My take on Microsoft 365 in 2019

My take on #Microsoft

1. Microsoft365 is the future for Small to Medium businesses. Pretty much every single product Microsoft are producing has M365 at the foundation. In my opinion, I love this – When GSuite, Dropbox, Apple and Android came along they disrupted the IT Market, As a IT Admin or Business owner it felt like we lost control of the data. M365 solves this and still allows users to use whatever device they like, wherever they like!

2. Microsoft Teams – Great product, getting better all the time lots of new improvements. i like to think of it as Whatsapp, File share, Meetings and Skype all rolled into one, easy to use app on any device.

3. Passwords – passwords are the number 1 reason for data theft. We’re moving into a pass-wordless world with Face, Fingerprint and Authentication apps. Much better than typing password in on a smartphone.

4. Windows 7 is End of Life – January 2020.

5. Windows Virtual Desktop is getting released for preview in 4 weeks – I’m really excited about this!! It’s basically your desktop in the cloud on any device. Very Secure!

Every single point I’ve mentioned above is part of Microsoft365. There was one session on Server2019… ONE!

Get in touch if you would like a free site audit Contact Us

Cheers 🙂 William

 

Top 10 Cyber Security Tips 2019

cyber security tips

Any company that takes cyber security seriously will have an array of defences to plug the gaps that cyber criminals could exploit. Unfortunately, fewer create defences for the biggest danger of all — humans. Our cyber security experts have created a top 10 cyber security tips below to help you protect your business against cyber criminals.

You can have all the security tools you can afford, but a single person who fails to follow procedures can let the hackers in. Simply clicking a link or opening an attachment can be the fatal step that leads to a massive data breach.

So what are the things to remind your employees of — or to remember yourself, for that matter? We have ten of the most important.

1. You’re Not Immune To Cyber Attacks

The worst possible attitude to take for the purposes of cyber security is “it couldn’t happen to me.” It doesn’t matter whether your business is large or small, you’re a target for cyber criminals. The biggest difference between those who are victims and those who aren’t is vigilance.

2. Up Your Password Game

Having a strong password is a minimum requirement for cyber security. It shouldn’t be anything that could be too obviously associated with you (such as pet’s name) in case the criminals are following your social media. Use a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers and other symbols — and, most importantly, keep it to yourself. Don’t write it down anywhere, and certainly not on a note stuck to your computer.

3. Keep Your Devices Locked

Any unattended computer, tablet or phone is a vulnerability. If you’re going to leave it, even for a very short time, make sure it’s locked up, either physically or by logging out of your account. Whatever you need to do to ensure no-one can use it while you’re away. And that goes for any flash drives or external hard drives, as well.

4. Think Before You Click

If you receive an email with links or attachments, don’t click on it unless you’re absolutely sure it’s safe. Even if you know the sender, if the message’s contents are unusual or unexpected, the account may have been hacked. And don’t assume a link is necessarily safe because the URL looks familiar. A favourite trick of cyber criminals is to use a URL that looks like one you’d trust, but with one or two characters different.

5. Be Careful How You Browse

You can’t use the internet without browsing, but beware of clicking on anything that looks interesting, especially if you’re not on your own personal computer with a trusted network. One of those sites you land on could be a trap. If you’re using a public computer or a café’s free WiFi, your data could be at risk.

6. Back-ups Are Your Friend

Cyber criminals don’t just steal your data. They may also block your access to it, or crash your devices so that everything’s lost. Make sure you back your data up regularly, preferably to a secure cloud service, as well as keeping your anti-virus software up to date.

7. Watch Your Hardware

It isn’t only emails and websites that pose a danger to your devices. Malware can lurk on external hard drives, flash drives or smartphones, so be vigilant about what you’re plugging into your computer.

8. Criminals Use Social Media Too

The dangers of social media have been much in the news lately, but a less-publicised hazard is that cyber criminals may be using it to get information from you. Finding out where you work or when you go on holiday can help them — and those games based on using your first school or your first pet can give them the answer to your security questions. Think before you share information.

