News

2017 August

Week Ending: August 18th - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

With the third weekend of August just in sight, we’re counting down the time to the bank holiday.

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But while we’re all hard at work, let's take a look at some of the stories in I.T. & Tech, making the headlines this week.

Broadband speeds in the UK are 31st in the World

A recent study by Cable ranked the UKs average broadband speed at 16.51 Mbps, placing it as the 31st fastest speeds in the world.

That puts the UK lower than 30 other countries, with Singapore taking the crown as the fastest, with an average of 55.13 Mbps.

In the UK, superfast broadband works typically on a fibre to the cabinet system. That is, fibre optic cables are used up to the green cabinet on the street, but the final leg to a home or office will be done down traditional copper cable. This works well if you’re situated close to a green street cabinet, but the further away from one you get the slower your final speed.

The more traditional (and cheaper option) is to utilise the copper twisted pair phone cable all the way from the exchange, increasing your distance to high speed internet even more.

It seems clear that further investment into infrastructure in the UK is important, but for a lot of users it might be that we only have ourselves to blame. 93% of people in the UK have the option to take up superfast broadband, but many just haven’t taken the option.

Thousands of apps on the Google Play store contain spyware

Mobile security company Lookout have found that more than 1000 aps in the Google Play store, used by Android devices, contain a new spyware family called ‘Sonic Spy’. This software has the ability to turn on microphones; take photos with the camera; make outbound calls and much more.

The spyware seems to originate from one account linked to an Iraqi developer, with the most recent example ‘Soniac’ functioning as a messenger application based on a customised version of the Telegram app.

Google Play store vets new applications through automated scanning techniques such as sandboxing, however, with millions of apps on the store, it can be very difficult to differentiate between legitimate apps that require access to things such as the camera, and malicious ones.

If you suspect you have been the victim of spyware or want a health check get in touch here.

Using DNA to infect a computer with Malware

Researchers at the University of Washington have found a way to infect computers with Malware using synthesized DNA.

The attack exploits the way DNA testing computers analyse samples. Many DNA analysing software is open source, written in vulnerable languages like C or C++, which without careful writing can have serious security vulnerabilities.

Researchers created a synthetic DNA sample, which when sequenced by the software took advantage of these vulnerabilities granting access to the hacker.

Keep up with the latest I.T. and tech news, cybersecurity, best practice and a whole host of other topics and follow us across four channels on social media.

2017 August

Week Ending: August 11th - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

As the second weekend in August approaches, and the whole world is talking about the latest Game of Thrones episode, it feels like the words “Winter is Here” are very relatable at the moment.

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Miserable weather aside, the Game of Thrones references are far from over in this week’s roundup. Let’s take a look at HBO’s cyber-battle alongside some of the biggest stories in I.T. & Tech, making the headlines this week.

Firms facing fines

Firms could be facing fines of up to £17m or 4% of global turnover if they fail to implement an effective strategy to combat cybercrime.

Minister for Digital, Matt Hancock said the sanctions would be a last resort and that they would not apply to any firms who had attempted to put safeguards in place.

The move is to ensure that essential services such as energy, water, transport and health firms are safeguarded against hacking attempts.

It would seem that this is a backlash from the NHS WannaCry attack, and it is going to have serious repercussions for businesses.

If you are concerned about your business security and want to talk about your options, follow this link here to start a conversation.

HBO held to ransom over GOT

It appears white walkers and the enemy to the north isn’t the only threat that needs combatting in Game of Thrones.

Hackers who have previously leaked GOT scripts and other data taken from HBO, are now demanding a ransom payment to prevent future leaks.

The group claim to have stolen 1.5TB of data in total, however HBO are holding firm as they don’t believe there to be any substance to the threats.

The rumours are that the data includes: scripts, legal information and even personal details of actors involved in the show.

It will be interesting to see who wins the latest epic battle, HBO or the hackers.

Big changes on the horizon for UK data protection

You may have heard the term GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) banded about in the news recently, and are wondering what it is and what it means for you.

To put it simply it’s a piece of EU legislation that is due to be enshrined into UK law. The new laws will change the way companies can obtain and store our personal data, and will give us more control over information held about us, as well as information we have posted.

Some of the main changes outlined in the proposals include:

  • Making it easier to withdraw consent on the usage of your personal data
  • Allowing people to delete data held on them – significantly data posted as a child
  • Expanding personal data to include IP addresses, DNA and cookies.

As a result of the new laws, firms who choose not to follow the rules will be hit with hefty fines levied by the UK’s data protection watchdog.

Stay tuned for a more detailed blog post on GDPR and how it might affect you from Claritas.

If this week’s roundup simply isn’t enough, you can follow us across four channels on social media to keep up with the latest I.T. and tech news, cybersecurity, best practice and a whole host of other topics.

2017 August

Week Ending: August 4th - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

The first week of August usually signals a mass departure from the UK to climates ideally warmer than ours. The schools are off and many Brits have their sights set on the swimming pool and the barbecue.

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Need a conversation starter for your excursions this weekend? Don’t worry tech-minded folk, we’ve got you covered. Our weekly roundup will ensure you have all the latest techie conversation topics for those upcoming social events. We can give you the content, the rest is down to you.

UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd believes ‘real people’ don’t need end-to-end encryption

The encryption debate rages on! This week Amber Rudd has stated that “real people” don’t need end-to-end encryption and that tech companies should work with authorities to deal with its threat to national security. In a Telegraph piece from Tuesday, Amber Rudd claimed that encryption is “severely limiting agencies’ ability to stop terrorists”.

Privacy activists have called her out on the remarks, as they believe them to be misleading. Many have questioned whether Rudd fully understands what breaking end-to-end encryption would mean on a larger scale.

Part of the argument Rudd put forward in her article was that users do not use things such as WhatsApp for security but because they’re a simple and cheap way to connect with friends.

Jim Killock, executive director of UK digital liberties group Open Rights Group, commented: "The suggestion that real people do not care about the security of their communications is dangerous and misleading. Some people want privacy from corporations, abusive partners or employers. Others may be worried about confidential information, or be working in countries with a record of human rights abuses. It is not the Home Secretary's place to tell the public that they do not need end-to-end encryption."

There’s still a few rounds left in this fight yet.

UK SMEs are simply not spending on cyber security

We thought businesses of all sizes were learning their lessons on cybersecurity, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. A recent report found that almost 50% of UK small to medium enterprises plan to spend £1,000 or less on cybersecurity in the next year and 22% do not know how much they will spend at all.

The stats are quite alarming, particularly looking at them from an I.T. solutions company perspective fully aware of the persistent and dangerous threats. If you’re an SME it really is time to get educated have a plan.

We’re always free for a chat.

Facebook reportedly shut down AI bots as they create their own language

Facebook scientists have been working with artificial intelligence teaching robots to negotiate as part of a game system with the aim of improving their results within the game.

Perhaps slightly worryingly, it has been reported that the AI robots needed to be switched off after developing their own language in order to improve performance, a language that humans could not understand. It sounds like the stuff of nightmares or a Hollywood blockbuster, however it may not be all that worrying (at least at this stage).

Professor Zoubin Gharamani, (an artificial intelligence specialist at the University of Cambridge) spoke to the BBC's Rob Young and explained in simple terms the experiment. You can listen to their short interview here and hopefully be more at ease.

If this week’s roundup simply isn’t enough, you can follow us across four channels on social media to keep up with the latest I.T. and tech news, cybersecurity, best practice and a whole host of other topics.

2017 August

Claritas Awarded Cyber Essentials Plus Accreditation

After being awarded the Cyber Essentials accreditation earlier this year, Claritas Solutions is proud to say it has received the higher Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation.

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The Cyber Essentials Scheme is part of the UK Government’s National Cyber Security Strategy and accreditation demonstrates commitment to information security, providing assurance to clients and partners.

To obtain the Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation, five key controls were required: secure configuration; boundary firewalls and internet gateways; access control; patch management and malware protection.

Glenn Scaife, Managing Director, Claritas Solutions Ltd:

“Having passed the Cyber Essentials self-assessment, we were keen to further demonstrate our commitment to our customers’ data security and confidentiality through obtaining the more stringent Cyber Essentials Plus. Protecting our customers against the threat of cyber-attack is at the core of what we do and the Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation demonstrates how serious we are about tackling cybercrime.”

