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Posted 08 August 2017: Could new data laws bankrupt your business?

Itelica is in the process of putting together a comprehensive service offering designed to cater for the changes required to comply with the new European Union's General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). This new regulations come into force in May 2018 and will radically change the way organisations have to look after personal data and failing to comply could lead to very heavy fines. Despite the UK leaving the EU, all organisations will still be subject to these regulations until the UK has fully and formally left. The period during which most non-compliance cases will be identified and prosecuted is within the first 12 months, from May 2018 to May 2019. During this time the UK will still be part of the EU or just entering a period of transition. At this time the new regulations will apply.

This new EU regulation governs how organisations handle and protect personal data. Many of the stipulations already exist as part of the UK's Data Protection Act but organisations need to keep records of all personal data and be able to prove:

1. Consent was given.
2. Where the data's going.
3. What it's being used for.
4. How it's being protected.

The crux is accountability. If personal data gets stolen as a result of a cyber-attack, companies have to report the breach within 72 hours of realising it. In addition to this, the definition of personal data has been extended to include extra categories such as the publicly identifiable IP address ascribed to your broadband connection and any other information accessible from the internet that could be used to identify you.

If your business does not comply with the regulations it could lead to fines of 20 million euros or 4% of global turnover, whichever is the greater.

Electronic financial transactions specialist Consult Hyperion forecasts that European financial institutions could face fines totalling 4.7bn euros (£4.1bn; $5.3bn) in the first three years following the GDPR coming into force.

In 2015, Talk Talk was fined £400,000 for failing to prevent a customer data breach. Under the new regulations would be many multiples of this. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has said "The new law equals bigger fines for getting it wrong but it's important to recognise the business benefits of getting data protection right. There is a real opportunity for organisations to present themselves on the basis of how they respect the privacy of individuals - and gain a competitive edge. But if your organisation can't demonstrate that good data protection is a cornerstone of your business policy and practices when the new law comes in next year, you're leaving your organisation open to enforcement action that can damage both public reputation and bank balance."

Posted 13 May 2017: WannaCry and EternalBlue ransomware patching

Unless you have been living in a cave, you wouldn't have missed the news of an unprecedented number of ransomware attacks around the world, most notably impacting the NHS. In these attacks, files and documents on computers and entire networks are encrypted and become inaccessible. The only way to make these files and documents accessible again is to get the decryption key and the only way to do this is to pay the criminals who encrypted them a ransom of between $300 to $600. Even then, it is not guaranteed you will receive the decryption key.

The attack, dubbed "WannaCry" is initiated through a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. This exploit is codenamed EternalBlue and has been made available to criminals on the internet. Microsoft has provided a critical patch for Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 operating systems. However, our tests have shown the application of this patch is not always successful and if it fails the cause of the failure needs to be resolved before it can be successfully applied. We also advise the disabling and removal of some unnecessary features in windows to further protect yourself against this very dangerous virus.

We apply the official Microsoft distributed patch from as little as £7.50 and will also resolve any issues that may cause the patch's application to fail. Both Windows server and client computers urgently need this patch applied. We charge no more for applying this patch to a Windows server than we do to a Windows workstation. We also disable Windows features known to unnecessarily expose a system to the possibility of being infected by this virus. We consider this to be the most dangerous and virulent security threat since the Nimda virus of 2001. Your systems will continue to be at risk until the patch is applied.

Posted 31 December 2016: IT & communications Installations

Itelica has finished a very busy 2016 with installations all over Norfolk, Suffolk & Cambridgeshire for Marston's PLC, Budgens and Gressingham Foods, showing we are trusted by both small and large businesses. This work took our engineers north to Holt, east to Great Yarmouth, south to Ipswich & west to Wisbech. In between all of this we also managed to complete an entire office installation including VoIP, broadband, computers, printers and servers in North Yorkshire for one of our clients who has opened an office there. All in all, it has been a memorable and exciting year for us and we'd like to take this opportunity to thank all our clients and wish them and everyone else a happy and prosperous 2017!

Posted 25 August 2016: IT infrastructure overhaul

We have just completed the overhaul of Reid's of Norwich's IT network. The overhaul firstly involved installing high-speed Category 6 data cabling on both floors of their offices in central Norwich. This involved replacing a myriad of 8-port switches that had been daisy-chained around the offices with two high-performance ZyXEL 24-port gigabit switches connecting both floors. The Category 6 data cabling was terminated in a 1m deep 23U comms cabinet also used to house their new, high-specification HP Enterprise Windows 2012 R2 rack server which replaced their old Windows Small Business Server 2011. The final part of the overhaul (and the reason for supplying a Windows 2012 server) was to upgrade their existing Sage Accounts software to the very latest version. Sage Accounts is used on every workstation by all of Reid's staff to produce sales orders so this was not quite as simple as it might sound but it went very smoothly and all the work was successfully completed on schedule and with little disruption. We're confident Reid's will benefit from their investment in the latest infrastructure, server and software technology and we look forward to a productive relationship working as their new IT support partner.

Posted 06 June 2016: IT infrastructure move

Last week we moved the IT infrastructure of a long standing client, Park View Private Clients Ltd, to brand new business premises in Poringland. Rosebery Business Park has been developed by South Norfolk District council. The facilities are impressive with ample parking and individual fibre Broadband speeds of 60Mbps down and 20Mbps up. We've been monitoring the broadband connection for our client since and it's very stable so ideal for VoIP and other internet services. Each unit has been equipped with plenty of data points and an individual data cabinet that is simple to link back to the main comms room where BT's distribution point is. There's a large communal business area with refreshments and a veranda overlooking the site. To get to Rosebery Business Park from South-West Norwich (Costessey, Taverham, Norfolk Showground, Dereham Road, etc) only takes 20 minutes which is half the time it takes to get from the same locations to Norwich Train Station or Riverside Road as I know from personal experience! From South-East Norwich it would take less time. Visitors coming from London would also find it quick and easy to get to. All in all we are impressed and would recommend any business looking for new premises to consider it. For more information click here

Posted 01 May 2016: Windows Server migration

Itelica completed the final phase of a Windows Server migration with zero downtime and next to no disruption to our client Freight Force Distribution. Five physical Windows 2003 servers running different applications, including Exchange mail server, have been replaced by a single Dell R730 server running Server 2012 with Hyper-V. The Beast, as the new server was nicknamed, has 24-cores, 128Gb of RAM and a lightning fast eight SSD disk array configured as OBR10. With such an important role, the server was supplied with 4-hour mission critical support.

As there is no direct migration path between Windows Server 2003 and 2012, we achieved the smooth transition by running two Active Directory domains in parallel in the same physical network while we migrated end-users to the new domain. The project was helped by splitting it into two phases, the first phase involved migrating mailboxes to the cloud in February and the second was the deployment of the new server and subsequent migration of users and applications to it. We have no doubt it will give Freight Force as many years robust and reliable service as the five Windows 2003 servers did!

Posted 15 April 2016: Helping a rapidly growing business

For the last month we've been helping a rapidly growing local business to move into their new premises at Beech Avenue Business Park, Norwich. Having looked after their IT since April 2015, in 12 months we have seen them grow from just 5 staff to nearly 20! We installed data cabling, dual broadband connections in load-balancing and failover mode in their new offices as well as helping them to install and configure 15 new PCs, a centralised file storage system and a VPN connection between the new offices and their existing office which is now being used as a despatch depot. We wish Simon and his team at Zatu Ltd the best of luck in their new premises!