The new-Look True MSP, the same great Managed IT Support

Introducing the Brand-New True MSP!

We’re proud to finally introduce the new-look True MSP website!

After years of working for average outsourced IT support companies, Neil and Tim combined their 40+ years of experience and set-up True MSP with the vision of providing customer-centric and exceptional Managed IT Support. We continue to do this to this day but like our clients, we belong to a rapidly evolving workforce. With our partners, solutions and technologies changing with the times, we thought it was time our website did too.

We’ve always been dedicated to simplifying Managed IT solutions for our clients across Derby, Nottingham, Leicester, The Midlands and London – providing clear and concise solutions to bespoke business needs. We wanted our re-brand to reflect this, with a simple-to-navigate website that gets straight to the core of your business needs.

With your business diversifying and your needs becoming more bespoke, we’ve made it easier to find the solutions you need. Our Cloud page covers everything from your first move to an online workspace, to the software that keeps you working from anywhere.

We also know that the always-online workspace needs all-new protective solutions, so our Cyber Security and Data Security page covers your front-to-back security requirements. Covering everything from Cyber Essentials and protection for Microsoft 365 to Business Security and Backup, you can now find the solutions you need to repel intruders – and retain sensitive data.

We still offer the same great Managed IT services as ever – including IT Support and Connectivity – and you’ll always find quick links to the solutions you need from any one of our pages.

The way the world works is going through a transformation, and businesses need solutions that empower as well as simplify. With our new design, we’re hoping to make that easier for all our customers – new and old.

Let us know what you think of the new site – we look forward to hearing more from you!

Neil, Tim and the whole True MSP team.

7 Microsoft Add Ins You’ll Never Be Able to Work Without Again

Once we’ve returned to the office this summer, life may feel rather hectic. It may take time to readjust, and your team’s productivity will no doubt take a hit. Thankfully we have a selection of Microsoft Add ins that can easily make your life more productive.  

Chances are you’ll enjoy using them so much, they may become a cornerstone of your IT team’s training. Or even become as important as maintaining good cybersecurity and keeping your files organised. 

Woodpecker  

This Microsoft Add In was originally designed to create templates within legal documents. Today it’s used by a range of industries for any Word doc. Letters, emails, proposals, and reports. If you’re regularly creating slightly varied versions of the same document, Woodpecker is your best friend. Simply highlight the areas that you want editable and set the areas you want to remain constant to uneditable.  

DocuSign  

All businesses need to regularly sign documents. And this Microsoft Add In will let you sign documents without leaving Microsoft Word. All you need to do is drag and drop the space for a signature to different areas of the document, leaving recipients to fill it with their signature.  

FindTime  

Scheduling made easy. This Outlook Add-In will show you where the optimum openings in your co-workers’ calendars are. You can view multiple slots, and everyone can vote on their ideal time. Basically, it saves you from sending a bunch of emails or visiting everyone’s desk just to get a consensus.  

Polly  

Getting a quick response from your team can be a nightmare. Especially in a hectic office. Polly, the Microsoft Teams Add In, lets you create a poll and get feedback from your team rapidly. At the very least it saves clogging up your inbox or overloading Microsoft Teams with notifications.  

Boomerang  

This Microsoft Add In can help fight the headache that email creates. It has a range of functions including the ability to schedule an email for a later date, an “inbox pause” capability, and the option for creating a visual grid that – similar to FindTime – can display your availability for the week.  

Read My Document  

Sometimes you need a second pair of eyes to read your work aloud and make sure it sounds right. But sometimes there’s nobody in the office around to help. Read My Document will make your computer read your documents to you. This works for a range of programs including Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.  

Template Phrases  

If you find you’re using the same phrases in your emails over and over again, Template Phrases can throw them in with just a single click. If you reply to lots of emails on a daily basis this tool is guaranteed to save you time.  The more you get to know your technology, the more it’ll look after you. In a sense, treat your technology as you would an employee: with care and constant consideration. The Cloud has a world of benefits to offer your business beyond Microsoft Add ins and Microsoft 365.  

So click here if you’re ready to take advantage of everything The Cloud offers. 

How Cloud Technologies Elevate Professional Services

The Cloud has become a growing presence in business technology, and it’s not hard to see why. Outside of the events of 2020 – where Covid-19 forced many of us into remote working environments – Cloud services have since defined the worldwide workplace.  

