ABP Technologies: Case Study

Security online is hugely important to any firm, but it is vital for a company within the financial services sector. Prince & King, a financial services firm based in Earby, Lancashire, have long sought the expertise of Holker IT.

Navigating the Digital Landscape: Microsoft vs. Google environments in schools

With the rise of online communication and the Covid-19 pandemic forcing companies to operate remotely, messaging apps like WhatsApp have become increasingly popular for business purposes.

Holker celebrate employee of the quarter award

Fantastic team player named in. Holker IT’s latest employee awards

How secure is your personal data on WhatsApp?

With the rise of online communication and the Covid-19 pandemic forcing companies to operate remotely, messaging apps like WhatsApp have become increasingly popular for business purposes.

The Zero Trust Model: A Comprehensive Overview for Businesses

As businesses continue to operate in an increasingly digitised and connected world, cybersecurity is a critical aspect that cannot be overlooked.

Andrew named Holker’s Employee of the Quarter.

Holker named UK Partner of the Year

Prince & King: Case Studies

Security online is hugely important to any firm, but it is vital for a company within the financial services sector. Prince & King, a financial services firm based in Earby, Lancashire, have long sought the expertise of Holker IT.

Access Point: case study

Access Point has been a customer of Holker’s for more than 15 years. But what is it that stands Holker apart from the competition?

Kingfisher: It’s going to be a ball

Holker in Porto

Conner joins the team at HOLKER

Holker adds over 113 years of experience to its team after 12 key appointments

Ash announced as employee of the quarter

Tyrone Whipp promoted to 2nd line engineer

Holker’s Will passes his Azure 900 exam

Improving Working Together

You may not know ABP - but your kids will know their products

Paul attends conference to further improve customer care

Holker attend Education Forum

Holker appoint Paul Taylor as Technical Director

Ryan Allen has been promoted to 2nd line engineer

Will Haythornthwaite passes MS900 exam

Karl Brown continues to sail through his IT examinations

Cyber threat warning for Lancashire businesses

Employees Work Hard and Play Hard at Holker

Holker announce latest Employee of the Quarter

Holker announce first Employee of the Quarter winner

Ryan has his head in the cloud after completing remote learning

Staff at HOLKER have gone back to the classroom – after enrolling all our staff on additional training courses to keep their knowledge sharp and ahead of the competition.

HOLKER – saving the planet one laptop at a time

HOLKER has sold 222 remanufactured laptops in partnership with Circular Computing. Our carbon neutral remanufactured HP, Dell and Lenovo laptops deliver up to 40% cost savings ...

Marcus passes exams with flying colours

Congratulations to Marcus Farran – who has passed his Integris exam less than two months after joining HOLKER. Integris is a software solution used by schools ...

Matthew gets Pretty Muddy for charity

Matthew Metcalfe and his family took part in the Race for Life Pretty Muddy event in Preston – raising over £630 for Cancer Research.

HOLKER welcomes three familiar faces to the team

Holker has made three new appointments to strengthen its sales and support teams.

What’s a cyberattack got to do with a turkey factory?

There was an example in the media recently about the world’s largest meat processing plant that had to stand down up to 7,000 workers in Australian abattoirs after a ransomware attack. We know what you’re thinking, it will never happen to you, right? You can bet that’s what they thought!

We’re here 24/7

You’ve heard of the city that never sleeps… Holker are the IT company that never sleeps. We know how important it is for your IT to be operating at its full potential. We also understand the round-the-clock demands our customers put on their infrastructures.

Is your safeguarding software working?

Local authorities, academy trusts, schools, colleges, and further education institutions all have a legal duty of care to keep children and young people safe online. The Department for Education’s safeguarding software, which was installed on 2 million devices given out over the last 18 months, has now expired as of 30 September 2021. This means that you need to take control of your own devices by making sure you have your own remote management system.

Superheroes for Schools

“I think of Holker as superheroes in capes, stood in the wings looking for danger and ready to swoop in and help,” says Rachel Marsland. Rachel, Business Manager at Denton Community College, said the proactive company understand the pressures that schools are under. “I've got so many plates spinning so knowing that I don't need to check up on them or worry about the IT means that it’s one plate I need to spin. It has taken so much pressure off me when trying to manage the school’s business affairs.”

