Hacker warning for businesses with employees working from home

IT security experts are warning businesses to take steps to combat hackers as working from home becomes more common during the Covid-19 pandemic.

TruStack, based in Cramlington, specialises in Agile Working Solutions and Cybersecurity and has enabled hundreds of organisations to work from home during the recent lockdowns.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics show a quarter of all employees are currently working from home (https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronavirustheukeconomyandsocietyfasterindicators/latest#social-impacts-of-the-coronavirus-on-great-britain), but this number could increase if more areas are put under tighter regulations in the coming months.

Now TruStack’s experts have warned that many businesses may not realise the full security implications of its employees moving from working in an office to working from home.

Technical Director Russell Henderson said: “Business data of all types is of value and anybody can be a target, with methods of stealing this data more sophisticated than ever.

“Continuous scanning to find vulnerabilities in businesses security and to exploit threats occurs, and it is likely attacks will become more frequent as well as more complex, so no matter your business size you need to be focused on keeping your data as secure as possible.

“Home networks tend to be far more open, with so many devices – e.g. smart speakers, internet games consoles, smart phones, smart TVs, doorbells, home alarms – potentially sharing a network and broadband with work devices.

“All of this increases the possibility of a piece of malware, or ransomware, finding a weakness and exploiting it, potentially allowing it to find and spread in the local network.

“Remote workers need strong security and those systems need stringent monitoring to protect the business’s data.”

It is predicted globally that companies will spend more than $137 billion in 2020 to protect against cyber threats.

Meanwhile technology research company Gartner has predicted the global cost of security attacks on businesses will be around $3.9 trillion.

Mr Henderson said there are many steps businesses can take to shore up security but that a multi-layered approach is needed to keep data safe.

He added: “No business can rely on a single product, platform or device to protect its data but there are some key steps to take to give your business the best chance of protecting against cyber attacks.

“These include having a quality firewall, implementing a quality antivirus platform for user devices and servers, carrying out security patching, having a multi-factor identification process and investing in a robust backup and recovery solution.

“These are just some of the protection measures that TruStack consults around. Ultimately, businesses must have a security-first mindset, from bottom to top, where protection of data is an absolute priority, as we transition towards a largely agile workforce.”

TruStack provides end-to-end managed IT services and specialises in Cybersecurity, Unified Communications and Agile Working solutions.

Amongst its many clients it counts several of the North East’s Top 200 companies – including Muckle LLP and Collingwood Business Solutions – as well as big names across the UK such as the Natural History Museum and Vertu Motors.

It has enabled many of these clients to work from home recently, and has also been following its own advice with almost all of its workforce undertaking agile working.

TruStack Celebrates First Year!

When IT company TruStack was formed following the merger of three well established IT businesses in September 2019 nobody could have predicted what the next twelve months would bring.

However, a year later , having faced the challenges of merging three business, adapting to Coronavirus and fundamental changes to the way businesses work, TruStack has emerged as a success story from the North East IT industry.

The company, which provides end-to-end managed IT services and specialises in Cybersecurity, Unified Communications and Agile Working solutions, is celebrating its one-year anniversary achieving an impressive turnover of around £9m.

It has increased its workforce by 20 percent from 44 to 53, as well as increasing the number of apprentices employed from two to five, as the company looks to invest in regional young talent.

TruStack’s Commercial Director Phil Cambers said the company’s impressive figures were due to the business’s ability to continue to provide the same exceptional level of service during a year of lockdown and restrictions caused by COVID-19.

Mr Cambers said: “When we launched TruStack a year ago following the merger there was no way of knowing the challenges that we and almost all other businesses would be facing in the coming 12 months.

“However, thankfully we have been able to adapt to the change of working conditions and continued to provide the high level of service our clients expect from us.

“This has not only been reflected in our revenue figures but also in the fact that we have been able to grow our company.

“Importantly, we have been an integral part of enabling our clients to continue doing what they do, by providing them with the infrastructure and support they need to work effectively during the pandemic, and enabling them to work remotely in a safe and secure manner.

“Who knows what the next 12 months will hold, but I am confident that the expertise and dedication of our staff will help us overcome any challenges that may be thrown at us.

“Hopefully we can continue to see success and a continued growth in the business, and help fellow North East businesses to see the same.”

TruStack was formed following a merger of three IT companies – SITS Group, PCI Services and Pivotal Networks.

It has since completed hundreds of projects, working with several of the North East’s Top 200 companies – including Muckle LLP and Collingwood Business Solutions – as well as big names across the UK such as the Natural History Museum and Vertu Motors.

