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Alchemy, winner of ‘2017 Partner of the Year Award’

October 3rd, 2017

Partner of the Year (2)Having attended an Industry awards ceremony in the City of London last week we are our delighted to announce we won the prestigious honour of being named ‘2017 Partner of the Year’ for our global Microsoft distributor intY. Nathan Mills, Director, commented at the ceremony ‘We are all absolutely thrilled and I would like to say a huge thank you to our loyal customers and our amazing staff for getting us the award. Without you all it would never have happened’.

Aaron Watts, intY VP of Customer Experience, was keen to summarise the reasons for the awarding Alchemy.

‘AIchemy are in our Top 10 accounts in the UK for monthly recurring revenues and have doubled your monthly spend in the last 8-9 months. You’ve got a growing O365 base with us and have the largest cloud backup estate with intY.

New ‘Pick and Mix’ Microsoft Office 365 Training Courses

September 5th, 2017

We are delighted to announce we are launching a training ‘Mix and Match’ scheme developed in conjunction with Nova-IT, our training partner. Having spoken to a number of our clients we have found that many of you want the ability to provide short sharp ‘Pick and Mix’ ( 1.5 hours for each session) refreshers on specific functions within Microsoft Office 365.
We have split the 365 ‘Pick and Mix’ programme into 2 categories, Standard programmes (Outlook, Word, Excel, Powerpoint) and Premium.
Contact sales@alchemysys.net for more information

Microsoft FAQs for 22% price rise

December 9th, 2016

Customer FAQs

Price Increase FAQs

Alchemy Top Tips of August – Office 365 New features

August 25th, 2016

Office 365 with Alchemy SystemsPlanner

Office 365 Groups get a new component called Planner, this is a simple project planning tool. This is currently rolling out so you might not see it in your Apps Menu yet (see First Release below). This will show Plans for existing groups and also allows you to create new groups




See the Planner Demo Video.




Office 365 Video / Streamasd


Office 365 Video is currently like an internal YouTube where you can upload training videos etc. It will shortly be evolving to become “Stream” which will integrate more with SharePoint and crucially allow external users to view the videos if you wish.






Office Mix

This is an add-on for PowerPoint which lets you create and upload a video of your presentation along with narration, annotations and interactive elements like quizzes.




Is a hybrid between a website builder and PowerPoint allowing you to make present information in a more interactive way then PowerPoint


Want to learn something new and see how we can decrease your IT costs? 01784223100 or email sales@alchemysys.net



Klepto Zepto – How to Reduce Your Chances of Being Hacked in Surrey

July 25th, 2016

Ransomware Security Alert – Klepto Zepto


Alchemy Technology Specialists are warning all customers of a new malware variant called Klepto Zepto.  This dangerous new ransomware variant based on the Locky ransomware has already been carried in nearly 140,000 spam messages over the last 4 days. 

The ransomware targets users through emails with a variety of subject lines and sender profiles to encourage the user to read the email. Once opened the email asks the user to look at requested documentation, where the attachments or links activate malicious files which will encrypt your data.

As Ransomware is a deliberate criminal act, the cost of time and recovery will be chargeable as it lies outside the terms of our support agreement. We advise that you follow the recommendations below and if worried then seek independent advice in relation to taking out a cyber insurance policy.


Alchemy, recommend the following basic steps to help reduce the risk of ransomware infection:

  • Update – Windows and other applications such as Chrome, Firefox, Flash Player and the Adobe Reader and even WinRAR are known gateways for malware threats.
  • Backup – Make regular off-network backups of all your important files
  • Restrict staff access – ensure that employees only have access to files they require and limit their user permissions.
  • Staff Awareness – Remind staff to not open suspicious emails, click on links or open unknown attachments. When browsing if the website looks strange then check with support.
  • Check your network security – Businesses provide a higher profile target for Ransomware so in addition to basic antivirus we recommend an Endpoint Detection & Response solution such as Adaptive Defense 360

Alchemy would like to offer you a free no-obligation IT Security Consultation – book yours now! Simply reply to this email or call us on 01784 223 100.

5 Mistakes You Are Making With Your “Web Designer”

July 8th, 2016

If your website is making all the profits you need then delete this email, go have a cup of tea or something stronger – and congratulate yourself


But if your one of the 99% of the business owners I speak to who are frustrated with their website, or more likely downright fed up at being let down by web people promising you the earth, with your site not making profits you deserve – your desire to read the rest of this email my turn out to be the most important you’ve ever made as a business owner.