For the professional services provider, that workplace is fast-moving, fiercely competitive, and dependant on the brightest minds. With the Cloud now a near-unanimous force in the modern workplace, how do professional services providers make their Cloud solution not only an enabler – but an innovator? 

Wider Reach

When your industry thrives on professionals, experts and specialists, you want to extend your reach to the industry’s best. The Cloud, being always-online, makes this much easier.  

By providing an ever-connected workplace at any time, from any connection, the Cloud sidesteps the complications of working hours and locations. For managers and recruiters, this means attracting a pool of talent from far further afield, where location, distance and even time zones are no longer part of the equation. Not only does this provide far more flexibility for your business, it makes it an attractive prospect for your industry’s top performers. 

Connecting with Clients  

On the subject of reach, consider the Cloud’s potential – if not its requirement – as a client relationship manager. When your work is time-sensitive and bespoke, you want clients to be able to view the status of their requests, and submit questions or amendments at a time that suits them.  

With the Cloud, clients have access to their documents or personal data securely at any time. Platforms such as Microsoft Azure can help speed up service requests with powerful automation tools, while leveraging comms solutions such as VoIP provides multiple ways for clients to stay in touch. Your clients expect numerous online-enabled solutions as standard, and the Cloud lets you take these above and beyond. 

Expanding and Innovating  

Technologies are forever evolving, and from engineering to accountancy, few professional services aren’t driven by rolling tech investments. ‘Evolving’ is the key word here; where software upgrades were once iterative, often requiring regular license renewals, Cloud solutions are provided as a service. The developer rolls out any upgrades as they’re available, and the user simply takes advantage of the free performance improvements.  

But let’s take this further; let’s assume you’ve a need for bespoke, automated processes that works to your company specifics. With platforms such as Microsoft Azure, businesses can actually virtualise the hardware that makes this possible and automate processes across their business software. Your technical performance improves without costly hardware investments, and your processes are completed with barely any manual input required.  

Securing Assets  

Security remains priority for businesses nationwide – as well it should – and when the Cloud first emerged, much of the scrutiny centred on its security. Prudent, perhaps; but with the backing of a layered security solution, the Cloud has proven to be the most secure method of storing sensitive data.  

Much of this is down to Cloud service providers. Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud are large businesses and, as such, have a budget (and expertise) for cybersecurity far surpassing the average business. For professional services providers, who handle vast amounts of sensitive, personal and financial information, this is an encouraging precedent; so too is the fact that no attempts made to compromise these services have thus far been successful.   

No business – however fast-moving – should be held back by the constraints of budget, technology or accessibility. For the professional services industry, the Cloud provides an essential service with an almost-infinite lifespan.  

Ready to make the move? We’re here to help make it happen. 

6 Cloud Migration Steps

Moving to The Cloud is a no brainer for many businesses. The cost savings and efficiency gains are almost a given. But before you dive into one, take the time to consider each of the cloud migration steps involved. This will help avoid costly mistakes such as data loss or unnecessary downtime.  

Also, make sure you’re moving for the right reasons. Don’t just move to The Cloud because it’s the thing to do. Only move when you’re confident it’ll help you achieve your business goals, optimise certain processes, etc. If, however, you’ve done your research, then the following cloud migration steps will be yours to follow. 

Form the right team

Make sure all your key stakeholders are involved. This will of course vary from business to business but typically your IT heads (obviously), CFO, and CEO will go without saying. Beyond that, specific team members required will depend on what kind of technology your team will be working with. But you may also want to consider bringing together security specialists, business analysts, and relevant project managers before the migration is in full swing.  

Determine your Cloud-Readiness  

This involves doing a comprehensive business and technical analysis of your entire IT infrastructure. The aim is to determine what tech your business uses, how it uses it, and the various relative dependencies and integrations your applications have with each other. Some apps won’t be ready for cloud environments. Some apps may need small tweaks. Some may need extensive changes in their code. Some apps may be moved as they are. So, analyse everything, typically with external guidance if you don’t have the resources in house. 

Choose the right migration partner, vendor, and environment  

Do you want to go with Microsoft Azure, AWS, or another cloud provider? Do you want to go public, private, or hybrid? And who will you partner with to carry out the migration? A managed service provider can be a solid choice. They’ll have extensive experience navigating these issues and help you pick the ideal path.  

