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Is your Managed Service Provider Secure?

by Chris Power on April 19, 2018 in

 

Is Your Company Benefiting from Office 365?

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Are You Taking Advantage of Everything Office365 Has to Offer?

Microsoft Office 365 is a cloud-based business solution that offers a host of fantastic benefits to businesses of all sizes. If you haven't yet made the move to Microsoft Office 365, read this article to learn more about how the Office 365 software suite can enhance your user experience, productivity and ultimately your company's bottom line.

Familiar tools, all in once place and up to date

Chances are you've already used Microsoft tools like Word, Skype, Excel, and Outlook. Microsoft Office 365 integrates all these familiar programs into their package, without any licensing headaches. You won't have to worry about different employees using different versions of the same program - every employee is up to date. And because you're paying for it monthly, you'll never have to worry about the cost of upgrading. All new versions of programs are at your fingertips the moment they are released, for free, without needing to uninstall old programs and reinstall new ones. 

Access wherever and whenever you need it

Because everything is stored on the cloud, you can access your information from anywhere you have an internet connection. Pull up your calendar, contacts, documents and email on nearly any device. You can work wherever you want - from the office, from a cafe, or even from your bedroom! You'll have the freedom to travel without worrying about first printing tons of documents or lugging along your office computer. As long as you have a smartphone, tablet, mac or PC, you'll have everything you need, all in one place. 

Collaboration and communication made easy.

Instant messaging, online meetings, and document collaboration are just a few of the many unique solutions that Microsoft Office 365 offers. When in-person meetings just aren't feasible, you'll be able make it happen from the convenience of your connected device. Send large files over email, remotely control desktops, and keep everyone looped in on the latest versions of documents in a password protected environment. That way you can be sure that all of your sensitive files are secure, and only those who have the password can access them.

Chat in groups for a quick pow-wow, or track progress on projects, so that others can see what still needs to get done. Everything is accessible when and where you need it, which will save you valuable time.

User-friendly interface

The whole Microsoft Office 365 package is intuitive and easy to install and learn to use. You'll be able to use a standardized dashboard that is shared between programs, and there is no special training needed to be able to become an efficient user. Even your least tech savvy employees will find it simple, flexible and useful for many different applications.

Rest assured with increased security

Microsoft data centers are protected 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Instead of worrying about the security at your office, know that everything on the cloud is secure. Only those who are granted access to your information will be able to see it. Even if your laptop or phone gets lost or broken, your online data will be safe.

Emails are encrypted - if you didn't specifically intent for someone to see the email, they won't be able to, and any sensitive data, like social security numbers, are protected by Microsoft's data loss prevention policies. Options like Advanced Threat Analytics will alert you to any suspicious behavior on your network and will detect any scams that try to enter your business via email.

More storage space

You'll never run out of space in your inbox, with more than 50GB of available storage. And SharePoint offers an entire terabyte of storage space for your business. You'll be able to store all the files and data you need without having to worry about space, and Office 365 will grow with you as your business grows and gains new employees.

Smart solutions for all sizes of business

Because Microsoft Office 365 offers different sizes of packages, you'll be able to pick the one that is right for your business. Both small and large businesses will find everything they need in one of the packages that Office 365 offers, and you can easily transition to new plans.

Flexibility for everyone

Plan ahead for the coming year without getting locked into a contract. You can pay for Microsoft Office 365 monthly, with the option to cancel at any time. If you are ever unhappy with the package, or find that it no longer fits your needs, you won't have to worry about cancellation fees. This also means that Office 365 can be upgraded as your business grows.

Cost-effective strategies

Stop paying for tools that your business doesn't have a need for. Microsoft Office 365 knows that you won't be able to use every tool they offer, so they allow you to mix and match plans so you can always be sure you are using your budget effectively.

 

Microsoft Office 365 gives you the tools that your business needs to thrive in today's tech-centered world, while focusing on security, safety, and cost-effective solutions. No matter the size of your firm, Office 365 has tools that can help increase your end-user collaboration, efficiency, workflow and overall productivity.

