All posts by Stephen Oke

Congratulations to Jason on his epic charity bike ride!

Our Senior IT Technician, Jason Wakeling, recently undertook a mammoth bike ride for charity.

The challenge in question was the SSIT Big Bike Challenge which took place this summer.

Riders travelled over 200 miles through several counties across the south, starting and ending in Salisbury.

Here are some of his eye-watering stats:

Jason travelled over 322.12km (200.15 miles)
The cycle took a total of 13hrs 14 minutes and 39 seconds
His average speed was an impressive 24.3kph (15.1 mph)
Top speed was a blistering 75kph (46.6mph!)

Finally, he burnt 12158 calories (which is equivalent to 47 Big Mac’s!!!)

The bike ride managed to raise a considerable amount for the Southern Spinal Injuries Trust, who help people with a spinal injury live a full and independent life.

You can follow the exact route Jason took here:

Coretek Website Mockup

Our new website is now live!

If you have headed over to www.coretek.co.uk recently, you will have noticed that we have a shiny new website!

Our old website was over 4 years old and no longer fully represented the company and what we stand for. The new site has been redesigned from scratch with a more modern design which is responsive and faster.

We wanted to convey a more personal feeling to the site which would help our current and future clients get to know us a little better. To help with this, we have included professional photos of us and our office, rather than the stuffy stock photos that are common throughout technology sites. You also can find out a little more about each member of the team in our new ‘Meet The Team’ section.

The website content has also been fully rewritten to provide up to date information about our company. this includes a new Services section, which has details on our specific services such as project services, IT support, consultancy and managed services.

Finally, we have included information on what is really important to our company and what makes us unique, including our history, vision, customer stories and core values.

Check out the new site over at www.coretek.co.uk, we would love to hear your feedback!

Blog Featured Image Spot The Phish

Can you spot a spoofed email? Play Spot the Phish and find out!

Phishing may be a term that you are unfamiliar with but chances are, you have either been a victim or know someone who has been.

If you don’t already know, phishing refers to when you are sent an email by someone who is impersonating either another person or company in an attempt to obtain sensitive or personal details about you. It is also referred to as “spoofing” or in the case of trying to target high-level executives, it can be referred to as “whaling.”

A very common example is receiving an email which appears to be from your bank asking you to change your password or confirm your details. Upon clicking the link and providing the details, the fraudster now has access to your account details.

Emails such as this can also be used to gain remote access to your device or to spread viruses and malware.

Can you spot the Phish?

Our email security partners, Barracuda, have come up with a fun game which will test your ability to spot which emails are spoofed and which are genuine. Give it a try now and let us know your score!

PLAY SPOT THE PHISH NOW!

How to secure your email

So, you are now an expert in spotting phishing emails. But what about securing your email account to minimise the chance of getting an attack in the first place? There are several steps to make your email considerably better protected.

Consider 2 Factor Authentication

2 Factor Authentication is a way of making your accounts more secure by asking for an additional piece of information such as a generated code. Many web-based email providers such as Outlook.com and Gmail are compatible with 2FA.

Create a different email for password resets

All the hard work of setting unique passwords for all of your accounts can be undone if someone gets access to your main email account and uses the “forgot your password?” feature to reset them all. Create a separate “secret” email address just for password reset emails and you will be much more protected, especially if this account has 2FA enabled.

Be phishing aware

Firstly, always be on guard if you receive an email from your bank. It may be genuine, but always be more careful before opening or clicking on any links.

Secondly, always check the sender’s email address. For instance, if the email is supposed to be from HSBC but the email address is something completely different, delete the email immediately.

Unfortunately, this isn’t foolproof and this is when the following check “be spoofing aware” comes in.

Be spoofing aware

Cybercriminals have become more advanced and can now “spoof” email addresses. This means that even if you check the sender’s email address, sometimes it can appear to be from the correct person. This is much harder to spot than the more rudimental phishing attack mentioned above.

