Cloud technology specialist Vapour has announced its expansion in Leeds city centre with new workspace in tech hub Platform. This news coincides with two new additions to the company’s engineering team, as the business furthers its fast-paced growth plans.

The additional workspace at Leeds’ well-known coworking space, Platform – adjacent to the railway station – increasing Vapour’s network across the UK, with its HQ in Huddersfield, and satellite bases already in Glasgow, London, and Lancashire.

Vapour’s duo of hires includes cloud voice UC engineer, Graeme McCabe who joins Vapour having worked with Avaya systems for the last five years. In his new role, Graeme will install, troubleshoot, and manage all changes on Vapour’s platforms, working alongside the team to ensure customers have a smooth transition and quality ongoing support.

Further strengthening Vapour’s cloud and networking resources, Jordan Stephenson – as senior cloud and network engineer – will ensure the resilience and efficiencies of Vapour’s services. Focusing on maintenance and diagnostics, as well as uplift and project work around the network infrastructure and cloud environment, his strong background in information technology, following his previous role as network lead at Contrac IT, will be a great asset to the technical team.

Tim Mercer, CEO of Vapour, commented: “This is a promising time for the company as we scale to meet the demands of our customers and the ever-growing cloud market. Our new hires Graeme and Jordan will be a huge asset to our technical team, and I welcome them onboard.

Announcing our new workspace at Platform is also a proud moment for me as we’ll share the building with some of the region’s most innovative tech companies. To be able to offer my growing team access to more vibrant office space in a new city is a key part of our ongoing recruitment strategy – not to mention our accessibility for customers seeking face to face time – and I look forward to expanding further throughout the year.”

Two new graduate sales recruits are also set to join Vapour soon, in a fresh collaboration with Pareto Law.
The search is also on for a sales and marketing administrator, with the vacancy now open.

From landing client contracts and speaking at industry events, to securing recognition for our impact and embarking on fundraising endeavours, it’s been an exciting time for Vapour. And as we prepare to launch into our tenth year of growth, we’re yet to see our trajectory stall.

That’s why we’re seeking a new sales and marketing administrator to welcome into the fold immediately. This will be a critical role at the heart of a busy and growing sales team, with an opportunity to also work closely with our CEO and head of communications.

The world is your oyster too. Vapour is passionate about nurturing and retaining talent with tailored career development plans. This role could therefore evolve with progression opportunities in the sales/marketing teams or office management, in the future.

Right now, the priority is the appointment of a committed, outgoing and diligent self-starter, who is extremely organised, has a ‘can do’ attitude, and is looking to grow in a company that cares about its people, customers, charity (Borne), and the environment.

Discover more specifics of the role on offer…

Job title: Sales and Marketing Administrator

Location: Heritage Exchange, Huddersfield

Our vibrant office is located in the heart of a restored textiles mill in Lindley, 5 minutes from the M62 and less than 10 minutes from Huddersfield train station. The bustling location has an on-site deli cafe, gym (with discounted membership for employees), spa, free parking, hair salon, and more.

Hours: Monday to Friday, 9am-5:30pm

This is a full-time position, but flexible working is offered as standard.

Responsibilities include:

Holidays: 20 days per calendar year, plus birthday holiday

Holidays increase 1 day per year following 1 year of service at the start of each holiday calendar – up to a maximum of 5 days.

Additional benefits include:

About the company: Vapour was founded in November 2013, coming to the market with a cloud-first mission that sought to disrupt, innovate, and demystify the world of tech. Since then, we’ve helped organisations of all shapes and sizes unlock significant growth with high-performance strategic technology.

While technology is exciting, innovations starts with people. That’s why we’re known just as much for our team as we are our toolkit, and why each new hire plays an integral role in helping shape our future.

Relevant experience is desirable for this role, but not essential, as full training will be provided to the successful candidate.

So, whether you’re starting out on a new career path, or have a rich history in the sales and marketing industry, we look forward to hearing from you.

Apply now, by sending your CV to: careers@vapourcloud.com   

Renowned commercial property rental specialist Towndoor has renewed its connectivity agreement with cloud tech firm Vapour, as the two popular Huddersfield brands near a decade of working together.

The relationship initially began with the supply of managed internet lines for Towndoor’s Holmfirth HQ and Dyeworks industrial property. Powering the organisation’s business-critical operations as well as tenants’ own connectivity, the 100mb lines have long proven their quality of service, however busy Towndoor has been.