Blue sky thinking for Burnley cloud provider

A thriving technology company has become the largest IT business in Burnley after relocating to new premises. Holker IT has just expanded into the 15,447 sq. ft Crown House on the Network 65 Business Park – the very place MD Matthew Metcalfe worked as an engineer. Matthew founded Holker IT in 2009 after spending more than 10 years learning his trade. Rated among the top 10 IT experts in the North West, Matthew has led the rapid development of a company founded on honest and outstanding client services and on a principle of working in partnership for the good of all.

Testimonial from Tor View Teaching School Hub

“We are educationalists, not network managers,” says Katrina Brockbank, Strategic Lead of Tor View Teaching School Hub. And that’s why they have put their trust in IT specialist Holker IT. Katrina, formerly the business manager of the special school in Rossendale, rated Outstanding by Ofsted, said: “Our school has grown considerably, and the network and IT is something we just kept adding to like a game of Buckaroo.


Burnley-based HOLKER IT have been looking for sustainable and useful partnerships for our education clients, and we feel we now have the perfect trio of partnerships to roll out to our clients and new schools. HOLKER have launched an education bundle that ticks all the boxes in terms of environmental sustainability, cyber security, safeguarding and funding - all wrapped up with one point of contact, and one provider.

HOLKER is growing which means changes are afoot

HOLKER are on a quest to align the business, and in the journey this means we have introduced a new number, that is non-geographic and compliments our growing client base, that are nationally located throughout the UK and in some cases truly global. HOLKER have grown in size throughout the pandemic, both physically (actual people that are employed by the business) and organically with clients, by gaining new contracts through new business activities and also by acquiring PC EduTech in the summer of 2020, with 13 staff and 75 schools to serve for IT support.

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Is it important to find somebody geographically nearby, or can IT Support be provided remotely?

How has COVID 19 impacted on the provision of IT Support for businesses?

What do IT Support do, and what do they not do

How does Holker’s IT support work for businesses

A practical Guide to Cyber Security in Schools

Cyber security is a concern for most organisations, including schools, and this can be a minefield without the correct tools and awareness in place to tackle the subject head on. The Holker Group would like to offer some practical guidance, in preparation for new legislation, The Age-Appropriate Design Code of Practice, planned to be enforced in September, in time for the new school year. There are many security threats that all schools should be aware of. We have outlined 5 of the most common below and how to practically tackle them:

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Holker are Accredited by Cyber Essentials, for the 5th year in a row.

This week, we have been presented with our 5th certification for Cyber Essentials. This means we are accredited for the next 12 months as a Cyber Secure IT company, and we can also assess our client’s security against the official Government-backed Cyber Essentials certification to help guard against the most common cyber threats and enhance their security. Initially, we only had a small number of clients who required Cyber Essentials certification and this was mainly due to the fact that they were concerned about the loss of financial data. However, with the increase in remote working over the past 12 months we are now finding that the requirement for the Cyber Essentials accreditation has increased dramatically.

Everything else VOIP

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Holker have an unmatched understanding of MIS for education packages; as well as providing technical support and the full wrap-around of services, expertise and advice that enables us to deliver schools and colleges exactly what they need in terms of IT. Schools and educational facilities all use Management Information Systems (MIS) that are specialised for the sector and to comply with FE regulations, they are needed to capture, report and assess key data.


Our Helpdesk in Burnley deals with calls from all over Europe, the USA and South Africa every day. Whilst these people are based overseas, they are treated in exactly the same way as our clients’ UK operations, making us a truly a global business.

The Holker Group Partner with Data Protection People in time for new education legislation.

The Holker Group are delighted to announce its latest partnership with The Data Protection People. Partnerships are core to Holker’s ethos of being able to provide the best IT solutions and services, from the experts themselves, straight to our clients. Data Protection People was an obvious partner for Holker, as they will enhance the current portfolio with specific compliance and legislative services that many clients have been requesting. Holker listened to client feedback, researched the market, and can now provide a full suite of data protection services.


