Q2Q Blog

Monday, 11 September 2017 13:19

How to prevent cyber-attacks

Junior Support Analyst

Fav thing about the office

That everyone is kind and welcoming as I am new to this job but already feel settled in.

As a child I wanted to be a ... when I grew up

Always wanted to be a professional Footballer.

Guilty Pleasure(s)

WWE/Doctor Who

Favourite Holiday

Cancun, Mexico

Describe yourself in three words or less

Funny, Athletic and Reliable.

An interesting fact about me

Was a black Tab in Taekwondo at 11 years old.

Likes

Playing football every Saturday for Highgrove FC.

Favourite Band

Take That

Karaoke Jam

YMCA – Village People

If I had a superpower it would be...

Time Travel

What I do at Q2Q:

As Q2Q’s current apprentice, I help to resolve a range of IT issues for our clients. As I’m still in training, I’m not quite ready to resolve issues independently, but I am enjoying the learning process of becoming a fully-fledged support analyst. It’s great to see how the varied services we offer can have such a big impact within our customers’ businesses. I’m very excited about what will come next within my role.

Background and Achievements

I have just recently finished my A-levels where I attended Central Lancaster High School for seven years as I achieved 11 GCSEs in my time there and still waiting for my A-level results. This is my first full time job and I am enjoying the whole experience so far.

Hobbies and Interests

My personal interests are keeping active, for example, I play for a local Football Team Called Highgrove FC. This consists of me playing matches every weekend on a Saturday. I like being active and keeping healthy so I currently have a membership at the Lancaster House gym, which I attend when I have free time.

Despite cyber-attacks on individuals receiving mounting attention in the media, it’s businesses that really need to step up when it comes to combatting cyber-crime. According to a joint study undertaken by the Centre of Economics and Business Research and Veracode, these attacks are costing UK corporations over £34 billion each year. And, with cyber-hacks predicted to increase and cause further catastrophic damage in the future, now is the time to take action.

Monday, 04 September 2017 15:45

5 minutes with Damien Gelder

Organisational Development Director

Fav thing about the office

It’s an office full of creative geeks with great banter, what’s not to love!

As a child I wanted to be a ... when I grew up

An actress

Guilty Pleasure(s)

Trash reality TV

Favourite Holiday

Walking in Wales if I am feeling energetic, Crete if I need a rest!

If I had a superpower it would be...

Mind Reading

Describe yourself in three words or less

Fun, nurturing, efficient

An interesting fact about me

My first car was a Humber Sceptre, which started my obsession with cars

Likes

Thai food, long walks with my dog, creating ideas with post it notes!

Favourite Band

I’ll listen to pretty much anything I can sing along to

Karaoke Jam

Islands in the stream, Dolly Parton

What I do at Q2Q:

My role is essentially support Andrew (the MD) with defining the overall business strategy and financial budgeting, then to design and deliver cost effective process and organisational change strategies, managing positive change in support of Q2Q’s future growth plans.

I work with the team to ensure there is continuous organisational performance improvement that is always customer centric, ensuring they are working collaboratively and efficiently, coaching them individually and as a team to bring out their best performance in supporting our customers.

Background and Achievements

The majority of my career has been in the mad world of Fashion, on the planning and operational side. In my previous role as Operations Director for a Heritage Menswear brand, I was responsible for the end to end journey of the product, from range planning, through sourcing, production, quality control, logistics, warehousing and customer service. Some of my key achievements in this role were improving on all delivery and service KPI’s, improving quality performance from 10% rejects to 1%, and delivering a significant number of process improvements across the team, whilst also delivering a saving on costs of 10% on overheads.

• As this role spanned so many disciplines, it enabled me to focus on my true passion, which is process improvement and people development, so my proudest achievement was introducing a Continuous Improvement Project Team to the wider business, bringing a positive change culture based on a combination of ideas including Appreciative Inquiry and Solution Focus tools. The workshops we developed empowered people to solve problems cross functionally, and considerably improved communication, collaboration and efficiency, whilst making savings to the bottom line. These workshops have formed the basis of the tools I now incorporate into Q2Q, and offer as an additional consultancy service to Q2Q customers.

Hobbies and Interests

Walking with my dog, and eating out with family

Meet Damien Gelder, Q2Q’s senior support analyst, in this speedy team Q&A.

Monday, 28 August 2017 09:57

5 biggest myths about outsourcing IT support

Senior Support Analyst

Fav thing about the office

Cheesecake Wednesdays

As a child I wanted to be a ... when I grew up

Solicitor

Guilty Pleasure(s)

Gu Puds

Favourite Holiday

2 weeks in Florida

If I had a superpower it would be...

Definitely flying

Describe yourself in three words or less

Lots of Energy

An interesting fact about me

I was once the South Ribble Chess Champion.

