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Are You Currently Renovating Your Home?

Are You Currently Renovating Your Home?

Are You Currently Renovating Your Home?
Being toasty warm at home is one reason to have a fireplace, another is for pure character. At The Fireplace Warehouse, we believe that a good fireplace is one that is installed by the professionals, which is why we only offer professional installation for all of our fireplaces. They are designed with you and your home in mind, so no matter what you need, you can find fireplaces, fireplace accessories and stoves unique to anywhere else.

Consider upgrading your fire and fireplace today!

We’re not going to beat around the bush: we’re one of the premier stockists of fireplaces, gas fires and electric fires in the UK. Fireplaces are what we do, and whether you buy online or you head out to one of our showrooms, we’ve got expert advice to help you to decide what to buy. We’ve got over 20 years of experience in the industry, and we can give you the warmest welcome when you buy with us.

The Benefits of Upgrading Your Fireplace

You may not consider it when you’re in the middle of a house renovation, but upgrading your electric fire or your gas fire should be a priority for you. Why? We tell you all about it below:

  • The fireplace is the focal point of the room. People are drawn to it – you point your sofas at it! Sitting in front of the fire in the evening with a warm drink and a good book is the ultimate comfort, and it’s the main attraction in the room, no matter what room it’s in. Upgrading for a new fireplace will make the home look good – which is the goal!
  • People choose a fireplace because it’s more efficient as a secondary heat source. Most original fireplaces are not particularly efficient as they are a decoration. However, if you upgrade your fireplace you can keep the heat in and the cool air in the summer, too, with no escape.
  • Any upgrade in the home is going to cost money, but a fireplace is an upgrade that works out cheaper than the bathroom or the kitchen. You’re going to transform the space pretty quickly with a different fireplace, and it will cost you far less than you expect!

These three reasons are the main ones to upgrade your fireplace, but there are so many others that we simply can’t fit onto this page. Choosing The Fireplace Warehouse for your upgrade is the smartest choice you could make during your renovation, so what are you waiting for?

Visit Our Showrooms

With showrooms within easy reach of the North West of England, you’re going to find experts waiting to fill you with fireplace knowledge when you come for a visit. We deliver everything to you, but only after we’ve talked you through your choices and what would be best for your home and budget.

Let us help you to upgrade your home’s fire and fireplaces, and you’ll be living in comfort and warmth in no time!

Not the Time to Hide Your Business Away

Not the Time to Hide Your Business Away

Now Is Not the Time to Hide Your Business Away

Improve your online presence – Plan for the future – Boost your website.

Do you want your website to show up at the top of search engine results? Why, over 90% of adults who use the Internet rely on search engines. Our organic search marketing services will help your business. When your business ranks in Google’s top ten local search results, you’re more likely to get new leads and sales. Our job is to improve organic SEO so that potential customers come to you.

Not the Time to Hide Your Business Away

Which is Why Website Promotion is so Important

Websites offer many benefits for the home business owner. For online shops, to other selling professional services such as recruitment or car servicing. Others earn income through advertising, sponsorships and affiliate marketing, such as on blogs. Other types of websites are marketing tools in and of themselves, providing information about the business and how to best get in touch for services in an online brochure.

While all these website options work, they only fulfil their purpose if people visit them. If you think of a website like a storefront, that store doesn’t make money unless someone walks in and buys.

If a website is like an online magazine (such as a blog), it only makes money if people visit and buy from advertisers. As a marketing tool, websites deliver information about your business only if the market knows about and visits it.

Web promotion, and in particular Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)and Promotion is how online businesses get the word out about the website.

The more targeted traffic (visitors who fit your target market) a website receives, the better the chance of generating leads, making sales, earning ad income, and gaining clients.

So where to start…

Optimising a website should ideally start before & while the website is being built. Try to make sure your web development company understands the importance of creating a great user experience. Search engines including Google look for quality content, high site performance, great user experience, and web authority. The first and best way to appeal to search engines is through search engine optimization. 

Optimise your website with specific keywords to attract relevant traffic to help build traffic and earn qualified leads. Optimizing a website will help you to stand out amongst your competitors in search engines results. There are about a million ways to optimise your site (and a million things not to do) so make sure you get the help of an SEO professional if you plan on beginning the process.