9. There Are Also Dangers Offline

Just because cyber criminals target you online doesn’t mean they don’t also try to get your information in other ways. You’ve probably at some time had a phone call from someone claiming to be your bank or utility company, or even the police. If you give the information they ask for, you might be letting them into anything from your bank account to your computer’s data. You have the perfect right to refuse and call a genuine number for the organisation to check.

10. Monitor Your Accounts

An invasion of your accounts may start slowly, allowing the cyber criminals to get their claws into you. Monitor all your accounts regularly for any unusual activity that could be criminal activity. You may still have time to do something about it.

Cyber Security Tips Conclusion

I hope you have found our cyber security tips useful. There’s no substitute for improving your cyber security — both by installing and maintaining powerful systems and by training your workforce to use their devices intelligently and vigilantly. You’re very welcome to get in touch with us if you want to know more about staying safe online.

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Ten Reasons Why Outsourcing Your IT Support Is Good for Your Business

Business technology is changing at a rate that few companies can keep up with. Even giant organisations often struggle with outdated systems, and it’s an even bigger challenge for smaller companies to stay up to date with both technology and expertise.

It isn’t only the technology itself that’s changing quickly, though. IT is changing the way we do business, and one of those ways is an increase in opportunities for outsourcing. So can outsourcing solve this problem?

Outsourcing IT support is increasing at a rate of about 5.9% a year, according to Computer Weekly Magazine. Here are ten top reasons why this may be the right answer for your business.

1. Reduced Staff Costs

Dedicated IT staff don’t come cheaply. A good IT Manager is likely to expect a salary of at least £50,000, and that’s only the start. When you add recruitment costs, company benefits and ongoing training — essential in a fast-changing environment — the costs quickly mount up.

Outsourced IT, on the other hand, just involves a single, regular payment that can be easily budgeted for. It’s up to the supplier to ensure their staff are up to date in knowledge.

2. Keeping Up with Skills

Both new technologies and updated versions of existing systems are coming at such a rate that it’s difficult to keep up. In practice, it’s not feasible to ensure all relevant in-house staff are familiar with the latest requirements.

Even if it were an option to have someone fully trained in house, this too poses problems. Maintenance of the IT infrastructure is crucial for a business, but your expert is likely to be idle for a good deal of the time.

On the other hand, if you have an outsourced unlimited IT support contract, you can call on a qualified expert with up-to-date knowledge when you need them. The rest of the time, you don’t have to find them something to do.

3. Flexibility in IT Support

Having your own IT engineer may certainly offer some advantages, but it also throws up numerous problems. What happens if a second crisis arises while the engineer is already working on a problem? What happens if something arises while your engineer is on holiday or off sick?

Quite apart from these issues, one engineer is unlikely to be an expert in every problem that may arise, even if they can keep up to date with the necessary training. On the other hand, an outsourced IT company will be able to provide a full range of expertise whenever you need it. You’ll have the peace of mind of knowing there’ll always be someone available who can solve your crisis.

4. The Recruitment Dilemma

If you’re going to employ an IT expert to manage and maintain your systems, you’re faced with a paradox. You want someone with a high level of knowledge and ability, but how can you assess that without having an IT background yourself?

This isn’t a recent dilemma. In 2010, the Confederation of British Industry ran a Skills Survey which found that 53% of employers doubted their ability to find staff with the skill required.

Outsourcing your IT support gets rid of this problem. As long as you satisfy yourself about the company’s reputation and credibility, you can be confident about leaving recognition of expertise to them.

5. Productivity Issues

One common solution to the issue previously  outlined, that a dedicated IT Manager may not have enough to do during some periods, is to train one or more existing staff members to act as a part-time IT support. This has the dual attractions of reducing costs and offering flexibility.

However, not only are these people not genuine IT experts, but working on this area also takes them away from the jobs you originally hired them to do. There are likely to be issues they can’t fix, and meanwhile their productivity in helping your business grow is compromised.

It’s likely to be a sounder solution in the long run to outsource IT support to a company that can provide the top expertise, thus leaving your own staff free to concentrate on what they do best.

6. Up-to-Date Technology

IT is developing at such a rate that it can be hard to keep up. It may be crucial for your company to have the latest, cutting-edge technology — but, unless you’re an expert yourself, how can you be sure you’re making the right choices?

