Archive for author: James Allison

How should I prepare for a successful video meeting?
EasylifeIT Director Expert Articles Learning Centre Microsoft Teams Working from home

How Should I Prepare for a Successful Video Meeting?

How should I prepare for a successful video meeting?


FORE! A technophobe has just joined the video meeting 

Before COVID-19 drove us all indoors, I enjoyed the occasional game of golf. Golf has a somewhat stuffy reputation, with some justification. It is particularly well known for its mysterious etiquette, a set of usually unwritten rules, completely separate to the technical rules of the sport but apparently almost equally important. Players are expected to observe this etiquette or face some very severe tutting and muttering. Woe betide you if you tread on the line of another player’s putt. 

Golf is very long established game, so the etiquette has had time to evolve and become part of the game’s culture. Whatever your opinion of its principles, it certainly does create a consistent level of behaviour recognisable in clubs across the world. And much of it is well intended, for example to prevent slow play and show some respect for your fellow golfers. 

Video conferencing by contrast is a very young sport. It has recently experienced an explosion in new players thanks to COVID-19 and extensive home working. People are joining clubs such as Zoom, Teams and Skype and heading off ill prepared for 18 holes. If this were a real golf club, the impact would be quite anarchic and frightening – a load of novices turning up on the first tee with little experience, dodgy equipment and dubious technique. Balls flying in all directions, a few broken windows in the clubhouse and fury in the members’ bar as etiquette disintegrates. 

What are the benefits of hiring an IT Director?
Learning Centre Strategy and policy

What Are The Benefits of Hiring an IT Director?

What are the benefits of hiring an IT Director?

How important is IT to your company?

Consider for just a few moments the importance of computer systems to your company’s success.  Here are a few specific questions to help you weigh it up:

  • If your IT stops working, how quickly is the pain felt?
    • How quickly can you recover if things do go wrong?
  • Are you confident you are aware of relevant technological solutions which could help you be more successful?
    • Sell more?
    • Understand your customers / potential customers better?
    • Supply your goods / services more productively and cost-effectively?
  • Is technology a propeller or an anchor in your business?
    • Are you investing in the right technology?
    • Are you making the most out of the technology you have already bought?
    • Are you getting value for money from your IT spend?
  • Are you confident that your company is well protected from cyber crime?
Expert Articles Strategy and policy

The Leaver: Gone – But Too Often Forgotten

The leaver: gone – but too often forgotten

You’ve had the farewell drinks. You’ve signed the ‘Good luck’ card and wished your soon to be former colleague well in their new role.

It’s unlikely the next thing you do is tell them to keep a spare set of keys for their company car and pop back any time they like to have a spin.

No one would dream of being this lax with their physical assets when an employee leaves their company

It is astonishing how many firms are not similarly vigilant when it comes to their digital assets. For example, do you know how many of your former employees still have login details for your main corporate Wi-Fi network? If not, it is a cyber equivalent of having a pool of unauthorised key holders for the company car fleet. There could be little to prevent those past colleagues standing outside the building and having a quick surf to see what they can find. If they feel aggrieved over the circumstances of their departure, that risk may be increased.

Should I implement two factor authentication?
Cyber security and resilience Expert Articles Learning Centre

Why is Two-Factor Authentication Important?

Two-factor authentication (MFA) – little pain, big gain

The rise and rise of the cloud

The use of cloud computing continues to grow rapidly. Packages such as Microsoft Office 365 and Google G Suite are very widely used across businesses of all sizes for a multitude of purposes, including e-mail, file storage and file sharing.

Legislative requirements are also driving wider adoption of functionally specific software, including cloud accounting to meet HMRC’s ‘Making Tax Digital’ requirements. Many businesses will be familiar with well-known packages such as Xero and QuickBooks Online.

Popular, but also a target

What should be included in a business continuity plan?
EasylifeIT Director Learning Centre Strategy and policy

What Should Be Included in a Business Continuity Plan?

What should be included in a business continuity plan?


Unpalatable, but predictable

You’ll be glad to know this isn’t another Coronavirus article. Businesses have been faced with severe threats to their survival long before anyone had heard of COVID-19 – floods, fires and other localised disruptions are not new. Pandemics do remind us however that unpalatable events can and will happen.

COVID-19 is unusual in recent history because its consequences for business have been so severe and so widely felt. And it brings into sharp focus the relationship between likelihood and impact. Once in a lifetime events are, by definition, very rare. But when they do strike the pain can be relatively high. We may be less able, or perhaps less willing (sometimes with justifiable good reason), to prepare. And – yes – let’s be honest – that justification may be that reducing the risk is prohibitively expensive and we decide therefore that it is a risk worth taking.

I’m unhappy with my IT support – what should I do?
Expert Articles Strategy and policy

I’m Unhappy With My IT support. What Should I Do?

I’m unhappy with my IT support. What should I do?

In this article, I explain what to do if you outsource your IT support to a third party and things aren’t going as well as they should be.


I don’t know what to ask, let alone understand the answers!

I’ve got an admission to make – IT used to be my least favourite thing at work. It all started from the shock of being given responsibility for the IT function in a very large manufacturing plant. My politics degree hadn’t covered servers, firewalls and networks. I had managerial experience but felt very uncomfortable wearing my new hat. I didn’t know what questions to ask; I wouldn’t have understood the answers even if I did.

EasylifeIT™ Blog

EasylifeIT™ Appoints James Allison as Strategic IT Consultant

EasylifeIT™ appoints James Allison as Strategic IT Consultant From today, 3rd April, I have joined EasylifeIT™ in the new rol...

EasylifeIT™ Blog

EasylifeIT™ Recertified Under the Cyber Essentials Scheme

As of August 2018, EasylifeIT™ is recertified under the Cyber Essentials scheme; which will assure you that we as a supplier practice the IT security that we preach.

Cyber Essentials (CE) is a government-backed cyber security certification scheme that sets out a baseline of cyber security suitable for all organisations. The scheme’s five security controls can prevent “around 80% of cyber-attacks”. Developed as part of the UK’s National Cyber Security Programme and in close consultation with industry, it provides businesses with clarity on good cyber-security practice.

EasylifeIT™ Data Protection Audit
Expert Articles GDPR Strategy and policy

EasylifeIT™ Data Protection Audit

Data Protection Audit



“GDPR – thank goodness that is over! I got fed up with e-mails asking for my consent and inviting me to read privacy notices.”
Relief seems to have been a common reaction to the arrival of the UK’s third generation of data protection laws. After months of media attention and a good deal of confusion, everything seemingly went quiet.

You could be forgiven for thinking the storm had passed. Time to start the clean-up operation and cleanse the inbox of all those GDPR related messages from May you never opened. It all blew over and nothing really happened. It was just like the Millennium Bug. Not quite…

Expert Articles GDPR Strategy and policy

GDPR – Separating Fact From Fiction

The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in May 2018. Awareness amongst businesses is increasing. However, whilst some companies are well on the way to updating their processes and procedures in preparation, the majority have either yet to start or are in the very early phases.

I’m confused – is this going to prevent ‘Business As Usual’?

A key concern of many businesses is confusion surrounding the implications. As the profile of GDPR has grown, so too has a perceived level of misinformation. It is something which the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the government body which upholds data rights such as GDPR, recognises.