Claritas Solutions has 20 years’ experience in designing robust I.T. security solutions. Claritas offers independent security solutions in partnership with the market leaders in data security. We also design software that embraces security from the ground up. Other services that Claritas offers include Hosting, I.T. Outsourcing and Support.

With cybercrime being such a huge topic this year it’s important that companies are prepared and aware of the very real threat to their business. Downtime due to cyberattacks can be catastrophic for some therefore Claritas prides itself on being a ‘go to’ source for I.T. security needs.

2017 July

Week Ending: July 28th - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

As another week ends here at Claritas HQ and as we move closer to August, we’ve identified some of the biggest talking points online from the week. Over the coming paragraphs we’ll share these with you and come the end of our roundup you’ll be able to impart some weekly wisdom to your friends and colleagues. Sound good?

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Here’s what’s happening in I.T. and Tech.

Rehab for cybercriminals

Cyberattacks are not something to be taken lightly and The National Crime Agency is now looking at ways to rehabilitate young hackers responsible for cybercrime.

This month, teenagers have attended the first weekend camp in Bristol which aims to discourage them from committing any illegal online activity. If the trial proves successful, we could see a full-scale rehab programme implemented in the UK in the near future.

This month’s trial consisted of just seven attendees but the BBC confirmed that hundreds of potential young cybercriminals have been contacted by the NCA with warnings about their activity. Those who have meddled with servers, defaced websites and taken over restricted networks will be the target of the cybercrime rehab.

Will it work? Only time will tell.

UK Gov’s £20m cybersecurity programme

Another youth-led campaign showing that the UK is taking cybercrime very seriously; students aged 14-18 are being encouraged by the UK Government to enrol in a new £20m Cyber Schools Programme.

Created by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) the four-year programme is aiming to tackle the growing security skills gap. The DCMS expects to have trained almost 6,000 teens by 2021 and is due to launch in autumn this year.

Matt Hancock, Minister of State commented: “Our Cyber Schools Programme aims to inspire the talent of tomorrow and give thousands of the brightest young minds the chance to learn cutting-edge cyber security skills alongside their secondary school studies.”

Students and teachers can register their interest via the programme’s website and students will be selected via an entry assessment.

We recently shared some advice for young I.T. enthusiasts which you can read here.

Distrust in personal data usage

This week it was revealed that Brits are in support of convenience and the security benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT).

A recent survey found that 79% of Brits supported the use of a button on smart devices to alert the police of their location during an emergency. However, only 41% supported the police being able to monitor fitness tracker data to determine locations at any time.

It appears that there is still a gap when it comes to trust and monitoring personal data. Much like the end-to-end encryption debate, citizens aren’t one hundred per cent comfortable that their data will be safe and not used in ways they do not know about. It may be some years yet before we have the general public wholeheartedly embracing data sharing.

Those are some of this week’s most important stories, but if you need more I.T. and tech news, why not follow our social channels for up to date content and tips on a daily basis? Also, stay tuned as in the coming weeks we’ll be bringing you more information on one of the world’s biggest discussion points at the moment, encryption.

2017 July

Week Ending: July 21st - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

Cybersecurity is one of the hottest topics in the world of I.T. at the minute and the past week has been no exception.

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In our latest roundup of the biggest stories in I.T. and Tech we talk about what makes you a target to a potential cyberattack and which jobs are the most sought after in the fight against this growing epidemic.

The prime target for a cybercriminal is…

Everyone!

That’s the short answer anyway, the longer one is a bit more complex and depends on a number of factors, but in short, everyone is at risk of a cyberattack on some scale.

However, don’t worry too much just yet. The likelihood of an attack is dependent on how vulnerable your security is, how attractive your data is to hackers and how critical it is that you respond quickly to a ransom demand. Also, it’s worth noting you can take steps to ensure you’re protected.

So, who makes the list of the most at risk?

Academic institutions, governments, healthcare, energy/utility, retail and finance companies, and HR departments are all prime targets for hackers looking to make big money.

If you’re worried that your business might be vulnerable, contact us to discuss your options here.

Artificial Intelligence continues its rise to the top

According to Gartner Inc, by 2020 AI technologies will be prevalent in virtually all new software products and services and will be a top five investment priority for 30% of all CIOs.

The growth of interest in AI has been astronomical – in January 2016, “artificial intelligence” did not even feature in the top 100 search terms on gartner.com, by May 2017, it was ranked No. 7.

It’s not all plain sailing though, information age has identified a number of problems including; a lack of knowledge and skills and the current technology being over complicated. These bumps in the road all need to be eradicated for this vision to become a reality.

Are you a cybersecurity professional in-demand?

The gap in a skilled cybersecurity workforce is growing year on year and expected to reach 1.8million people by 2020, leaving industries crying out for new talent to fill the gap.

Three roles have been singled out that top the most wanted list:

  1. Penetration Testers
  2. Cybersecurity Engineers
  3. CISO’s

If you think you might be the perfect person to fill the cybersecurity workforce gap and want some advice about pursuing a career in I.T. read the blog we wrote for World Youth Skills Day.

We are always looking for talented and enthusiastic individuals to join the Claritas team. Have you got what it takes? Contact Pat Genn at pat.genn@claritas-solutions.com to find out more.

Need more I.T. and tech news? Follow our social channels on a daily basis for up to date content and tips.

2017 July

Week Ending: July 14th - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

What do tech employers want in an employee? It’s the question that everyone in the industry has pondered once or twice and something we’ll discuss in this week’s roundup.

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Alongside some Forbes insight into tech employers, we’re looking at Google’s recent tax escape in France and the potential for a cybersecurity collaboration between the US and Russian presidents. It couldn’t happen, could it?

The cybersecurity yo-yo

When US President Donald Trump met Russian President Vladimir Putin this month cybersecurity was on the agenda. A new era of working together was described by Trump in which he outlined plans for a joint cybersecurity unit to protect against election hacking.

President Trump explained it was “time to move forward in working constructively with Russia” and on Twitter Trump shared more with his followers, explaining: “Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded…and safe.”

Throughout the day, Trump and his treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin praised the cybersecurity project only for a huge online U-turn to follow just hours later.

Trump wrote further on Twitter: “The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn't mean I think it can happen. It can't-but a ceasefire can,& did!."

The U-turn is said to have come about after staunch criticism. Many could not believe that Trump would work together with the country accused of hacking the US election.

Social media, of course, made their feelings heard. So, are we getting an impenetrable cybersecurity unit? Probably not. It was all over in a matter of days – we simply can’t keep up.

Adverts galore as Facebook shakes up its messenger app

Remember when Facebook made you download a separate app to chat with your friends?

Well it's now going to force adverts on you via the service. The social media goliath has announced this week that it was testing advertising on its Messenger app as it looks to make even more money.

Facebook have said that adverts will begin to appear in the homepage of the app and that users clicking on the ads will either be taken to the website or to a separate chat window where they can interact with the brand.

The move comes after a successful trial in Australia and Thailand as Facebook continues to look for new ways to monetise its services.

What to look for when hiring tech talent

Finally, Forbes Technology Council has recently published a terrific article in which successful CTOs, CIO and Executives gave their insight as to what traits to look for when hiring.

The main traits tech employers should look for?

  • Character
  • The ability to stay calm under pressure
  • Passion
  • People who are constant learners
  • Someone attached to concept, not platform
  • Tech builders
  • Team players
  • Those with entrepreneurial spirit

It’s worth noting that if you’re in the tech industry, this is what employers are looking for in a candidate. So, take note, read up and turn yourself into a model employee.

Need more I.T. and tech news? Follow our social channels on a daily basis for up to date content and tips.

2017 July

Week Ending: July 7th - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

A new month and a new weekly roundup from Claritas HQ. This week we’re looking to the future as we explore what business travel might look like in a few years, why a pending cybercrime attack is more worrying than Brexit to SMEs, as well as assessing whether hackers could have new, more sophisticated equipment on hand to steal details in the not so distant future.