Even if you have a dedicated IT Manager, they’re not likely to be on top of every type of technology. An outsourced IT consultancy company, on the hand, will have a team of specialists who’ll keep you up to date on the new technology that’s ideal for you.

7. Additional Services

Your current IT arrangements might suit you at the moment, but in the IT world standing still means slipping back. Outsourcing to an IT support company means you’ll have access to a range of additional value-added services when you need them. These include:

  • Mobility — In the modern business world, having your workers stuck in the office puts you at a big disadvantage. An outsourced company can help you make your staff more mobile without compromising security.
  • Disaster Planning — Any disaster that crashes your system could also crash your company for good. You can avoid that by having a disaster plan to ensure your company can continue.
  • Cloud Solutions — There are many benefits to migrating to the cloud, including reducing costs for capital and support on an ongoing basis.

The various extra services the company can provide are likely to improve efficiency, reduce costs and enhance productivity. They can also reduce the risks in case of crisis.

8. Being Proactive

Most companies tend to maintain their IT systems on a break/fix strategy, addressing problems as they arise. This can often have a negative impact on productivity while engineers repair faults.

Outsourced IT support can offer round-the-clock proactive support, identifying and fixing potential issues before they disrupt your business. It can also provide full automation for software updates and installing patches, along with ongoing diagnostics on your server to prevent problems arising.

9. Managing Risks

Outsourcing your IT support offers the opportunity to manage risks in case of a crisis, as well as the problems that may arise on an ongoing basis. The agreement may also include the IT support company accepting legal responsibility, so that you could seek damages if anything goes wrong.

10. Run Your Business, Not Your IT

The IT your company uses is a tool, not an end in itself. Your focus should be on the big picture, growing your business and increasing your profit, but it’s easy to get bogged down in detail.

Managing and maintaining your IT systems doesn’t have to be one of those details, if you outsource it to a reliable company. Why not get in touch to find out more about how outsourcing could help you.

What are the Ten Biggest Advantages of Using Office 365 Exchange Online?

Is your business’s email giving you headaches? If so, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there’s a solution available that will allow you slash the time you spend worrying about emails and concentrate on what you do best — running your business. So, what is the best solution you ask? Office 365 Exchange Online of course!

No business can manage without email nowadays, but more importantly your email must do the jobs you need it to efficiently, without creating serious risks for your business. Perhaps your current system’s communication limitations are damaging your productivity. Perhaps regular downtime is creating a drain on your IT budget. Perhaps the data you exchange by email is at risk, threatening your ability to comply with GDPR.

What you need is a business-class email system that’s powerful, reliable and adaptable to your requirements. Our recommendation to meet all these needs is Office 365 Exchange Online. This helps you protect your data, at the same time as letting your employees connect with email, calendar and contacts.

Not only is Office 365 Exchange Online reliable and secure — it allows access from any authorised device, wherever your people happen to be.

So what can this system offer you?

1. Keep Your Data Together

Exchange enables you to set up a large inbox and have an archive in place. Instead of having to search for emails in multiple locations, your employees will be have the choice of keeping them in the primary inbox or of archiving them.

Strong retention policies are important, but you don’t want this to slow your employees down. Using Exchange can keep retention powerful and flexible and your people productive at the same time.

2. Protect Sensitive Data

It’s frighteningly easy for an employee to accidentally send sensitive data to the wrong person, breaching your compliance obligations. Exchange’s new DLP features help you prevent this, through deep content analysis that identifies, monitors and safeguards this data.

DLP also includes built-in policies using essential regulatory standards like PII and PCI, and you can add in bespoke policies as required. Users will also be alerted by Outlook’s Policy Tips if they’re in danger of violating policies.

3. Make Compliance Simpler

Compliance regulations, as well as internal compliance, requires that data is pulled together from across your organisation and held secure. Your compliance officers can achieve this much more easily by using the new eDiscovery Centre, which lets you reduce the cost of managing compliance, while at the same time ensuring you’re prepared for anything.

This allows your compliance officers to search data from Exchange, SharePoint and Lync across the organisation, identifying and analysing it. You can hold the data where it is, so you don’t have to create a separate data store, which would also need managing.

