Connectus Group, a leading connectivity, IP-voice and cyber specialist, has announced an exciting strategic partnership with Ex England and British Lions legend Phil Greening to deliver gigabit capable broadband, VOIP and Cyber Security solutions to stadia and other venues across the UK.

Having become a big supporter of Connectus, Phil Greening is working with the company in an advisory capacity, helping them to identify and refine their offer into sports stadia and wider businesses, who are looking to maximise technology to deliver business growth.

The partnership has already proved successful, with a contract recently announced with AJ Bell Stadium, the home of Gallagher Premiership rugby team Sale Sharks and Super League team, Salford City Reds.

“We are absolutely delighted to be working with Phil. I am thrilled he shares our vision for stadia and high capacity footfall venues, and that he is helping us to build on the successes we are enjoying within the stadia, airports, business parks and destination venues sector. Phil is a rugby legend, with a great deal of business and industry sector knowledge and we have become good friends over the many years we have known each other”

Connectus CEO Roy Shelton

Connectus works with its channel partners and market ambassadors to deliver products carried over the internet including voice, cloud storage and surveillance, as well as the provision of technology security management, cyber protection and information governance. 

 “Having known Roy for many years and having got to know the wider Connectus team, I feel passionate about helping them become even more successful. I have instilled in to all the teams I have worked with over the years that dedication and commitment to success is vital in achieving their aims. The Connectus team are passionate, professional and totally committed. They never fail to impress me, and I am delighted to be working with them.”

Phil Greening

With a fresh and innovative approach to technology solutions, the Connectus team and Phil Greening are now looking to speak to Stadia owners, venues and ambitious businesses across the UK, to offer a resilient IP-based service, as well as wider surveillance and cyber services.    

To find out how you can collaborate with Connectus please call 0330 440 4848 or email info@connectus.org.uk

UCentriX the cloud telephony system from Connectus can transform your business, keeping workers connected wherever they are in the world. As a businessperson on the move you need to be able to work flexibly from anywhere at any time. That’s why cloud telephony could change your life and totally transform your company. 

Its time to say goodbye to the old-fashioned business telephony equipment and embrace the new age of VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) services. More and More Savvy business travellers and organisations are cottoning on to the benefits of cloud telephony. In the UK, cloud telephony penetration already amounts to 12% and has been forecast to grow around 27% by 2022.

The market for cloud communications is moving like never-before in firms of every kind and every size – driven by the need for digital transformation. Connectus believe cloud communications are an essential building block of any viable digital strategy to enable staff to work flexibly.

UCentriX from Connectus is a best in class system which can help boost your business success and now with the added benefits of;

  1. All-inclusive call bundles
  2. Mobile app for your smart phone for seamless integration
  3. Windows desktop app with full softphone functionality
  4. AI based Call Recording
  5. Instant messaging via the app via 
  6. Enhanced Dashboard and Wallboard Reporting

The entire UCentriX System can be made available with minimum effort – regardless of the size and location of the client’s organisation. 

 “UCentriX is an important milestone in the History of Connectus.” 

We have been delivering our UCentriX platform for 5yrs now to companies large and small throughout the UK. We are now setting an example to the whole market that we have a comprehensive, robust and cost-effective unified communications as a service offering.”

Duncan Shaw, CTO

It is time to free your business communications with UCentriX, the cloud telephony system from Connectus. 

Connectus Group, the connectivity, IP-voice and cyber specialist, has announced a strategic partnership with broadband provider Wildanet to support businesses in Cornwall.

Connectus works with its channel partners to deliver products carried over the internet including voice, cloud storage and surveillance, as well as the provision of technology security management, cyber protection and information governance. 

Wildanet, the Cornwall-based ISP, is now expanding its portfolio to include Connectus products and solutions, delivering them over its own superfast broadband network that connects businesses and communities which have been left behind by the major providers. 

Unlike other network providers, Wildanet’s internet access is not restrained by copper. Its team connects communities by utilising hybrid technology to distribute superfast connectivity to businesses. 