Likes

Exercise, Muay Thai, Singin' in the rain

Favourite Band

Its not about the artist its about the style

Karaoke Jam

Vengabus- Vengaboys

What I do at Q2Q:

I head up the IT support team.

On a daily basis I work on resolving IT issues for our clients. My skill set tends to adapt according to the current needs of our customers, from solving basic matters like fixing a printer through to more complex server infrastructure deployment. I am also often out on site visiting customers that are in need of an IT saviour.

Within the team, I work on the proposals for new and existing customers, and ensure we all work together to implement the solutions we propose.

I enjoy overseeing new projects so that, when clients evolve, we can ensure their growth, office move and/or induction of a new team member, is as seamless as possible from an IT perspective.

I also drive the rest of the team insane with my singing!

Background and Achievements

I joined the Q2Q team when they were part of the I.T. department for the Tulchan Group 14+ years ago. This was my first full-time role straight of out A-levels. I have enjoyed being part of the company and watching it grow from 3 members of staff to a blossoming 10.

I find it hard to pin point specific achievements as one of my values personally is to always exceed your own expectations. My wife would say being a great Dad to my two boys.

A great achievement for me is getting 76 miles to the gallon on the motorway and being able to finally grow stubble.

Hobbies and Interests

I aim to train in Muay Thai twice a week and religiously go to the gym every day I can.

I can juggle and have always wanted to learn knife throwing.

Forget what you’ve heard about the negatives of outsourcing services for your business – like with most things in life, the horror stories are the only ones that stick in your mind!

However big or small your company, trusting a professional and proactive IT support company to manage your systems for you could be the best operating decision you make – especially with the GDPR just around the corner.

So, if you’re thinking about outsourcing IT support but worried about what you’ve heard, we’re here to dispel the biggest myths and set the record straight:

Monday, 21 August 2017 08:15

Why do accountancy practices need GDPR support?

Managing Director

Fav thing about the office

Good banter

As a child I wanted to be a ... when I grew up

Plumber/Electrician

Guilty Pleasure(s)

Strictly come dancing

Favourite Holiday

Crete

If I had a superpower it would be...

Mind Reading

Describe yourself in three words or less

Methodical, Energetic, Reliable

An interesting fact about me

Started “Work” life as an opera singer

Likes

Horse riding, fillet steak and a good curry

Favourite Band

…into Classical Music

Karaoke Jam

Desperado- The Eagles

What I do at Q2Q:

My role is to provide the overall direction and “eye on the compass” as to where we, as a team, are heading.

I’m still very much focused on the customer and will often get involved in customer solution discussions. As a techie at heart, I’m regularly seeking to understand industry developments and directional changes that may affect our customers, so we and our customers can remain on the front foot.

Background and Achievements

I started out in an I.T technical department of what was then British Rail, following which I joined a large construction company to re-organise their I.T infrastructure.

I then spent a couple of years as a business systems analyst at P&O Nedlloyd designing, developing and implementing systems within their Bulk and Tank Carrier companies.

In 1999 I was appointed as I.T Manager of SockShop and subsequently as of Head of I.T. at the Tulchan Group, comprising then of 300 stores. Due to a Year 2000 compliance issue, we were required to seek an alternative system, which we were able to more cost effectively write ourselves. This product subsequently became known as RAWHIDE and we later sold this product into a number of other businesses. At the time it was quite cutting edge as all the warehouse function was undertaken using handheld, wireless scanners, rather than the batch scanners that were dominant at the time.

In 2003 The Tulchan Group was acquired by Harris Watson. We were then asked to take responsibility for the I.T. of Viyella Ladies wear and in 2004 the demands of two MD’s and two FD’s (Tulchan Group + Viyella), resulted in the sensible decision to break out of the group and Q2Q was born. This then enabled us to also get involved with a number of other group companies (Harris Watson owned companies) as well as other non-group parties.  At one stage we were managing the I.T for almost 500 stores across a number of businesses.

Today Q2Q retains some of the group customers that we acquired along the way, as well as a substantial number of new and diverse customers in almost all industries including accounting, business development organisations, legal marketing, medical, retail and wholesale.

Hobbies and Interests

Horse riding, running (Jogging), motorbikes, reading any of the Detective Rebus stories.

As you know, personal data processing is a crucial part of day-to-day life for accountancy and tax practitioners. And whilst altering procedures and processes to fit within a new framework is hardly our idea of fun, there are definite advantages to streamlining the personal data you hold on file, refining your methods of acquiring, storing and updating it and improving your security measures.

So, instead of putting it off for even longer, why not make sure you’re preparing yourself and your practice for the GDPR now? That way, you can start reaping the benefits of compliance before the laws come into full force.