The Holker team from PC EduTech manage and implement all this tech, with on-site engineers, backed up by the Holker/PC EduTech support desk. Recently the school census has taken up a lot of the helpdesk’s time with data required in the correct format to make sure all schools were making the deadline from the government. The school census is just one example of the various policies, commitments and data gathering knowledge and experience that our experts in the education industry can help with at your school.


ABP Technologies: Case Study

ABP Technologies: Case Study
Navigating the Digital Landscape: Microsoft vs. Google environments in schools

Navigating the Digital Landscape: Microsoft vs. Google environments in schools

In the rapidly evolving landscape of education technology, the choice between Microsoft and Google environments is a critical decision for schools.

Each platform comes with its own set of advantages and challenges, particularly in the areas of management, security, and licensing.

In this blog post, we will explore the top five pros and cons of both Microsoft and Google environments to help schools make informed decisions for their digital ecosystems.

Here are key considerations for each platform:

  • Familiar Office Suite: Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) is widely used and familiar to educators and students, reducing the learning curve and facilitating seamless integration into existing workflows.
  • Microsoft Teams Collaboration: Microsoft Teams serves as a comprehensive collaboration hub, integrating chat, video conferencing, file sharing, and collaborative document editing in one platform, promoting efficient teamwork.
  • OneDrive Cloud Storage: OneDrive provides cloud-based storage for files and documents, ensuring accessibility across devices. This is especially beneficial for users within the Microsoft ecosystem.
  • Co-Authoring and Editing: Similar to Google Workspace, Microsoft Office allows for real-time co-authoring and editing of documents, encouraging collaborative work on projects and assignments.
  • Integrations with Learning Management Systems (LMS): Microsoft tools seamlessly integrate with various learning management systems, providing a unified experience for educators and students as they manage coursework and assignments.

  • Real-time collaboration: Google Workspace tools (Docs, Sheets, Slides) allow for simultaneous real-time collaboration. Multiple users can edit documents simultaneously, fostering a dynamic and interactive learning environment.
  • Google Classroom Integration: Google Classroom streamlines the distribution of assignments, facilitates communication, and provides a centralised platform for students and teachers to collaborate on coursework.
  • Cloud-Based Storage: Google Drive offers cloud-based storage, enabling easy access to documents from any device with an internet connection. This allows flexibility and accessibility for both educators and students.
  • Communication Tools: Google Meet and Google Chat provide communication solutions for virtual classrooms, meetings, and discussions, enhancing overall collaboration and engagement.
  • Version History and Revision Tracking: Google Workspace applications automatically track version history and revisions, allowing teachers to monitor changes made by students and enabling easy rollback if needed.

Considerations for Both Platforms:

  • Security and Privacy: Both Google and Microsoft prioritise security features such as encryption, authentication, anti-virus and data loss prevention. Schools must evaluate and ensure that the chosen platform aligns with their privacy and security policies.
  • Cross-Platform Compatibility: Consider the compatibility of each platform with different devices and operating systems. Both Google and Microsoft offer web-based solutions, ensuring access from a variety of devices.
  • Training and Support: The level of support and available training resources for educators is essential. Schools should assess the availability of tutorials, documentation, and user communities to assist in the adoption of collaboration tools.
  • Licensing and Cost: Evaluate the licensing models and associated costs for each platform. Consider budget constraints, flexibility, features and the scalability of licensing options as the institution grows.
  • Feedback and Iteration: Both platforms regularly update their tools based on user feedback. Consider the responsiveness of each company to user needs and their commitment to ongoing improvement.
  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiatives: Educational institutions are increasingly empowering students and staff to use their personal devices for learning and work. Both Google and Microsoft provide solutions to support BYOD environments.

Ultimately, the choice between Microsoft and Google for collaboration and productivity tools should align with the specific needs and preferences of the educational institution, taking into account the existing digital infrastructure and the user experience for both educators and students.

Holker Education is a trusted partner to a number of educational establishments, helping schools and colleges to make the right decision for your needs, and managing the migration from start to finish.

