As the world returns to work after lockdown, businesses across the UK are going to have to build a new way to keep the economy going in order to secure continuity for the future.

And Connectus is joining the battle with the introduction of a managed service to provide real-time, non-contact measurements that can spot site visitors with elevated temperatures and help keep Covid-19 away from your workforce.

Temperature Sentinel by Connectus allows business managers to maintain a live, 24/7 overview of site visitors and identify those who may be suffering from the Covid-19 coronavirus or another illness.

Temperature Sentinel Single

A real-time, rapid-deployment, non-contact temperature measurement system for detecting site visitors with elevated temperatures. This all-in-one solution comes in a ruggedised form and would suit businesses looking to monitor a single main entrance of an office or venue.

You can see a video of some elements in action here:

Temperature Sentinel Plus

This a real-time, non-contact temperature measurement system for detecting individuals with elevated temperature in multiple high-footfall areas. This extensible solution would suit businesses looking to monitor two or more locations in a single office or venue.

You can see a video of some elements in action here:

Temperature Sentinel prices start at £13,370 to cover a single location. Lease packages are also available.

Connectus Group Chief Technology Officer Duncan Shaw said:

“In the coming months, industry and commerce across the UK will be pressed into service to adapt and thrive through creativity and smart investments. Our new Temperature Sentinal service can not only allow businesses to keep harmful viruses from entering their premises, it can also send a clear signal to employees, stakeholders, clients and partners that positive action has been taken as part of a long-term business strategy.

“Confidence is key as the country gets back to business, especially if the ‘new normal’ means a lasting change to the fundamentals of how we all manage offices, workforces and visitors.”

  • For more information about Temperature Sentinel by Connectus, contact us today.

Cybercriminals are exploiting the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic to launch potentially deadly cyberattacks on a global health industry already struggling to cope with the largest global challenge it has ever been called on to deal with.

But a growing global collective of private and public sector organisations are rising to the challenge to keep the healthcare providers operational as they battle Covid-19 and cybercriminals.

And Connectus has joined the fight with the announcement it will offer healthcare and educational providers a range of substantial support packages in order to give responders the support they need and #keepemsafe in such challenging times.

Cybercriminals are using ransomware to hold hospitals and medical services digitally hostage, preventing them from accessing vital files and systems until a ransom is paid. Interpol’s Cybercrime Threat Response team has detected a significant increase in the number of attempted ransomware attacks.

“As hospitals and medical organizations around the world are working non-stop to preserve the well-being of individuals stricken with the coronavirus, they have become targets for ruthless cybercriminals who are looking to make a profit at the expense of sick patients,” said Interpol Secretary General Jürgen Stock.

He explained:

“Locking hospitals out of their critical systems will not only delay the swift medical response required during these unprecedented times, it could directly lead to deaths. Interpol continues to stand by its member countries and provide any assistance necessary to ensure our vital healthcare systems remain untouched and the criminals targeting them held accountable.”

In the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) is already in crisis mode, says London-based international think tank Chatham House. Health professionals are focused on providing beds and ventilators in response to “one of the largest peacetime threats ever faced”.

But cybersecurity support is critical so health professionals can carry on saving lives, wrote Joyce Hakmeh, Senior Research Fellow of Chatham House’s International Security Programme and Co-Editor of the organisation’s Journal of Cyber Policy in early April.

“Yet this support is currently missing and the health services may be ill-prepared to deal with the aftermath of potential cyberattacks.”

The NHS is stretched to breaking point, says Hakmeh, and expecting it to be on top of its cybersecurity during the Covid-19 pandemic is not only unrealistic, but it could also actually add to national risks.

“Now is the time where new partnerships and support models should be emerging to support the NHS and help build its resilience. Now is the time where innovative public-private partnerships on cybersecurity should be formed. Similar to the economic package from the UK chancellor and innovative thinking on ventilator production, the government should oversee a scheme calling on the large cybersecurity capacity within the private sector to step in and assist the NHS. This support can be delivered in many different ways, but it must be mobilized swiftly.”

There are opportunities in every crisis, says Hakmeh, and the Covid-19 pandemic offers an opportunity for the UK government to show agility in how it deals with cyber threats and how it cooperates with the private sector to improve national cyber resilience.