But mindful of the company’s upcoming growth plans, Operations Director Jack Dixon sought an upgraded connectivity package to support the firm’s evolving cloud tech infrastructure.

“We are continuing to expand our commercial property portfolio in Huddersfield and Holmfirth, with the development of additional facilities including our recently launched café and some upcoming new industrial units,” Jack said. “It is vital that as we look ahead to future growth, nothing holds us back. Vapour has powered our connectivity for nearing a decade, and they’ll be our ISP long into the future too.”

Impressed by the level of personal service delivered since the relationship began, Towndoor still conducted due diligence when it came to the upgrade project.

“Our latest Vapour contract was signed three years previously, and it’s only right that we benchmarked their quality of service and price point against the wider market, for peace of mind,” Jack continued. “Once again, they did not disappoint.”

Vapour has therefore rolled out 500mb over 1000mb connectivity.

“While Towndoor’s operations are not IT-heavy, we are renowned for being at the forefront of adopting the latest systems and technologies, particularly if they will have a positive impact on customer service levels,” concluded Jack. “We were therefore keen to futureproof our internet provision, so that we’re equipped with the speeds and uptime we will need, as we grow.”

“We have clients throughout the UK, not least because we have a satellite presence in Scotland, Lancashire, South Yorkshire and London, to complement our Huddersfield HQ,” added Vapour’s CEO Tim Mercer. “But there’s something quite special about cultivating and sustaining a relationship with a fellow local business, especially one as respected as Towndoor.

“Like us, they don’t stand still, and it’s a pleasure to work alongside a progressive, ambitious firm like that. Despite all their success to date, I still feel like there’s an awful lot to come from this continually-expanding team. It’s great to play even a small part in supercharging their growth.”

Read the case study in full

It’s no secret that the global tech sector is advancing at an astonishingly rapid pace – not least in relation to the now integral role of digital transformation in spearheading growth and success. But no matter the size or scope or your organisation – or how sophisticated your innovation strategy is – the only way to drive significant change is to leverage the power of people.

So, to champion some of the industry’ finest talent, and gain some insight into the minds of individuals from across the tech space, we’re inviting friends and partners of the business to take part in our quickfire Q&A.

Up next, it’s Craig Webster – contracts manager at award-winning IT service provider, Mint Support. Take it away, Craig…

Tell us about your role at Mint Support and the part you play in the tech sector.

As contracts manager, I’m responsible for maintaining and developing relationships with our new and existing customers – I’m always on the lookout for improvements in both service and delivery. Mint provides managed support services, primarily for the education sector, but also for businesses too.

What innovation was the turning point for your organisation, to get it to where you are now?

IT is continually developing, so keeping abreast of developments and being able to support customers through these changes is key. You could say that the PC and internet were the innovations that allowed us to ‘exist’, and their continuous developments mean we are always working alongside new technology.

And where’s next for your business?

We’re migrating into communication technology and making the most of remote tools to deliver services to customers further afield.

The biggest misconception faced by the tech sector is…

That technology will solve everything.

What do you think will be the biggest tech trend over the next 12 months?

Further development in AI and automation – that is definitely a trend I expect to see grow. I also think that we will see much more focus on sustainability and greener solutions within the tech space over the coming months.

What top tip would you give to an individual trying to excel their tech career?

Remember that technology is there to make life better for the end user. At the end of the day, you’re dealing with people.

The next purchase on my personal tech wishlist is…?

I’d love a drone – using that technology to capture creative video and photography appeals to me.

What is one longstanding piece of tech that you are shocked is still used today?

The vinyl record – but I’m glad it still exists.

If you are without the internet for an hour, what would be the first activity you resort to, to pass the time?

I’m a simple guy who remembers a time before the internet, so I can think of plenty of things. For me, I enjoy getting out of the house for a long walk and spending time with my family and friends. I think that sometimes, even if the internet is working fine, we should switch off, as it is easy to get distracted.

Vapour boss Tim Mercer has signed up for his toughest fundraiser yet, all in aid of the premature birth charity, Borne.

On 19 May, our CEO will don his boxing gloves and step into the ring for the CRN Fight Night, at The Brewery in London.

A sell out industry event that has raised £220,000 for charity since the contests began in 2008, this is Tim’s first time up against an opponent.

