Frequently Asked Questions

Generated from the HelpDesk & UNC Platform

We take questions from HelpDesk and UC platform plus canned responses, and then use the Mistral AI large language model to consume this data and output its rendition of our frequently asked questions. This is not auto-updated because it has made some entertaining errors in the past, instead we re-run it periodcially, check its output, make corrections and then publish it.

(If you raise 50 tickets asking the same inappropriate question it will no longer appear on this FAQ, so don't waste your time, again.).

GEN UK

General

Who are GEN?

We are a partnership of IT professionals who are passionate about the future of information tech and the Global Internet


What is GEN's Target Market?

Our target market is ANY company, large or small, who needs services but does not wish to handle the day to day operations. Consider Email, in a company of 50 employees, we CAN setup the service and provide a portal for self-management, but we prefer to handle the day to day for the company. We'll handle new mailboxes, removing mailboxes, dealing with quotas, and even onboarding users helping them install the email clients and set it up. Those employees can come to us at any time for help setting up an auto-responder, filters, dealing with spam, and any other need.


I'm a small business

We have clients who run chip shops and hair dressers, right through to global enterprises, all are welcome and none are excluded.


What is GEN's History?

We started in 1992, before the 'Internet' was a thing, and since then we've achieved a number of significant milestones - see About/History


What is GEN's Future?

The future is undoubtedly going to be a connected world, with more automation, AI and exchange, and we'll be there to embrace it.


What are GEN's Core values?

We pride ourselves in our support, reliability and customer service. We value our customers and our partners.


What is GEN's Core ethos?

Well, you already know we're passionate about our carbon footprint, and we're serious about our planet. We work hard to ensure that our datacentres are clean and green, and we do everything we can to save our customers power and help them also become a little more green.


Why is GEN more expensive

We have some of the best staff in the industry with fantastic sevice levels, and our hardware is second to none, and we're a green company which means carbon neutral and renewable energy, which is more expensive than gas/coal. Which GEN you get what you pay for, and help save the planet.


Support

Why Us?

Our business, is SUPPORT. We provide a range of services, but we support those services end to end, every step of the way. We won't just leave you with it or blame you when you break it. We're here for you 24/7, every day.


What Service Levels do we offer

We have standard service level agreements from 09:00-17:00 Week days with a TTF of three business days, through to 24/7 with a 1 hour response, and 4 hour TTF. Ultimately, we'll discuss what you need, when you need it and select a service level that's right for you.


What is our Performance

That's a hard one since it changes all the time, but we're in a market where we simply must be better than the competition, and luckily we are.


Are there support limits or quotas

Yes of course, we can't have a SLA customer who's paying £250 a year raising 10,000 cases, because if we did, we'd be out of business. Service level contracts are calculated on the customer's requirements, and we price based on those requirements and add limits that we never expect the customer to hit.


AI

What is AI?

Artificial Intelligence, as it's portrayed in the media, is the ability of computers to think for themselves. It's not. AI is not able to 'think' in a human way, but rather it's the ability to digest significant volumes of data, and then render that data in response to a question, in a way that attempts to answer the question. Anyone who's been using AI for a few years knows that it's not going to take over the world, and it makes lots of mistakes, but it's an ever evolving field and we're finding new ways to apply it to business operations.


What is GEN's AI strategy?

We're always looking for new ways to use data and AI to help our customers. We already have a number of AI services, but we're always looking for new and unique ways to apply it.


What are GEN's AI capabilities?

We have our own AI engine which we use for services like transcription, translation and data analysis, but we also integrate with other AI providers such as OpenAI, Anthropic and Gemini.


Data Centres

What is the 'Cloud'

The cloud simply means 'someone else's server', and that's exactly what it is. When you host, for example, a server in the cloud, it's actually hosted in one of our datacentres. This is the same for all cloud providers, we don't have clouds, just dark, cold rooms full of servers.


Where are your datacentres

Our datacentres are in the UK, but we're not going to tell you where, and this is not because we don't want to, but rather because a datacentre is a serious target, not just because of the value of the hardware, but also because it's where we store customers' data, servers, and other information. We need that to be secure, and the way we do that is by carefully vetting our staff, ensuring only our staff have access, they commit to NDAs, and by having strong physical security.


Can I co-locate

No, We used to offer co-location services back in the early 2000s, but it was always a security risk, and technology has evolved, people no longer need 'their own' hardware in the datacentre, we can provide a shared or dedicated server, and manage it, and maintain it, all part of the service.