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New technology to be the driver of business travel

Let it be known, business travel is important. So important that a recent report from the World Travel and Tourism Council & Travelport revealed that business travel accounts for an astonishing $1.3 trillion of global travel spending annually.

The report found that this is partially due to the demand and adoption of technology, allowing frequent flyers to have a seamless experience and remain connected. The demand for this is higher than ever as consistent travellers strive for a hassle-free journey, which is aided by technology and allows them to concentrate on business.

With only 5% of apps in the app store travel related, there is somewhat of an opportunity for companies to really innovate the space. With AI becoming more of a focus for companies we should expect to see a mixture of both integrated deeper into business travel soon.

The travel industry should be stepping up to the mark and looking to create ‘experience first’ strategies. The fantastic Information Age delve a little deeper here for those of you who want to know more details about which companies are already ahead of the game and what travel companies should be doing in the next few years to retain business clientele.

SMEs more afraid of cybercrime than Brexit

SMEs have a new boogeyman and it’s not Brexit. Britain’s SMEs are switching their focus to the ever present threat of cybercrime, meaning time and investment is being spent on the matter.

Research from Barclaycard has shown that UK SMEs now invest £2.9 billion annually on cyber security experts to help them stay ahead of the latest threats.

Sharon Manikon, managing director of Customer Solutions at Barclaycard, said: “UK SMEs face immense pressure to keep up with competitors of all sizes. This is all the more challenging in an uncertain political and economic landscape with shifting consumer preferences and new technology that continues to develop at pace.”

And as for the looming threat of Brexit uncertainty? Four in ten (44%) small businesses fear being victim of a cybercrime or data breach, compared to three in ten (34%) who are anxious about the impact of Brexit on their business. So there you have it.

Did you know we’re experts on cybersecurity? If you’re reading this and could use some help, simply give us a call or drop us an email.

Hackers could use brainwaves (really?)

Finally, it wouldn’t be a weekly roundup if we didn’t scare you out of your skin would it? According to a study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, hackers could potentially use malware to obtain users' passwords by monitoring brainwaves via electroencephalograph headsets. Yes, really.

Electrophysiological processors can scan brain activity and convert it into signals. The technology has been used in the medical profession for more than 50 years as a way to track electrical neural activity.

“Given the growing popularity of EEG headsets and the variety of ways in which they could be used...it is important to analyze the potential security and privacy risks associated with this emerging technology to raise users’ awareness of the risks and develop viable solutions to malicious attacks.” - Associate Professor Nitesh Saxena, Ph.D.

Need more I.T. and tech news? Follow our social channels on a daily basis for up to date content and tips.

2017 June

Week Ending: June 30th - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

The end of the week this week also signals the end of the working month. As we move from June to July (wow we’re half way through the year already) we’ve experienced a particularly topical week in terms of cybersecurity.

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Without further ado, let’s look at the subjects that have concerned I.T. professionals in offices around the world this week.

British Parliament suffers cyber-attack

Making national news, as you would expect, Parliament was hit by a cyber-attack - just one month after 48 NHS Trusts were affected. This week the BBC is reporting that up to 90 users were involved and that the attack was due to “weak passwords”.

Officials disabled remote access to the emails of MPs and launched an investigation into the cause of the attack. We await more info as things stand.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said: "We have seen reports in the last few days of even cabinet ministers' passwords being for sale online."

"We know that our public services are attacked so it is not at all surprising that there should be an attempt to hack into parliamentary emails.

"And it's a warning to everybody, whether they are in Parliament or elsewhere, that they need to do everything possible to maintain their own cyber-security."

The threat is real and it seems as though more and more are experiencing problems each day.

Router passwords can be easily guessed by hackers

Experts have discovered that router default passwords can be easily guessed by hackers. Allegedly more than 800,000 Virgin Media routers are at risk but the problem also encompasses BT, Sky, TalkTalk and other suppliers. Customers are being advised to change their router passwords as the recent Which? investigation found home networks and connected appliances could be accessed once passwords were guessed.

Advice: Change your password from the default one to an alternative of more than 12 characters, using upper and lowercase letters and numbers.

You can now stop Google from reading your emails for ads

Google wouldn’t do that would they? Yes, they would. The company has controversially scanned its Gmail users’ emails in the past in order to target its advertisements towards the things you had previous shown interest in. This week however, the company explained it would end its practice of snooping and people are understandably happy about the news.

Being as big as the company now is, with 1.2 billion users, it seems as if Google has decided to tweak its strategy. In the blog post that announced the news, the company added that it will “keep privacy and security paramount,” for its users. Perhaps recent times has given the company a new focus.

If you want to keep up with the latest news in I.T. why not follow our social media channels? We’re sharing the latest hot topics from the industry along with tips as to how best to deal with I.T. problems and blog posts on best practice.

2017 June

Week Ending: June 23rd - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

It’s now officially summer and we’re back with another weekly roundup. Wednesday June 21st was this year’s summer solstice, the longest day of the year, which saw great amounts of sunshine in the UK – something we’re not used to or prepared for it seems.

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With the week drawing to a close, it’s time for us at Claritas HQ to roundup the week in I.T. picking out key news stories we think you should know about.

AI could take your job one day

Don’t worry, it could yet be 120 years away but this week a global survey of experts in machine learning suggested that in just over a century all human jobs could be automated. Slightly more worryingly, the report by the Future of Humanity Institute, at the University of Oxford, speculates that in just 45 years’ time half of human jobs could be filled by artificial intelligence systems.

The group explained that it is inevitable that AI will outperform humans but not that it would ever be the same as or ‘conquer’ humans. Interestingly, the report does give estimate dates on when we can expect AI to better humans in specific tasks:

  • Translating languages (by 2024)
  • Writing school essays (by 2026)
  • Driving a lorry (by 2027)
  • Working in retail (by 2031)
  • Writing a best-selling book (by 2049)
  • Working as a surgeon (by 2053).

Fascinating stuff, however, with these reports it’s important to remember that they’re somewhat speculative.

Robotics and AI expert at Sheffield University, Noel Sharkey said: “Survey results about the future can be useful within a five to ten year range. That is the foreseeable future. Once we get beyond that, it is pure speculation.”

Four new cyber threats every second found in Q1

Mobile malware has significantly increased in Quarter 1 according to a new McAfee research report. Global infection rates increased by 57% whereas mobile malware has grown 79% in the past four quarters. Ransomware, something we deal with in-depth here at Claritas, has also increased by 59% according to the findings.

On the recent report, Raj Samani, chief scientist and fellow at McAfee said: “Everyone puts cyber in front of everything. Cyber-bully, cyber-security, cyber-crime. In turn, people assume it’s a different field, outside of their control or a risk that can’t reach them. It is crime, full stop. The fact that attackers use USB sticks to rob a bank instead of a gun means nothing. The sooner we recognise that we’re dealing with real crime and real criminals, and not simply an I.T. issue, the better.”

Concerned by the results of this recent report? There are steps you as a company can take to counteract the threat. We’re the experts so give us a call or drop us and email to start the ball rolling - 0845 63 99 661 / 0113 31 80 042 / contact@claritas-solutions.com.

The Queen addresses a Digital Charter

Finally, delivering a speech in Parliament on Wednesday, the Queen addressed the need for a digital charter to ensure online safety in the United Kingdom.

digital charter was a key part of the Conservative’s recent manifesto and their sentiments were echoed by the Queen.

“A new law will ensure that the United Kingdom retains its world-class regime protecting personal data, and proposals for a new digital charter will be brought forward to ensure that the United Kingdom is the safest place to be online,” the Queen said.

You can read more about the news here.

Another interesting week in I.T and tech. To keep up with the latest industry news and best practice, follow our social media channels:

2017 June

Week Ending: June 16th - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

This week’s roundup from Claritas focuses on a few things that could well make everyday life a little bit simpler. We’re talking about artificial intelligence, the abolition of EU roaming charges and cashless payment opportunities.

Topics that could and should impact your life in a positive way in the near future.

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In our weekly roundups, we feel it’s our duty to bring you the facts and interesting stories that you can impress colleagues with. This week is no different and in a few moments time you’ll be a fountain of knowledge, we’re sure of it.

