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Novosco Blog

Expert opinions and experience from Novosco, one of the UK and Ireland leading managed service providers.

10 Minutes with... Jacqui Kennedy

10 Minutes with... Jacqui Kennedy

Jacqui has a phobia of reality TV and avoids exposure to it by her two adult children with headphones and a good book. Jacqui is also known to bake the occasional cake.

Question: Jacqui, what do you do at Novosco? What’s your role?

Jacqui: My official title is Director of Security Operations, I am based at the Daresbury Park office.

Q: Great job title!

Jacqui: Ha, yeah! Basically I’m responsible for the operations out of the Daresbury office, including all the pre-sales functions, project management, service delivery management, technical delivery from the service desk and the network operating centre.  General running of the admin functions and assisting the sales manager in his role too.

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Taking the time to care

Taking the time to care

“DID YOU KNOW? 

If you text 07725 909090 when you are feeling really depressed, down or not yourself, a listening volunteer will text you back and chat with you.
Many people don't like talking on the phone and some find it even difficult to open up to their friends and family. Some people are just more comfortable texting.
So, this is a service run by The Samaritans. Please copy, paste, share or pass on if you want to.
You never know who might be needing it...”

I originally posted this on my own personal social media, and it got more attention than I had thought it would. It clearly struck a chord with a lot of people, and made me stop to think about the importance of our mental health and how relevant it is to our lifestyles today.

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70-year-old NHS's future will include AI and 'robo docs'

70-year-old NHS's future will include AI and 'robo docs'

The National Health Service (NHS) is never far from the headlines. Often, it's about the pressures the service faces, the length of waiting lists, and the need for more funding.

Earlier this month, it was the NHS's 70th anniversary and the various events and initiatives to celebrate its history and impact. And of late, we've had two contrasting reports about the NHS's use of technology.

One of these, published last week, focused on the NHS's apparent reliance on fax machines, with the report suggesting that thousands of the ‘archaic' devices are still in use in hospitals in England. This follows a report last year by artificial intelligence company DeepMind Health which concluded that the NHS is the world's largest purchaser of fax machines. (Another report highlighted that pagers are still prevalent as well.)

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10 Minutes with... Nick Martin, Technical Services Engineer

10 Minutes with... Nick Martin, Technical Services Engineer

Nick works in Novoso’s Technical Services team and is based in Belfast. Outside of work he’s a bit of a Whisky aficionado and is a particular fan of those from the Island of Islay in Scotland.

Question: So, Nick, what do you do at Novosco?

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Developing IT skills with Cloud Camp

Developing IT skills with Cloud Camp

One of the challenges all business face is to make sure that we are developing the skills that we will need in the future, as well as the skills that we need today. It is vitally important that companies, like Novosco, take an active role in helping our young people develop and grow their interest in IT.

For that reason, we run Novosco Cloud Camp, a week-long summer camp for students aged 16-17. The aim is to give students the opportunity to get more hands on practical experience in the world of IT, and hopefully help them to choose a career in IT in the future.

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Chinese tech sector provides food for thought

Chinese tech sector provides food for thought

I've had some enlightening conversations about China of late. One related to a meeting with a Chinese tech entrepreneur who was working hard to develop a pipeline of skills for his corporation.

His solution was the creation of a dedicated university of 25,000 students, owned by the business. That's 25,000 students - and I had never even heard of the company.

This anecdote gives some insight into the scale of the Chinese economy and its tech sector but also the attitude that is driving its remarkable growth.

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Housing Associations - Made for Managed Services

Housing Associations - Made for Managed Services

The modern housing association is built on three things; bricks, people, and IT. It’s how a housing association manages each of these three things that impacts on the level and quality of service it can deliver.

Think about it for a minute, if you want to provide social housing, you need bricks to build the houses and you need IT to connect everything and manage communications. If you want to manage the bricks, you need people to build houses, and you need IT to facilitate the people as they run and manage the housing association – there’s just no way of getting around it in today’s world.

It’s crucial for all organisations, including housing associations, to know what they can and can’t do, managing resources accordingly is what makes the difference in the level and quality of service offered.

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Dealing with demand in a growing IT sector

Dealing with demand in a growing IT sector

THERE has been much talk about the Northern Ireland jobs market of late. Last week, the term ‘full employment’ was raised and debated – with many suggesting that whilst we might not quite be at full employment in Northern Ireland, we certainly have some significant skills shortages and some sectors where there are real challenges to recruit.

In the IT sector, there is certainly big demand for skilled people and a lot of opportunity. According to the latest NIJobs Report, there was a surge in demand for IT workers in the first quarter of this year. IT vacancies rose by 37 percent quarter-on-quarter according to the report and represented the most listings in three years. One in 10 of all their listings are IT jobs.

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What you want vs What is good for you

What you want vs What is good for you

“Head count!  We need more head count!” insists the IT manager.

It’s true that most IT departments are under huge strain to deliver what’s needed by the business and balancing strategic projects with tactical day-to-day workload is indeed a challenge; but is increasing head count the answer?