Create a Roadmap  

You’ll probably want to move incrementally so decide on the order IT components will make the move based on factors like business priority and ease of migration. Ensure as little disruption as possible by clarifying milestones and funding whilst prioritising the more business critical applications.  

Migration  

This stage is all about putting controls in place to minimise downtime and data loss. Make sure you backup your data before migrating it and test the backup to make sure it works. Migrating your data incrementally and testing accordingly can ensure nothing is lost. 

Testing, and adapting  

Once the data has been migrated and has populated you can start switching over to using it in its new environment. This should be in a test environment with test users to assess its functionality whilst its on premise equivalent remains intact. If you have a lot of complex data this test period should be taken with extra care. Make sure you don’t make the final switch and don’t say goodbye to your on-premise solution until your team confirms everything is working correctly.   

The end goal with all of these cloud migration steps is of course to optimise your business’s operations and ultimately improve your bottom line. True MSP has a proven track record of delivering cloud migrations that do exactly that. Plus IT can cause serious issues if not looked after properly.   

So, if you’d like help navigating this potentially complex field and increasing your business’s efficiency, click here to book a call with a cloud migrations expert.  

7 Microsoft Teams Tips and Tricks to Boost Productivity

Your IT can be like an employee: get to know it, treat it well and both of you can do some great work together. This is why we put so much emphasis on training at True MSP.  

Microsoft Teams is the cornerstone of collaboration for many businesses. So we’ve compiled a range of Microsoft Teams tips and tricks to make your work as productive as possible. 

Get to know the shortcuts  

Knowing these shortcuts can save hours in the long run. For many of the most common operations in Microsoft Teams, there’s a method for executing it instantly with a keyboard shortcut. 

Use frequent commands  

Similarly, you can use frequent commands for jumping to frequently used locations and tasks within Microsoft Teams. Simply type the “ / ” key followed by your desired location and you’ll jump straight to it. 

Turn on do not disturb  

Microsoft Teams can make communication a little too easy. Notifications pinging all day can drain your focus… And your sanity. When you need to focus on a given task and be free from being contacted by your team, set your status to do not disturb by clicking on your initials in the top right-hand corner.  

Filter using your activity centre  

Your activity centre gives you a timeline feed of everything you’ve done within Microsoft Teams and your notifications. You can search this activity directly and filter it to show only certain types of activity. E.g., only mentions, missed calls, reactions, etc.  

Filter and access your teammates quicker by using @mention  

Alternatively, you can jump to find specific conversations from teammates within the activity centre by typing in their @name. This can also be great for quickly messaging them: if you don’t want to leave what you’re doing and find their conversation, you can type @name into the search bar and send a message without leaving what you’re doing.  

Pin important channels and apps  

Some channels and apps you’ll use a lot more than others. To save you scrolling and searching when you need to find them, pin them so they’re always in the same place, on the left of your Microsoft Teams window.  

Use tags to group users  

Very often you’ll need to address people as a group. Instead of picking them out one by one and adding them to a group thread, if you’ve grouped them together under a tag, you can address them as one in an instant.  

Become more productive with The Cloud  

Once you start using these Microsoft Teams tips and tricks, they may start to feel as unavoidable as good backup or cybersecurity. And since any business worth their salt is aiming to be more productive, taking advantage of everything The Cloud and Microsoft Teams has to offer is a no-brainer.  

If you’re ready to welcome in a new level of productivity, click here to take full advantage of The Cloud. 

Eight top cyber security tips to protect yourself online

Whether you are in the office, at home or browsing the internet from your phone, ensuring your data is protected online is vitally important. 

Knowing what you can do to protect yourself against modern digital threats is key, but knowing where to start can be difficult. 

Don’t worry though, because help is at hand from TrueMSP director Neil Shaw. He’s put together his eight top cyber security tips which are simple but effective ways to protect yourself online. 

1. Keep software up to date. 

Installing software updates for your operating system and programs is critical. Updates are released all the time so regularly check that you have the latest updates installed. 

