Supporting Romsey based children’s charity

We are delighted to announce Allied Office Machines are sponsoring a local charity Romsey Opportunity Group. Mavis Watts, the founder of Romsey Opportunity Group and Steve Drayson, MD at Allied Office Machines

Romsey Opportunity Group supports children under five with physical, emotional and sensory disabilities and their families in a play based setting.

The charity has been open since 1971 and continues to provide facilities for babies to pre-school children with special needs. It gives the children the opportunity to learn and develop through play, as well as provide information, support and valuable respite for their families.

The group is run by a committee and staffed mainly by a team of volunteers which meets twice a week on a Tuesday and Thursday morning between 10am-12pm at the Appletree Centre, Princes Road, Romsey.

The use of the building is provided courtesy of Hampshire County Council but they receive no other funding. Sessions are kept free thanks to on-going fundraising.

Steve Drayson, MD at Allied Office Machines, commented: “We are always happy to support a local charity and give back to the local community. The Romsey Opportunity Group is one of the few special needs centres in Hampshire where they cater for the youngest age group, zero to five years”

Sue Fisher,  Trustee & Volunteer at Romsey Opportunity Group, added, “ Allied Office Machines have kindly donated a printer/scanner which will help us produce our newsletters and run the administration side of our charity more effectively”

Rowans Hospice Charity Quiz

Our Allied Office Machines Lightbulbs team has taken part in the Rowans Hospice Corporate Quiz.Rowans Hospice Quiz

It was an enjoyable, well organised evening and lots of funds have been raised for this worthy charity.

Our team has done well and finished in a joint 4th place. We are looking forward to the next one!

Rowans Hospice provide palliative and end of life care to the highest quality for those living with a life-limiting illness in the Southeast of Hampshire. Their highly trained hospice carers help to improve quality of life for the patient by easing physical symptoms as well as offering psychological, spiritual and social support to both patients and their loved ones.


Software speeds up invoicing and payments

Based in Portsmouth, Window Warehouse is the south coast’s leading manufacturer of quality uPVC and aluminium windows and doors to the domestic and commercial sectors.

Allied Office Machines have been a trusted technology supplier to Window Warehouse for many years. The partnership has started with Allied providing printers and copiers and grew into supplying software solutions and cybersecurity.

When their previous delivery notes scanning system was no longer supported Allied recommended a software replacement GlobalCapture. This solution has a flexible licencing model which is also more cost effective and highly scalable, so it can expand into other departments.

The delivery notes are created with a barcode from the main system and printed. Once they are signed by the customer, they are scanned back into the system which completes the electronic document trail for each job. This enables the company to resolve any queries quickly and efficiently and speeds up invoicing and payments.

GlobalCapture® is a software solution that automates manual tasks and transforms documents into business intelligence.

Andy Bulcock, IT Manager at Window Warehouse explained: “ On Allied’s recommendation we have selected GlobalCapture to update our delivery notes scanning process. The next stage is to automate this process even further and replicate it all electronically. The proof of delivery will be completed via the drivers’ mobiles where customers sign for the job. The confirmation will be sent automatically into the system which means the invoice can be raised even sooner ”

Steve Drayson, MD at Allied Office Solutions added: “We are very happy to assist Window Warehouse in their digital transformation and provide the business technology they need to support their growing company.

Picture: Andy Bulcock from Window Warehouse and Frankie Girardelli from Allied

20 years and counting

Hampshire based Allied Office Machines are proud to announce they have extended their sponsorship of Winchester Rugby Club.

Allied Office Machines at Winchester Rugby Club

Allied Office Machines have been supporting Winchester Rugby Football Club since 2003 by donating multifunctional printers to help run the administration of the club.

Steve Drayson, MD at Allied Office Machines, commented: “We sponsor Winchester Rugby Club as we feel sport plays an important role in the local community and encourages young people to be more active. Especially in this digital age, where everyone spends too much time indoors on their devices. We wish the Club the very best of luck in this season and beyond”

Winchester rugby club continues to progress and currently runs four senior men teams, a ladies team and over 600 boys and girls in the age grade teams. They are supported by 150 volunteers who help to provide rugby for the benefit of the community. The 1st XV secured promotion last season as did both the 2nd XV and 3rd XV highlighting the strength in depth that has been developed over recent seasons. The 1st XV are now playing in the Regional 2 South Central League and as they enter the second half of the season stand 2nd in the table.

Robbie Sanderson,  President at Winchester Rugby Club, added, Winchester RFC are delighted to extend their twenty year partnership with Allied Office Machines. Allied provide the necessary printing equipment for our increasingly busy club office and making life easier for our back room team.”

