Office 2010 coming to an end so take your device further - 16/03/2020


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Support for Office 2010 is coming to an end this October, and Windows 7 reached the end of the support cycle in January, so now is the perfect opportunity to upgrade your devices and software in one go. We recommend attaching Office Home & Business 2019 to your Windows 10 devices, so all of you are guaranteed a complete solution, with a reliable device and easy-to-use everyday apps.

Coronavirus-covid-19 Isolation - Remote Workers - 13/03/2020


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With the growing focus on preventing the spread of Coronavirus companies are preparing for employees self-isolating and working from home.

If your employees have a home computer there are several ways they can continue to work from home.

  1. Remote desktop access into a server – This is the best form of remote working as it has the highest level of security and doesn’t require the users p.c. to be left on. You may already have this is place but you should be aware that access is controlled by licenses. Once your license is reached no other user can access the system 
  2. Remote desktop access into desktop computer – This works in a similar fashion to above but requires the users p.c. to remain on in the office
  3. Remote access software – You can purchase remote access software to allow access in to your computers. This also requires your p.c. to remain on in the office.

It should be noted that having all you users working from remote access will affect your internet bandwidth and you should ensure you have adequate capacity.

If you need any assistance in preparing for remote working please contact us. We can provide solutions for just a couple of p.c.’s through to a few hundred.  We can also provide new internet connections and telephone systems.

Aston Berkeley Systems do have contingency arrangements in place to continue supporting you. If we are forced to self-isolate we will still have access to our computer and telephone systems.  You will be able to contact us by our normal telephone number 01925 751111 or email – technical@astonberkeley.com         

Should You Really Work from Home Amid the Coronavirus Outbreak?


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Major companies including Google, Coinbase, and Twitter are already telling employees to work from home as the coronavirus spreads. "Our goal is to lower the probability of the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus for us - and the world around us," reads a post from Twitter about the company's new policy, which CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted about as well.

Pre-coronavirus, nearly 70 percent of employers said they allow remote work on an ad-hoc basis and 27 percent said they allowed full-time telecommuting, according to a 2019 survey from the Society for Human Resource Management.

So, does working from home diminish your coronavirus infection risk?

That's a yes, according to M.D.s.

"The coronavirus is transmitted by coughing/sneezing in addition to touching infected surfaces," says Edo Paz, M.D., vice president of Medical for K Health. "This means that people are more likely to get infected if they are in close proximity to other people throughout the day: sharing space, desks, kitchens, and surfaces. This is especially true if you use mass transit to get to work, as this exposes you to even more people in close proximity." (Related: Everything You Need to Know About Coronavirus Transmission)

While you don't want to play into scare tactics or become a total hermit, there are real benefits to avoiding the workplace until the coronavirus outbreak is contained. "Anything where items are shared, especially things like shared landline phones, shared computer stations, can increase the risk of what's called the indirect spread of infection," says Darria Long Gillespie, M.D., emergency room physician and national spokesperson for the American College of Emergency Physicians. "Indirect spread happens when somebody coughs or sneezes on an item or on their hand, touches that item, and then somebody else comes up and touches that item, picking up the infection." (So, should you start wearing a mask? First, check out what experts have to say about whether or not N95 masks can really protect you from COVID-19.)

Okay, I'm convinced. How do I switch to working from home during the coronavirus outbreak?

For starters, your company may not have a corporate policy that comes into play for this specific situation, says Nicole Lapin, career expert and New York Times best-selling author of Rich Bitch and Boss Bitch. "So, there may be exceptions, on a case-by-case basis and dictated by news and safety of employees." It's up to you to be proactive about your health. (Speaking of being proactive, here's how to prepare for coronavirus and the threat of an outbreak.)

It's also a good idea to have an open conversation with your boss about what needs to be done in person vs. what can be done remotely, says Lapin. "Come in with a plan that dictates very clearly what can be done at home or out of the office."

Also, focus on your value to the company when you talk to your boss about working from home in light of the coronavirus. How you frame, and phrase, your ask matters. "Keep in mind, at the end of the day, these are businesses that are driven by bottom lines," says Lapin. Show your boss how your working from home is beneficial to the company and how you can be more productive. "You want to think how it's going to help the greater good, but also that you yourself are a valuable asset," she adds.

What happens once you get work-from-home status amid the coronavirus outbreak?

Be prepared for the not-so-glam side.

"There are some safeguards that should come into play," says Lapin. "For your own mental health, create a separate space away from your bedroom and living areas for working." She also recommends getting yourself ready each morning just like you're heading into the office.

"It can actually be detrimental to your mental health if you're working in pajamas all day long," she says. "Be ready to have face-to-face communication so you don't feel too isolated and have no human contact."