Holker celebrate employee of the quarter award

Holker have rewarded two new members of the team for being ‘the perfect example of how to start a new job.’

Ethan Warren and Haaris Irshad, who both joined the company in June, have been named joint winners of Holker IT’s Employee of the Quarter.

The awards, which have been running for just over a year, are voted for by their peers.

Colleagues said Ethan and Haaris have had an incredible start to their time with the company. The duo, who deal with both first and second line support – solving customer’s issues on a day-to-day basis – were thrilled to be named the winners.

His teammates have described Ethan as detailed and methodical, making sure customers are kept up-to-date at all times.

Ethan said: “It’s nice to receive recognition that your work has been noticed by the company and your team. The award provides an extra incentive and motivation – something everyone in the business wants to win!”

Ethan has already taken on extra responsibility within the education department, solving more technical problems that arise.

He was supported through his Integris certification by Holker – and he is now putting his theory into practice helping customers.

Haaris is rapidly building his technical knowledge – which is impressing the team.

He was described by his peers as a hard worker that gets on with everyone and goes the extra mile. His colleagues said he has done some amazing work since starting, with lots of positive feedback from customers.

Haaris is also proving to be a key player in the office – organising social events, such as a five-a-side Holker football team.

Haaris said: “I am delighted and pleasantly surprised to be recognised early on, especially by my peers. It’s great to be at a company where my hard work is noted and rewarded.”

To celebrate their achievement, they have received a glass trophy and Amazon vouchers as a thank you from the business.

Simon McGowan who coordinated the entries said: “Congratulations to Ethan and Haaris. They have both had similar journeys and received some great customer feedback in a short space of time. This award is well-deserved – keep up the good work!”

Holker celebrate employee of the quarter award
Fantastic team player named in. Holker IT’s latest employee awards

Fantastic team player named in. Holker IT’s latest employee awards

How secure is your personal data on WhatsApp?

With the rise of online communication and the Covid-19 pandemic forcing companies to operate remotely, messaging apps like WhatsApp have become increasingly popular for business purposes.

The convenience of being able to communicate quickly and easily from anywhere in the world is unprecedented.

However, the question of how secure these apps are when it comes to personal data cannot be overlooked. Is WhatsApp safe? Here’s what you need to know.

WhatsApp is one of the most popular communication apps, with over 2 billion active users worldwide sending over 65 billion messages a day! It has become a critical tool for people of all ages to communicate.

It’s no surprise that the platform is frequently faced with malware threats, and spam. So the question is how secure is WhatsApp when it comes to personal data?

End-to-End Encryption

WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption (E2EE) to ensure that your messages and calls cannot be intercepted by a third party. This means that only the sender and receiver of the message can see or hear the content of the message or call.

WhatsApp uses Signal Protocol, which is considered to be one of the most secure encryption protocols available. WhatsApp itself cannot read the contents of your messages or calls.

However, it’s also owned by Meta (formerly Facebook) – a company which has historically monetised personal information (principally for advertising).

It’s also worth noting that businesses often allow their employees to use WhatsApp on unmanaged devices without endpoint protection – and the platform has been the victim to malicious malware attacks in the past.

WhatsApp’s Data Privacy Policy

WhatsApp collects some personal data from its users, such as phone numbers, device information, and IP addresses. However, WhatsApp’s privacy policy states that they do not collect any more data than is necessary to operate and improve their service. They claim that they don’t sell or share user data with third parties.

Hoaxes and Fake News

Phishing and social media attacks can come from anywhere and convince users to provide their sensitive data in exchange for something they think benefits them.

Email, chat and social media scams have increased eight-fold since the war between Russian and the Ukraine began.

To prevent wide-scale scams, WhatsApp has implemented a few changes – like limiting the number of text forwards to five recipients rather than the previous limit of 250.

Storage of User Data

WhatsApp stores user data on their servers, which are located in several countries worldwide.

WhatsApp says it takes various measures to protect the security of their servers, such as encryption methods and firewalls. WhatsApp also claims that data is also stored in an encrypted format, so even if someone were to access the server, they would not be able to read the contents of the data.

