We’re about getting things working by listening and helping. So instead of telling you what we want, here we answer the questions new and potential customers actually ask us.

The list continues to grow and the answers change as things develop and improve so this is where you will get current information that reflects in your terms what we do.

Working with OpenSure: How do we do things, and what are we about?

Working with OpenSure

Our responsibilities to you

Our renewably powered systems and servers are managed by us and are housed in data centres in the UK and EU.

Support is available 24/7 – administrative support (eg domain purchases, additional email addresses, general enquiries) is available during office hours, technical support is available between 7am and 10pm and our emergency support crew is on stand-by overnight to handle major platform-related problems (needless to say, this is a very rare event!). Support is conducted primarily by email because of the need to have a written record of events. We have our own Support team that is in constant communication to look after all clients.

We impose no limits on traffic volume, page views or website size as we allocate space in the first place based on our assessment of your need. Should anything change unexpectedly we will contact the client to discuss the options.

Please note we are platform specialists rather than web designers, so while will do what we can to help with web queries and provide online tutorials of many popular WordPress functions and plugins, undertaking web design forms no part of our agreement as things stand and is ultimately the responsibility of the client. Our responsibility is to prepare, maintain, update and troubleshoot platforms and to keep email running.

Email services provided by us use the Zimbra platform, and we provide tutorials for configuring many desktop and mobile email clients to run Zimbra.

Your annual bill will cover all expected care and maintenance and support calls and there will be no extra billing unless a project or expense is agreed between OpenSure and the client.

We don’t look after or configure clients’ hardware (including mobile devices) or office computing services, but we are always happy to make recommendations and give advice where we can.


Where are you based?

Like many businesses we have several bases of operations.

We use our renewably powered systems and data centre presences in the UK and EU. We have an administrative base in Milton Keynes and have office and technical and support staff working across the UK in places as far flung as Nottingham, Herefordshire and the South West.

We are part of a small group of businesses under the umbrella of Keepnet Ltd which has been providing internet and online services since 1997.


How much do services cost?

OpenSure charges are based on simple blocks of use. For most small businesses the cost is £395pa + VAT, but please see the tariff information at the foot of the page for other options.

As an example, that would buy you five mailboxes with 10GB storage, as many shared calendars, shared contact lists, shared tasks and document libraries as you need, website hosting and a domain name, with everything supported and managed by us.


Getting started with OpenSure

Once you decide to use our services simply contact us and arrange for a callback to discuss what you want when you want, 9am to 9pm. We will help design the package that best meets your needs.

Once we understand your needs we will configure all the services you need to get up and running including setting up email accounts, user accounts and configuring settings – even your domain name and more. All you need to do is log in and get going.

Any changes or additions are just an email away and you need never get your hands dirty in the technical underbelly.


What types of services do you offer?

To complement our core hosting service, we include the following:

Domain name registration, DNS, mail relays, shareable and collaborative mailboxes, calendars, contacts, tasks, documents, content management systems, account systems, on-line surveys, customer relationship management, databases, list services, instant messaging, virtual desktops and virtual offices.

Any of these can form part of your package and can be changed and amended as your business grows.


What if I want something you don’t list?

We are always looking for new ways to meet the needs of customers and so if you want something new then please do ask us.

We have some 60 different packages under constant review and many of them are available as a service. We will always consider anything that you are interested in and will try to fulfil the need if feasible.

Of course we will always need to ensure that the software is properly maintained and is properly open source.


Can I have just one service?

We can provide just one service, several or lots!

We know some people like to use other providers as well as us, while others aren’t ready to use more than a few basic parts of a service.

We charge our basic fee and encourage you to use the services as needed to get the end result you need.


Moving from another provider

Many customers have existing services from other providers and we are used to working with third parties and migrating from them. Whether it’s an existing domain, website or email service, we can help you migrate to our services with the least disruption possible, although sometimes subject to varying third party consent and assistance!

During our initial chat about your business we can discover if you have any services that need to be taken into account and deal with that with you and them.


I have an unrelated IT problem, can you help?