This is also where video conferencing tools like Skye and Zoom will likely come into play, as they help connect team members working remotely.

"I can't recommend using video in meetings enough," says Marissa Salazar, a product marketing manager for Microsoft Teams. "As a remote worker myself, I can say it goes a long way in helping me connect with my colleagues at the home office."

While Dr. Gillespie doesn't endorse drastically changing your habits, she says, "If it is easy for somebody to be able to work from home and opt to stay home, then that's not necessarily a bad idea over the coming weeks." (And if you can't work remotely, don't freak out—just be sure to know the coronavirus symptoms and the truth about the coronavirus mortality rate.)

Microsoft issues second 'final' Windows 7 update - 29/01/2020


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Microsoft has issued a fresh update for Windows 7, just days after it said it would provide no more patches for the ageing operating system.

It made the U-turn after it emerged there was a bug in its "final" patch.

It caused "wallpaper issues" for users who configured their computers with the stretch option for their background desktop, causing a plain black screen to be shown when Windows was restarted.

And users took to Reddit and Microsoft own support forums demanding a fix.

Security consultant Graham Cluley tweeted: "That didn't take long. Microsoft backs down on 'no more updates for Windows 7' in order to fix stretched wallpaper bug."

Initially, Microsoft said it would issue the new fix only to those who subscribed to its extended security updates (ESU) program.

But later it said: "We are working on a resolution and will provide an update in an upcoming release, which will be released to all customers running Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1."

Microsoft officially ended support for Windows 7 on 14 January, although ESU subscribers will continue to receive security updates.

One in four Windows users is still running Windows 7, according to measurement website StatCounter.

Security experts have advised them to upgrade their operating systems to Windows 10.

NSA finds 'extraordinarily serious security vulnerability' in Microsoft's Windows 10 - 20/01/2020


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The National Security Agency (NSA) is starting the year off on the right foot by alerting Microsoft to a flaw in its Windows 10 operating system, instead of secretly weaponizing it.

The intelligence agency discovered 'an extraordinarily serious security vulnerability' that could spoof the digital signature of software that could trick a PC into letting malware in that is posing as a legitimate application.

The bug was uncovered in NSA's own research and by disclosing this information to the tech giant, the agency believes it is putting 'computer security ahead' of its own agenda.

The NSA came under fire five years ago for weaponizing a less sever flaw found in Microsoft's technology, dubbed EternalBlue, that was said to be like 'fishing with dynamite', according to The Washington Post. 

Cybercriminals stole the hacking tools from the NSA, launching massive ransomware campaigns – one specifically was WannaCry.

This major extortion scheme hit 150 countries including the US, Britain, Russia, China, Germany and France, and affected 200,000 different companies.

Read more on here....

Sage v26.2.139.0 Update & New Issues - 17/01/2020


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The Sage 50cloud Accounts v26.2.139.0 update is now available. The hotfix should only be used if v26.0.84.0,v26.1.93.0, v26.1.96.0 v26.1.99.0 has been installed on a machine. If this isn't the case then install the new v26.2.139.0 update as a separate installation.

Your existing serial numbers and activation keys will continue to work with this release, but if you have any issues make sure you contact us

We've also identified an issue in this update that basically disabled Sage Add-ons so they don't appear in your Sage, but the icons can be placed on your desktop or anywhere else that you would like and still work. The only thing that not working is that the icons don't appear within Sage. 

So if you have any add-ons in your Sage like BatchRecorder, LocationRecorder or any other add-on. Please speak to us or your developer about the upgrade to the newer version of Sage.

Windows 7 End of Life - 14/01/2020


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The computer software was released back in 2009 so it has had a solid 10 years of fun. But from January 14 2020, support for Windows 7 will be discontinued. Microsoft says it is doing this in order to focus its investment “on supporting newer technologies and great new experiences.” 

Here’s what it means for you and the impact it could have.

Windows 7 end of life: what does it mean?

From January 14, Microsoft will discontinue support for Windows 7. This means any PCs still running the software will no longer receive security updates, software updates, or technical support for any issues. 

That means that if you call up Microsoft’s customer service team with a Windows 7 issue, the company will be unable to help you. 

If you continue to use a Windows 7 PC after the January end date, the computer will still work however it will become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. 

What should I do? 

There are two things you can do. One option is to upgrade to Windows 10. The free upgrade deal ended in July unfortunately but for the cost of £139 you can upgrade to the new software and keep your current PC. 

If you have a hard drive smaller than 32GB or a full hard drive then you might need to free up some space on your computer. An external hard drive is a useful place to store files such as photos and documents or take advantage of Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud software. In addition, the Disk Cleanup tool can free up space on your behalf. 

The second option is to buy a new PC that already uses Windows 10. Microsoft recommends this option if your computer is more than three years old as more modern devices are faster and more powerful, meaning they can handle the new software more easily. 

What impact could this have? 

There’s always a problem when people continue to use outdated tech which is no longer supported as it makes the devices more vulnerable to hacks and scams. In 2017, the global WannaCry cyber attack affected at least 80 out of 236 NHS trusts in part because they were still using Windows XP, which came out in 2001 and received its final update in 2008. 

Raj Samani, Chief Scientist and McAfee Fellow, told the Standard: "By using an unsupported operating system, users expose themselves to cybersecurity risks as Microsoft will no longer resolve security flaws found on the system, provide technical support or issue software updates. Cybercriminals can use this to their advantage by identifying any flaws in the system and potentially accessing consumer’s data and information. As seen previously during the end life of former operating systems, such as Windows XP."

Following the WannaCry attacks, the UK government signed a new agreement with Microsoft to received patches for all the NHS devices operating XP, along with rights for the NHS to use Windows 7. Many Windows 7 devices were also targeted that hadn’t received the latest security update at the time.  

In 2018, the Department of Health and Social Care pledged to spend £150 million to shore up the NHS’s cyber defences following the attack.

As of June 30 last year, just over one million NHS computers were still using Windows 7, something the then-shadow cabinet minister, Jo Platt, who was responsible for cybersecurity called “deeply concerning.” 

Whilst you probably can't control the software the NHS uses, you can ensure your tech and gadgets are protected by updating in the necessary ways. 

Windows 7 Support End of Life - 10/12/2019


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Farewell Windows 7. It was a beautiful relationship while it lasted but now it’s time to say goodbye. From January 14th 2020, Microsoft is dropping support for this much loved operating system. So, what does Windows 7 end of life mean for the regular SME? Well your pc will still continue to operate but you will no longer receive any windows updates. This will leave your pc vulnerable to security hacks and viruses/malware that emerge next year.

Aston Berkeley is recommending that all existing Sage 50 Accounts/Dynamics NAV and other Accounting software users upgrade to Windows 10 to have a secure environment in which they will be able to run the above software in. In most cases this will involve the purchase of a new pc.

Before you upgrade you will need to check whether or not your business software is compatible with Windows 10. This of course will include your accounting software e.g. Dynamics NAV or Sage 50. Sage accounts 50 v21 and higher are fully compatible with Windows 10.

If you think that you are using an older version of Sage Accounts – check in Help-About, please ring us on 01925 751 100 to discuss your upgrade options.

You may also wish to check that you have a Support Contract set up with us so that we can assist in migrating your accounting software to a new pc. We have found that clients often do not create a backup before their old pc is decommissioned. They can end up losing important data in the process. Remember, if you have support contract, help is just a phone call away

Sage 50Cloud Accounts v26 has arrived - 21/11/2019


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Time to upgrade to Sage 50 Cloud Accounts v26

We’re happy to announce that Sage 50 cloud Accounts v26 is now available.

New features in Sage 50cloud Accounts v26

If you’re using Sage 50cloud Accounts, v26 has some great new features including:

  • Construction Industry Reverse Charge (UK or NI Only)
    Changes to help you comply with the new CIS reverse charge rules coming into effect from 1 October 2019.
  • BREXIT no-deal features 
    To give you peace of mind, we’ve built in functionality which can be switched on if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
  • Improved data fixing
    It’s rare to get data errors, but if you do, it’s important to fix them quickly. We’ve added improvements to highlight when errors occur and make it easier to either fix them, or to restore your last error free backup. ​
  • MTD token storage for Accountants(UK or NI Only)
    In Sage 50cloud Accounts Client Manager you can now submit your clients’ Making Tax Digital (MTD) VAT Returns without having to continually enter their log in credentials, saving you valuable time.
  • Company selection improvements for Accountants
    When selecting a company in Sage 50cloud Accounts Client Manager, you can now see at a glance which companies are set up for MTD.
  • General maintenance improvements
    Behind the scenes improvements to keep your software healthy.

Building on features that came in Sage 50Cloud accounts v25

For More Information on Sage 50Cloud Accounts v26
Call us on 01925 751 100 Or e-mail sales@astonberkeley.com

Support for Windows 7 is ending January 14, 2020 - 22/10/2019


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Support for Windows 7 is ending January 14, 2020. Now is the time to shift.

New Windows 10 devices with 8th Gen Intel® Core™ vPro™ processors include built-in security features to help you stay one step ahead of cyber-crime.