“It is an opportunity to lead a much-needed cultural change showing cybersecurity should never be an afterthought.”

Connectus CEO Roy Shelton said:

“Building on our work with healthcare and government clients – including Clinical Skills, serving over 100 NHS trusts across the UK – Connectus are ideally placed to assist the healthcare industry with proactive cybersecurity protection.

“Our innovative approach of integrating the world’s best technologies into a single robust, scalable and cost-effective managed service which can be rapidly deployed is already generating increased levels of protection for our clients. We are offering healthcare and educational providers a range of substantial support packages in order to enhance their capabilities and #keepemsafe.”

Connectus was on hand to meet the needs of local, regional and national government during the first weeks of the UK’s Covid-19 lockdown.

Doncaster Council’s Councillor Nick Allen (above left), who represents the town’s Bessacarr ward, said:

“Engineering Manager Dave Skinner and the Connectus team helped me enormously when I needed to establish wifi access at home during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Cllr Allen joined the Connectus family of clients at the start of 2020, working from his office on the Doncaster Sheffield Airport business park. When government advice made it clear everyone should work from home wherever possible, Connectus were there to provide a 4G wifi router, which allowed him to keep up with his vitally important government work.

Cllr Allen – who also works as Senior Caseworker for Nick Fletcher, the Member of Parliament for Don Valley (above right) – explained:

“I didn’t expect to be working from home, but due to Covid-19 I had no option. Dave helped source and supply all the necessary equipment so I was up and running really quickly. 

“The installation was easy and it’s been running smoothly ever since. As I work for a busy Member of Parliament and I am also a local councillor on Doncaster Council, Dave’s assistance helped me out massively. It was such a good experience and I would recommend Connectus to anyone who needs to get onto the internet quickly.”

Connectus CEO Roy Shelton said:

“Telecommunications engineers are considered to be key workers and I remain immensely proud of our team and all other key workers around the UK who are all going beyond the call of duty now and also post Covid-19.

“At Connectus, we pride ourselves on remaining agile and working to the needs of our customers in order to mitigate cost, complexity and risk. During these uncertain times, we will react quickly and proactively to our client needs and ensure we continue to deliver a world-class service.”

Contact us today if you’d like to know more about remote working, cybersecurity and effective unified comms solutions during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

In these remarkable times of commercial and social disruption, business continuity is crucial if UK SMEs are going to pull together and help push the nation on to a post-lockdown future.

And Connectus is no different – we have reprioritised our support and engineering resources to ensure we can meet any increase in demand for our telephony, remote working and cybersecurity services.

If business is to bounce back, service providers, clients, partners and consumers are going to have to keep the wheels of industry turning while the world learns how to absorb the dramatic effects of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Connectus CEO Roy Shelton said:

“I want to assure all our customers across all our networks that we are not only continuing to provide proactive and reactive technical support and maintenance services, but we are also increasing our capacity and capabilities.

“As more clients move their workforce to home working, we are here to support them with setup, configuration and ongoing access in order to minimise disruption to business.

“We also advise customers and their staff remain extra vigilant from the increase in cybersecurity threats. We are already experiencing a significant increase in phishing scams from fraudsters claiming to be from banks, the NHS and even HMRC in an attempt to gain access to personal and financial information.

“We wanted to reiterate that point to existing and potential clients as the demand for robust, cost-effective and secure network access increases.”

Connectus Service Desk operations are not affected by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic and clients can contact us at any time using the normal channels. We have a team of qualified engineers available to assist with incidents and service requests. Clients can call us on 0330 440 4848 or login to their dedicated client portal to create a ticket for action.

In the first of a series of special podcasts, Connectus Group Chief Information Security Officer Scott Taylor and Cybersecurity Consultant Leigham Martin explain how cybercrooks have exploited the Covid-19 pandemic and what can be done to keep them at bay.

These are not normal times, but SMEs across the UK are going to have to keep business as normalised as possible if the entire economy is going to bounce back once the current pandemic has passed.

And here at Connectus, we wanted to point out some of the regular, normal services we provide that will help clients keep calm and carry on in such trying times.

These include our no-limits approach to connectivity — all Connectus clients enjoy unlimited data transfer and unlimited users making simultaneous use of the network.

