Windows 7 End of Life!

Windows 7 comes out of extended support on January 14th 2020. This means it will no longer receive updates from Microsoft. Those updates fix issues, close security holes and add features.

As a result, this means any Windows 7 (or Server 2008) machines will not longer be secure and will be a liability. In today’s security climate, this is not an acceptable risk and as such, our policy is that they need to be upgraded or replaced.

Please contact us for a quote or to discuss the options.

Outlook shared calendars preview

Microsoft have enabled a preview option in Outlook for the new shared calendar functionality. Have a look at this video for an overview.

Preview new shared calendars updates in Outlook for Windows

Microsoft is continuing to invest in Outlook for Windows calendar capabilities to assist customers in managing their time and connecting with people who help them achieve more. We are introducing an opportunity for Office 365 customers to preview new shared calendar capabilities aimed at improving the speed and reliability of how they sync. Learn more at the Outlook Help Center:

Passwords – managing and/or doing without.

Passwords are the Achilles heal of security. As stated in this Microsoft video, users hate them but hackers love them.

Lorica Support for our Office 365 clients is now conditional on all user accounts being protected by MFA. You can find out what MFA is from this earlier post.

If you are not using MFA, please raise a support ticket to request enforcing this.

Fancy doing away with passwords on Office 365 as shown in the video above? Please get in touch for details on the options.

However, you’ll still have passwords for many other sites and services. We strongly recommend a password manager. This will prevent your users being required to remember passwords, using the same passwords on several sites and using too simple passwords.

There are several acceptable programs for managing passwords. Our preferences are RoboForm and 1Password, both of which we an supply and assist you with settings up. Again…..get in touch for more information.

MFA setup for users in Office 365

  • 7 minute read
  • 10 minutes of video

Before MFA is turned on for your account and enforced, you need to have completed the setup procedure. It’ll only take a few minutes and well worth it for peace of mind.

This is no more difficult than you may have already completed for other accounts and/or services such as your bank’s online service, facebook or many more.

The steps required to enforce MFA on your account are as follows.

  1. Setup MFA and your authentication methods on your account
  2. Request MFA to be turned on for your account
  3. Use MFA.

You still need to have a decent password so don’t be complacent. Defence in depth is good.

Open your favourite browser and login to the Office 365 portal. Then open a new tab in the same browser and go to the following URL :

Here are two videos that will show you the procedure. This first one, is from Microsoft and is a few years old so the Office 365 look and feel is out of date but the explanation is very comprehensive.

Channel 9 MFA

Here is a video where Fred BLOGGS runs through the setup on his account using the mobile app.

It’s important to remember that you don’t respond “yes” every time the app asks you to, only when you know that you, and only you, are trying to login or use a program that is using your account.

If it pops up while you’re in the pub then chances are it’s some slimy toe rag trying to get into your account for mischief.

Office 365 User accounts

It is imperative that your users have secure accounts.

Our recommendation is that MFA should be immediately enabled for all user accounts. Please raise a ticket to request this on your tenancy as soon as you are ready.

MFA = Multiple factor authentication.

This is adding another method of proving who you are when logging on. The preferred method is the authenticator app on your mobile phone as it’s quick, easy and simple and nobody else can log into your account unless they know your username, password AND have you mobile phone.

Please email your account manager at Lorica to arrange a phone meeting if you would like to discuss.

Office 365 MFA Overview

Apple Making One-Quarter Of Its Revenue From Deal With Ad Giant Google

Figures from Goldman Sachs appear to show that, even though Apple may publicly take the moral high ground and criticise digital advertising businesses, it may actually be making $9 billion this year, one-quarter of its estimated total revenue, from a deal with digital advertising giant Google.

Opposition and Irony

Apple has been famously vocal about its high regard for user privacy and its opposition to the idea of harvesting user data to feed online advertising. For example, in a TV interview in April (Recode’s “Revolution” TV special with MSNBC) Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook said that Apple had elected not to “make a ton of money” from customers by not monetizing them, and that “we’re not going to traffic in your personal life”. Also, Apple investors and financial commentators have witnessed what they saw as a transformation of the business that they may have believed was based purely on the products.

It is ironic, therefore, that something that Apple appears to be opposed to is quietly responsible for a large chunk of the company’s growth.

Services Segment

It is true to say that iPhone sales are still the biggest contributor to Apple’s growth, but something called the ‘Services Segment’ is the second biggest contributor to Apple’s revenue growth. This segment includes ‘licensing’ as a sales growth driver in this segment, which actually refers to Apple’s collecting of money from its search contract with Alphabet Inc.’s Google, as well as other sources.

The Google deal means that Google pays Apple $9 billion this year (and an estimated $12 billion next year) to remain the default search engine in iOS devices such as iPhone and iPad. Goldman has been reported as saying that it is likely that this revenue is charged based on the number of searches that users on Apple’s platform originate from Siri or within the Safari browser.


The figures from Goldman have attracted some criticism online from investment and tech commentators who have pointed out that, even though Apple appears to be publicly opposed to systems that harvest personal information for advertising purposes, the deal with Google means that it actually makes one-quarter of its services revenue from enabling such a system by Google, while not having to be accountable for the negative aspects of it.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Advertising is a necessary part of marketing for many businesses, and tech giants such as Google and Facebook offer advertising services to businesses. In our lives as consumers, however, we have become increasingly worried about our privacy and how our personal data is being used and sometimes shared, and there is no doubt that data harvesting is used to target advertising. The fact that Apple appeared to be publicly against the idea of harvesting of data for advertising, and yet makes billions per year by enabling Google to do just that while being able to distance itself from any flack about it (until now) is likely to be another blemish on the reputation of the trillion dollar company.

Some investors and investment commentators may also find themselves believing a little less in the idea of Apple’s transformation and success being purely down to its products and may be surprised that such a large chunk of Apple’s revenue simply comes from a browser deal with Google.

The Support Agent and how you can use it to make your life easier

  • Why the agent?
  • The Status of the agent.
  • Using the agent to get your machine information
  • Using the agent to submit a ticket
  • Change your machine description
  • Using privacy mode

Why the agent

The focus is moving from on-site, over the shoulder IT support to remote and automated assistance for a whole raft of reasons. Faster resolution, lower costs (travel, vehicles, equipment etc) and much more.

To enable this, as well as other functionality we have an “agent” installed on all appropriate machines. This enables us to :

  1. Run reports and audits
  2. Monitor the state of the machine
  3. Send messages to one, several or all machines.
  4. Schedule updates and patches
  5. Tech to user chat
  6. Remote control sessions
  7. Copying files to and from machines
  8. Updating registry entries
  9. Locking down machines
  10. ………and much more (again!)

So…..if the agent isn’t installed and running on your machine then there’s not much we can do to help. You’ll know if it is as there will be an icon in the system tray.

The Status of the agent

The icon in the system tray will change depending upon the status of the agent. Sometimes this can indicate a problem and other times it can show something is in progress.

Here’s a list of the icons and the brief description of the status.

(NOTE : The back-end system we use for the management is called the “AEM platform”)

Name Description
Online Managed Agent that is currently connected to the AEM platform.
Offline The Agent is not connected to the AEM platform.
Privacy Mode The Agent is currently connected to the AEM platform and has Privacy Mode enabled.
OnDemand Mode OnDemand Agent that is currently connected to the AEM platform.
Alert Mode Online The Agent is online and waiting for a job to be run by the end user.
Alert Mode Offline The Agent is offline and waiting for a job to be run by the end user.
Stopped The Agent service has stopped. No logging is performed at this time.
Active Screen Share (Shown with ‘Online’) A screen share session is currently in progress. The tray icon alternates between the Active Screen Share icon and the Online icon for the duration of the remote session.


Using the agent to get your machine info

Double clicking the agent icon will open up a window on your desktop which is called the “agent browser”.

As you’re not an Endpoint Management Administrator you can just ignore the login fields on the left.

On the right, you have three tabs.

1)      Summary – this shows you information that we often as you for but which you’d not necessarily know off the top of your head. We refer to machines by their name in the same way you refer to vehicles by VIN or registration. It also lists the operating system, the machine’s serial number, the currently logged on user and so on. Take a look as you can’t damage anything.

2)      Tasks – this is where we will have a list of tasks that you can fire off, either when requested by IT support or that we’ve pre-informed you about. For security reasons very few users have administrative rights on their machines. This just isn’t required unless you are a virus and want to infect a machine or you need to install an update or patch. We want to avoid the former but we hope to populate this with useful tasks you can invoke when you need them rather that raise a support ticket.

3)      Tickets – we like you to raise a ticket by email as the preferred method. However, despite a well designed and fairly simple support ticket procedure (which you can find on the Intranet) getting the basic information from users to allow us to know where to start troubleshooting is like getting blood from a stone. See below for how to submit a ticket from here to make both your and our live easier.Using the agent to submit a ticket

Using the agent browser, you can raise a ticket and it’ll populate it with much of the info we need and ask to explicitly for other relevant information. Furthermore, for tickets raised here you can add notes and close them from the same tab. (Please note, you don’t see the note you’ve added until later so click submit once only)

On the ticket tab clock on the New Ticket button and then just fill in the form that you are presented with. Simples!


Change your machine description

If you right click on the agent icon, the menu that pops up allows you to change the machine description. It won’t change the actual machine name, but you can write a short description that you can remember, and we’ll have logged against the machine name. Like having the vehicle with registration AL61 RDT known as “John’s yellow Porsche Carrera” for example.


Using Privacy Mode

For some staff such as senior management, HR and personnel there are times when you are working on something confidential and don’t want to be disturbed. You can use the Privacy mode to restrict IT access to your machine while you are doing this.  Privacy mode is avaialble from a right click on the system tray icon.

If you turn on privacy mode to surf dodgy websites then we have a klaxon that sounds at IT support and a screen showing your name.

You can choose to have it on, off or off for a specific period.

Christmas and New Year Hours

We wish all our clients and suppliers a very Merry Christmas and all the best for the upcoming 2018.


Those clients with an our of hours support arrangement can use the contact methods provided over the festive period. We will continue the maintenance regime that we presently have in place over the holidays.

  • Fri 22nd December 08:30 – 14:30
  • Wed 27th December 08:30 – 17:30
  • Thu 28th December 08:30 – 17:30
  • Fri 29th December 08:30 – 17:30
  • Tue 2nd January 08:30 – 17:30

Phone Number Changes

We’re changing our telephone system again. Apologies for the inconvenience.

The change will take place over the Christmas holidays and be in full effect for 2018.

Please update your contact details as follows.

(shown in standard e164 number format which you can dial “as is” from any phone – feel free to remove the country code and replace it with a “0” but you don’t need to)
  • Lorica Sales/Admin/Accounts : +44 115 857 6826
  • Technical Support Helpline :    +44 115 857 6828
  • Lorica France :                             +33 5 17 12 14 18

Hours of operation are unchanged at 08:30 through to 17:30 Monday to Friday. If you have an “out of hours” support arrangement please use the specific numbers available to you for emergency calls which remain unchanged.

We like the operation of this system and can supply it so please ask if you need more info.