Not every business owner who migrates to the cloud achieves great results. As much as the service is touted with words like “freedom,” “productivity,” and “collaboration,” realizing the full benefits of the cloud is not a given. So if you’re thinking about transitioning to the cloud, how can you ensure you optimize the technology for your business? Well, it all starts with your attitude before migration. Here are some mental shifts you should make before getting started.

Consider cloud value over costs
When considering the cloud, too many entrepreneurs get hung up on costs. Instead, as a business owner, think about how the cloud impacts your business and saves you money. You must look at the cloud as no different than any other investment you made to grow your organization.

To help you make the proper shift in thinking, ask your IT leaders just how the cloud will benefit your business. They’ll mention how the cloud will provide you value, such as easier team collaboration and the ability for anyone in your organization to work anytime, anywhere.

Think “strategy” before migration
Once you’ve considered the value the cloud provides, you’ll likely come up with goals you’ll want it to accomplish for your business. If you haven’t, do it now, before signing up for the service.

Let’s say you want to gain the productivity benefits of letting your staff work remotely without sacrificing cybersecurity. Therefore, prior to rolling out the cloud in your company, have the specific goal of increasing the use of vetted mobile devices among employees.
Clearly define your cloud goals beforehand, then work with your IT staff to come up with the nuts and bolts of the plan for accomplishing that goal. By having a plan instead of just winging it, you’ll have a better idea of what you want to achieve, have the ability to recognize when you’re getting off-track, and be more prepared to make adjustments in case things don’t go as expected.

Learn to love the quickly evolving nature of the cloud
Compared to other IT tech, the cloud is still relatively new and subject to rapid change. New updates, features, and enhancements are rolled out regularly, so if you want to get the most out of your cloud, it’s best to keep up. Of course, this is a scary idea for many business owners and IT managers alike as fast-paced flux can feel like instability and chaos.

Some cloud services make it easier than ever to keep up with changes. Let’s take Office 365, for example. Adding users and implementing new changes can take mere minutes. Yes, adapting can be frightening, but just remember that Microsoft and your IT managers are in your corner. If you still have some bad memories of long and frustration-filled transition periods after updating your legacy technology, rest assured that updates to cloud-based services nowadays often only require a small learning curve. Most new features are intuitive by nature, making adjustment to these changes painless and problem-free.

One of the best ways to assure your cloud updates go as smoothly as possible is to have a cloud enthusiast who’ll be up to date on the newest features and enhancements and can quickly tell you whether or not an update will benefit your business.

Moving to the cloud is pretty much an all-or-nothing business decision. If you adopt it, the cloud will become an integral part of your business, and you and all of your staff will interact with it on a daily basis. So be prepared for a big transition and a big payoff of higher productivity and connectivity for your entire company.

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

Office 365, the cloud-based version of Office, is one of the most popular software suites used by small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) today. With an ever-increasing number of companies migrating to this solution, it’s not surprising that many others are considering making the move. However, there’s always a chance of migration failure. Learn how to avoid this by knowing the five most common ways that Office 365 migration can fail.

1. Slow internet connection speeds

To avoid this, ask an Office 365 provider to test your existing network connections to ensure that your internet connection can handle the migration and day-to-day operation of Office 365. If not, they should be able to offer you a more efficient solution.

Because Office 365 is primarily cloud-based, you are going to need a connection with a solid bandwidth. When migrating your files and system over to Office 365, you will likely need to consume a large quantity of bandwidth. This demand will often be enough to tax most small business lines, resulting in slower internet speeds all around during the process. Employees might struggle to do their jobs properly if they’re reliant on the internet, so it is recommended to do migrations during off hours.

Beyond this, Office 365 is most often delivered over an internet connection, rather than in-house servers. This means that the day-to-day demand for bandwidth will increase. If you are already noticing slow speeds and service interruptions before implementing Office 365, you will likely see these issues compounded after implementation.

2. Mailboxes and files are too big

While the business versions of Office 365 come with 100 GB of email storage and over 1 TB of file storage per user, getting your emails and files online could take a while, especially if you have users whose inboxes are approaching the storage limit.

As a general rule of thumb, larger files will cause the migration of files to take longer. If you don’t prepare for this, then you could see migration affecting work or even causing recurring issues of unavailable data when it’s needed.

To avoid this, encourage your staff to archive their email inboxes and either delete or remove emails with large attachments that aren’t necessary.

3. Uninformed users

The average Office 365 migration takes around one to three days, depending on the size of the business and the amount of data being carried over. If you start migration without informing users that some files and emails won’t be accessible during this period, or that some systems may not be working, you could end up with employees unable to do their jobs and creating resentment for the new platform.