Britain is ready for AI

Tell this one to your colleagues, friends, family or shout it from the rooftops if you must. A recent survey has discovered that British consumers are ready to embrace artificial intelligence. That’s not I.T. pros, that’s your everyday, run of the mill punter ready for AI - if it means saving them time and money. Classic Brits.

The survey, based on 6,000 people from six countries, found that UK people were most comfortable with using AI to personalise their online retail presence, followed by them being happy to allow their doctor to use AI for a better diagnosis. Third on the list was willingness to use AI for financial services.

While UK folk were happy with using AI, they were still sceptical of its benefits in comparison to other countries. Only 29% of Brits said they felt it had the potential to improve customer services compared to much higher numbers in France (44%) and the Netherlands (42%). Only 20% of Brits think AI customer service can match or better that of a human.

In other AI news, Maluuba researchers have developed artificial intelligence that has achieved a perfect score on Ms. Pac-Man. The company, which was recently acquired by Microsoft, uses deep learning to develop programs that can take on such tasks. Watch how they conquered the classic arcade game here.

Huge roaming charges are a thing of the past for EU mobile users

This week a new European Union law came into force to abolish roaming charges, meaning that users can text, call and browse the web for the same price they pay at home.

"Eliminating roaming charges is one of the greatest and most tangible successes of the EU," the Commission commented.

But it’s important not to get carried away. Consumer company Which? has stressed that should tourists exceed their plan’s data limits they will still be charged. So that means no downloading films in the airport for the journey home!

Coming soon: more cashless payment opportunities

The outlook is positive for businesses and the public sector in terms of payment solutions. Information Age reports that there has been a steep uptake in the use of mobile tech such as Apple, Android and Samsung Pay alongside contactless payments, as well as cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and GovCoin.

Mastercard revealed in 2016 that half of Britain’s population keep less than £5 on them at any given time, supporting the idea that Britain is on the verge of going cashless.

Next steps? Businesses and the public sector should be looking at how best to utilise this information moving forward and ensure they don’t get left behind.

That’s everything from us this week but we’ll be back soon – if you want to keep up with the latest news from I.T. and tech, follow our social channels:

2017 June

Week Ending: June 09th - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

Each week we keep an eye out for the most interesting stories from the world of I.T. and Tech. This week has delivered in abundance, and in the Claritas office we’ve been discussing some of the more viral news from around the globe – here we share some of our personal highlights.

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Apple’s HomePod launched to battle Amazon’s Alexa

The first new major category release since the Apple Watch in 2014, Apple announced its plans to launch HomePod this week – a voice controlled Wi-Fi speaker with very similar functionality to Amazon’s Alexa.

We may well have Speaker Wars: The revenge of Siri on our hands come December as Apple’s Siri-powered launch will look to battle Amazon and other competitor virtual assistants.

The Apple HomePod is an extension of the Apple audio experience and will cost £270. The news came from Apple’s annual developer conference in San Jose, alongside a number of new software features and gadget upgrades.

Microsoft’s Project Premonition works to fight deadly viruses

A story we’ve been discussing internally recently is Microsoft’s Project Premonition – something we think is truly fascinating.

Project Premonition is an initiative in which Microsoft and its partners are working to determine where viruses come from and how they are spread. The group is doing this by collecting information from animals bitten by mosquitoes.

Ethan Jackson, the Microsoft researcher who is leading Project Premonition said the project opens the team up to “a plethora of data we never had before about the behaviour of the insects.”

It’s a technical business, as you can imagine. The captured mosquitoes are used for data via gene sequencing, producing more than 100 million pieces of small DNA sequences. These sequences are compared against the genomes of hundreds of thousands of organisms, from viruses and bacteria to reptiles and mammals.

The team’s vision is to be one step ahead of the next deadly virus and we’re interested to find out how things pan out.

Naturally, the technicality of this project is very detailed so you can read more about it here.

We’re all human

This week Willie Walsh, the chief executive of British Airways’ parent company IAG, explained it was “human error” that caused the I.T. catastrophe of late. It came down to an engineer causing a power surge by disconnecting a power supply in a British Airways data centre and then reconnecting.

The power surge is said to have caused a catastrophic travel disaster for over 75,000 passengers, however, the recent statements have been met with scepticism. Some have said the explanation is too simplistic and others have explained that a power surge could not cause such chaos of that level.

We’ll soon know for sure, IAG has launched a full investigation into the I.T. crash and confirmed that they will disclose the full details once they have their full findings. Undoubtedly this isn’t the last we’ve heard of this story.

Keep up with the latest IT & Tech news by following our social channels.

2017 June

Week Ending: June 02nd - A Roundup in IT & Tech News

A new week and a new roundup from Claritas HQ. Today, we bring you the stories you might have missed from the IT and Tech space while you were working hard. This week’s hot topics come in the form of data protection, a cyber security research report and one country turning off its internet. Let’s dive in...

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UK’s tough approach to data protection

It was revealed this week that the UK is no soft touch when it comes to data protection. In fact, the United Kingdom was one of the most active regions in terms of enforcement and fines over data. The breaching of UK data protection laws resulted in £3.2m in 2016, as detailed in a recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

This result is an increase of almost 60% on 2015 and moves in correlation with the number of serious breaches of the UK Data Protection Act, which almost doubled in 2016.

In the upcoming years, fines will just continue to rise as UK organisations risk much more if they fail to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) from 25 May 2018. Currently, penalties are capped at £500,000 but this will increase to £17.5m or 4% of annual global turnover, depending on which is the larger sum. Ouch.

Recent report reveals the fears of a ‘catastrophic’ cybersecurity attack

94% of risk professionals surveyed recently believe unsecured IoT devices could lead to a monumental cybersecurity attack. The report released by Ponemon Institute and the Shared Assessments Program, was built on the responses of 553 individuals from various industries.

Participants were quizzed about what practices they had in place when it comes to cyber security and the results revealed a definite fear and expectation of an attack. Furthermore, a huge 76% of those surveyed said that a DDoS attack coming from an unsecured IoT device would be "likely to occur within the next two years."

The report found that many security personnel are not communicating vital messages effectively to leadership that would lead to board-level assessment of IoT business risks.

Food for thought when it comes to your weekly and monthly catch-ups. IT security should be firmly on the agenda.

Ethiopia turns the internet off

Here’s one way to stop cheating in exams, turn the country’s internet off. That’s exactly what Ethiopia has done this week, shutting off access for its citizens due to the leaking of exam papers. According to Google’s transparency report, visits from Ethiopia dropped drastically on Tuesday evening and by Wednesday afternoon had still not picked up.

The crackdown is said to be in retaliation to activists leaking papers last year for the country’s 12th grade national exams. This year the government appears to have eliminated the opportunity for this to happen by shutting down the internet within the country.

Keep up with the latest IT & Tech news by following our social channels.

2017 May

Week Ending: May 26th - A Roundup in IT & Tech News

This week’s roundup in IT and tech is the last for the month of May. A month which saw Ransomware thrust into the public’s minds after a large scale cyber-attack, leading to businesses and experts working together to keep it under control for the time being. The month comes to a close with organisations seemingly more vigilant with their IT assets, data and employees.

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This week there have been a number of interesting tech stories we thought you should know about. Let’s look at some highlights…

USA still dominates the tech world according to Forbes’ Global 2000

This week it was announced by Forbes that an incredible 49 of the world’s largest tech companies are from the US, with tech companies accounting for 118 of the Global 2000. Apple took the top spot just a few weeks after its shares hit a record high, not only is it the largest tech company in the world, but maintains its place in the world’s biggest companies ranking at 9th – just one place lower than 2016’s 8th finish.

Asia has continued to put pressure on the US with innovative companies continuing to battle it out for the top spots. South-Korea based Samsung took second place with another successful year of $174 billion in sales, $19 billion in profit, $217 billion in assets and a market cap of $254 billion.

Facebook is too making waves, rising 69 spots on Forbes’ Global 2000 since last year.

Nokia banks on nostalgia

The phone we all once had, Nokia’s 3310, made its return to shelves this week, almost a full 17 years after its debut.

