All posts by Melanie Lenz

TPT Group Acquires IT Engine

TPT Group acquires IT Engine

IT Engine is excited to announce that the business has been acquired by TPT Group.

The IT Engine business dates back to 1997 when it was originally called Quay Corporate, rebranding to IT Engine in 2012.  IT Engine specialises in cloud, backups and recovery, hardware, mobility, and is an award-winning business.

The business has been recognised through multiple awards including 2017 Winner of the Microsoft Midmarket Cloud Solutions, 2016 Finalist – Microsoft Midmarket Cloud and in 2014 Winner of the Microsoft Server Platform and Small Business awards.

Mike Marr, parent company TPT Group CEO, commented that “TPT Group continues to invest in the future innovation space and IT Engine complements our existing IT business and our electronic security business Advanced Security.  This acquisition will further increase our market capability and will allow us to further develop our range of new innovative products”.

The IT Engine name will become the nationwide brand for our information technology services business and staff will remain with the business as it is integrated into the group.

Delia Gill of IT Engine added “The IT Engine team is very excited to be joining the TPT family.  Not only are we looking forward to adding value to this growing innovative group of people, we are excited about the opportunity that this gives us to extend the IT Engine brand”.

TPT Group, Independent Chairman Graeme Hansen commented that “This is another significant step in extending TPT Group’s service offering to our customers in a rapidly changing world. It evidences our commitment to meet, and even anticipate, customer requirements.”

Parent company TPT Group acquired electronic security business Nelbay Solutions in July, Auckland based IT company Sentinel Technologies in late 2017, following a string of other acquisitions around New Zealand including Concord Security in 2016, Struthers Electronics & Security in 2014 and Systems.Com in 2010.

With this acquisition the group will have 18 offices across New Zealand.

The Advanced Security business also carries out significant IT services and is New Zealand’s largest dedicated corporate and industrial electronic security provider, with many high-profile corporate and government clients.

 

About TPT Group

TPT Group was formed in 1999 and since inception has acquired ten businesses, has had eight successful start-up businesses, with two more currently underway.  The group is proudly New Zealand owned and passionate about building a great business.

TPT Group has a focus of future innovation and believes that’s such businesses, solutions and products result in new careers and job security that can only be great for New Zealand.

The group has successfully integrated multiple businesses, providing the right experience, structure and resources, to facilitate growth.

TPT Group today owns businesses in the electronic security, SaaS, technology, finance & leasing, information technology, asset inspection, and commercial industrial property sectors.

Businesses include Advanced Security Group, Technology Leasing (NZ) Limited, Promessa Property Group Limited, ASGSPL Limited, ASG Technologies Limited, VigilAir Limited, Asset Insight Limited, IT Engine and TPT Group Investments Limited.

 

Stop using that USB drive to move documents around…

You’ve got way more mobile storage in the cloud! 

We all know that everyone likes to move their documents around with those little USB drives…The ones that end up on your desk, at the back of a draw, or rattling around in the bottom of the washing machine.  It’s so convenient… you are talking with someone and mention that you “have a copy of that file right here… on this USB stick… maybe in this pocket… somewhere… hmm… I think it’s on my desk… it’s really good though”. 

If you have Office365 for your email, then it’s almost guaranteed that you also have a plethora of storage solutions at your disposal as well (just check with the IT Engine team on what you are licenced for). 

The one that I suggest you take advantage of right away is your 1TB (1000 Gigabytes) of OneDrive for business.  Think of it as your USB drive in the cloud that will allow you to: 

  • Access from your mobile device. 
  • Access from any computer 
  • Access a version history of files 
  • Co-author documents (Simultaneously edit with other people) 
  • Share with other people (within or external to your organisation) 
  • Change permissions at a file level 
  • And more! 

Now imagine that scenario again.. 

“I have a copy of that file right here… here … let me show you on my iPhone… do you want a copy?.. let me share it with you now… you can edit it from your device and I will see the changes as you go.. we can work on it together…”. 

Delivering Mobility Solutions with Microsoft PowerApps

Mobility has been a buzzword in the information technology sector for some time, yet many organisations are finding this challenging. The device side of mobility is well in hand, the technology performs well and connectivity is close to everywhere.

The challenge is how to get these devices to deliver productivity beyond “just using them for email”.

Enter Microsoft PowerApps https://powerapps.microsoft.com – a way to build applications that can deliver true mobility to your team.

In a very short space of time, you can build an application to gather information, or present and aggregate information from 200+ data sources and present them in meaningful ways to staff, in or out of, the office.  Examples of support data sources are SharePoint, SQL Server, and Dynamics CRM.

The list of data sources is constantly expanding, and you can even add your own through customised connectors.

Apps can be built to work on tablets or phones, allowing field works to collect, disseminate, and update information, all in real time. This prevent delays in the processing of paperwork and potential errors in transposing that information. It also means that business decisions happen with up-to-date information.