Instead, inform your employees about how the migration will run and what they can expect during the process. Beyond this, you should run training sessions on how to use the new systems to ensure that everyone is briefed before they start to use them. This will increase the overall chance that the platform migration and subsequent use will be successful.

4. Older, less compatible software installed on systems

While many versions of Office 365 do come with subscriptions to the latest version of Microsoft Office, there’s built-in support for systems that are running slightly older versions of Office. If your business is using a version older than Office 2010 (e.g., Office 2003), you won’t be able to properly use Office 365.

Beyond this, you’ll also need to use the latest version of your internet browser. If you use Chrome or Firefox, this won’t be a problem. However, if you use Internet Explorer, you may run into issues, as Microsoft has already discontinued the program in favor of Microsoft Edge.

The good news about Office 365 is that actual systems requirements are low, so almost every business will be able to integrate it. We recommend that in order to be able to use all of Office 365’s features, ask your provider to ensure that your software and systems are compatible with it.

5. DIY migrations

On paper, migrating to Office 365 is a fairly simple and straightforward process. What many companies find when they do the migration themselves is that the process is much more difficult than expected. They come across unexpected issues that require an IT expert to solve.

In order to ensure a smooth migration, it’s a good idea to work with an IT provider like us. We can ensure that your systems are ready and the migration is smooth.

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

It may seem as if Office 365 is merely Microsoft’s way of joining the online subscription bandwagon, but that’s not the case. O365 is Microsoft’s way of upgrading its ubiquitous Office suite by augmenting it with cloud features.

Office apps and the files you create with them are accessible wherever there’s an internet connection, but that is actually the bare minimum that O365 offers. If you go for either the Premium or Essentials bundle, you’ll gain access to communications and collaboration apps that you can use to increase your organization’s productivity. Here are some of the specific ways you can do this:

Build an engaging intranet using SharePoint

Unlike the internet, which is a megalithic network spanning the entire world, an intranet is basically a private network built for your employees’ exclusive use. It began as a repository for basic company information, then it evolved into a document management system, an HR portal (where staff can file leaves of absence), a platform for knowledge-sharing and discussion forums, and a social media platform where users are both consumers and pushers of company-centric content.

If you use Microsoft Word and Excel to create work files, SharePoint is the platform where your team can keep and share such files. Build forums that bolster collaboration, information libraries that help staff leverage collective knowledge, and message boards that inform and invite staff to engage with the goings-on inside the company.

Enjoy continuous collaboration with Teams

Microsoft brings collaborations up a notch with Teams, a tool that allows you to build shared workspaces. In a Teams workspace, each team member can share files as well as comment on and work on one another’s files. Imagine doing all of that via email — you’ll most likely weave a nightmarish tangle out of multiple threads and attachments.

Additionally, Teams has communications facilities such as web conferencing, group chat, and live online meetings. Since Teams can be used on desktops, laptops, and mobile devices, workers can share information and connect frontline staff such as factory machine operators and sales clerks.

Coordinate your efforts with Planner

If Teams is O365’s communications hub, then Planner is its Kanban board — a project workflow visualization tool that lets you categorize tasks according to their progress status. A physical Kanban board is limited by the size of sticky notes used, but with Planner, you can assign tasks to team members, attach relevant files to them, and discuss tasks without leaving the app.

Automate tasks with Flow

There are tasks that promote critical thinking, but there are also tasks that are tedious and repetitive. An example of such a task is preparing an income statement. This usually involves emailing a finalized income statement to your superiors and archiving it. Automating the archive step alone would significantly ease this workflow.

With Flow, you can easily create detailed workflows that accomplish tasks automatically once you fulfill certain triggers. You can also make different apps “talk” with one another (e.g., have new OneDrive files be copied to your Dropbox account), provided that integrations allow them to do so. Imagine not having to shift between so many apps anymore — this will save your staff plenty of time and mind-space to do more worthwhile tasks that add more value to your company.

Let your staff step up from being mere individual Office suite users to being members of synergistic teams! Contact us to learn more about how you can squeeze every drop of value from your Office 365 subscription.

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 not only builds robust productivity solutions for its customers, but it also prioritizes their security above all else. This year, the company invested a lot of money to protect Office 365 subscribers from increasingly sophisticated phishing scams. Read on to learn more about what they did.