OpenSure likes to feel more like your own external IT department so please burden us with your problems!

We offer advice whenever we can but anything outside of our services is not backed up by anything other than our best endeavour.  In other words we can’t warranty the advice given on third party products or services.

If you want full-on consultancy then we can offer that too but it isn’t part of the on-line package and is quoted separately often on a fixed fee basis.


What services do you offer?

What are they, and how do you deliver, support and charge for them?

Content Management Services

What is Content Management?

Content management is a phrase to describe how you store, update and present the text, images, video and documents on you website.  Often the system allows you to change the menu structure, where things appear on the screen and control who changes what, when and how.

There is a good trend towards separation of information and presentation of information which really makes communicating ideas simpler and faster. Once presentation of information is structured, such as how many columns of text, how to photos fit in, what fonts and sizes are to be used, and what type of information goes where, the adding of information itself becomes much easier.

This removes the need to use website designers to update or even add content, they are used where they can be of most benefit, in the design of how information is presented. This saves your business money, time and improves the delivery of information to your customers. It means information can be presented according to the device or medium you are using. Which makes it more transferable, dynamic and ultimately more useful to your business operations.

There are of course many flavours of content management systems available for use both open source and proprietary. We generally use one of three open source solutions, WordPress, Drupal and Joomla although there are more we can offer such as SimpleCMS, MediaWiki and many others.


Drupal CMS

Drupal is perhaps the big iron of open source CMS systems and is designed to cope with a wide range of demands and powers some large powerful sites and parts of sites. For example www.symantec.com/connect/ or http://www.observer.com/ or http://www.mtv.co.uk/ or http://www.warnerbrosrecords.com/frontpage or http://www.nowpublic.com/ or even http://www.economist.com/ or the WWF http://www.adaptationportal.org/.

Sites don’t need to be that scale to use Drupal but it is sometimes nice to realise quite how capable it can be. Our local Linux User Group (HLUG) use it for their community site http://www.herefordshire.lug.org.uk/.

It has lots of great people involved in the development and a very helpful and diverse community supporting it so if you want to use it then you won’t be alone when it comes to getting terrific support.


Joomla CMS

Joomla is another great CMS in the open source world. We have customers using it to deliver all sorts of sites and services from retail shops, galleries to magazines. It often fits between WordPress and Drupal in the landscape but as with all of these brilliant CMS options the edges are blurred and the boundaries wide.

Joomla has themes and modules that allow you to have the bits you need and to remove that which you don’t. It is great for web designers to create and use a range of themes and modules to completely change the experience of the visitor to suit the site.

There have been many progressive versions of Joomla and the community around it is vibrant and helpful so once again its strength is in its users and the help they give to developers to direct its continuing improvement.


WordPress CMS

If you thought WordPress was a blogging tool then you are right, but it has also evolved considerably beyond that.

For most small businesses WordPress will provide much of the functionality of other larger CMS approaches in a simple and clean way that means they can use it themselves to great effect. The OpenSure site you are reading now is based on WordPress.

With plugins, themes, a solid core application and massive user base we think you can depend on WordPress to provide the perfect platform for simple dynamic approach to the web, even web 2.0.

Read more about our WordPress hosting here.


Email Services

How to Sync AppleMail with Zimbra

Zimbra AppleMail walk through

The first step to creating your new Zimbra account in AppleMail is to select the IMAP setting. Give the Account Description field a title useful to you (no-one else will see that field). In Full Name enter your name as you’d like it to appear in recipients’ inbox, and in email address enter the email address we’re providing for you. Click on Continue.

Zimbra AppleMail walk throughThe address for the Incoming Mail Server is zimbra.opensure.net. Your User Name is your email address. Enter your password then click on Continue.

Zimbra AppleMail walk throughThe Outgoing Mail Server is also zimbra.opensure.net. Tick Use Authentication, then once again enter your email address in the User Name field, and fill in the Password field. Click on Continue.

ZimbraAppleMailWalkThrough4Make sure the Use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) field is ticked, and set Authentication to Password. Click on Continue.