Monday, 14 August 2017 09:09

10 tips for working from home or away

Senior Web Developer

Fav thing about the office

I find many offices to be quiet and ‘clinical’, at Q2Q there’s much more of a social atmosphere - which makes working here much more enjoyable and stress-free.

As a child I wanted to be a ... when I grew up

I’ve worked in IT ever since I was young (believe it or not). With my family closely aligned with the IT industry, a computer was never far away.

Guilty Pleasure(s)

Singing Michael Jackson on karaoke - a good way to get a sore throat!

Favourite Holiday

Singapore - City escape meets Far East adventure.

Describe yourself in three words or less

Never (gonna) give (you) up

An interesting fact about me

I eat faster than I can breathe.

Likes

Video Games, Hot Dogs, Howling at the Moon.

Favourite Band

Disturbed (I’m a closet metal-head)

Karaoke Jam

Never gonna give you up

If I had a superpower it would be...

Psychic touch-typing - Being able to code programs in a matter of seconds sounds like heaven.

What I do at Q2Q:

What I create in two words - Systems simplified.

As part of the Dev team at Q2Q, I produce a range of solutions for relieving the regular source of headaches within your business processes, whether that be a public-facing e-commerce website or a business information system - I can help make the headaches go away!

Our latest software project, Q2Q Sofia, provides an exciting challenge and will give firms real-time business data from all corners of a business, on a quick, portable, and easily accessible platform, allowing for quick decision making for Managers, Directors and CEOs.

Background and Achievements

After working with my family firm for almost 10 years, working primarily in I.T. support, I studied in Carlisle where I developed a keen interest in programming in a wide range of languages.

After a short period of working as a freelance Web Designer, I was given the exciting opportunity to work for Q2Q helping to set the foundations for the now thriving Web Development department. To this day we have produced 20+ websites and countless internal system solutions for companies both big and small, and we continue to move from strength to strength.

I always believe that each project I’m involved with to be my greatest achievement, and as we progress, we are setting a higher benchmark with each project we’re involved with.

Hobbies and Interests

I’ve always been interested in video games - ever since playing on classic consoles such as the Super Nintendo as a child. I have a keen interest in cooking Far Eastern-style cuisine - nothing quite beats a good bowl of noodles!

Even though the weather might be telling a different story, summer is well and truly here. And as droves of people leave the office on annual leave, some are opting to take their work away with them.

Working from home has become a popular year-round option, with many businesses realising the benefits it has for productivity, morale and flexibility around other responsibilities. And while holidays are primarily for relaxing and taking time out of the office, our busy lives sometimes make it necessary to log on every now and then to keep things ticking over.

So, whether you’re intending to catch up with emails from your back garden or sneak your laptop into your carry-on bag, we’ve put together our top ten tips for working from home or away:

Monday, 07 August 2017 09:32

5 minutes with Lorna Stellakis

Development Manager

Fav thing about the office

The banter

As a child I wanted to be a ... when I grew up

Musician

Guilty Pleasure(s)

Genuinely none

Favourite Holiday

I enjoy remote locations, especially in Scotland away from technology.

Favourite Band

I enjoy a vast range of music and have never had a favourite band.

Describe yourself in three words or less

Private

An interesting fact about me

I can listen to a short piece of music once and play it back.

Likes

Playing Double Bass, listening to music, Muppets

Karaoke Jam

Piano Man - Billy Joel

If I had a superpower it would be...

Invisibility

What I do at Q2Q:

 

As Development Manager I am responsible for the development of SQL databases and reports for our clients and for internal use. This often includes automating repetitive procedures and tasks to provide more accurate and efficient workflows. I am also heavily involved in reporting, providing quick, accurate data feeds, macros and reports for our users via Excel and Word.

For our E-commerce customers, for example, transferring data to and from SQL for sales processing and stock control and product updates. I also get involved in data integration projects.

Simply put, I optimise processes to ensure our clients are maximising efficiencies and making the most of the technology available to them.

Background and Achievements

I played trumpet from the age of 5 with the aim of being professional. After 1 year at Uni I got headaches within seconds of starting to play and no one could find the answer. I therefore needed to find a job and started work in an office using spreadsheets to report data for customers, in those days mainly typed up. This led to my current job at Q2Q and after getting the job set off on a steep self-teaching curve, I found I could work with computers and do what needed to be done.

My greatest achievement is my 3 kids who have all flown the nest and I am proud of them all.

Hobbies and Interests

My hobbies are music either performing, listening or composing. I play Double Bass and Piano. I also enjoy going for long walks.

Get to know Q2Q’s organisational development director, Lorna Stellakis, with our quickfire Q&A.

