This week we want to highlight our search for an IT Support Apprentice!  We’re looking for an enthusiastic and focused individual to join our team here at MJD.

As our Apprentice IT Engineer you will be working alongside a team of IT Professionals, three of which have previously undertaken Modern Apprenticeships, so we have good experience in providing a high quality and enjoyable apprenticeship and learning to help you grow your skills and confidence in the workplace.  You can see Marko and Gareth below when they were interviewed by DYW in 2017 for Scottish Apprenticeship week.

As our Apprentice IT Engineer you will get a variety of experience working with our team on remote troubleshooting sessions and in the workshop.  You will also get experience and knowledge of the many services and processes we carry out for our clients to ensure their IT continues to run smoothly.

At the end of 2021, we produced a video for DYW with our advice and experiences of a career in IT, which may be beneficial to help you decide if this position is a good fit for you.

Our summer trainee from last year, Oliver, wrote a great blog on his time at MJD as well which you can read here.

Our most recent apprentices wrote a blog in conjunction with DYW which you can also read here.

If you think the role is the right fit for you and send us your CV and Covering Letter to and let’s find our next member for Team MJD!

With the ever increasing threat of cyber attacks, and the shift in the number of cyber attacks or attempts that we deal with on a daily basis we want to give you a guide on how to get started working on your cyber security.  One of the best ways to get your cyber security journey started is to go through Cyber Essentials.  Let’s dive into what this is and what the benefits are to your business.

Cyber Essentials is a government scheme which provides an IT security standard for you to achieve accreditation with.  Implementing Cyber Essentials ensures you have the technical controls in place to help protect yourself from over 80% of Internet based attacks.  This is something which we think is an amazing statistic and is one of the best arguments for getting your business through Cyber Essentials.  There are five control areas that Cyber Essentials requires you have configured correctly, these are:

  • Boundary firewalls and internet gateways
  • Secure configuration
  • Access control
  • Malware protection
  • Patch management

The actual process involves answering a self-assessment question set around these controls.  Once you achieve the standard, you then will be able to use the Cyber Essentials logo to market and proudly display your accreditation to your customers.  But you will also get Cyber Liability Insurance up to £25,000 of indemnity with a CE accreditation, which is another big advantage.  We like to use the analogy of home security alarms or CCTV on your house, if you put these protection measures in place you are deterring attackers and making it more difficult to gain access to your organisation’s data, so they are more likely to move on to another target.  We must stress that these measures will not stop a hacker should they want access, but it will make it considerably harder and take more of their time to gain access.  But remember, this helps to protect your business from over 80% of attacks!

But this is only the first step on the journey of cyber security, as this purely deals with the technical controls for IT.  There is also IT governance to consider which is where IASME comes into play.  IASME is an additional question set that covers Cyber Essentials and is expanded to include the processes and policies you have in place around data assets, risk assessments, people and disaster recovery.  IASME is internationally recognised as an alternative to ISO27001 for smaller businesses due to the lower financial costs required to achieve it but gives you a similar standard to attain and further protect your business with.

The cyber security journey with MJD as your Managed Service Provider would follow the steps in our infographic to the left.

It is important to remember that even when you reach step 8, the journey doesn’t stop.  Cyber threats are changing and evolving constantly, so yearly reaccreditation and improvements implemented to get recertified will always be required to keep your business protected.  Here at MJD we place a high importance on ensuring the advice we give our clients helps them to keep improving their cyber security but we would always encourage working with us on a cyber security plan and starting your business on this journey.

As part of our continuous improvement internally one of our Cyber Security Specialists, Craig Lambourne, has successfully become a Cyber Advisor with NCSC on top of his existing qualifications with Cyber Essentials and IASME.  We want to take this opportunity to not only announce this new service to our Cyber Security offering but also congratulate Craig on this achievement!  If after reading this blog you have further questions or want to get started on your cyber security journey just get in touch with the team here at MJD.

In the world of computers, Data Breaches are becoming more and more common. This blog will discuss how data breaches happen, what they are and how you can keep yourself and your team safe from them.

What is a Data Breach?

Data breaches are when large amounts of user data are leaked or released intentionally by malicious individuals or hackers. This information is then spread publicly or sold for malicious purposes. It could be used to cause further breaches, hack into user accounts and even in some cases steal money.

How does a Data Breach happen?

There are many different causes for a data breach. These are some of the most common:

  • Insecure Passwords

Hackers find it very easy to gain access to an account when the password is something as simple as “Password123” or “123456”, or “your dogs name and date of birth” as these are very easy to guess or through brute force. From here they could access sensitive information and gain access to an account with ease.