Here are 5 BIG secrets to running a profitable website:


Mistake #1

Pictures, Graphics at the top of the home page, this will lose up to 80% of your customers.

Believe it or not, but you have a whopping 8 seconds to wine and dine your visitor when they arrive, otherwise they will be searching your competitors and their fancy website with credit card in hand.


50% of people quit the typical website within 8 seconds


Worse still, most visitors will leave before even scrolling down the page, so why waste their time with a picture or rotating image!


At Alchemy, I recommend a compelling headline or better still a compelling video like this:
Screenshot Alchemy Internet


Mistake #2

Trying to Get on the FREE Listings on Google in less than a month or two.


Anyone who can promise you anything like that is either lying or doing something that is blackhat (against Googles rules) and always ends up with removal of the website within 3 months by Google.


Unfortunately, you cannot force natural SEO, yes I can improve it and make it last but not force.


If SEO is something you’re considering, I suggest paid Adwords with one of our team.



Mistake #3


Lack of Video & Social Media

It is very simple:


If a potential customer arrives at your website and its silent – it’s like going to the silent movies, it’s out of DATE. Video is everywhere and even video blogging is taking over blogging.


Alchemy have tested over 20 different types of online video to find out which works best.


Short videos (2-3 minutes long) work best when clear (not bad quality) with a call to action at the end. For example a tester video we are using now https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JzKTM2hT1A


Call to action being:


This not only calls an action on a new potential customer but increases the chances of them staying for longer than 8 seconds… Which Google Loves!


Getting a good online video strategy for your website is important and urgent.


Mistake #4


This is one of the WORST and most common mistakes I’m seeing…


A Non ‘Mobile Friendly’ Website

To keep things understandable within 2016, your website MUST be ‘mobile friendly’ unless you want to reduce your traffic by 74%.


74% of potential customers review before they buy anything online. But that’s not what you need to worry about.
fsecure3I am always getting questions through AlchemyInternet.net about SEO.


Google’s latest update states that “they will delete non mobile friendly website from their search engines” due to them being out of date or old fashioned.


You simply must have a mobile compatible website.


Mistake #5


Giving the responsibility of your Online Marketing and Financial Future to a Web Developer.


People think web designers/developers are all that is needed to success within a website. BUT what they forget is that they are ‘DESIGNERS’ for a reason. They make excellent websites that look modern, slick and stylish.


However, there’s no link between website that look nice – and websites that make money.


You need a team like the Alchemy Group who not only design, but build a plan to success with selling online. A team that will help with video marketing and social marketing to get your brand new business and customers.


Contact the Alchemy team on 01784223100 or sales@alchemysys.net for a chance to win 5 FREE professional business security antivirus licences and to talk about your website goals.


Windows 10 Upgrade – Not Free Anymore!

May 27th, 2016

Waving Goodbye to FREE Windows 10

That annoying message the keeps appearing asking you to upgrade to Windows 10 will finally stop appearing in June…

BUT…. Do you have the time to upgrade now or are you uncertain that your computer will be able to manage the new system?

Microsoft have declared that you will not be able to download for FREE any more.

As of the 1st of July, to gain the latest and personally the best (we think) operating system will require a whip of the credit card and a purchase of Over £250. Act now and upgrade for FREE, in July onwards Alchemy will do a professional upgrade for £180.


Here are the new features with Windows 10:



1 New Start Menu The new Start Menu – has metro-style tiles that are live showing a preview of the important information that you need.

2 Windows Hello Is a new feature that greets you by name and with a smile, letting you log in without a password using facial recognition or fingerprint scanning,

3 Office on Windows In addition to the Office 2016 full desktop version, Windows 10 users will be able to experience new (touch friendly) universal Windows applications for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

4 Partnership Allowing easy transformation from desktop to tablet and back, this feature will allow those hybrid devices that cross the desktop & tablet classifications to transition easily between modes. Play video Here is an informative introduction to Windows 10 from Microsoft’s Joe Belifiore.



From Our Blog We have a number of articles about Windows 10 on our website. These have been previewed below.


Preparing for Windows 10 Prior to upgrading to Windows 10, run through the systems requirements page from Microsoft to ensure that your machine is compatible. What will Windows 10 Deliver? Check this article to review some of the key features that have been delivered with this new release of Windows. With the new version of Windows 10 being released, there is a new version of Microsoft office following that has been designed to integrate fully with the new operating system.