Ways to do this: 

  • If your IT systems are not managed by an IT company, such as TrueMSP, then you should switch on your automatic updates. 
  • Use Firefox or Chrome as your web browser because they receive regular updates.
  • Update all of your third party apps, such as Java and Flash.

2. Always use a strong password 

We all have too many passwords to remember so most people reuse the same password for multiple sites. However, you wouldn’t have the same key for all your locks so why use the same password for all your accounts? To make things simple you could use a password manager, such as KeePass or LastPass, which securely store all of your password in an encrypted vault. They allow you to automatically generate a very complex password that you don’t have to remember because the programs store them for you. 

Whether you use a password manager or not, please follow these best practices: 

  • Update your password periodically – at least once every three months
  • Use a strong mix of characters including numbers and special characters
  • A long password is more secure than a short one. Try to make the passwords at least 10 characters. 20+ is the recommended amount.
  • Never share your password with anyone.

3. Avoid Phishing scams and other malicious emails. 

Phishing emails, which try to trick you into entering your details to gain access to your online accounts, have become a real nuisance over the last couple of years. Phishing scams can also be over the phone, by text or through social media, so it’s important to be vigilant when entering your account details into any site, especially one you’ve not requested access to. 

Please remember: 

  • Be wary of any emails or websites that ask you to enter your account or personal details.
  • Messages that say “You’ve been hacked” or “please login to remove threat” are always malicious
  • If you think something doesn’t look right the chances are it isn’t.
  • Switch off your PC/laptop if you are concerned that your device has been taken over by someone.

4. Think before you click 

Along with Phishing scams, you should be mindful when clicking on any internet links, especially when you’ve gone to the webpage by choice. 

So bear in mind: 

  • Hovering your mouse over a link will reveal its true destination. For example a link to thecompanyyouwanttolookat.com may actually go to ihavenowgotyourdata.com
  • Email attachments should always be verified before clicking. If you’ve recently spoken to the person sending the email you’re generally OK to open the attachment. However, if an email comes in and you’re not expecting an attachment, double check by contacting the sender. Do this by phone or by sending a separate email and not replying to the one you’ve just received. Much like links, email addresses can be spoofed. You can check them in the same way as a website link.

5. Never leave your devices unattended 

Physically securing your devices is as important as locking your PC. Once you’ve lost your data you can’t encrypt it or delete it unless that feature is enabled (mobile phones) 

So, remember:

  • Never leave your laptop, PC or mobile device unattended.
  • Don’t store sensitive data on a USB stick or USB hard drive without locking them away when not in use.
  • Encrypt your USB sticks using Windows 10 (BitLocker feature).
  • Look at using a secure cloud to store your data rather than a physical device.

6. Use your mobile devices safely 

Many of us rely on our mobile devices, however they’re susceptible to attack in much the same way as your computer. 

My advice is: 

  • Always lock your device with a PIN or password.
  • Only install apps from trusted sources.
  • Keep your device’s operating system updated.
  • Don’t click on links or attachments from unsolicited emails or texts.
  • Avoid transmitting or storing personal information on the device. 
  • Backup your data.

7. Install an anti-virus package 

There are many anti-virus packages available. We recommend Webroot or Bitdefender. These packages use ‘definitions’ which is a database of all the known threats currently out there. Keeping them up-to-date is important.

Webroot and Bitdefender also use artificial intelligence which helps with threats that aren’t listed in the definitions. This technology is improving every day yet no anti-virus package will be 100% effective. Anti-virus packages are an extra line of defence, not the only line of defence.

8. Back up your data 

If all else fails and your data is encrypted by a cyber-attack or your device is stolen what’s your backup plan?

  • Backup software is inexpensive and can offer a range of storage – local USB stick, NAS (Network storage) or Cloud.
  • Cloud storage can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.

If you are concerned about your cyber security, contact TrueMSP to see how we can help. 

Meet the latest recruit to the TrueMSP team

TrueMSP is delighted to introduce our latest recruit – Gavin Potter. 

Gavin, who has 20 years of experience in the IT industry, is our new Technical Lead and will focus on project work and onboarding new clients. 

His job is to ensure we continue to offer first class, personal customer service to all of our clients when tending to your technical needs. 

Gavin’s specialist areas include cyber security, the Cloud and new technologies so another of his roles will be to research the latest tech that we can offer our clients. 