Nokia’s newly (but retro) designed 3310 aims to keep all the things you loved about the old phone, but with added 2017 must haves – such as a camera (although only 2 megapixel).

The end result? A low in cost, functional phone, for those who don’t need a smart device. Alternatively, it’s being pitched as a “festival phone” or a “holiday phone” meaning it’s a backup to your number one should you not trust yourself.

At £49.99 the jury is still out as to whether this will be a roaring success or an eventual flop, but early reports detail a healthy demand for the phone – one of the main retailers, Carphone Warehouse, is already out of stock.

Its battery life is something to behold, claiming to offer up to 22 hours of talk time, and up to a month in standby mode.

We know what you’re thinking, does it have Snake? Yes. Yes it does.

Is bringing back nostalgic mobile phones a good thing? Only time and polyphonic ringtones will tell.

Facebook developing mind-reading technology

"It sounds impossible, but it's closer than you may realise" said Regina Dugan, head of Facebook’s secretive Building 8 research shop. The aim of Building 8 is to develop cutting edge, advanced technology for a digital future. One example of this, which made the news this week, was an attempt to improve technology that allows people to type words using their minds.

“Using brain implants, people can already type eight words a minute”, said Dugan.

“Facebook's goal, working with researchers at several U.S. universities, is to make the system non-invasive, as well as fast enough so that people can type 100 words a minute just by thinking.”

Fascinating if not mind boggling stuff. Do you think we’ll be posting via our minds in the future?

Let us know via our social media channels.

2017 May

Week Ending: May 19th - A Roundup in IT & Tech News

Since last week’s roundup we could not have imagined the scale in which Ransomware would hit the headlines. While always threatening, the scale of the attack on the NHS and other companies made global news this week.

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With this in mind, we’ll dive right into the topic on everyone’s mind, something we specialise in dealing with.

Ransomware wake-up call

On Friday, 12 May news broke that the NHS had suffered a Ransomware cyber-attack. As the news spread, it was reported that the ‘WannaCry’ virus attack had in fact affected many more organisations, locking up to 200,000 computers in 150 countries. This makes it the largest cyberextortion scheme ever.

As specialists it’s our role to warn and to protect businesses against Ransomware such as the WannaCry virus. A quick look at both our website and accompanying social channels shows our approach to dealing with it but the real key is to be prepared and to already have protection measures for such viruses in place.

Alas, the recent attack has brought Ransomware to the public consciousness in a huge way. The systems affected appear to have been older Microsoft Windows versions which has led to industry figures both imploring people to update but also delivering scathing criticism of Microsoft.

While the controversy rages on, one positive is companies are realising more and more the threat of a cyber-attack. It’s now a business’ duty to ensure they’re protected no matter how big or small they may be. As the voices of authority on this we can help by providing tailored solutions for your business. It may just be worth a call.

In other news…

Despite everyone in IT & Tech seemingly talking cyber-attacks and cyber-security this week, there were other notable stories we think you should know about.

Alexa becomes more talkative

The forward thinking Amazon Alexa is to gain a host of new capabilities it was revealed this week. Alexa will soon gain the capability to deliver notifications from developers that decide to build them into their Alexa skill. These of course will be opt in and won’t be read aloud until asked to do so. Things such as food order confirmations and weather updates will now be sent to devices. Useful or annoying?

We’re undecided. Only time will tell as users tailor their devices for the apps they really love.

For developers, it’s another reason put money into producing code to utilise Amazon’s platform.

For Amazon, Alexa is gradually becoming a more and more efficient piece of AI.

Apple’s Patented Pizza Box

Finally, to finish off on a Friday with something ground breaking, industry leading and completely vital to the survival of a Tech company. Apple invented a pizza box.

For use in its campuses, in true Apple fashion, it’s white and it’s innovative. The innovation of the box is a series of holes in the lid of the container so that air can escape, helping avoid sogginess in the crust.

Apparently normal pizza boxes just won’t do, and it looks exactly how you’d expect it would.

Stay up to date with daily IT, cyber security and technology news by following Claritas’ social media channels.

2017 May

Week Ending: May 12th - A Roundup in IT & Tech News

Keeping up with the latest news from cyberspace can be a challenge. We are experts in the field, we pick up daily alerts and still we learn something new each week, there’s simply so much happening.

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Trying to keep up with the latest movements in IT security, the latest available technologies, and ensuring you’re in the know each week can be daunting, especially when it’s not your sole focus.

With this in mind we’ve compiled a roundup of some of the biggest IT stories from the week commencing May 5, 2017.

UK overtakes US for cybercrime risk

huge topic of global discussion, as the war against cyber-crime rages on, is the breaking news that Europe has overtaken the United States to become the largest perpetrator of global cybercrime.

Data released on Monday revealed that 50 per cent more cyberattacks originated from Europe than from any other global region over the last 90 days, overtaking the United States for the first time. The UK and Netherlands, in particular, have become cybercrime hubs and are seeing a huge growth in online fraud rings.

Worryingly, tools and techniques are becoming ever more sophisticated making it crucial that businesses act now to stay one step ahead.

Google exposes Microsoft’s weaknesses

July 2014 saw Google announce the creation of Project Zero – an initiative to make the Internet safer for users by identifying vulnerabilities in the software we use. Not limited strictly to Google software, the initiative includes any app that puts your online safety at risk.

This week Project Zero discovered weaknesses in Microsoft's Edge and Internet Explorer browsers, LastPass, Norton antivirus, and even the Linux kernel.

Perhaps the most notable of the finds is a critical flaw uncovered in the Microsoft Malware Protection Engine, a security tool used in all modern Windows systems. The bug allowed total remote control over a vulnerable PC just by sending an email. More concerning, the email didn’t even require opening, simply receiving it on a Windows machine was enough for the hack to work. Security engineer Tavis Ormandy claims it’s "the worst [of its kind] in recent memory" describing it as “crazy bad”. Read more about the find here.

[Note that Microsoft has acted quickly to rectify this bug and minimise the threat]

Uber’s AI plans for speedy self-driving development

While self-driving cars may still seem to some like a thing of science fiction, Uber put down a marker this week.

The company announced it is to set up a lab in Toronto dedicated to the development of Artificial Intelligence that will allow cars to recognise objects in order to improve safely. Safety was always going to be a significant issue in the development of self-driving vehicles but Uber is hoping some of the brightest minds in tech will be able to take it forward. The research team, led by prominent professor in computer science, Raquel Urtasun from the University of Toronto, will allow Uber the opportunity to access tech and talent from across the global AI arena to aid the advancements.

Stay up to date with daily IT, cyber security and technology news by following Claritas’ social media channels.

2017 March

Claritas Solutions Show Commitment To Cyber Security Through Government Cyber Essentials Certification

Leeds based IT services and solutions company, Claritas Solutions has been awarded the Government Cyber Essentials certification.

The Cyber Essentials Scheme is part of the UK Government’s National Cyber Security Strategy and accreditation demonstrates commitment to information security, providing assurance to clients and partners.

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Cyber Essentials is a government-driven initiative to ensure cyber security for organisations. It is mandatory for many government and public sector contracts including several of Claritas’ customers. To obtain certification, organisations must undergo an independent assessment of the security controls they have in place to mitigate risks from internet-borne threats.

Glenn Scaife, Managing Director, Claritas Solutions Ltd:

“Information security is a priority for Claritas and we are dedicated to securing our customers against cyber threats. Cyber Essentials accreditation emphasises the importance we place on safeguarding ours and our customers’ sensitive data.”

The Cyber Essentials Accreditation ensures compliance with the five government recognised levels of information security:

  • Boundary Firewalls
  • Secure Configuration
  • Patch Management
  • Malware Protection
  • Access Management

Systems that fall within the scope of the Cyber Essential Scheme include internet connected end-user devices such as desktop PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones, and internet connected systems including email, web and application servers.

Claritas Solutions has over 20 years of designing IT security solutions. Claritas offers unbeatable security solutions in partnership with the market leaders in data security. We also design software that embraces security from the ground up. Other services that Claritas offers include Hosting, Technical Support Services and Connectivity.

2015 August

‘IT Girls’ Gets a Whole New Meaning

Usually IT Girls are the epitome of the glamorous young woman gracing the media.