The first step to counter this is education. Make sure you (and your colleagues) are all aware that emails can be spoofed. Send round an email, direct them to this article or book a quick training session to explain good email security practices.

Secondly, make sure you have internal processes that put additional checks in place. For instance, if anyone is asked to make a payment via email, ensure this is always verbally confirmed by the finance director before actioning the payment.

Thirdly, review the language used in the email. Does this look like a legitimate email? Would the sender be using these phrases? Typos and poor grammar are a dead giveaway, especially if the email is ostensibly from a professional company.

Finally, decent email filtering will be able to reduce the number of these emails reaching your inbox.

Get email filtering

A comprehensive email filtering solution will pay for itself many times over. It not only provides protection against spoofed emails but will also protect your inbox from email-borne viruses and malware. As well as this, email filtering keeps spam in check so you can concentrate on your legitimate work email.

There are a number of options available, we offer email filtering as part of our SecureSuite Email package, which is built on technology from the industry-leading Barracuda Networks.

Set up email archiving

Following the steps above will make a huge improvement in safeguarding your email account but there is another area to consider. What happens if you accidentally delete an email?

This is where email archiving comes in. Think of it as a backup for your emails. Like email filtering, we include email archiving in our SecureSuite Email package. Other popular options include Mimecast.

These tips are taken from the email chapter of our new eBook, 7 Steps to Protect Yourself in Minutes. So if you found these helpful, keep an eye out on our website as we will be making the entire book available for free in the next few weeks.

Our 20th Birthday Celebrations

If you hadn’t already heard, this week Coretek celebrated our 20th birthday. We are very proud of this achievement and decided to celebrate in style!

On Monday (our actual Birthday), we enjoyed pizza, cake and decorated the office with balloons. Then at the weekend, we had a team activity at Go Ape Southampton where everyone braved heights of up to 40 feet to do their best Tarzan impressions. The day finished off at Red Dog Saloon for some gigantic burgers!

A massive thanks for all staff and clients who have helped us reach the 20 years in business, we couldn’t have done it without you!

BETT 2019 Entrance

BETT Show 2019 Review

BETT Show 2019 is now over for another year. We were there so read on to find out what we saw, what we liked and what the future holds for technology in education over the next few years.

If you didn’t already know, BETT is the largest educational IT trade show in the country and one of the biggest in Europe. It is THE place to find out about the latest ICT technology and exhibitors include Microsoft, Dell, Google, Adobe, Smart, Promethean and many more.

This year’s big trend

For anyone who has read any of our previous BETT show reviews, there is always a recurring theme that emerges every year. A few years back iPads were everywhere, more recently “cloud” was the buzzword at every stand.

This year however, there was no clear standout trend throughout the show, which was surprising. Having said that, one thing that we noticed is that there is a clear shift back towards more tactile, physical tech this year. There were numerous robots, roamers and control devices throughout the arena. On the TTS stand, an off-road programmable robot was negotiating big dirt hills, ramps and bridges with ease. A great way to make learning basic programming fun. Programmable Lego was also very popular in this year’s show, with SAM Labs having some really interesting displays on their stand with elaborate Lego robots and models being used by the pupils.

TTS Roamer

The latest in audio-visual technology

AV is always a big part of the show and we made a point to see what the biggest brands like Smart, Promethean and Prowise had to offer. As for any changes since last year, there have been very little. IFPs (Interactive Flat Panels) surpassed Interactive Whiteboards as the AV standard in schools a few years back and they have been available in various sizes for some time. The new models on offer may be slightly thinner but we saw no noticeable difference from current models.

Promethean IFP

Software highlights of the show

All of the big names had demonstrations on their latest apps and programs for education. Microsoft are putting a great deal of effort into the educational market with Office 365 and Minecraft proving very popular. Adobe had some great demonstrations showing their Creative Cloud apps like Adobe Spark for easily producing video slideshows and Adobe Premiere Rush for video editing. Impero announced their latest update to their classroom monitoring software with a simpler, cleaner interface and new features to help with GDPR compliance.

