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Monthly Archives: November 2017

Worthing and Adur Business Awards Demonstrate Vibrancy of Region

The 10th Worthing and Adur Business Awards took place last week on 10th November, and we at JSPC are very proud of our involvement, and the business community of the region. As part of the Adur & Worthing Business Partnership (AWBP), a not for profit organisation that is run by local businesses for local businesses, we have helped to ensure that the awards remained just as prestigious under the new management, and welcomed new entrants to represent the diversity and success across the area.

The high calibre of entries was incredibly inspiring. Our judges reviewed so many good news stories of growth, development and environmental responsibility across a range of sectors and from businesses of all sizes.

We were particularly proud that JSPC sponsored the Lifetime Achievement Award, which this year was awarded to Sue Dare MBE, who has been part of the further education community in Sussex for more than 35 years. She held the title of Principal of Northbrook College from November 2009 until March this year and under her guidance it has become England’s third highest performing college. Over the years Sue has also been involved with the Sussex Learning Network, Adur & Worthing Business Partnership and was integral in setting up the Greater Brighton Economic Board.

As well as recognising the contribution of people like Sue and business talent from across the Worthing and Adur region, the awards also raised money for the charity Love Your Hospital. This is a dedicated charity for St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, Worthing Hospital and Southlands Hospital in Shoreham.

You can find out more about the awards and view a full list of this year’s winners here: https://awbawards.com/2017-winners/

Schools and academies can benefit from the value of refurbished technology

As budgets are being squeezed across the education sector, we’re receiving more and more demand for refurbished technology. From laptops and tablets to storage and infrastructure, if you’re looking for a way to make your IT budget stretch as far as possible, refurbished kit might be the best approach and there are a number of advantages.

The primary advantage that attracts many of our customers is the cost; refurbished kit is from 15% – 30% cheaper than brand new equipment and this can make a huge difference if the budget has been slashed or remained static despite an increased intake of students. That lower cost also means you get more for your money – avoiding the newest model may mean you can choose an earlier option which has greater storage and faster RAM. Using refurbished kit also offers advantages beyond the obvious cost and value benefits.

Using refurbished technology means you can hedge against obsolescence and ease into any transitions without disruption. In addition, it means you can maintain compatibility across an institution, rather than the technical issues (and possible dissatisfaction) of some parts of the school having newer equipment than others. This might also mean different people are on different versions of software, which not only costs more but also can cause difficulties with workflow.

This approach can also help your IT team as it means that everyone is on the same integrated, compatible system. Rather than needing a whole new procedure for each new release and addition to the IT resources, refurbished equipment from previous generations can allow you to have the same kit across the school, making procedures and support much simpler.

Refurbished technology is also great from an environmental point of view and if you have goals relating to sustainability then this is one way to achieve them. Often, there is nothing wrong with the equipment prior to refurbishment, it could be an old store display model, or have one faulty part which is quickly replaced. However, if this technology isn’t refurbished and resold, it will end up in landfill. This means you’re not only helping your IT budget go further, you’re also making sure the school does its bit to reduce e-waste and save the planet.

Making the most of your IT budget can also mean that you’re able to install a wider range of technologies and allow students to take advantage of this and test them to their limits. You may not be comfortable letting a class loose on brand new, sensitive tablets which cost a fortune and may shatter during the first lesson. However, if you’ve managed to get a significant cost reduction, and you’re able to opt for a model which is proven to be robust, for example, or particularly suited to your needs then it’s not just about how much of a cost reduction you can get on your IT resources, it’s about all the value that can be returned to the classroom.

Independent Schools Magazine – Don’t be held to ransom by your IT security

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Adobe Update may be smuggling Bad Rabbit virus onto your computer

Bad Rabbit is the latest strain of ransomware. High profile cases earlier this year shut down major organisations and led to criticism of the NHS for their poor security and disaster recovery provision. Now, people may be warier when it comes to clicking on an unexpected file in an email, but hackers have taken this into account and the threat has evolved. The virus appears in the guise of an Adobe Flash Installer – something that anyone who browses the web will be so used to seeing that they may click on it without thinking. Bad Rabbit is taking hold of computers by appearing in disguise, and that is why it’s important for everyone in a team to understand IT security.

The attack has so far been contained to Eastern Europe, where it has done considerable damage to organisations primarily in Russia and Ukraine. It is the third large-scale ransomware attack this year, following on from WannaCry and NotPetya and the use of recognisable solutions such as the Adobe Installer suggest that the hackers are becoming more sophisticated and more determined.

All hackers seek to exploit a weakness within an organisation; in this case insecure websites are being compromised. Someone visiting the site wouldn’t be aware of the malware, but anyone who clicks on the link will find their computer locked and a ransom demand will appear for an average of $280 in Bitcoin with just 40 hours for payments to be made. The good news is that visiting an infected website alone will not cause any damage – the virus is only attached to the operating system once the link has been clicked.

There have yet to be any cases of attacks in the UK according to the National Cyber Security Centre, but the situation is being monitored. Their recommendation is that organisations should make sure all their security updates and software are installed. In addition, we’d advise informing all staff of the potential threat and provide support for anyone who is uncertain about anything that appears on their screen. It’s much better to have someone on hand to ask about any pop-ups rather than clicking and hoping for the best. That’s why we have a team of experts on hand to make sure that your systems are secure. Whether you think you need a refresher course in security, or just want to chat through your concerns, we’re happy to help. The hackers will never stop trying, so if you’re not sure about anything, give us a call.