Cyber Minder – Looking after Business

Everyday Cyber Security fills the news, TV and blogs are scaremongering. Inboxes are filling up with emails saying we are all doomed.

People are getting hacked and nobody’s safe! Don’t worry Kixo are here to simplify cyber Security!

Things are never as bad as it sounds, your businesses needs to take cyber security seriously, so how do you do that?

Companies with huge budgets can be hacked so what options do the rest of us have.

Kixo to the rescue!

We are launching a security service to keep things simple and effective, our service is designed to be very affordable.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks to learn more. We are very excited about launching our service and we think you will be as well so stay tuned

 

 

Kixo IT – Supporting Tolman Motorsport

Kixo are incredibly proud to sponsor/partner with the Midlands based TolmanMotorsport – A BritishGT racing team. Computers and IT isn’t always the most exciting of subjects (unless your geeks like us)  Racing about in sports cars in way more interesting, we are lucky that we have very interesting clients!

A few months ago we partnered and agreed to provide services and support to the Team. Its Tolman’s first year in the prestigious GT series but the team have a long racing pedigree including WorldRally and Touring cars.

We joined the team mid season so we have been thrown in at the deep end. Since partnering the team has been clocking up points at Snetterton and Spa in Belgium, and last weekend clocked a 1st place at Brandshatch! There a only 2 more races this season and Tolman have been doing amazingly!

Drivers Luke Davenport and David Patterson along with the entire team have been simply storming it! We travelled all the way with them to Spa in Belgium to what has to be the one of the most historical and famous F1 tracks in the world, we wanted to be able to provide them with network, data, and communications unparalleled in the GT series.

Everyone knows F1 is famous for being cutting edge but F1 seems to have lost its spark to the fans, so a lot of people have been looking to BritishGT for the high action and fun it offers. The league has been gaining traction for a long time now and Kixo believe we can help the team progress, and yes we hope to have some fun along the way!

Data is one of the big things for teams now, from logging historical to logging live, and having it all on tap, Big Data is something Kixo can do for Tolman in the British GT series.

We wont be talking to much about what we are doing as its all race secrets but the demand for high uptime, always available, critical data to make race decisions is something we are proud to be working on!

So if you wondered why a IT company had been tweeting about motorsport, now you know why! You can catch the guys winning at BrandsHatch here on Channel4’s catchup service here!

Happiness in the Office

image from http://officesnapshots.com/

Business has changed massively in the last generation, The silicon valley kids have shown a different possibility of offices that make staff want to be more productive, and that flexible companies produce better results, and actually can be deciding factors for staff in where they work now.

If you’re a multi billion pound business like google, facebook or Pixar then you can afford to have offices the size of cities with free food, cinemas, lounges, nap pods, slides, scooters and french bull dogs as far as you can see…. but what about the rest of us?

techbro

We’ve actually see the trend trickle down now to all sectors and business sizes. A lot of businesses are becoming pet friendly, we’re seeing luxuries in lunch rooms like pool tables, tvs, staff personal WiFi, and sofas.

Desk space is more flexible and companies are investing in decent screen sizes and comfy chairs, and they do go a long way as well. Flexi hours is more common as well, working from home or a coffee shop is a space to think and get a clear head and allowing more senior members of staff to be more productive.

Meeting spaces are becoming more creative with interactive presentation devices, and video conferencing and collaboration tools such as appear.in. Receptions are even getting bling’d with touch screens and immersive experiences demonstrating the company’s’ products and history.

We are seeing a lot of companies who are nomads and shun the office all together, working on the road, home and shared spaces like hotels, coffee shops. Technology now means teams can collaborate and talk all day long without being in the same post code. One of the dangers of being so free as staff can be making sure the team are still a team. Applications like skype and Software like slack (we are big fans of slack) meaning small businesses can be diverse but solid. Being a team player while having a unique individual touch on the business means happier staff and ultimately a more successful business no matter its size.

Free Event – IT Tools for Business Growth

Kixo have been partnering with RGN and PERA Consulting to provide a free no selling event open to public and private individuals and businesses.

The idea behind the event is to show a range of products that can help businesses understand their IT, have better control and direction over it. How to save money and also how to use those tools to generate more money in ways of bidding for new work. Simply IT tools for Business growth

  •          Basic management of website, domains
  •          Emails and calendars and contacts
  •          Notes and information gathering – OneNote
  •          Communications tools – Skype, slack and VOIP
  •          Sales Software – BaseCRM
  •          Accounts – Sage one
  •          Cloud storage – Google Docs and OneDrive
  •          Social Media Management – Hootsuite & Buffer
  •          Security – Encryption, Anti-virus, Backups
  •          Disaster Recovery – Cloud

Its a very informal talk with a lot of back and fourth, the idea is to ask as many questions as you can so we can give you some help. Think of it as quizzing a IT person for a few hours.