For more information or a consultation on what Office 365 can do for your business please reach out to info@powerconsulting.com

What the new Meltdown and Spectre Security Flaws Mean for You

by Gary Power on January 04, 2018 in Security, cybersecurity, spectre, meltdown

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SECURITY UPDATE:  Spectre and Meltdown

Computer researchers have discovered a security vulnerability, inherent in the design of virtually all computer processors, that represents a major threat to the way cloud hosting systems operate. Spectre is a design flaw that affects virtually all processors. Meltdown is a flaw specific to Intel Processors. 

The vulnerabilities, according to Amazon Web Services, have existed for more than twenty years.  The most common way to exploit these flaws is as a user of a public cloud hosting platform, like AWS, Azure, Rackspace, and others.  On these systems, many clients or “tenants” are typically hosted on one physical machine. Using these exploits, a hacker is potentially able to breach the barriers keeping the different tenants’ data separate.

Individual user systems are also vulnerable, but practically speaking, much less so. The reason is that a hacker would have to gain total control of the user system and run software allowing them to take advantage of this “flaw” in the CPU (computer processor).

Software patches are being developed for each processor manufacturer, including Intel, AMD, ARM and others. Many cloud hosting services have already been patched.

Separately, software patches are also being developed for the operating systems running on these processors, including Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.

These software patches may significantly reduce computer performance by 20-30 percent. That includes desktop and laptop systems.  

Power Consulting clients should inform their Account Manager or the Service Desk (support@powerconsulting.com) if they do not want the patches applied to their desktop, laptop, or server systems. 

Private Cloud hosting platforms, like Power Consulting’s, are less vulnerable as they are not accessible by the general public.  Nevertheless, Power Consulting is working with our hardware and operating system partners to install the patches on all of our cloud servers.  

 

See today's NY TImes article for further information on this announcement

 

How Skype for Business Can Help Your Small Business

by Gary Power on December 20, 2017 in Office 365, skypeforbusiness

Skype for Business is the first fully integrated Unified Communications platform. Unified Communications is a framework for integrating all business communications tools, enhancing productivity, and promoting and supporting collaboration. Skype was the first big name to introduce the public to the idea of successful and efficient VIOP and their service for private individuals isn't the full extent of their product by a long shot. In other words, Skype for Business can handle all of your small business' phone and remote meeting needs.

Skype for Business Provides the Efficency You Need

When you're a small business, nothing matters more than efficiency. From your venue to your customer service platform, the smoother your business runs, the more likely you are to have profits at the end of the year. These profits can be put toward growth through quality and expansion, taking your business one step further to becoming a medium enterprise and perhaps even a big old corp one day in the future.

Of course, while you're still working with a small dedicated team and only one or two locations, every decision counts, especially the way you communicate. Among the dozens of choices for your business phone system, why spend the money and go through the hassle of having physical phone lines installed when online options like Skype for Business can already provide a far better and more complete business communications service?

Replacing the Old Office Phone

The first and most important aspect of Skype for Business is that it can absolutely replace the old wired phone system! The numbers provided to your employee account holders by Skype can send and receive calls from outside services, not just other Skype users. This means you can have as many numbers as you wish to register, which in turn means that this service provides a valuable form of flexibility for a growing small business.

Simply considering the fact that your employees can start quickly and easily using their computers and internet connections for phone calls without an extra wire is useful enough, but when you compare the prices to a classic business telco package, the choice is easy to make.

Here are some other advantages:

  • Quick office phone setup for each employee
  • Number can be used from employee mobile phones
  • Zero physical installation required

Call Center Capable

Of course, you don't have to use the classic office phone arrangement as your only way of using Skype for Business! If you have a customer service or even internal tech support hotline, you can also use Skype for Business to feed all calls to one support number into a queue that sorts them to your phone techs as they become available.

As customer satisfaction becomes the name of the game call centers are becoming an integral part of any modern business, and yours should be in top quality. In fact, Skype for Business can not only manage incoming calls for a call center, it can also smoothly transition from one issue to the next.