4. Manage Email Threats

Spam, phishing and malware such as viruses are a perennial danger to any organisation using email. Exchange backs up the training you give your people with powerful defences against these and many other email threats.

This includes multi-layered filtering against spam and phishing emails, which multiple anti-malware engines identifies and blocks virus attacks. All these defences are constantly updated, so they provide an effective guard against the latest threats — before they even reach your inbox.

5. Enable Collaboration

Collaborations and team-work are vital for efficient business, and using Exchange, SharePoint and Outlook together makes this far more efficient. Exchange handles the messaging, SharePoint provides document storage, co-authoring and versioning, while Outlook coordinates the complete user experience.

This means that new people joining a team or collaboration will both have immediate access to the latest versions of documents and see the previous communications relevant to the project. These tools will provide your employees with the opportunity to increase their productivity, while making it easier for you to manage the data by keeping it in one place.

6. Manage Your Messaging Systems

The Exchange Administration Centre is a web-based administration interface that’s easy to use, keeping all your administration needs together. It allows you to manage your capabilities, such as DLP, Apps for Outlook and site mailboxes.

Access can be controlled by role, meaning your specialists and help-desk staff won’t need full administrative permissions to perform specific tasks that arise. This allows you to delegate management of Exchange with confidence and concentrate on running your business.

7. An Efficient Inbox

It’s essential for your employees’ efficiency and productivity that they’re working with an inbox that’s clean and uncluttered. Even more vital, in today’s highly mobile business world, is that they should have the same experience on any device, in any location.

Using Exchange and Outlook together provides an intuitive, touch-enabled inbox that adapts readily to any device. Relevant information is optimised for different form-factors, while the superb design of Outlook’s desktop interface is extended to the mobile and browser interfaces.

8. Enjoy a Flexible Cloud

Many Cloud packages are inflexible, forcing you to accept elements you don’t need in order to have those you do need. Exchange provides flexible tools and hybrid models that allow you to move to the Cloud on your own terms.

Maybe all you need is overnight onboarding to the Cloud, or maybe your business needs suit a hybrid mailbox deployment, both on site and online. Exchange allows you to integrate calendars, scheduling and meetings between the two with minimal disruption, as well as previewing upgrades before accepting them.

9. It’s Your Office 365 Exchange Online

Exchange can be easily customised to meet your needs. This includes integrating the web-based Apps for Office of your choice into Outlook and the Outlook web app.

This means your users can switch between apps with a minimum of time and effort, as well as allowing a single sign-in across multiple apps, with the option of restricting access to apps where appropriate. Exchange’s extension model offers straightforward plugin access to your web-based Outlook.

All Your Contacts Together

In the modern business world, networks are rarely straightforward, and your users may have contacts stored in other networks. This can slow them down and damage their productivity, if they have to be logging off one network and logging onto another on a regular basis.

Exchange allows them to bring all their contact information together. It will even proactively consolidate it, creating a single contact card that avoids the inefficiency of duplication.

Office 365 Exchange Online is a powerful tool, especially when combined with Outlook, that will streamline your systems, allowing your employees to reduce inefficiency and boost their productivity. If you want to know more about how it could benefit you, you’re very welcome to get in touch with us.

Office 365 Sales Preston UK

Office 365 Sales Preston UK

AGT Computer Services LTD offers cloud migrations for the Preston UK area. We offer repairs, service and managed plans that include business class support to our commercial clients.

Our business class support offers managed services, remote support and onsite help. We are set up to fully support and manage your IT needs with IT support contracts, IT Helpdesk and top-notch IT engineers. Our server team knows infrastructure, the cloud and supplies and installs servers, cabling and new network upgrades.

We also offer Cloud migrations to our clients, if you need to migrate your onsite Exchange server to Office 365, our team of talented technicians will migrate, setup and configure all your technology to work and we close each project with training.

Our IT support contracts ensure that your issues are resolved by our guaranteed service level agreements and by qualified technical engineers. We also can customize an IT Support package for your company.

