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News, opinions and updates from the Virtuoso team.


News, opinions and updates from the Virtuoso team.

The Cloud - Demystified In Less Than Ten Minutes

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The Cloud

For years ‘the cloud’ has been talked about constantly in business technology circles. And by now you’ll find that most SMB owners are already aware of how cloud computing is transforming the way that companies do business and cuts IT costs. However it’s still a fairly complicated subject if you’re not technically minded and the potential business value of migrating to the cloud might not be that clear.

It might entertain you to know that according to research done by Wakefield research, 54% of SMB’s stated that they had never used cloud technology. And of that 54% it was found that about 95% of them were in fact already in the cloud and had been for years, they just didn’t realise it.

We are going to explain ‘the cloud’ for anyone who perhaps isn’t 100% certain of the details. The cloud is here to stay and the economic benefits make too much sense to ignore.

Put simply, the cloud acts as a storage space. If you imagine your online storage system as a cramped office with files spilling out over the filing cabinets, there is no budget to upgrade offices but it’s becoming chaotic. Then imagine that your building manager offers to rent you an empty filing cabinet in the basement.

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The basement is shared with other tenants who have their own filing cabinets and spaces but only you have the key to yours. You move your files into the basement and suddenly your office is less cramped and running more efficiently. And you can pop to the basement to collect files whenever you need. This is a rough analogy of how the cloud works.

Large businesses have higher IT budgets, which allows them to own a massive internal network infrastructure, but SMB’s often don’t have the budget or support to do this. That’s why the cloud has allowed the playing field to be leveled between small, medium and big businesses. It’s an equalizer in many ways. It gives SMB’s the opportunity to do large-scale business at a lower cost.

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The cloud is more or less a sexy (if you like that kind of thing) buzzword for the Internet. Or at least the next evolution of the Internet. Anyone who has ever used or hosted an email provider like Gmail has stored sensitive data in the cloud, even if they didn’t realize. Cloud-based email hosting was the first and most broadly adopted cloud service used for both personal and professional use.

Use services like Amazon, Netflix, even Facebook and Twitter? You’re part of the public cloud.

The cloud is big. It’s big and its made up of different elements. It has three deployment models, private, public and hybrid.

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Private Clouds are often built by large companies with bigger resourses and deeper pockets than SMB’s. But what has been a game changer for SMB’s is the Public Cloud, public cloud deployments are 100% virtual. This means less hands-on management is required as the infrastructure (hardware, devices, network equipment etc) is all off-premises. And with this an SMB benefits from not having to pay for and manage the hardware, deal with software licensing or updating or pay for empolyees to manage it all.

Cloud migration companies generally offer one of 3 categorised cloud-computing services that are referred to as layers within the cloud. These 3 services are:

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Simply put, the cloud hosts an application for any type of work process that an SMB will need.

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What are the advantages of using the Cloud?

Reduction of costs: Since the cloud works on mass scale computing, onsite physical storage hardware and internal IT staffing are reduced.

Anytime and Anywhere Access: Since data access is no longer restricted to single employees or physical devices, users can share and collaborate in the cloud at any time and anywhere.

Better collaboration: The cloud is available on demand to computers and devices from any location at any point of time, this allows for better faster collaboration between employees, especially as today's workforce is increasingly dispersed.

Faster deployment: Cloud-based services can be deployed within just an hour or a few days rather than the weeks or months it often takes to strategically plan, build and implement an internal IT structure.

Environmental friendliness: The clouds energy efficiency is attractive to any company conscientious about the environment and wanting to be ‘green’. For example, having fewer machines to run is obviously more energy efficient.

Improved security: Many SMB’s cite security concerns as the main reason they are reluctant to move to the cloud, however, there are actually very few data breaches involving cloud providers. Data stored in the cloud may actually be safer than data stored on computers and company servers with an array of security vulnerabilities. Unlike a laptop, the cloud can’t be left behind on a train.

Business Continuity: Data storage and back up is one of the most frequently used cloud-based services amongst SMB’s. Many cloud service providers offer SMB’s unlimited storage capability, automated data sync and back up processes that reduce or eliminate downtime events

Still concerned?

SMB’s who are still uneasy about a move to the cloud can consider cloud monitoring through a local managed service provider (MSP). Cloud monitoring helps SMBs deploy to the cloud with confidence. Cloud monitoring gives the SMB owner around-the-clock end-to-end visibility into the performance of their cloud services and IT infrastructure. Monitoring services offer SMBs proactive monitoring, automated alerts, and full problem resolution support by way of a fully dedicated 24/7 networks operations center (NOC). Cloud monitoring is also carefully monitored with frequent audits to identify and address vulnerabilities.