Effective anti-phishing solutions must be able to recognize the key elements of a phishing attack, which includes spoofed (or forged) emails, compromised accounts, unsafe links, and harmful attachments. In April 2018, Microsoft upgraded Office 365’s Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) features so it can better detect these elements and prevent a wide variety of phishing scams. These enhancements include:

  • Anti-impersonation measures –ATP will now look for potential phishing indicators in an email, including the sender’s address, name, and links, to identify whether the user is being impersonated. You can specify high-profile targets within your organization, such as managers and C-level executives, so Office 365 can protect these users from email impersonation. Office 365 also utilizes machine learning to analyze a user’s email patterns and flag suspicious contacts that have had no prior correspondence with your company.
  • Anti-spoofing technology –This feature reviews and blocks senders that disguise their true email address. You can even enable safety tips that flag certain email domains that have strange characters. For instance, if your real domain is Acme.com, a spoofed domain could be Acḿcom.
  • Email link scanning –Office 365 launched Safe Links, which scans emails for fraudulent links and redirects users to a safe page in case it does contain harmful materials. This feature also applies to email attachments, ensuring you’re protected against all types of phishing scams.

 

Due to these improvements, Office 365 had the lowest phish rate among other well-known email services between May 1 and September 16, 2018. The company has stopped over five billion phishing attempts and protected users against seven billion potentially malicious links. If you’re looking for a secure email platform, Office 365 is the best option for your business.

That said, it’s not a substitute for good security awareness. No matter how secure Office 365 is, employees still need to be adequately trained to recognize a phishing email when they see one. Hackers are constantly changing their tactics to evade Office 365’s detection systems, so it’s important that everyone is alert at all times.

If you need a well-fortified email service, we can implement and manage Office 365 for you. We even offer practical security advice to make sure your business, employees, and assets are safe and sound.  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

Office 365 comes with different storage and sharing options to make business owners more productive. Two of these are OneDrive and SharePoint, both of which have a long list of features and benefits. Which option is best for you? Keep reading for the answer.

Looking for a secure platform to manage your files? Where do you go for help? Should you choose SharePoint or settle for OneDrive instead? If any of those terms sound Greek to you, don’t worry. You don’t need a degree in computer science to figure it out. This article will give you the lowdown on what to expect from these services.

Both SharePoint and OneDrive are cloud-based services from Microsoft that allow you to store, share, and sync files across different devices. SharePoint was released in 2001 and reportedly has over 190 million users. OneDrive, on the other hand, was launched in 2007 and has more than 250 million users.

SharePoint is marketed mainly as a document management and storage system, but it can be configured to do much more than that. OneDrive, which was previously known as SkyDrive and Windows Live Folders, is part of the Office suite of online services.

What the two have in common
For starters, both platforms make use of Office 365 to help companies organize information and share this with others. To keep things secure, documents go to a cloud drive, so employees can easily track changes in a single file that is stored in one central location. One of the main reasons these platforms are so popular is because users can add comments and notes using real-time collaboration. Since data can be synchronized and is readily available, everyone sees the most up-to-date information regardless of how they view the document.

With OneDrive, it’s personal
OneDrive makes use of a SharePoint backdrop to work. This connects the two programs. The difference is that OneDrive is made for an individual, and the user remains in control even if the file is shared to different people. This means multiple teams can collaborate simultaneously as long as the original owner shares the document via a secure link. That person determines who can edit and view the file.

There’s more to SharePoint
With SharePoint, employees throughout the company can view and edit the stored file. Changes are tracked and higher-ups will know who is working on the document. This is ideal for human resource surveys or updates that need the attention of other team members.

With SharePoint and OneDrive, businesses can improve the way they work. If you want to learn how online document sharing programs can improve your company’s visibility and productivity, get in touch with us now. We’re here for you.

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

Anglers catch fish by dangling bait in front of their victims, and hackers use the same strategy to trick your employees. There’s a new phishing scam making the rounds and the digital bait is almost impossible to distinguish from the real thing. Here are the three things to watch out for in Office 365 scams.

Step 1 – Invitation to collaborate email

The first thing victims receive from hackers is a message that looks identical to an email from Microsoft’s file sharing platform SharePoint. It says, “John Doe has sent you a file, to view it click the link below…”

In most cases, the sender will be an unfamiliar name. However, some hackers research your organization to make the email more convincing.

Step 2 – Fake file sharing portal

Clicking the link opens a SharePoint file that looks like another trusted invitation from a Microsoft app, usually OneDrive. This is a big red flag since there’s no reason to send an email containing a link to a page with nothing but another link.

 

Step 2 allows hackers to evade Outlook’s security scans, which monitor links inside emails for possible phishing scams. But Outlook’s current features cannot scan the text within a file linked in the email. Once you’ve opened the file, SharePoint has almost no way to flag suspicious links.