Having initially become a user of Connectus’ VoIP technology uCentrix, the Wildanet team were keen to offer the resilient IP-based service, as well as the wider surveillance and cyber services, to its own expanding business base.

“Wildanet is a really innovative organisation which has addressed a genuine and ongoing challenge faced by a number of businesses. Access to superfast, reliable connectivity is taken for granted, but for those operating in areas without investment in fibre infrastructure, they are trying to run modern businesses for modern customers, but on legacy communication channels. 

“Wildanet’s business model and its dedication to help support businesses with next generation technology is aligned to our own and we’re delighted to be working with the team.”

Connectus CEO Roy Shelton

“Wildanet is committed to ensuring businesses in hard-to-reach areas are not at a disadvantage because of a lack of fibre infrastructure. We are delighted to be working with a partner who is as dedicated as we are to ensuring that UK-businesses, wherever they are based, do not miss out on services that can enhance and grow their businesses based on their postcode.

“Having trialled the Connectus service ourselves, we are looking forward to taking the range of services from IP voice, surveillance and cyber protection through to our customer base.”

Wildanet CEO Ian Calvert
  • Business also opens its own office in the stadium used by Sale Sharks, Salford Red Devils 
  • Five-year managed services contract to deliver series of network, telephony and Wi-Fi upgrades
  • Services to the stadium management team and business tenants will be extended to match day and large event support

Communication provider Connectus Group is to open a new office within the AJ Bell Stadium and will be delivering a series of network, telephony and Wi-Fi upgrades to the stadium management team and those organisations also operating on the site. 

The tools provided by Connectus will allow for more efficient business operations as part of a contract to provide managed services for up to five years.

The AJ Bell Stadium, built in 2010 and opened in 2011, was an equal, joint venture between Peel Land & Property and Salford City Council. Today it is home to rugby union side Sale Sharks, rugby league Salford Red Devils as well as 10 additional companies. 

Further to a range of auxiliary services, Connectus will be increasing the scope and robustness of the connectivity and VoIP services to the business tenants along with providing match day and large event support.

Connectus Group CEO, Roy Shelton, said, “Our focus on providing an end-to-end customer experience and building long-term value for our customers is of paramount importance to us, the benefits of which is clearly recognised by the team at AJ Bell Stadium. We are delighted to extend and build upon our current agreement by consolidating all other services from incumbent providers into one easily maintained managed services contract.”

Councillor David Lancaster, a Council nominated director speaking on behalf of COSCOS, said: “The stadium is delighted to be working with the Connectus team, bringing a host of opportunities to the tenants of the A J Bell Stadium through the roll out of next generation, feature-rich technology. This is also a pivotal moment for supporters and visitors of the stadium, as we enhance their experience through access to the upgraded service.”

The contract represents another stride forward for Connectus who are establishing themselves as a leading provider of next-generation business services across the north of England. 

The business, now with offices in Greater Manchester and Doncaster, provides a full spectrum of superfast, cost-effective business broadband solutions and ultrafast dedicated full fibre connectivity. In addition, they also offer cutting-edge collaboration tools and VoIP telephony, expert consultation for legal compliance, and fully-managed cyber security services.

Ends

For more information please contact Katharine McNamara at ks@konductor.co.uk or call 07966 505661.

Trends in cyber crime show that, for resellers, security provision is becoming an inevitable requirement and to find a holistic security partner is to put their best foot forward, according to Connectus Business Solutions Group CEO Roy Shelton and Chief Information Security Officer Scott Taylor.

Cyber protection is growing in demand across the world as threat levels continue to rise and the pressure for governance becomes ever greater. These threats are no longer isolated to Government departments or large corporates. All companies, including SMEs, are potential targets as they hold sensitive and valuable client and internal data.

The primary cybersecurity threats faced by SMEs are naivety and the ‘it won’t happen to me’ mentality.

Investment in preventative action is far cheaper than resolving a critical incident when it occurs. But the channel typically lacks detailed knowledge of audit and resolution.

To help plug the channel’s skills gap Connectus runs cyber masterclasses for partners and provides support in pre-sales and engagement via its managed services capabilities which, says Taylor, helps to break down false perceptions of security services.