Aware the selection process is notoriously tough, he applied to fight at the start of 2022, before being invited for a nerve-racking assessment. He was one of only 16 UK tech professionals selected, and all eyes are now on the black-tie event to see if Tim ‘No Mercy’ Mercer can bring home the title.

Fighting for the blue team, he will face Paul O’Sullivan, UK sales director at Threatscape, in the red corner.

Travelling to the Ring Boxing Club in Southwark, South London, every week for training, Tim had already upped his fitness regime last year, in preparation for his ‘week of hell’. That particular challenge - which saw him row, cycle, run and climb 286km - was one of his first major fundraisers for Borne back in October.

Since then, he and the Vapour team have raised £8,500 for the charity - and counting - with hopes that Fight Night will get them to £15,000. The ultimate goal is to reach £23,000 before the year is out.

Commenting on his latest challenge, Tim said: “I’m a big boxing fan, so when I saw the application process open for Fight Night, I thought - why not?!

“But when the news dropped that I’d made the lineup, s**t got real!

“There’s a difference between sparring and going toe to toe with an opponent - as I’ve already learned. But I’m tackling this event just as I would anything else - properly! I’m training hard, eating really well, and improving my technique week by week. I’ve got a table of supporters coming to cheer me on but I hope people will get behind me from a distance too, and dig deep for Borne.”

Over 15 million babies are born too soon every year, and 1 million of those die. Borne is a charity dedicated to saving lives, preventing disability, and creating lifelong health for mothers and babies. Anyone wishing to sponsor Tim can donate via Vapour’s JustGiving page.

We have received a growing number of enquiries over the past two weeks, from customers concerned about the threat of cyberattacks. And the number of people contacting us in search of guidance is continuing to rise. Our head of transformation and operations – Carol McGrotty – has therefore summarised our advice in this short post. If you wish to discuss this any further, please contact our Service Desk at gethelp@vapourcloud.com, and we will do our best to assist.

With Russian military operations currently underway in Ukraine, the question of whether cyber warfare will also be employed remains unanswered.

Vapour is liaising with Tier 1 providers – with no known immediate threat – and shall continue to do so.

There is a heightened sense of concern being felt by many organisations. Our focus is to help clients prepare for potential cyberattacks. For that, we have put together this cyber readiness checklist. While many of these suggestions are standard cyber hygiene protocols and best practices, simple actions can also go a long way towards fighting against cyberthreats.

Key takeaways

Access: Review admin access to Firewalls and Firewall policies to ensure only permitted access has been given and not open to vulnerabilities

Patching: Ensure that all systems are fully patched and updated

Protection Databases: Make sure your security tools have the latest databases

Backup: Create or update offline backups for all critical systems

Phishing: Conduct phishing awareness training and drills

Hunt: Proactively hunt for attackers in your network using the known TTPs of Russian threat actors

Emulate: Test your defences to ensure they can detect the known TTPs of Russian threat actors

Response: Test your incident response against fictitious, real-world scenarios.

We hope you find this helpful, and if you have any queries, please contact our Service Desk at gethelp@vapourcloud.com.

It’s Katie’s turn in the spotlight this month. Here she shares the role communications can play in driving tech sector change, the need for energy in our business, and what journalists REALLY think about Vapour…

How did you first get into the world of tech?

I come from the comms side of tech and started out in the industry in 2006. I worked for a PR agency with a varied client base, at the time, but naturally gravitated towards the ‘geekier’ of businesses. These were the stories I found the most thought-provoking, especially if you could debunk the jargon and relate to stakeholders at any level. In 2013, I left to focus solely on technical communications – and ‘ta dah’, here I am at Vapour.

And what is your earliest memory of tech in your life?

I had a rainbow-coloured kids’ typewriter, not long after I could walk. As I grew up, I advanced to a PC, practically the size of our dining table!

What’s the one quality you need to thrive in this environment (especially at Vapour)?

One is hard, as there are lots of values that differentiate Vapour in a crowded tech space. But I’d probably say energy. The pace of innovation is fast, and the appetite to solve customers’ challenges never stops. This is in the DNA of the whole team, not just the CEO, which means there’s always something to talk about. This energy keeps us all moving forward.

And what is the one thing you would change about the tech sector?