Picture L-R: Robbie Sanderson (President WRFC), Steve Drayson (MD at Allied Office Machines), Steve Barrow (Chairman WRFC)

Toner replacement – Reduce wastage

If you have printers and photocopiers from Allied Office Machines, you most likely benefit from our toner inclusive maintenance agreement. This means we replace your toners as needed.toner replacement

Some users are changing partially used toners for new ones, much before the existing toners are empty. These used toners still could print thousands of pages with no loss of quality. They only need to be replaced when they are completely empty and the machine stops working.

For the benefit of the environment and to cut wastage, we have provided the following useful information.

Toner replacement procedure

The correct procedure for replacing printer and photocopier toner is:

  1. When the machine indicates a toner is running low, do not replace the toner at this stage. There is plenty of toner left, you do not need to change it just yet.
  2. When the machine finally runs out of toner, it will stop. If it is a colour device, it will need either a cyan, magenta, yellow or black toner. Check which one needs replacing. It is highly unlikely you will need to change more than one toner at a time. The device will indicate which colour toner needs to be replaced.
  3. Empty? OK, it’s time to change it. Please make sure you have selected the correct toner, give it a gentle shake, and replace it.
  4. If you are using our auto-replenish service, your machine will notify us in plenty of time for the next replacement to be sent out.

Thank you for helping us to be greener.

Improving our customers’ green credentials as well as our own

At Allied Office Machines we are constantly looking to improve our green credentials and create a sustainable approach to the way we do business.Sustainability

Our partnership with Ricoh helps with this as sustainability is built into their product design and prevalent throughout their value chain.

Ricoh have undertaken a series of initiatives in the areas of energy efficiency, resource conservation and human wellbeing to minimise the environmental impact of their devices. As a result they are pleased to introduce their new range IM C Series.

Energy savings

The IM C Series boasts industry-leading low Typical Energy Consumption (TEC) values and automatic eco-mode energy saving (0.3W) when in sleep mode. By using an innovative new toner that fuses at a lower temperature,  IM C Series significantly lowers energy consumption. Sleep mode power consumption has also been reduced, helping you achieve a smaller carbon footprint with lower costs.

More recycled plastic

Designed for sustainability throughout its lifecycle, the IM C Series is made using 50% post-consumer recycled plastic while PET toner bottles are produced from 100% recycled plastic. Plastic packaging is reduced by 54% thanks to a more sustainable material and no excess packaging.

Waste management

Waste management is also a focus as our operations generate paper, plastic and metal waste, which we strive to consume less and recycle more to reduce our environmental impact by:

  • Encouraging individual responsibility for recycling initiatives and providing recycling facilities for paper, printer toners, plastics and metal
  • Refurbishing older equipment and providing these as a service. Refurbishing means we return the condition of the equipment to nearly new.
  • The products we can no longer refurbish are donated to Southampton Special Purpose Workshop, a Hampshire-based company helping adults with special needs. SSPW strips out all materials from the equipment which are then recycled.
  • In addition, we offer a free toner cartridge recycling service to all our customers with 90% of all used toner cartridges being recycled.

Read more about the new Ricoh range here and our Corporate responsibility and sustainability here

Is the current ransomware strategy not working?

With so many high profile attacks, is the current ransomware strategy not working?

Companies are entrusted with the private, personal, and sensitive information of their clients.  When there is a ransomware breach, clients’ data is encrypted and stolen. encrypted

If the ransom demanded is not paid, three things typically happen:

1. The business loses access to their data. To remedy this, they need to restore the data from IT backups, leading to loss of revenue over the weeks/months(?) it would take. But that’s only as long as their IT backup is not infected by ransomware… Sometimes cyber criminals delay their attack after they have hacked into a company, so their ransomware code gets included in the regular daily/weekly backup.

2.  To punish the company for non-payment, the stolen client data gets published on the dark web for other criminals to take an advantage of. A recent series of attacks on schools saw their data being shared including children’s SEN information, passport scans and details of teachers’ pay contracts. Read more here.

3.  ICO may need to be notified of the breach and a fine can be issued. Tuckers Solicitors, one of the UK’s leading criminal law firms, have been hit with a £98,000 fine after hackers were able to access current court cases information and leak them on the web. Read more here.

Your insurance company may cover cybercrime and pay the ransom for you. We are aware of cases where this has happened. I can only imagine how high the following years’ insurance premiums going to be. Also, the  UK government has made it illegal to pay ransom to some ransomware criminals. Read more here.