Contact us today to find out how we can help! Call: 01253 808472

Cloud Migrations Preston UK

Cloud Migrations Preston UK

AGT Computer Services LTD offers cloud migrations for the Preston UK area. We offer repairs, service and managed plans that include business class support to our commercial clients.

Our business class support offers managed services, remote support and onsite help. We are set up to fully support and manage your IT needs with IT support contracts, IT Helpdesk and top-notch IT engineers. Our server team knows infrastructure, the cloud and supplies and installs servers, cabling and new network upgrades.

We also offer Cloud migrations to our clients, if you need to migrate your onsite Exchange server to Office 365, our team of talented technicians will migrate, setup and configure all your technology to work and we close each project with training.

Our IT support contracts ensure that your issues are resolved by our guaranteed service level agreements and by qualified technical engineers. We also can customize an IT Support package for your company.

Contact us today to find out how we can help! Call: 01253 808472

Microsoft Exchange Support Preston UK

Microsoft Exchange Support Preston UK

AGT Computer Services LTD offers Microsoft Exchange Support for the Preston UK area. We offer repairs, service and managed plans that include business class support to our commercial clients.

Our business class support offers managed services, remote support and onsite help. We are set up to fully support and manage your IT needs with IT support contracts, IT Helpdesk and top-notch IT engineers. Our server team knows infrastructure, the cloud and supplies and installs servers, cabling and new network upgrades.

We also offer Cloud migrations to our clients, if you need to migrate your onsite Exchange server to Office 365, our team of talented technicians will migrate, setup and configure all your technology to work and we close each project with training.

Our IT support contracts ensure that your issues are resolved by our guaranteed service level agreements and by qualified technical engineers. We also can customize an IT Support package for your company.

Contact us today to find out how we can help! Call: 01253 808472

Office 365 Support Preston UK

Office 365 Support Preston UK

AGT Computer Services LTD offers Office 365 Support for the Preston UK area. We offer repairs, service and managed plans that include business class support to our commercial clients.

Our business class support offers managed services, remote support and onsite help. We are set up to fully support and manage your IT needs with IT support contracts, IT Helpdesk and top-notch IT engineers. Our server team knows infrastructure, the cloud and supplies and installs servers, cabling and new network upgrades.

We also offer Cloud migrations to our clients, if you need to migrate your onsite Exchange server to Office 365, our team of talented technicians will migrate, setup and configure all your technology to work and we close each project with training.

Our IT support contracts ensure that your issues are resolved by our guaranteed service level agreements and by qualified technical engineers. We also can customize an IT Support package for your company.

Contact us today to find out how we can help! Call: 01253 808472

Office 365 Migrations Preston UK

Office 365 Migrations Preston UK

AGT Computer Services LTD offers Office 365 migrations for the Preston UK area. We offer repairs, service and managed plans that include business class support to our commercial clients.

Our business class support offers managed services, remote support and onsite help. We are set up to fully support and manage your IT needs with IT support contracts, IT Helpdesk and top-notch IT engineers. Our server team knows infrastructure, the cloud and supplies and installs servers, cabling and new network upgrades.

We also offer Cloud migrations to our clients, if you need to migrate your onsite Exchange server to Office 365, our team of talented technicians will migrate, setup and configure all your technology to work and we close each project with training.

Our IT support contracts ensure that your issues are resolved by our guaranteed service level agreements and by qualified technical engineers. We also can customize an IT Support package for your company.

Contact us today to find out how we can help! Call: 01253 808472

GDPR – What is it?

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

In May of 2018, the EU GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, will come into force. Do you know what that means for your business, or for you personally?

Understanding What GDPR Is

Serving as a replacement for the Data Protection Act of 1998, the GDPR is coming into effect. This will apply to every organization that works with the data of any EU resident. As of May 25, 2018, you will need to know what this is if you process, manage, or store any personal data. This blog gives you more insight, but here is an overview of what the GDPR is about.

  • You must get consent for the data collection of everyone, plus have a comprehensive and clear privacy notice that will help people understand what it is they are having done.
  • Organizations must prove they received consent if they choose to process any personal data. If the person is under 13 years of age in the UK, or below 16 on other EU countries, then parental consent needs to also be given as well.
  • Data breaches of any type need to be reported to your local Supervisory Authority, or the Information Commissioner’s Office if you are within the UK, within the first 72 hours.
  • The term “Personal Data” is expanded, including online identifiers like IP address, can now be counted as a type of personal data.
  • The powers of the Supervisory Authorities is increased, allowing for the ability to enforce a higher financial penalty for those who suffer breaches or who do not comply.