Our sector must work hard to lose the IT stereotype image, and demonstrate that good cyber-security does not have to seriously impact business costs or manpower.

Solutions must be more business-focused and integrated into the normal range of operations rather than seen as ‘money for old rope’ or technology sold purely because of fear. When both sides work together to develop a good understanding of the reality of the risks and the simple things that can be done to mitigate them, SMEs will perceive us not so much as an unnecessary cost, but as a business partner who has their back.

In getting to this position, according to Shelton, it is important for resellers not to reinvent the wheel.

Embrace the growing number of managed services providers that have invested heavily in infrastructure, people, training and operational procedures with a channel- friendly wrap.

Look for experience rather than just certifications. Good security service providers don’t scare their partners or customers into purchasing. They partner with them to help them understand the reality of the risk and how a business needs to operate, in doing so balancing risk against benefit and impact, leading to the best possible outcome for the service user. Security is not about a technology or product. Our approach includes a blend of people, process and technology which provides a holistic and ongoing preventative solution.

Human factor

Taylor underscored the strength of the human factor in implementing security measures.

The most important element of cyber and data security is what’s between the individual’s ears and how they apply it,

Problems are seldom solved by technology alone, which can be one of the biggest issues for resellers who have a vested interest in the sale. The needs of security are ever changing with new threats and risks appearing every day. The cyber criminal does not sleep, and targets the least point of resilience which may change during the working day, week or month. So look for a partner that is prepared to invest in the relationship and work with you and your team on an ongoing basis.

The influence of technology in combating cyber threats will surely rise as the use of Artificial Intelligence and advanced data analytics comes to the fore over
time. These innovations will identify abnormalities in the standard behaviour of users and computer systems which could indicate nefarious activity.

Moving beyond data analytics, and taking into account the increasing prevalence of users wanting to use their own devices, individuals will increasingly look to take control of, and centralise, their online identity for convenience and peace of mind.

This centralised identity can then be used as the basis of their access to an employer’s systems and information and can take their context (such as time of day, geographic location etc), the type of information they require and track precisely who is doing what to what information where and when, which provides greater security for the business in terms of its information, and greater auditability in terms of proving any potential infractions of the rules.

According to Shelton, this enables businesses to deploy straightforward data access management solutions which meet the requirements of customers, suppliers, regulatory compliance, the simplified detection of potential cyber attacks and the mitigation of their impact.

Tools such as these are currently in their infancy but by working with our partners up and down the supply chain they will evolve into highly secure and robust solutions which can deliver great capabilities and a more secure world at a much lower cost than previously possible.

Making it easier for resellers to sell and provision security will require a far more modular or layered approach to service delivery and a move towards micro services being assembled or combined into customer solution suites.

It’s an incredible responsibility running a charity…

… Don’t let the threat of a cyber attack keep you awake at night!

 

With ever-increasing pressures to secure funds, drive income and support the key stakeholders in your target communities, we understand the challenges facing the not-for-profit and charitable sector.

Last year more 22% of charities were subject to cyber attacks, with damage ranging from £300 to £100,000, eating into vital funds.

As a Government-accredited organisation, we work with the National Cyber Security Centre to help educate and support organisations of all sizes prepare themselves in an increasingly criminal cyber world.

We are passionate about working with our customers to ensure their hard-earned funds are safe from harm, and efforts and energy directed towards equipping them for the future and supporting their ability to deliver against organisational objectives.

Cyber support designed with charities in mind 

We can provide your charity with the safety blanket to operate and grow confidently and compliantly.

Our products and services help revolutionise the way the charities address cyber awareness, all the while helping keep costs to an absolute minimum.