The perception that all suppliers exploit how complex it is. This view suggests dishonesty or a lack of transparency – and don’t get me wrong, some companies will take advantage of how ‘green’ customers can be. But that’s not Vapour – and I’m sure there are other companies equally passionate about banishing this misconception. Yes, it’s complicated sometimes, but there’s always a way to explain it, honestly and respectfully so that everyone in the room can make informed decisions.

Why do you think Vapour stands out in the channel?

I am genuinely proud of the Vapour brand. I don’t just mean the logo (although it’s cool, right?) I mean the reputation Vapour has carved for itself, despite not being the biggest player – we’re not nestled in a city centre tech district either. But I spoke to a journalist the other day and he said: “I used to think you punched above your weight – and I admired Vapour for that. Now I realise you rightfully have a seat at the table.”

Quite often, it’s Vapour bringing new innovations to market, and word is continually spreading – especially because we’re so human in our approach. And I’m on a mission to keep telling that story, so more people know it!

Complete the sentences:

The best piece of tech ever invented is... any device to play music – I couldn’t be without it.

The next purchase on my (personal) tech wishlist is... probably a kiddy gadget – I’m a mum of two girls under four, so let’s face it, practically every penny goes on them. One thing I’d love someone to invent, is a savvy device that knows what I’m thinking and types it up for me. If someone could please let me know if it already exists, that’d be great!

A tech firm that has really stood out for me in the last 12 months is... Champion Health – a digital employee wellbeing platform.

The biggest misconception in the channel is that... it’s all smoke and mirrors. Let’s have more conversations that everyone can understand – that’s when businesses will rightfully get excited about what tech can do.

By the end of 2022, our tech will have made organisations far more... efficient. Whether that’s in terms of collaborating with colleagues, moving traffic securely around the network, or automating even the simplest of processes to free up the time of their workforce.

Now that face-to-face events are back, next month some of our colleagues will be heading to Birmingham’s NEC for the Channel Live expo. With over 40 presentation and panel discussions centred around business, people, technology, and skills, the event seeks to keep industry professionals abreast of the latest issues impacting the Channel – not least to bolster growth and success through practical business advice.

Joining an expert line-up of industry panellists – including WISE Campaign CEO, Kay Hussain, and Jola’s chief marketing officer, Cherie Howlett – is our very own head of transformation and operations, Carol McGrotty. Taking to the stage in Conference Theatre 3 at 11:15AM on day one (30th March), Carol with delve into the fundamentals of attracting more women into the next generation telecoms workforce.

With a rich career history spanning over 22 years’ experience in the telecoms sector – from provide manager at Virgin Media Business, to her current position at Vapour – Carol is perfectly placed to deliver valuable insight into this topic. Bridging every gap between sales, operations, the technical team, and ongoing support, she is not only the lifeblood of our company, but a true ambassador for women in tech.

And if that wasn’t enough, Vapour’s CEO Tim Mercer is also set to deliver a session of his very own the following afternoon. Leveraging over 20 years’ experience in the IT sector – and his strategic entrepreneurial insight – Tim will tap into the opportunities associated with Technology as a Service (TaaS) the market hasn’t yet thought about, for the channel and customers alike. For this must-see discussion, you can find Tim in Conference Theatre 2 from 3:15-3:45PM on 31st March.

“Just because tech is changing, doesn’t mean the role of conferencing has. There’s such a buzz around face-to-face events, and the benefits are unparalleled – from facilitating learning and driving personal and professional development, to fuelling continuous inspiration. There’s just so much creative potential when it comes to in-person engagement,” says Tim.

“And people play a crucial role in spearheading growth. It’s all about sharing your knowledge and experience with others during what is such an exciting time for the industry, to build a stronger market together.”

Whether you’re looking to expand your portfolio and integrate best-of-breed technologies into your organisation, or seeking new partners and business opportunities, Channel Live offers an unrivalled opportunity for tech and telecoms professionals alike.

Sign up is completely free, although attendees are encouraged to pre-register their interest to guarantee a place, here.

If you spot a familiar face, please don’t hesitate to come and say hello. We look forward to seeing you!

At the beginning of 2021, the rebrand and repositioning of Vapour marked a significant turning point in the nearly nine-year journey of our company. Fast forward to 2022, and the investment is still proving to be as crucial as ever in helping us dominate the conversation in a crowded sector.

