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Martin Completes Kirklees Way Ultra-Marathon for Forget Me Not Children's Hospice

Martin Page, director of P2 Technologies completed the 75 mile Kirklees Way ultra-marathon on 8th July, raising almost £800 for Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice.

Starting at 7:20pm Friday 7th July the competitors had 21 hours to complete the route, setting off in clockwise direction visiting the Upper Colne Valley, Spen Valley, passing Batley and Dewsbury before heading towards Clayton West and the Holme Valley.

The route is 75 miles long and has over 10,000 feet of climb, almost entirely off-road, following footpaths, open fields and moorland. Some of the route is way marked, however some navigational skills were required particularly during the night.

The event was completely unsupported so runners had to be self-sufficient, although with some of the competitors having GPS trackers friends and family could locate runners and did come out on course to support which was very welcomed. Martin completed the race in 16 hours and finished in 1st position, first ever podium of any running race.

Martin said: “I was surprised how well it went and felt positive and in good shape for most of the race. The cool conditions during the evening were perfect for me which meant I could keep a good pace through the night as I was conscious the morning sunshine would make the last part in to the Holme Valley hard work with all the hills and the heat to contend with. At 60 miles I was starting to slow, however after a quick refuel of a bacon sandwich and coffee gave me enough energy to get up the last few hills from Marsden and to the end. I was over the moon to finish this tough challenge and overall on reflection I enjoyed it. I’ve been overwhelmed with messages of support and I’m particularly grateful to my sponsors for supporting me and this great charity”

Martin chose to raise money for the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice because of the amazing contribution they make to the local area. P2 Technologies are also proud members of the Forget Me Not 99 Business Club, and make regular donations to the charity.

The charity support children who suffer from life shortening conditions, offering respite and support to both the children and their family members. Without the support of businesses, volunteers and kind donations from supporters, Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice is able to provide this crucial service for the people of Huddersfield and the surrounding areas.

There is still chance to support Martin and donate to his Just Giving page here

What Happens after a Hacker Steals Your Password

A security firm posted a fictitious employee's Google Apps credentials on the Dark Web to learn how cybercriminals use stolen passwords. Find out what the 1,400 hackers who viewed the credentials did with the information.

You are probably familiar with how cybercriminals use phishing and other types of attacks to obtain employees' passwords as this is often discussed in the media, but do you know what happens after a hacker steals an employee's password? To answer this question, researchers at the security firm Bitglass conducted an eye-opening experiment.

The Experiment

The researchers built a functional web portal for a fictitious retail bank and a digital identity for an employee who supposedly worked there. Anyone who goes online has a digital identity — a collection of data attributes (e.g., birthdate, gender, search history, passwords, posts, purchases) that is linked to an email address, URL, or domain name.

The bank employee's digital identity was similar to that of a typical Internet user. For instance, the person had social media, Google Apps, personal banking, and other online accounts. Like many Internet users, the employee reused account passwords as well as blurred the line between professional and private life by using the same accounts for both work and pleasure.

The researchers filled the employee's Google Drive with files containing company and personal data. For example, the documents included information about the retail bank's customers and real credit card numbers, there was even an encrypted file. Each file in Google Drive was embedded with a watermark so that the researchers could track what hackers did with it. The researchers monitored all Google Drive activities including logins and downloads.

The Results

Hackers did not waste any time once the research team posted the employee's supposedly phished Google Apps information on the Dark Web. Within 24 hours cybercriminals began using the credentials to log in to Google Drive and the bank web portal. Within 48 hours they started downloading files from Google Drive. Some hackers only downloaded the files with sensitive content (e.g., credit card data, bank customer information), while others downloaded all of them. Several cybercriminals even cracked and viewed the encrypted file.

In all around 1,400 hackers viewed the Google Apps credentials posted on the Dark Web and visited the fictitious bank's web portal. Ten percent of them then attempted to log in to the portal.

In addition 10 percent of the 1,400 cybercriminals signed in to Google Drive using the login information. Almost 95 percent of these Google Drive hackers discovered the employee's other online accounts and attempted to log in to them using the Google Apps username and password. More than 35 percent succeeded in accessing the employee's personal banking account.