To help you to get to know Gavin, here’s 7 facts about him: 

  1. Avid track day attendee 
  2. Owns two Siberian Huskies 
  3. Competes in endurance mountain biking
  4. Came 3rd in the British National Ice-skating championships in 1996 
  5. Worked for one of the UK’s leading virtualisation specialists
  6. Collects retro gaming consoles 
  7. Only drinks tea 

TrueMSP launches free training sessions for clients

Do you want to know more about cyber security, learn how to use the latest features of Office 365 or see the latest IT technology in action? 

Well, now TrueMSP’s clients can learn about these things – and more – for free, thanks to the launch of our new training workshops and seminars. 

The events will take place in the brand-new Conference and Training Room at TrueMSP’s headquarters in Castle Donington and be led by directors, Neil and Tim, and members of our highly experienced team. 

Topics for planned workshops and seminars include: 

  • Cyber Security; 
  • Office 365 and the Cloud; 
  • Back-up and disaster recovery; 
  • Voice Over IP (VOIP) phone systems; 
  • Latest technology showcase. 

Clients interested in attending a training session should contact the Midlands office on 01332 948600 for further details. 

Don’t let your IT systems become a toxic employee

Richard Branson once said “If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.” If you have an unhappy employee within your business, the chances are they’re having a negative effect on your wider team. This can manifest in several ways and ultimately it creates a toxic environment, which demoralises everyone, reduce productivity and in extreme cases can cause productive employees to leave the business. 

In these cases you may turn to HR to see how you can turn things around by understanding what’s causing the negative behavior. As a business owner, your team is your most valuable asset and each member should be happy working within your organization. 

So, why are your IT systems like an employee? 

Going back to when IT first became ‘a thing’ in business, if the computer said ‘no’ you could go back to pen and paper and work around any down time. Fast forward to today and most businesses can’t work without their IT systems being fully functional. I know that most of our clients would suffer a substantial financial loss if their systems failed and in much the same way as a toxic employee, a slow and unresponsive IT system will negatively impact your entire workforce. 

This is why I believe your IT systems should be thought of as an employee with needs, rather than a cost center, which isn’t essential to the success of your business. A good example of this is with a client who had an aging IT system that had not seen any investment for over 5 years. The computers we’re slow, crashed often and generally weren’t fit for purpose. The IT system had become toxic, negatively impacting the whole team, all day, every day. Convincing the board to refresh their computers and move some services to the cloud wasn’t an easy task, because they didn’t see their IT as an employee with needs, however laying out a clear plan which highlighted the benefits made their decision less of a headache. 

Moving forward a few weeks, the work had been completed the staff had been trained to use their new cloud services. Knowing their IT systems are up-to-date, fast, reliable and streamlined was a big weight of our shoulders. Within a few days we noticed a drop in support calls, our monitoring systems we’re all green, backups we’re working correctly and the metaphorical sun was shining. 

This was great, however, what about the employees who had been negatively affected by the old IT system? 

“Our entire team are happier since you sorted out our IT systems and I can do more work in less time” was the feedback we got from a Director of the business. Not only had the new system increased moral throughout the business, everyone who used it could do more work in less time. Sure, there was a cost attached to the new IT system but we knew that would be offset after a few months. Their new system has been in place for several month now and it’s still fast, reliable and ‘happy’. The toxic system had been assessed, the problems it had were addressed and resolved, and the team benefited in many ways. 

So to look at Richard Branson’s quote from a different angle. “Look after your IT systems and it’ll look after your staff”.  

Thinking of you IT systems as an employee has helped many of our clients. Give it a go! I’m confident changing your perspective will lead to a happier and more productive business.

True MSP founders up for entrepreneur of the year award

The NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards is all about Championing entrepreneurs of all sizes. True MSP are entered in the Small Business category for the Midlands region. We know there are many amazing businesses in the region so getting this far is fantastic.  

Having been in business for less that two years, True MSP have over 50 managed service clients across the Midlands and wider UK. Supplying a comprehensive range of products and services, which include strategic IT advice, helpdesk support, cloud services (Office 365/Azure/AWS) backup and business continuity, VOIP phone systems and hardware procurement.  

If you’re a small business owner, partnering with True MSP will help you get the most from your technology. We’ve even been known to make client offices a happier place to be once we’ve helped them.