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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

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

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing employees to work from home, you and your staff can take advantage of Microsoft Teams to stay productive. Microsoft recently enhanced this already powerful tool’s capabilities, making it easier for more people to take advantage of its advanced features.

What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams combines workplace chat, video conferencing, and file storage and collaboration. It also has extensions that integrate with third-party apps, even those not made by Microsoft. As a unified communication and collaboration platform, Teams is like combining Slack, Google Drive, and Zoom into a single app.

How do you get Microsoft Teams?

If you have an Office 365 license, then you can readily access Microsoft Teams. But that’s not the only way to access and take advantage of the platform.

Individual users can use their work or school email address to sign up through this link. You will automatically receive a license valid until January 2021. This license lets you take advantage of chat, screen sharing and recording, video meetings with up to 250 participants, and Live Events for up to 10,000 participants.

If you have a Gmail or Outlook email address, you can sign up for the freemium version by clicking on this link. This version supports chat as well as group and one-on-one audio or video calling. It also gives you 10 GB of team file storage and 2 GB of personal file storage.

The previous freemium version used to have various limits on users, but Microsoft opted to lift these restrictions on March 10. Another notable change is the inclusion of meetings requests, which Microsoft has committed to include in the freemium version in the future.

Microsoft also offers assistance to IT professionals looking to roll out Teams for their company. Microsoft offers a free Office 365 E1 for six months. All you have to do is to contact your Microsoft partner or sales representative.

If you work in the education sector , Microsoft recommends getting Office 365 A1, a free version specially created for educational institutions. This version is available for students, teachers, and administrative staff.

How does Microsoft Teams remain at peak performance during the crisis?

The sudden increase in remote workers is sure to put a lot of pressure on many platforms, but Microsoft Teams is more than prepared to handle the load. In particular, it is designed to anticipate problems on three core aspects:

  • Systems during a sudden surge in usage
  • Location during an area-specific event, such as a hurricane
  • People during an event that affects users, such as COVID-19

To address problems in these aspects, Microsoft implements what is called an Active/Active Design. This means that the system uses multiple instances in response to user request or input. These instances run in different datacenters, which means that an event that affects one cannot affect the others. This enables the system to isolate problems and resolve them without affecting performance.

Microsoft Teams offers a great opportunity for companies to remain productive in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you want to get started or understand how you can take full advantage of its functionalities, 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

There really is an app for almost everything — including one that cyber-criminals use to hack into businesses’ systems. Cyberattacks have become so advanced that they are now aided by an app, like this one that poses serious threats to Office 365 users. If you’re using Office 365, here’s what you need to know.

A phishing scam that harvests users’ credentials

The latest cyberattack on Microsoft Office 365 involves harvesting users’ credentials. Scammers use this previously unseen tactic by launching a phishing message to users, asking them to click on an embedded link. What makes this scam more insidious than traditional phishing scams is that the URL within the message links to a real Microsoft login page.

How does it work?

The phishing message resembles a legitimate SharePoint and OneDrive file-share that prompts users to click on it. Once they do, they are taken to an Office 365 login page where they will be asked to log in if they haven’t already.

After they’ve logged in, they’ll be prompted to grant permission to an app called “0365 Access.” Users who grant permission effectively give the app — and the hackers behind it — complete access to their Office 365 files, contacts, and inbox.

This technique can easily trick lots of users since the app that requests access is integrated with the Office 365 Add-ins feature. That means that Microsoft essentially generates the request for permission. No, Microsoft is not aiding hackers to breach systems. Rather, the scam is made possible by a feature that allows users to install apps that are not from the official Office Store.

Ways to protect your Office 365 account — and your business

Given their fairly advanced approach, these scammers could effortlessly prey on careless employees. There are ways to make sure that doesn’t happen.

  • Always check the email’s sender account before clicking on any link or granting apps access.
  • Implement a policy that prevents staff from downloading and installing apps that are not from the Office Store.
  • Regularly conduct security awareness training that covers essential cybersecurity topics. Educate employees on how to spot phishing scam red flags (e.g., unknown senders, grammatical and typographical errors, suspicious requests, and the like). Increase their knowledge about more sophisticated attacks and keep everyone informed about current and future cybersecurity risks.

Successful attacks could result in an unimaginable catastrophe to your company. For tips on how to spot this and other nefarious scams and how to plan thorough security practices, contact our experts 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

There is no doubt that Microsoft Office 365 is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to programs that are being used in today’s modern office. With timely updates and releases of new features, users and competitors alike find it hard to keep up. But are you confident that you are harnessing the power of Office 365 the right way? If the answer is no, then read this article to get some top tips.

When an enterprise purchases certain Microsoft Online services such as Office 365, there is usually a Microsoft Partner of Record that is linked to the enterprise account. One of those is MessageOps. According to Chris Pyle, CEO of MessageOps, based on the data and feedback that they have gathered from Office 365 customers, they have concluded that not all business owners understand the true power of Office 365 and know which apps are most useful.

