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How penetration testing can keep you ahead of hackers

This year up to 40% of UK business will experience a data breach or cybersecurity attack.

IBM Security estimated the UK experienced a 20% increase in the average cost of data breaches last year. It was the largest increase in nearly a decade and highlights the constantly evolving cybersecurity threat.

In the last few years working patterns have shifted dramatically towards an increased reliance on technology and online services. It has expanded the threat landscape and allowed hackers to identify new weaknesses within cyber defences.  

It is now more important then ever to take control of your infrastructure, put your security to the test and protect your business.

At OX IT Solutions, we work in close partnership with Mitigate Cyber to provide IT solutions that help you test, monitor and certify your security to keep you ahead of the hackers.

The Threat Landscape

The threat landscape is constantly evolving so having effective and hardworking security systems in place is crucial.

It is no longer just big businesses that are the target of an attack – small business are being successfully hacked every 19 seconds.

Since the introduction of remote working, cyber criminals have found new ways to capitalise on our reliance for personal devices and lack of endpoint security. Running regular penetration tests can help you identify, manage and mitigate against these vulnerabilities.

What is penetration testing?

Penetration testing is a controlled exercise where ethical hackers test the security of an IT infrastructure by using all the tools and tricks of real-world hackers. Tests can be performed on virtually anything that connects to the internet. ‘White-hat’ hackers look to identify and secure existing vulnerabilities before cyber criminals find them.

Penetration testing is used to develop an understanding of what software and hardware a customer might require to strengthen their security. Once your weaknesses have been identified, you will be offered remediation advice and guidance on how to minimise your security shortcomings.

Routine testing should also be considered a fundamental component of your risk management strategy and is a requirement of many security standards.

The benefits

With more than 10,000 high-severity vulnerabilities found in UK businesses each year, it is now more crucial than ever to ensure you are effectively mitigating your organisational risk level.

Performing periodic penetration tests will help your business:

  • Identify all known weakness in your systems from a digital and physical perspective
  • Protect your sensitive internal data and your clients’ data
  • Ensure you remain compliant with security standards such as ISO27001 and PCI DSS

Is it for me?

This service is not just for large businesses, financial institutions or government departments – if a cybercriminal can exploit your security weaknesses, they will.

Testing and identifying your current security can help you gain a clear understanding on your position in the cyber threat landscape.

Even if you do have the latest security solutions in place, without testing your infrastructure you can’t be certain there are no vulnerabilities that can be exploited. A penetration test provides you with proof that your security systems are effective.

Mitihack

With so many types of penetration tests available, it is important that you select the right scope and type of test to fit your businesses requirements.

We work with industry leading trusted partners, so you know you are getting the best service possible. Our expert technical team are always on hand to guide you through every step of the process and can advise what will work best for you.

Working closely with Mitigate Cyber, we can uncover all your security weaknesses to proactively prevent real world threats. Mitihack, its penetration testing service, can give you peace of mind that your security is working as hard as you are.

To receive all our latest updates follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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Climbing the IT career ladder, with Account Manager Rahul Masih

Supporting colleagues to develop their IT skills via on-going professional training is an integral part of life at OX IT Solutions.

Rahul Masih joined our team in November 2020 with ambitions to develop his knowledge and understanding of our networking, infrastructure and cyber security solutions.

After nine successful months of intensive training while working as our Business Development Executive, we were delighted to promote Rahul to Account Manager. He is now responsible for accounts in local government, corporate, education and charity.

We spoke to Rahul to learn more about his career development at OX IT Solutions and how he found switching roles within a year.

Professional development

Delivering the right IT solutions for their business requires deep technical industry expertise combined with strong partnerships with top tier vendors.

Rahul started at OX IT Solutions as a Business Development Executive, based on a successful career in sales across property, retail and automobiles. But he also had a good understanding of technology, including hardware and software and wanted to progress a career in IT support.

“I’ve always been sales driven, and I’m a technology advocate too,” said Rahul. “I like to own the latest technology and had experience working with hardware and software solutions, so OX IT Solutions looked like a great fit.

“I was keen to take my career to the next level, and OX IT Solutions helped me achieve that via training and support.”

Tailored training

Continued professional development and bespoke training ensures our team enjoy career progression and are always able to advise our clients on the latest threats, solutions and opportunities.