Claritas is giving the phrase a whole new meaning.

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Claritas Solutions, based in East Leeds, has recently appointed four new female members of staff to work within its IT business. With a total staff of around 50, the company has found that more women are applying for posts, and proving to be just what is needed to keep the company moving forward.

New recruits (l-r): Vanessa Wood, Katie Fraser-Smith, Andrea Olsen and Jennifer Birss

These four new appointments are all from the greater Leeds area, and all with a background of ambition and success. Andrea Olsen has joined the New Business Team as Account Manager and Katie Fraser-Smith as Marketing Manager. Jennifer Birss and Vanessa Wood have both been appointed as Account Managers.

Andrea has a career spanning 15 years in high achieving sales positions. Katie has nearly 20 years’ experience working in marketing and takes over the strategic and implementation of all marketing disciplines. Jennifer is a graduate of Leeds University and Vanessa is steeped in sales and customer service experience.

Overall in the UK the IT workforce is made up of only 16% women, while at Claritas it is approaching 40%. The first Women in IT Awards was launched in January this year and an inaugural International Girls in ICT Day in April next year, so there is a stirring in the industry.

Glenn Scaife, Managing Director, Claritas Solutions Ltd:

“These girls are really proving their worth, and though we were not necessarily looking to weigh the scales towards female recruitment, it is certainly proving a very positive move for our sales performance.”

Claritas now in its 18 year specialises in very high end security solutions for both the private and public sectors. Claritas also delivers independent IT services, tailor made Information Technology systems and wrap round solutions. It offers a total service to support clients’ strategic business objectives. The Company has also been appointed as an official supplier to the Government G Cloud procurement framework.

2015 April

Claritas Secures Silver

Claritas Solutions are now a Microsoft Certified Silver Partner, with dedicated datacentre competences.

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A committed team at Claritas has ensured our commitment to creating and delivering innovative customer solutions and services, based on Microsoft technologies.

Hard work by Joseph Shelswell, Miguel Lopez and Vanessa Wood has ensured that our commitment to excellence has been recognised.

Our strengthened capabilities will also benefit clients by providing further services and Microsoft datacentre competencies.

Joseph Shelswell, Vanessa Wood, and Miguel Lopez: the dedicated team that certified Claritas with the Microsoft Certified Silver Partnership
2015 February

New Governmental Cloud Supplied by Leeds Company

A much more detailed and secure Cloud system offered to the Government is available from today to provide approved technology services and is supplied by Claritas Solutions Ltd., based in East Leeds.

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Claritas has been awarded a place upon G-Cloud 6 and will, from today, be able to provide project managers in the public sector for specialist IT projects within the Cloud hemisphere to include software design, testing and deployment, service and systems management, integration and enterprise architecture. This provides a significant opportunity to increase its business within this sector for the first time.

All government departments, devolved administrations, local authorities, blue light services, wider public sector bodies and arm’s length bodies now has access to Claritas’ extensive, expert IT services.

As part of transforming the way the public sector buys digital and tech services, the Government is developing a clearer, simpler and faster tool to help support the process. The new Digital Marketplace aims to become the single place for all of government to buy what it needs to design, build and support its digital services. The “Digital Marketplace” replaces and consolidates CloudStore as the new home for G-Cloud services.

Government spokesperson:

“We want to make it easier for public sector organisations to find the information they need to buy the right services. That means we have made changes to the way suppliers’ services are presented on the Digital Marketplace.”

Glenn Scaife, Managing Director, Claritas Solutions Ltd:

“This is very much part of our ongoing strategy to provide specialist services, especially the all important security, for any organisation in the Public Sector. We already have strong links with West Yorkshire Police and the Home Office and are actively working to extend our trusted and expert resource to others.”
2015 February

First in IT Seminar Series Shows Destruction and Unravelling of Security Infrastructure And Demonstrates How To Avoid It.

A Solution Collapse – The Hack Seminar on Thursday July 2nd is hosted by Leeds based IT experts, Claritas Solutions and is in the city centre.

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This original and exclusive demonstration will cover security infrastructure and the hottest technologies in threat prevention. Claritas is providing the facility which sees a collaboration of two IT security giants presenting the ultimate wrap round solution to protect business networks.

A live Hacking will be handled by one of the world’s top security experts, CheckPoint, with IT specialist Symantec on hand to prove that a dedicated solution will virtually eradicate any unwanted intervention, achieving impressive state of the art security for both private and public sector organisations.

Claritas has also been appointed to be a supplier to G-Cloud 6, the latest Governments secure cloud system to provide approved technology services. Claritas as an official supplier will provide project managers in the public sector for specialist IT projects within the Cloud hemisphere to include software design, testing and deployment, service and systems management, integration and enterprise architecture This provides a significant opportunity to for Claritas to increase its business within the public sector, and to service all major government departments, devolved administrations, local authorities, blue light services, wider public sector bodies and arm’s length bodies.

Glenn Scaife, Managing Director, Claritas Solutions Ltd:

“This is the first of a series of top level IT Seminars we are hosting, usually only seen in London. We will continue to bring premier IT operators to demonstrate their security skills and solutions for Yorkshire and Northern organisations, and how to ensure IT is up to date and vitally important, secure.”

For further information @Rebecca Stenson on 08545 639 9661 Thursday 2nd July 2015 from 10am at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Wellington Street, Leeds LS1 4DL

2014 December

Claritas Collaborates with SuperConnected Cities Scheme

Claritas is very happy to announce their engagement with SuperConnected Cities scheme.

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The Government backed scheme focuses on providing SMES situated in Bradford/Leeds districts, the opportunity to upgrade/purchase a higher bandwidth with grants of up to £3000 and over £9 million to allocate across West Yorkshire.

Claritas will be working as a supplier for both Leeds City Council and Bradford Council to provide quotations and installations within the district to help give SME’s SuperFast broadband and enhanced Wi-Fi facilities.

2014 December

Claritas Selected To Provide Vital Security, Hosting and Hardware Solution to Facilitate Home Office Database

The Prime Minister announces new plans to tackle child abuse on the internet at the #WeProtect Children Global Summit in London.

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Claritas Solutions Ltd, based in East Leeds, has delivered the vital security, hosting and hardware solution to facilitate the National Child Abuse Image Database project [CAID].

Claritas has worked collaboratively with the Home Office and L3 project management teams, to facilitate, deploy, and execute the solution. In addition to this, Claritas is providing a helpdesk to triage calls from UK police forces with CAID related requests.

The Child Abuse Image Database project will provide UK law enforcement with new capability to significantly improve investigations into indecent images of children [IIOC].

West Yorkshire Police have been instrumental in providing technical support during the development of the CAID system as well as ongoing end-user assistance and support during its lifetime.

2014 July

Claritas Appointed G Cloud 5 Approved Supplier

Joining the Government framework exposes Claritas Solutions to a wide range of public sector customers, including local, regional and national government.

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G-Cloud 5 is the Government procurement framework that allows approved suppliers to provide the public sector with IT cloud services. Claritas has been accepted, releasing significant amounts of opportunities for increased business within this sector for the first time. Claritas now holds direct access to all Government departments through the framework including; devolved administrations, local authorities, blue light services, wide public sector bodies and arm’s length bodies departments; to quote for its extensive, Specialist Cloud Consultancies.

The Government’s aim for G Cloud is to simplify how the public sector buys and delivers services, by creating a marketplace for pay-as-you-go commodity services that can be easily scaled up or down, based on the changing needs of a business and its users, helping business become more flexible, agile, and responsive to changing needs economically.

Claritas believes this service expansion to its existing operation will help double its turnover and create a number of new jobs. This strategy for growth positions Claritas as a major IT contender for public sector contracts and provides the resources needed to operate at twice its existing size, with turnover to match. Currently, Claritas has a projected turnover of around £6M, and by 2015, this is expected to near £15M.

2014 April

Office Move Heralds Expansion

Claritas Solutions Move to Modern Offices Caters for Expansion.

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Claritas Solutions Move to Modern Offices Caters for Expansion.

