Graduation photo

On International Women’s Day I want to celebrate all women in Technology and STEM. Women working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths face challenges and gender bias every day. It’s a sad fact that even in 2021, women in science struggle to be taken seriously sometimes. We battle prejudices and face gender bias on a regular basis. Sometimes people prefer to speak to our male colleagues, even if we have decades of experience and expertise equal or more than that of our male peers.

This is wrong and today I choose to challenge and ask everyone to help create an inclusive world where women are equally valued. I call out to everyone to support girls and women who are passionate about technology and sciences. I choose to challenge, so that young girls are encouraged to make their own education and career choices. I want more girls to be offered STEM subjects at school, and not be put off from studying subjects traditionally dominated by their male counterparts.

 

When I was at school, I discovered my passion for science, technology and electrical engineering. I didn’t come across gender bias while growing up in the Czech Republic, instead I suffered from educational background bias and was discouraged by my teacher from studying A-levels in computer science, because my parents do not have education to degree level. I worked hard to pass the entry exams and ended up with top grades for my A-levels. I love learning and wanted to continue, so I went on to university to do a computer science BSc, alongside my full-time job as an IT manager. After setting up my IT business, I continued studying and completed a master’s degree while running the company.

IT is a male dominated industry, and it was then I started to come across gender bias. Even as a business owner with years of experience in my profession, I find it hard to be taken seriously by men sometimes. Women should not have to work harder to prove their worth and this must change.

The gender gap in technology starts in schools and I have personally experienced it with my niece. Not many girls take IT as a subject at school or in further education because it’s seen as a male dominated area and they lack support from their teachers. I want to see computing and technology taught to all children equally, with the same importance, if not more, as literacy. Children need encouragement and support in schools to take STEM subjects from a young age. Over the years I have worked with schools, universities, and other organisations like young enterprise to inspire the younger generation into business and IT.

So, if you are a young woman wanting to work in technology or science, follow your dream, choose to challenge. If you’d like to connect with me or just have a chat with a woman working in IT, then please get in touch. Together we can make a change.

Connect with Kat:

Phone: 0330 1224420

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @IQinIT

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katerinad/

Digital Learning Day

As our US friends celebrate #DigitalLearningDay, we look at why learning new technologies and digital skills, in and out of the classroom, is important no matter how old you are.

As an Information Technology company, it’s no surprise that our team is passionate about digital technology. Most of our employees have completed degree or college courses in computing, some are still studying. But learning doesn’t stop when you step out of the classroom. Technology is changing all the time, so the learning must continue. There are lots of ways to learn new digital skills, here are some of them.

Peer learning is a fantastic way to acquire new skills and techniques. Our IT engineers learn from each other every day. Everyone has unique interests and ways of fixing problems. When an issue occurs, speaking with other members of the team is a fantastic way to learn how to diagnose and fix a problem.

Formal learning with a college or university course is a great way to learn and gain qualifications. Two of our team are currently studying for apprenticeships while they work. Formal education allows our team to combine accredited learning and apply those new skills directly into work. In turn, the students take solutions learned at work into their educational setting, so the knowledge sharing is a two-way street and benefits everyone.

Informal learning is ongoing. Our team spends a huge amount of time in and out of work improving their computer skills just for the fun of it. We’re taking part in a competition called #CyberDrainCTF. A capture the flag series of online events, the competition has a series of IT questions and challenges to be completed. With different technical levels and specialist subjects, with a score board updated in real time. IQ in IT Technical Director Luke Whitelock came joint first in the event, with several of our team doing incredibly well.

IQ in IT Technical Director Luke Whitelock says: “We are always striving to improve the services we provide to our clients. We live and breathe IT, so for us playing a game that involves learning is a great way to test and improve our skills. Outside of work, I like to experiment with writing scripts that will hopefully improve the service we give our clients. I really enjoy this learning side of things and have started posting my work on a platform with other Managed Service Providers (MSPs). We share our ideas on IT solutions, and that way we all learn from each other.”

Professional learning is not just something we do ourselves, it’s something we encourage our clients to do as well. Digital learning is crucial for all staff in all businesses to keep your company safe from cyber-attacks, which has seen a massive increase since the start of the COVID pandemic. We organise cyber-security training to help companies train their staff to avoid digital crime. Learning should be fun for everyone, so there are games, quizzes, animations, videos, and a whole load of interactive tools to make learning fun.

If you would like to find out more about digital learning, get in touch [email protected] or book a chat here.

 

How to improve your cyber security and why COVID is not the only virus that could disrupt your business. 