Rahul flourished via our bespoke training programme and was able to develop into his new role.

“My training was second to none,” said Rahul. “I found my feet and the support I received from my colleagues meant I was able to progress to account manager really quickly.

“I learnt how to respond to specific enquiries, what questions need to be asked and how to communicate effectively on the phone. My training was tailored to my own requirements.

“When I joined the company, I already had a good understanding of IT, so we didn’t seek training externally. I couldn’t have asked for more support from my colleagues.”

IT support

As account manager, Rahul is now responsible for all areas of IT support including remote assistance, maintenance, cyber security, hardware solutions and product advice.

He works closely with clients including the Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, and South Yorkshire Pensions Authority. His day-to-day tasks include communicating with customers to understand how our products and services can contribute towards the smooth operation of each business.

“We’ll start making calls or sending emails to customers from 9am,” said Rahul. “Because we work in all areas of IT, we can assist any business with their IT requirements.

“It’s important we define who we are, what we do and what we’re capable of to our existing customers and those considering working with us.  

“We need to be proactive as well, which was a key area of my training. To inform businesses we can supply everything connected to IT is very powerful. Our service makes life easy, and we can break the language down to simplify messaging in complicated areas.”

Team spirit

So, what was Rahul’s personal experience of working with OX IT Solutions in the past two years amid a global pandemic?

He said: “I’ve had several jobs and worked with people of all backgrounds. But OX IT Solutions has been a fantastic company to work for.

“We have a great team and a professional approach to work, training and having a healthy work-life balance. I feel I’ve grown as a person since starting here too.

“The team is supportive, understanding and committed to helping their colleagues and clients, which all contributes towards a positive atmosphere.”

READ MORE: How to respond to the constant threat of cyberattacks

Join our team

We are expanding and are always interested in hearing from great people who are passionate about IT.

To see our current vacancies, or to get in touch please visit here.

To receive all our latest updates follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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Blue padlocks on a white background representing cybersecurity

How to respond to the constant threat of cyberattacks

The threat of cyberattacks and data theft in the UK is real – with 39% of businesses reporting a cybersecurity breach in the last 12 months.

Attackers do not discriminate. They target organisations of all sizes, including schools and charities, with the average breach costing a business more than £8,400. At OX IT Solutions we provide market leading cyber security protection to help our clients combat against such threats. This involves a full security review by one of our technicians to provide the right advice on software and cloud managed services to help protect you 24/7.

Cyber risk

The Government’s most recent Cyber Security Breaches Report stated cyber risk to organisations has been heightened because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Remote working presented an opportunity to hackers as digital environments are harder to secure. Cameron ensures our customers are always on top of incoming threats by providing the best software solutions and advice.

Jon Townsend, Technical Manager at OX IT Solutions said: “The threat of cyberattacks against organisations is constant, and monitoring attempts to access or damage network systems has never been more important.

“Successful breaches not only harm safety but can also be damaging to reputation. Our team is here to protect against this issue via our Cloud Managed Service and expert advice and support.”

Acronis Gold Partner

Amongst many other accreditations, OX IT Solutions are a Gold Partner for Cloud Managed Service Provider Acronis.

The Gold Partner status recognises our expertise, advisory service and commitment to providing next generation cybersecurity support, anti-ransomware and back-up protection

Jon added: “We’re here to supply IT products and services to UK-based companies which require an extension to their already busy IT departments.

“Our team is capable of designing, implementing and maintaining network and security solutions, making OX IT Solutions a one-stop-shop for all IT queries which is very powerful. An important part of my role is keeping an in-depth knowledge of our products and identifying which services will benefit our customers the most.”

Penetration testing

A common way to test the effectiveness of your network’s protection is to see if a member of our team can hack into your system, as part of our security review.

This process where ‘ethical hackers’ look to break through your security barriers is called penetration testing. Penetration testing is used to develop an understanding of what software and hardware a customer might require to strengthen their security.

It comes after the National Cyber Security Council warned of a sharp rise in ransomware attacks on schools, colleges and universities since February.

“The education sector is always under the radar of cyber attackers,” said Jon. “We’ll run through all the key questions before onboarding a customer, so we know what their requirements are.

“Penetration testing is an area we find a lot of organisations can invest more in. Understanding your own vulnerabilities makes it easier for us to identify how we can strengthen your company’s overall protection.”

