Microsoft Office 365 is a digital Swiss army knife for SMBs and large enterprises alike. Powerful and intuitive, it provides users with a host of applications that aim to streamline their tasks and produce high-quality work. However, there’s more to O365 than you might think. Here are five ways you can maximize the effectiveness of this suite of applications and get the most out of it.
Help everyone get on the same page. Literally.
Collaboration is key in many workplaces, and that’s going to include a lot of revisiting content and making changes. So instead of sending updated attachments via email to one another and waiting for replies, why not simplify those little edits and tweaks? O365 allows for real-time mobile and desktop-based co-authoring of documents through Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, or Excel web apps. You can now even Skype with co-workers while collaborating, without losing any changes.
Bypass permission-based nightmares.
Edit permissions can be an absolute pain. If you use a business edition of O365,
Small business owners face many challenges when it comes to efficiency and keeping expenses manageable due to their limited resources. Since it is usually impossible to hire enough professionals to manage each segment of a small business due to the employer contributions on payroll as well as the salaries, managed services are becoming a popular means of having access to the necessary knowledge and experience required at manageable contract rates.
Managed IT services are an area of particular importance to small business owners. Although information technology resources are the mainstay of most businesses these days, hiring a full-time professional that specializes in IT is just not feasible for most small business owners. Managed IT services offer fast and reliable help for a pre-set monthly fee.
Aside from maintaining computer and phone systems that are fast and reliable, managed services for IT also enables you and your employees the ability to access data remotely which is crucial when you and your employees are on the move.
When it comes to systems security, there are many layers of protection that should be incorporated to protect your company’s data. One of these protective measures is to employ file encryption. File encryption is used to stop valuable information from being accessed by anyone without the correct encryption certificate and password. It is often used for financial data, sensitive emailings and personal information.
File encryption at its most base level is a “secret code” generated by the program you use to turn your data into an unreadable file. Encryption tools use complex algorithms to create codes that are near impossible to decipher without the appropriate key or password used to protect the data. One tip from newport website design — While encryption is an important step to protecting your data from both users of your computer and while sending and receiving files in the cloud, on its own it is not 100 percent guaranteed not to fail. Your IT support can review your systems security protocols with you to ensure you employ all methods to protect your vital information.
A critical portion of the systems security for your business is a firewall. If you have more than one computer or wireless devices hooked up to a network, then usually two types of firewall are employed. One form is a software firewall which should be activated on all computers and the other form is a hardware firewall that operates within your router. The complexity of firewall protection you require is based on the needs of your business.
In order to understand the purpose of a firewall, think of it as a fence around your computer or network that protects the perimeter and helps stop the invasion of hackers into your system. A hardware firewall would be like a large fence between the Internet and your complete network while a software firewall would be like a fence around each individual computer station. The firewalls use different protocol types to filter out malicious data from being allowed to enter while allowing safe data to come through. Depending on the protocol used by the firewalls in your business,
At one time, cloud based computing seemed to be something unfathomable or not at all safe for a business owner to consider. According to experts, businesses will spend greater than 40 percent more on cloud computing services in 2015 over the roughly 100 billion dollars spent in 2014. Considering how quickly the industry is growing, one has to wonder why are cloud based solutions so popular?
Perhaps the most important facet of cloud computing for business owners is the ability to scale cloud solutions to the requirements of their operations. When business is at a low point and less storage is required, it is not necessary to maintain a large capacity for storage in the event that business grows or increases rapidly. As a business grows, the need for a large cash outlay for computer infrastructure to handle the growth is also redundant since you can easily increase the number of users, the amount of storage and other requirements through your cloud service provider.
With such a large portion of business being conducted over the Internet and the use of such a wide variety of technology to do so, web attacks are becoming commonplace. Many attacks have become sophisticated enough that they are virtually undetectable by the average user. The following are five examples of common Web attacks being found by IT support professionals.
Commonly called “clickjacking” or “likejacking”, hackers design an invisible frame that takes the end user’s mouse action to allow installation of malware. Some instances use a spyware protection window that suggests the user “click here” to remove detected threats or the malware can be buried in a social post, such as a video on Facebook for which users click the “like” button.
Drive By Downloads
This form of Web attack is more dangerous than most because it does not require any action on behalf of the user for it to occur. Often hidden within respectable sites, hackers take advantage of vulnerabilities within the Web to insert malicious code which is then launched due to vulnerabilities in the browser software being used.
As with most electronics, IP cameras were cost-prohibitive and complicated when they were first introduced to commercial markets. Over the past few years however, their costs have come down exponentially while ease-of-use has improved significantly. IP camera systems differ from older closed circuit security systems in that they are capable of sending and receiving data over a network and the Internet. This can provide your business with many advantages that make an upgrade to an IP camera system beneficial.
While the price of an IP camera has come down, there are other considerations that make these camera systems cost-effective as well. Installation requires less infrastructure as captured video is digital and can be saved to any digital recording device such as a computer hard drive or flash drive. An IP system is also scalable to your business requirements. As many as 8 cameras can be installed on one network cable and an infinite number of cameras can be added to a network. Wireless options are also available.
As a small business owner that accesses the Internet from your computer systems you understand the importance of protecting your valuable data from hackers and others who commit cyber-crimes. What you may not realize is the importance of backing up your data in a safe and secure manner to ensure that in the event of a loss or a breach in your security you are able to restore your systems quickly.
Due to cost and convenience many business owners perform on site data backup. While at one time this was the best option, remote backup has replaced this old method for many reasons. One of the most obvious reasons on site backup is not ideal is that in the event of a loss due to theft, fire or flood, the backed up data can easily be lost. Server systems are prone to hardware failure in time and eventually become obsolete which is another major factor in backup costs. Finally, the medium on which your backup data is stored is cost prohibitive and restoration of lost data can be very laborious and time-consuming which adds to the overall cost.
Information technology (IT) has become an integral part of business functions and can cause significant financial losses in the event of a disaster. Encompassing systems, applications and data, it is essential to have a disaster recovery plan for your IT so you can get your business up and running quickly if you do suffer a loss.
There are four main components to an IT system: connectivity, hardware, software and data. Since all of these components are required to run your system, they should all be part of a recovery strategy to restore your business functions. The more your business relies on IT to operate, the more critical a recovery strategy becomes to lessen the impact of a loss of any portion of your system.
The first step in establishing a recovery plan for your business is to take a complete inventory of your hardware, software and data that is required to operate your business. Ensure that you identify each software application and the hardware required for the critical operation requirements of your business.
Keeping your company’s operational expenses manageable is challenging at the best of times, and with today’s focus on everything digital your IT expenses can easily become bigger than your budget. There are ways to reduce IT expenditures significantly through careful planning, however, simply cutting costs isn’t necessarily the best method. It’s getting the best “bang for your buck” that creates financial efficiencies, and managed services is a primary way of doing that. Here’s how it helps:
Keeping IT Current
Information technology is constantly evolving and new developments make it difficult to keep up with the pace of change. To reap the benefits of IT such as improved efficiency and a real competitive advantage, it’s necessary to continually analyze and identify areas for improvement. You also need to update and upgrade your systems regularly, and having the knowledge and experience to make the right decisions for your company is essential to be able to do so. By investing in managed services you can focus on running your business,