This is the main part complete. However, we may ask you to check server information. To do this, click on the selection arrow by the Outgoing Mail Server field, and choose Edit SMTP Server List. Highlight the domain that we look after for you (whether or not you have a list of servers to choose from will depend on whether you have other accounts running through AppleMail), and make sure the information is as follows, with your own user name and password entered in the relevant fields:



What are email services?

From OpenSure’s point of view email services are any service that is involved in the presentation, storage and movement of email.

This can include handling the setting up the DNS to allow for incoming email on servers, providing the servers to send or receive email on the Internet or storing and delivering the email to you. It may also include anti-spam filters, anti-malware filters, spam prevention and more.

OpenSure need to ensure that you have safe and consistent access to your email services so we ensure things can be encrypted, are compliant to Internet standards and flexible. Email is thesedays often bundled and connected to other related functions and processes such as calendars, contact lists, tasks etc. These are generally in fact part of our collaboration services but the two terms email and collaboration services often become combined and imply each other.


How to Sync Android with Zimbra Contacts and Calendar

You can use the open standards CardDAV and CalDAV to easily synchronise your Zimbra Contacts  and Calendars to your Android smartphone.

Android has no native CardDAV client but some are available from the Google PlayStore and F-Droid.org. We now recommend the free DavX which works really well. We talk you through configuring that client but essentially any others that are available will be similar.

Once you install DavX it will appear in the Android Account Sync area, but simply starting DavX will give you the option to Go to accounts & Sync.

Select Add Account, and choose Login with URL and username as the account type.

The server name is eg https://mail.opensure.net.

Enter your email address and password.

The app will then check the connection and ask for an account name for you to identify the configuration by, eg the email address. Change this as or if desired. Leave the groups as separate VCards.

Your contacts and calendar (and Tasks) are now able to sync.

To change which calendars and address books will sync, open the Accounts area under Android Settings and click on the DavX section listing the DavX accounts. Select Manage Accounts and Click on the account shown that you want to configure. Select the Calendars and Contacts from the list that you want to sync to/from your phone.

The Settings Cog under each accounts area will allow you to more finely configure things like intervals, connections etc.


How to Sync Android with Zimbra Email

You can use the open standards called IMAP and SMTP to synchronise your Zimbra email to your Android smartphone.

Android has several email clients available but we recommend an open source one called K-9, free from the Play store or F-droid.org. Here we talk you through configuring that client but others will be similar.

You are connecting to your Zimbra account via IMAP (to fetch incoming email) and SMTP (to send emails) which allows connection to your mailbox.

To configure K-9 for zimbra ensure you are connected to the Internet then start K-9:

Then select Menu, then Add Account…:

Enter your name, email address and password, then press Next:

Select IMAP account type:

Check the user/password is correct then move to the IMAP server box and enter eg zimbra.opensure.net

Select Security as SSL or StartTLS

Port 993(leave IMAP Path Prefix as default).

K-9 will now check the configuration before moving on to the outgoing server.

In Outgoing Mail Server section, enter server as mail.opensure.net server then press Next:

Security is StartTLS if available and the port should be 587 (not 25).

Authentication should be PLAIN and the user/password should be the same as for IMAP.

Click Next and wait until it has finished verifying configuration.

Give this account a name that makes sense to you, eg Simon’s OpenSure Account and then give the name that shows when you send message eg Simon Sayes.

Then click Done and the account is ready for use.


How to Sync iPhone with Zimbra Email

You can use the open standards called IMAP and SMTP to synchronise your Zimbra email to your iPhone or iPad.

You are connecting to your Zimbra account via IMAP and SMTP over which Zimbra allows connection to your calendar

To configure this on your iPhone or iPad open iPhone Settings application and choose Mail, Contacts, Calendar:

Then select Add Account…:

press Other:

Choose Add Mail Account:

Enter your name, email address and password, then press Next:

Select IMAP account type:

In Incoming Mail Server section, enter mail.opensure.net server

In Outgoing Mail Server section, enter eg mail.opensure.net server then press Next:

Wait until your iPhone has finished verifying all possible port/protocol combination:

It will probably fail to get the service auto-configured so you will likely get the Cannot Connect Using SSL message, or similar, just select Yes, you will just need to adjust account settings later.