We are protected from ransomware by our robust antivirus and EDR defences”, you say? Well, it may be true you are protecting your devices as much as possible, but cybercriminals are becoming more and more devious and they are finding ways to get in.

Many large corporations spend millions on cybersecurity and still get hacked.  Recent high profile attacks include BBC, Boots, BA Capita, Mazars and Royal Mail.

Experts agree that it is no longer a question of if, but when you get targeted. A business needs to take every precaution they can in building strong perimeter and end point defences. However they also need to plan for when there is a breach and how to manage it.

Find out more about Bullwall RansomCare which will stop an active ransomware attack.

Contact Martyn on 01794 526088 or email

London Marathon 2023 – Completed!

Martyn Pegram, Account Director at Allied Office Machine, has completed the super popular London Marathon. He managed to raise £1968 for a local charity The Rainbow Centre.

Martyn at the start of London Marathon
Martyn at the start of the London Marathon

Here is Martyn sharing his experience with us:

“It’s fair to say that my Marathon training was less than perfect. I had a sixteen week plan, which was disrupted twice. First I damaged my Achilles and had to rest for five weeks. Then I had twisted my stomach muscle, which took me another three weeks to recover from. This meant I only had half the allocated time to train. When I could get out, I did enjoy making videos to highlight what I was doing and who I was doing it for. With only two weeks to go I hadn’t gone beyond ten miles. However I did not want to risk another injury.

The day itself was an awesome experience. The crowds. The noise. The anticipation really gets you going. I set off with all manner of things in my mind “Don’t start too fast”, “Focus on the mile you’re in”, “Run your own race” and my favourite, which was “Finish line, not finish time!” I felt OK at the start, nothing too bad, nice and steady. I took water at each stop and only had a couple of sips (as per advice) but it’s amazing how so little water makes you want to visit the loo so much!! 🙂 So I stopped at virtually every toilet stop on the way.

6.5 Miles in is the Cutty Sark. The crowd there is loud. I still felt fine and I was thinking, this is virtually 25%. But not long after that my muscles were burning and I started to struggle coming up to 8 Miles.

Just after Mile 9, my left calf went and it was horrid. I tried to stretch it, but it was agony. Part of me thought, ‘You’re not even halfway, so find a medical tent and stop’. But then I thought about the video I’d seen from the Rainbow Centre. In this video Eniko (one of the staff) said, they were asking the children to do something every day, which was like the equivalent of them asking her to climb Kilimanjaro. It really kept me moving forward, as I was only doing this for one day.

Martyn after completing London Marathon

At Tower Bridge I tried a mini slow jog over it – perhaps I knew the cameras were there! – and then I crossed it and turned right and saw the halfway marker. There’s a board with messages for the runners and I had some – once again it kept me going. This was the longest homeward stretch, but I thought I just had to finish now no matter what.

After that point the crowds are smaller, but equally raucous. Singing “Sweet Caroline” at a pub on route with all those people was great. That bit seems to go on forever, with my calves burning I could feel the blisters on my toes and heels – I think mainly due to the rain earlier in the day. It certainly wasn’t because I was going too fast.

At Mile 21 I needed some treatment and they asked if I needed to stop. Not a chance was I going to stop now. I kept thinking of the kids at The Rainbow Centre and all of those people who had sponsored me – I didn’t want to short change anyone.  The last 2 miles was mainly stragglers, so more and more of the crowd, who could see my name on my vest, were encouraging me. The crowd really are fantastic.

With just the 385 yards to go, I was cursing Queen Alexandra – I could have finished already!! I was limping and devoid of energy, but the grandstand crowd all chant for you and there’s another board with messages. I was in absolute zombie mode and really emotional.

When I crossed the finish line I checked three times that it was over and then collapsed on the floor, shattered and in agony. After a little bit of medical, I got my medal and t-shirt.

I’m so pleased to have done it and very thankful to the Rainbow Centre for giving me the opportunity to take part in something so incredibly iconic, but just like Sir Mo Farah, that’s my last London Marathon. One and Done!

My favourite part of all though was to go in and visit the Centre afterwards and to have a picture taken with the children and staff. I know that the near £2000 that I raised will really help them and that, for me, made every step of the Marathon worthwhile.

The Rainbow Centre
Children and staff at The Rainbow Centre

Perhaps my experience will inspire others to get off the sofa and raise some funds for this amazing charity.”

The Rainbow Centre is a Fareham-based charity supporting people across the Wessex region with neurological conditions including Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Stroke and other acquired brain injuries. As a non-governmentally funded organisation, they are dependent on the generosity and fundraising endeavours of their brilliant community which help to fund the neuro-rehabilitation provided by the Centre.