  • Reduce insurance premiums by demonstrating cyber awareness and compliance: 
    • Full ISO audit and three levels of Cyber Essentials accreditation
    • Awareness Training for all staff
    • Managed Service for Delivery of Document sets and Updates
    • Low, Medium and High Risk Data Protection Officer Provision
    • Training and accreditations to boost your knowledge, capability and reputation
  • Protect funds by mitigating risk of attack from hackers and career criminals
    • Vulnerability Assessment, Penetration, Phishing Testing and different grades of audit
    • Full range of security measures to ensure your business network has best-in-class defences
    • Software and testing to ensure your networks are aggressively fortified
    • Expertise that ensures your business compliance and security is implemented to an industry-leading standard

For every cyber package sold, Connectus donates 5% of its fee to its nominated charity

As a strategic partner of Huawei and having spent the last week with their team in China, I wanted to reflect on the role of the company in driving forward technological advancement in light of the current storm surrounding the brand.

Go back only as recently as last Christmas, and Huawei, for most people, were nothing more than a Chinese smartphone manufacturer with a small but committed user-base. And that’s just the people that’d even heard of them. Fast-forward to today and you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone that doesn’t know or have an opinion on this brooding, Far Eastern tech giant. 

Huawei gained notoriety for more than just their remarkably high-quality smart-devices back in April when information relating to a UK National Security Council meeting was leaked. The meeting had been organised to discuss the progression of 5G technology throughout the British Isles and how Huawei were to have a pivotal role in supporting with development. With Huawei being a transcontinental company struggling to contain a series of lesser known but ongoing controversies, their involvement was, at the time, stamped as ‘Confidential’. Nevertheless, the information filtered into the public domain and Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, the individual accused of the breach, was relieved of all his governmental duties.

By the time news of Williamson’s P45 had hit the media, Huawei was the brand on everyone’s lips. More though was to come. Much more.

Superpowers square up

To say that relations between the US and China have been frosty in recent years would be something of an understatement. China’s desire to break into American markets was to collide with an increasingly protectionist US administration and to the surprise of absolutely nobody, things quickly soured. Up until recently, hostilities had represented themselves as a series of retaliatory tariff applications that proved more of a nuisance to each other than anything. However, when Huawei’s involvement in the British roll-out of 5G surfaced, the US escalated matters by adding the company to a list of organisations that American firms cannot trade with unless they have a specific licence. 

Spooking the American administration was a recently enacted Chinese law stating that their organisations and businesses must “support, co-operate with and collaborate in national intelligence work”. The sanction means that Huawei could potentially be blocked from accessing Google services which would impact heavily on the functionality of their smartphones and so, inevitably, future sales.

This ramping up of diplomatic aggression has led to some describing the current impasse between the two countries as a ‘tech cold war’.

How do you solve a problem like Huawei? 

Because this is a problem that very much needs solving. Originally a manufacturer of just components to smartphones, Huawei began developing their own devices and soon acquired an almost cult following. Such has been their growth since, they are now the second largest smartphone manufacturer in the world with only Samsung pipping them to top spot. 

In short, they have a lot of customers. A lot of lives and businesses relying on their products. Huawei have claimed that this latest move by the incumbent US administration was one they’ve seen coming hence the reason they have their own downloadable app gallery, their smartphones are powered by Huawei processors, and, according to senior figures, they have developed their own operating system to roll-out as a ‘Plan B’. But still, even the most optimistic Huawei advocate will admit that there are few positives that can be gleaned from the company being shut out of the American market altogether. 

Changing the tone

Although it’s obviously not the cause of the diplomatic breakdown, the rhetoric surrounding Huawei hasn’t exactly been helpful. The casual reader could be forgiven for thinking the company is some shady government conspiracy, making cheap phones as a front for stealing state secrets. That summation though, does a great disservice to a company demonstrating some of the best practice anywhere on Earth.

Huawei employ 180,000 people of whom 80,000 work specifically within Research and Development, a proportion that dwarfs that of most other comparable companies. As well as manpower, of their $100bn annual revenue, Huawei invest 15% of it back into R&D every year. This is company that puts its money where its mouth is when it comes to invention and innovation.

The commitment Huawei demonstrate to innovation and acquisition of market share is rewarded with staunch customer loyalty. In the UK, many carriers, hundreds of ISPs and thousands of public and private sector organisations continue to use their products deemed as they are to be robust, well-supported and economical to deploy and maintain. Indeed, as proud Huawei partners ourselves, the support Connectus has received with pre-sales, technical architecture and post implementation support is better than any vendor we have done business with to date.

