Keeping employee productivity up, maintaining operational efficiency, and streamlining communications are just some of the challenges in today’s hybrid workplace. Fortunately, organizations can overcome these problems with the help of Microsoft 365’s dynamic new features. Let’s take a look at the most promising upgrades in M365.

Work seamlessly with Windows 365

Windows 365 is a cloud service that allows users to experience a more powerful and more agile version of Windows 10 or 11. Also called the “Cloud PC”, Windows 365 will enable you to access your entire PC — including personalized apps and settings — from any device. This means Windows 365 users can start working from anywhere right away, which is especially useful when finishing an urgent task or getting the most out of a productivity streak.

Windows 365 eliminates logistical complexities and security concerns that often get in the way of efficient hybrid working. With a Cloud PC, you can start working on your office computer, pick up where you left off on your tablet during your commute, and jump right back in on your desktop if you’re working from home the next day.

Experience a more powerful Teams app

Teams is now loaded with new apps that are sure to make Microsoft’s communication platform even more collaborative. One of the new apps coming to Teams is Confluence Cloud by Atlassian, which allows users to take notes during a Teams meeting. The notes can be formatted as action items, mentions, tables, and the like to make the salient parts of the meeting more digestible. On top of this feature, the notes are also easily shareable in the Teams channel, allowing everyone to immediately access a copy of the minutes of the meeting.

Salesforce will also be available for Teams. With the Salesforce for Teams app, you can integrate Salesforce records into different chats, calendar meetings, or channels so you can access and refer to the documents during discussions.

There’s also a new Q&A app that will help improve question and answer sessions in meetings or webinars with a large number of participants. Attendees can now ask questions and reply to other participants’ questions throughout the meeting, and organizers can moderate discussions by filtering responses, marking the best answers, and pinning posts. This gives the Q&A more structure and makes it easier for everyone to search for relevant information.

Get better organized to improve productivity

It’s easy to get disorganized when you have several things on your plate. With Microsoft 365’s new features, it is a lot easier to prioritize tasks, organize events, and take necessary breaks in between.

For one, you can now pin emails to the top of your inbox so you can readily find important emails later. Message reminders in Outlook will also help you stay on top of your tasks by nudging you to take action on emails that you might have missed.

There’s also no need to sift through thousands of documents to find the right files to attach to your plan in Microsoft Planner. The app can now show you a list of files related to your agenda that you might want to attach, helping you save time and effort.

What’s more, a new setting in Outlook lets you schedule meetings early or late so you can carve out essential breaks between back-to-back engagements. Scheduling breaks between meetings gives you and your employees time to breathe and prevents you from feeling overwhelmed or burned out.

We’ve only just scratched the surface of Microsoft 365’s newest features. If you want the latest updates on this topic, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our tech experts are always ready to answer your queries.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Secure logins are a necessity in business, but managing so many user credentials can get tedious. The good news is that you can simplify your organization’s login processes without compromising security by deploying single sign-on.

What is single sign-on (SSO)?

Single sign-on allows you to use one username and one password to provide secure access to multiple websites. If you’ve ever clicked “Continue with Google” on a non-Google website, you’ve already enjoyed the benefits of SSO. It’s faster, simpler, and more secure. With SSO, small businesses can accomplish the same level of efficiency between their employees and cloud platforms.

Instead of requiring in-office and remote workers to track separate accounts for Office 365, Slack, Trello, and other cloud apps your company uses, you can give them a single set of credentials and manage what they have access to remotely. All employees have to do is come enter their designated username and password, and they’re all set for the day.

Why is SSO more secure?

There are a number of ways to set up a small-business SSO solution, but most of them focus on removing login information from your servers. Usually, you’ll provide your employees’ logins to an SSO provider (sometimes referred to as an Identity-as-a-Service provider) and each employee will receive a single login paired with a secondary authentication — like a biometric scan like iOS’s FaceID, or a one-time PIN (OTP) code sent to a personal device.

Every time one of your employees visits a cloud platform, such as Office 365 or Google Workspace, the SSO provider will verify the user’s identity and the connection’s security. If anything goes wrong, your IT provider will be notified.