Step 3 – Fake Office 365 login page

The malicious link in Step 2 leads to an almost perfect replica of an Office 365 login page, managed by whoever sent the email in Step 1. If you enter your username and password on this page, all your Office 365 documents will be compromised.

Microsoft has designed hundreds of cybersecurity features to prevent phishing scams and a solution to this problem is likely on the way. Until then, you can stay safe with these simple rules:

  • Check the sender’s address every time you receive an email. You might not notice the number one in this email at first glance: johndoe@gma1l.com.
  • Confirm with the sender that the links inside the shared document are safe.
  • Open cloud files by typing in the correct address and checking your sharing notifications to avoid fake collaboration invitations.
  • Double check a site’s URL before entering your password. A zero can look very similar to the letter ‘o’ (e.g. 0ffice.com/signin).

 

Third-party IT solutions exist to prevent these types of scams, but setting them up and keeping them running requires a lot of time and attention. Give us a call today for information about our unlimited support plans for Microsoft products.

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

Making the decision to migrate from an on-site system to a cloud-based Office 365 is easy, but the migration process itself presents numerous security challenges. By covering these essentials, you’ll minimize security breaches and ensure you can enjoy the benefits of Office 365.

Identify your company’s sensitive data…
Most files housed within your servers contain sensitive commercial and personal data that must be properly identified and protected. Do this by conducting a security audit before you undertake your migration.

Your audit should identify the types of data stored in the various parts of your company network, including which specific information needs extra safeguarding. Be sure to consider everything from trade secrets and contract details to the personal information of your clients.

…and then restrict access to it
Once you’ve worked out where your most precious data lies, you can check who currently has access to it and whether their access is appropriate. After all, it’s not necessary for everyone to be able to get at all the data your company owns.

Ensure that each of your employees has access only to the data that’s necessary for them to perform their duties. The great thing about Office 365 is it lets you conveniently set different levels of permissions based on user roles.

Watch out for insider threats
It’s wise to consider everyone in your organization when it comes to auditing data access permissions – and that includes system administrators who may have master access to every element of your network infrastructure.

A rogue administrator is the stuff of nightmares, since their elevated position gives them much greater leeway to siphon off valuable data without being noticed – or even to allow others to conduct questionable business and bypass the usual built-in security precautions. You can mitigate this risk by monitoring your administrators’ data usage and activities.

Use machine learning to foresee security breaches
Every action performed by your staff within Office 365 is automatically logged, and with relative ease you can create detailed activity reports. But the sheer number of events taking place within Office 365 in the course of your business’s normal operations means that even attempting to identify questionable behavior will be akin to finding a needle in a haystack.

That’s not to say it’s unwise to be on the lookout for anomalies in normal usage – the export of unexplainably large volumes of data, for instance, could suggest that a member of your team is leaking intelligence to a competitor, or that they’re about to jump ship and take your trade secrets with them.

To make things easier, machine learning technologies can identify potential breaches before they happen by analyzing large swathes of data in seconds. Graph API is incorporated into Office 365, and allows for the integration of machine learning tools into your security environment to achieve just that. The same tools can also help you avoid being caught unawares by hackers, by identifying system login attempts from locations that are out of the ordinary.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy the powerful collaborative features of Office 365 while ensuring the robust security your business demands. To find out more about how we can help your Office 365 migration run smoothly, 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

To bolster users’ safety, Microsoft recently added security features to Office 365. These enhancements give home and business users peace of mind whenever they send an email, share a link, or forward an attachment. There’s no such thing as being too secure, so we recommend staying abreast of them now.

Files Restore in OneDrive

Previously available only to Office 365 business users, Files Restore allows users to conveniently recover files in OneDrive within the last 30 days. Home and personal users can now easily retrieve and restore all their files at a specific point in time, which is useful in instances where files are accidentally deleted, corrupted, or compromised by ransomware or other malware.

Ransomware detection notification for Office 365

You receive notifications and alerts for a variety of things on your PC or mobile devices, but rarely for something as immensely important as a ransomware attack. Office 365’s ransomware detection and recovery feature sends desktop notifications, email alerts, and mobile alerts in case of any possible ransomware attack on your system so you can act fast.

Aside from being notified about a detected ransomware, you’ll also be guided on how to recover your files before they were infected, based on the timestamp recorded by Files Restore.

Password-protected link sharing in OneDrive

Whenever you share a link — whether to a file or folder — in OneDrive, there’s no guarantee that it won’t be shared to unauthorized users. A password-protected feature solves this dilemma by giving you an option to set and require a password for every file or folder you share.