Contact Alchemy Today for More Information


Sales: 01784223100 Email: Sales@alchemysys.net Support: 01784223129

Local Offices – Alchemy House, Band Lane, Egham, Surrey, TW209LN

—– Why Alchemy Recommends Panda Security

May 17th, 2016

Traditional Security provides little protection against advanced Ransomware attacks


Criminals are peppering UK Businesses with ransomware, building on the success of recent high-profile ransom pay-outs

Discover all that you need to know about Cyber Extortion and how to protect your organisation with Alchemy Systems




Traditional antivirus can only protect you against traditional threats.


Adaptive Defense 360 monitors, registers, and classifies 100% of running applications.

With its Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) features, Adaptive Defense 360 allows you to detect and block malware that other protection systems don’t even see.


Read our Ransomware case study



Don’t wait until it is too late.


To find out more phone

01784 223 100

or email Sales@alchemysys.net

When Ransomware Strikes – Alchemy SuperHeroes Strike BACK

May 16th, 2016

 UK SMEs are finding out that expensive security is often powerless to stop extortion.



Targeted ransom attacks can’t be stopped with yesterday’s security


As a UK-based building consultancy discovered the hard way, being hit by ransomware is like staring down the barrel of a loaded gun during a quiet evening stroll.


One minute the company is a functioning business, the next it’s being extorted by people it has never met, a threat it hasn’t heard of and an alien crime it might have been only dimly aware even existed.

We have been unable to show you advertisements on this page, which is likely to be the result of an ad blocker being installed on your device.


The firm later traced the fateful infection by a ransomware variant called DMA Locker back to an email attachment opened in Outlook at 21.46 on 6 March, a vulnerable moment because it happened to be a Sunday, a day when most of the firm’s 30 employees were at home.

As with so many ransomware infections, the simple act of opening one attachment became a gateway to a world of trouble. The malware immediately started encrypting files on the first PC before successfully reaching out to a series of attached network drives. With nobody around accessing those shares, nothing untoward was noticed until the next day by which time 90 percent of the files the company rated as critical to its business had been scrambled using AES-256 – or at least that’s what the malware claimed in the ransom message.

DMA Locker is nothing special by ransomware standards and early variants were even described as amateurish by security researchers when it first appeared in February 2016 due to major flaws in its encryption. It seems likely that the building consultancy was hit by a later patched version that presented a more serious challenge.

Most ransomware demands a modest ransom, usually between $500 and $1,000 in Bitcoins, but this one asked for £6,500 ($9,500), an unusually high price that strongly suggests that the attackers had carried out a targeted raid in which the ransom is calibrated to the likely effect on the victim.


Creepily, it is possible that ransoms are now being decided after the files have been encrypted and their number and value has been assessed.

When ransomware strikes – AV failure

The firm had firewalls – no defence whatsoever against this kind of malware – which meant its only line of defence was antivirus software running on each PC. This layer failed to notice the ransomware, not surprising given that the variant was new. This inability of antivirus to stop aggressive ransomware makes such attacks similar to zero days.

The firm had no security team which meant that reinstating the encrypted files from backup presented an onerous challenge.  This is another common theme mong SMEs but even larger organisations with staff on hand find locating backups and installing them a headache that could take days or weeks.


It’s all part of the extortionist’s business model – the cost of reinstating encrypted files (assuming such backups exist for all lost files) – costs more than the ransom. An unknown but growing number simply pay up because it’s the cheapest option.

Managed security provider and IT consultancy Alchemy Systems was called in by the victim, presumably by this point pretty desperate for some way out. Alchemy describes the clean-up as taking about a day with systems fully restored in a week.

With the current AV unable to detect let alone stop the ransomware in question, Alchemy installed Panda Security’s Adaptive Defense 360, a cloud-based system along with “beefed-up” endpoint security and continuity systems in case of a repeat attack.


“As is often the case following the attack the building consultancy wanted to ensure that nothing like this happened again,” comments Panda’s marketing manager, Neil Martin.

“Traditional antivirus solutions based on signatures, heuristics and behavioural analysis are reactive and there is always a latency, we call the ‘window of opportunity’, between the malware being created and subsequently blocked.”