Top 5 Office 365 apps for the modern workspace

1. Sway

Although still in its early stages, one app that is quickly becoming popular is Sway. This is a presentation program that is being used for website creation where users can fuse together text and media. This program, which is included in the Microsoft Office app arsenal, is widely gaining popularity among the business owners and employees who’ve taken it up.

2. OneDrive for Business

If you’re familiar with Dropbox, then you probably know how OneDrive for Business works. It is a single location where users can save, sync, and share their files anytime, anywhere. Some businesses use this together with Dropbox, which is a paid app. Businesses that do this essentially double their cost as they are already paying for the same functionality as OneDrive, an app that is already included in most Office 365 plans.

3. Skype for Business

Hard to believe but there are still a lot of enterprises who pay for additional meeting and communication solutions that they have already paid for with Skype for Business. This app, which is already included in many Office 365 plans, goes beyond meeting and call purposes. It can also let you know which of your contacts is currently online, and you can also launch communications from Word and Powerpoint. What’s more, your communication is kept safe with the use of encryption and authentication processes.

4. Office 365 Groups

This app is very much popular with enterprises that require sharing of ideas from a group working on a project. It provides for a single place where the group can share documents, communication, and notes. This is predicted to become a complete replacement for SharePoint team sites as it is more user-friendly, more manageable and can be set up easily, although it is just as functional as SharePoint.

5. Intranets

With the help of SharePoint Online, intranets are making a comeback. The SharePoint intranet not only enhances communication and collaboration in the office, but the end-result is an effective streamlining and organized storage of information.

Harness the power of the Office 365 in your business. We have experts on standby anticipating your every question and ready to help you with the setting up, maintenance and management of your IT infrastructure. Give us a call.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory. SOURCE

Any Small Business considering a move to cloud based services should make sure that they engage a professional to ensure the best outcome. Cloud platforms like Microsoft’s Office 365 provide a slew of great benefits and features. Any migration to Microsoft’s Office 365 from an existing on-premise Office suite requires help in order to successfully negotiate the nuances of moving apps and data smoothly to the cloud.

Microsoft themselves recommend hiring third-party consultants who specialize in 365 Office migrations – and these type of shifts to the cloud are now becoming more and more common. However, identifying a consultant that is up to date on these kind of maneuvers is critical.

A recent Forrester report: “Market Overview: Microsoft Office 365 Implementation Partner Ecosystem”. Clearly states that “Microsoft clients need service providers to help them take advantage of the cloud…Partners are essential to Office 365…”

A complex endeavor such as moving over to Office 365 software as a service is a complicated process. What may seem like a simple case of moving files from one source to another is in fact chock full of danger zones that may not be readily apparent. While most in-house IT staff can likely find their way through the maze of the process, having access to professional support from someone who has done this before is invaluable. Doing this the first time is fraught with potential missteps, while having the counsel of someone who has done this process many times over makes the difference. It’s not advisable to be the first person to explore an unknown jungle – particularly when the ramifications of any misstep can result in shutting down operations or losing critical information.

Common issues associated with Office 365 migrations include possible loss of software functionality, function redundancy, security leaks, archiving, duplication of data, cost, licensing and authentication. It is advised to make the Office 365 migration in pieces or stages to mitigate any issues. The two common applications that are targeted for migration are the Office Suite products and email solutions.

Most businesses choose email (or Exchange Online) as their first Office 365 adoption. Depending on the current on-premise setup, email migrations can be a nerve-racking experience given the importance and reliance that all companies have on their email communications systems. Hybrid deployments, which involve a combination of on-premise, Exchange servers and Office 365 can be the most challenging.

Hybrid deployments are sometimes chosen as a temporary framework as the company moves to the cloud as this arrangement addresses business continuity in the event of an outage. Having dual platforms offers a secure backup system and at the same time allows the company a comfortable cushion as it transitions over to a full cloud commitment. This type of scenario would require an on-premise Exchange Server plus Office 365 in concert with on-site or third party archiving. In order to move from on-premise to the cloud and back again on demand, businesses will require mailbox freedom.

Businesses are becoming more comfortable hiring third party IT consultants to plan and implement migrations to cloud based services like Office 365. A 2012 Forrester study found that 19% of IT decision makers used consultants for planning, and 26% reported to hire consultants to perform the implementation of those services. In 2013 these numbers jumped to 41% hiring consultants for planning and 40% for deployment.

There are many reasons to hire an outside expert – and they are not just implementation support. Third party IT experts are solid investments for longer term planning as the migration initiatives grow and begin to impact other services and aspects of the business. IT consultants know where the bodies are buried and spend time and money on certifications and training for cloud based services. Many times their service contracts also allow quicker access to licensing agreements and cost saving processes.

 

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