The Rainbow Centre had eight amazing London Marathon runners who collectively raised over £10,000.

Account Director Martyn is running the London Marathon in support of The Rainbow Centre.

Martyn Pegram
Martyn Pegram, Account Director

Martyn Pegram, Account Director at Allied Office Machines, is training hard to complete the world’s most popular marathon next month to raise funds for a lovely local charity.

Based in Fareham, The Rainbow Centre is a supporting children and adults with neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s, MS and stroke and their families.

Martyn commented: “ I am not a natural athlete but my partner, who ran the London Marathon last year, has inspired me to get off the sofa and help others. We have been working with The Rainbow Centre and I am familiar with all the great work they do there in helping children with complex neurological needs. As a father myself, I can appreciate how enormous this support is for the whole family. The Rainbow Centre does not get any funding, they solely rely on donations. Therefore anyone who can, please donate a few pounds to this worthy cause.”

Inigo Churchill, Operations Director at The Rainbow Centre, added: “ We are extremely grateful to everyone who has sponsored Martyn, it really is very much appreciated. He is looking to raise £1500 and every penny donated will go towards supporting the children and adults in our care. Here are some examples of where your money will go:

£70 could pay for a whole week of snacks for the 54 children that attend The Rainbow Centre.

£220 would pay for one of our Saturday sessions, which are for older children that attend mainstream school during the week.

£490 would fund an entire session for our early intervention class, helping families to learn the very best way to help their child from early diagnosis.”

To donate click here

Your backup routine – top 5 things to consider in protecting your business against ransomware.

Backup securityRansomware encrypts all your data and makes it unusable unless you pay the ransom required. Best way to prepare for such an attack  is to have good quality data you can restore from backup. Here are key things to consider.

1. Review and update backup policies

The best defence against malware is being able to restore data from clean backups. However, backups will only work if they are robust and comprehensive and include all the data. CIOs should order a thorough audit of all business data locations. It is all too easy to miss critical data off a backup plan, whether they are held on local systems or in the cloud.

Best practice for backup remains the 3-2-1 rule: make three copies of data, store across two different forms of media and keep one copy off-site. To protect against ransomware, the offsite backup should be isolated from the business network.

2. Air gap business data

Cloud storage is an attractive technology to store long-term data backups, and in some quarters it has replaced physical backup media such as optical disks, portable hard drives and tape. It protects data from physical disruption, such as hardware or power failures, or fire and flood, but it will not automatically protect against ransomware. Cloud storage is vulnerable on two fronts: through connections to customer networks, and because it is shared infrastructure.

Ransomware can take out backup systems, which are the last line of defence against data loss.

The solution is to supplement cloud backups with tape or other mechanical backup media. Cloud can be the offsite copy, but keeping another dataset on tape, and keeping those tapes strictly offline, is the most reliable way to “air gap” data from a ransomware attack.

3. Make regular backups and review retention policies

It should go without saying that organisations should back up their data regularly.

Again, CIOs should review policies for frequency of backups, especially how often data is backed up to off-site locations (including the cloud) and mechanically separated media, such as tape. It might be that more frequent backups are needed.

IT teams should also review how long they keep backups, especially their air-gapped media. Ransomware often uses time delays to avoid detection, or “attack loops” to target apparently clean systems.

Organisations might need to go back through several generations of backups to find clean copies, requiring longer retention and, possibly, more copies. Keeping separate backups for critical business systems should also make recovery easier.

4. Ensure backups are clean and robust

Ensuring backups are free of malware is hard, but organisations should do as much as they can to make sure their backups are not infected.

As well as strict air-gap policies – such as taking media offline as quickly as possible – up-to-date malware detection tools are essential, as is system patching.

For extra protection, companies should consider write once read many (WORM) media such as optical disks, or tape configured as WORM. Some suppliers now market WORM-format cloud storage.

5. Test and plan

All backup and recovery plans need to be tested. This is critical to calculate recovery times – and establishing whether data can be recovered at all.

Using air-gapped, off-site media is best practice, but how long will it take to restore systems? Which systems are the priority for recovery? And will firms need separated, clean networks for recovery purposes?

CIOs should test all phases of the recovery plan, ideally using duplicate media. The worst scenario would be for a recovery exercise to contaminate existing, clean backups.

To stop ransomware you should also consider RC from Bullwall, last line of defence containment software. This will stop the ransomware attack and protect your data without the need to restore it from a backup.

Call Martyn on 01794 526088 to find out more.

Read the full article here Top five ways backup can protect against ransomware | Computer Weekly