What if a server fails?

The datacentre is staffed 24/7, and if we have a failure in a dedicated physical server, we'll repair or replace it as part of the service at no additional cost.


Is everything Encrypted

Where possible, encryption is employed. For images and backups, it's encrypted, for data in transit, it's encrypted, for shared storage, it can be encrypted if required.


Cyber Security

What is Cyber Security?

Cyber Security is the protection of networks, systems and data from unauthorised access, use, disclosure, modification or destruction. It's the protection of our customers, our partners, and our own infrastructure.


Is it expensive?

No, it's really not, but it is an ongoing cost, it's not a do and done. The majority of our work uses automation and toolsets that keep the price as low as possible, but there will always be an element of manual work, the amount of work very much depends on the customer's business and needs


Is it required?

Yes, very much so especially these days where so many companies are connecting their 'network' to the internet. Our connectivity solutions, out of the box are already in paranoid protection mode, and our email systems already filter out the majority of malicious threats, but there will always be a risk, and our job is to limit that risk as much as possible.


What is SecOPS

SecOps is the team that manages our cyber security, and is responsible for the overall security of our datacentres, and the security of our customers' data.


What is Network Security

It's the same as Cyber Security, in fact cyber security used to be called network security, but cyber security sounds more catchy.


What is a Data breach

Unfortunately, some companies, even those selling cyber security services like Equifax are not immune to data breaches, which means, someone has gained accesss to their networks and data, and then either published that data online, or has blackmailed the company to prevent it being published, which in many cases has no effect on the outcome. A data breach can be business ending, and in this country significant fines can be levied against the directors personally by the ICO.


Voice

What is VoIP?

Voice over IP, or VoIP, is a technology that allows you to use an internet connection to make and receive calls. Simple as that.


Is it expensive?

No, In most cases it's significantly cheaper, but there will be an initial cost in setup which in many of our plans can be spread over the first 3 years.


Can I keep my numbers?

Yes, numbers can be ported over without problem except for Mobile numbers, and a few specialist services, like 07071 etc


What is 'cloud' VoIP?

In order to make and receive digital phone calls, you need some hardware, but if you're very small then we can host your hardware in the datacentre, but if you've got more than 5 extensions then it's cheaper in the long run to have hardware on your premises.


Is it secure

No, it's not secure at all and in fact anyone with a laptop can capture and decode your calls, unless they are encrypted, and we are the ONLY (at the time of writing) UK provider who provides encryption as standard


Connectivity

What is Synchronous and Asynchronous

Most broadband is Asynchronous, meaning that the download speed is different to the upload speed, whereas private circuits are Synchronous, meaning that the download speed is the same as the upload speed.


Broadband is all the same right

Well, yes and no. The cable from the exchange to your premises is often provided by Openreach, or a cable company, but the 'service' is provided by us. Traffic costs money, so the way broadband providers achieve relatively low costs for relatively high bandwidth is by contending (sharing) one high speed link between many customers. The more customers you can contend the more profitable it is, and we all know who those companies are. GEN on the other hand contend much less, or not at all depending on the service we're providing, so you are always assured of low latency, high performance connectivity


What is leased line or private wire

Leased Line, simply means that it's private and synchronous. Leased lines are more expensive because they require a cable from the exchange to the premises instead of the cabinet, and for higher speeds, and congested areas there may well be some digging up the road involved.


When broadband fails it takes days to get it fixed

Well, for customers of BT, or Virgin, or any other bulk provider this is the case, but our customers take priority because we pay Openreach to prioritise our customers first.


Do you offer static IP addresses?

Yes, all customers get one static IP address, but you can have up to 16 IPv4s with justification and an entire subnet of IPv6


I'm in the middle of nowhere

We can still help with WiMAX, 5G, Satellite and leased line connections, ask us for a quote and we'll give you the options


Software

What does it cost

There's no way to estimate that without knowing much more about the project, but its not as expensive as you may imagine. In many cases we can spread the development over over a period of years and wrap it in with maintenance.


Can you amend our current system

Sometimes, it all depends on whether your current system has the source code, and its accessable


What is open source

Open Source software, at its most basic, is software that has its source code accessable for anyone to modify/update as required. Some Open Source projects have more restrictive licenses meaning that any changes must be incorporated into the project, others are less strict. Generally Open Source software is free to use, although many projects moneytise themselves by paywalling useful features and/or support


What is closed source

Closed source software does not provide the source code, which means modifications are not possible by anyone except the company who holds the source code. Windows is closed source, Linux is open source for example.