Join our team today!

OX IT Solutions is looking for bright, customer-focused, and friendly people to join our team in the battle against cyberattacks.

We’re currently recruiting for a Business Development Lead Generator, an Account Manager to join our team. Further information about each vacancy is available by clicking here.

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Mobile devices, tablets and laptops surrounded by padlocks representing network security

Why security is the most important IT consideration for your hybrid workforce

Cybersecurity is fundamentally the most important consideration for any hybrid workforce.

Threats of a cyber-attack are real and constant and hackers and cyber attackers do not discriminate when it comes to their victims. Businesses and charities do not think twice about protecting devices in the office from cyber-attacks and viruses and the same rigour needs to be applied to those working remotely.

The issue of protecting remote workers’ devices has been critical since the pandemic sparked one of the most significant changes to work patterns in decades. Since the initial ‘work from home’ orders we have since seen a huge shift in the UK to hybrid working. In fact, of those who currently still work from home, 85% said they wanted a hybrid approach in the future.

This new working model means organisations need to adopt a fresh approach to cybersecurity to ensure data is fully protected across a fragmented workforce, no matter where people are working from.

Endpoint security – The first line of defence

In a world where data is often a business’s greatest asset, every unprotected endpoint is a potential area of weakness. Cyber security threats, and more specifically end point threats, are always advancing.

Endpoint security becomes vital when employees start using their own devices to connect to a company’s network. Whether your company has 10 employees or 10,000 endpoint security is the best way to ensure all your desktops, laptops and mobiles cannot be targeted.

Accessing unsecured Wi-Fi networks can pose a significant security risk so a VPN is invaluable. Web filtering, firewalls and email security are also key to keeping your business secure. Internet-based threats are becoming so advanced that you can no-longer rely on perimeter web control alone.

Luckily, we know how to stop the attacks before they even reach your inbox. At OX IT Solutions our go to provider of endpoint security is Watchguard, so much so we use its products in-house.

We offer a wide range of industry-leading network and endpoint security, secure Wi-Fi, multi-factor authentication, and network intelligence products and services. Our expert technical team and strong vendor partnerships ensure we provide cutting-edge cybersecurity technology that is easy-to-deploy and manage to ensure you’re always covered.

Mobile security – More important than you might think

Now more than ever individuals are using their smart phones to contact clients, send emails and access company data. In a hybrid working environment, it’s vital we can do all these things whilst on the go.

Protection for smartphones should be paramount as phishing and virus attacks are more prevalent than ever.In real time, mobile security solutions can scan and block anti spyware and anti-malware. Device and data encryption can protect your private information and effective backup services make recovery simple.

When choosing a mobile security solution, uninterrupted user experience is key. Security should not come at the expense of utility. At OX IT Solutions we understand the importance of this, so we only offer mobile security products that integrate seamlessly with your device.

Cloud based solutions – managing security for you

If part of your workforce is based at home full time getting access to their software can be difficult. Luckily there is a simple solution. A managed service can access the software for you, report on issues or security breaches and resolve any problems quickly.

Businesses with small IT departments or a lack of infrastructure particularly suit cloud-based solutions as they benefit from the economies of scale and efficiency. 24/7 monitoring provides you with real time updates and enables you to take a proactive approach to threat. Permission can be revoked at any time so concerns over confidentiality or data privacy are not necessary.

At OX IT Solutions we can recommend cloud service providers (CSP) that offer network services, infrastructure, or business applications in the cloud. Speak to one of our friendly tech team to find out how managed service can work for you.

READ MORE: Personal Development with OX IT Solutions

Cyber security review – identify and eliminate your weaknesses

Secure your business today and book a remote cyber security review to help identify any weak spots in your cyber defences. We can assess your existing security protocols and advise you on what strategies and solutions to implement to keep your workforce protected no matter where they are.

To receive all our latest updates follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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OX IT Solutions team photo in the office.

OX IT Solutions celebrates five-year anniversary

OX IT Solutions is celebrating our five-year anniversary – with ambitious growth plans that will create more jobs in the region.

Our team has built a strong reputation for providing networking, infrastructure and cyber security solutions to organisations nationally and are experts in systems, hardware and software and wireless solutions. This makes our service a perfect “one stop shop for IT.”

With our HQ in Oxford we work with major blue-chip companies across the UK, plus NHS trusts, local authorities and SMEs. Our clients include the Royal College of Nursing, NW London NHS Trust and Molton Brown.

Chris Cope, OX IT Solutions director, said: “We are proud to have reached this milestone and our thanks go to all of our clients and vendors and our fantastic team, past and present, who have made us the company we are. The key to our success has been building a team of talented people who are great at what they do and really care for our clients.

“The IT industry is very fast moving, and we always have to stay on top of trends and best practice to make sure we keep delivering. When we launched, cyber security was a big focus and it remains an important issue. But recently there has been major demand to support remote working.

“We have helped a lot of large organisations to switch to remote and hybrid working seamlessly in the past two years. Cloud based software has transformed how businesses can operate and technology has the power to make them very efficient operationally.”

OX IT Solutions was founded with a vision to combine providing a comprehensive service with customer care at its core.

“Everyone is treated as a person, rather than a number,” said Chris. “We predominantly deliver a technical service, but behind every bit of kit is a person, whether it is a customer, a supplier, or a colleague. Providing expert advice and making sure our clients are looked after has been key.

“We’ve found organisations value having an IT company that can handle all of their needs. So, we have built a significant team with a good mix of areas of expertise including IT professionals and technicians. We’ve maintained our founding principles and now have a nationwide business that retains the personal touch.”

With technology constantly evolving five years is a long time in IT and the team has witnessed a lot of advancements in the industry.

“The speed and agility of IT systems has helped make businesses so much stronger,” Chris continued. “From remote networks to cloud-based storage solutions and project management platforms constantly improving, software and hardware means we can continue to help our clients be more efficient and productive.

“Having partnerships with vendors keeps us at the forefront of the market, which is critical for cyber security. Hackers are incredibly sophisticated and brazen and recently there has been a shift from attacking conglomerates and multi-nationals to targeting SMEs, because they are easier to hack. This means every business, big or small needs to have robust protection and back-up in place.”

A full list of our vendor partners we work closely with can be found here.

With demand increasing across the UK for OX IT Solutions services it is excited about the future.

Chris added: “We’re fortunate that IT is a business-critical service and major organisations appreciate our service. Our team is at the heart of our growth and we will continue to invest in our people and culture.”

To receive all our latest updates follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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henry loch photo

Personal development with OX IT Solutions

Henry Loch is fast-tracking his IT ambitions with OX IT Solutions after making a career change, thanks to effective on-going professional training.

After leaving the hospitality industry in 2020 Henry has flourished at OX IT Solutions. Our in-house training and support have enabled Henry to successfully switch from six years in customer service in hospitality to the IT sector.

He joined us in November 2020 as a business development manager before progressing into an IT technician role, following the successful completion of his training. Henry now supports clients with hardware and software assistance and diagnosis as part of our technical team.

Henry is one of many UK workers moving sectors. According to a study by Aviva the impact of the pandemic has promoted 60% to plan a change of profession. In our latest blog we talk to Henry about his IT journey so far.

Occupation change

Raised in Pembrokeshire, Henry moved to Oxfordshire after graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in philosophy to explore the region’s job opportunities. He worked as a general manager in pubs and restaurants before deciding to pursue his passion for IT with OX IT Solutions.

His career progression continued, and he was offered the opportunity to upskill within our technical team. Henry splits his time between supporting customers and training to provide him with the skills and experience to become a full-time IT technician.

Working in the technical department really interested me,” said Henry. “It was an area I had no previous experience working in, but I knew I had the drive and passion to develop my knowledge.  

“OX IT Solutions understood this and transferred me from my previous role into the technical team. It’s been a great move for me, and each day I’m learning new skills to deliver tangible results for my colleagues and our customers.

On-the-job training

By day, Henry is responsible for solving hardware and software issues our customers may experience and providing immediate support.

This includes installing, troubleshooting and maintaining high level security solutions, fixing broken hardware such as laptops and printers and assisting with cloud-based storage, backup and archiving requirements.

To deliver results to the highest standards, Henry was enrolled onto two industry recognised courses which are providing him with the knowledge and understanding required to deliver results quickly and effectively.

He added: “I started my role in the technical team with no previous experience, but the support of my colleagues has granted me the freedom and platforms needed to explore and develop.

“Through my average week, half of my time is dedicated to training. I’m so grateful for the investment and support of OX IT Solutions to upskilling me and helping me develop.”

Career development  

Henry is one of several new members of the team at OX IT Solutions who changed careers to join us.

He explained how the company’s commitment to personal development ensures everyone can work and achieve their full potential.

There are many transferable skills from a range of jobs which can be applied to the IT sector,” said Henry. “OX IT Solutions understand this and are willing to invest their time into the development of staff.  

“It not only makes it a great place to work, but a great place to develop too. As more people shift to hybrid working, IT support has never been of greater value to employers.

“We’re here to provide around the clock support and expert advice to businesses of all sizes.”

Cyber security

So, what does the future hold for Henry?

After completing his technical training, the 28-year-old would like to join our cyber security specialists who work to protect customers from data theft and cyber-attacks.

OX IT Solutions have opened a development pathway for me to learn new skills and broaden my knowledge of our IT services,” said Henry. “Threat hunting by searching for undetected cyber threats within a network is something that interests me and is becoming a valuable service to our customer base.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time with the team so far and look forward to the challenges ahead.

Start your IT journey today

We are continually expanding our team at OX IT Solutions and are interested in hearing from bright, friendly, customer-focused individuals with a passion for IT.

We are currently recruiting for:

  • Business Development Lead Generator
  • Account Manager

If you’re interested in learning more about the above roles, click here to view our full job descriptions and to apply.

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ox gym photo

Workplace Gym for OX IT

At OX IT, when our staff began returning to the office, we wanted their opinions on what they most liked about home working, and it turned out they’re a healthy bunch!

One of the many views mentioned was the ability to go to their local gym in the mornings and lunchtimes without it eating into their evenings, so we obliged!

Further Office acquisitions at OX IT’s Kidlington HQ to cater for our growing team enabled us to save a bit of extra space and provide this brand-new state of the art Gym equipment from Mark Bowker at Bowker Leisure Ltd T/A Total Gym Solutions (www.totalgymsolutions.co.uk).

Read more about improving mental health and the benefits of a corporate gym below!

The benefits of a gym in the workplace

Exercise helps improve mental health. Fact. Exercising up to three times a week can reduce the risk of depression by 20%.

Having a gym in the workplace means that employees can exercise regularly and have the ‘headspace’ to burn off stress and tension.

And, not only does it reduce anxiety, but regular exercise improves sleep, increases clarity of thought and boosts self-esteem, thereby leading to an overall improvement in mood and resilience.

Here are some reasons why we choose to pay our employees to exercise at work:

  • Social Connections.
  • Stress Relief.
  • Heart Health.
  • More Energy.
  • Weight Management.
  • Productivity.
  • Disease Prevention.
  • Improved Immune System.

https://info.totalwellnesshealth.com/blog/5-reasons-why-a-workplace-gym-is-a-good-idea 

Mental health in the workplace

World mental Health Day 10th October
https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-mental-health-day

National Stress Awareness Day 3rd November
https://mentalhealth-uk.org/get-involved/mental-health-awareness-days/

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vacancies at ox it

Vacancies

OX IT Solutions are expanding and we are looking for like minded candidates to join our growing team.

We are looking for Business Development Lead Generators and Account Managers to join our buzzing sales team.

Ideally we're looking for someone with an IT background. You'll enjoy working in a fast-paced and vibrant office environment.

Please visit our website for more details and how to apply.

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Fundraising for Freddie's Future

Fundraising for Freddie’s Future

A local hero called Freddie was unfortunately diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer in November 2019 at the age of 6. It's called Ewing's Sarcoma and is an aggressive cancer that creates tumours in the bone and soft tissue that can spread to anywhere in the body, very quickly. Freddie has faced 8 months of chemo, countless blood transfusions, platelet transfusions, blood boosting injections, radiotherapy and side effects. Freddie has been an awesome fighter and is a huge inspiration to so many Freddie Fans.

Freddie's heroic journey inspired Stuart to run the London Marathon 2021, to raise money for the development of more treatment and immunotherapy to allow children like Freddie to have a chance at fighting this awful disease.

We have donated two iPad minis for the raffle to help raise money for Freddie's future.

The event is taking place on 4th September 2021 at the Elephant & Castle in Bloxham.

To make a donation and read more about Freddie, the hero behind this event please follow this link:

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