TruStack prides itself on being able to remove the burden that supporting IT systems can bring and adds a level of on-demand IT expertise to help businesses by either augmenting their current IT team or outsourcing it completely.

Support services are one of the many services it offers – after installing a client’s infrastructure, its experts are always on hand to manage and monitor operations, enabling clients to focus on the day-to-day running of their business.

Importantly, it has enabled the vast majority of its hundreds of active clients to work from home during the recent Covid-19 pandemic.

And TruStack has also been following its own advice, with almost all of its workforce undertaking agile working, which is has actually benefitted the company.

Mr Cambers added: “We have encouraged agile working for years – I have always said that work is something you do not somewhere you go.

“We have taken on several new staff since the Covid-19 crisis began, all of which has been made possible by using the technology that we sell, carrying out our interviews, company inductions and training online.

“It goes to show how the world of work is changing, and we are there to help businesses across the country to enable their agile workforce and maintain the same levels of productivity from anywhere.”

TruStack, which has its head office at Northumberland Business Park, Cramlington, and a branch office at the Evolve Business Centre, Houghton le Spring, has also done its bit for charity.

Despite the pandemic, TruStack has managed to raise around £2,500 for its charity partner Tiny Lives, which supports premature and poorly babies and their families at the Neo-Natal Unit at the RVI Hospital, Newcastle.

For more information on TruStack go to www.trustack.co.uk or call 0191 250 3000.

TruStack supports NCFE in business transformation

Almost a decade after they partnered for the first time, two of the North East’s most forward-thinking and flourishing organisations are looking forward to a healthy future together.

Digital business experts at TruStack have completed a transformation of IT systems at NCFE, a leading provider of educational services for more than 170 years.

TruStack was formed last year after the merger of SITS Group, PCI Services and Pivotal Networks, with SITS installing NCFE’s IT infrastructure back in 2013.

Not-for-profit organisation NCFE, which designs and certificates technical qualifications as well as offering assessment and educational technology solutions, decided to update its systems to keep pace with the organisation’s growth.

NCFE was pleased to continue its long-standing relationship with TruStack, a business which prides itself on giving clients ‘innovative solutions and expert support’.

Nick Evans, NCFE’s Information Security Manager, said: “TruStack has always supported us on our business journey. We feel that they are almost an extension of our own team.

“Our engineers trust their engineers. That respect between the organisations from an engineering level to managerial level has been born from a long-term relationship between us.”

“However, there was nothing to say that we were definitely going to go with TruStack for the project, but when it came down to it no one else could provide the same level of support and respect that we have received from them.”

“I have always felt they are not there just to make money from a client – they care. They had a vested interest in making sure the project was successful and that is what they did.”

In the past five years NCFE has seen its turnover more than double and its workforce increase from around 200 to more than 450 employees.

Security is vital to NCFE, with the organisation contributing to the success of millions of learners at all levels, in a range of sectors.

From September, it will take responsibility for delivering one of the government’s new T-Level qualifications, with five more to follow in 2021. 

Lindsey Gibson, Head of Group IT at NCFE, added: “We help learners from all walks of life to progress in their education and into employment, in line with our core purpose to ‘promote and advance learning’.

“We are firmly focused on the future and TruStack is a key partner in helping us to grow and increase our reach and impact.”

TruStack’s engineers spent eleven days planning for, and delivering, the project at NCFE’s head office at Quorum Business Park, in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, with the project going live in December.

Liam Holliday, TruStack sales manager, said: “It was a case of giving NCFE a platform to host its business applications that would last well into the future. 

“We pride ourselves on getting things right first time, and we are pleased things have turned out so well for NCFE in the latest stage of our partnership.”

He added: “We can never rest on our laurels. We see every opportunity we get like it’s a new business. 

“By treating every customer like a new customer we give ourselves the best chance possible of winning their business next time.”

TruStack works with hundreds of companies across the North East and beyond, including several of the North East’s Top 200 companies including Unipres (UK) and Vertu Motors. 

Other clients include the Natural History Museum and Collingwood Business Solutions.

TruStack has its head office on the Northumberland Business Park, Cramlington, with a branch office situated at the Evolve Business Centre, Houghton le Spring. If you are interested in finding out more please click here.

Important Updates To Office Support

Office 2016 for Mac and Office 2010 will reach their end of support on October 13, 2020. After this date, Microsoft will no longer provide technical support, bug fixes, or security updates for Office 2016 for Mac and Office 2010. You will still be able to use these versions of Office, but over time, organisations will face an increase in security risks and compliance issues.

Running legacy platforms allows security exploits to be leveraged against businesses and so retaining Office 2010 which Microsoft will no longer patch or bug fix is a significant risk.