  • Phishing emails

Phishing emails are emails that pose to be someone you know, in an attempt to make you reveal sensitive information. This information can then be used to steal accounts, personal information and in some cases, money.

In 2014, the billion-dollar internet company, Yahoo, suffered a huge data breach, which ended up with 1.5 billion users accounts being compromised. This all happened because a Yahoo employee clicked on a link in a phishing email sent to them. Through this, they allowed hackers access to their network and publish the personal information of 1.5 billion People online, almost a fifth of the world’s population!

  • Software Vulnerabilities

Using outdated software can leave you vulnerable to Cyber-attacks, as new vulnerabilities are being discovered every day. Updating software on a regular basis is becoming increasingly important.

In 2017, the Credit Agency Equifax, suffered a large data breach, causing the data of almost 150 million users to be leaked, 200,000 of these containing sensitive credit card information. This was caused by Equifax using an outdated customer complaint portal, to which hackers found vulnerabilities for online and gained access to the company network.

How can I keep safe from data breaches?

Strong Passwords

Having a strong password or pass phrase is essential in preventing unwanted access to your accounts. If you have difficulty thinking up or remembering passwords/phrases then use a password manager to do it for you. It is very important to make sure each password you use is:

  • Unique and only used for one online account
  • Longer than 8 characters
  • A combination of capital and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Not containing the names of People, or pets or anything someone might associate with you in order to figure out the password

If you think someone has discovered your password, it is important that you change it as soon as possible.

Be vigilant about Phishing emails

In a company, it is very important that every member of the team is educated on how to spot and deal with phishing emails. One person slipping up and believing a phishing email could be all it takes for personal information to be breached. If you spot a suspicious email, always make sure to report it as Phishing and let your colleagues know about it – it could save them from falling victim.

Keep Software up to date

It’s always highly important to update all software regularly. Outdated software can leave you more vulnerable to data breaches and cyber attacks as important security updates haven’t been applied.

If you are concerned about data breaches in your business or wish to discuss how to increase your security please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team here at MJD.  Let’s make IT work for YOU.


Written by Oliver Souter

This week we want to address the new Windows operating system, Windows 11, and explain what is currently planned for Windows 10.  Personally, I feel like it wasn’t that long ago we were upgrading and replacing Windows 7 devices for our clients, but we’ve had a pandemic since then!

Microsoft currently have Windows 10’s retirement date as 14th October 2025.  Which gives us 3 years notice, so there is no immediate panic to upgrade to Windows 11 right away.  This is good as it allows us to plan upgrades and replacements in a controlled manner.  This is important because the main difference with Windows 11 is that devices can only upgrade to Windows 11 so long as they meet Microsoft minimum requirements.  This means that there may be some devices within your network which would be compatible with Windows 11 and need replacing.  The good thing is that we are not seeing major incompatibilities with windows 11 and devices at this moment in time.

Currently you can upgrade your Windows 10 system to Windows 11 for free, much like what happened when Windows 10 was released.  However, you only have 10 days to roll it back after this, so you need to make your decision quickly on whether you like it!  We’d always recommend our clients get in touch with us before they upgrade to Windows 11 so we can double check the software you currently use for your business activities is still compatible with Windows 11 to avoid any potential hiccups before they happen.

So, the takeaway is that while Windows 10 being retired is 3 years away, we need to be mindful that within the next 2 years we will need to begin planning our upgrades and replacements to devices within our network for Windows 11.  We would always encourage planning early so if you want to have a chat and plan out device upgrades with the team here at MJD please just get in touch!

This week we wanted to give you some pointers on how to make the most of your IT budget for this year.  We always recommend our clients speak with us about their IT budget and allow us to help advise them on what is required to be done this year and what they could look to do as improvements.  IT doesn’t have to be a scarey and large cost centre to your business.  We want to make your IT work for you and to do that we can help to demystify and help plan your IT spend.  Nobody likes something which is unpredictable or unknown, so let us help you to make it a known and quantifiable cost that allows you to plan and make better decisions for your IT infrastructure. Let’s dive in!

The first thing to consider is are there any major items in your IT infrastructure that will need replaced or be an additional requirement this year?  For example, servers, switches, routers, networking hardware or software upgrades etc.  Then, consider the recurring IT costs you might have for support, software etc.  Once you have accounted for these costs and set these funds aside you will now be able to see what funds you have available for improvements.

Once you have worked out your available funds for improvements, you can now make decisions easier on any requests you get from staff for new PCs, laptops and other devices.  When you know what is available to be spent on improvements and additional kit, the question of if you can afford it in your budget is already answered, leaving you to weigh up the business benefits to the new device.  If you don’t have any requests from staff for new devices a great place to start is to look at the age of all your devices and plan in to replace the older devices over the course of this year with the remaining IT budget.

If you roll this approach out to your IT plan each year and schedule replacing your older equipment, you will start to see less and less “failures” of PCs which bring unexpected costs and expenditure, and is unpredictable by the nature of failure.  Where you will end up is in a position with planned, predictable and expected IT costs.  If you’d like to discuss your IT budget the team here at MJD would be more than happy to help you plan your IT requirements for the coming year.

With IT hardware not likely to decrease in price anytime soon, we wanted to explain all the factors that may currently be affecting your IT bill within your organisation.  This may hopefully help you to understand the areas where you can have an affect and the areas where you and your MSP can’t affect your IT bill.  To help us begin, we’ve included all the main factors on your IT expenses in the figure below.

In a previous blog we covered the worldwide chip shortage, which you can read here.  Unfortunately, we are still seeing the affects of this in not just the IT world, but even the car industry!  As more and more of the items in our lives involve a computer of any kind they require chips, so until the supply can catch up with demand stocks will deplete quickly for some items.  It’s always worth getting in touch with your MSP as soon as you know you have a requirement to allow them to plan and advise on current stock levels.  This also leads onto the low supply, high demand factor.  When demand is high for any product and supply low the price will trend upwards until either demand decreases or supply increases.

The ever-present threat of cyber-attacks means that the costs required to protect your IT are increasing as more advanced and additional layers are required to protect you and your business.  Your MSP is also increasing their security measures and their insurance costs is increasing as more high-profile cyber-attacks take place and further test the conditions of insurance policies.  We are also recommending that our clients look to invest in their own cyber security insurance as the threat of cyber-attack continues to increase.

While our software develops and is now able to do so much more for us than previous versions, as it gets more advanced so does it’s minimum spec of hardware.  This in turn means that when you are looking to invest in IT hardware, the higher the spec the higher the cost which will also contribute to increasing IT costs.  On top of this, all industries are affected by the transportation and logistics issues which has increased delivery costs of your IT hardware.

The IT industry is facing a skills shortage in the UK, which is the same for many industries right now.  But this does mean that to be able to staff and provide our clients with high quality and efficient IT support that labour costs are increasing and with demand for IT professionals high and supply low, the labour rate is higher.  As you can see through this article, there are a few issues that we are all facing no matter what industry we are in and we are all feeling the affect of this.  Here at MJD, we want to make your IT work for YOU, so if you feel your current costs are increasing beyond a point you can manage with your current IT provider or if you don’t currently have IT support, we are here to help.  We have a variety of support models, designed to suit all sizes of businesses and the team here at MJD are always happy to discuss your individual requirements.

Let’s breakdown what RAM does and how you can decide how much RAM you need in your device.  RAM stands for Random Access Memory and is a component which is installed in your device and used for short term data storage.  Your programmes and data are stored on your hard drive or SSD, depending on which your device has.  Your processor will move this data from your drive to the RAM for short term access while you are working in the programme or on the file.  This means the amount of RAM you have can directly affect how quickly this process can be completed on your device.

Currently, we recommend a minimum of 8GB of RAM for any PC or laptop that we offer.  This would be sufficient for day to day office work or home use.  However, if you use design programmes or need to run multiple programmes all at one time we would recommend a minimum of 16GB of RAM.

When looking at the minimum spec for software that you work with, remember this is the bare minimum for the programme to run.  So the minimum spec won’t guarantee you will run the programme quickly, this is why it is important to look at the recommended spec if they offer this information or to choose a spec slightly higher than the minimum required.  This means your device won’t be using all its available RAM to run just that programme, it would have some capacity to spare which will also be beneficial for your device in the long run.

If you are unsure of whether you have sufficient RAM for your requirements, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team here at MJD who will be more than happy to advise.

This is a common dilemma when trying to decide what to invest your IT budget in, laptop or desktop PC?  Today we are going to go through the considerations we advise our clients who are unsure to help them make the decision.  It is never the case that one is better than the other, there are just pros and cons to each option.  Lets breakdown how to weigh these up for your situation.

Lets go right back to the basics, a desktop PC is a stationary device which will stay on a desk and consist of a tower, monitor, keyboard and mouse as a minimum.  Whereas a laptop is a portable device that has these all built into one transportable chassis meaning you can use it anywhere while on the go.

The key consideration when deciding between a laptop and a desktop is, will I need to move my working location frequently?  In other words, are you likely to set yourself up at a desk and always use the device there or do you want to work at various different locations or setups?  If you are looking to setup a fixed working area and don’t require the flexibility to take your device with you wherever you go a PC is the one for you.

Desktops tend to be more customisable in terms of their spec and you can get more for your money, as the components don’t need to fit in such a small portable chassis.  Laptops of the same spec as a desktop PC will generally be a higher price, and this is why we recommend a desktop over a laptop if you do not need the portability.  The other advantage is that a desktop is easier to upgrade components in the future if you need additional spec, whereas this is much harder in a laptop and might mean you need to buy another machine if the spec can’t be upgraded to what is required.

This is where the argument comes in that if your budget will allow and you need portability but also want performance, having a desktop and a laptop working together will provide you with the best solution.  This way, the laptop won’t need to be such a high spec it just needs to be sufficient for the work you do on the go, and you can get a good spec desktop for the majority of your work.  And especially if you utilise cloud storage through Microsoft 365’s One Drive for example you can ensure that you have access to all your files on both machines and work seamlessly between them.

If you are looking for a new desktop or laptop and unsure what would suit your needs best please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Team here at MJD.  Lets make IT work for YOU.

In our last blog post we touched upon the topic of driver software, so lets dive deeper into the role of a driver and why they are necessary to allow your PC or laptop to run.

A driver is a small piece of software which communicates the instructions from your devices Operating System (OS) and the programmes in use on the device.  It acts in much the same way as a translator would, to allow us to understand another individual speaking in a foreign language.  The driver gives the OS and installed programmes the correct language to communicate with your device.  Internal devices such as Disk drives, DVD drives, sound and graphics cards and external devices like printers, keyboards and monitors all require drivers to work properly with your PC or laptop.  Most of the time without the correct driver, the device may not function properly, if even at all.

Device drivers mean that each device you might want to connect with your PC doesn’t need to be able to communicate directly with any possible combination of software and OS on your PC.  The device driver doesn’t need to have an interface that you as the user can interact with and understand as it allows the software or OS to communicate with you as the user.

Drivers like any piece of software get updates too, and sometimes when you experience an issue with a device or your PC it can be due to an out of date driver.  As a result, you may sometimes hear or be told by our engineers that they are checking the drivers installed on your PC and then checking for any updates, to see if this will resolve your issues.  Just as new words are added to the vocabulary and translations between languages need updated, the language that our computers use changes and develops.  Windows 10 has a large amount of built-in drivers, and therefore this may be why until reading this blog you have rarely come across or had to consider your device drivers.  Hopefully this will help to give you some understanding of what a driver is and why it’s necessary ready for the next time you are speaking with one of the team here at MJD about an issue on your PC caused by your drivers.

There are a lot of steps and tasks to be completed when you are hiring a new employee and the IT requirements of that new employee can be just one step in the whole process.  This week we want to highlight how important it is to give your IT support sufficient time to setup all the required hardware, software and user accounts.  We’ll also break it down into the different stages and points that you should consider when preparing for a new employee.

First off, how much notice does your IT support require to successfully setup a new employee ready for their first day?  There are two main factors which can drastically change the required time which we need to consider here:

  • Is new hardware required?
  • If existing hardware, is it fit for purpose and has no outstanding issues?

If new hardware is required, the more notice you can give the increased chance of successfully ordering, receiving, and prepping the devices in time for the new start there is.  Currently, with the worldwide chip shortage (read our blog post on this here) the lead times for laptops and PCs are increasing.  This means the likelihood of finding a fit for purpose spec off the shelf is extremely slim and will require a build date, subject to parts being in stock.  As a bare minimum 1 month’s notice for new hardware for a new start should allow for build, delivery, workshop prep and on-site setup ready for your new start.

If there is existing hardware, it is important to schedule a health check of the PC as soon as you know you wish to assign this PC to the new start to ensure the PC will be fit for purpose and in working order.  Remember, if any issues are discovered and you require to go for new hardware, the timescales above would apply.  So, as soon as you know you are hiring a new employee and want to use existing hardware, schedule a health check for the hardware.  This will give you maximum chance of successfully having a fully functioning setup for your new employee.

It basically comes down to that the earlier you involve your IT support, the more chance of success you have on the first day of your new employees career with you.  Here at MJD, we encourage our clients to get in touch with us early so that we can help advise on the best solutions and setups for the new role.  We are here to ensure IT improves your efficiencies and supports your core business, not hinder.

There are a couple of other factors that are important to consider when getting your new start setup, which we have detailed in a handy infographic to help you make sure you have all the details decided prior to setup of your new employee.


This infographic should help you to cover the main points to be considered in the IT setup of a new employee and help you have a successful first day for your new start!  If you have any questions after reading this post, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team here at MJD.  Let’s make IT work for YOU!

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