Claritas, previously housed at Bowcliffe Hall, Bramham, has shaken itself down and started a new life at state of the art offices in the Carrwood Park complex, Garforth, East Leeds.

The IT Solutions operation has taken space in the Brookfield Court area within the complex which allows for planned expansion, and for the 6 Apprentices due to join shortly under the Government scheme through Leeds City College.

In addition the forward looking company has appointed its first in house Financial Director. Kirsty Sutton joined as a Consultant in October, but has now been promoted to take on this vital role. She has a joint honours degree in Mathematics and Accountancy from Newcastle University and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2003.

Glenn Scaife, Managing Director, Claritas Solutions Ltd:

“This move has refreshed the team, and with the expectation of Apprentices joining us soon, we are fired up to give top quality, secure hosting, solutions and support for our ever growing national client list.”
2013 September

Seven more staff to benefit Claritas' expanding client base

To answer a significant increase in client activity, Claritas Solutions Ltd., based at Bowcliffe Hall, Bramham, West Yorkshire, has appointed 7 more staff to ensure its renowned high service levels are maintained.

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Chris Allcock was a champion Great British Cyclist who has taken on the role of Business Development Manager. An experienced all round high value accounts manager for a leading IT company, Chris is perfectly placed to advance the already growing client base, and to ensure they are competently serviced.

Billy Emerson joins as part of the growing Business Development team from a career in top level sports and teaching. Selected for his extreme enthusiasm and team work he has quickly found his feet in the world of IT and commerce.

Daniel Harrison joins as one of the Support Development Team, bringing with him a knowledge and experience of analytical and statistical business needs and solutions, a graduate from Selby College.

Vicki Shanks joins as Receptionist from a background of honing team skills and will play a vital role to the energetic and burgeoning staff at Bowcliffe Hall.

Robert Karran is a recent graduate from Leeds Met with an honours degree in Music IT. His recent experience working in the film, media and music industries brings a completely new slant to the Claritas IT team and one that gives him the confidence required for his First Line Support role in the Company.

Sarah Hindle takes on a role as Sales Support from a career founded in customer service, administration and front line systems, which provides the perfect background to her work within the busy Sales office.

An additional Developer will also soon be joining the Support Development team, providing further expertise in many areas of business and across multiple platforms.

Glenn Scaife, Managing Director, Claritas Solutions Ltd:

“ We are passionate about our work here at Claritas, determined to give our clients only supreme support and systems. We therefore have to select our people carefully, and very often go with the personality rather than the experience. They have got to fit into our work ethic and really enjoy what we do. We are determined to maintain our expert IT team, to continue our superb service to our many and diverse clients, and to ensure we deliver extreme cost effective, quality solutions, right on time.”
2013 August

Seaside Solicitors implement sand breaking I.T.

East Coast Lawyer, Pinkney Grunwells, has contracted Claritas to the tune of £44,000 to design and implement a new operating platform for its four offices.

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The project entails leading IT solutions expert Bramham based Claritas, to upgrade the solicitor’s IT systems to the latest operating platforms and full Microsoft Office suite for all of their 50 staff over its offices in Bridlington, Hunmanby, Scarborough and Whitby. This new contract will ensure that Pinkney Grunwells keeps at the forefront of the latest technologies to secure its competitive edge.

“We have worked with Claritas over the last 10 years, with this latest contract further emphasising the trust we hold for their ability to deliver and support sensitive IT systems for our continued and successful business”

Daniel Boynton, Operations Manager, Pinkney Grunwells

2013 May

£100,000 Drives forward new I.T. Security Contract for Fleet Market Leader

UK's largest independent incident prevention and fleet management services provider, Huddersfield based FMG, has invested over £100,000 in a new contract with West Yorkshire’s Claritas Solutions, for an internal in-house security IT system. And one which fully complies with the ISO/IEC 27001 certificate, providing assurance that information security is in place and under management control.

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Claritas Solutions, based in Bramham, won the contract for implementation following its proven track record and ability to independently identify the optimum system for FMG’s exacting requirements. FMG was keen to retain its IT security system in-house and not utilise Cloud based technologies, because it needed to keep close control over the solution and the ability to react to changing business demands.

As a provider of services to some of the UK’s largest fleet operators, and handling details of over 250,000 vehicle incidents per year, FMG requires robust network security that protects against emerging threats, while safeguarding its clients’ data and simplifying overall security management. The company also wanted to achieve ISO27001 accreditation, to demonstrate to customers and clients that information is protected when in its hands.

John Parker, Head of Information Technology, FMG says: “Essentially Claritas and our IT team have thrown a security blanket around the organisation for everyone’s benefit. Our new security solution has completely integrated all functions, making much easier to control all aspects of network protection from a single console. This gives our IT team more time for strategic IT planning, rather than handling day-to-day snags and issues. With our partner Claritas, we conducted a 3D Security Analysis on our network, which clearly highlighted the areas in which we needed to tighten security to help achieve accreditation.”

Security gateways and software from Check Point, the world leader in securing the Internet, were recommended to fulfil these exacting requirements and to develop the fully integrated network security solution. The installation and Claritas hands-on management has now proved totally successful, a seamless transition ensuring there was no negative impact to working practice or daily tasks. Kevin Edwards, Sales Director, Claritas Solutions Ltd, said: “Companies that are ahead of the game are now recognising how the implementation of intelligent IT security can bring real benefits and significantly assist to achieve current and future business plans. Keeping ahead of the competition nowadays is a primary function of any well run business and by taking technology into the board room decision process is justly rewarding, as is proved by FMG”.

A survey recently commission by Check Point of over 2000 consumers established that 52% risk committing an in house security breach in the workplace by using unsafe computing practice. This includes every day usage such as working with unencrypted USB sticks and forwarding emails to personal addresses. Claritas deployed Check Point’s security appliances running Data Loss Prevention, Application Control and URL Filtering Software Blades for FMG, to protect its network against malicious and unwanted network traffic and control access to social media, personal email, cloud drives and other Web 2.0 applications that often impact network security and employee productivity.

“Overall we now have a greater visibility of user actions, and a real awareness of how even minor security aspects can be breached. All our users are now educated to be very conscious about the information they share in day to day situations both in and out of the workplace, and have given all at FMG a secure work space.”

John Parker, FMG

With its solution devised and delivered by Claritas, FMG has been able to seamlessly integrate multiple layers of protection into an easily-managed solution.

2013 March

National Contract for West Yorkshire IT Supremo Network Rail awards Claritas Solutions £200,000 contact for HSE Enhancements

Enhanced Health and Safety Guidelines for asbestos risk management have resulted in a new contract from Network Rail for Claritas, the independent IT solutions company, based in Bramham, West Yorkshire. This contract amounts to a significant £200,000. The 8 year working relationship with the National rail company has, to date, racked up over £1.5M worth of IT systems for Claritas.

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Claritas is developing further IT processes around its existing Network Rail Asbestos Risk Management System to produce a new procedure which will fully comply with the latest changes to the original directives.

The Asbestos Risk Management System was created initially 8 years ago in answer to a requirement for the Network Rail office at York, to record the amount of asbestos inherent in both site and property. Network Rail then appointed Claritas to roll out this programme throughout its estate, confident it was competent to handle this all embracing task. This application has now been widely adopted and employed by over 1800 users ranging from internal Network Rail employees, external contractors and train operating companies. This specially developed programme provides for quick assessment of where and how much asbestos, if any, is in a certain area. It also guarantees best practice together with significant time saving management reporting.

Network Rail has extensively used this application and Claritas is currently implementing major enhancements to it to include new processes around asbestos monitoring and a new procedure based on new HSG227 guidelines prescribed by Health and Safety Executive.

This special relationship and “Preferred Partner” status is due to the highly specialised team from Claritas and in particular with Architect Solutions Expert, Gaurav Joshi, who has been with Claritas for 5 years. Gaurav creates each programme from the ground up, with his exacting skills and total understanding of what NR need. The programmes he has created are very much in evidence today and used throughout the Network Rail estate and its suppliers.

Network Rail operate, maintain and develop Britain’s entire rail infrastructure including tracks, signalling system, rail bridges, tunnels, level crossings, viaducts and 17 key stations, with 40,000 employees.