The continuous analyzing and testing of your network, website and mobile applications can reduce downtime hugely. And cloud monitoring also tests your email server at regular intervals, which minimizes failure deliveries, and other issues that affect sending and receiving emails.

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Concerns about security are still valid but small businesses today may actually be exposing themselves to more breach vulnerabilities by not being in the cloud. The notion that data must be on-site to truly be secure is as misguided as the belief that money is safer tucking beneath a mattress than in the bank.

To see how we can help you with cloud migration visit our website or get in touch for more details


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How to Successfully Onboard New Employees

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It can always be a major challenge finding the right person to fill a newly vacant position. If you’re the person who has to organize the hiring and subsequent onboarding then there’s a lot more to the work than simply offering the lucky candidate the job and clunking them at a desk with a computer.

A mistake many companies make is thinking that as the candidate has proved themselves suitable through an often gruelling interview process, they will be just fine to be thrown into the position and given minimal supervision, as after all, didn’t they just sell themselves on their quick-learning and adaptability? Employers need to remember that it is THEIR role to ensure that the onboarding process is carried out thoroughly, efficiently and with the proper levels of communication with the new employee(s).

We are going to break down the key parts of the onboarding process and the best practices and key things to remember from each.

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Employee Onboarding

First Steps: Don’t wait for your employee to start before you begin outboarding! There are many things you can do beforehand to help ease the transition and take some of the stress out of the first day. Create a checklist to ensure all documentation that they are expected to fill in is ready for them, and ensure that their manager or colleague are briefed as to the onboarding process and able to answer any questions the employee may have. Make sure that the new employee’s work area is set up and all technical equipment is working correctly and ready to be logged on with a new user. And lastly, it won't hurt to provide the new employee with any reading material about the company that they can read ahead of time to help familiarise themselves with the history of the company and/or the role.

What your new employee checklist should contain:


  • A review of company policies.
  • An introduction to their team and key colleagues.
  • A tour of office and workspace.
  • A review of general position information.
  • Assistance getting and setting up equipment, including computers.
  • A review of their upcoming schedule.
  • Ensuring that all necessary forms are filled out.
  • A review of work hours.


BONUS: Download a New Employee One-Page Checklist Here


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Tech know-how

It can be easy to forget that whilst you and your team may have been using the Super-Mega-CRM-3000 for the last 15 years and are all well versed in its quirks and technical specs, for a newbie it may be completely different to the system they are used to and will take some getting used to. Providing clear and thorough training on using any tools and tech that the role requires will speed up the adjustment process, getting your new employee confidently up and running in no time.

Don’t forget the social side!

When a new person joins your company, obviously the key essentials in ‘orientation’ will include the legal bits and bobs such as contracts, HR documentation, and equipment or tech handover and finance info. However don’t forget that a happy employee is a good employee, with research proving that happy employees are 12% more productive than unhappy ones.

So to ensure that your new employee starts off as a happy one, ensure that they become oriented in the other important aspects of the company such as its values, culture and people. It is important for new employees to be involved in socializing within the company whilst they are receiving training. This will help them feel comfortable and secure within their new position and company and will help them understand more about the different roles within the business and the people that perform them.

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What are the benefits?

It shortens the learning curve. Companies with an effective onboarding process that provide on the job training give new employees a safety net. Starting a new job can be terrifying and as an employee you may find that aspects of the company culture or workload are not quite as you expected. Let alone a new environment, workmates, location… It can really be quite daunting. By providing training for new employees you give them the chance to get to know the company and its workings better and with familiarity comes happiness. And of course, the more training you provide, the quicker the new employee gets up to speed and is confident in his or her new role.

Provides useful feedback

The more training a company does, the quicker and easier it becomes to see how efficient the training program is and thus further refine it. Getting an employee up to speed may take some time in training that the company may feel it doesn’t have enough of, but without feedback the employee can become disengaged and that’s a bad place to start a new working relationship!

Socially integrates new employees

Being the new person at work can be isolating and stressful. Companies must make a conscious effort to introduce new employees to other staff as soon as possible and encourage the working relationship between them where appropriate and relevant. The quicker a new employee feels comfortable with his or her peers, the quicker they will feel comfortable asking for help or offering it if that is the case. Employee engagement and productivity go hand in hand, 22% of employees are less engaged at work because of workplace conflicts.

On-the-job training and providing mentors can prove to be a successful and efficient way of ensuring employee engagement and happiness.

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So your new employee is clued up on the tech, has met everyone in the office, filled out all the forms and feeling confident and happy to continue work with less supervision. Great stuff! One more thing though… everyone knows that problems and unusual situations can arise with no warning, it is key that you make sure that your new employee knows where to access support when they need it. If they have a mentor that is a great person to provide this level of support and trust for them, as they will hopefully have a long and positive working relationship with them. But also make sure that they have access to resources that they might need for specific tasks that haven’t cropped up yet.