When a severe case of non-compliance appears, the organization can be given a fine up to €20 million, or a total of 4% of annual turnover worldwide, whichever ends up being higher. For smaller breaches, organizations should be expecting a penalty of €10 million, or 2% of annual turnover.

The Effects of the GDPR on Small Businesses

There is the potential for the GDPR to have a significant impact for some small businesses. They will need to start taking steps to reach compliance quickly. This law applies to businesses of all sizes, including everything from a sole trader up to a multinational corporation.

While the GDPR was being developed, an important question arose about what companies were required to hire a DPO, or Data Protection Officer. Currently, regulations state that public authorities, any organization that performs “regular and systemic monitoring of individuals”, and any organization that performs “large-scale processing of special categories of data, such as health records” need to have a DPO hired.

There is currently no legal requirement for you to hire a DPO. However, the implication is there that nearly all companies that handle any type of personal data should have someone designated to cover GDPR compliance, no matter if that person is a formal DPO or not.

The Information Commissioner’s Office stresses that any company currently in compliance with the Data Protection Act of 1998 should not stress the new GDPR requirements. Instead, those changes should be considered an opportunity to review those requirements, allowing for a progression from old compliance levels, not a new beginning.

After this year’s attacks from multiple sources of ransomware, prove the need for businesses to put robust cybersecurity and antivirus measures in place. However, for those that did not, these new regulations give the will and opportunity to bring up compliance.

Brexit’s Effects from the GDPR

At the beginning, the GDPR will not have any affect on Brexit. As this new law comes into effect (May 25, 2018), the UK is still considered an EU member state, so that will require its compliance. Plus, the government of the UK confirmed that in October of 2016, it would implement the GDPR, whether or not Brexit was put into play. Whether or not those statements change once the UK is no longer part of the EU, will be seen when that time comes. However, for the time being, it makes sense to assume that nothing is set to change. No matter what happens, British companies that want to do any type of business with an EU partner after Brexit, will have to comply with similar GDPR protection standards to protect data.

Checklist for GDPR Compliance

  • Discussions about compliance must begin early within your organization. Not all aspects of compliance take the same amount of time, and some will cost more to put into place than others. Time is important for proper preparation.
  • You need to keep track of all personal data that you keep, whom you got the information from and who that information gets shared with. Systematic audits of current processes are a way to begin identifying any changes that you will need to make.
  • Go over your current privacy notices. Within the GDPR, you’ll need to discuss the legal basis for how you process your customer data, plus how you hold on to it. You also need to make sure the customers know what rights they have to change or alter what you do with it.
  • Your processes must be robust when it comes to getting rid of any data you have stored if anyone requests that you delete that data. Individuals must know they have this right as well.
  • Know that your data needs to remain portable. This allows people to request their commonly used data in a format that is easy for a machine to read, is given to them at no cost, and within 30 days of their request. You need to know how you plan to provide this information.
  • Look over how you gather, record, and process the data collection consent forms. Plus, you need to remember that consent needs to be provided explicitly. You cannot assume consent through checked off boxes on a form, as this could leave your organization in trouble.
  • Have a system in place to verify the ages of people giving consent, and make sure any privacy notices you have can be understood by all, including children.
  • Make sure your current reporting procedures for data breaches are reinforced, ensuring that your organization meets the newest timelines. Compliance failures may become much bigger issues with the GDPR than they currently are.
  • Taking proper steps to appoint your organization’s DPO, if required, will help, and if you do not need one, make sure you have someone in place to help with GDPR compliance.
  • As part of the GDPR you should secure your website from potential data breaches making sure all software is up to date and personal data encrypted. More info on secure GDPR compliant hosting 

This is only a summary of upcoming changes you and your organization should know. If you want a more detailed explanation on GDPR compliance, read this guide directly from the Information Commissioner’s Office.