Keyword research in very important at this stage.

Use Great Content.

Content is technically a part of search engine optimization, but it’s so important that it needs more than a mention. Content tells your story, provides a voice for your organization, and makes your brand seem even more authentic and real. As we’ve mentioned in our previous B2B content marketing blog post, content marketing attracts and engages qualified traffic and potential leads.

It is extremely important that you don’t let your website go stagnant after it is created. Adding quality content regularly will show that you really, really know your stuff!

There are a load of different factors that go into good SEO, like including certain keywords and phrases throughout your site. mobile optimisation and optimising your page headings to make them easily found by search engines. Google has also started taking website accessibility into account when ranking search results.

Building a new website means that you are also revising the content and layout of your old site, which means most of your SEO heavy lifting will occur before you launch. However, improving your website’s search rank can be an ongoing process. If you need some help getting your website to appear higher on Google, we can help.

Remember, almost every business wants their business to be found on the first page of the major search engines. Your business has to earn that right to get these results using an effective Search Engine Optimisation or SEO process.

Whether you are a small local business or a large company, being seen online can now be crucial to ensuring business success. But as more businesses move online, your website can easily get lost in the thousands of millions of results – but only if you don’t have the right help.

At Direct Submit, we believe every company is unique and we deliver a specific range of SEO services designed to help ensure the optimum performance of your website. With over 18 years of experience our goal is to increase the visibility & exposure of your business simply by generating more organic traffic to your Website.

Our SEO Services include:

 Making sure that you have interesting, unique content that people want to read

 Ensuring that your content contains keywords in the right places and quantity

 Ensuring correct SEO optimisation is applied

 Making sure the website can be navigated easily

and loads more…

It’s time to transform your business and become a leader in your industry. With offices in both Durham and Newcastle, we can help you do just that through Digital Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).  Get in touch with us today on 0845 272 2350 for a free SEO analysis.

Six Million Fear Losing Their Job

Six Million Fear Losing Their Job

Six Million Fear Losing Their Job
Despite UK furlough scheme 6 million fear losing their job – study shows. As many as 6 million people in Britain fear losing their job within six months as the coronavirus outbreak causes the biggest economic shock in living memory, a study has warned.

With much of business and social life at a standstill despite gradual steps to reopen the economy, the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) said workers feared the coronavirus recession would be worse than the 2008 financial crash.

Six Million Fear Losing Their Job

The Guardian newspaper is reporting as many as one in five people in a survey of 2,000 workers by Survation for the leftwing thinktank said they were worried about losing their jobs, despite government efforts to cushion the blow using its wage subsidy scheme.

Extended by the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, until October to avoid spiralling job losses this summer, the government is subsidising about 7.5m jobs at almost 1m companies through the furlough programme.

After just two full days of its operation more than a million self-employed workers made claims for over £3bn in emergency support through a similar scheme for people who work for themselves.

However, the survey found that 60% of workers are just three months or less away from defaulting on their rent or mortgage, suggesting the scheme has not stopped people feeling that they are perilously close to disaster.

The report follows evidence that almost a third of Britain’s lowest-paid workers have lost their job or been furloughed in the past two months, while job losses are starting to rise for those missing out on the government support schemes. Surveys from the Office for National Statistics also indicate more than 80% of the public expect their financial situation to deteriorate or stay the same in the next year, as the pandemic triggers the worst global recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Class urged the government to launch a job creation scheme and substantial spending stimulus to refocus the economy, calling for Britain to grow its way out of the slump with well-paid green jobs.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, said the survey highlighted how stressful life was on low wages and with insecure work. “Life has become harder still in the Covid-19 crisis – especially for those on the frontline.

“Although the problems these workers face have existed for many years, the Covid-19 crisis has laid them bare for all to see. And it has intensified the injustice.”

The trades union-funded thinktank also found widespread public support for giving key workers, including NHS staff, care workers, shop workers and delivery drivers a pay rise. At the same time 69% of those polled supported taxing the wealthy more to help pay for the crisis.

Faiza Shaheen, director of Class, said: “Protecting workers now requires us looking past emergency measures to a recovery plan. Coronavirus has put society in an X-ray machine to reveal its structural weakness and is now magnifying existing inequalities.

“It is up to the chancellor to seize this opportunity, to build a bridge from the furlough scheme and unemployment benefits to green jobs and a fairer society.”

Stainless Steel Fabricators in the UK

Stainless Steel Fabricators in the UK

Stainless Steel Fabricators in the UK
Carter Fabrications are one of the leading manufacturers of steel in the UK. We work on both domestic and commercial projects. Our family-run business delivers high quality, beautiful pieces fabricated in the heart of Lancashire. 

Stainless steel has been a popular design feature for many years. The strength and durability of the metal also make it highly popular with architects and often makes up the structural integrity of a building. 

Stainless Steel Fabricators in the UK

We have worked on a diverse range of projects and work tirelessly to ensure our clients’ vision comes to life, and their project deadlines are always met. 

How can you use stainless steel in your home?

One of the most popular applications of stainless steel in the home is in the kitchen. From worktops to splashbacks, the options are limitless. Stainless steel is known for its resistance to heat, and it’s also easy to keep clean and offers a hygienic surface. The appearance of stainless steel plays with natural and artificial lighting, enhancing the space and giving you a clean, fresh feel in one of the most important rooms in your home.

We have seen a rise in the number of homes incorporating stainless steel to their design. Steel staircases give a dynamic look to your hallway, opening up space and making it more inviting for guests. We have also created some stunning balustrading and show-stopping balconies for our customers. 

Home exteriors really benefit from this light-reflecting metal too. Homeowners are improving their homes with stainless steel balconies, giving a modern space to enjoy the British summer. 

Due to the durability and resistance of the metal to oxidation, we’ve worked on many garden products too, including gates and railings. Not only do these look stunning throughout summer, but they are also low maintenance during the winter months. 

Stainless steel fabrication for commercial use

Our commercial projects have included construction and design. Stainless Steel is extremely durable and robust, it has been used on internal structures of buildings, working with architects and engineers we have fabricated high-quality structural steel for over 25 years.

All our steel is compliant with BS EN 1090 execution class 2 for CE marking. Our steel fabrication process is fully compliant with all current building regulations. 

Alongside structural commercial projects, we have also created fire escapes for customers. 

If you are looking for a stainless steel fabricator in the UK, our team are happy to discuss your projects and help you to deliver your vision. Our bespoke service is tailored to your demands and needs. 

We pride ourselves on the exceptional quality of our work and attention to detail. Alongside the fabrication of stainless steel, we can also provide detailed technical drawings of any of our projects, helping our customers develop their ideas for the best results.

If you would like to ask us any questions about any of our commercial or domestic steel installations or for more information on any of our services, then please contact us on 01282 420 651 or visit our website at Carter Fabrications.

Thermal Imaging Services for Commercial Buildings

Thermal Imaging Services for Commercial Buildings

Thermal Imaging Services for Commercial Buildings

Thermal imaging is carried out to commercial buildings to identify the causes of cold areas within whole buildings. Our highly trained professional surveyors will conduct a thermal survey both internally and externally to identify any thermal issues throughout the building. We then detail our findings in a clear and practical to use the report.

We specialise in carrying out commercial building thermal imaging surveys throughout London and the South East

We have extensive experience in conducting commercial building thermal imaging surveys across the following types of buildings/businesses:

Office Blocks
Blocks of Flats
Railway Stations

Our team of highly experienced and Level 2 certified thermal imaging surveyors use only the highest resolution Flir thermal imaging equipment to allow us to detect anomalies within the building envelope and identify root causes of cold buildings or rooms.

Commercial building thermal imaging surveys are carried out to identify the following defects:

Cold Buildings & Cold Room
Causes of Heat Loss
Causes of Draughts & Air Ingress
Assess Insulation Performance
Identify Thermal Bridging
Assess Performance of Windows & Frames
Causes of Damp & Water Ingress

Our commercial building thermal surveys are carried out on foot by our engineers using hand held thermal imaging equipment during out of hours working. This means that activities usually carried out within normal working hours are not disrupted. The commercial building thermal imaging survey can usually be carried our within 1-2 hours, depending on the size and complexity of the building and the subsequent access.

Our thermal inspection is completely non-invasive and non-destructive meaning that the building suffers no mechanical or physical damage during the thermal survey.

To achieve enable us to recorded accurate results during the commercial building thermal imaging survey, it is important to consider the environmental conditions present at the time of the survey as this can have a negative effect on the thermal imaging reportage.

As a minimum, the following conditions should be targeted prior to the survey:

Heating systems within the building are operational
A temperature differential between internal and external areas of at least 10°C exists
Solar loading (effects of the sun) is avoided by starting before sunrise.
No precipitation (rain) either just prior to or during the survey
Building surfaces to be surveyed/inspected are dry.
Average wind speed to be less than 15 mph

Good information for Commercial Building Thermal Imaging Survey
It’s worth noting that a healthy building also makes the facility more comfortable and healthy for its occupants. This improved environment can also increase productivity and be very beneficial for the life cycle of a building. A healthier building means healthier occupants – a double win for employer and employees.

If you require a BREEAM Thermal survey our professional and certified Level 2 Thermographer’s will carry out your thermographic Inspections for BREEAM compliance in accordance with all necessary standards and current regulations, all we need are a few details such as floor plans and elevation drawings and the building location to provide a quotation. We will also send across our informative Thermal Survey Checklist to help you prepare for the thermal survey.

Contact APT Sound Testing
Contact APT Sound Testing for a free quotation for a thermographic inspection. All we need are a few details such an elevation drawings, floor plans and location to provide a quotation.

If you would like more information in regards to BREEAM Thermography Surveys, please contact us now at or call us on 07775 623464.

A Dry Cleaning Service Near Me?

A Dry Cleaning Service Near Me?

A Dry Cleaning Service Near Me?
A dry cleaners is a dry cleaners, isn’t it? The answer to that is a resounding no when you consider Newcastle based Dry Cleaners Dulais, based in Darras Hall, Ponteland. Boasting a clientele which includes well-known sporting celebrities and exclusive professional patrons, sensitivity and sophistication are two of the attributes which set this company apart in the field of cleaning services.

Things customers would never consider as important, such as design of the garment, hand-sewn hems, bias-cut construction etc are all considered in a dry cleaning company which boasts long term, state of the art training, keeping its operatives up to speed with the latest in garment design.

Dry Cleaning Service

With meticulous hand finishing and precision hand pressing, clients can be sure they will receive a pristine garment on pick up, so important with a couture/designer outfit. The company will remove stains from all delicate garments and those inlaid with stones, glass, brass or any other fastenings or buttons and give clothes a superior finish.

Nav Dulai also gives a stain removal service which is second to none in the field with an ultra-gentle and non-harsh process, achieving an astonishing 99% removal rating.

Clothing is an investment like any other and should be protected like all investments. Ensuring you get the best out of your clothes for the longest time possible is what Dulais on The Broadway, Ponteland will provide.

Add to all that a collection and a delivery service from anywhere in the north east, day time or evening and you can see how this company sets itself apart from the norm. No, all dry cleaners are definitely not the same.

Specialist Wedding Dress Cleaning Service
Imagine handing your precious wedding gown into the protection of the safest, most caring hands there are; gentle hands that will love it, respect it, nurture it and expertly clean and restore it, reserving the exquisite memories invested in every thread now and for the future.

Every day, brides all over the country come to us and say thank you for the love and attention we lavish on their dress; and we will collect yours from your own hands and transport it securely, scrupulously cleaning and preserving it in a beautiful box before delivering it safely back into your hands.

We treat every dress as unique, whether it’s classic or contemporary, modern or vintage, hand-painted or handmade. Every cleaning process should be unique also, so here at Dulais, we will create a bespoke cleaning process for your gown and your gown only.

Our techniques are painstaking, time-consuming, as you would expect from a reputable wedding dress retailers and consultants within the bridal industry. That’s because only a specialist, boutique cleaner on fabric care and preservation. And he is a perfectionist. His customers can therefore be assured that their garments are in the safest hands.

So if you are searching for a dry cleaning service near you, then for further information call 01661 820700 or visit the Dulais dry cleaning and wedding dress cleaning service provider websites in today.

Composite Doors – The Focal Point for your Home

Composite Doors – The Focal Point for your Home

Composite Doors – The Focal Point for your Home
Having a beautiful and well-chosen front door is the perfect way to create a focal point for the outside of your home and to enhance the rest of your properties existing features.  At I Want A Door they have an excellent range of high quality composite front doors that will improve the appearance of any home, and with a wide range of designs on offer you can be certain to find one that with complement the rest of your home perfectly.  With a straight forward and easy ordering system and a reliable team of expert fitters no matter what door you may decide on you can be sure that you will be completely happy with the service you receive.

Composite Doors - The Focal Point for your Home

With over thirty different designs to choose from whether you are looking for a traditional, a contemporary or a cottage style you are likely to find something that suits your design ideas perfectly, and with the option to choose from 39 different colour shades, a wide choice of different textures, patterns and colours if glass is included in your door and with the option to select your own preference of hardware including handles and letter box you have the opportunity to create something really individual.

Whether you live in a period property in the country, a contemporary city centre apartment or a traditional terrace house in a street with such a wide choice available will be able to make sure your door is perfectly matched to the rest of your home.  You can also add complementing patio doors to create a uniform look to the exterior of you home, and you can even have an over-door canopy added to you knew composite door so you can ensure your improvements are really in keeping with the rest of your property’s overall look. 

All doors from I Want A Door come with a full free of charge fitting service within the North East and one of their friendly team will be happy to visit you before your order is completed to carry out a site survey so they can make sure that your new uPVC door is fitted without a hitch.  When the days comes for your new door to be installed you can expect the job to be carried out with the minimum of disruption to you and your family and for everything to be left clean and tidy, they will also take your old door away for you completely free of charge.

Not only will new composite, uPVC and double glazed doors from I Want A Door look fantastic it will also help to make you property more secure and protect it from the elements.  With security chains, spy holes and multi point locking systems installed as standard in all composite doors, along with the use of toughened glass and the most modern materials every effort is made during design and manufacture to ensure that every door is made to the highest possible standard with the safety and security of your family in mind.

So, if you want to make the most of the outside of your home and are looking to invest in something really worthwhile why not take a look at some of the excellent designs of uPVC and composite doors at I Want A Door?  With such a wide range of choice and hardwearing low maintenance designs that are sure to stay looking good for years to come you will definitely be impressed with the quality and value available for such a competitive price!

 I Want a Door.COM provides a range of strong, secure and energy efficient made to measure composite doors. Cut out the salesmen and their commissions; buy your composite door direct from the UK’s leading composite door manufacturer. To find out more information, visit the I Want a Door website.

Using a Financial Planning Service

Using a Financial Planning Service

Benefits of using a Financial Planning Service
Using a financial planning service to help you make sure your future is as secure as possible is an excellent idea if you want to make the most of what you presently earn as there are many different ways you can invest the money you have to really maximise your return. While more traditional options such as investing into a pension plan can offer a degree of security for the future using a little clever investment alongside your regular pension contributions can help you to ensure that you can be more comfortable in the future and also have a little more flexibility and be able to access your money more easily if you want to use it before retirement age.

A specialist financial planning service provider offer an expert and impartial service to anybody looking to make sure their finances are in the best possible order and are able to advise across a wide range of financial products such as savings, investments, pensions and mortgages, as a reputable firm of financial planners they pride themselves on offering a no bias and personalised service to every client they help.

Planning for your future financially doesn’t just have to be about your old age, although these are factors to take into account, you can also look at investments for other long term plans such as your children’s education, paying off your mortgage or even a dream holiday you plan to take in around five years’ time.

With many different savings and investment plans available, some offering flexible plans or payouts in the future and the varying rates of interest offered by using a professional financial planning service you will be able to discuss your future plans in total confidence and then look at the various options available to see which could be most suited to you with the guidance of a fully trained expert in the industry on hand.

Whether you are interested in investing in additional property, want to find out more about stocks shares and other investments or simply want to design a well thought out saving plan so you can reach your financial goals, getting more information from one of the team of professional financial planners could be one of the best investments you could make as they will be certain to help you get the best possible return no matter what your future financial plans may be.

Sensible financial planning can really help you to reach your goals and enjoy the future you are striving for without having to make too many sacrifices now, by investing in the right places, putting your savings into a plan that offers excellent returns, or saving money elsewhere like reducing the payments on your mortgage being able to get where you want to be can be far more achievable than you may first think.

However, without the right help and advice it can also be really easy to make bad decisions or invest in something that carries far more risk that you first thought and to lose out in the long run so seeking the help of a trustworthy and reliable financial planning service.

Clothing Repair & Alteration Service

Clothing Repair & Alteration Service

High Quality Clothing Repair & Alteration Service

How often do you throw something out because of small rip or tear? How often do you take a new dress that you love back to the shop because it doesn’t quite fit? Do you know you really don’t need to do this? We’re all different shapes, and sizes and clothes in the shops aren’t going to fit everyone, but that doesn’t mean you should deny yourself that dress you’ve had your eye on for so long – just get it altered! 

Clothing Repair & Alteration Service

Clothing Repair & Alteration Service
When it comes to your favourite jeans which now have a hole in, don’t stress that you’ll never find a pair of jeans that will fit as well again or will be that comfy, simply fix your favourite pair. 

Not only is repairing and altering your clothes good for you, but it’s also good for the environment, and as we all try to be a little better when it comes to waste then your clothing is a really good place to start. Did you know that the fashion industry will consume a quarter of the world’s annual carbon budget by 2050?

This is something that we can do something about. How many times have you said, “I can just go buy another shirt, it was only cheap.” This isn’t a healthy way to think of clothing, and all this waste can really add up. Most of the time, something is repairable and repairing it will generate less waste in this beautiful world of ours.

Quite often getting your clothes repaired or altered is going to be cheaper than buying the same thing again new and not only that but the way stock changes so much these days, it might be hard to find the same thing again. It also means that your favourite clothes can last for longer and who wouldn’t want that?

When it comes to alterations, whether it’s having trousers hemmed as they’re too long or customising a top so that it flatters you in all the right places, clothing alterations can give you personalised clothes, tailored to fit you.

When you look at models wearing these clothes and wonder why they don’t look the same on you, it’s not because of you – it’s because the clothes have been altered and tailored to fit those models perfectly. So, if you want long-lasting clothes that you love then why not have them altered to fit you too? 

Clothing Repair & Alteration Service
We have over 40 years’ experience and a fantastic reputation. From broken trouser zips, shortening of Jeans, to a full curtain alteration service, you can be assured we will help to make your clothes and household furnishings fit. And with a changing and fitting room facility onsite, one of our highly qualified seamstresses will always be at hand to offer you the advice you need with a friendly & personal service, second to none.

Cyber Security & Homeworking

Cyber Security & Homeworking

Cyber Security & Homeworking
How to make sure your organisation is prepared for an increase in home working, and advice on spotting coronavirus (COVID-19) scam emails. As part of managing the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, many organisations will be encouraging more of their staff to work from home. This presents new cybersecurity challenges that must be managed.

In addition, cybercriminals are preying on fears of the coronavirus and sending ‘phishing’ emails that try and trick users into clicking on a link to a bad website (which could download malware onto their computer or steal passwords).

As part of managing the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, many organisations will be encouraging more of their staff to work from home. This presents new cyber security challenges that must be managed.

In addition, cyber criminals are preying on fears of the coronavirus and sending ‘phishing’ emails that try and trick users into clicking on a link to a bad website (which could download malware onto their computer or steal passwords).

This guidance on Cyber Security & Homeworking is provided by the National Cyber Security Centre:

> recommends steps to take if your organisation is introducing (or scaling up the amount of) home working
> provides some tips on how individuals can spot the typical signs of phishing emails

Asking your staff to work from home
Whilst working from home will not be new to many organisations and employees, the coronavirus is forcing organisations to consider home working on a greater scale, and for a longer period of time. You may have more people working from home than usual, and some of these may not have done it before.

Setting up new accounts and accesses
If you need to set up new accounts or accesses so your staff can work from home, you should set recommendssswords for user accounts. Please refer to the NCSC guidance for system owners responsible for determining password policy. The NCSC strongly recommend you implement two-factor authentication (2FA) if available.

Preparing for home working
Working from home can be daunting for people who haven’t done it before, especially if it’s a sudden decision. There are also practical considerations; staff who are used to sharing an office space will now be remote. Think about the new services that you may need to provide so they can continue to collaborate such as chat rooms, video teleconferencing (VTC) and document sharing.

The NCSC guidance on implementing Software as a Service (SaaS) applications can help you choose and roll out a range of popular services. If you are already providing such services, you’ll need to plan for a potentially large increase in users.

Here are some general recommendations to support secure home working
Remote users may need to use different software (or use familiar applications in a different way) compared to what they do when in the office. You should produce written guides for these features, and test that the software works as described.

Depending on the experience of your staff (and the applications you provide), you should consider producing a series of ‘How do I?’ guides. For example, you might produce a ‘How to log into and use an online collaboration tool’.

Staff are more likely to have their devices stolen (or lose them) when they are away from the office or home. Make sure devices encrypt data whilst at rest, which will protect data on the device if it is lost or stolen. Most modern devices have encryption built in, but encryption may still need to be turned on and configured.

Fortunately, the majority of devices include tools that can be used to remotely lock access to the device, erase the data stored on it, or retrieve a backup of this data. You can use mobile device management software to set up devices with a standard configuration.

Make sure staff know how to report any problems. This is especially important for security issues (see looking after devices below).

Your staff might feel more exposed to cyber threats when working outside the office environment, so now is a great time for them to work through the NCSC’s Top Tips for Staff e-learning package.

Controlling access to corporate systems
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) allow remote users to securely access your organisation’s IT resources, such as email and file services. VPNs create an encrypted network connection that authenticates the user and/or device, and encrypts data in transit between the user and your services.

If you are already using a VPN, make sure it is fully patched. Additional licenses, capacity or bandwidth may be required if your organisation normally has a limited number of remote users.

If you’ve not used one before, please refer to the NCSC’s VPN Guidance, which covers everything from choosing a VPN to the advice you give to your staff.

Helping staff to look after devices
Devices used for working outside an office environment are more vulnerable to theft and loss. Whether using their own device or the organisations, ensure staff understand the risks of leaving them unattended, especially in public places. When the device is not being used, encourage staff to keep it somewhere safe.

Make sure that staff know what to do if their device is lost or stolen, such as who to report it to. Encourage users (in a positive, blame-free manner) to report any losses as soon as possible. The early reporting of such losses may help minimise the risk to the data, and staff who fear reprisals are less likely to report promptly.

Ensure staff understand the importance of keeping software (and the devices themselves) up to date, and that they know how to do this.

Removable Media
USB drives can contain lots of sensitive information, are easily misplaced, and when inserted into your IT systems can introduce malware. When USB drives and cards are openly shared, it becomes hard to track what they contain, where they’ve been, and who has used them. You can reduce the likelihood of infection by:

disabling removable media using MDM settings
using antivirus tools where appropriate
only allowing products supplied by the organisation to be used
protecting data at rest (encrypt) on removable media

You can also ask staff to transfer files using alternative means (such as by using corporate storage or collaboration tools), rather than via USB. For more information, refer to the NCSC’s Removable media guidance.

Using personal rather than work devices
If you are permitting people to use their own devices to work remotely, please refer to the NCSC’s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) guidance.

Spotting email scams linked to the coronavirus

Cyber criminals are preying on fears of the coronavirus and sending ‘phishing’ emails that try and trick users into clicking on a bad link. Once clicked, the user is sent to a dodgy website which could download malware onto your computer, or steal passwords. The scams may claim to have a ‘cure’ for the virus, offer a financial reward, or be encouraging you to donate.

Like many phishing scams, these emails are preying on real-world concerns to try and trick people into doing the wrong thing. Remember, Cyber Security & Homeworking requires ongoing vigilance.