Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Outlook 2013 – Hints and Tips to make life easier

Microsoft Office has always had a wide range of useful features which aren't always obvious to someone who hasn't had some thorough training on the product.

In this article, we will go through a few ‘quick wins’ which are there to make life much, much easier when using Microsoft Outlook 2013.

Create quick and instant emails and appointments

Sometimes, when you’re in the Outlook email tab and want to create a calendar appointment, it can be a pain having to switch the view. However, there is a quick and easy short cut to make life easier. 

To do this, simply right click on the Office 2013 quick launch item in the task bar to reveal a list of quick tasks. From here you can create a new email, appointment, meeting, contact or task!!


Quick Parts auto text

This is genius. If you send out a lot of emails which have similar content, or even if you always start your emails with the same introduction, then quick parts is just what you need as it will save you a lot of time endlessly repeating yourself.

What you need to do is to create a new email and then type in the text which you use on a regular basis. Select the text by highlighting it and then in the horizontal bar at the top of the new email, select ‘insert’. In this new menu you will see a button called ‘Quick Parts’, click it and then select ‘save selection to quick part gallery’.

Once this is done, every time you start typing the same text, Outlook will suggest auto completing it and then it will insert the entire section into your email for you.

Time Travel – send an email in the future

Sometimes you might want to compose an email but not necessarily send it at that time. You may want to delay its delivery so that it is sent at some point in the future.

To do this, simply compose your new email as usual and then select the ‘options’ tab at the top. In the menu bar you will then see a button called ‘delay delivery’. In here you have the option to ‘do not deliver before’ where you can specify a date and time. Once you click send, the message will not go until the date and time you have specified.

Connect to social media accounts

LinkedIn is the most popular social network platform for business these days, and many use it to communicate, generate leads and even recruit. One great feature of Outlook 2013 is that you can link it to your social media networks. What this means is that any and all communication via Outlook will now display additional information which is obtained from whichever social media account it is linked to, so long as the person you are emailing is one of your contacts.

To set this up, in Outlook click on ‘File’ at the top left, then ‘account settings’, and the ‘social network accounts’, and you will then have a series of tick boxes which when ticked, will allow you to connect the selected account, once you have entered your associated user name and password.

So, that it for now. There are many, many more excellent hints and tips which we may cover in future articles but for now, have a play around and hopefully this article will make your use of Outlook a little easier, and save you some valuable time.





Friday, 5 December 2014

Super Connected Cities Voucher Scheme Extended

Some fantastic news has just been announced - the Super Connected Cities Voucher scheme has been extended for a further 12 months, which means that instead of the deadline being March 2015, it is now March 2016!!

In addition to this, the scheme will be extending its reach even further to include many more cities, details of where will be confirmed in due course.

This is of course great news for many businesses as it could be the deciding factor which enables them to upgrade their internet connectivity, which in turn could increase their productivity, sales and reliability.

Have a read of this article to see whether your business qualifies, or feel free to get in touch to speak to one of our technical account managers on 0845 639 9661.



Thursday, 4 December 2014

Office Newbie!

You've been hired! 

Claritas are very happy to announce a new addition to our Business Development team, Nick Ryder. 


"Claritas Solutions has appointed Nick Ryder as Business Development Manager within the IT Development Team.

Nick Ryder will spearhead a new business move for Claritas to become an Internet Service Provider, complementing its portfolio of independent specialised IT services, wrap round solutions and being an official supplier to the Government G-Cloud procurement framework.

 With over 14 years of client focused IT experience under his belt, Nick will be a very welcome addition to this ambitious company.

Nick will also be part of the registered team supplying Super Connected Broadband for Bradford and Leeds, helping to ensure the outstanding £9 Million is allocated to the region before the cut off in March 2015.

 Glenn Scaife, Managing Director, Claritas Solutions, says: “Nick will be a proficient member of our growing IT team, bringing with him skills to bridge the gap between constantly changing technology and our client base, both in the public and private sectors.”

If you're interested in starting a career with us at Claritas, check out our Careers board.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Star Wars Episode 7 Teaser Trailer - We're Excited

OK, so this isn't exactly related to technology or us as a business and is completely off-topic but for a company who mainly consist of technical folk, this is really exciting.

So here is it, the very first look at the new Star Wars film - The Force Awakens, which isn't out until December 2015.

Enjoy.



Friday, 21 November 2014

The Most Expensive iPhone Apps

Everyone loves it when they get something for free, especially if it works. However, most of us are fully aware that when it comes to smart phone apps, the word ‘free’ always means that you’re going to be bombarded with adverts attempting to get you to either upgrade to a paid version with more functionality, or buy something else entirely.