Should your network or any of the devices connected to it gets compromised, hackers would find nothing but logins to your SSO accounts, which are meaningless without fingerprints or mobile devices.

How to get started with SSO

The first step is making sure you have a healthy and responsive IT support system. You need a team that’s constantly available to review suspicious alerts and troubleshoot employee issues. If you don’t currently have that capacity, contact us today and we’ll help you out!

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Nowadays, it’s near impossible to maintain 100% privacy when browsing the web. A variety of malicious actors lurk in the background, whether you’re searching on Google, checking your social media feeds, or accessing business programs online. The fact is that everyone who browses the internet is vulnerable to cyberthreats. Here are a few ways to browse safely.

Install ad blocking software

Online ads may seem harmless, but they can contain scripts and widgets that send your data to a third party. A decent ad blocking program will stop banner, rollover, and pop-up ads, and prevent you from inadvertently visiting a site that may contain malware.

Many blockers also come with additional features such as the ability to disable cookies and scripts used by third parties on sites, the option to block specific items, and options to “clean up” Facebook and hide YouTube comments.

Prevent browser tracking

If you don’t like the idea of a third party (reputable or otherwise) tracking your browsing habits, enable private browsing using built-in tools in your internet browser such as Chrome’s Incognito mode or Safari’s Private Browsing windows. This offers protection against tracking by blocking third-party cookies as well as malware. Some browser extensions also boast secure Wi-Fi and bandwidth optimization, and can guard against tracking and data collection from social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Set up a virtual private network (VPN)

Unfortunately, browser tracking and adware are not the only internet nasties that you need to be concerned about. Hackers can intercept sensitive data between two parties, allowing them to steal and exploit valuable information such as bank details, login credentials, and other personal information. Installing a VPN can help solve this problem. VPNs encrypt your internet traffic, effectively shutting out anyone who may be trying to see what you’re browsing.

Install antivirus and anti-malware software

Finally, it goes without saying that having antivirus and anti-malware software installed on your PC, tablet, and smartphone is crucial if you want to ensure your online safety. These software programs are your first defense against malicious parties intent on stealing your data.

Is browsing at your workplace secure? Would you like a more comprehensive security system for your business? We can tell you all about it and help protect your business from online threats. Get in touch with us today.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

authentication

A secure login process is an excellent way to protect your business from cybercriminals.
When it comes to verifying user identity, you can choose between two-step authentication and two-factor authentication. Learn the difference between the two so you can have a better appreciation of your cybersecurity options.
If you want to improve your business’s cybersecurity, you should take a closer look at your authentication process. Two-step and two-factor authentication are two of the most commonly used authentication methods. Many businesses use the terms two-step and two-factor authentication interchangeably, but there are subtle differences between the two.

Two-step authentication

A two-step authentication process requires a single-factor login (such as a password or biometric reading) as well as another similar type of login credential that a user must provide. This process typically requires entering a password for the first step and entering another security code for the second step, which may be accomplished by providing a one-time code generated by an authenticator app such as Google Authenticator.

Two-step authentication adds an extra step in the verification process, making it more secure than single-step authentication (i.e., providing only a password). However, if a person or business is hacked, it won’t be enough to stop hackers from getting a hold of whatever they are looking for.

Two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication, a subset of multifactor authentication, is significantly more secure than two-step authentication. This type of authentication requires two different types of information to authenticate a user’s identity. For example, it could be a combination of a fingerprint or retinal scan as well as a password or passcode. Because of the additional authentication information required, hackers would have great difficulty breaking into a network using a two-factor authentication system.

Which one is better?

Relying on a single-factor authentication process is no longer sufficient in ensuring the safety of your network. Securing the authentication process and making it difficult for cybercriminals to access your network should be on top of your priorities. Deciding whether to use two-step or two-factor authentication largely depends on your business’s specific security requirements. To take the stress out of securing and protecting your network, call us today for expert cybersecurity advice.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org  SOURCE

Microsoft Teams

If you’re like most people, you only use your office chat applications for simple, everyday use — to ask someone a question or to touch base with colleagues. But wouldn’t it be great if you could do more things at once in these apps, such as completing tasks and chatting with colleagues all in a single window? Perhaps you’ve already heard of Microsoft Teams’ robust features to accomplish this, but how do you get the most out of the program?

