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Phone system enhancements
Posted by Liam McNaughton on 19 January 2017 02:20 PM

Dear Customer or Colleague

For customers with a Dental IT Ltd phone system, we are now able to offer
the following enhancements:

Queue stats

This powerful plugin analyses your call queue and presents stats in a more
user friendly way than the current reporting functions. You can easily see
and analyse the call patterns and volumes throughout the day, the times to
answer etc. All stats are presented in both table and visual chart forms.
Please see this site for a demo:

CTI support

We can now enable CTI support in all of our telephone systems, even ones
that have been installed for years. CTI stands for "computer telephony
integration", and allows applications with this functionality to make calls
directly from the application, and to monitor incoming calls as well.
Depending on how the software supports this, this can be a real benefit in a
busy calling environment or reception desk. A typical usage is to simply
click to call a customer from your database, rather than having to manually
enter the number on the handset. Or for the incoming call to indicate in
your software who is calling in, and offer to bring up their record. In the
dental market, we are aware of SOE Exact support for CTI, and now have sites
using this. But any application that supports CTI (using TAPI protocol)
should be able to integrate with our systems.

Please contact us if you are interested in either of these options.


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IMPORTANT - Securing your IT network
Posted by Liam McNaughton on 05 January 2017 04:21 PM

Dear Customer,


Last year, for the first time ever, we had more serious security incidents on our customer networks than we had serious hardware (server) failures. Network security has become, in my view, the most serious threat to your data and systems. The most prevalent is the "ransomware" type virus, but we have also seen an increase in firewall attacks, phishing calls to practice reception staff, malware introduced from websites and third party software, and website hacks.


It is just January 5th, and already we are dealing with a customer who has acquired a particularly nasty virus infection - the most destructive we have ever seen.


If there is one thing that my experience with virus attacks over the last decade has taught me, it is this:


In the majority of cases where a virus has been introduced to the network, this is due to a user opening an attachment to an email that they should not have opened.


I would urge all customers to re-iterate to all staff that if they receive an attachment that they are not expecting, not to open it.


In addition I am recommending that all customers who do not already have higher grade security solutions on their networks, to consider a security upgrade sooner rather than later. We offer the following security upgrades for your network systems:


  • Symantec Endpoint Antivirus. Many of our customers have the free MSE (Microsoft Security Essentials) or Windows Defender on their systems. Whilst this is perfectly capable, an upgrade to Symantec gives somewhat better protection (note that some AV analysis and reviews suggest that the detection rates are markedly better than Microsoft's free product, others that the difference is marginal)
  • Untangle Premium NG Firewall Packages. If you have an Untangle firewall (and most of our customers have this) you already have basic free antivirus and spam filtering at the perimeter of your network. This is a very good thing, and arguably more important than antivirus on the workstations. It is better to strip the virus from the network before it even hits the users' PC and they get a chance to run it.
  • Training. Even the best antivirus and firewalls will not protect your network if a user opts to install a virus inadvertently. We offer a training session for all your staff on your premises covering many security issues: safe email usage and use of encryption, web usage, installing software, use of flash drives, phishing calls, good password policies, use of social media.


We recommend that all customers consider all three of these packages, to best protect their network from compromise in 2017.


For customers on a support contract and with networks built by Dental IT Ltd, other aspects of maintaining good security are already handled by us. These are:


  • Ensuring normal users do not access the server with an administrator account
  • Ensuring all computers and the server are regularly updated and well maintained
  • Ensuring that users on the network have no more security rights on the network than they need to, in order to carry out their work
  • Ensuring that the network has an appropriate firewall, and that this is up to date and properly configured
  • Ensuring that good backup systems are in place, and that these are monitored ongoing


If you have any comments or queries on the above, or would like to take up our recommendations as outlined above, please contact us to discuss.


Best regards, and Happy New Year


Liam McNaughton


Dental IT Ltd

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Flooding at Dental IT Ltd
Posted by Liam McNaughton on 21 November 2016 09:24 PM

Dear customer or partner,

The Dental IT Ltd offices in Hathersage were flooded earlier this evening. There is currently no power to the whole business park, and we are very unlikely to be able to operate from the offices tomorrow 22nd November. We can operate remotely, so support will still be operational; response times, however, will probably be longer than normal. If your query is non-urgent, you may wish to wait until Wednesday 23rd to contact us.

Thank you for your understanding.

Best regards

Liam McNaughton

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Windows 10 advice and recommendations from Dental IT Ltd
Posted by Liam McNaughton on 02 June 2016 01:46 PM

Dear Customer,

The latest Microsoft Operating System, version 10, is now almost a year old, ships with almost all new PCs, and is therefore fast becoming the mainstream Operating System for desktop computers.

You may have heard that Microsoft recently changed their Windows updates policy, which has resulted in many users upgrading to Windows 10 without fully realising they were doing so, or the implications of this. This has not affected Dental IT Ltd designed networks - these are designed with a Windows domain, and this configuration has not been affected.

Most of you will have Windows 7 Professional Operating Systems on your desktop machines, although there will be some users already using Windows 10, or Windows 8.

Until the end of July, Microsoft are offering upgrades to Windows 10 free of charge. After July, there will be a charge per machine for doing so.

It is the view of Dental IT Ltd that migrating to Windows 10 is on balance a good thing, and we are recommending this. However, this should be done in a managed and planned way. And it does not have to be done at all. Windows 7 is supported by Microsoft until January 2020. You  may recall the advice to migrate away from Windows XP before end of April 2014, and the same advice will apply for Windows 7 in due course. All customers should have moved away from Windows 7 by January 2020.

There are compelling reasons to move to Windows 10 now or before the end of July this year. Security is better in Windows 10, integration with online services is better, search is better, and, in general, performance and startup speeds is also better than Windows 7. The upgrade is free, and, perhaps most importantly, third parties will move to the Windows 10 platform. So it is likely that, over time, the software you use and the hardware connected to your PCs, will require a move to Windows 10. Not only Microsoft, but all other related developers, will move their focus and effort to Windows 10 over the coming years. Remaining on Windows 7 until the bitter end, is likely to bring other problems in due course.

At present, not all third party software and hardware works with Windows 10. This needs to be researched before the update is carried out. We will be auditing our customer networks in June and July and will present customers with a report detailing our findings. The update may or may not be a good idea for you, depending on the implications and compatibility of existing hardware and software systems on your networks, the age of your current hardware, and other considerations.

If you have any questions, please give us a call.

Liam McNaughton, MD, Dental IT Ltd.

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Spinnaker dental software public BETA release
Posted by Liam McNaughton on 03 March 2015 10:47 AM

Our Dental Practice management software Spinnaker is now on BETA public release, available here:

Spinnaker is the UK’s very first free, open source Dental Practice Management Software, with full NHS EDI certification.

This represents a significant development; a genuine open alternative to the current software model that dominates the UK dental industry - costly, closed and proprietary software, with expensive “plug-ins”, and almost obligatory support contract tie-ins. Spinnaker is entirely free and open, there is no “lite” or “trial” version. A support contract is encouraged, but optional.

The software is available with a demo database, so you can download and have a “play” with the full version of the software from the above download link. You are encouraged to feedback to us by email, or on our new software forum, available here:

There are currently no “conversion” capabilities from Exact or R4 (or other major systems), but these will be forthcoming later this year. Training, installation, customisation and support is available.

Please mention to everyone in the dental industry that you know! And our twitter feed (with news of each release as it comes out) is available here:

My best regards.

Liam (MD, Dental IT Ltd)

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