fix, so all businesses running Lenovo PCs should be very careful about what files they open and sites they visit. The exploit was developed by a security researcher, who released it without telling Lenovo, so hackers will be quick to make use of it. Any active attack will probably appear in emails claiming to be an urgent driver update, since the hack involves the PC’s Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) driver.

Anyone running it could soon find their PC open to other attacks and infected with hacker tools to steal information or use the PC to spy on other systems. This bug may also be tweaked by hackers to work on PCs other than Lenovo-branded products. Depending on the Intel chipset in the PC, some models may be secure against this particular threat – time will tell as researchers investigate. However, as with this and the many other threats out there, it is a timely reminder that now would be a very good time to improve your business’s antivirus software, firewalls, email protection and other essentials.

If your business hasn’t considered professional support for its IT, we can help provide network, server and IT support. Hosted email and calendars can improve collaboration, while moving services to the cloud can help reduce costs and create a more flexible and secure IT environment for your business. Whatever your needs, get in touch before it is too late and disaster strikes.

Why cyber insurance can’t protect you from all of the risks

IT security is more important than ever, with figures suggesting a major increase in attacks on businesses. Two-thirds of businesses report falling victim to a cyber attack or security breach, and data loss prevention remains the number one priority among business leaders. Your business may already have experienced hacking attempts, malicious server overloads or problems with viruses. These incidents can cause massive financial losses to your business, halting everything from sales to productivity. Cyber security also has a major impact on brand perception. The majority of consumers state they will no longer use a company that has suffered a data loss incident, over fears of personal identity theft.

Businesses are therefore looking to mitigate the effects of cyber risks, and cyber insurance is one product that has stepped up to fill the gap. Cyber insurance covers businesses against financial losses in the event of computer failure, cyber attack or network problems. However, a common mistake companies make is to take out this insurance, and fail to take further steps to improve IT security. Insurance is just one piece of the solution – you also need to look at monitoring and maintaining your networks. Financial losses might be easily covered, but regaining lost reputation and consumers’ faith in your business can be much trickier. Insurance helps if the worst happens – but managed services make sure the worst never does happen.

Managed services work alongside your insurance policy, ensuring that it is almost impossible you will experience data loss or downtime. Through ongoing network monitoring and problem solving, a hosted solutions provider such as Nimbus CS can detect attacks and breaches before they take hold, switching to backup systems and ensuring data and networks are always available and secure. Instead of waiting until the problem occurs before you take action, managed services are the proactive way to look after your IT systems. Keep all personal and corporate data secure, and prevent a breach of consumer trust – rely on the managed web solutions from Nimbus CS to keep you, your employees and your customers happy.


Feature image Security – Dictionary by aag_photos licensed under Creative commons 5

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