There’s also the fact that, by virtue of being a hot news item, controversies involving Huawei are magnified to the benefit of other tech companies whose own controversies are all but ignored. Silicon Valley heavyweight, Cisco, for example has been forced to disclose more than 10 vulnerabilities in just the last two years that included the presence of hardcoded or default credentials in a range of its products. With Huawei taking the heat off pretty much everybody else, the likes of Cisco have avoided the scrutiny these recent calamities would normally attract.

Of course, far important than a relaxing of the tone used within media coverage, is that the tone of conversations taking place around negotiating tables is similarly relaxed. Recent comments from President Trump have hinted that Huawei could be involved in a future trade agreement, acknowledging the importance of their involvement should the US wish to adopt 5G too. Amidst a cacophony of tariffs, sanctions and hostile rhetoric, it is a significant olive branch and one that, hopefully, Huawei grasp with good faith.

It is no exaggeration to say that Huawei have a vital role to play in the technological advancement of mankind. We can only hope that international relations act as a conduit to their involvement in this process, and not a barrier.

It’s not something you’d add to your CV, but cybercriminal is a career for some and it’s becoming increasingly common as cybercrime continues to rise.

To make a living from cybercrime, an individual or group must be skilled, dedicated, cunning and have NO conscience as they could potentially be taking away people’s savings, livelihood or identity.

Our team of experts at Connectus has seen a huge rise in businesses and individuals contacting us when they’ve noticed something suspicious, or unfortunately have been scammed and want to protect themselves going forward.

Most cyberattacks are influenced by money, whether they take it directly from individuals and businesses or by using blackmail techniques to make you hand over what they have asked for.

Would you hand over money to a stranger in the street?

The simple answer is NO!

There are always new means being created to scam people online, the most recent is ‘impersonator emails’ which are catching out hundreds of people weekly.

These emails are sent and look like a normal email arriving in business or individuals’ inboxes despite spam and email defences.

This new breed of deceitful email can arrive in your inbox as they are sent from genuine accounts, of non-cybercriminals, that you may even know.

The content of these malicious emails varies from ransomware to social engineering, whereby you are deceived to pass over money or data to someone that you trust.

The impersonator emails could come from someone you know because their accounts could’ve been hacked, or the owner’s private details stolen.

Cybercriminals identify personal details through social engineering or by conducting a Dictionary Attack – this is when a hacker exploits a router, domain or website, and methodically tries to login using common, previously verified and hacked personal details to match the correct password, and then seizing ownership of that user’s rights.

Another form of impersonator email is when a malicious email is disguised by using convincing graphics or a HTML trick, which makes it difficult for the receiver to identify that the sender account is fraudulent. By using well known Logos, fonts, colour schemes and branding – the email can appear genuine and trick the recipient into opening it (one simple click is all it can take) and engaging with what has been asked of them.

Sneaky and threatening

Cybercriminals are clever and so is the technology they use to trick unsuspecting people or businesses of any size.

An example of the threats that these emails contain is Ransomware, which looks just like a friendly link or download. The malicious software will begin encrypting your files to copy/steal your data and your user rights, your network may also be compromised. The only way to retrieve ownership of your data and rights is to pay a ransom. Your spam defence is more likely to catch emails with ransomware or viruses within them, however, it is less likely when coming from a genuine account, and even less if it is from within your own network.

Going Phishing

Phishing is an additional form of an impersonator email used by fraudsters to access valuable personal details such as usernames and passwords.

These details could have a monetary value to criminals and can often be used against an innocent individual often through bogus communications.

Here are a few things to look out for and what to do if you receive a phishing message:

1. Be Aware and Pro-active

When responding to emails never give your login or personal details. If you receive an email from a company that claims to be legitimate but is requesting these details, or a contact number, tell them you will call them back. Use a legitimate contact number for the organisation they may be impersonating.