The cybersecurity firm calculates that around a fifth of new malware goes undetected by antivirus in the first day of its existence, more than enough time to do serious damage.

He argues that the cloud-based design of Adaptive Defense 360 is better suited to stopping current malware than a simple endpoint client of the sort used by many home users and SMEs. Defence needs far more layers to have a chance.

Panda Security’s Adaptive Defense 360 takes this further through continuous endpoint monitoring of all processes, gathering 1000’s of features on each such as ‘where did it come from, ‘how did it execute’, ‘on which system’. All of these are used as part of the machine learning along with manual checks from Panda Labs Experts that identifies and blocks malware.

“We don’t allow anything to run until we know exactly what it is.”

The victim in this case was understandably unwilling to reveal itself. Many other victims aren’t even written up at all. Some even suffer in silence, middle through or, sad to report, pay up.

It’s a dark experience more and more UK SMEs and even large enterprises find themselves living though although smaller firms are in greater danger because they often lack the knowledge to cope.


When ransomware strikes – lessons?

There are no simple or comforting ‘what to dos’ to draw from the incident. It was a typical ransomware attack on a UK SME that was poorly defended to resist this kind of predation. What is clear is that organisations of all sizes can’t rely on cybersecurity based on single layers of defence that fail gracelessly. More layers are needed so that there is not one single and brittle weakness that can be bypassed.

Every firm needs to devise a plan as to how it will respond not simply to malware in general but extortion specific attacks such as DDoS, ransomware, web defacement, data breaches or a combination of all of the above. Having backups is a start but not on its own enough.Alchemy

For small companies, the best place to start is to find an expert third-party consultancy (like Alchemy), preferably one that can prove it has business experience of dealing with such attacks. This partner will also be able to advise on the vulnerability of the network, which is to say outline the sort of damage a typical attack could do and how quickly. Reconfiguration might be necessary.

Most of important of all, companies shouldn’t wait for trouble to strike. Ransomware is not a new threat but it shows no sign of going away, far from it. It is evolving and the targeting is becoming better and better. Each and every company is at risk. Don’t ignore it; give yourself a chance by understanding the enemy.

Panda Security has released a broad overview of the attack documented here as a case study on its website.


Windows 10 Upgrade Announcement

February 29th, 2016

The Alchemy Technical team has been made aware of a change that Microsoft is initiating in relation to the Windows 10 upgrade availability, and problems which may affect PC’s running Windows 7, 8 and 8.1. Microsoft are adjusting the Windows 10 upgrade to become a “Recommended” update, instead of an “Optional” update, which may mean it automatically prompts the user to initiate the upgrade.

Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 have a default setting for Windows Update which would result in the download and installation of Windows 10 onto your PC’s. This deployment is due to start on 29/02/2016. Users will be prompted to upgrade to Windows 10 as part of their Windows Update regime. This operating system upgrade could result in the following problems:

· Printer failures – your printer model might not support Windows 10, with printer drivers may not yet be available for Windows 10.

· Software failures – your third party software might not be compatible with Windows 10, causing it to fail or crash without notice.

· Certain Citrix and RDS clients are incompatible with our hosting platforms, which may then restrict user logon.


NOTE: If the below appears, you need to click on theRED CROSS in the top right hand corner to cancel the upgrade. PLEASE DO NOT SELECT EITHER OF THE UPGRADE OPTIONS.


Win 10



We recommend that all users be advised not to accept the upgrade if they are prompted to install Windows 10.

If an unwanted Windows 10 upgrade occurs, please contact our support team on 0845 052 4399.

Should your company wish to progress with an upgrade to Windows 10, Alchemy can discuss this further and orchestrate appropriate testing for compatibility of all software at risk. Once testing has been completed Alchemy can then proceed with an upgrade project in a planned and controlled manner.



Resolving issues with your PC’s/Laptops following and automatic Windows 10 upgrade will involve restoring your PC to its previous version of Windows; this can cause significant downtime and may require your previous Windows and Software Product Keys. In addition IT Service charges will apply from Alchemy for works relating to a problem resulting from the upgrade.

Please note Windows PCs running XP and Vista are not entitled to a free upgrade to Windows 10 so the above issue does not apply in this case.

Please contact Alchemy if you have any questions or if there is anything more Alchemy can do for you.


Steve Prosser



Contact us to discover how Alchemy can help your business.

Call us on 01784 223 100 or email us – ask@alchemysys.net