The resourcing kit bag contains more than the obvious solution of hiring another permanent employee.  Given that long and expensive recruitment cycles are getting longer and more expensive, other options such as a managed service are worth considering.  When people are under pressure, taking more time out to re-evaluate the structure of their team and the workload being managed isn’t something they’re going to want to do, but it could result in a better outcome than going to the default setting of recruitment.

Managed Services to do the daily grind

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Getting to know us - Novosco Managed Services

Getting to know us - Novosco Managed Services

Novosco Managed Services: Improving delivery, reducing costs

In many organisations, IT is the backbone to the delivery of high quality service for customers and employees. Your business relies on IT, but supporting IT is not your core business. Novosco managed services are the answer to the problem, we aim to enable your IT to support your business, not burden it.

Customised, process-driven and expertly delivered services

By moving critical infrastructure management to the hands of Novosco’s experts, you are free to focus on the primary aspects of your business.

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Resistance to Managed Services

Resistance to Managed Services

“We will manage it ourselves”, “We don’t outsource any of our services”, and “We want to keep this in-house”. We’ve heard these phrases many times during customer project meetings and I often wonder why these types of things are said, so let's take a look.

 
A few initial thoughts:

• Organisations are concerned with minimising financial costs.  Factoring in costs for management of projects/solutions will exceed their budgets etc.

• Human nature dictates that we like to keep control of things, so the concept of handing over the reins to something that you “own” can be daunting or threatening.

• Legislation/Regulation govern what organisations are able to do with regards to potential outsourcing/management services. 

Costs

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‘Move fast and break things' culture coming back to haunt?

‘Move fast and break things' culture coming back to haunt?

Facebook's mantra for developers used to be 'Move Fast and Break Things'. It meant that new tools and features on the platform might not be perfect at the start, but creation speed was key, even if there were some mistakes along the way.

That mantra changed a few years ago when the company's chief executive Mark Zuckerberg indicated he wanted to be a little more careful in getting it right the first time. He said that Facebook was now embracing the motto 'Move Fast with Stable Infra'. The motto changed, but did the culture?

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Backup: Forward or Reverse Incremental

Backup: Forward or Reverse Incremental

Petrol vs Diesel? Apples & Oranges? Is it a matter of preference? Moving forward seems logical? Is moving backwards better in some cases?  I can think of a few real-world examples that fit both cases but in the sense of Veeam backups, which one is better?

Better is a very general term…

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FAQs about the migration to Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.x

FAQs about the migration to Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.x

With XenApp 6.5 nearing EoL in June 2018, organisations around the world are planning an upgrade to XenApp and XenDesktop 7.x. While the move from one version of 7.x to another could be considered an easy in-place upgrade, the shift from 6.x to 7.x is a full-blown platform migration.

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Fending off retail apocalypse with digital transformation

Fending off retail apocalypse with digital transformation

In the United States there has been much talk of a retail apocalypse, with a large number of retail stores closing as American consumers change their purchasing habits, notably with a move to e-commerce. Sears, for example, now has fewer than a third the number of retail stores it had 10 years ago. Of the 1,200 shopping malls across the US, some experts have predicted that half of them will close by 2023, and that more than 12,000 stores will close in 2018.

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Why move to Skype for Business?

Why move to Skype for Business?

RIP ISDN, Long Live SIP

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) is the digital standard for communication of data, voice and video, and it’s being phased out. By 2025 SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) is the replacement that everything will be moved to. So what’s your business doing about it?

Moving to a hosted Skype for Business platform means your organisation is future proofing its communications as well as ensuring a better quality of service too; freeing you from a reliance on outdated copper wire infrastructure with a fast approaching use by date.

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Security as a managed service: gain control by sharing control

Security as a managed service: gain control by sharing control

While it may seem counterintuitive, for many businesses, enlisting an external expert to monitor and manage the firm’s cyber defences may be the most effective way to stay in control of security.

Often, when a security breach occurs, the natural assumption is that the organisation’s security technology was not up to scratch. In our experience though, this isn’t usually the case. More often than not we discover that most companies have implemented appropriate security technology but it’s either not optimised at its most effective level or necessary updates, like the most recent patching, haven’t been applied.

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10 Minutes with... Bronagh Hughes, Internal Recruiter

10 Minutes with... Bronagh Hughes, Internal Recruiter

Bronagh Hughes joined Novosco as Internal Recruiter in August 2017. She worked in recruitment for agencies previously, as well as the financial sector, and wants for little more in life than for her dog to sit under her desk at work with her all day.

Question: So, you’ve been with Novosco for 6 months at this point, what made you decide to join?

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The Challenge for Big Tech

The Challenge for Big Tech

It has become abundantly clear that one of the more interesting stories of 2018 is going to be how ‘big tech' responds to the crisis it is facing.

Some would say that it has monopoly power, an ability to affect election outcomes and a big hold on our brain space… and there is the evidence mounting that big tech has become something of an existential threat, in terms of politics, the economy, and culturally.

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Six best practices for securing your on premise data and infrastructure

Six best practices for securing your on premise data and infrastructure

We understand that moving everything to the cloud isn’t for every company and that keeping some of your applications on premise is important and vital for many organisations.  

Securing your on premise data and infrastructure is equally as important as security in the cloud. We’ve put together our 6 best practices for cyber defence for your on premise infrastructure. 

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