Connectus CEO Roy Shelton said:

“All customers across all of our networks have been able to enjoy unlimited data consumption delivered to an unlimited number of concurrent users and we wanted to reiterate that point to our clients as the demand for robust, cost-effective and secure connectivity increases.”

And it’s also business as usual here at Connectus when it comes to support — our Service Desk operations are not affected and clients can contact us at any time using the normal channels.

Roy Shelton said:

“All of our engineers are working hard to ensure we constantly monitor and maintain our network, telephony and cybersecurity services.”

Contact us today if you’d like to know more about remote working, cybersecurity and effective unified comms solutions during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

We’ve already discussed how businesses can adapt to remote working now that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has recommended UK companies send their staff home during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

But what about employees, how should they approach this new way of working? Here we offer a few points to consider if you’ve been asked to work remotely.

If you use your own devices at home:

  • Make sure your anti-virus is turned on and is up-to-date.
  • Familiarise yourself with the rules your employer has introduced to allow you to work remotely. This may include the ability for the management to remotely delete files on your device, which can include personal content.
  • If working away from your work location, be careful which wi-fi network is being used – is it secure and trustworthy?
  • Be aware of other people around you, who may be looking over your shoulder.
  • Don’t access sensitive company information from a public place.
  • Always close your personal browser sessions before connecting new ones for work tasks.
  • Don’t copy company information onto personal devices unless you have already agreed this with your employer. Without the right approvals and permissions, this may be classed as data theft.

If you are using company devices:

  • Try to keep your children away from your work computers and devices.
  • Don’t leave company devices unlocked when you are away from them.
  • Treat them as a precious resource – they are vital for your company’s continued business viability and your own salary or income, of course.

This week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson recommended all UK companies that can send their staff home to work should do so in order to minimise the economic effects of the Covid-19 coronavirus and help restrict transmission of the virus.

So how does a company approach such a potentially jarring change to the way they do business? Here at Connectus, we have many years of creating effective distributed networks for remote teams, so we’re offering a few points to consider; contact us today if you’d like to know more about any of the issues raised.

First of all, don’t panic! Take sensible precautions with an eye on the future – Covid-19 may be an immediate challenge, but its effects will be felt for a long time to come, so poorly-planned responses could simply create additional concerns and issues further down the line.

Take this as an opportunity to rework your entire organisation’s approach to successful and secure remote working.

You will probably have already considered the most pressing immediate issue: is home working for staff actually constructive or viable for your company or organisation? Retail companies and those that rely heavily on warehouse-, factory-, or depot-based operations may find the answer is, sadly, ‘no’.

However, for office staff who work at a desk, working from home is a perfectly viable way to keep your business operational in such challenging times.

But companies and staff alike will have to fundamentally rethink their approach to what will become normal day-to-day work. And once the Covid-19 challenge has passed, many employees will push for the option to continue working remotely.

Remote working does not, however, suit all people, so few companies can expect to transform into a fully remote operation in 2020. The fact remains, however, that the office or workspace as we know it is about to change.

Some security considerations:

  • Don’t just open up your network for remote access – never allow direct remote access to files, devices or systems from the internet for anyone.
  • Always place some kind of security boundary around the office network and only allow trusted, secure connections in from the outside. This could be via a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or a zero-trust solution, which assumes every connection is through some hostile network and secures all communication.
  • If you have a VPN on your firewall, use this as it will be more robust than a solution which operates on a computer inside the network. If you are unsure, contact your IT service provider (or contact us here at Connectus to learn more).
  • If you don’t have a VPN, can you use remote access software like LogMeIn, Take Control or Team Viewer, which will allow staff to access their desktop computers on the company network without having to open a hole in the firewall? If so, do.
  • Make sure your staff understand the risks and responsibility of working away from the office; now is the time for your HR department to draw up the communications protocols and paperwork you’ll rely on for years to come.
  • Ensure you have appropriate staff contracts in place to cover data protection and legal responsibilities.
  • Your boundary with the internet will change and no longer be just your office or workplace – it will include every remote worker who can access your systems.

If you use Office365 or Google Docs:

  • Insist staff use web applications on their own devices and do no install software without clear guidance from your IT department. This will allow the business to retain control of its data.
  • Criminals are constantly on the lookout for open networks and systems – don’t make it easy for them.
  • The current situation shouldn’t lead to a technology free-for-all as this will expose your business to bad actors – be responsible and seek advice if in doubt.

