Refresh Your Reports 

In recent years, we have had comments from several users that, although they might be happy with the content of JCS reports, in terms of look and feel, they left much to be desired. 

We had to agree. 

With their excessive use of bold and italic text, as well as the decidedly old fashioned looking Times New Roman font, JCS reports were looking dated, and sorely in need of a style makeover.

As there are literally hundreds of reports produced by JCS, updating them all has been a mammoth undertaking, but as of JCS version 26.010.03 (released in January 2017), we are proud to introduce the ability to pick and choose from a number of different contemporary report "themes", in a manner that will probably feel quite familiar to users of the more recent editions of Microsoft Office.

sample report themes

Gone is the antiquated Times New Roman font and ugly decorated text, and in its place you’ll find clean, modern-looking fonts, with a variety of colours to pick from. 

If you have not seen or used these new themes, check them out in Preferences, within JCS. You can see live previews of the themes on a mini sample report, before deciding which one to actually use. 

Hopefully there is one that works for you, which complements your corporate branding. If not, don't panic! We are adding to the list of themes all the time, and would also be happy to work with you to add a style with your specific corporate colours. We have done this already with a number of early takeup adviser firms during our testing phase. 

Want to stick with the old look? Don't worry, it hasn't gone anywhere, it is still available under the suitably titled "JCS Classic" (we thought “Classic” an appropriate name for something which looks like it belongs in the age of floppy disks and punch cards).

We're really happy to get some early positive feeback about the new report themes. Robyn from Harrold Financial Planning had this to say...

"...we were very pleased with the reports and they look so much more professional and contemporary. Our clients were pleased too and we went one step further by getting cardboard covers [of client packs] printed which finished the quality look off."

Keeping Your Provider Connections Secure

The Internet seems to be awash with notifications of security vulnerabilities and leaking of details these days. A lot of these vulnerabilities have been based around the SSL and TLS encryption protocols, which are starting to get a bit long in the tooth now. SSL was first invented in 1994, and TLS in 1999, and as time marches on, the earlier versions of these protocols are slowly but surely being replaced with newer ones.

Product Providers are constantly altering the security requirements on their websites and web services and dropping support for the older protocols, meaning that if your computer does not support the newer protocols and is not configured correctly, you will not be able to use these websites and services, including Contract Enquiry.

Last year, we recommended that users disable the early protocol versions for SSL and TLS, and only use TLS 1.2 as this is really the only secure protocol left in the SSL/TLS family. All others have been compromised. Unfortunately, Product Providers have not been quite so pro-active in either adopting the new versions, or dropping old versions, and this has led to some users being unable to connect to certain Providers.

With this in mind, our latest recommendations are a little bit more pragmatic.

1/ Disable all SSL protocols (SSL 2.0 and SSL 3.0)
     SSL is now deemed to be an insecure protocol, and can be easily compromised. Whilst a few platforms and providers still support SSL, they all support newer protocols, so there is no requirement to use these ever again.

internet options tls

2/ Enable all TLS protocols (TLS 1.0, TLS 1.1 and TLS 1.2)
    TLS 1.2 is the only remaining secure protocol, however there are a number of providers and plaforms that have still not adopted either TLS 1.1 or TLS 1.2. Therefore, to ensure that you can still connect to all providers and platforms you will need to be able to use all three of these protocols.


By having all three TLS protocols enabled, your computer will always attempt to connect using the latest and greatest, and downgrade only as required based on the remote server.

The above settings can easily be located in Windows 10 by clicking on the Windows "Start" button and typing "Internet Options". Once you open Internet Options, click on the "Advanced" tab and scroll all the way down to the bottom of the settings list. Simply select/de-select the boxes mentioned above and then click the 'Apply' and 'Ok' buttons to save the changes.

If you were experiencing issues with connections before this, you may need to restart JCS and any web browser sessions before trying again. 

 

 

 

0345 Geographic Numbers

We are pleased to confirm that following a recent review by Ofcom of geographic and non-geographic call number charging transparency, JCS has followed their recommendations and has adopted an 0345 number to ensure that our customers do not get hit by hidden call charges.

Our numbers remain the same but now have prefix of 0345. The 0845 number will still work but our recommendation is for you to start using the 0345 number. For most customers an 0345 number is cheaper than using an 0845 number.

 

 
Changes to NHS Pensions in 2015
 
In April 2015, NHS pension schemes will be changing. At the time of this article, the final details had not been finalised by the NHS, but the main changes can be found here.
 

SSLv3 POODLE Vulnerability

Another month and another security vulnerability has hit the Internet. This time the vulnerability in question is SSLv3 POODLE, which could allow attackers to downgrade an encrypted communication with a web server and steal information such as cookies.