Making sure that you follow a comprehensive and thorough onboarding process can ensure that your new employee integrates into the company quickly and happily.

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10 Office Management Tools That Will Change Your Life

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Whilst the title of 'Office Manager' can often jokingly be referred to as the Jack/Jill of all trades, the fact is that Office Managers really do need to have high levels of organisation, time management and people skills to cope with the workloads that often get dumped upon them.

To be a smart efficacious Office Manager you must be able to handle a range of duties and responsibilities whilst often being called upon to add more tasks to your daily schedule.

What is office management?

Plainly put, Office managers are responsible for managing and improving the logistics and working environment within an office. But it doesn't stop there. Office Managers are repsonsible for organising scheduling, financial assistance, handling all purchases related to office supplies and dealing with external suppliers, as well as being a key support role for the other employees within the office.

A role that requires wearing many hats!

Luckily there are a variety of office management tools and software that are available to assist in this often under-appreciated role. These can save you time and stress.

Here is a list of the top ten office management tools that we believe are the most effective.

1. Asana

1. Asana

Price: Free

Available on iOS / Android / Web

Asana is a great tool for ensuring that workplace productivity is improved. Asana's main function is to improve communication among all employees working across a variety of projects. The app promotes teamwork and gives you many ways to communicate online without getting lost in a web of email chains. Asana helps you keep track of project progress by giving you clear deadlines and a range of 'note-making' abilities. You can assign tasks and subtasks to individuals as well which is particularly useful for project managers wanting to ensure that everyone knows their own responsibilities.

2. Evernote


Price: Free

Available on: iOS / Android / Web

Evernote is a useful little app that can save time when you are taking notes, whether in a large brainstorming session or in a one-on-one. Evernote users can collect articles, notes and images as well as compile lists. All documents are then easily accessible and with just a click of a button the documents translate into professional screen-friendly formats. Evernote is useful for managers trying to keep track of important tasks that require frequent additions of information.

3. Wunderlist

3. Wunderlust

Price: Free

Available on: iOS / Android / Web

Wunderlist is often described as one of the best to-do list apps out there, available in mobile and desktop, and it's easy to see why. It's simple, efficient and easy to use. It may be a straight-forward list and task manager app without too many bells and whistles but with features such as task-assigning to colleagues and the opportunity to share certain lists with certain users it still is a great tool for list-writers. It also sends push notifications and task reminders for a gentle nudge to complete a task.

4. Hipmunk for Travel


Price: Free

Available on: iOS / Android / Web

It can be difficult enough to organise travel for yourself but when it comes to organising travel for a mixture of in-house, remote and over-seas workers it can be downright stressful. Luckily Hipmunk shows flight and hotel comparison deals from multiple sources and has a super easy to use interface that not only allows you to compare prices but also see on a map where your hotels are quickly and easily.

Hipmunk also lets you buy packages so that you can take care of everything all at once. The key thing in its favour however, is that you can save your searches and finds and come back to them later, giving you time to get financial approving before booking, and the prices won't have shot up in the meantime,

5. Deliveroo

5. Deliveroo

Price: Variable

Available on: iOS / Android / Windows / Web 

Sometimes you need food asap for an impromptu board meeting, or a late night deadline. Deliveroo allows you to order high-quality nutritious meals online from your favourite local restaurants with fast delivery straight to your home or office. They have a handy easy-to-use app and deliver from a range of popular restaurants such as Wagamama, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Zizzi, Byron, and the mighty Meatliquor. So you don't need to resort to greasy takeaways or soggy sandwiches.

6. Dropbox

6. Dropbox

Price: Free

Available on iOS / Android / Web

Similiar to Google Docs, Dropbox is a file-sharing app that lets you share images, documents, videos and more with colleagues across a range of devices. However Dropbox also lets you edit and update files, informs you when a file has been edited and updated by another user and ensures that you have the most updated version whenever you use it. With dropbox you have everything in one place, easily laid out and you can work on files with colleagues without having to endlessly email the most current version back and forth. Dropbox has a range of price tiers but you really get a lot of megabyte bang for your buck in terms of storage.

7. Office 365

7. office365

Price: Variable

  • Available on:  Windows / Android / Web

At its core, Office 365 is the same suite of Office products and services you recognize, now provided through the cloud, meaning hosting will be provided by Microsoft servers and not your own servers. It's a subscription-based service, giving companies easy access to the latest software releases so you’ll always have up-to-date and secure software running.