This article however deals with the antithesis of ‘free’ and as such will be discussing the other end of the scale – i.e. the most expensive iPhone applications.

Probably the most infamous example was released back in 2008 and called ‘The $1,000 app’, which simply displayed a picture of a red apple once it was downloaded and had the tagline ‘I am rich’. Needless to say, Apple took the app down quickly but not before a few gullible people had downloaded and paid for it.

In contrast, there are some legitimate applications which do cost a fortune. Here is a list of 4 and the reasons (debatable) why;

MobiGage NDI - £699.99

According to iTunes – “MobiGage is a metrology iPhone application used for the inspection of manufactured parts and assemblies. MobiGage creates, edits, and runs measurement plans and automates inspection processes.”

To surmise – it measures things when paired with something else.

QSFFStats - £699.99

The App Store describes it as “QSFFStats app will allow you to keep track of Flag Football stats for all passing leagues.” Clearly specialist stuff.

CyberTuner - £699.99

An app which helps a person tune a piano.

How did we ever manage in the olden days?

VIP Black - £699.00

This is an app for millionaires and when downloaded it seeks verification of the individuals net worth before it will work. Benefits of using the app include;

  • Be treated like a VIP across their partner venues 
  • Benefit from unique VIP privilege rates with many of their partner services 
  • Receive complimentary room upgrades at luxurious hotels 
  • Take advantage of priority booking at premium restaurants 
  • Receive complimentary amenities at various partner venues 
  • Get priority access to unique events and experiences 
  • Access a concierge directly through the app 
  • Book private yachts, private jets, private islands, and more, directly through the application 
  • Receive invitations to exclusive VIP evenings 
  • Purchase the unique, limited edition iPhone

So there you go, 4 very expensive applications which are available now – so what are you waiting for??

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Do you take your IT security seriously?

IT managers are more often than not, fantastic. They manage the things that non-IT people are not qualified to worry about.

IT managers know about potential risks to network security and therefore use their super powers to ensure that the right systems are in place to avoid any compromises to the IT systems they install and maintain, thus making their lives easier and employers happy in the knowledge that they’re in the safest of hands.

However, if a company does not have the luxury of employing their own IT manager, then the responsibility of network security falls to people who are not always aware of the risks and who are often non-IT executives. And a recent study found that many do not take the importance of keeping their data safe seriously enough.

Interestingly, around 75% of those surveyed seemed to place more importance on the insurance side of things, so that they would be covered in the event of mass data corruption or loss, as opposed to taking a pro-active approach in preventing it happening in the first place. Additionally, over a quarter of people admitted that they did not know what the financial implication would be if their network security was breached in a severe way.

Our advice for these people would be to speak to someone or a company that you trust. Listen to them and consider the advice that they offer. If you don’t know someone that you trust then speak to other companies that have confidence in their network security.

And it goes without saying that we here at Claritas pride ourselves on having the ability and experience to offer such advice. Here’s a case study which shows a good example of the work we do.

Monday, 17 November 2014

The benefits of choosing a partner ISP

It’s never easy choosing the right ISP (internet service provider) as there are so many out there in the market place. Many feel more comfortable simply going with one of the main providers such as BT, Virgin Media, Talk Talk etc. The misconception is that by going direct, they will get a better service and buy price than if they had chosen an intermediate partner company.
However, this is not entirely accurate for a number of reasons;
  • Generic support. All support calls go through to a call centre as opposed to a dedicated support team.
  • No dedicated account manager.
  • Standard pricing with no room for negotiation or discounts.
  • Generic accounts contacts – no one department or person to speak to should there be any accounts queries.
  • Impersonal customer experience.
ISP partners can often ‘add value’ to the services provided by some of the bigger ISP’s as they often have access to better resources than standard and direct customers do, due to the volume of business they put through the main ISP’s.

For example, a partner would have elevated support with the ISP, whilst also having their own support team. What this means for the customer is that instead of having to log a support call with an off shore call centre, all they have to do is speak to the partner who will then take care of everything for them.

It’s a well-known fact that customers like to feel valued, and not be made to feel like just a number, or even a small fish in a very large pond. This is why it is often beneficial to take services from a partner as they will usually assign a dedicated account manager who will take care of the customer, review the pricing, deal with any project management, accounts issues etc.

Additionally, a partner will have many customer accounts, which means that they would qualify for additional discounts which they then pass on to their customer base. When the services and product costs come down in price, the account managers will pro-actively get in touch to talk about renegotiating the contracts to reflect the new and lower costs.

