Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 3)

March 2019 – Mobile RPI Price Increase

RPI Price Increase

Effective from 1st April 2019

Dear Customers,

Our mobile partners, O2 and Vodafone, have recently confirmed a Retail Price Index (RPI) price increase as of 1st April. As a consequence, and as per our terms and conditions we will also be applying this RPI increase of 2.7%

When will this be implemented?

Changes will be effective from 1st April 2019.

Which tariffs/services will be affected?

This will be applicable to all monthly mobile charges for voice, SMS & data services. For absolute clarity, the increase will affect all monthly subscribed line rental, individual bolt-ons and shared bundles without exception.

Which tariffs/services will not be affected?

Out of bundle charges and daily roaming fees for services such as World Travel Select (WTS) will remain unafected.


If you have any further questions please contact us.

Kind regards
Strobe Technologies Ltd

January 2019 Service Management Improvements

We are always looking at ways to improve our services, the delivery of them and how users can interact and manage them.

The current situation

We are aware customers currently have an ad-hock access to a portal on our website to see CDRs (Caller Display Records), IT Documentation, Agreements and more. But we feel this access is not good enough and does not give the best information.

So what have we done and why?

Due to this we decided over the Christmas period to correct this throughout the year, and we are starting with telephone services and internet connections.

We have invested in a new telecommunications billing and reporting platform. We have done this as we have the goals of: –

  • Providing a dynamic reporting platform for clients
  • Standardised billing date for communication products
  • Enable single invoice per month for all communication products and call charges
  • Reduction in manual tasks making things quicker and more accurate

When will this be operational?

The new billing and reporting platform for communication products is live now! But this is not released to our clients yet.

We are currently running the system in parallel with the existing system to make sure all dates, periods and payments match up. We have imported all Decembers information and have the system running side by side with the existing system until March.

The aim is that starting in March we will swap completely over to the new system. So in March you will find that no matter what date your current service is, this will not change; but the invoice date might.

For example, lets say you have a PSTN line, FTTC connection and SIP trunk with the following dates: –
PSTN Rental 08/03/2019 – 07/04/2019 — Included in March Invoice
PSTN Calls 08/02/2019 – 07/03/2019 — Period will change to 10/02/2019 – 09/03/2019
FTTC Connection 25/02/2019 – 24/03/2019 — Will be invoiced in March instead of February
SIP Trunk 07/03/2019 – 06/04/2019 — Included in March Invoice
SIP Calls 07/02/2019 – 06/03/2019 — Included in March Invoice

The reason with the above examples there have some changes is due to the dates we will be running the bill cycles on. From March we will be making sure all external service reports are imported into the new system on the 10th of every month with invoices being raised on the 15th.

So any service that starts before the 16th and PSTN calls up until the 10th will be listed in that months invoice. As you are only getting one invoice for communication services you will now only get two emails; one for the invoice and one about the direct debit payment.

A Month to Celebrate!

December is an exciting month for us at Strobe Technologies, not only due to Christmas.

On top of the main event of a slower pace and time of with our families ready for the jolly man in a red coat. This month now holds two other reasons to celebrate!

Strobe Technologies was started by our director Robin back in 19th December 2008 meaning it is the 10th anniversary of Strobe IT.

To top this wonderful news of 10 years, our director is now expecting their first child mid next year!

From all of us at Strobe IT, we wish you have had a wonderful Christmas and we wish you a happy new year.

November 2018 Office 365 Email connection Issues

Today we are experiencing connections issues with Microsoft’s Office 365 platform for emails. This is the first big problem we have experience with the platform that has effected users for a long period, and we can assure all our customers this is being worked on.

At around 10:00 UTC Microsoft raised an alert in our control panel saying that the they have an unconfirmed potential issue with Exchange (Email side of Office 365).

By about 11:35 UTC Microsoft confirmed there is a end user connection issue to the Exchange infrastructure and they are investigating how many people this is affecting and looking for a solution.

The latest update we have had was at roughly 13:00 UTC from Microsoft saying they have re-routed network traffic through different servers which should start seeing peoples connections come back online shortly while they fix the servers that are causing the issue(s).

If you still have issues with your system please get in touch with us so we can investigate these for you.

Xmas 2018 Opening Times

The festive season is here, and we are starting to get everything in position. From the xmas jumpers to required cover for our clients.

This year we have as normal contacted our Managed Service Clients and retrieved their opening hours. Using this information we have then scheduled engineer availability around this.

In the past this has worked well, but does not give us much time off for our loved ones, so we have a slight difference this year. We will not be manning the phones during our Christmas Cover days, instead we will be monitoring our voicemail service and getting back to service affecting issues asap.

The difference will not be big to our clients but massive to us! Doing this we are able to relax but have our phones and laptops with us ready for an alert instead of waiting by the phone begging for something to do!

To see our Christmas service times please use the following links below: –
December
January

Email Security Hardening

On a daily basis we are looking at many email issues from spam, viruses, spoofing and more.

As part of this constant stream of work we are always looking at ways to improve how this is handled, and the security offered to clients.

Incoming Mail Improvements

We are adding new rules and training the platform all the time to detect spam and stop these messages getting into your inbox.

But we have recently made some big changes to the platform giving us better flexibility and customisation for your business. This is done in the form of profiles, and each customer now has their own profile meaning we can almost tweak everything to your needs.

An example of things that can be customised for your business via a profile are: –

  • Anti-spam actions [Delete, quarantine, tag, etc]
  • Dedicated Blacklist, not to be confused with RBLs which are also known as blacklists. This is one we control!
  • Dedicated whitelist. We do not like adding items to this as it means they are not scanned for any form of spam or virus.