It includes

  • Email (Exchange/Outlook/Outlook Web App)
  • Storage (OneDrive)
  • Collaboration tools (Skype for Business, Sharepoint)
  • Productivity software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • Fully supported Skype for Business


8. Hootsuite


Price: Variable

  • Available on: iOS/ Android / Web

You may not also have responsibilities for the social media for your company but it's still good to be able to monitor what is being posted on your brand's channels. Hootsuite is a social media scheduling tool where you can schedule posts for over 35 social networks. There are options to track your performance, engage with followers and read what people are saying about your brand. With Hootsuite reports you can see how well each of your posts performs, giving you the edge to turn that data into better content.

Hootsuite has a multiple-user feature which means that as Office Manager you may not want to get bogged down in the nitty gritty of reports and data, but you can still just check in online and keep an over-view of how the socials are performing.

9. Amazon Business

9. Amazon Business

  • Price: Free
  • Available on: iOS/ Android / Windows / Web

In an office, it can be amazing how many people assume that office equipment and products just magically materialise. Of course, if you’re doing your job as Office Manager really well then that’s exactly what’s happening. Ensuring everything is replaced before it runs out. However this is real life and in real life, things come up, you may not have planned for there to be a disaster with the coffee machine and the ten packs of reserve printing paper to now be covered in cold coffee mulch but there you have it. Luckily with Amazon Business you get free two-day shipping and can get those emergency supplies sent straight to you in no time.

As an Amazon Business customer you also have the ability to create multiple accounts making it easy for other employees to purchase items, but also requiring you to approve the charge before it goes through, giving you freedom to assign smaller tasks but still keep an eye on expenditure. You also have access to business only products and pricing.

Basically, Amazon Business is your one-stop shop for all things office-related.

10. Lightshot

10. Lightshot

Price: Free

  • Available on: iOS / Android / Windows

Taking screenshots on your Windows or Mac was never been easier like the Lightshot.

Lightshot is a screen capture tool developed by the Skillbrains which is extremely easy to use for capturing screenshots on your Mac or Windows systems. All you have to do is press the print screen button on your keyboard and select the area that you want to capture.

It will instantly show a number of tools to enhance the capture by adding text, shapes, colors, etc. After making the necessary changes, just save it right from the screen to whatever location you like. To organise and manage the taken screenshots you reach the saved location or create an account on their website.

Lightshot is a very useful tool for easily taking screenshots on your devices. It is lightweight, efficient, and usable by any person who has the basic knowledge of computers. If you are looking for a basic screenshot application without any advanced operations and functions, Lightshot will be the right choice.

Save Time!

These tools will help you keep on top of all of the minutiae tasks that can really add up. It may seem a challenge to work off several different apps but with a little planning and preparation, setting times each day to check on certain apps and add to lists will ensure that your organisation levels are running at an all-time high.

This list covers apps that handle time-management, list taking and even catering, but it's by no means exhaustive - What office management apps do you use to get work done? Do you use any of these apps and can vouch for them? Let us know! We'd love to have your feedback.

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7 Critical Things to Consider When Relocating a Company Office


It's always an exciting time to be moving to a new office space as usually it means new and improved services, better location and a bit of a fresh start for the employees. However, it can also be one of the most stressful things that a company can go through. A large percentage of companies actually put off the move due to the fear of how stressful it will be, continuing to stay in offices that are inappropriate for their needs.

If you are part of the team responsible for any kind of office relocation there are many important factors to consider to ensure a smooth transition and that disruption to staff and clients is minimised. The good thing is that you are unlikely to have to do this many times in your career! However, this also means that if the time comes it will be a completely new experience and there may be a lot of pressure to ensure that the new facilities meet the current and potential needs of your company.

We've put together a list of the seven essentials factors you need to consider to successfully manage an office relocation project:

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6 Tips For Managing an Office Efficiently

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As an Office Manager, it usually falls on you to keep the office running as efficiently as possible. But when you combine a company of people with different personalities, multiple pieces of office equipment and software media, and a never-ending list of distractions, managing an office efficiently can get a little tricky at times. But all this chaos shouldn’t prevent you. In fact, it should be motivation to keep your office in good form!

If you want to manage an office efficiently and develop your management and leadership skills, here are some office management tips to keep things running easily.

Prepare rather than react.

If you take the time to prepare for your day then you are ready for what happens rather than reacting to the situation when you are in it. Planning for the next day can take some of the stress and guesswork out of your daily life and may help you prioritise tasks more efficiently.

Help yourself out.

  1. Your mind at any one time. Writing lists for each area that you cover can be a useful way to make the day seem less daunting. We love Todoist, which is a simple and easy tool for list-making and checking off.


  1. Having a schedule will help with planning the day and prioritising your to-do’s. You’ll be more aware of deadlines and make sure nothing is missed off. Make sure you schedule in some breaks too.