Monday, 31 July 2017 08:00

Protect your business from a ransomware attack

Senior Support Analyst

Fav thing about the office

Cheesecake Wednesdays

As a child I wanted to be a ... when I grew up

Solicitor

Guilty Pleasure(s)

Gu Puds

Favourite Holiday

2 weeks in Florida

If I had a superpower it would be...

Definitely flying

Describe yourself in three words or less

Lots of Energy

An interesting fact about me

I was once the South Ribble Chess Champion.

Likes

Exercise, Muay Thai, Singin' in the rain

Favourite Band

Its not about the artist its about the style

Karaoke Jam

Vengabus- Vengaboys

What I do at Q2Q:

I head up the IT support team.

On a daily basis I work on resolving IT issues for our clients. My skill set tends to adapt according to the current needs of our customers, from solving basic matters like fixing a printer through to more complex server infrastructure deployment. I am also often out on site visiting customers that are in need of an IT saviour.

Within the team, I work on the proposals for new and existing customers, and ensure we all work together to implement the solutions we propose.

I enjoy overseeing new projects so that, when clients evolve, we can ensure their growth, office move and/or induction of a new team member, is as seamless as possible from an IT perspective.

I also drive the rest of the team insane with my singing!

Background and Achievements

I joined the Q2Q team when they were part of the I.T. department for the Tulchan Group 14+ years ago. This was my first full-time role straight of out A-levels. I have enjoyed being part of the company and watching it grow from 3 members of staff to a blossoming 10.

I find it hard to pin point specific achievements as one of my values personally is to always exceed your own expectations. My wife would say being a great Dad to my two boys.

A great achievement for me is getting 76 miles to the gallon on the motorway and being able to finally grow stubble.

Hobbies and Interests

I aim to train in Muay Thai twice a week and religiously go to the gym every day I can.

I can juggle and have always wanted to learn knife throwing.

We’ve all seen the ransomware headlines – most memorably those surrounding the global WannaCry attack that shut down NHS systems earlier this year.

But what exactly is ransomware, and how can you protect your business from an attack?

Monday, 24 July 2017 12:14

GDPR in focus: How will Brexit affect the regulations?

Managing Director

Fav thing about the office

Good banter

As a child I wanted to be a ... when I grew up

Plumber/Electrician

Guilty Pleasure(s)

Strictly come dancing

Favourite Holiday

Crete

If I had a superpower it would be...

Mind Reading

Describe yourself in three words or less

Methodical, Energetic, Reliable

An interesting fact about me

Started “Work” life as an opera singer

Likes

Horse riding, fillet steak and a good curry

Favourite Band

…into Classical Music

Karaoke Jam

Desperado- The Eagles

What I do at Q2Q:

My role is to provide the overall direction and “eye on the compass” as to where we, as a team, are heading.

I’m still very much focused on the customer and will often get involved in customer solution discussions. As a techie at heart, I’m regularly seeking to understand industry developments and directional changes that may affect our customers, so we and our customers can remain on the front foot.

Background and Achievements

I started out in an I.T technical department of what was then British Rail, following which I joined a large construction company to re-organise their I.T infrastructure.

I then spent a couple of years as a business systems analyst at P&O Nedlloyd designing, developing and implementing systems within their Bulk and Tank Carrier companies.

In 1999 I was appointed as I.T Manager of SockShop and subsequently as of Head of I.T. at the Tulchan Group, comprising then of 300 stores. Due to a Year 2000 compliance issue, we were required to seek an alternative system, which we were able to more cost effectively write ourselves. This product subsequently became known as RAWHIDE and we later sold this product into a number of other businesses. At the time it was quite cutting edge as all the warehouse function was undertaken using handheld, wireless scanners, rather than the batch scanners that were dominant at the time.

In 2003 The Tulchan Group was acquired by Harris Watson. We were then asked to take responsibility for the I.T. of Viyella Ladies wear and in 2004 the demands of two MD’s and two FD’s (Tulchan Group + Viyella), resulted in the sensible decision to break out of the group and Q2Q was born. This then enabled us to also get involved with a number of other group companies (Harris Watson owned companies) as well as other non-group parties.  At one stage we were managing the I.T for almost 500 stores across a number of businesses.

Today Q2Q retains some of the group customers that we acquired along the way, as well as a substantial number of new and diverse customers in almost all industries including accounting, business development organisations, legal marketing, medical, retail and wholesale.

Hobbies and Interests

Horse riding, running (Jogging), motorbikes, reading any of the Detective Rebus stories.

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months and have missed the announcement, the General Data Protection Regulations are set to come into effect on 25th May 2018 – a mere ten months away! This means that the legislation will be in full force for almost a year before Britain’s scheduled departure from Europe.

But if we’re leaving anyway, will we still need to comply with the European GDPR?

There’s been a lot of confusion around Brexit and the new regulations, so we’re here to set the record straight: the rules will still apply, both now and going forward. And here’s why…

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