Kixo staff are passionate about business and IT, this is our way of sharing something we are passionate about.

The next event is in Coleshill on the 7th July – please see here to book your free place

Kixo’s New Cloud Product Range

Cloud, everyone knows the name and everyone wants it even if its a bit tricky to define. We believe Kixo are a very personal company, and we have to walk a thin line in IT of making sure the product fits what people need, while at the same time not overloading clients with the tech but also keeping people informed with what they are paying for and using.

Because technology moves so fast we found clients don’t always want to know if they are using “Terminal Services” or “Citrix”, people just want to know is it good, stable, secure and if so how much?

So instead of talking about forever changing software names, and trying to define cloud and where it starts and stops, we have bundled cloud services and traditional systems into Kixo’s own packages with simple to understand names and prices.

Kixo are proud to introduce the below cloud products.

Cloud Desktop – A virtual desktop that follows you from machines to machine. No waiting for documents to upload and download, being in the cloud makes it accessible from anywhere at any time. Saving you money on software licences, install your program once in the cloud, it then simply works on all machines you log in from. Charged per user. Click here for more details.

Cloud Backup – A backup of your files from your laptop or desktop or server. This puts a copy of your data securely in the cloud, so in the eventuality of accidental deletion, or hardware failure or stolen equipment. You can restore your data from us. Charged per GB of data. Click here for more details.

Cloud Phone – An internet phone, simple to setup, just plug it in. Working from home or abroad? just plugin and your number follows you. For the standard price you can divert to mobiles and have hunt groups to make sure calls are never missed. Charged per user. Click here for more details.

We are already expanding the range due to popularity. These products are to help businesses small and large to keep their IT simple and cost effective.
Please contact us for more details.
Kixo Partners with Pera Consulting for RGN Events

Kixo is proudly partnering with Pera Consulting and the Warwickshire Rural Growth Network to put on a series of free events talking about IT Tools to help SMBs grow

ICT / IT is an often undervalued area for most small to mid sized businesses. With a recent industry shift, most software is now cloud based. With most applications offering a free entry level model there are now a huge range of tools and platforms available to businesses which can empower people. The problem is now working out the most suitable option for you and your business.

One of the biggest problems for small businesses is hours in the day and management of data. Being organised is key. IT tools can help to give you what you need when you need it.

Small businesses can benefit from tools used by larger companies without the same costs attached, and while we will not be going in too deeply as the specifics of each piece of software, we will outline and demonstrate some of the more powerful and free applications available to users to maximise their hours in the day.

IT isn’t just a broken computer being turned off and on to fix pop up, its tools that drives businesses and people. We hope to enable IT novices create invoices and quotes from their mobiles while out on the road. And switching on more advanced users to Encryption and security, which enables some companies to work in new areas ticking boxes and allowing them to bid for work they couldn’t before. IT can grow your business.

On this course we will cover aspects such as:

  • Basic management of website, domains
  • emails and calendars and contacts on all your devices – Office 365
  • Notes and information gathering – OneNote
  • Communications tools – Skype for business, slack and VOIP
  • Sales Software – BaseCRM
  • Accounts – Sage one
  • Cloud storage – Google Docs and OneDrive
  • Social Media Management – Hootsuite & Buffer
  • Security – Encryption, Anti-virus, Backups
  • Disaster Recovery – Cloud

This session is delivered by Dan Stone from Kixo IT in collaboration with Pera Consulting and the Warwickshire Rural Growth Network.

The Access Group – ERP in the Midlands

We have spoken before about how we are “Midlands and proud” and we thought we would post about a company we work with who are also Midlands based, they have multiple offices across the UK but the teams in Midlands are the ones we deal regularly with.

Access is a group who provide ERP. 2 of the modules within that ecosystem are Factory Master and Delta who are based in Nuneaton and Coventry respectively.

We are not going to try and plug the system or sell it to anyone there are many ERP systems this is one of them, but we did want to recognise and mention the teams we work with.

There is something very nice about dealing with specialists who are local enough to come into the office and be at the end of a phone, it’s something we believe in massively.

Having a name and a face we can work with we believe builds a stronger relationship, team and ultimately better result for the business.

It’s getting increasingly rarer to see companies staying in the UK and especially regionally, so we just wanted to show our gratitude to local specialists who know their stuff!

So big thumbs up to the Nuneaton and Coventry teams and just to say we enjoy working with them!

Meet Marvin

As we have said before we are from the Midlands and we are also geeks, proud of our roots! Being a IT company everyone expects us to have a website of cliché smart people in suits shaking hands and looking forgettable. From the start we have always been very different, so a company that prides its self on being very Human, decided to have a robot as its symbol!

Every company needs to have a symbol and a vision and being robotic isn’t ours, but Marvin summed up our automated parts of the business perfectly so we have rolled him out to the public!