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Set up a filing system that works for you.

Most filing is digital now but you still need to be on top of what is stored and where. If the online system is baffling, figure out a more suitable method of filing and put it into place. Make sure that others understand the system too so that everyone is filing correctly.

Minimalise interruptions.

As an Office Manager, you will undoubtedly be answering a million questions at once whilst trying to keep on top of your regular tasks. Having a schedule will help organise your time and will actually help minimalise interruptions as you will be best placed to deal with queries at certain times according to your schedule when you can give it your full attention. Make sure that the times when you know will be quietest are used to their advantage. Turn your phone off, close the door, avoid unnecessary distractions.

Ask for feedback.

Having a relationship that is based on openness and honesty within the workplace can do wonders for employee efficiency. Ask for feedback from other staff members and more crucially, respond to it with either a discussion or an active change to acknowledge that their feedback has been taken seriously. TinyPulse is an employee engagement platform that gives leaders online tools to measure and improve company culture.


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It’s hard to hand over responsibility when you know (or think) that it might just be quicker for you to do it. But it may well be a waste of your precious time and if you don’t get out of the habit of taking on too much, you’ll burn yourself out. For example, with computer system administration, make sure that one person is responsible for the security of your computer software and keeping track of passwords etc. Using cloud-based systems is an ideal solution for some and we can help by assuming the day-to-day tasks of your operations and delivery, with a strong focus on rigorous IT governance, quality and operational excellence.

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Virtuoso awarded place on the innovative Crown Commercial Technology Services 2 (TS2) framework agreement.

London - September 6th, 2017 - Virtuoso, the IT services company that specialise in delivering simple and innovative IT solutions to complex problems, has been awarded a place on the innovative Technology Services 2 (TS2) framework agreement. Virtuoso has a wealth of experience providing IT services and solutions and coupled with a consistent record of success, is ideally placed to deliver tailored IT solutions to central and local government sectors, estimated to be worth between £1bn and £3bn. 

This award will see Virtuoso supplying services across the UK public sector bodies including government and the wider public sector, social housing organisations, voluntary and community sector bodies, education and the NHS. Being part of the TS2 framework broadens Virtuoso's reach and capability for their public sector customers leveraging expertise across server, desktop, storage and network environments.  Along with vendor relationships with many of the world’s leading software vendors, Virtuoso infrastructure management is implemented through an ITIL-based best practice framework.  

Markus McIver, CEO, said "We are delighted to have been awarded a place on CCS T2 framework.  This award further demonstrates our strategy and commitment to bringing agility and innovation to the UK public sector.  Success across Lots 1,2, and 3 will enable us to work in partnership with customers from strategy through to operational services."

crown commercial service supplier logo

The Technology Services 2 framework is the innovative solution for every public sector customer’s ICT service requirements, including services at all government security classification levels, and offers this through:

Lot 1: Technology Strategy and Service Design

For developing or enhancing ICT strategy and service design, this provides access to the specialists services offered by Virtuoso.

Lot 2: Transition and Transformation

For implementing ICT strategy or services, site relocation or transition from your current services agreement; this lot provides all of the transition and transformational activities required, including legacy service decommissioning.

Lot 3: Operational Services

This lot is for operation service needs in four distinct service groupings:

3a: End User Services
3b: Operational Management
3c: Technical Management
3d: Application and Data Management

About Virtuoso IT 

Virtuoso was founded with the belief that a small technology-focused business could succeed in a competitive landscape by truly engaging with customers, delivering business aligned solutions and building a business that would draw some of the best technical capability in the country without the constraints of a traditional sales-led organisation. In every customer engagement, our team engage with both technical and commercial stakeholders to rapidly drive value.

Virtuoso has a wealth of experience providing IT services and solutions, coupled with a consistent record of success, making Virtuoso ideally placed to deliver a full suite of products, solutions and services. 

Learn more at www.virtuoso-uk.com

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Virtual Reality in the Workplace

We are huge fans of VR here at Virtuoso and are looking forward to seeing how Microsoft VR Development Kit will start being utilised within the workplace. The following is a post from Eric Vanderburg, who serves as the Vice President of Cybersecurity at TCDI and Vice Chairman of the board at TechMin. This originally appeared on the Dell Blog here

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For decades Virtual Reality (VR) has tantalized our minds. We have an acute fascination for it since virtual reality offers us experiences no other technology can match. The implications for gaming and entertainment are quite obvious and have consumed much of the recent conversation on the subject.  However, virtual reality goes far beyond gaming and media. VR is currently entering many homes but soon headsets like this one that appeared at CES 2017 will make its debut into workplaces, and already has in some instances. In fact, VR adoption in the workplace is expected to increase rapidly as the technology becomes more democratized. But what will this look like?