To mark national Safer Internet Day, our Technical Director, Luke Whitelock, shares 5 ways to improve your cyber-security and protect your business. Cybercrime has increased significantly during the pandemic. Whatever your business, you will manage large amounts of information that could be valuable to criminals.   It is crucial you take steps, not only protect your clients’ information, but also to avoid costly downtime if something does go wrong. 

1 – Back up your data.  

Regular and thorough back up of all your data is one of the best and easiest to protect your business in the event of a cyber-security breach.  Make sure you are backing up your data to a cloud-based solution on a regular basis.  Check the back-ups.  If your data is properly backed up and something goes wrong, you can restore lost data.  This is essential for business continuity.  There are some great solutions that can act as a temporary bridge for your business systems in case of a loss of service while things are fixed.  We recommend this to all our customers to minimise any downtime which is both costly and inconvenient.  

– Keeping devices safe  

Make sure that all devices used by your staff, whether personal or work, are kept secure by applying all software updates on a regular basis. This can really help stop attacks on vulnerabilities exploited by criminals or in the event of loss or theft of any devices.  Make sure that all devices used for work are encrypted and compliant with frequent updates applied. 

3 – Restrict access 

Limit the access of employees to your internal data.  By reducing the number of people who have access to company information and files, you limit the risk. Use additional passwords for all confidential data as an extra layer of security to make sure only those who really need to access something can. 

4 – Passwords and 2FA 

You should have a password policy and share it with all your employees. Your password policy should advise all staff use a secure password manager like LastPass. 2 Factor Authentication is another essential tool that should be part of your password policy.  There are many different free APPs which enable 2FA and it’s a simple way to add another layer of protection. 

5 – Avoiding phishing attacks 

Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a huge increase in phishing attacks using both ransomware and malware.  The simplest way to protect against these is to train your staff to spot the attack before it happens. We recommend regular training and testing of your staff.  There are some great tools out there to help businesses do this quickly and regularly.  We even use this on our own staff! 

If you want have a question about being safer with your cyber-security please get in touch with [email protected] or book a chat with one of our team here https://iqi.click/cybercal 

03 Feb 2021

Meet our Apprentice

As part of National Apprenticeship Week 2021, we’d like to introduce you to one of our IQ in IT apprentices.  Meet Blake.  Blake joined IQ in IT in 2019 on our IT support team.  Since he started working with us as an IT apprentice Blake has gained extensive technology skills and is a popular member of our team.  As his confidence grew, Blake showed a natural flair for business development. He has recently started management CMDA degree course at Kingston College. We asked Blake for his thoughts on apprenticeships. 

  

Tell us about your apprenticeship: 

I am doing a Management Degree CMDA Apprenticeship. It’s a 5-year degree course with lessons at Kingston College.  At the end of the course, I will have a University degree and chartered manager status. I get to combine study with a real jobgaining valuable work experience at the same time as getting my degree qualification. 

Why did you choose an apprenticeship? 

At school the focus was on going to University to get a traditional degree. I knew I wanted to study but was worried about graduating with huge debts and no work experience.  An apprenticeship helps me to gain formal qualifications while learning in a real-world situation, and without any financial worries at the end of the course.  

What do you like about the apprenticeship scheme? 

Being able to put theory into practice in real-life work. have to implement all the things I am learning into my job.  This is much more useful than a normal degree where you only learn the theory of something but don’t get to apply it.  

With an apprenticeship there is no learning lag, we study current things and apply them to real work situations.  If I was doing an ordinary degree course, especially in technology, the technology would have already changed by the time I finished my course.  I love that the course content is current and relevant to my job here and now.  It’s much more interesting and useful than just reading about something. 

What do you most like about your job? 

I love that I am always learning something new, and that no day is ever the same. I enjoy the comradery of being part of a great team, we are always sharing ideas and learn from each other all the time.  I like talking to our customers and helping them understand and fix problems.   

What are the benefits for employers of having an apprentice? 

An apprentice can be moulded to be the exact person you need for your business. An apprentice is always ready to learn.  Companies can make sure they get the right staff training to suit their company and its customers.  An apprentice will have more work experience than someone who has finished a normal degree because they have had to work as well and are good at juggling. 

 

What advice would you give anyone considering an apprenticeship? 

Don’t be put off by teachers who don’t know much about apprenticeships, do your research about the course and the provider. It’s a great way to learn while you earn and get a proper degree. There are lots of different courses depending on what you want to do. It can be demanding with full-time job and studying, so you need to be careful to not burn yourself out.  

 

To find out about apprenticeships at Kingston College visit here: https://stcg.ac.uk/apprenticeships 

This week brings the start of the online shopping event known as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  With most high street shops closed for lockdown; the biggest online retail event of the year is expected to be bigger than ever. Be warned, this increase in internet shopping brings increased dangers to consumers.