Email encryption in Outlook

Intercepting email has become many cybercriminals’ preferred method of stealing critical information, so it’s more crucial than ever to ensure email safety. With Outlook’s end-to-end encryption, users can rest easy knowing that the email they send won’t be easily intercepted after all.

Email encryption works by requiring non-Outlook email recipients to choose between receiving a single-use passcode or re-authentication to open an email from an Outlook email sender. On the other hand, an Outlook-to-Outlook email exchange — whether Outlook on desktop, mobile (iOS and Android), or Windows Mail app — doesn’t require any further action for the email to be opened.

Prevent Forwarding

This function restricts email recipients (both Outlook and non-Outlook users) from forwarding or copying email. It also provides an option to prevent certain recipients from opening an attachment from a forwarded email, which will come in handy when a person needs to send an email to more than one recipient, but wants to restrict access to an attachment to just a few recipients.

These new capabilities greatly reduce the effort to secure your files and communications, and Microsoft is sure to roll out a few more soon. If you want to optimize these Office 365 security features or explore other productivity tools’ security features, call 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

Microsoft never fails to announce exciting new features for their products. In an effort to improve support for small- and medium-sized businesses, they introduced a series of new apps and enhancements for Office 365 during the Inspire conference in July. Some of the most notable upgrades include:

Microsoft Connections
Email marketing campaigns are a great way to build relationships with contacts and increase sales, but they’re often difficult to manage. With Microsoft Connections, you can easily launch a campaign in minutes using pre-designed templates for newsletters, referrals, and promotions.

As you acquire more contacts, Connections allows you to segment your mailing list so you can target different customers. For instance, you can send product promotions to clients who have stayed with your business for more than six months.

After firing off your emails, performance charts track important metrics like open rates, clickthrough rates, new sign-ups, and canceled subscriptions that can be used to improve future campaigns.

Microsoft Listings
Microsoft Listings helps you seamlessly manage your online presence. Whenever you update your business profile, Listings automatically publishes those changes across your Facebook, Google, Bing, and Yelp accounts, allowing you to keep important information like business hours up to date.

What’s more, Listings includes a web dashboard where you can monitor page-views, reviews, and likes, helping you assess your company’s online reputation.

Microsoft Invoicing
Another useful addition is Microsoft Invoicing, a tool that helps you generate price estimates and invoices. When combined with enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, you can program workflows that automatically redirect invoices, pending payments, and estimates to the right accountant. This application works for credit, debit, and PayPal transactions.

Office 365 Business Center
The Office 365 Business Center brings Connections, Listings, and Invoicing all under one roof. This means information listed on one application is automatically registered onto another, saving you from inputting data multiple times.

The main hub also features a unified dashboard where you can track an email campaign’s performance, Facebook impressions, and any outstanding invoices, giving you full visibility into your accounting and marketing processes.

According to Microsoft, these powerful features will be generally available for Office 365 Business Premium subscribers in the coming months. But if you want to get early access, consider Office 365 Insider program.

Office 365 will likely have even more surprises for SMBs this year, so make sure to keep in touch with us to get the latest rundown on feature releases and Microsoft news.

Are you ready to embrace the cloud with a solution like Office 365? Give us a call, and talk with us about a cloud migration today.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory SOURCE

Pairing your business with the right productivity-enhancing tool is a challenge. Fortunately, you can choose between two popular options: Office 2016 and Office 365. But which is right for you? Here are three main differences that may help you decide.

How they’re paid for
Office 2016 is a stand-alone suite, and regardless of the quantity purchased, is described by Microsoft as a “one-time purchase.” You pay a single, upfront cost, meaning the entire purchase price must be paid before receiving the license to legally run the software for life.

By contrast, Office 365 is a subscription service requiring monthly or annual payments. Office 365 allows users to run applications only if payments are made. If you stop, you will have 30 days to continue operating after the previous payment’s due date before the license expires.

How they’re serviced
Another aspect to consider is the service and support offerings. Microsoft provides monthly security updates for Office 2016 applications, and these updates fix non-security bugs. However, you don’t get upgrades for improved features and functionality. If you wish to run the latest edition, you’ll have to pay another upfront fee.

Office 365 users, on the other hand, get the same security patches as Office 2016 and also additional feature and functionality upgrades twice a year.

How they sync with the cloud
Microsoft announced a major change this April: As of October 13, 2020, Office 2016 applications acquired through an upfront purchase are required to be in the “Mainstream” support period (the first five years of the decade-long commitment) to obtain cloud connectivity. Office 365 subscriptions won’t experience this problem.

In order to achieve measurable results and enjoy business growth, it’s imperative that your business is working with the right Office solution. Give us a call and let our team of experts assess your needs and determine the better option.

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