The convenience of chat apps has enabled workers to cut time spent chatting with colleagues and spend more time doing their tasks. What’s more, work-related software is increasingly becoming more mobile- and user-friendly, with apps like Microsoft Teams bringing together several different platforms. Here’s how you can use that to your advantage:

Use SharePoint to store and share files

You might already be using SharePoint to store files and collaborate with your teammates. But did you know that in every Teams channel, you can click the Files tab to share files from SharePoint with team members? You can also access SharePoint files already shared in the channel and use Office Online or Office Desktop to collaborate on those files.

Forward emails into a channel

You get countless emails every day, many of which might be buried in your inboxes. Fortunately, Microsoft makes it easy to forward any email message from Outlook to a Teams channel so they show up in both platforms.

To do this, click the ellipsis (…) next to any channel name and select Get email address. This generates an email address for the channel, which you can copy and use to forward files, documents, and messages.

Stick with a few groups

While you can create as many groups within your organization as you like, going overboard can result in a cluttered messaging interface that overwhelms team members. Instead, you can create groups based on the number of projects and team members involved ー you can always add more if necessary.

Set up audio conferencing

Teams lets you host voice meetings with groups or with just one team member. This is particularly useful when communicating with remote workers or clients, in which case you can give them guest access to your Teams channel. Guest access ensures they’re able to communicate with someone but unable to view private information.

Test communication strategies

Just because some of the features in Teams overlap with other Microsoft platforms, such as Yammer and Skype for Business, doesn’t mean they’re all redundant. Think of it as a chance to test different communication strategies to find out what works best for you. For instance, if most of your clients have a Skype ID, you can use Skype for client calls.

Share conversations with new team members

Teams makes onboarding new hires easy. Rather than forwarding numerous emails and documents to new employees, use Teams to share past conversations and projects with them. This enables everyone to catch up without having to deal with cumbersome documents.

Microsoft Teams and other Office solutions are equipped with plenty of useful features that can take some time to master. But by taking advantage of these tools, you’ll be able to save time and maximize efficiency without having to spend a dime. If you have any questions about Microsoft Office and how it can benefit your business, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

If you think your email is safe from hackers, think again. A lack of sufficient email security protocols can lead to data theft, unauthorized access to sensitive information, and successful malware attacks. Here are some tips to secure your email account from unwanted intruders and the many troubles that come with them.

Use separate email accounts

Most people use a single email account for all their needs. As a result, information from websites, newsletters, shopping deals, and messages from work gets sent to one inbox. But what happens when someone breaks into it? There’s a good chance they could gain access to all the stored information and use them in fraudulent dealings.
Having at least two separate email accounts will not only boost your security, but it will also increase your productivity. You can have a personal account to communicate with your friends and family, and a professional email account solely for work-related tasks.

Set strong passwords

Some email users often overlook the importance of having strong email account passwords. You might be surprised to learn that email passwords like “123456,” “qwerty,” and “password” are still the most common around. For the sake of security, set longer passwords or passphrases that contain a good mix of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Make sure these passwords are unique to that account to keep all your other password-protected accounts safe.
You should also consider enabling multifactor authentication (MFA). This creates an extra layer of security by requesting for another method to verify your identity, like a fingerprint scan or a temporary activation code sent to your mobile phone.

Beware of email scams

When you see a link in an email, don’t click on it unless you’ve assessed its authenticity. You never know where those links might lead you. Sometimes they are safe, but other times they can infect your computer with malware or send you to a compromised website.
It’s always good to know who the email message is coming from. If you’re expecting a file from your friend or family, then go ahead and open the attachment. However, emails coming from unknown sources or those that have strange account names such as “@amazon6753.com” are most likely to be email scams.
These types of attacks are known as phishing, and they can be remarkably clever. For example, cybercriminals may masquerade as high-profile companies like Amazon, Facebook, or Bank of America to catch their victims off guard. They create emails with a sense of urgency by claiming that there’s an issue with your account and that you should send them information or click on a link to “confirm” your personal details. This link will either install malware on your device or lead you to a fraudulent site.
Even if there was a genuine issue with your account, legitimate companies would never ask something so suspicious over email. If you get these messages, contact the company directly through a verified website or phone number — not the contact details on the email.