If you’ve recently got a new phone, it’s likely that you’ll have taken advantage of the WhatsApp backup to ensure you don’t lose your chat history. This essential feature also allows you to recover accidentally deleted WhatsApp messages.

Critically, your data, including chat and voice calls, are only secure and encrypted within the WhatsApp chat ecosystem.

By default, this backup is not encrypted. If your backup on iCloud or Google Drive is hacked, your WhatsApp data is vulnerable. There is a solution, though. You can encrypt your backups by going to Settings > Chats > Chat Backup > End-to-end Encrypted Backup and select Turn On to secure your WhatsApp backups. You’ll need to create a password to protect your backups.

However, remember that you won’t be able to access your backups if you forget the password—WhatsApp can’t restore it for you.

Consent and Control over Personal Data

WhatsApp gives users some control over their personal data through various settings. For example, users can decide whether they want to share their information with Facebook, which owns WhatsApp.

Users can choose to enable two-step verification for added security.

WhatsApp also requires the user’s explicit consent before collecting and processing any personal data – but be honest, do you read the small print when faced with the terms and conditions and cookie collection notices on site and app that you use?


Although WhatsApp makes small incremental changes to protect its users, it will never be completely ‘safe’. Any social media platform has security risks, and every platform has hackers attempting to break through its security measures.


If you are concerned about data security in your business, consider using additional measures such as VPN encryption, audit logs, and access control lists.


To speak to an expert about security measures to protect your business, contact Holker on 0333 300 2020.

How secure is your personal data on WhatsApp?
The Zero Trust Model: A Comprehensive Overview for Businesses

The Zero Trust Model: A Comprehensive Overview for Businesses

As businesses continue to operate in an increasingly digitised and connected world, cybersecurity is a critical aspect that cannot be overlooked.

One of the most effective ways to safeguard against cyber threats is through the Zero Trust model. This model has been adopted by many big-name companies in various industries. overview of the zero trust model and why it is important to businesses.

What is the Zero Trust Model?

The Zero Trust model is a security framework that assumes every user, device, and network resource is potentially compromised and therefore not trusted.

This means that instead of relying on traditional perimeter-based security measures, the Zero Trust model implements a “never trust, always verify” approach.

It revolves around the core principle of granting users and devices the least amount of access necessary to perform their tasks.

Why is the Zero Trust Model Important?

With cyber threats constantly evolving, perimeter-based security measures are no longer sufficient in protecting against malicious activities.

The Zero Trust model ensures that all users and devices are continuously authenticated and only allowed access to what they need, making it harder for cyber attackers to move laterally in a network if they do manage to breach the initial layer of defence. This greatly reduces the risk of data breaches and security incidents.

Benefits of the Zero Trust Model

  • Enhanced security: By implementing a Zero trust model, businesses can significantly reduce their attack surface and enforce strict security policies across their networks.
  • Increased visibility: The Zero Trust model enables businesses to have complete visibility of their networks, thereby making it easier to detect potential security threats.
  • Improved user experience: The Zero Trust model allows businesses to grant access to resources on a need-to-know basis, preventing users from having access to unnecessary resources and applications, which positively impacts their productivity.

How to Implement the Zero Trust Model

To implement the Zero Trust model, you need to evaluate your current security measures and determine what policies, procedures, technologies, and tools you need to implement to support this framework.

Some key steps include:

  1. Identifying and categorising your sensitive data
  2. Strengthening your access management
  3. Deploying network segmentation
  4. Enforcing strict access controls
  5. Continuously monitoring and reviewing policies to ensure effective implementation and adherence.

The Zero Trust model is a security framework that is rapidly replacing traditional perimeter-based security measures.

This approach ensures that access is granted to only trusted users, devices, and resources, reducing the attack surface and enhancing security.

As businesses continue to face escalating cyber threats, adopting the Zero Trust model is more important than ever.

By implementing this framework, businesses can reap the benefits of enhanced security, improved visibility, and increased productivity.

To find out more, contact Holker on 0333 305 2020. Our trained experts can help advise you on the best cyber defence solutions for your business.