12 Jan 2022

The Importance of Installing a CCTV System For Your Business

No matter what size your business is, we understand that security is a top priority!

With 1 in 10 small businesses being broken into every year, investing in a CCTV system is a wise decision.

Visible cameras located around your businesses offices or site can be a very successful deterrent for any potential thief – and save you money in the long run.

The Benefits of An Exterior CCTV System

There are several benefits, both safety wise and finance wise, to having an external CCTV system.

Here at CSL Data Services, we have years of experience with a wide range of business CCTV systems. We can help advise you on where best to place your cameras for optimum coverage and security.

We are proud to work with HikVision, who are industry leading in CCTV systems and can help you choose the best system for your business.

Reduce Your Insurance Premiums

We all know that even when it’s not your fault, you may still end up having to pay out! Business CCTV systems be substantial in helping to lower your insurance premiums.

Not only is the price reduced by simply having these systems in the first place, but by using visible CCTV systems as a deterrent for criminals, you are saving yourself from having to make a claim in future.

Deter Potential Intruders

As mentioned previously, with a good quality CCTV system, potential thieves will be far less inclined to target your business.

Not only does a camera security system make it easier to catch the burglars, but they can even alert you at the time your property is broken into. This makes it far easier for criminals to be caught.

Capture Footage You May Need at a Later Date

If anything were to ever happen to your property, police would need to see video footage of any intruders.

With a business CCTV system, you can set up which cameras record and save data, and even for how long. This can be invaluable should you ever suffer a break in.

The Benefits of An Interior CCTV System

An interior CCTV system can sometimes be overlooked when it comes to securing your business. However, there are numerous benefits to being able to keep an eye on the inside too!

We have helped many businesses set up their interior systems and can help yours too.

It’s important to remember that if you do opt for an CCTV system inside your building, all employees must be made aware via a written policy and visible signage.

Enable a Safe Working Environment

We know that it’s at the top of every employer’s priority list that their employees feel and are safe.

Interior CCTV systems are very successful in preventing any unwanted behaviour from both staff and customers. Internal cameras can also be a massive help should an accident ever occur, you can see exactly what happened and how to prevent it in future.

Find Lost Property

Whether it be an employee’s lost property or company stock, you can easily keep track of what is in your company’s building and where.

We would advise fitting cameras in reception areas and areas when items of a high value are stored.

Increase Employee Productivity

Even if you don’t check your security cameras regularly, your employees knowing they are there will increase productivity even more than you would think!

Many businesses even use their internal CCTV systems to keep an eye on employee’s mobile phone use or following of safety protocols.

Contact CSL Data Services for a Free Quote

We have the knowledge and experience of business CCTV systems to really help you when it comes to both choosing and fitting yours.

We work with the best in CCTV and HikVision, so you’re safe in the knowledge that your investment now means security for your business in the long run.

To get in touch, visit www.csldataservices.co.uk or email enquiries@csldataservices.co.uk

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20 Sep 2021

How to Combine Multiple PDFs Into One Single PDF File

Do you have multiple PDF files that you need to merge into one big document? It’s easier than you might think to combine PDFs (and other documents and images) into a single file on PCs and especially on Macs. Here’s how to do it on each platform.

Combining multiple related PDFs into a single file is an excellent productivity hack. You don’t want to inflict a half-dozen PDF files on the accounting department, because managing and sorting them all is more work for you. And, maybe more to the point, it saves you the trouble of tracking down and resending files if they lose track of some of them. Or maybe you have four or five sections of a report that you’ve printed to separate PDF files from Word, Excel, and a photo editor. How do you get them all into a single PDF? These questions are all the more pressing during the pandemic, because, let’s face it, one of the rare positive outcomes of so many of us working from home is that we’re going more paperless than ever—and that means PDFs.

If you use a Mac, you have the only tool you’ll need already built into the macOS operating system, though you can find more flexible and full-featured solutions if you buy commercial third-party apps. If you use Windows, you need third-party apps, but you can find free open-source apps that do the job.

