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]

Organisations Growing Together as 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 certifies 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, head to www.trustack.co.uk or call 0191 250 3000.

Note to news desks

For further information, please contact Phil Cambers on 0191 250300

For more information on NCFE please go to www.ncfe.org.uk

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.

Extended Security Updates for Windows 7

As you will already know, Microsoft has now ended ongoing support for Windows 7, but many businesses are still running with this now outdated operating system.

For some, critical apps and legacy systems make updating Windows 7 near impossible. For others, budgets and planning have hampered migration before the 14th January 2020 End-of-Support deadline arrived.

You may have joined us on the webinar back in September when Ian Sanderson, Technical Pre-Sales Consultant ran through what considerations and options you had before the deadline in January.

These included recommendations such as Virtual Patching until the time was right to upgrade.
However, if you’re facing the prospect of continuing with Windows 7 without traditional support, Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) are here.

It is important to note that Windows 7 ESU includes security updates for critical and important issues only as defined by Microsoft Security Response Centre (MSRC) for a maximum of three years after January 14, 2020. There will not be an ESU offering or an extension of support for Office 2010.

Paid for on a per device basis, these updates are available to Windows 7 Pro, Enterprise, Ultimate and Education license holders.

Not only will you have the reassurance of continuing with supported devices, you’ll also give yourself the freedom to make the switch to Windows 10 at the right moment for you. We can of course help with this when the time is right.

For more information on End-of-Support you can watch the on-demand version of our webinar here, or read about it here.

ESU is only available until January 2023.

SD WAN in 4 Minutes…

Struggling to get your head around SD WAN? Don’t quite understand what benefits it can give to you and your business?

Why not watch our explainer video with Senior Network Consultant, Ross Phillips who will break it down into what you need to know.

Trend Micro Security Predictions for 2020

The year 2020 has seen a transition to a new decade. So has cybersecurity. Gone are the days of networks isolated behind a company firewall and a limited stack of enterprise applications.

The Trend Micro security predictions for 2020 reflect experts opinions and insights on current and emerging threats and technologies. The report paints a picture of a possible future landscape driven by technological advances and evolved threats to enable enterprises to make informed decisions on their cybersecurity posture in 2020 and beyond. The future looks complex, exposed, and misconfigured — but it is also defensible.

Download the PDF below to get an insight into cybersecurity 2020.

Trend Micro Security Predictions 2020

Top Tips for Office 365 Security and Availability

Have you already moved, thinking of moving, or currently migrating to O365 and unsure of what security precautions you should be taking? We run through the basics that all administrators should be implementing.

  1. Use multi-factor authentication. This is the best mitigation technique to use to protect against credential theft for O365 users. There are a number of different vendors that offer this, whether in the form of physical or virtual tokens.
  2. Enable unified audit logging in the Security and Compliance Centre. This will give you the ability to view activity per user across all 365 apps. 
  3. Ensure Azure AD password sync is planned for and configured correctly, prior to migrating users.
  4. Disable legacy email protocols, if not required, or limit their use to specific users. Legacy protocols do not support modern authentication methods with MFA. The protocols include IMAP, POP and SMTP. These protocols can be disabled tenancy wide or per user, if you need to use legacy protocols for certain users.
  5. Configure Conditional Access. This gives you the ability to block access from certain countries and enforce MFA etc. When studying audit logs, you will see most attacks come from certain countries. Is there ever a time any of your users need to access O365 from China or other well-known sources of attacks? If the answer is no then utilise conditional access to reduce the attack surface of O365.
  6. Implement Cloud App Security. When data is uploaded to the cloud how do you know its safe virus/malware free? With cloud app security data is scanned and can be quarantined reducing the risk of a user downloading an infected file. Without this level of protection, you are relying on perimeter security if the user is inside the corporate network, then endpoint security which is the last defence. We recommend a layered approach to security, adding multiple layers will increase the chances of a zero-day threat, and potentially stop a threat before it even enters your network.  
  7. Managed anti-spam. Not only does this reduce the volume of spam, malicious content etc, it can also give your employees access to emails if/when Office 365 goes down.