But for head of transformation, Carol McGrotty, it’s people that play the most crucial role in branding transformation success. In an exclusive webinar hosted by legal professionals, Mills & Reeve, on February 9th, she delved deeper into driving innovation at Vapour through brand and highlighted the importance of employee buy-in…

Although the decision to embark on a digital transformation project can be driven by a whole host of challenges – from rapid growth and emergence into new sectors, to a pivotal change in business perspective – it’s often the people behind the organisation who act as a catalyst for change. Only by undertaking an honest review of a brand’s current positioning and identifying a need for transformation, can real evolution take place – innovating just for innovation’s sake will not only burn a hole in your time and resources, but it will also result in a ‘paint job’ finish that makes no commercial and/or cultural difference.

For Vapour – and any other business – this is no overnight process. Prepare well and give the project the time and attention it deserves – rather than treating it as a sideline objective – and company leaders will soon reap the benefits of streamlined operations, enhanced company culture and improved bottom line. For Vapour’s own strategic roll out, we devised a ‘365-day plan’ which was broken down into three smaller, more manageable stages, to enable us to analyse every facet of the brand’s evolution and maintain momentum from start to finish.

Customers also play a pivotal role in driving transformation, particularly when it comes to such jargon-filled, technical industries. Not only did we want our rebrand to demystify cloud technology and restore that ‘human touch’ we set out with, we also wanted our reputation to extend beyond our ‘toolkit’ to showcase our team, and help attract and retain the best talent. Therefore, gathering insight from our colleagues and customers on wider perceptions of Vapour was an essential part of the process – unveiling a concerted recognition of passion and talent, while addressing an apparent confusion over visual branding and restrictive product names. Putting the customer at the forefront of our ambitions meant we could also preserve the longevity of our digital transformation and bolster our sense of authenticity by giving them a stake in mapping out our future.

But a considered approach to driving innovation doesn’t just involve the rigour of senior level employees and customer insight – every colleague with a passion for the idea is able to tell the story upon launch. Think of them as your business’ most important ambassadors, and encourage them not only to embrace this new chapter, but to openly share their ideas to help spearhead further innovation. To hear more of Carol’s expert advice, and to catch up on commentary from other industry peers, watch the webinar in full, here.

In this quickfire Q&A, we talk to Vapour’s friends in the tech sector to get their insight into upcoming trends, misconceptions from their industry, and why their business might be one to watch.

Next up, it’s Scott Riley, director at TechBuildr

Tell us about your role at TechBuildr and the role you play in the tech sector

I’m the director at TechBuildr – an independent tech sales recruitment business. We recruit sales and marketing staff for growing tech firms, which means that I have to be on top of trends and insight across the industry to ensure we are able to support our clients as best we can, to maximise their recruitment opportunities.

What innovation was the turning point for your organisation to get it to where you are now?

LinkedIn is the single biggest innovation for the recruitment industry. A live and organic database full of talented potential employees, it is an essential tool for us day to day.

And where’s next for your business?

We’re looking to add more of our clients into our Recruitment as a Service (RaaS) model – outsourcing their entire recruitment process.

The biggest misconception faced by the tech sector is…

From a recruitment perspective, one misconception is that most candidates’ priorities have changed when looking into a new role. People want freedom, autonomy and company values they can relate to – but often these get overlooked by organisations keen to expand.

What do you think will be the biggest tech trend over the next 12 months?

We’re seeing a big growth in AI, data integration and SD-WAN. Gaining greater insight into consumer behaviour is also becoming much more accessible.

What top tip would you give to an individual trying to excel their tech career

Keeping a broad view of the wider tech market will give you insight into which solutions are about to grow quickly – companies in this space will offer the greatest growth opportunities, development, and training too.

The next purchase on my personal tech wishlist is…?

I keep ‘borrowing’ my daughters AirPod Pros, so I’ll have to invest in my own soon!

And what is your earliest memory of tech in your life?

My dad’s Sony Stack HiFi system – he was really protective over it when I was younger. I wasn’t allowed to touch it.

What is one longstanding piece of tech that you are shocked is still used today?

A home telephone with a fixed line. Now that everyone has access to a mobile, and with people spending much more time away from their homes, I would have thought we would have seen the last of them.

If you are without the internet for an hour, what would be the first activity you resort to, to pass the time?

I would get some vinyl on the record player, trying to convince my daughter that the 90s music scene was the best.

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