How to Protect Your Business's Online Accounts

As these finding show stolen passwords are quickly exploited by numerous cybercriminals who try them on a variety of websites, for this reason it is important that you and your employees:

  • Avoid reusing passwords. A unique, strong password should be used for each online account. If hackers obtain one account password they won't be able to use it to access other accounts.
  • Use two-step verification when available. With two-step verification you need to provide an additional piece of information (e.g., a security code) to log in. Google, Microsoft, and many other cloud service providers now provide this functionality.

For more recommendations on how to protect your business's online accounts as well as its data contact us.

5 Ways a Managed Services Provider Can Make Your Life Easier

Partnering with outside IT professionals can help you sleep better at night knowing that your computers systems, client data and other technology assets are in good hands. Find out how to worry less and be more productive. 

Managed services providers (MSPs) are lifesavers for business owners and executives to manage their IT equipment and services. Among many other things, MSPs update software, provide data backup solutions, and keep files safe from hackers.

As the industry trade group CompTIA noted in a March 2016 report, over 70% of small and midsize businesses (SMBs) used a third-party IT company at least occasionally, if not more frequently, during a 12-month period. This popularity highlights just how useful and versatile MSPs can be for companies.

Here are 5 ways in which an MSP can make your life easier:

1. Using a Team of Focused Experts

Many organisations lack the resources for hiring dedicated IT staff members, they task employees from different departments with managing their computer systems, even though this work is not part of their job descriptions. These employees usually have trouble juggling their regular work with their IT obligations as a result they are unable to successfully do either one of these jobs. Companies that outsource their IT work, in contrast don't have to rely on non-technical staff members trying to squeeze IT tasks into their busy schedules.

Even some companies with full-time IT departments struggle to keep up with the work. These staff members are so busy handling day-to-day maintenance tasks that they are unable to focus on their companies' long-term goals. By partnering with a team of experienced outside professionals this firms free up their IT staff so that they can concentrate on more strategic issues.

2. Offering a Cost-Effective Solution

Budgets in most organisations are tightly controlled, you want to make sure that you are investing your hard earned money in the most effective way. Some executives believe that the money spent on an MSP could go to other uses, however they don't realise that using an outside partner could save them a tremendous amount of money in the long term.

MSPs fix many of their clients' IT pain points and make their operations more productive, translating into increased efficiency and lower IT costs. These service providers can prevent security incidents and assist companies that are forced to recover from computer disasters by helping businesses avoid data breaches. MSP’s effectively save them the money that would have been lost.

Outside firms offer a wealth of IT expertise at an affordable price point, transparent billing models show exactly what these service providers have been doing for their clients allowing executives to plan out their IT budgets in advance without worrying about hidden fees or mysterious charges.

3. Performing Proactive Preventative Maintenance

The well-known break-fix approach to IT stems from a reactive mindset, meaning that if there is a problem you fix it. Break-fix doesn't call for determining how you can prevent problems in the future.

MSPs on the other hand help you take a more proactive stance on IT issues. Together with a team of outside experts you can discover how to keep things from breaking, rather than just fixing them when they do. Your MSP will ensure that you do not miss a software or firmware update in order to keep your systems running smoothly and securely. Planned ongoing maintenance keeps your computers operational for longer periods of time and lets you avoid problems that would have caused downtime.

4. Providing Timely Resolution to IT Problems

Many MSPs provide a quick way to reach an IT professional in case you encounter a problem. If you have an in-house IT person and they are out sick for the day or on annual leave that downtime can become extremely expensive. The longer IT issues go unresolved the more likely you are to lose productivity. Using an MSP allows you to have a reliable expert on-call to address any issues that come up, tougher with having additional resource MSP’s also have advanced remote monitoring and documentation platforms to work proactively where ever possible.

5. Helping to Scale

Since MSPs are already familiar with your IT assets, they will know which products can improve your computer systems and which ones are compatible with your existing infrastructure. This will help you scale your IT infrastructure and facilitate your organisation's growth in a reliable way.

Contact us for examples of how managed IT services can give you piece of mind, saving you time, money and help you sleep better at night.

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