You can find more out about our services here.

TruStack Gives Tech Pledge to New Charity Partner

IT experts TruStack Ltd have pledged to fundraise over £7,000 to help parents with premature and sick babies, inspired by the cost of special software that keeps track of young ones’ progress.

The company, based in Cramlington, wants to raise £7,000 in the coming year for new charity partner The Tiny Lives Trust, who support the Neonatal Unit at Newcastle’s RVI Hospital.

That is the same amount that it costs annually to run vCreate, a secure video messaging service that allows clinical teams to send updates on children to their parents when they can’t be together.

The partnership between TruStack and Tiny Lives came about after the charity helped two of the company’s directors through difficult times.

Both Paul Watson and Russell Henderson were supported by Tiny Lives, and the pair have been wanting to pay the charity back ever since.

Paul’s daughter Niamh, now 18, spent over a month in the Neonatal Unit when she was born five weeks prematurely, weighing just 3lbs.

Dad-of-two Paul said: “I am so grateful to the charity for what they did for us back then, I can’t think of anyone better to support.

“They do vital work supporting people through the toughest of times and we want to help in any way we can.

“Being a company focused on IT, if we can raise as much money as it costs for them to use such a wonderful piece of technology, we will be very happy.”

Paul and Russell make up two of the six directors of TruStack, which provides a range of IT services for businesses across the North East and beyond.

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

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.

Russell’s son Mattie, now 10, spent around seven weeks in the RVI when he was born.

Russell, 41, said: “I spent a lot of money on parking, just being at hospital every day, and at the end of the stay Tiny Lives footed the bill. It was amazing they did that and it has always stuck with me.

“I have wanted to do something for them for a while, so I am really pleased TruStack is able to partner with them now.”

Rachel Hardwick, corporate fundraiser for Tiny Lives, said: “This technology is amazing. It means the hospital is able to give updates to families about their babies even if they aren’t there for whatever reason.”

She added: “This partnership means so much to us. It feels extra special when we have people supporting our charity who have been helped by us in the past. It is like we are completing the circle.

“More than 750 families receive our support at the RVI every year and it just wouldn’t be possible without businesses like TruStack.”

TruStack was formed after the merger of SITS Group, PCI Services and Pivotal Networks earlier this year.

Its head office is on the Northumberland Business Park, Cramlington, with a branch office situated at the Evolve Business Centre, Houghton-le-Spring.

For more information call 0191 250 3000.

What Is The New Veeam Universal Licencing Model?

Our very own Veeam Vanguard, Ian Sanderson is going to take you through the new Veeam Universal Licencing model, which is now replacing Veeam Instance Licencing.

Ian, for those that don’t know, what was Veeam Instance Licencing?

So Veeam Instance Licencing was brought out in April of this year. At the time the premise was great, however it was confusing for everyone. It was difficult to work out how many licences you needed, what edition was required, and there was a question mark around perpetual socket-based licencing, would it go away? However, it was a great model to help protect workloads in a Hybrid IT world and where data mobility is often very common.

So, what exactly is the new Veeam Universal Licence and how does it look?

Basically, Veeam stated that they wanted to make licensing easier for all customers and enable them to expand to hybrid and multi-cloud environments with no additional costs and no additional licenses to buy with one type of license for multiple products. So, as you will see from the diagram above, the licence edition has gone and all Veeam Universal Licences, apart from Starter Edition now have the same features as Enterprise Plus. The consumption is one licence for each workload with the same type of license.

One of the main benefits of moving customers to the Enterprise Plus edition is customers will be able to take advantage of things like scale out back-up repositories, as well as storage integration in Veeam Backup and Replication.

In summary this is a great move by Veeam. It’s a simplified licencing model for the hybrid IT world we now live in.