If staff are taking work devices away from your premises, ensure that:

  • You have appropriate insurance cover.
  • All your protection systems remain effective when used away from your premises and regular network.
  • Your IT support can still access the devices.
  • Your staff accept responsibility for the safe usage and storage of the equipment.

Finally, also consider that if remote work becomes a long-term requirement, as an employer you will have responsibility for ensuring the adequate working conditions of staff who work from home, including suitable desks, seats and display equipment.

This will also include consideration of remote management of staff devices, improved IT management and audits to know where your organisation’s data is for compliance with the Data Protection Act.

Connectus have agreed terms on a new two-year deal with Sale Sharks following the success of their initial 12-month partnership.

Connectus is the connectivity provider at Sale’s Carrington training ground and AJ Bell Stadium home, where Connectus secured a five-year deal in 2019 to provide a high-speed fibre optical network, as well as telephony, corporate Wi-Fi and managed cybersecurity services to support the stadium management team.

As part of the renewal, which ties the two brands together until 2022, Connectus has also renewed its sponsorship of Sale Sharks’ captain Jono Ross. Twenty-nine-year-old Jono has been one of the Premiership Rugby side’s stand-out players this season and has also worked with Connectus in the local community, recently dropping in on a training session with Chester RUFC.

Mark Cueto, Commercial Director at Sale Sharks, said:

“Connectus has been a great partner over the past year and we’re really pleased they’ve decided to extend that for another two years.

“The team at Connectus have been great to work with over the past 12 months and we have worked closely with them to bring the partnership to life in different ways.

“We’re playing really well on the pitch at the moment, but the commercial partners we have behind us are integral to that success, so it’s great to have another fast-growing local company commit to a long-term partnership with us.”

Alongside its five-year contract at the AJ Bell Stadium, Connectus also committed to the Manchester area by opening an office at the stadium, where eight staff are based.

Connectus CEO Roy Shelton said:

“The past 12 months as a club sponsor have been great and it is brilliant to see the team doing so well on and off the pitch. From a business perspective, it’s fantastic for us to be able to connect through Sale’s Business Club with like-minded companies from across the region who share our passion for sport.

“We ultimately want to get our brand known and spend more time with all of our valued customers who are regular guests at the games. Sale Sharks is a great club for us to be connected to in that sense – it has wide-reaching national appeal.

“Collaboration is central to everything we do at Connectus and that’s exactly what we get from our partnership with Sale. We are very excited for the next two years and can’t wait to see what we can achieve together.”

Unified communications and cybersecurity industry leader Connectus Business Solutions has announced it has achieved total gigabit coverage of networking services provided to Doncaster Sheffield Airport’s business park.

Occupying more than half a million square feet of office, warehousing and manufacturing space, with outstanding rail, road and air links, the business park is home to over 160 businesses who now benefit from the superfast connection.

Finningley-based Connectus is an approved supplier under the UK government Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, which provides grants to businesses for the installation of the gigabit connection. Connectus has already delivered work for more than 130 Gigabit Vouchers, providing installations to SME customers.

The gigabit capability not only allows businesses to improve productivity and efficiency, it also enables them to take full advantage of emerging technologies like VoIP and new cloud applications, all with the added protection of cybersecurity managed services.

Connectus Group Business Development Director Andy Marsden said:

“Doncaster Sheffield Airport Business Park is one of the most exciting developments in the region and offers unrivalled access to the UK’s newest airport as well as the Sheffield City Region.

“The 62-acre business park has planning consent for over two million square feet of commercial space and is the perfect location for office developments, warehousing and distribution units.

“As the park continues to grow, we are ideally situated to now extend our coverage into these areas along with additional business parks across the Northern Powerhouse region.”

Connectus — which also has an office at the AJ Bell Stadium in Salford to service clients in the North West — provides full-fibre business connectivity, VoIP Telephony, cybersecurity audits and accreditations, penetration testing and data/IT governance solutions to over 250 businesses throughout the UK.

More information about the Gigabit Voucher Scheme is available at https://connectus.org.uk/bduk

Businesses can learn more about how they can collaborate with Connectus and benefit from the Gigabit Voucher Scheme by calling them on 0330 440 4848 or emailing info@connectus.org.uk

Unified communications and cybersecurity industry leader Connectus Business Solutions has announced its consultant Leigham Martin has secured the globally-recognised CREST Registered Tester certification.

Leigham is now part of an exclusive group of cybersecurity professionals and ethical hackers who can prove they are highly skilled, knowledgeable and competent when it comes to protecting businesses against cybercrime.

CREST is a not-for-profit certification body that provides internationally recognised accreditations for organisations and individuals who provide penetration testing, cyber incident response, threat intelligence and Security Operations Centre (SOC) services.

The UK-based organisation helps introduce businesses to “trusted service organisations utilising highly skilled, knowledgeable and competent individuals”.

CREST Registered Tester certification — usually known more simply as CRT — requires applicants to have at least 6,000 hours of “relevant and frequent experience” in the cybersecurity industry. Leigham, who joined Connectus in 2018, has previously attained Offensive Security Certified Professional accreditation.

Leigham said:

“It is a privilege to now hold the CREST Registered Tester certification, it has given me a great sense of achievement. The journey that both CREST and Offensive Security have provided for me on both qualifications has been fantastic, but also appropriately tough. Having both of these certifications allows me to give our clients the confidence they need when considering Connectus to take care of their security testing.”

Leigham’s role as a Connectus Cybersecurity Consultant sees him work with clients and partners to identify and assess the gaps in their IT infrastructure. He helps educate business owners about the crucial importance of information security, and to emphasise those areas most susceptible to attack.

Connectus Group Chief Information Security Officer Scott Taylor said:

“Now more than ever, cybersecurity is a huge part of IT, but there are still lots of businesses oblivious to what can happen. This is where CREST-certified professionals such as Leighan can help address that challenge by translating the technical unknowns into layman’s terms and help businesses stay safe.”

Connectus CEO Roy Shelton said:

“We are totally committed to the ongoing personal development of our team and quality outcomes for our valuable clients. We continue to enhance our capabilities to meet the growing demands we see in the market place as cybersecurity becomes more of a real threat, especially given that 32% of UK companies reported a breach in 2019. We are ideally placed to help our clients mitigate cost, complexity and risk from their businesses.”

More information about cybersecurity services offered by Connectus can be found at https://connectus.org.uk/cyber-services/cyber-security/. Businesses can learn more about the company by calling them on 0330 440 4848 or emailing info@connectus.org.uk

Salford Red Devils rugby league club has selected Connectus as its new connectivity, telephony and cybersecurity provider.

As part of the new support service, Salford-based Connectus will provide the Red Devils with ultrafast broadband connectivity, comprehensive IT support and a new, cloud-based telephony system.

Connectus and the Red Devils — both based in the AJ Bell Stadium — are also exploring a range of sponsorship opportunities to add value to the new relationship.

The Red Devils are the second rugby club to join forces with Connectus as the communications and security specialist already provides connectivity services to Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium in Salford.

Salford Red Devils director Paul King said:

“This partnership with Connectus across our IT, communications, and cybersecurity, is another example of how we have strengthened the club’s structures. Their bespoke approach will allow us to operate at a higher level and — working with one of our fellow tenants at the AJ Bell Stadium — reemphasises our status as a community club.”

He added:

“Working directly alongside each other at the Stadium has ensured our service is specifically catered to the environment and getting to know their members of staff during the process has been a pleasure. It’s important we embrace innovations as a business and remain forward-thinking in our technological approach. This partnership will help us guarantee that continues to be the case.”

Connectus Business Development Director Andy Marsden said:

“It’s very rewarding to see our expertise and experience recognised by another major sporting brand. Every day, we continue to enhance our capabilities in this area of a constantly evolving unified comms and connectivity market, so it gives us a great deal of satisfaction to welcome new clients who can make use of our unique range of services and applied technical knowledge. We’re looking forward to introducing more stadium-based brands to the ever-growing Connectus family of clients and partners.”

Connectus provides a full spectrum of superfast, cost-effective business broadband solutions and ultrafast dedicated full-fibre connectivity. In addition, the company also offers cutting-edge collaboration tools and VoIP telephony, expert consultation for legal compliance, and managed cybersecurity services.