Cybercriminals are using increasingly sophisticated and convincing techniques. Unsuspecting shoppers looking to bag a bargain can easily fall victim to online fraudsters. Fake websites advertising must have items, seemingly genuine emails with links to the best deals, fake social media posts with buy it now options.  These are just some of the ploys being used to obtain your money and your personal details.

According to Action Fraud, over £3million was lost to cybercrime in 2019 Black Friday shopping. Action Fraud also reports that since the start of the COVID pandemic online shopping fraud has increased by more than 30% as cyber criminals exploit the boom in online sales.

This week Action Fraud have launched the #FraudFreeXmas campaign to warn bargain hunters about the dangers of online fraud. Here we share our own top tips to avoid falling victim to a cybercrime this Christmas.

 

  1. Choose where you shop:
  • Look for known and trusted retailers
  • Use website search to find a retailer rather than clicking on a link in an email or message
  • If buying from a retailer you don’t know, check their reviews and search consumer websites
  • Avoid deals that seem too good to be true – they almost always are!

 

  1. Choose safer payment methods:
  • Never pay for shopping via bank transfer
  • Use a credit card if you can, they offer some protection and you’re not sharing your bank details
  • Use a payment platform like PayPal, GooglePay or ApplePay, this keeps your data private.

 

  1. Be secure:
  • Make sure there is a closed padlock icon in the web browser before entering payment details. It doesn’t mean the retailer is legitimate but does mean their website is secure.
  • Only share personal information that is essential to your purchase
  • Don’t create an account with that retailer unless you absolutely must
  • If you are creating a user account, never use the same password twice
  • Choose strong passwords that are different to your email accounts
  • Use 2 factor authentication wherever possible
  • Don’t save payment details for later if a website offers this option
  • Use a secure WIFI network when you’re shopping or banking.

 

  1. Watch out for phishing emails and texts:
  • These can be really convincing and appear as though from a genuine retailer
  • Look out for subtle differences in email addresses for businesses you do subscribe to
  • Don’t click on any links sent via email, these can be used to download virus to your devices which will harvest your data
  • Copy and paste the address into your browser or do a search for the genuine website.

 

  1. What to do if you think you’ve been scammed:
  • Don’t panic or be embarrassed – it can happen to anyone
  • Contact your bank immediately
  • Report it to action fraud police.uk

 

Cybercrime can affect any individual or business, but there are steps you can take to prevent it.  If you’d like to review your cyber security and cybercrime awareness please book in for a free 15-minute consultation with one of our security experts. https://iqi.click/cybercal or call us on 0330 1224 420

International Fraud Week, November 16-21, 2020 

Why you need to act against cybercrime during the COVID pandemic 

 

It’s International #fraudweek! Why does it matter? There has been a massive acceleration in cyber-crime since the start of the COVID pandemic, with a 660% increase in March alone according to the Office for National Statistics.  The nature of these cyber-attacks varies, but there are increasing trends in email hacking leading to serious invoicing fraud. Ransomware attacks, phishing and data breaches are also increasingly common resulting in costly downtime. 

With fast-paced changes in workplaces and more staff working from home, cyber-criminals are exploiting vulnerabilities created by the situation.  The increased risk to business is a real and serious threat.  Cyber-attacks can cause both data and financial loss for organisations already impacted by COVID.   

So, what can you do prevent yourself becoming a victim to cyber-fraud? Having a security plan in place to protect your company and employees from cyber-crime is essential.  The most cost-effective way to deal with fraud is to prevent it!  

As a business, knowing where to start can be daunting. IQ in IT uses and recommends cyber-security training tool to train all your employees what to look for.  We use it for our own staff as well. 

Our training platform offers comprehensive and ongoing training for all your staff.  There are quizzes, cartoons, graphics, downloads and even comedy shows to engage your staff in learning.  The platform is fully interactive, allowing managers to track staff engagement, identify risk and any further training needs.   

At IQ in IT, we set this up for our clients and work with you to understand any identified risks and make suggestions on actions you can take to protect yourself.  Avoid becoming a statistic.  

Book your fraud health check up here: https://iqi.click/cybercal

or give us a call on 0330 1224 420 

You might also like to see our free webinar explaining all about cyber-crime and simple steps you can take to prevent it. 

 

 

 

 

PLAY VIDEO

Kat DamcovaFounder and Managing Director of IQ in IT, has been elected President for the Kingston Chamber of Commerce. 

The Chamber is a local business support organisation, IQ in IT have been active members since 2011. Kat was elected to the Board of Directors in 2015 and is a passionate advocate of supporting the local business community. 

Kat was elected as President at the Chamber’s summer AGM.  She is the first president to be elected virtually and during a national lockdown!  Her role as President is to support and represent the Chamber at events and meetings with local stakeholders and partners across the business community. 