Please be aware your bank will never ask for your entire pin number, online banking security code or any other personal data via email.

2. Use Your Spam Filter

If you detect a phishing email, mark the message as spam and delete it. This ensures that the message cannot reach your inbox going forward.

3. Know Your Source

Never respond to a message from an unknown source. Take care not to click any embedded links as it could take just a simple click for the impersonator to access your details.

You must protect yourself

You are one of the biggest threats to your network and data. Your anti-virus and spam software cannot block impersonator emails because they do not contain a virus.

Cybercriminals are cruel, but they are very intelligent and unfortunately, they are very hard to catch.

As cybers security experts, Connectus works with businesses to educate them about online protection, how to detect spam emails and how to stop it from spreading to others – family, friends or colleagues.

Common Indicators of Impersonator emails include:

1. Does the email concern you? If not – DELETE it, don’t go any further with it!

2. Sender’s email – is the punctuation correct?

3. No personalisation – has the sender addressed it to you and has the tone differed from how the person usually writes?

4. Random context, attachments, poor grammar and a mix of lowercase and capital letters?

5. Bulk recipients – do you know the other recipients?

6. Surprising – would the content be more appropriately delivered in person or by phone call?

7. Subject headers – unrelated to the email content.

8. Absence of graphics and branding.

Don’t spread spam!

In the unfortunate event that you receive a suspicious email DON’T CLICK ANYTHING ON IT. Send it to spam and delete it immediately. If you’re unsure, do not forward it or reply. If you know the alleged sender, contact them via phone or in person straight away, as their account may have been hacked.

Cyberattacks are the result of organised crime, stay cautious and alert when you are online, with your emails and all other data activity.

The likes of British Airways and Facebook are amongst the big names that are currently facing the consequences of not securing their customer data adequately.

Cybercriminals maliciously attacked customer data of both companies and managed to get hold of important personal details by hacking the respective websites.

Don’t fall victim to cybercriminals…

Businesses both large and small are vulnerable to attack. Contact Connectus today for an initial penetration test. Our skilled team will attempt to hack into your systems to identify any system loopholes or gaps in security configuration to be able to prevent any potential cyberattacks.

Our team can also ensure that, should your company already have experienced a cyber-attack, you and your team are prepared and know what to do to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Two northern innovators have entered into a strategic partnership as they look to roll-out internet-based surveillance to businesses across the UK.
Cheshire-based NetVu, renowned as a leading innovator in the security and surveillance market, has welcomed Yorkshire-based Connectus into its installer network, providing access to a portfolio that provides access to its multi-sensory service of data, alarms and video.
With its own full fibre network, Connectus works with businesses to deliver products that are carried over the internet including voice, cloud storage and now surveillance. In addition, the business is an expert in helping business manage technology security and risk through cyber and information governance.
The partnership between the two businesses demonstrates traditional services becoming increasingly internet-based, further highlighting the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the shift towards Video-Surveillance-as-a-Service (VSaas) – an approach that moves once bulky video surveillance off-site and into the cloud.
Roy Shelton, Managing Director of Connectus, said:
“The internet and connectivity is at the heart of the Connectus business model, providing access for a host of services suited to modern-day organisations and their business challenges. Many businesses have a requirement for surveillance services and we’ve been listening to our customers and the wider market place.
“The prospect of utilising connectivity and the internet to deliver CCTV technology and working with a global pioneer like NetVu and integrating their cyber secure Closed IP solution into our extended portfolio was an opportunity we wanted to embrace.”
Pauline Norstrom, Managing Director of NetVu, said:
“In a modern business world, a combination of super-fast connectivity and cloud-based technologies have influenced how NetVu’s products are developed and now the businesses we partner with to take them to a wider market.
“Connectus is a business with connectivity at its core, and with its existing strength in cyber security and network protection, the evolving NetVu IP product set had clear synergies with the business.
“This opportunity, as well as broadening our installer network, marks an historic moment as we specify our next generation Closed IPTV 3 cyber secure Uniplex IP NVR systems – with embedded, virtualised or fully internet based options – for the first time in the UK.”