What is DevOps

DevOps is the team who design, code, and support software


What if I need changes

Depending on the project, we always offer maintenance, either as a fixed annual cost or on a pay-as-you-go basis, so any changes can be incorporated at any time.


Websites

How do I get a website

That's very easy, you can go to a wide selection of providers, have a domain registered or use an existing domain, and have a website either designed for you, or designed yourself.


My website is tragic

Many, if not all of the DIY websites do look terrible, and rank poorly, the reasons for this are many but corrective action is not always expensive


Why can no one find my site

Well, its not that no one can find your site, its that your site is not being returned in search engine results. If you're website is about Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, which is a lung disease affecting those who spend too much time around volcano's, then you can expect it to be fairly easy to find in any search engine, but that's the exception, in many cases your website is just lost in the ocean of similar sites. There's no easy fix for this, if you're company offers something to a local audience, then we can in some cases easily increase its visibility, but if you offer services nationally, and you're one of many then its very hard to improve your position without an ongoing financial investment in SEO and ad-marketing.


What is SEO

Search Engine Optimisation, is often over-sold by many companies and it is the design of a website specifically to rank higher in google & bing. SEO is effective sometimes for specific markets against specific keywords, but in many cases its not worth the time or money, as other techniques work better.


How do I move my website

Assuming you mean moving it between providers, the process is simple assuming you have FTP access to the site. If you do not, and cannot get it, then migration for a static site is still not that hard, but for a site with dynamic content its much harder, as we need to re-write the dynamic content


My Website is down

Without knowing what website, its impossible to answer this, but if your site is down then you need to contact the hosting provider (our tools/web will tell you who that is). If your site is managed by a third party then contact them to enquire, and of course if its hosted with or managed by GEN, then just raise a ticket at the Helpdesk and we'll sort it


Email

I get so much spam

We have a number of anti-spam offerings, from zero to paranoid, offering levels of spam protection with low or zero false positives. You can also use mail-rules to block specific spam that is bothering you, if in doubt raise a ticket and we'll make changes or help with mail rules.


I'm missing email

This is impossible to answer without knowing what you're missing, but generally all legitimate commercial email will be delivered, but there are times when certain senders have issues, sometimes with their configuration, sometimes with their reputation, and sometimes they are blacklisted.


What is Reputation

Email Reputation is a framework of measurement which ranks certain senders on the level of spam, and the number of complaints their receive. We use several reputation services, and our own reputation index to apply a rank to every incomming email


What is Blacklisting

If you send spam, and people report that spam, either through our system, or through other systems, the server that originates this email is blacklisted, allowing us and many other providers to block all email from that server. In many cases these servers will not affect anyone's legitimate email, but sometimes an email provider will not act responsibily in tackling spam and find themselves blacklisted. Blacklisting can last for a few days or longer.


What is ![SPAM]!

When our systems detect 'spammy' email's, which is a combination of 'score' from several systems, but its not sufficiently spammy to be blocked, we pass it with ![SPAM]! in the subject line. You can create a rule to have these placed in your Spam folder automatically, or anywhere automatically.


My email's are not being received

Many companies, GEN included, use content analysis to score email based on its content. If you're content is spammy, which can be many factors, such as low content, html footers, spammy phrases, etc then it may be restricted by the receiving servers. We have a mail tool (tools/email) that can analyse an email and provide you with its spam score so use that to check it out. If you need more help, just raise a ticket at the HelpDesk.


I cannot send/receive an attachment

GEN mail systems will scan attachments for viruses, and if they cannot scan it then it will take a decision on whether to allow it to pass un-scanned. In some cases, it will, others it will not, and many email providers take this approach to protect its customers from viruses.


How large can an attachment be

This varies widely by email provider. GEN sets a limit based on the service purchased, but the lower level is 256Mb. That being said, many email providers set the level much lower so just because you can send a large email doesn't mean it will be received.


What are NDR's

GEN provide you with delivery status reporting, that means, when you send an email, we'll tell you if it was delivered, or not. This doesn't mean the receipient read it, but it confirms we've delivered it to their email provider's server. When you receive a non-delivery report, it will tell you why it was not delivered, but since this email contains the response from the receiving server, it can be a little cryptic so raise a ticekt at the HelpDesk if you need to know more?


Are email's secure

They can be, but generally not. We store email's in an encrypted format, and we offer email encryption as standard, but many companies do not. If you're concerned about email security, then raise a ticket and we'll show you how to turn on encryption and enable two way encryption.