How hard is it to build a PowerApp? Not hard at all – the heavy lifting is done by Microsoft and the cloud. With some guidance, a person with modest skills in an application like Microsoft Excel would be able to build a PowerApp.

The rule of thumb with apps is they are small and modular – you build an app to fulfill a single business function for two reasons:

  1. The development cycle and cost of building an all-singing-all-dancing app is prohibitive to most organisations.
  2. Updating a single function app is more time efficient with a short learning curve, ensuring no loss of productivity.

Get in touch with us now, to discuss where PowerApps could mobilise your business, and see it in action –  then get in touch. Roland will give you a live demo (he reckons he is that good).

BTW… Article writing by Roland Tuck.

How the cloud improves mobility

Give your employees the freedom to work from anywhere at any time

Technology increases mobility. Tablets, laptops and smartphones all offer the possibility of working in places other than the traditional office. But it’s not always obvious how to take advantage of this freedom.

For example, let’s say your employees spend much of their time visiting clients or travelling between appointments. It would be great if they could get some of their work done while sitting on a train or waiting in an airport lounge.

They can, of course: they can answer emails, write or edit draft documents and perhaps update a spreadsheet or two. But that’s not the same as actually being in the office. Once they get back, they’ll have to ‘sync’ their changed files with those on the office file-server, and move draft documents into the right folders.

This wastes time. It would be much better if your roving employees could access everything while on the move. In other words, if they could log into the office server remotely and have instant access to all applications, documents, emails and files.

This has been possible in the past, but only by using a VPN (Virtual Private Network), which can be complicated to configure and a hassle to maintain for large numbers of employees.

Now things are much easier. If you use cloud services, your employees can log into their work applications and access their work data at any time and from anywhere (where they have internet access). They will have the same level of access as they would if they were sitting at their desks.

This is possible because cloud services are hosted on the cloud company’s servers. Microsoft Azure services, and apps such as Office 365, are hosted remotely on Microsoft’s own secure servers. So you and your employees have the same access to the same files, apps and emails, whether logging in from the office or from an airport lounge halfway around the world.

There’s no need to sync data when back in the office. No need to copy changes from draft documents back to the server. Everything is updated instantly. Whether your staff are working from the office, from home, from a seminar, an airport or a train, it makes no difference. As long as there’s an internet connection, they can work from anywhere.

Naturally this requires strong passwords and preferably two-factor authentication to ensure the security of your business data. But with those in place, it’s a secure method of working.

If you trust your employees (and if you didn’t, you wouldn’t have hired them) you can give them more freedom and greater mobility. For example, if they finish a client meeting at 2pm and it would take them an hour to get back to the office, tell them to go home instead. They can finish their working day remotely, getting just as much done – if not more.

This empowers your employees and improves staff loyalty. Trust is a big factor in employee satisfaction, and cloud mobility helps you demonstrate your trust. Signing up for cloud services with Microsoft Azure lets you increase productivity and employee satisfaction.

How cloud storage can protect your files from ransomware

Keep your data safe from crypto attacks

Ransomware is malicious software (malware) that infects computers and encrypts files, making them impossible to access. It does this quietly until lots of your files are encrypted. Then it pops up a notice saying that you can get your files back… but only by paying a ransom, usually in Bitcoins.

Sometimes ransomware is called ‘crypto’, an abbreviation of ‘encryption’. There are many different types, and more are appearing all the time.

The ransomware attack in May 2017 targeted Windows-based computers. Microsoft had released a security patch earlier in the year, but not everyone had applied it. The WannaCry ransomware virus caused chaos in many countries, but New Zealand had a lucky escape.

The attack happened on a Friday night our time, after the working week. IT providers had time to patch vulnerable systems over the weekend and warn users by email. If it had happened on a Wednesday or Thursday, the outcome might have been very different.

In some ways the attack was a blessing in disguise. All the media attention has encouraged people to take IT security seriously. The damage could have been far worse: the virus was only disabled by accident and could still reappear in a more dangerous form.

So how can you protect your files? Obviously it’s important to take sensible precautions such as having up-to-date anti-virus/malware software and not clicking on random email links. But this virus was able to spread without email, so that’s not enough protection.

What really matters is having a good backup strategy. Regular backups into the cloud will help keep your files safe.

How? Imagine you were working on a document called “Marketing Strategy Q3 2017” Over a period of weeks this document was written, edited and rewritten, with additions, comments and amendments from everyone in your organisation.

Then, one day, up pops the dreaded ransomware notice telling you that “Marketing Strategy Q3 2017” has been encrypted. What do you do? Without cloud backups or other offline backups, you’re in trouble. Either pay the ransom and hope you get the file back, or create a new document from scratch.

But with cloud backup things are much simpler. First, ask your IT provider to clean the ransomware off your system. Second, roll back to a clean version of “Marketing Strategy Q3 2017” from your cloud backup and carry on working where you left off.

Cloud backup is no longer a luxury. It’s essential if you want peace of mind that you’re safe from ransomware.