 

Increase in cost saving initiatives

An interesting change this year was an increase in cost-saving measures and ways for schools to purchase technology on a budget. There were several refurbished PC stands and even budget price projector lamps. Whether this can be attributed to the impending Brexit or a reduction in school budgets, this will be worth watching over the next few years.

 

Our personal highlight

Our personal highlight of the show had to be the DeLorean over at the ClassVR stand, which was an exact replica of the model from the Back to the Future films. This was certainly a head-turner!

ClassVR DeLorean

This year’s BETT show was great fun as always and it was great to see what new technology is out there. See you next year!

Coretek is 20 today

Today is Coretek’s 20th Birthday!

Today is a very special day…it is Coretek’s 20th birthday!

We would like to extend a MASSIVE thanks to everyone who has helped us get to this impressive milestone. From staff past and present to all of our clients, we could not have done it without you!

To celebrate, we are looking forward to having a team day together in the next few weeks so watch our social media to see how we get on. We are also planning something special later in the year to say thank you to our incredible, loyal clients who have played such a big part in helping us reach our 20th year.

For those who are unaware of our “origin story”, Coretek was born 20 years ago when our founder Garry Miller was working as the IT manager of a global chemical company. Frustrated with the lack of competent and reliable IT organisations, he created Coretek to provide a better level of service and to help organisations like his.

From the very beginning, Coretek was built on the promise to provide IT support services with exceptional customer service and technical support expertise as a “seamless extension to your organisation”. The goal being to help people avoid the time and stress of IT firefighting and to provide long-term guidance with the scalable systems to help organisations succeed.

Things have changed a great deal since 1999! Back then the internet and Google were in their infancy, everyone was terrified of the much-hyped millennium bug and smartphones and social media didn’t even exist.

A lot has changed at Coretek over the last two decades too. We have moved office, we now operate our own UK-based cloud environment and are proud to provide support to thousands of users, across 10 countries.

We are still passionate about helping our clients succeed by providing exceptional IT support and services and are very much looking forward to seeing what the future brings!

Safer-Internet-Day-2019

Today is Safer Internet Day 2019 – How safe are you being online? Take the Quiz and find out!

Today is Safer Internet Day 2019. Every year, this represents a great opportunity to open up a dialogue about how to use the internet safely and what can be done to ensure everyone is safe online. This is a global event that helps educate young people and their parents on what steps they can take. According to educational software company 2Simple, this message reached 3 million people in 2018!

Here is the aim of the event, from the official site:

“The campaign’s slogan, “Together for a better internet“, is a call to action for all stakeholders to join together and play their part in creating a better internet for everyone, and especially for younger users.”

So, how much do you know about safety and consent on the internet? The Safer Internet Centre have put together a short quiz that you can take to find out. You can find the test here:

Safer Internet Day Quiz

How did you get on? Did you get full marks? Let us know what your scores are and if you are an e-safety expert or if you need to go back to the classroom!

JOSCAR Featured Image

Coretek are now JOSCAR registered!

Coretek are proud to announce that we have been successfully accepted into the JOSCAR register and are now recognised as a fully compliant supplier for several defence companies and major organisations.

What is the JOSCAR register?

JOSCAR stands for the Joint Supply Chain Accreditation Register. The JOSCAR register is a central register of approved suppliers which are used by several major defence organisations including BAE Systems, NATS, Airbus and the MOD when implementing new projects.

This register is strictly invite-only and requires successful completion of a qualification process.

What does this mean for our current and prospective clients?

Being included on the JOSCAR register is somewhat of a coup by Coretek and something we are very proud of. It means that we join an elite group of suppliers that have been hand-picked by some of the most established organisations in the country.

This seal of approval means that our current and future clients can have extra confidence in Coretek and our services as we have the capacity and technical ability to deliver on projects of this scale.