Here's how:

  • One support number
  • Unlimited number of Skype meetings
  • Multiple contact channels

Escalation and Communication Changes

It has now become a commonly known fact of the millennial generation that not everyone likes to talk on the phone anymore. In fact, the vast majority of young adults prefer to text or instant message as their primary form of remote communication. However, for some forms of customer service, a phone call always works best. Skype for Business allows you to smoothly continue a conversation from one medium to the next.

When using Skype for Business, text or instant message conversations can escalate to a phone call which, when ended, will lead right back to the continuous text-based message. These transitions mean that your customer can choose the mode of communication most comfortable to them without sacrificing the continuity of the conversation and a more complete customer experience.

To review, Skype for Business provides these services:

  • Built-in instant messaging system
  • Voice, Video, and Chat
  • Interacts with Outlook email apps

Sharing and Demonstration

If you're working remotely with a person or team who is, themselves, using Skype or Skype for Business, the features work together to allow multiple groups to communicate. Screen sharing is by far one of the most useful troubleshooting and work display tools available and this is something that Skype has been handling for a very long time.

Another neat set of features that will help your small business employees, partners, and clients collaborate are the specifically designed demonstration tools. You can, for instance, use a 'whiteboard' shared feature so that one person or even multiple people can illustrate their thoughts quickly.

These are the sharing and demonstration tools available:

  • PowerPoint upload and sharing feature
  • Whiteboard for drawing and editing
  • Screen sharing for direct demonstrations
  • Any Desktop or Mobile device

Remote Presentations

If travel and other business duties take you or your team members away from work, then having remote solutions is a very good idea.

Let's say a client wants a researched presentation on your marketing success for their company. The employee who put together that researched presentation is away on holiday, and normally you would call them into the office on an emergency. With Skype for Business, however, they get your message, hop on their Skype for Business account, and simply load up the power point into the Skype for Business presentation feature. This, along with an adjustable UI view, allows your employees to give presentations from anywhere as long as the presentation files are available.

Already Encrypted Communications

Our final reason why Skype for Business is a great idea for your small business is that every message is automatically encrypted by the platform itself. Encryption is a central key to strong business cybersecurity and with Skype for Business, you won't have to worry about hackers being able to steal your business' or clients' personal information. Even if they did manage to break into your customer service database, the encrypted logs would have no rewarding information to a hacker.

Because of the scalability and flexibility of Skype for Business as a phone system, communications platform, CRM, and remote meetings manager, it's useful for almost any size of company. Whether you're a small startup, medium enterprise, or big corp, Skype for Business has something to offer everyone. The service is also constantly undergoing upgrades, so your investment will be worth it for a long time.

Want to learn more about how you can improve your business? We're always here to help! Contact us now to get started.

 

Are You Taking Advantage of Office 365 Suite?

by Gary Power on December 15, 2017 in office 365 benefits

As businesses are taking advantage of the cloud more than ever before, it’s critical for your organization to leverage the latest cloud services to stay ahead of the competition. Office 365 for business includes the familiar Microsoft Office programs such as Word, Powerpoint, Excel and hosted email, but it also has a wealth of additional tools and applications that are designed to streamline your business and boost internal collaboration. With Office 365, you can work anywhere, any time, on any device. This level of flexibility and access greatly improves productivity and efficiency among staff.  However, studies have shown that firms using Office365 only utilize 20% of the services that this Cloud suite provides.  Let’s have a look at the top 10 “hidden” features and services that you may not be taking advantage of for your own organization. 

How to Keep Your Staff Free From Phishing and Whaling with Cybersecurity

by Chris Power on November 22, 2017 in phishing, whaling, cybersecurity

 

Is Your Company Prepared for the Worst? Why Making Business Continuity Part of Your Business Strategy is Essential

 

Why You Need a Business Continuity Strategy

 

Measuring the Effect of Downtime

by Gary Power on October 23, 2017 in Business Continuity, Cost of Downtime

 

Testimonials

Power Consulting Group is a remarkable group of talented people who know a great deal about the IT services business, and care a great deal about “your” IT services business.

Patrick Burns Autotask VP, Product Management