On being elected President Kat says: 

“I am thrilled to be President and be able to help the local business community.  With so much economic uncertainty, it is a challenging time for many companies.  I am looking forward to supporting the Chamber and its members in my year as President.” 

“I joined the chamber for networking but have made friends as well as clients.  I’ve gained so much support from other local businesses and this is my opportunity to give something back.” 

To mark her presidency Kat gave a short interview to the Chamber which you can see here:   

https://www.kingstonchamber.co.uk/blog-post/meet-our-new-chamber-president/ 

A new bug with Microsoft Edge has caused issues world wide with the New Edge browser to crash when typing into the address bar. The quick workaround at this time while awaiting a fix is to disable the site suggestions. To do this, navigate to Edge settings and select Privacy and services and then scroll […]

A new bug with Microsoft Edge has caused issues world wide with the New Edge browser to crash when typing into the address bar.

The quick workaround at this time while awaiting a fix is to disable the site suggestions.

To do this, navigate to Edge settings and select Privacy and services and then scroll down to Address bar. See image above for help. Slide the “Show me search and site suggestions using my typed characters” to the off state.

We started preparing our clients for the possibility of a lockdown in February. Back then, a potential lockdown was not seen as imminent or even likely for the UK. We reviewed our clients’ existing business continuity plans and created a pandemic strategy. We knew we would have to keep their businesses operating by moving their […]

We started preparing our clients for the possibility of a lockdown in February. Back then, a potential lockdown was not seen as imminent or even likely for the UK. We reviewed our clients’ existing business continuity plans and created a pandemic strategy. We knew we would have to keep their businesses operating by moving their entire work forces home.

Then suddenly lockdown across the UK became a reality and we had to move whole companies to remote working over a single weekend. This brought about some huge logistical and technical challenges for our team. Like our clients, we also had to adapt our business practises to deliver to all our clients quickly but with security at the forefront of everything. We needed to get out to employees’ homes, deliver laptops and other hardware, then login to set up WIFI, install software and systems (even online school for one client) remotely. But most importantly it had to be secure and safe for our clients.

Other businesses might not have had a plan or support to implement one. Many employees will have switched to using their personal computers out of necessity or convenience. Most of these devices will not have the right level of security for a business, creating potentially increased threats to corporate security. Since lockdown started, there has been a huge increase in compromised email accounts, attacks via ransomware and malware, invoice and payment fraud, data breaches and more. Sadly, fraudsters are active, and you must take steps to protect your business. If you rushed to get everyone online at home, take the time now to check the security on the devices they are using. Make sure your work data is being securely backed up, revisit your business continuity plan and make sure you are secure during this pandemic and beyond.

IQinIT Managing Director Katerina Damcova says: “This shift in working from home is here to stay, the accelerated change was long overdue and many of our clients are already planning to keep this as a standard practice. This means changing and adapting the way we support our clients also, and we have learned that we can do this and do it well. We are embracing the change, you can too as long as it’s secure!”

You may receive error messages below: Having Office 365 mailbox spread across multiple data centres can cause issues when accessing shared resources. The issue can demonstrate it self by an inability to send as a shared mailbox or losing access to it completely in Outlook or Web-mail. Outlook error The specified object was not found […]

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-2-1024x445.png

You may receive error messages below:

Having Office 365 mailbox spread across multiple data centres can cause issues when accessing shared resources. The issue can demonstrate it self by an inability to send as a shared mailbox or losing access to it completely in Outlook or Web-mail.

Outlook error

The specified object was not found in the store., Can’t connect to the mailbox of user Mailbox database guid: XXXX because the ExchangePrincipal object contains outdated information. The mailbox may have been moved recently. Email could not be sent. The message has been moved to your Drafts folder.

Webmail error

Your request can’t be completed at this time

Connect to your remote power-shell and run following command to view your user list and list of databases

Get-MailBox | select Displayname,Database

You will see a list below:

DisplayName Database
———– ——–
Owner 1 GBRP123DG081-db136
Owner 2 GBRP123DG077-db006
Discovery Search Mailbox GBRP123DG059-db037
User 1 GBRP123DG065-db120
User 2 GBRP123DG058-db105
User 3 GBRP265DG075-db123

GBRP – this shows the country location of the data centre

123 – this indicates the datacentre, if this number is different it will cause issues with shared access

To resolve this issue run a command to move the mailbox which location does not match, in our case User 3

New-MoveRequest -identity [email protected]

This will start the mailbox move to the correct database, to check if the mailbox is moving to the correct database run below command to view the current Move Request

Get-MoveRequest -identity [email protected]

DisplayName Status TargetDatabase
———– —— ————–
User 3 InProgress GBRP123DG071-db070