Monday, 27 November 2017

720 million hack attempts are made every day... got your attention?

Here are a few more scary stats to set the scene…

  • Cyber-crime costs have increased annually by 21%
  • 60% of SMB’s go out of business within 6 months of suffering a cyber-attack
  • 50% of cyber security professionals reported at least one incident of malware infected firmware in 2016

Food for thought isn’t it, and yes we all know that stats can be rolled out to support almost any claim, but these are different. They only support what we already know…The cyber-attack threat is real and we all need to be aware and prepared for it.

As defences against cyber-attack have evolved and become more effective, so have the methods employed by those that perpetrate those attacks. They probe and test every facet of a system, in a top down search for weak points to exploit, cracks through which they can slip in and wreak their own particular brand of havoc. Emerging technologies like IoT, mobility, and hybrid IT environments now open new business opportunities, but they also introduce new risk. Protecting servers at the software level is no longer enough; businesses need to reach down into the physical system level to stay ahead of threats.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Can-Do Teaching

How the Microsoft Education store can help with classroom organisation

For a long time, people said rather sneeringly, ‘if you can’t do, teach’, which is perhaps one of the most ridiculous put-downs of all time. Teaching is, in our view, not only one of the most admirable and necessary of professions, but also one of the most difficult. As well as knowing your subject inside out, well enough to help other – often reluctant – people to understand it, having endless admin and compliance to handle, and needing the patience of a saint, you need to be a logistical genius. Corralling a classroom is akin to herding cats, but the teacher doesn’t just need to keep order, but to find ways to engage and foster a group dynamic which delivers the best possible learning experience and outcome.

We’re not the only ones to appreciate the work of teachers; Microsoft have been working with the profession for years, which is why they have crafted the Surface range specifically with schools in mind, and have a whole category of apps dedicated to helping teachers in the MS Education Store. And it’s these that we’ll be looking at today in our continued exploration of Microsoft’s educational tools.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Six Heads Are Better Than One

Encouraging and empowering teamwork in Education with Microsoft Collaborative Tools

When we were children, collaborating on a school project usually meant gathering around a piece of paper, pencils in hand, tongues probably sticking out of the corner of our mouths, wishing that we’d been partnered with one of the brainy kids. Someone would eventually be nominated as ‘writer’, someone else as ‘drawer’, and then the most opinionated would hold court, ordaining proceedings in the vein of a miniature dictator. Inter-school collaboration was rare and fragmented. International collaboration almost unheard of.

The developing technology of the last 20 years has brought about no end of changes to the ways in which schools operate, but few provide a more startling contrast than the means of collaboration. Continuing our run down of Microsoft’s educational offerings, today we’re looking at the ways in which our favourite manufacturer’s educational app store could help make teamwork easier in an educational environment, especially when working on a Microsoft Surface.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Nimble Storage - InfoSight Proactive Capacity Management

Business loves data. It’s probably the one constant that remains unchanged in a world otherwise replete with it, and today is different only in so much as the amount of data we regularly keep and shuffle from system to system…in fact it could be said that data has never been more important.

In our hyper connected world, where almost everything we do online is tracked, catalogued and stored to be served up at a moment’s notice, where and how that data is stored can very often mean the difference between success and failure, with the term ‘spinning wheel of death’ taking on a far more literal meaning for organisations who get this decision wrong…Speed is everything and delays are simply unacceptable.

The problem is that as you get more data, the complexity of storing and accessing g that data becomes an almost herculean task unless you choose the correct technology. So what is the right technology? In truth there is no real right or wrong answer to this question as the solutions available are outnumbered only by the applications they have been created to enable, but here are the offerings from Hewlett Packard Enterprise…

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Online sales: Friend or foe for traditional retail?

As we read that Swedish department store giant Ikea is overhauling its sales strategy to begin selling product on a number of big ecommerce websites, it seems that the dawn of the online sales invasion is no longer that. It’s a full-blown sunrise, and its rays are only set to burn brighter than ever before on the world of in-store retail and sales.