There are also online apps that offer to combine and edit PDFs that you upload, but I don’t recommend any of them. Your PDF files contain invisible metadata, potentially identifying you and your system, and you may not want to give that metadata to a website that offers free editing features. That site may want to profit from your data in ways you won’t like.

How to Combine Multiple PDFs into One Using Windows

When you need to combine PDF files in Windows, you may decide that you wish you had a Mac, where the Preview app gets the job done quickly and easily. Windows 10 lets you view PDF files in the Edge browser, but doesn’t let you do anything with them. To merge or manage PDF files, you need either a free, but limited, third-party productivity app or one of the many well-designed commercial apps.

If your PDF-managing needs are minimal, install the free, open-source PDFsam. If you want the free product, uncheck the option in the installer to download the Enhanced version, which is free to preview, but $49 to keep. A spacious interface lets you choose among functions like merging and splitting PDFs files. Another nifty feature combines two PDF documents, alternating between pages from each file, so you can create a single PDF from separate PDFs that contain the front and back pages of an original two-sided document.

Don’t expect an easy-to-use interface like the thumbnail views in Adobe Reader and other commercial software. You merge two PDF files by dragging them into a PDFsam window, which adds them to a list. You can specify a page range from each PDF, but you’ll have to figure out which pages you want by viewing the document in a separate app like Microsoft Edge or Adobe Reader. Fortunately, you can open PDFs directly from the file list in PDFsam. When you’re ready to merge the PDFs, just click the Run button.

An alternative freeware app, available from the Microsoft Store is PDF Merger & Splitter, from a company called AnySoft whose web site doesn’t tell you much about the company itself. PDF Merger & Splitter is a free, UWP app that uses the open-source PDFsharp library for creating PDF files, though you can only find that out by looking at the metadata of the PDF files that the app creates. Compared to PDFsam, you get far fewer options and a less friendly interface, but the app outdoes PDFsam in its ability to make all the PDFs that you combine have a single page size. PDFsam only lets you force all pages to have the same size as the first page, while PDF Merger & Splitter also lets you force all pages to have the same size as the largest page or the size used by the most pages. I strongly recommend PDFsam, but PDF Merger & Splitter is worth having for this one feature.

If you want better visual cues when merging PDFs, you need a commercial app that lets you see the combined PDF before you save it to disk and also displays thumbnail images that you can drag up and down in a sidebar in order to rearrange the pages. You can use almost any PDF-editing software, ranging from the moderately priced PDF-Xchange Editor from Tracker Software, or choose one of our Editor’s Choice apps like ABBYY FineReader 15 or Adobe Acrobat DC.

All these apps let you combine PDFs in basically the same way. Here’s how PDF-XChange Editor does it. The simplest method is to use File > New Document, and choose the option to Combine Files into a Single PDF. A file-list box will open. Drag in the files that you want to combine into a single PDF. You can add PDF files, or any combination of text, images, Word, Excel, or PowerPoint documents into the list. The app converts everything into a PDF format before combining them.

When combining files, you can specify the page range that you want to import, but you can also fine-tune the combination by opening multiple files in separate tabs in PDF-XChange Editor and dragging thumbnail images of the page you want from the source tab to the target tab (if thumbnails aren’t visible, press Ctrl-T or use the View > Panes menu).

How to Combine Multiple PDFs into One Using a Mac

Unlike Windows, macOS comes with high-powered PDF tools built in—provided by the macOS Finder and by the deceptively modest-looking Preview app. Starting with macOS Catalina, the Finder lets you create or combine PDFs from a menu in its Gallery view—the view that displays a large preview of the current file. 

To combine two or more PDFs in the macOS Finder, switch to Gallery view from the Finder toolbar or the top-line View menu. Next, hold down the Command key and select the files you want to combine. Click each file in the order that you want the files to appear in the combined PDF. When you select more than one file, a Create PDF button appears in the inspector panel at the right. Click on it, and the Finder will create a new PDF on your desktop, containing all the PDFs that you selected. 