The End of the Conference Room

Workplaces can expand beyond physical boundaries to connect employees and customers with virtual reality. Employees may connect with each other in a virtual meeting space rather than over a conference call, eventually allowing for non-verbal communication interactive presentations or virtual collaboration from remote employees as if they were in the office together. This use case for VR is anticipated and highly valued. According to Dell’s Future Workforce study data, 67 percent of millennials believe it is important to use virtual reality in meetings and product development.

Virtual Workspaces

Virtual reality allows employees to take their workspace with them much like they carry their applications and user interface customizations or virtual desktops with them now.  A headset replaces the monitor and the surrounding workspace such as family photos, wall art, books and other items you would find in an office.  This virtual office can be accessed just like a virtual desktop.

Virtual Prototyping

With VR, prototypes can be experienced, rather than just viewed. Employees can step inside a machine or walk through a building plan before a single part has been ordered.  This helps companies create better products and avoid costly rework.

Virtual Training

VR can also be used for to create realistic virtual environments where skills can be put into practice. Training in VR allows people learning new tasks (students made me think of schools) to make mistakes without actually breaking something and the virtual environment can be reset quickly and easily so trainees can practice until skills are second nature. The immersive environment of VR allows for a deeper imprint on memory and caters to a different learning style that can better reinforce knowledge and improve recall.

VR and the Customer Experience

Virtual reality is also has tremendous opportunity for consumers to virtually try out goods before making a purchase. Currently, some real estate firms allow customers to virtual walk through a space.  Construction is similarly undergoing changes with VR. Imagine walking through an office or home while it is still in the design stages, checking out the view from your next vacation rental, sitting behind the wheel of that new car, or virtually trying on clothing from an online retailer. The sports industry uses virtual reality to replay events in previous games or train on certain maneuvers. This is some of what VR is offering the enterprise.

Roadmap to VR success

Dell’s workforce study showed that employees, especially millennials, expect to be working in a smart office in the near future and many do not consider their current office smart enough. Virtual reality in the enterprise is a way to attract the best talent and to make them more productive. VR also enables companies to establish better relationships with their customers. So how do companies prepare now to utilize this technology?

Businesses need to be able to create VR content for their employees and customers, so they must have the equipment and training to make their ideas a reality. Dell is one company that has stepped in to meet this challenge by providing the tools for VR content creation and an environment where innovation and collaboration can take place. In an interview with Liam Quinn, CTO at Dell, he explained how Dell has established a VR center for excellence where companies work with VR technologies, collaborate and innovate solutions. Dell also provides VR content creation tools with its Precision workstation series that is equipped with hardware capable of creating VR applications.

It is not too early to start thinking about how VR will fit into your enterprise. Connect with the VR community, exchange ideas, and equip your workforce with the tools to seize these opportunities.  Are you ready to take your company into VR?


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What, when, why, how, and everything you need to know about the new GDPR


What? The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the new legislation from the European Union which replaces the 1995 Data Protection Directive (DPD).

The DPD consisted of a now-outdated set of laws designed to protect the personal data of UK citizens. The GDPR make data protection rules standard across the board (Europe).

When? The GDPR comes into effect on 25th May 2018, and even though the UK is leaving the EU, the GDPR will take effect before the two-year timeframe of Article 50 meaning businesses will still need to conform to new regulations in the meantime. CTO of Virtuoso, Greg McCallum says, It's essential that your IT systems meet the technical requirements of GDPR before the regulation comes into effect.

Proper data governance is only possible with a well-designed, well-managed infrastructure platform that is both agile and stable. We can help you bridge that gap, saving time and money, to ensure your company can become compliant as soon as possible.

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Now you see it, there it stays!


Decreasing business costs and risks of costly data loss

We live in a 24/7 global economy that is more dependent than ever on technology. Even the technology of small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) houses sensitive digital data - employee and customer information, internal emails, documents and financial records, sales orders and transaction histories. Not to mention applications and programs critical to daily business function and services. 

Employees at SMBs require continuous access to the critical business data needed to meet the demands of the customers or clients they service. They even want this access while they’re at home or on the go running errands. 

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The Value of a Helping Hand

The Value of a Helping Hand

Reducing The Costs and Complexity of IT With a Managed Services Provider

The Technology Pains of Small Business

Small business owners are faced with quite the dilemma these days. While a reliable and secure network is a critical component to success, business owners are also being forced to scale back on costs and overhead as a means of basic survival in today’s economy. 

Having a fully staffed IT department simply isn’t a viable option for a majority of small business owners. Many small businesses either have one full-time employee devoted to IT services or none at all. Both scenarios are recipes for disaster in an increasingly complex high-tech society.

One IT person, even a very small team, will likely be overworked and burdened by too many responsibilities. This can make a company’s business infrastructure increasingly vulnerable to breakdown, not from technology, but from human error.  A recent study conducted by Gartner projected that through 2015, people - not technology, will be responsible for up to 80% of technology failure. This number coincides with findings reported in the IT Process Institute’s Visible Ops Handbook stating that 80% of unexpected outages are due to poorly planned changes implemented by administrators and developers.

The forecast is even stormier for businesses with absolutely no IT support on payroll. These business owners have subscribed to the break/fix model of technology management. While this model can sometimes be out of necessity due to budget restraints, it can also stem from a state of ignorance or denial that their business is truly susceptible to technology failure. The overall health and profitability of their business is directly affected by the performance, reliability and security of its technology systems.  

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Keeping Small Businesses Safe: Combating Cybercrime on a SMEs Budget

Keeping Small Businesses Safe: Combating Cybercrime on a SMEs Budget

What happens on the hight street stays on the hight street

When hackers breach the security of corporations it makes headlines, yet there is rarely a mention when cybercrime hits small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Very few people are even aware that today’s cybercriminals are targeting SMEs, not just super-sized global businesses.

According to Verizon’s 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report, 71% of the data breaches investigated by the company’s forensic analysis unit targeted small businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Of that group, businesses with less than 10 employees were the most frequently attacked.

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Embracing The Age Of Mobility & The Byod Workplace

Embracing The Age Of Mobility & The Byod Workplace

In today’s always-connected world, the time-honoured separation of work and personal time is quickly disappearing. Mobile devices such as laptops, netbooks, tablets, and smartphones have fundamentally changed how all of us live and work.

With work no longer confined to a physical office space, or limited to traditional business hours, we’ve created an increasingly mobile and dispersed workforce capable of working anywhere at anytime. 3 out of 5 workers  today no longer believe an office presence is necessary for a productive day’s work. By 2015, the IDC estimates the U.S. will have over 200 million people working remotely.

By now, it’s obvious that BYOD (Bring- Your-Own-Device) isn’t just another buzz-worthy acronym or a workplace trend that will eventually fade; it’s part of the complete restructuring of the conventional way we’ve worked up to this point.

There is simply no going back to the way we were. With or without company approval, employees prefer working from devices they own and are most comfortable with, meaning it’s out with yesterday’s loud, clunky and slow in-office desktop PCs and in with today’s feature-rich, on-the- go, employee-owned mobile devices.

Although many small-to-midsize enterprises (SMEs) have fully embraced BYOD for its countless benefits, this proliferation of employee-owned devices accessing company databases, files, and email servers is unprecedented. It is also risky because it increases vulnerability to security breaches and data loss.

Which raises the question: are workplaces today responsibly ushering in BYOD with safety, security, and long-term adaptability in mind?

In this e-guide, we will examine the pros and cons of BYOD and outline five safe BYOD practices to ensure a safer and smoother transition into this age of mobility.

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Weathering the Storm: Zero In On Downtime For Long-Term Business Continuity and Customer Satisfaction

Weathering the Storm: Zero In On Downtime For Long-Term Business Continuity and Customer Satisfaction

Small business has changed dramatically within the last decade. No change has been more profound than our dependency on information technology (IT) systems to support critical day-to-day business functions.

In today’s increasingly competitive high-tech environment, it is critical that all business operations run smoothly and efficiently. Business momentum, employee productivity and customer service all depend on an IT infrastructure that must be both accessible and secure at all times. Constant network availability has become essential to most small and midsize businesses (SMEs) today.

This reliance on IT systems has also created a stronger link between data centre accessibility and total cost of ownership (TCO). Even minimal amounts of unplanned downtime today will result in lost revenue, productivity and negatively impact overall brand reputation.

Preventing or rebounding from downtime was once deemed the IT team’s problem, however, this unprecedented modern- day dependence on technology has made the frequency and costs of downtime more of a business problem. Prolonged or recurring downtime can cripple small businesses and requires the attention and understanding of C-suite management in order to be properly addressed.

Unfortunately, many executives at SMEs are still not as tuned into daily network operations as they need to be. For this reason, they lack a true awareness of the frequency of downtime. This lack of insight and visibility is regrettably putting far too many SME sat an increased risk for downtime and the costs associated with it.

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Why More SMEs are Turning to the Cloud to Reduce TCO

Why More SMEs are Turning to the Cloud to Reduce TCO

More small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) seem to be taking the initiative to learn more about the benefits of the cloud. Determining why SMEs have this sudden keen interest in the cloud isn’t all that tricky.

If you shouted, “Cost Savings!” in a room full of SMEs, you’d undoubtedly be the centre of attention. And it seems as if this is also the motivating factor as to why more SMEs are looking into cloud-based solutions to reduce expenditures.

Although it seems like an oxymoron to recommend investing in new technology to control costs, cloud-based solutions can be leveraged for a greater return on already inevitable operational expenses. By enhancing productivity and overall efficiency, the cloud could help spur business growth and profitability.

Here are few of the reasons more SMEs are opening up to cloud-based solutions…

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The Benefit of Insight - Mitigating Costly New Technology Risks For Continued Stability and Profitability

The Benefit of Insight - Mitigating Costly New Technology Risks For Continued Stability and Profitability

Contrary to what you may read, IT costs don’t necessarily have to skyrocket as your business grows. Small and medium- sized enterprises (SMEs) just have to be more cognisant of where their technology investments are going and what they’re truly getting as return on their investment.

As businesses rely more than ever on technology for day-to-day functions, managers realise that they simply cannot afford the lost productivity, lost revenue and the negative impact on business reputation that comes with a downed system or network.

At the same time, many businesses can’t justify the costs of employing any  full or part-time IT support given today’s economy. In fact, many small-to-medium sized businesses choose to pay for on-site support on an as- needed basis as opposed to having one or several dedicated IT employees on payroll.With the recent buzz about the potential benefits and cost savings of virtualisation software and cloud computing, many SME executive teams are rethinking how their technology investments are currently allocated.

Two things you’ll find many technology dependent peers focusing on today are a greater return on investment (ROI) and a lower total cost of ownership (TCO).

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Cloud Monitoring Can Be the Difference Maker for SMEs

Cloud Monitoring Can Be the Difference Maker for SMEs

It’s a fast-paced world. Not only do people want things, they want things right now. This sometimes unnerving need for instant satisfaction has only intensified now that we have Wi-Fi and mobile devices that keep us connected regardless of where we are, what we’re doing, or the time of day. There is no longer any tolerance whatsoever for waiting. A business with a website that fails to load, or loads too slowly, will lose customers and leads to competitors.

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Remember… Always Practice Safe BYOD

Remember… Always Practice Safe BYOD

No matter what blog or magazine read these days, it seems like everyone is talking about today’s increasingly mobile workforce and the BYOD (Bring-Your- Own-Device) movement.

We live in an exciting time when work can be done at any time from any place. Employees love the fact that they can get work done on their iPad as they sit poolside sipping a Pina Colada. Businesses love the cost savings along with the happier and more productive employees they’re noticing. Meanwhile, customers and clients take note that their emails are commonly answered outside traditional work hours with a “Sent from my iPhone” tagline at the bottom.

Like anything related to business technology, there are naysayers who are quick to warn that a more mobile and dispersed workforce also means increased security risks.
Do they have a point?

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Why SMEs Must Proactively Address the Threat of Mobile Hacks

Why SMEs Must Proactively Address the Threat of Mobile Hacks

More cyber criminals are targeting small-to-medium sized businesses. One reason for this is too many workplaces have insufficient bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies in place. Some have none at all. Although firms are generally more knowledgeable about network security risks than in years past, they still woefully underestimate the security vulnerabilities linked to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

This is a real cause for concern since data breaches have the ability to put many already financially challenged SMEs out of business.

If customer/client data has been breached, there could be potential litigation costs, and naturally, lost goodwill and an irreparable hit to brand or company reputation.

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Stay Secure...More Hackers Targeting SMEs

Stay Secure...More Hackers Targeting SMEs

Many SMEs don’t realise it, but the path to some grand cybercrime score of a lifetime may go right through their backdoor. SMEs are commonly vendors, suppliers, or service providers who work with much larger enterprises.

Unfortunately, they may be unaware that this makes them a prime target for hackers. Worse yet, this may be costing them new business.  Larger companies likely have their security game in check, making it difficult for hackers to crack their data. They have both the financial resources and staffing power to stay on top of security practices. But smaller firms continue to lag when it comes to security. In many cases, the gateway to accessing a large company’s info and data is through the smaller company working with them.

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5 Ways SMEs Can Save Money on Security

5 Ways SMEs Can Save Money on Security

Small-to-medium sized businesses and large enterprises may seem worlds apart, but they face many of the same cyber-security threats. In fact, in recent years, cyber-criminals have increasingly targeted SMEs. This is because it’s widely known that SMEs have a smaller budget, and less in-house expertise, to devote to protection.

Thankfully, there are several things SMEs can do today to get more from even the most limited security budget. And, no, we aren’t talking about cutting corners. Far too often, SMEs cut the wrong corners and it ends up costing them more money in the long run. It’s a matter of taking a smarter approach to security.

Here are five smart approaches to take.

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