“The original Asbestos Risk Management application was completed to such a high standard and within the limited time scale required, that it has became fundamental to our wider business. It also established and secured a strong and trusted partnership that continues to this day. I am confident that this new application extension will be similarly appreciated.”

Barnaby Jagger, Project Manager, Network Rail

“We are extremely proud of our long association with Network Rail, and conscious of how important our programmes are to its structure throughout the UK.”

Kevin Edwards, Sales Director, Claritas Solutions Ltd

2013 February

£300K Reward for Competency, Excellence and Trust Claritas Fashions IT for McArthurGlen

McArthurGlen, Europe’s leading designer outlet retailer, with 7 centres in the UK and a further 14 across Europe, has extended its Customer Relationship Management IT contract with West Yorkshire based Claritas Solutions, worth in the region of £60,000, taking its total investment in IT services beyond £300,000 per annum.

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Overall Claritas manages communication, security and mail archiving IT systems for McArthurGlen. The annual contract also covers all its existing applications and now the upgraded CRM Consultancy services.

2006 saw the start of the strong partnership between the two companies, proving especially relevant in the support of McArthurGlen’s growing European empire.

“This expanded contract is a direct result of Claritas’ competency, excellence and the trusted working relationship we have with them.”

Hubs Bakshi, Head of IT, McArthurGlen

“We are really delighted our contract with McArthurGlen has been extended, a real reward for our team who have continually met the required service levels.”

Kevin Edwards, Sales Director, Claritas Solutions Ltd

2012 December

Claritas Solutions waves a secure magic wand in time for Clarion’s Christmas

Claritas, the West Yorkshire based IT Solutions company, has masterminded a sophisticated email archive system for Clarion in time for Christmas. The solution has been implemented to the exacting requirements of the Leeds based law firm, and seamlessly introduced.

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Clarion approached Claritas for a rational solution when it relocated to new premises earlier in the year. During a review of systems at Clarion, it was evident that a solution was required to ensure that emails were properly archived and searchable and to reduce stress on their existing email systems whilst ensuring uptime for their busy lawyer base.

Claritas recommended installing a service by one of its IT partners, Mimecast, who specialise in safe and compliant email storage, which gave Clarion 100% availability for all emails, reduction in storage space and a state of the art archiving facility. Furthermore it was implemented seamlessly, safely and to the satisfaction of all concerned including the lawyers.

“Claritas immediately understood our dilemma of thousands of “live” emails, our legal requirement of an accessible archive and the need for a no disruption installation. Their team’s in depth analysis, intelligent solution and hugely successful implementation pleased everyone, and provided the Clarion IT team with complete reassurance that such a critical business resource was well protected.”

Nigel Stott, IT Director, Clarion

“Email storage is a regular challenge for the legal sector, and in our experience of working with the profession it has been crucial that the right solution is selected per practice. So it is very rewarding when we provide and manage the perfect solution for a client such as Clarion”, “It is very rewarding to work alongside Claritas who is eager to embrace new ideas to reflect its new and fresher image, and be receptive to an innovative portfolio of creative work, that will hopefully move the company way beyond anyone else in the field.”

Kevin Edwards, Sales Director, Claritas Solutions Ltd.

2012 November

Claritas Solutions Lands £215,000 Contract with SMD

Claritas Solutions Limited, based in Bramham, has ensured one of the world’s leading subsea engineering companies and leading manufacturers of remote intervention equipment, has an IT Network and Security Solutions system that keep pace with its ambitious plans for growth. Soil Machine Dynamics Ltd. [SMD] had realised its existing IT quickly needed to be upgraded to keep pace with its rapidly expanding North East HQ and its other offices, and the new contract for Claritas is the result.

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Claritas was invited late last year to assess the situation and to come up with a solution that would ensure SMD had a system that would not only remove any immediate problems, but critically, ensure that plans for future growth could be accommodated.

After winning the tender the new system is now fully operational, and the system saving SMD critical money, time and anxiety.

SMD had accumulated various IT challenges largely as a result of rapid growth. Since 2008 the business had grown from 100 employees on a single site to nearly 300 employees over four sites, including Singapore and Houston and in the UK in Malton, North Yorkshire.

“Right from the word go Claritas understood where our IT strategy could be enhanced and proposed an intelligent solution. Working with my IT team we completed a detailed review and project plan, which was a huge undertaking. Once the programme was in place we saw improvements literally overnight enabling our systems to run effectually and smoothly.”

Andrew Haswell, Head of IT for SMD

“This was a challenging situation for us as there was a big programme to install and we wanted to be able to provide a time and money saving solution as quickly as we could. Providing independent IT Solutions and working with ‘best of breed’ partners allowed us to do just that and chose the most appropriate for the contract, and at the right price.”

Peter Hood, Business Development Director of Claritas

2012 October

Claritas Solutions wins further 12 Month Contract from Major UK Electronics Retailer

A contract worth in the region of £250,000 has been secured by the independent IT solutions provider, Claritas, based in Bramham, West Yorkshire, from Maplin, the major UK Electronics Retailer, to host its entire online sales and internet services. Maplin’s original contract with Claritas involved a hosting re-evaluation, and resulted in a 30% cost reduction from their previous provider.

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Claritas has now been entrusted to continue with the service for a further year, to host both the critical business to consumers and the business to business websites, acknowledged to be central for continued growth. Claritas works closely with Maplin’s own ecommerce and IT teams to ensure their investment is for the most appropriate technologies to mirror and achieve their business objectives.

Maplin has its HQ in South Yorkshire and its multi-channel retail strategy alongside its 192 stores and mail order division are all serviced from there. Maplin also has operations in Taiwan, China & Hong Kong, and employs 2,100 worldwide.

“Claritas completed its initial contract extremely competently, always prepared to go above and beyond the confines of the agreement, to ensure our web platform maintained maximum availability for our over 30 million annual visitors. We have every confidence that the team will work closely with us over the next twelve months to support our planned business growth and exciting developments in our online presence.”

Mark Smith, IT Director, Maplin Electronics

“It is imperative for Claritas to ensure we always deliver to the highest standards, maintaining our enviable reputation within the hosting industry. Maplin’s further contract is another testament to that. We look forward to continuing our partnership over the next term and beyond.”

Kevin Edwards, Sales Director, Claritas Solutions Ltd

2012 January

Rapid Response IT Benefits Millions

Millions of NHS patients are benefitting directly from a super efficient and brand new web site facility which ensures swift delivery of essential daily living aids.

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And the company taking the responsibility to ensure the entire system runs smoothly is Claritas Solutions Ltd, based in West Yorkshire. It has carried out the work on behalf of its clients Nottingham Rehab Supplies [NRS], the UK market leaders in the sector which provides and manages equipment and services on behalf of local authorities.

Crucial items such as mobility, toileting and bathing equipment are all now available to be delivered and installed within a matter of hours from the new online ordering service.

The site has been cleverly designed to resemble an online shopping site and would be familiar and feel comfortable to those who, for instance order groceries this way. The look of the site evolved from workshops with clinicians, who are the actual users, to ensure all their requirements were met, and which has resulted in this smart and innovative approach making ordering much quicker and easier.

Claritas earned the full trust of NRS through its rigorous test standards, applied before anything goes live on the system, its total reliability and its flexibility to adapt and introduce sensible options.

The mobile version of the website for use with BlackBerrys, Android, iPhones and iPads has also been set up and is a fully functional mini version of the website and provides another vital aid to those who need to order through the service for patients. This new and crucial addition to the service allows the clinician to place or authorise an order and track its progress whilst on the move, enabling real-time response for their clients.

“Our relationship with Claritas is based on total trust, which is so essential in our business. We provide a vital lifeline to millions and it is crucial that our site works faultlessly 24/7. The team who handle our IT have fundamentally changed our business by getting our new website to be all functioning and instantly reactive. And its introduction happened seamlessly. The project management, enthusiasm and responsiveness of Claritas continue to be the reason we contract the company.”

John Makin, Financial Director of NRS

“This has been an exciting project for us, and we have been rewarded by the total confidence placed in the team who have created such an important site.”

Kevin Edwards, Sales Director, Claritas Solutions Ltd

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