In summary, here are just some of the benefits; 
  • Access to exclusive preferential pricing/tariffs & entire portfolio
  • Dedicated Named Support Team (account/service/billing)
  • VIP UK based support (24/7)
  • Portal access for ordering, provisioning & faults
  • Dedicated order manager
  • Partner's are often on a higher tier with elevated support
If you would like to know more about any of the articles on this Blog then please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Checkpoint Maintenance Contracts

Here at Claritas we take network security very seriously, which is why our technical support team are qualified to install, design, manage, support and maintain a range of robust network security solutions.

Checkpoint is one of the market leaders in true network security, and offers a feature rich platform to include;


  • Firewall
  • IPSec VPN
  • IPS
  • Application Control
  • URL Filtering
  • Anti-Bot
  • Antivirus
  • Identity Awareness
  • DLP
  • Web Security
  • Anti-Spam and Email Security
  • Advanced Networking and Clustering
  • Voice over IP (VoIP)

If you’re worried about a potential threat to your network, would like some advice, or already have a product which requires a more advanced technical support contract, then please do get in touch.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Transit, Peering and Internet Service Providers – How the Internet Works

We all use the Internet on a daily basis, and whilst some of us may have a basic understanding of how it works, it is a lot more complex than many of us think.

Or is it?

In its simplest form, the Internet is a means to transfer digital information around the globe. But how is that data transmitted? Is the Internet just one thing or is it many things which are somehow connected together?

The answer is that it is many networks which, through the use of Peering and Transit, are allowed to speak to one and other.

The simple definition for Transit is a “network that passes traffic between networks in addition to carrying traffic for its own hosts”. ISP’s and Hosting Providers are networks in their own right, but they need to have the ability to interconnect with other networks. Sometimes, this can be a direct link but often, it can be indirect and need to hop between multiple networks before the data being transmitted arrives at its final destination.

With Transit, one network will agree to allow traffic to flow between itself and any other network already connected to it. This is how the World Wide Web operates.

Peering on the other hand is where two or more networks are directly connected, either publicly or privately.

It should be noted that Transit providers allows other networks to exchange traffic and not bandwidth.


Without Transit, the Internet would simply not work, as all we would have would be a collection of closed networks.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Super Connected Cities – Voucher Scheme

If you’re a small or medium enterprise, and you have been struggling with the speed and reliability of your internet connectivity then now might be a good time to consider an upgrade, as at the moment and until March 2016, the government have an up to £3,000 incentive to encourage businesses to improve their connectivity.

Claritas is registered as an official supplier on the scheme, so we can help out with the application process as well as the connection itself. For those interested, the main criteria for qualifications are as follows;
  • Your business is within an eligible area one of the 22 cities taking part in the scheme. Check your postcode to find out if you’re eligible
  • You are a SME, registered charity, social enterprise or sole trader
  • Installation of your new broadband connection will cost over £100
  • The connection is for your business premises. You can apply for a connection at home if this is your main work base, but this does not apply if you work from home occasionally
  • You are willing to sign up to a minimum 6 month contract with your broadband supplier
  • The broadband service you select delivers a speed or performance improvement on your current connection. There are some detailed requirements on speed that you should check before applying
  • You have not received more than around £120,000 in grants in the last 3 years
So far this scheme has been very successful, and many businesses are benefiting from faster connectivity, which in turn has increased productivity and in some cases, saved them money.

For more information and to find out how the scheme can benefit your business, then please do not hesitate to get in touch via the contact details on this page.

Welcome to Claritas

Hello and welcome to the Claritas Blog page. Many thanks for taking a look.

Hopefully, and in the fullness of time you’re going to find lots of interesting articles posted here, but for now, let me take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about what we do (after all, what with this being the very first posting, it will soon get buried under what is to come);

The simple answer is that we are an IT Solutions provider. Now, that may sound very broad but that is because it is. We employ a very technical and experienced team of IT professionals, which has enabled us to deliver a diverse range of bespoke and efficient solutions which have been tailored to our client’s needs. To sum up in bullet points;

  • IT specialists that ensure clients avoid risks associated with using multiple vendors 
  • Exceptional 24/7 customer service 
  • Delivering business objectives by using first class technologies 
  • Long term relationships with clients built on trust 
  • Innovations allowing access to otherwise ‘out of reach’ technologies 
  • Enabling companies to gain a competitive edge through the supply of IT systems, carefully created for each client’s individual needs and are only fit for purpose 
  • Consistent delivery to a very high standard, maintaining our enviable reputation within the industry 

We deliver precise strategic thinking and I.T. direction that can turn your concept from vision to reality. The core principles of Claritas can be found in all projects that we deliver.

Feel free to take a look at some case studies for more information and in the meantime, if you need to speak to one of our consultants then our contact details are just to the right of this post.

Thanks again for taking the time to read this.