Thursday, 24 November 2022

5 reasons to switch to Microsoft IIS web server for Alpha Tracker - important read!

Many of our larger clients are now using the Microsoft web server software, IIS, to run their Alpha Tracker systems.  What is this all about, why have we helped them to switch, and what are the benefits?

What is a web server?

Every web system needs web server software for it to run.  Google, Facebook, online banking systems and - in particular - Alpha Tracker, all need web server software to operate. 

Alpha Tracker has web server software built in, and this software works well for most of our clients, especially the smaller ones (say, consultancies with fewer than 10 staff).  

For larger consultancies, Alpha Tracker's web server can sometimes slow down.  You may have noticed this when lots of users are signed in or during busy afternoons when you are invoicing, the site team are uploading data, and clients are using the portal to check registers or download reports!  

Microsoft IIS runs some of the world's biggest websites and web systems.  It's a hugely secure, reliable and robust web server with vast resources at Microsoft supporting and developing it.

What happens if we switch?

We can usually keep your Alpha Tracker web address the same as it was before.  In fact, we can drop the "extra ports" if we have had to install them (to share the workload between users or offices).  Life becomes simpler because you only have one web address to use.

We need a couple of hours of downtime to make the switch.

What benefits will I see?
  1. The system may be faster in general

  2. The system will perform at the same speed all day.  You won't find that the system slows down as the day progresses

  3. We won't need to restart systems either overnight or during the day if your software stops responding

  4. Behind the scenes, you'll know that all of Microsoft's resources are working to ensure that your system is secure and protected from hackers.
Is there a cost?

Unfortunately, yes, a relatively small one.  We have to pay a licence fee to use the Alpha/IIS connection and we pass this on at cost.  Contact your local Alpha Tracker office for a quotation (UK or Aus/NZ).

Good luck! See you later at the Modern Law Conveyancing Awards 2022

Good luck to all shortlisted companies going to the Modern Law Conveyancing Awards tonight in Liverpool!

Alpha Portal - our secure client communication portal

We're sponsoring the Mental Health and Wellbeing Award.  We can't wait to meet the winners on stage and make the presentation.

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Congratulations NORAC & ATaC for the first Annual Data Analysis Report into Asbestos in UK Buildings

Many congratulations to NORAC and ATaC and all involved with the production of the first Annual Data Analysis Report into Asbestos in UK Buildings.

Our director Robin was pleased to be invited to the launch of the troubling report, held in a Committee Room at the Houses of Parliament.  Why troubling?  The report highlights that most asbestos found in surveys is already damaged, increasing its risk, and the asbestos materials with the greatest damage are not being dealt with (in most cases).

Data from asbestos software Alpha Tracker, and other systems, has been used to produce the report.

The launch event, chaired by Respublica, heard from Sir Stephen Timms MP, the chair of the Select Committee which reviewed the state of asbestos in the UK.  

Sir Stephen's committee made recommendations including the development of a national asbestos database (see, an initiative we are supporting through the development of the OpenAsbestos API.

Robin's view at the report launch

Here at Start Software, we are working on an independent data study with Trinity College, Dublin to analyse the data from the 6 million buildings that have been surveyed using Alpha Tracker.  We'll be publishing our results in a month or so.

Quick snap before catching the train back to the Midlands

If you want to know more about Alpha Tracker or OpenAsbestos, do get in touch with Robin.

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

The list you never want to appear on! Alpha Legal can help you with your AML obligations

Alpha Legal has been designed from the ground up to be the most secure and easiest-to-use client portal available to the legal sector.

One aspect of your business that Alpha Legal can help with is Anti Money Laundering (AML) via our partnership with Trust ID.

This is the GOV.UK web page where HMRC publishes details of businesses who don't comply with the AML regulations.  This is one list you do not want to appear on!

You do not want to appear on this list!

Get in touch to find out how Alpha Legal can help your business to be secure and compliant.

Friday, 18 November 2022

Release notes available for Alpha Tracker Release 38.5

We've finished the release notes for Alpha Tracker R38.5.

We publish detailed release notes every time we update Alpha Tracker so that you can brief yourself about new features and share the document with your accreditation body (eg UKAS).

Download and read the latest Alpha Tracker release notes

They will be available on our website here from next week.

We're sponsoring the Modern Law Conveyancing Awards next week... see you there!

Are you going to the Modern Law Conveyancing Awards next week?  We are!

We're sponsoring the awards but you won't see Alpha Legal brand or Start Software logo... instead, you'll be able to meet the team working on our new secure client communication channel, Alpha Portal.

Look out for Alpha Portal at the Modern Law Conveyancing Awards

We can't wait for the event - see you there and good luck to all!

Saturday, 12 November 2022

That's a wrap! The European Asbestos Forum 2022 is over - what an incredible event and a force for good

The energy, focus, expertise and optimism shown by the speakers and delegates at the European Asbestos Forum in Amsterdam were incredible.  What an event, what a success, and huge congratulations to the event organiser and EAF President Dr Yvonne Waterman for bringing it all together.

The event was so positive!  Every presentation, every delegate and every conversation related to improving standards and increasing collaboration.  What a joy to have so many optimistic people in one room.

Alpha Tracker was an event sponsor and our director Robin was a speaker, talking about OpenAsbestos and the positive impact the initiative could make in the asbestos industry.

Robin delivering his OpenAsbestos presentation

Many of the Alpha Tracker asbestos software development team also attended the conference, making contacts, discussing ideas with delegates, and learning about the direction that asbestos regulation is taking across Europe and beyond.

Alpha Tracker specialist Kim talking to Ray Nye

Asbestos campaigners Ray & (the legendary) Mavis Nye

Yvonne, Robin & the Alpha Tracker asbestos software team

The Alpha Tracker team hard at work between presentations!

Alpha Tracker support techs Jamie & Zac talking to ABP's Sara Mason

Robin and the other speakers & panellists

With so many delegates travelling from (almost) every continent, could the EAF become the Worldwide Asbestos Forum in 2023?  We'll be there for sure!