Outgoing Mail Improvements

We have in the past added some outgoing protection, like anti-spam and anti-virus. But this has always been our weakest point, until now….

Scanning Systems

Our scanning systems now do not just scan email you send and make sure it is not spam or contains a virus, and deletes them but actually informs you of this in the way of a bounce message.

Our scanning systems also make sure your content typed in messages do not match our DLP (Data Loss Prevention) rules. If  message does get flagged for this we are alerted so we can contact your business to discuss the issue and resolve.

Authentication

We now no longer just authenticate your businesses server via your location, but we have now started authenticating with location and email address of sender. This means that only people from your business with a business email can use our system to send messages via our filtering system.

Policy Records and Reporting

We have for awhile now publish SPF (Sender Policy Framework) records, and digitally signed emails with DKIM. But we have found this is not enough to stop people spoofing emails as not everyone listed to these rules.

Earlier this year we started publishing DMARC rules to say apply the SPF and DKIM where you can, but without any reporting we could not see if this had improved the issue or not.

We now have a new DMARC Reporting platform which we have used at the start of this month to harden our published DMARC rules informing people to apply SPF and DKIM strictly and reject any messages which do not match.

This all sounds good, but what is best of all is we have added rules to DMARC for recipient servers to report back to us meaning we can monitor if your messages are delivered or not and if anyone is trying to spoof you and from where.

This has been so successful we have already seen improvements in mail flow and a reduction in spoofing. Unfortunately any business with no email protection on it will still be hit as they have nothing to apply these rules.

Summary

As you can see we are always aiming to improve our services, and this is a good taste of what has been done as of late.

If you are having email issues, why not look at taking up our spam filtering and protection service?

August 2018 Website Security is Changing

Security history

Websites have always used the http:// prefix which tells a browser it’s a webpage. With the introduction of online payments https:// was introduced, this is a secure version of http://. This security was achieved with an SSL certificate to encrypt communication from you to the website.

This was a great move, but getting the standard web user to always check they are using https and not http was hard. So web browsers added a padlock which was green, this made things easy to spot.

 

Why change?

As time has gone on, scammers and hackers have improved their techniques. As a result, better information in a simply format is needed.

These changes as a web user will be to your advantage. But to a business with a website you might want to take action.

 

What is changing?

The first step in these changes came from Google back in 2014 when they stated websites with an SSL would be ranked better. This step has encouraged business to use SSL certificates on all websites and not just online shopping/banking.

Due to smaller businesses and the requirement for SSL being expanded, this has put more importance on the EV SSL certificates which was ratified by Melih Abdulhayoglu and the CA/Browser Forum in 2007.

This is all well and good, but the end user due to web browsers are not getting a clear message. So during August web browsers like Google Chrome will be changing what they display to help.

The below table shows you what you will expect to see any why.

No SSL CertificateWebsite with no SSLAs you can see from your address bar you will be informed that data sent between you and the site is not secure because no encryption is used.

You are not advised to enter any information on sites like this.

Basic SSL CertificateWebsite with Basic SSLBasic SSL’s provide encryption for communication between you and the website.

These certificates validate the sites address and data is secure.

Submitting information to a site with this is safe during transport, but you cannot be sure who the company is.

EV SSL Certificate

(Extended Validation SSL)

Website with EV SSLThe extended SSL not only provides you with the same protections as basic but also provides website owner information.

The information in the EV SSL has been verified as part of the validation process so you know the company is real.

With this new layout of information you should be able to make an informed decision where you enter usernames and passwords or personal information.

July 2018 Cyber Essentials

Certified and ready for business!

What is Cyber Essentials?

Cyber Essentials is a government-backed cyber security certification scheme that sets out a good baseline of cyber security suitable for all organisations in all sectors. The scheme addresses five key controls that, when implemented correctly, can prevent around 80% of cyber attacks.

 

What are Strobe IT’s details?

Cyber Essentials Please visit our online certificate to view our details.

 

What does this mean?

This certification shows that we have taken the time to prove the systems we use to store your data and provide our services mean the UK Governments guidelines or better for security.

June 2018 GDPR IT Helpsheet

What do you need from IT for GDPR

For a long time now people have been going on and on about GDPR. Well people could not decide what GDPR meant leaving lots confused and not complying after 25/05/2018.

To help we have put together a very quick summary and tick sheet allowing you to assess your status. This PDF is provided free of charge with no guarantee of legal standing as we are not a law firm, and all policies, procedures and questions should be directed to such a company.

This is purely our interpretation of your IT requirements to allow you to work towards being compliant.

GDRP Help Sheet

June 2018 Helpdesk Changes

Helpdesk and Monitoring Changes

As with all services, changes happen. Sometimes these changes are too often or maybe they seem to be a backwards step. We hope the changes we have introduced are an improvement and the way forwards.

 

Monitoring Agent Branding

As part of our maintenance service agreement, we install an agent on your devices called Comodo ITSM Agent.  This agent allows us to monitor your devices for errors, run corrective processes, update software packages and more.

One thing we have found is that client question what this is, especially when it is asking to reboot your computer. To make this seem more acceptable and self explanatory we have re-branded this to Strobe IT ITSM Agent.

 

Helpdesk Emails

We have for a long time tried to cram a lot of information into a ticket update email, but we have been finding that these are not friendly and do not work on mobiles. To combat this we have re-designed our email templates to remove things like our logo and silly catch phases. We have also taken the useful information like ticket number and topic, and placed them at the top before any update messages so it’s clear what we are talking about.

« Older posts