Unclassified

What is an AUP

This is an Acceptable Use Policy, which most providers have, and it establishes what you can and cannot do with our services. Its mostly common sense stuff.


Resources

HelpDesk

The HelpDesk is available 24/7 at https://support.gen.uk


GEN Wiki

The GEN Wiki is available at https://wiki.gen.uk


GEN Knowledge Base

The GEN Knowledge Base is available at https://support.gen.uk/kb/index.php


Our Phone Number

Our phone number is +44 115 9339 000, and we're open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. You can also contact us on the web at https://www.gen.uk/contact


Our Postal Address

Our postal address Box 539, Bath Street, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG3 4GW


Payments Account

We accept PayPal, Credit/Debit Cards, and Bank Transfers. Please contact your account manager for more information.


Framework Agreement

The Framework Agreement is available at https://www.gen.uk/framework


Acceptable Use Policy

The Acceptable Use Policy is available at https://www.gen.uk/aup


Privacy Notice

The Privacy Policy is available at https://www.gen.uk/privacy


Acronyms

SIP

Session Initiation Protocol


IAX2

Interactive Voice Response Protocol


Firewall

A network security system that controls access to a network


VPN

Virtual Private Network


Internet

The world's largest computer network


Intranet

A network that is part of the Internet


Extranet

A network that is not part of the Internet


VLAN

Virtual Local Area Network


Ticket

In the HelpDesk every request made to us is assigned a unique reference sometimes referred to as the `Ticket` and takes the form of PXXX-XXX, GXXX-XXX or TXXX-XXX where P = Provision, G = General and T = Termination and XXX is a number. Tickets are considered `Statements of Work` within our Framework Agreement which governs all service requests accepted and undertaken. Tickets can be accessed by the customer at any time and a history is maintained and can be exported. For customers with fixed case contracts they can easily see cases used and remaining along with a detailed history of work done.


Service Level Agreement

A contract between you and us, that outlines the level of service and the guarantees that we will provide.


Framework Agreement

In our industry we receive many hundreds of requests for support daily and these are widely varying in scope and complexity. In the days when we required a signature for every job this meant there was a significant delay in providing support so about a decade ago we decided to have a Framework Agreement which is brought into force when customers subscribe to our services either via a Support or Outsourcing Agreement or Pay-as-You-Go via the Helpdesk and all work is regulated within this framework agreement meaning we can begin support immediately in the understanding that any out of coverage support will be charged at either our standard rate or a negotiated in advance rate either for fixed price or T&M. Our Framework Agreement is available at https://www.gen.uk/framework


Outsourcing

Outsourcing is the process of taking your IT support directly from us either completely or partially, either fixed price, variable price or pay-as-you-go and with coverage terms from 12 to 60 months. Outsourcing not only saves cost but provides a far superior level of service because your receiving the collective benefit of our experts to solve any problem encountered instead of localised support personnel with more limited experience. Outsourcing can work for small business, SME, Corporates and Enterprise Customers with specific strategies for each. For more information visit the Outsourcing section of our website.


First Line Support

This is basic support and troubleshooting on Windows, Linux or Mac and includes activities such as adding/removing printers, setting up applications, fixing issues with email clients, fixing issues with browsers, installing antivirus software, solving issues with file shares, drive mapping and so on.


Second Line Support

Taking over from Basic support, Second line includes solving more complex yet common issues with security, antivirus, registry as well as remote support to resolve issues with Applications, compatibility, peripherals, Drivers, as well as some diagnostics of hardware and software.


Third Line Support

When an expert is required to resolve issues that have been uncorrected by either First or Second line support. This includes software coding, debugging, advanced registry issues, startup problems, Application hosting problems, Virtualisation issues, snapshot restores, clones, etc as well as data migration and recovery. Some third line support will need to be carried out on site or hardware will need to be shipped back to our regional service centre to be worked on depending on urgency. Third line is the most advanced and covers everything not covered by first and second line. Whereas in first and second line technicians have a broad spectrum of skillsets, third line tends to be more specialised with technicians being highly skilled on just one system, language or platform providing the best possible route to fix.


E&OE

Whilst we do our very best to ensure all the content on our website is accurate and up to date, this is a fast changing industry and people are fallible meaning that we can't guarantee everything is absolutely correct. E&OE actually stands for Errors and Omissions Excepted or more plainly, if we messed up we're sorry but don't hang us for it.



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