In addition, all of these organisations have strict security requirements and this is becoming more and more important to clients of all sizes, especially in the wake of GDPR. This again helps to inform our clients that we meet these high levels of protection for their systems and data.

How can I find out more?

If you are interested in finding out more, further details are available on the Hellios website – Joscar Defence Industry Explained

Following successful projects like our involvement in the HMS Queen Elizabeth, Coretek are proud to be involved in local and national industry and look forward to working closely with partners like BAE Systems in further exciting projects next year and beyond.

O365 Encryption Blog Featured Image

How to encrypt emails in Office 365

Office 365 now offers the ability to send encrypted emails, which is a fantastic way of securely sending any sensitive or confidential information via email. Here is how you enable the feature and start sending out encrypted emails in only a few steps.

What is email encryption?

Email encryption is a way of protecting the contents of an email message. This utilises technology such as TLS (Transport Layer Security) to achieve the encryption.

Why would I want to use it?

Email encryption is not necessarily required for every email that you send (although this is possible to configure), this functionality is particularly useful for sending out sensitive information such as passwords, login details, sensitive company information, intellectual property and finance details. The email encryption protects the contents of the email and prevents the recipient forwarding the email on or copying the contents out of the email.

How do I send an encrypted email in Office 365?

The process of sending an encrypted email in Office 365 is actually very simple and doesn’t require any particular technical knowledge. Here is the process of how to send your first encrypted email.

Outlook Web App

If you access your Office 365 email via the browser using the app, follow these steps.

Make sure you have the Outlook open and click on New to compose a new email.

 

 

As long as email encryption has been enabled for your tenant, you should see a Protect button.

 

A grey bar will appear informing you that the email is now protected. If you wish to change the level of protection, click on the Change Permissions link.

 

 

You will have various options for protection, including Encrypt. If you simply want to encrypt the email, this option is fine. However, if you require additional security in addition to the encryption such as stopping the recipient forwarding the email on, these options are also available.

 

 

Here is a useful guide on the differences between the various settings: http://www.slashadmin.co.uk/exploring-the-new-office-365-email-protection-and-encryption-options/

Outlook 2016

Users of the Outlook 2016 application will need to go through a slightly different process. Again, encryption will need to be enabled by your system admin or these options will not be visible.

Start by clicking on New Email to compose a new email.

 

 

In the window for the new message, click on File and Properties.

 

Step 2a

 

Click on Security Settings…

 

Step 3a

 

Tick the checkbox for Encrypt message contents and attachments.

 

 

Compose and send the email as usual.

 

How do I enable email Encryption for my company’s Office 365 account?

As mentioned, this functionality will need to be enabled in your Office 365 admin settings. Not all versions of Office 365 offer this functionality. According to Microsoft, these versions are eligible:

“Office 365 Message Encryption is offered as part of Office 365 E3 and E5, Microsoft E3 and E5, Office 365 A1, A3, and A5, and Office 365 G3 and G5.”
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office365/securitycompliance/ome-faq

If you are unsure if you are covered under your subscription, consult your MSP or pop us an email and we can point you in the right direction.

To enable email encryption for your Office 365 account, you will need to sign into your Office 365 admin portal as a Global Administrator. From here, you need to enable the Azure Rights Management. This is straightforward and the steps can be found here.

Note that if you signed up for your Office 365 subscription from February 2018, this may already be enabled by default.
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/information-protection/activate-service

Once the above has been completed, all of your Office 365 users should be ready to go. Happy encrypting!

Christmas 2018 Opening Hours

Our Christmas Opening Hours

We would like to wish everyone a fantastic Christmas and New Year! We will be taking a short break for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years’ Day and then will be back raring to go for 2019.

Here are our opening hours over the holiday period:

Christmas Eve – Open

Christmas Day – Closed

Boxing Day – Closed

December 27 – Open 9 to 5

December 28 – Open 9 to 5

Weekend – Closed

New Year’s Eve – Open 9 to 5

New Year’s Day – Closed

1 2 3 4