Therefore because of the changes listed above, we strongly advise that you move to a current agile platform such as Microsoft 365.

Those who have Cyber Essentials or Cyber Essentials Plus will not be able to maintain the accreditation as the Microsoft platforms will not be patched. To have these accreditation’s patches must be deployed within two weeks.

Why Move to Microsoft 365?

Businesses who adapted best to Covid-19 were those who were already using current technology and leveraging tools such as Teams, securely ahead of the lock down.

Those business were already benefiting from agile working practices which their staff and clients benefited from. Meanwhile, others were left unprepared and looking for last minute solutions to remote and agile working, this is now the opportunity for those businesses behind the curve to pull themselves into the present day with up to date technology.

Benefits Include

  • Reduction in on premises infrastructure to manage by moving to the cloud.
  • No long contracts. The ability to flex up or down depending on the size of your workforce. Removes uncertainty should there be a sudden increase or decrease in staff members.
  • Always entitled to the latest version of the software.
  • Easy license management. 
  • Experts on hand at TruStack to help guide you through your journey.

Contact us today to claim a FREE 30 minute consultation.

You can also read more on Agile Working by clicking here.

We’re Hiring!

At TruStack our vision is to build a sustainable and socially responsible organisation that is trusted by our staff, our customers and our vendors to provide outstanding customer service and innovative solutions.

After a period of rapid growth, team TruStack are hiring for a number of roles!

Are you enthusiastic about telephony or networking and being part of an experienced team of industry specialists? If yes, we may be the perfect fit for each other!

If you are passionate about delivering exceptional customer service, solving complex problems and full of ideas then you might be the person we are looking for to join us at TruStack.

We have the following two roles available for immediate start;

  • Telecoms and UC Engineer
  • Systems and Networking Engineer

In return we will commit to a full on boarding schedule, a competitive remuneration package and access to ongoing personal development.

For more information and a full job specification, please email [email protected]

Please note we are not accepting applications from recruitment agencies at this time.

Survey Shows Working From Home and Agile Working To Be More Common After Covid Crisis

A forward-thinking IT company which has helped more than 200 North East companies work from home is predicting that ‘agile working’ will become increasingly common in future.


TruStack, based in Cramlington, provides end-to-end IT services and has specialist teams covering areas including cybersecurity, Unified Communications and agile working.


Two months into lockdown, TruStack surveyed its clients to discover the impact of agile working and whether businesses are likely to encourage more employees to work away from the office in the months and years to come.


Seventy five percent of those surveyed said they expected employees to carry out more agile working in the future, while 100% said they had a more positive view of agile working as a result of Covid-19.


TruStack’s Commercial Director Phil Cambers said the survey, which was sent to businesses from a variety of industries in the private and public sectors, could help understand changing working practices for the foreseeable future across different industries.


Mr Cambers said: “We wanted to carry out this survey of our customers’ experience of agile working to ensure we can continue to provide solutions to meet their requirements.


“I would say the survey is representative of workplaces in general. It seems that many people have discovered that they can work just as well from home as they can from an office.


“Moving forward, I firmly believe many more organisations will be encouraging more agile working, and we will see a real shift in future working trends across different industries.”

The survey included responses from a broad spectrum of businesses from manufacturing, engineering, travel and tourism companies to housing associations and legal practices.


Among other products and services, TruStack has enabled its customers to work from home by providing hardware such as laptops, software, enhanced security and unified communications.


TruStack, which was formed following a merger of three IT companies in 2019, has been taking its own advice by encouraging staff to undertake agile working both before, and since, lockdown.


The company has taken on two new apprentices, as well as an engineer and salesperson since lockdown began in March, with all interviews and hiring done online.


Mr Cambers added: “We have encouraged agile working for years – I have always said that work is something you do not somewhere you go.
“We have taken on several new staff since the Covid-19 crisis began, all of which has been made possible by using the technology that we sell.

“It goes to show how the world of work is changing, and we are there to help businesses across the country to enable their agile workforce and maintain the same levels of productivity from anywhere.”

TruStack has a branch office at the Evolve Business Centre, Houghton le Spring, and its head office on the Northumberland Business Park, Cramlington.


Amongst its clients are many of the North East’s Top 200 companies – including Muckle LLP and Collingwood Business Solutions – as well as big names across the UK like the Natural History Museum and Vertu Motors.


For more information on TruStack go to www.trustack.co.uk or call 0191 250 3000 or visit our Agile Working page here.

North East IT Company celebrates landmark 50th employee

Technology business experts at TruStack are celebrating a milestone moment after taking on their 50th employee.

TruStack was formed when three businesses – SITS Group, PCI Services and Pivotal Networks – joined forces in September 2019, creating a joint portfolio of more than 250 clients and turnover of £10m.