Even better, you can select multiple images, like PNG, TIFF, and JPEG files, instead of existing PDF files, and use the same technique to combine them into PDF files. You can use the same method to combine image files and PDFs, too.

If the combined PDF file that you created from the Finder doesn’t have its pages in the order that you wanted them, that’s easy to fix. Simply double-click the PDF to open it in the Preview app. If thumbnails aren’t visible in Preview’s sidebar, go to the View menu to switch them on, and then drag the thumbnails up and down the sidebar into the order you want.

The Preview app offers the same PDF-combining powers as the Finder and can be easier to use for complex tasks. To combine two or more PDF files in Preview, start by making a copy of one of the files and working with the duplicate (this is an essential precaution because Preview saves the file as you work, and if the results aren’t what you want, you’ll need to do some fancy footwork to get back the original file).

Open the duplicate file. Next, simply drag additional PDF files into the sidebar and drop them at the position in the file where you want them to be—at the start or end, or between any two existing pages. If you get the location wrong, you can drag one or more thumbnails to the correct location, and you can delete any pages that you don’t want.

What if you only want to merge a few pages from a second PDF file? Open that file in another PDF window and drag the thumbnails that you want into your first PDF file. As always in macOS, you can Shift-click to select a continuous range of pages, or Cmd-click on multiple pages to select pages from anywhere in the file. If some pages get imported in the wrong orientation, use Preview’s toolbar to rotate them.

Sometimes Preview acts in seemingly unpredictable ways when saving a file, so, when you have the combined pages arranged as you want them, choose File > Export to PDF and save the merged PDF under its own name. You can also choose File > Close, and follow the prompts to save the merged file under the name of the file you started with, but it’s safest to use the Export to PDF option.

Like the Finder, Preview lets you merge any file that Preview can display into an existing PDF. That means you can drag any PNG, TIFF, JPEG, or other standard image formats into a PDF. But what if you want to create a PDF that contains a Word document or an Excel worksheet? You can’t drag those documents into Preview, but Word and Excel’s Print menus let you create PDFs that can be used for a merge.

Alternatively, if you have a third-party app like Adobe Acrobat, you can merge PDFs in the same way that you merge them in Preview—but you can also directly drag files in any file format that Acrobat knows how to convert into PDF, including HTML web pages, plain text files, Word documents, and Excel worksheets. Acrobat also lets you create a completely new PDF from one or more of these same external formats. Simply use the File > Create menu and follow the prompts.

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02 Sep 2021

Microsoft sets deadline 1st of November for shutting off old Outlook clients from 365 services

Microsoft has reminded commercial customers using older versions of Outlook that they have just two months to upgrade before they’re cut off from the company’s Microsoft 365 and Office 365 services.

“After November 1, 2021, only Outlook 2013 Service Pack 1 (with latest fixes) and later will be able to connect to Microsoft 365 services,” the firm said in an unsigned

At the time, Microsoft had been surprisingly gracious, saying that while support would officially end, that didn’t necessarily mean the end of connectivity. “We won’t take any active measures to block other versions of the Office client, such as Office 2013, from connecting to Office 365 services, but these older clients may encounter performance or reliability issues over time,”.

That is what’s different now. The Nov. 1 deadline really will cut older Outlook clients from Microsoft’s services. Microsoft explained that the older Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010 clients will be incompatible with two upcoming changes to services, including an end to support for Basic Authentication — essentially, the long-standard username + password combination.

Microsoft did not say when it would drop Basic Auth support, however.

For those who haven’t yet dispensed with the old Outlook clients, Microsoft recommended — as it has confidently — that they switch to the subscription model of Office 365 or Microsoft 365, which provides always-up-to-date client software.

For further guidance or information do contact CSL Data Services for assistance

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01 Sep 2021

Windows 11 Release Date Confirmed

Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 11 will be released on 5th October, with all eligible devices to be offered the free upgrade by mid-2022.

From 5 October, Microsoft will start rolling out Windows 11 to eligible Windows 10 PCs, while PCs that come preloaded with Windows 11 will start to become available for purchase. The update is set to be rolled out in a phased approach, which means that new eligible devices will be offered the upgrade first. 