Monitor account activity

Periodically watch over your account activity. Make sure to limit access privileges to apps if you want to ensure maximum privacy and security. Also, check for any suspicious activities in your logs, such as unusual devices and IP addresses that have accessed your account. This indicates that hackers may have successfully broken into your account. If this is the case, sign out of all web sessions and change your password as soon as possible.

Encrypt emails and update your software

Email encryption ensures that any message you send won’t be intercepted and viewed by unauthorized users. Meanwhile, installing the latest updates for your anti-malware, firewalls, and email security software filters potential email scams and fixes any vulnerabilities hackers can exploit.
Protecting your email accounts from various threats can be a daunting process, but with the right support, it should be effortless. Talk to us today for all your cybersecurity needs.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from smallbiztechnology.com  SOURCE

Password Security

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) created many of the password best practices you probably loathe — using a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. The NIST now says those guidelines were ill-advised and has changed its stance. Find out why and what this means for you.

The problem

The issue isn’t that the NIST advised people to create easy-to-crack passwords, but their previous advice inadvertently made people create weak passwords using predictable capitalization, special characters, and numbers, like “P@ssW0rd1.”

Such a password may seem secure, but the strings of characters and numbers could easily be compromised by hackers using common algorithms.

What’s more, the NIST also recommended that people change their passwords regularly, but did not specify how and when to change them. Since many people thought their passwords were already secure because they’ve included special characters in them, most only added or changed one character.

The NIST essentially forced everyone to use passwords that are hard for humans to remember but easy for a hacker’s algorithm to crack.

Eventually, the institution admitted that this can cause more problems than solutions. It has reversed its stance on organizational password management requirements, and is now recommending banishing forced periodic password changes and getting rid of complexity requirements.

The solution

Security consultant Frank Abagnale and Chief Hacking Officer for KnowBe4 Kevin Mitnick both see a future without passwords. Both security experts advise enterprises to implement multifactor authentication in login policies.

This requires a user to present two valid credentials aside from a password to gain access to an account. This could be a code sent to the account owner’s smartphone, a login prompt on a mobile device, or a facial or a fingerprint scan. This way, hackers’ login efforts are futile unless they fulfill the succeeding security requirements.

Moreover, Mitnick recommended implementing long passphrases of 25 characters or more, such as “recedemarmaladecrockplacate” or “cavalryfigurineunderdoneexalted.” These are much more difficult to guess and less prone to hacking. As for the frequency of changing passphrases, it will depend on a company’s risk tolerance.

Simply put, passwords should be longer and include nonsensical phrases and English words that make it almost impossible for an automated system to crack.

You should also enforce the following security solutions within your company:

  • Single sign-on – allows users to securely access multiple accounts with one set of credentials
  • Account monitoring tools – recognizes suspicious activity and locks out hackers

When it comes to security, ignorance is your business’s kryptonite. If you’d like to learn about what else you can do to remain secure, just give us a call.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

If you’re getting targeted with surprisingly relevant ads, there’s a chance your internet activity is being tracked and analyzed by market researchers. While this doesn’t bother most people, private browsing mode can offer you some protection against online marketers and data thieves.

What is private browsing?

Your web browser — whether it be Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari, or Opera — remembers the URLs of the sites you visit, cookies that track your activity, passwords you’ve used, and temporary files you’ve downloaded.

This can be convenient if you frequently visit certain pages, can’t remember your login details, or if you’re trying to recall a website you visited a few days ago. But if someone else uses or gains access to your computer, your most private (and embarrassing) internet activities are exposed for anyone to see.

With private browsing — also called Incognito Mode in Chrome and InPrivate Browsing in Edge — all the information listed above does not get recorded. In fact, all the websites and information you accessed in the private browsing session are immediately discarded without a trace as soon as you close the browser. This can come in handy when you’re using a public computer because you’re instantly logged out of all the accounts you accessed after closing the window.