Save the account:


Back to account settings page, still need to fix SMTP port as mail.opensure.net prefers to listen on the correct port not (the wrong) default port 25, open account settings:

Open Account Info:

Open SMTP page:

Choose Primary Server: mail.opensure.net

Adjust SMTP port: 587

Back to Account Info, open Advanced settings:

Enable SSL on IMAP port:


How to Sync iPhone with Zimbra Contacts

You can use the open standard called CardDav to synchronise your Zimbra contacts to your iPhone or iPad.

You are connecting to your Zimbra account via a special URL over which Zimbra allows connection to your contacts.

To configure this on your iPhone or iPad open iPhone Settings application and choose Mail, Contacts, Calendar:

Open iPhone Settings application and choose Mail, Contacts, Calendar:

Then select Add Account…:

press Other:

Choose Add CardDAV Account:

Enter your Zimbra server hostname in the Server field,

eg mail.opensure.net

provide your username and password then press Next:


On the account page, open Advanced Settings:

Enable SSL



How to Sync iPhone with Zimbra Calendar

You can use the open standard called CalDav to synchronise your Zimbra calendar to your iPhone or iPad.

You are connecting to your Zimbra account via a special URL over which Zimbra allows connection to your calendar

To configure this on your iPhone or iPad open iPhone Settings application and choose Mail, Contacts, Calendar:

Then select Add Account…:

press Other:

Choose Add CalDAV Account:

Enter your Zimbra server hostname in the Server field,

provide your username and password then press Next:
Username = your@email.address
password = password

On the account page, open Advanced Settings:

Enable SSL and check port, make sure Account URL resembles:





How to Sync Thunderbird Contacts and Calendars with Zimbra

Configuring Thunderbird and TB-Sync to synchronise your Contacts and Calendars on our Zimbra service.

Again we recommend using Zimbra Desktop to do this but if Thunderbird is your thing then here is how you can do a neat synchronizing trick with the smart set of add-ons: TB-Sync and Provider for CalDAV & CardDAV.

Setup Add-ons in Thunderbird to sync Zimbra Contacts (and Calendars)

First we assume that Thunderbird is properly installed and configured ready for your OpenSure Zimbra email account.

In Thunderbird Menu select Add-ons.

Search and install the add-ons ‘tb-sync’ and ‘provider for caldav and carddav’

When installed, manage the Tb-Sync add-on and add a new CalDAV/CardDAV account with Automatic Configuration.

Give your account a new name to refer to it, then your username is your Zimbra email address and then enter your Zimbra password too.

All your account’s calendars and contacts lists are shown in the listing from which you can select as many as you need or want.

Then you can use and sync all the Contacts and Calendars from Zimbra within Thunderbird.


How to Sync Outlook email with Zimbra

Configure Outlook email client to use the Zimbra email service

This is designed to help you setup a new account in Outlook for your new mailbox. We recommend Thunderbird (www.mozilla.com the same people who write Firefox web browser – also recommended) as a free and powerful mail client in preference to Outlook as it is a standards compliant approach and works very well with modern mail systems. However, this is about what you want to do so here you go!

To configure Outlook to use a Zimbra email account:

  • In Outlook, click Accounts on the Tools menu.
  • In the Internet Accounts dialogue box, click Add, and then click Mail
  • In the Display name box, type the name that you want other users to see when you send a message, and then click Next.
  • In the E-mail address box, type the e-mail address for the account that you are using (for example, type my.name@domain.here), and then click Next.
  • In the E-mail Server Names box, click IMAP for the incoming mail server type (POP3) is the default type)
  • Type mail.opensure.net as the incoming (IMAP) and outgoing (SMTP) servers and Click Next.
  • Type your IMAP account name and password in the Account name and Password boxes then click Next.
  • In the Internet Mail Account Name box, type a name to identify the mail account, and then click Next and Click Finish.
  • You should now be able to highlight this new account in the Internet Accounts window and then select ‘Properties’ When in this window click Advanced.
  • In the Advanced window tick Incoming Mail – This server requires a secure connection SSL – the Port will automatically change to 993.
  • Above this is the Outgoing Server equivalent tick box. You should set the SMTP service to StartTLS on port 587.
  • At same Properties window as when finding the Advanced tab, you will see a ‘Servers’ tab. Move to this and click the Outgoing Mail Server – My server requires authentication. Leave as using the same settings as incoming mail server.
  • Click OK then Close to close the Internet Accounts dialogue box.
  • When you are prompted to Refresh or download folders from the mail server, click Yes and enter password assigned as required.


How to Sync Thunderbird email client with Zimbra

Configure Thunderbird email client to use the Zimbra email service

This is designed to help you setup a new account in Thunderbird for your new mailbox. We recommend Thunderbird (www.mozilla.com the same people who write Firefox web browser – also recommended) as a free and powerful mail client in preference to Outlook as it is a standards compliant approach and works very well with modern mail systems.

To configure Thunderbird to use a Zimbra email account with IMAP:

  • Select Tools – Accounts settings then select Add Account, Email Account type and click Next.
  • Enter your name as you wish people to see it, and then your email account, eg my.name@domain.here
  • Select IMAP as the type of server and enter zimbra.opensure.net as the name, it is personal choice whether to select global folders or not, most tend to. Click Next.
  • Now enter incoming username, which is the same as your email address click Next.
  • Enter the name you would like to use to refer to this account and click Next, confirm all is correct and press Finish.
  • In the left hand panel, highlight and expand the new account named above and click Server Settings.
  • In this Click Incoming server uses SSL and check that the port has changed to 993.
  • Now click down to Copies and Folders for this account and check that the Sent, Draft and Template folders are showing as send a copy to whatever the name of this new account is.
  • Composition and Addressing, set as per your preferences.
  • Clicking now into Off-line and Disk space, please set as per your preferences normally tick both top boxes and select all folders available off-line. Leave the lower section to retain all email.
  • At the bottom of the left hand panel is the list of Outgoing servers, here click add and add the name of Zimbra, server as zimbra.opensure.net, change the port to 587, tick TLS, tick username and password and fill is with your username (same as email address). Click OK.
  • Now click Get Mail and enter your password as required, saving it permanently if desired.


Zimbra Collaboration Service

We provide a fully managed open source version of Zimbra so you get a full collaboration service in one. We set it up for you so you can use your domain email addresses and as many aliases and distribution lists as you need.

Zimbra provides a complete shareable business grade service for collaboration offering email, contacts, calendars, tasks and documents in a controlled feature rich but web based way. You can use Zimbra in the same way you use old email solutions using simple IMAP email client which works well and allows you to synchronize emails across many different devices and email clients but none will quite give you the full on experience of Zimbra using the web. Closest is the free open source Zimbra Desktop that allows your Mac, Windows or Linux PC to work offline with dozens of different accounts simultaneously.

So with Zimbra you can control, use and share multiple calendars, contacts, mailboxes, tasks and document libraries simply and easily from any device with a web browser, even your mobile phone.


Accounting services

What is FrontAccounting?

FrontAccounting is an open source accounts system that is accessed by a web browser and offers full ledger based accounts. It is the initial choice for OpenSure accounts services as it is well established with wide user-base and we have confidence in the project developing it.

It is a great and powerful package that can run a small to medium sized business and provides good reporting and options to pull out data to other reporting systems if required.


Can I do my books online? Is it safe?

Using Frontaccounting web based accounts service you can get proper accounting on line. That means a full ledger based accounting system with invoicing, stock control, etc all available anytime you need it whether at home, on the road or in the office.

What’s great about OpenSure’s service is it is based on completely open source software so at any time, if you like, you can run it yourself on your own server not on ours. No data conversion or paying for software would be required, the software is free and the data is yours alone. What you get from us is a managed service and one that you can walk away from without loosing years of online data.

Safety is a good thing to consider, especially with accounting systems. Our services are regularly updated to meet the best security available for applications and operating systems. We have perimeter security systems that check what people are trying to access. We backup all systems at least nightly and our services run on equipment that is redundantly backed up too.

In fact, being cheeky, the weakest point in most modern IT security is people using weak passwords and/or recording them on post-it notes stuck on the monitor in case they forget them. Much of the ‘Is it safe?’ question is about the risk of access being given. When it is in your office, in one location, only someone in your office or connected to it can gain access. If it is on the web where you can access it online anytime… so could anyone with your login details. So perhaps one part of the answer to ‘Is it safe? might be, ‘Can you keep a secret?’ 😉


Customer Relationship Management

What is vTiger?

vTiger is an open source CRM system that OpenSure offer as one of our CRM services. It was once related to SugarCRM but using the power of open source it was ‘forked’ to develop into a version to better suit a group of users that had a different focus.

It is a hugely powerful system and will suit many businesses needs especially if you have out-grown bending a collaboration system like Zimbra alone to meet your needs. It does have a learning curve and does use terminology that will make more sense if you have used CRM before and understand terms relating to contacts, prospects, customers and funnels and campaigns. There are some great resources on the web to help you get started and of course you can ask us for help and other OpenSure users.

vTiger can be used in a variety of situations such as simply a new full service, replacing a variety of other fragmented systems or in part to augment existing systems. Like all our services they are a great way to help nit new parts of a business together or perhaps provide low cost ways for interim management to leverage the best from a businesses data.

As usual we can help with configuration, setup and import of data for you as you need.


What is customer relationship management (CRM) software?

CRM is a way of storing and retrieving information about your customers and potential customers. It helps track what communication has happened in the past and with whom, recall how they found you, what their interests are and what business they may have already done with you.

It helps keep you in touch, retain their interest by appropriate follow up to requests, complaints or support calls. It will also allow you to manage campaigns along with ensuring information is updated accurate and more profitably used.


OpenSure support

How do I get help? When are you there? What can you do?

OpenSure Support

How do we help you?

OpenSure helps in as many ways as possible to ensure you get the best from the services on offer.

  • We can help determine which services will suit your business best and then implement them with you.
  • We can advise how to best use the services themselves in your circumstances.
  • We can help support you when things go wrong.
  • We will always try to help with migration from others to us or even away from us.

What we can’t do is fix things that are not related to our service nor take on desktop support issues. We do try to help even with desktop issues such as using the services with odd or legacy equipment and applications. Regrettably, we cannot promise to get it working or to ‘pop round’ and ‘sort it out’, even if you offer biscuits!


When is OpenSure there to help?

OpenSure is essentially a 24×7 operation but as with most businesses some parts are not always available. Support during office hours between 8am and 8pm is prime time support that has the most people available in all areas.

Out of office hours support is still available but may be more limited to critical operations rather than all areas of help and support. However all support personnel are technically competent to answer a whole range of issues but may refer back to other staff in office hours for some specialized support problems.


How do I get support from OpenSure?

As our services are delivered over the web, we can see what you see and use and access the services just like you.

We find the most reliable, effective and quickest route to get things done was email, but we do also operate an emergency Twitter account, @OpenSureSupport, which is used by clients from time to time.

Email ensures that the right person is responding to a query wherever they are and that they are the ones who can get it resolved quickly and accurately.

As a result OpenSure tends to use email (or online forms) as the primary means of active support to customers. You have a log of what has happened and how you were helped.

When you email it is a human that responds, not just an automatic response telling you that you are now ‘in the queue’. With us, usually the first email response you get back is one that actually starts the process of helping you there and then.

We do obviously take support telephone calls and return them, we will even read letters, but they are a normally just a part of a process based on email.

OpenSure also runs workshops for customers, where we sit together in small groups and discuss ideas and problems you experience on a day-to-day real-world way. We then help solve those problems and feed that back into what we offer as a service in the first place.

Where do you send emails? Just send your request, or anything to do with OpenSure, to support at opensure.net or use the contact us form.

As usual, we will do the rest.