The upgrade release will be rolled out over time based on device hardware eligibility, age of device and other factors that may impact on the upgrade.

Microsoft expects all eligible devices to be offered the free upgrade to Windows 11 by mid-2022. Users that have a Windows 10 PC that’s eligible for the update will be notified by Windows Update when it’s available. Alternatively, users can check to see if it is ready by going to Settings>Windows Update and select “Check for updates”.

New features in Windows 11 include “Start”, which uses the power of the cloud and Microsoft 365 to show users their recent files, no matter what device they were viewing them on. Chat from Microsoft Teams is integrated into the taskbar, a new Microsoft Store will be available, and Snap Layouts, Snap Groups and Desktops will allow users to multitask and optimise their screen space.

Contact CSL Data Services for more information

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26 Aug 2021

Microsoft likely to offer Extended Security Updates for Windows 10 in 2025

Microsoft will almost certainly offer extended support to Windows 10 that will let organizations safely run the operating system for years after its putative 2025 retirement date.

While nothing is certain where Microsoft’s concerned, the company does tend to commit to something if it is financially viable.

Latest clue comes from Server 2012

The latest clue that ESUs are here to stay came last month, when Microsoft announced that it will offer three years of additional, paid support for Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2 and SQL Server 2012.

Customers that cannot meet the end of support deadline and have Software Assurance or subscription licenses under an enterprise agreement enrollment will have the option to buy Extended Security Updates to get three more years of security updates.

Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 are due to exit support Oct. 12, 2023; SQL Server 2012 exhausts its support July 12, 2022. ESUs will be sold for all these products in one-year increments for a maximum of three years past the original end-of-support. Thus, ESU licenses for Windows Server 2012 R2 would run to Oct. 12, 2024, Oct. 12, 2025, and Oct. 12, 2026.

Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2, and SQL Server 2012, join other venerable operating systems and products that have been offered ESU coverage by Microsoft, including Windows Server 2008, Windows 7 and Dynamics AX 2009.

Bet on ESUs for Windows 10

With precedents like these — the last two Windows Server editions, the last two SQL Server editions, and the last Windows client — it’s an easy bet that Microsoft will continue to crank out ESUs for software that reaches its sell-by date. In chronological order for Windows, those dates are:

  • Windows 10: Oct. 14, 2025
  • Windows Server 2016: Jan 12, 2027
  • Windows Server 2019: Jan. 9, 2029

Because Microsoft has standardized on three years’ worth of ESUs, paid one year at a time, priced lowest the first year, then higher each following year — to encourage customers to upgrade to a still-supported edition — those practices will be continued for Windows Server. (The first year for Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 ESU, for instance, will cost 75% of the license cost, with the next two years running 100% and 125%, respectively.) Windows 10 will almost certainly keep to those parameters; the first ESU will extend support to Oct. 14, 2026, with the second and third years pushing out support to October 2027 and October 2028.

Although it may be easy for some to dismiss the idea of ESUs for Windows 10 simply because the successor Windows 11 is, at least initially, largely a UI and UX remodel, that would be to underestimate the impact of the latter’s change to hardware requirements.

Because Microsoft will demand that Windows 11-eligible devices sport 8th-generation or later Intel processors, some in-place PCs will be unable to run the OS. (The percentage in an organization largely depends on the org’s replacement cycle tempo.) The number of affected systems will be significantly smaller by Windows 10’s retirement in four years, but few things raise customer hackles more than Microsoft making them spend hardware budgets simply to run the next iteration of some software.

For more guidance, advice or upgrade paths please do reach out to use for more information.

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15 Jul 2020

Patch Tuesday: Microsoft fixes 123 bugs in July 2020 update

Microsoft has once again issued another large Patch Tuesday update, addressing a total of 123 vulnerabilities, including 18 critical vulnerabilities in Hyper-V, DNS Server, PerformancePoint, SharePoint Server, Office, Outlook and Remote Desktop. The update includes an unusually high number of remote code execution exploits that will keep both security teams and cyber criminals busy for days.

Bottom of Form

As already reported by Computer Weekly, probably the most serious vulnerability is CVE-2020-1350 or SigRed, a wormable remote code execution vulnerability in Windows DNS Server, which is exceptionally dangerous.

Chris Hass, director of information security and research at Automox, described SigRed as an “attacker’s dream”.

“An unauthenticated hacker could send specially crafted packets to the vulnerable Windows DNS Server to exploit the machine, allowing for arbitrary code to be run in the context of the Local System account,” he said. “Not only will the attacker have full control of the system, but they will also be able to leverage the server as a distribution point, allowing the attacker to spread malware between systems without any user interaction.

“This wormable capability adds a whole other layer of severity and impact, allowing malware authors to write ransomware similar to notable wormable malware such as WannaCry and NotPetya,” said Hass.

To make matters worse, Microsoft has said the exploitation of this vulnerability is more likely, and if for some reason the patch cannot be applied right away, it will inevitably be exploited in the near future.

Redmond has provided a Windows Registry setting workaround that according to Rapid7’s Richard Tsang, effectively drops TCP-based DNS response packets exceeding 65,270 bytes without reporting an error. “It’s recommended that if patching cycles are slow, that the workaround be applied earlier. The workaround does not need to be removed prior to patching, although it would be worthwhile to undo the workaround after patching,” said Tsang.

Automox’s Hass said that while DNS was a critical service and taking it down to apply patches would heavily impact productivity, the alternative was leaving yourself open to a devastating cyber attack.

“With ransomware attacks continuing to rise during the Covid-19 pandemic, this wormable vulnerability could be just what attackers needed to fully compromise an organisation; this patch is not one to sleep on,” he said.

“We expect to see exploits for this particular vulnerability emerge in the next week – potentially faster, and that it will be widely exploited. The vulnerability only requires that the server make a request to another malicious server, so this will affect most organisations running Microsoft’s DNS server,” said Jonathan Cran, head of research at Kenna Security.

“In short, patch this high-risk vulnerability now. Applying the patch or implementing the mitigation provided by Microsoft and rebooting is the best guidance we have available at this time.”

Other remote code execution vulnerabilities patched this month include CVEs 2020-1147, -1421, and -1403, which affect Windows .NET framework, LNK and VBScript respectively, all highly common services amongst Windows operating services. This commonality means that adversaries could have the ability to launch an attack that is very broad in its scope.

Downtime expected

Jay Goodman, strategic product marketing manager at Automox, said the latest patch would further strain VPN infrastructure and warned that many organisations would likely see some downtime from on-premise patch management tools buckling under the pressure.

“VPNs are not designed to extend the IT perimeter and with a large number of remote employees and devices, we are facing a situation where there is no functional perimeter for your organisation,” he said.

“Some organisations are attempting to quickly address this by expanding their VPN capacities, but doubling down on VPN and legacy on-premise endpoint management solutions would be a knee-jerk reaction that does not take into consideration the long term cost efficiencies of embracing a digital transformation to the cloud.”

Other suppliers dropping their latest patches this week include Oracle, Adobe and Google, according to Ivanti senior product manager Todd Schell.

“Oracle Java SE is going to resolve 11 vulnerabilities all of which are remotely exploitable without authentication. Highest CVSS v3.1 base score is 8.3. Fusion Middleware is resolving 53 CVEs, 49 of which may be remotely exploited without authentication. Highest CVSS v3.1 base score is 9.8. MySQL is resolving 40 vulnerabilities, six of which may be remotely exploited without authentication. Highest CVSS v3.1 base score is 9.8,” he said.

“Adobe released five bulletins today, but only one included a critical vulnerability. Adobe Creative Cloud Desktop Application resolved four CVEs including CVE-2020-9682, which was rated as critical. Flash Player did release today, but no CVEs were reported in this release.

“Google also decided to join the party with a Google Chrome update resolving 38 vulnerabilities including at least one critical and many high CVEs,” said Schell. “From a third-party perspective, you should look to update Chrome and Java as high priority items this month.”

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31 Dec 2019

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