While the move comes is primarily due to a mixture of online demand and a fall in visitors to its out-of-town outlets, Ikea, as it stands, is not alone in deciding to amend its sales strategy to further incorporate online platforms. If we look past the likes of Amazon and Alibaba, which are exclusively online, every major retailer and grocer, from Tesco to John Lewis and Walmart, have to various degrees a defined online presence aiming to ease the lives of consumers across the board. It hasn’t been a speedy process, as stores have had to move beyond their age-old model of driving consumers to impulse purchases via endless lanes of products and confusing layouts, though there’s been a definitive movement regardless. 

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

It’s Not What You’ve Got but the Way That You Use it

… Making the most of Microsoft Learning Tools for Education

Have you ever stopped and properly looked at all the tools that your computer can offer you? Not just the obvious Office and web browsers, or even the games beyond Solitaire – who doesn’t like the odd sneaky game of Solitaire? – but at SketchBook and Drawboard, Maps and StickyNotes, not to mention the wealth within the MS app store. If you haven’t – and we’d be willing to bet that you haven’t – then how can you expect your customers to? And if they don’t look, how can they know what Microsoft has to offer?

We always get questions about how Surface devices fit in with education, over the next few weeks and months we’ll be looking at some of the best tools currently available for your customers, starting with MS learning tools.

Monday, 6 November 2017

The ThinkPad has been around for 25 years. Here’s some tech which, um, hasn’t.

As the Lenovo ThinkPad brand reached the ripe old age of 25, the brand has gained a reputation for reliability and high performance. With the red trackpoint button and eye-catching logo, a ThinkPad is instantly recognisable. Whether your customers are after a slim and light device, an ultra-powerful portable workstation or a versatile 2-in-1, there’s a ThinkPad for them.

To celebrate the huge 25-year milestone, we decided to reflect on some tech that, in contrast, hasn’t quite stood the test of time…

MiniDiscs and MiniDisc Players

Despite launching the same year as the ThinkPad, MiniDiscs couldn’t quite knock portable CD players off the top of the tree. When MP3 players launched, MiniDisc players were doomed.

Friday, 3 November 2017

A day at the Microsoft Surface Partner Briefing

By Sam Thrower

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of attending the Microsoft Surface Partner Briefing. A quarterly, first hand opportunity to hear from some of the key players within the Microsoft Surface team about the latest product information and the potential opportunities for the months ahead. It’s been a pretty incredible 5 years for Microsoft Surface on their device journey and from the sounds of it, this is only the beginning …

It was a great day at the Everyman Cinema in Canary Wharf and I came away feeling enlightened with lots of valuable insights into where we’re going next on this incredible Surface journey, insights which I will share with you below….

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Westcoast Bolsters Cyber Security Solutions Business with Thinkmarble


Westcoast has signed a distribution agreement with information and cyber security specialist ThinkMarble.

The distributor will offer ThinkMarble’s full range of security solutions including managed threat and vulnerability monitoring services ATLAS:, and TITAN:, and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliance consultancy services Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus.

Mark Davies Westcoast’s Cloud Services Director, said: “We can’t wait to start working with the experts at ThinkMarble and helping our partners provide their customers - enterprise or SME - with the very best in cyber security services and solutions.”

“The most important part of our role will be around enablement. We want to make sure our reseller partners fully understand the cyber security solutions they are selling as well as the value within that solution.” 

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

2018 Juniper Partner Advantage – a change for the future

The technology industry is, by its very nature, one of the fastest evolving verticals. Featuring a new, never before heard of buzzword trending on LinkedIn and elsewhere seemingly on a monthly basis; we throw the words: Wannacry, Petya and hybrid cloud (not to mention GDPR) around as though they were course slang at the pub. Such terms however are representative of the real ways in which our industry has changed the world of business forever.

Juniper Networks has a history of being thought-leading. Indeed, being a viable challenger brand means adapting and evolving to a level above the rest of the market oftentimes including the incumbent leader. Marketing slogans are meaningless on the frontline where incremental revenue is the truest test and at Westcoast we have seen demonstrations and sales of Juniper’s “Software Defined Secure Networks” take off with our Juniper sales specialists evangelising the Policy Enforcer, Security Director and Sky ATP (otherwise known as zero day threat prevention) licenses to help our customers leverage network intelligence for security enforcement. This level of innovation spreads now to the Juniper partner program.