The new merged business continues to provide IT services to clients across the North East and beyond.

Services include cloud computing, infrastructure design and implementation, data centre services, managed services, unified communications, Cybersecurity solutions and managed desktop services.

TruStack had 40 employees at the time of the merger, but has since increased its staff numbers by 25% to 50 in less than a year, much to the delight of its directors.

Commercial Director Phil Cambers said: “Whether you are celebrating a 50th birthday, 50 years of marriage or a 50th employee, getting to this number is always a huge milestone.

“Being able to reach this landmark moment is testament to the hard work of everyone in the business.

“It makes me very proud that we have built a successful business that can sustain this number of people and has the portfolio of clients that we do.”

Mr Cambers added that despite the economic uncertainty with Covid-19, the TruStack team is working from home to continue providing customers with the services and support they are used to in normal times.

To help support its project scheduling and business administration departments, TruStack has hired two new apprentice trainees from Access Training in Gateshead.

He said: “When you are running a business it is always a fine balance between having higher running costs with more staff, and having too few to provide the level of service expected.

“We feel like we have the balance just right now. It is all about bringing people in at the right time and we feel we have done that.

“In amongst all of the uncertainty at the moment we continue to provide the high level of service our customers expect.

“In order to help support us in this we have employed two fantastic apprentices. We are really pleased to be able to support these young people and give them a start in an exciting career within our industry.”

Services Director Joe Olabode said: “I am very proud of what this business has achieved and will continue to achieve well into the future.

“We have five directors that know and trust each other driving the business forward with a substantial and talented workforce.”

“I am very excited about what the coming years will bring.”

TruStack has a branch office at the Evolve Business Centre, Houghton le Spring, and its head office on the Northumberland Business Park, Cramlington.

Amongst its clients are many of the North East’s Top 200 companies – including Muckle LLP and Collingwood Business Solutions – as well as big names across the UK like the Natural History Museum and Vertu Motors.

For more information on TruStack go to www.trustack.co.uk or call 0191 250 3000.

Business as usual!

We would like to give our customers and suppliers a short message to say that TruStack is still operating as normally as we can, notwithstanding current restrictions around movement of people. TruStack has adopted many of the technologies we have been consulting around for many years now, therefore Agile Working for us is nothing unusual. We often complete project work remotely and most of our support services can be delivered remotely too.  Please continue to log any support calls in the usual manner and also continue to call or mail us in the usual manner with any other enquiries – we are here to help.

We would also like to thank all of our loyal customers, staff and suppliers during this unprecedented time. If you have any questions or queries whatsoever please contact us at https://trustack.co.uk/contact-us/

We’re Hiring!

Our vision is to build a sustainable and socially responsible organisation that is trusted by our staff, our customers and our vendors to provide outstanding customer service and innovative solutions. Due to our continued growth at TruStack, we are now hiring for both Enterprise IT Systems & Support Engineers.

Job descriptions for both of these open vacancies can be found below. For any questions or queries please contact [email protected]

Insight Acquires Veeam Software

Insight Partners announced earlier this week that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Veeam Software, one of the leaders in Backup solutions that deliver Cloud Data Management.

Under the ownership of Insight Partners, Veeam will become a U.S. company, with a U.S.-based leadership team, while continuing its global expansion from offices in 30 countries and with customers in over 160 countries.

Following an investment from Insight Partners at the beginning of 2019, the acquisition, which is expected to be closed in Q1 2020, will enable Veeam to accelerate its Act II (Veeam’s evolution into Hybrid Cloud), help the company expand into new markets and continue its growth trajectory whilst growing its share of the U.S. market

Veeam have reassured all partners that there will be no change in day to day operations and they are still 100% committed to those like TruStack.

Bill Largent, CEO, Veaam said ‘It’s business as usual, only now we will have a greater opportunity to ensure we continue to innovate and deliver the solutions and support you have come to expect from everyone at Veeam.’

TruStack Technical Pre-Sales Consultant, Ian Sanderson said ‘It’s quite interesting the takeover by Insight. Veeam being a Russian company meant they were locked out from a lot of US accounts due to their heritage. However, the buyout means that 2 of the Directors have stepped down and are being replaced with a new American board of Directors which will now enable them to get into certain accounts they couldn’t get into previously.

Veeam as we mentioned have communicated to the channel that it is business as normal, and we fully believe this.

However, what is interesting is that unlike other buyouts that we have seen, Insight are continuously investing money in Veeam and their products which can only be beneficial for both IT providers like TruStack, and end-users.’

Any questions, TruStack are happy to answer.