In IT we have to be in many places at the same time, from phone calls and meetings to all of the monitoring of servers and networks, So that part of the business is looked after by Marvin, sadly no one will ever get to speak to him, as he is busy watching over our clients networks, every time anything blips he is there to alert us! He doesn’t sleep and only needs the occasional software update.

So yes its a contradiction on the Human IT that Kixo pride ourselves on…. but you have to admit he’s a memorable little fella! But please be assured no matter how you contact us you will never be in a system, you always get through to a engineer first and only!

Is the SuperFish problem Lenovos fault… yes and no

lenovo

So lets be up front for a second, we are a Lenovo partner and Lenovo has very rightly had some bad press in the last 2 weeks…. but the good news is most of the Business/Professional users won’t be affected by the SuperFish bug, this is a Home user virus. if you think you are affected please download Lenovo’s removal tool here.

In short the SuperFish bug is malware that steals information for bad purposes, it came pre-installed out of the box with Lenovo computers. So even before your computer was on…. it had a very bad virus. And i think most people who have purchased a home computer/laptop have taken it home and been disappointed with how slow they are, even some of the high end machines. And it boils down to bloat-ware.

So the question come up why do Lenovo and all the other manufactures but software onto your brand new computer that ruin it. Well it comes down to simple economics. To stay competitive and make the computer cheaper to the home customer, manufactures (ALL of them) are paid by the software developers to install their software onto brand new PCs.  The software developers are normally naff backup software or premium anti virus trails but also a lot of games and other trails of services. There have been many cases before and will be in the future of companies that slip through from bloatware to virus, its a very grey line.

So why are business computers more expensive, a lot of the time build quality is higher, support levels are a world of difference, but also they are simply not subsidised by bloatware. IT departments would run a mile having to wipe every new computer.  A common sentence we hear when sourcing hardware for smaller customers is “i can get that cheaper from PCWorld/Tesco” and we don’t for a second argue, but we know your comparing apples and oranges and if you pay peanuts… you will get monkeys less secure computers. That’s why all good it support companies/departments will go through and remove any bloatware from your computers especially if they are brand new!

We wont defend Lenovo for letting people install bloatware and malware, and all manufactures are equally as guilty and it makes good kit look bad. But we are still fiercely proud to be Lenovo partners because they make amazing business hardware and the support is great!

Free tip for home computers, remove anything that looks trashy, games, antivirus trials (yep even AV is loaded now!) anything that looks like its REALLY wants you to click on it. So much software is now web based, the only things that should be installed locally are applications you need/want.
The rest will be junk!

So… Kixo are STILL Lenovo and Proud!

Disaster Recovery


A lot of people talk about disaster recovery and not many people get how it fits into the business and how or why it can be important, we thought we would share a recent chain of events that worked so well most of the users in the business didn’t know anything was going on. Sometimes if you do your job well enough no one knows your doing it!

One of our clients is a Tier 1 automotive manufacture supplying  to internationally known Car manufactures.  All companies operate 24/7 so there is a strict zero downtime policy. Every minute of downtime can equal hundreds of thousands of pounds of losses and extra costs for staff to catch up on hours lost in the factories.

We had been planning a virtualisation and disaster recovery project for all the physical servers, so when we discovered we were also moving to a new large factory and office we tied the projects together. We virtualised all physical servers and even some routers. Once virtualised we enabled off site replication to a secure Datacentre, this allowed us to turn off physical hardware and move the office without any of the key ERP software and backbone software like Emails being interrupted, despite the original hardware being in the back of a lorry being moved!

After the original physical servers had arrived at the new location we switched back to the main hardware’s new location. Now the disaster recovery plan had been tested in a controlled manor we felt comfy enough after additional testing that in event of a disaster at the main site the business would be able to ride through large problems which could have crippled the company before.

The disaster recovery plan was tested for real shortly after being at the new factory when the sites power lines failed due to circumstances outside of the clients control, at which point generators kept the factory running, while the company disaster recovery plan kept all key ERP software running and externally all emails and VoIP phone lines stayed up. Externally nobody knew anything and more importantly production was able to keep running.

If the downtime had been for a longer period of time the plan would have allowed all employees to go home and log onto the sessions via remote desktop and carry on working where they left off. Phone extensions could have been diverted to user’s mobiles but luckily for all involved the downtime was not prolonged.

The one thing which a good plan always seems to lack is staff training. Having a plan is great but people need to know it, when it kicks in and what they need to do, so drumming in basics like accessing emails and phones is key.

With ERP software becoming so important to large businesses, having multiple plans to survive basic incidents is a must. SaaS is something we expect to be seeing more of in the future and while some people are sceptical of SaaS, cloud and disaster recovery being buzzwords, they can boil down to some very simple procedures and just using what you may already be using. Businesses are starting to see that disaster recovery systems combined with virtualisation and cloud is a very smart and powerful tool which can be applied to all large and small businesses.

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