Your cookies also won’t be tracked. In a normal browsing session, sites like Facebook will display highly targeted ads based on the sites and pages you’ve visited. But in private browsing mode, your internet activity can’t be tracked by marketing companies.

Another benefit of private browsing is that you can use it to log in to several accounts on the same site, which is useful if you need to log in to two different online accounts at the same time.

What are the limitations of private browsing?

Although private browsing does prevent your web browser from storing your data, it doesn’t stop anyone from snooping on your online activities in real time. If your computer is connected to the company network, system administrators can still track what you’re browsing, even if you’re in Incognito Mode.

Also, if spyware or keylogger malware is installed on your computer, hackers will still be able to see what you’re doing online. Even though private browsing has quite a few benefits, you shouldn’t solely depend on it for online privacy. Instead, you should use a virtual private network (VPN) when you go online. These encrypt your internet connection and prevent anyone from intercepting your data. And don’t forget to use a strong anti-malware program to scan your computer and keep spyware and other malicious web monitoring software at bay.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

IT services are more critical than ever before, proving their value in the face of a health crisis and the abrupt shift to remote working. Here are some ways managed IT services providers (MSPs) are helping small companies leverage technology to support their remote teams and go about business as usual.

Providing infrastructure and service desk capabilities

In today’s digital work landscape, MSPs are keeping their noses to the grindstone to fulfill customer demands and help keep businesses running. While many small companies have taken the first step of transitioning to remote work, they still need help managing the logistics.

Right now, MSPs are providing customers with IT infrastructures and taking on a host of network tasks, including configuring hardware, establishing remote connections, and managing backup and storage options, among other activities. These all help to ensure that company networks are reliable enough to facilitate a remote workforce.

MSPs are also offering service desk capabilities, providing companies with a centralized resource for employees, customers, and business partners to answer questions, troubleshoot problems, and facilitate solutions. Appropriate and timely support is crucial, especially in times of great uncertainty.

Simplifying cloud adoption

Cloud solutions are ideal if IT environments must be quickly modified to meet changing demands or difficulties, which is why MSPs are now helping businesses leverage a variety of cloud technologies and even move their data and applications online.

And because cloud migration can get complex, many MSPs are also offering managed migration plans that help companies transition key workflows and processes to the cloud safely and efficiently.

Offering remote support where possible

The current travel restrictions and social distancing measures make work-related travel difficult and risky. And with highly distributed workforces, many companies would rather source local service technicians for break/fix assistance, cabling, and other IT solutions.

Partnering with MSPs ensures that systems and networks are protected all the time and critical support is provided within 24 hours. What’s even better is that some providers have technicians in different locations, making it easy to provide tools, resources, and support even in hard-to-reach areas.

Delivering flexible solutions

As business needs continue to shift, MSPs must move in lockstep and provide support wherever they can. Here are some other ways MSPs are helping their clients navigate these trying times:

Assisting with IT projects
Because of how broad and challenging IT projects can be, it’s not uncommon for companies to lack the right skills and resources to handle them. MSPs are helping them by providing the expertise and technologies needed to pursue these projects, allowing companies to keep moving forward.

Foregoing long-term contracts
Some companies need IT support and services but can’t afford to commit to long-term contracts. Similarly, some want to augment their IT only for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. What’s great is many MSPs are providing flexible IT solutions, giving customers all the services and support they need, when they need them.

Offering faster response times
Especially now that downtime could likely spell the end of a business, companies seek quick turnaround times. Since MSPs typically offer 24/7 support and tout specialists with a wide range of experience and knowledge, they can proactively address issues and ensure that IT infrastructures are working as efficiently as possible.

Providing better customer service

As many businesses are still adjusting to the new normal, providing positive customer experiences will go a long way to earning trust and ensuring customer loyalty post-crisis. By being compassionate and empathetic to the situations of their customers, MSPs are showing companies that they’re navigating these trying times together.

Call our IT experts today to help configure the perfect remote work setup for your business.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE