Which Form of MFA Is the Most Secure? Which Is the Most Convenient?

Credential theft is now at an all-time high and is responsible for more data breaches than any other type of attack.

With data and business processes now largely cloud-based, a user’s password is the quickest and easiest way to conduct many different types of dangerous activities.

Being logged in as a user (especially if they have admin privileges) can allow a criminal to send out phishing emails from your company account to your staff and customers. The hacker can also infect your cloud data with ransomware and demand thousands of dollars to give it back.

How do you protect your online accounts, data, and business operations? One of the best ways is with multi-factor authentication (MFA).

It provides a significant barrier to cybercriminals even if they have a legitimate user credential to log in. This is because they most likely will not have access to the device that receives the MFA code required to complete the authentication process.

What Are the Three Main Methods of MFA?

When you implement multi-factor authentication at your business, it’s important to compare the three main methods of MFA and not just assume all methods are the same. There are key differences that make some more secure than others and some more convenient.

Let’s take a look at what these three methods are:

SMS-based

The form of MFA that people are most familiar with is SMS-based. This one uses text messaging to authenticate the user.

The user will typically enter their mobile number when setting up MFA. Then, whenever they log into their account, they will receive a text message with a time-sensitive code that must be entered. 

On-device Prompt in an App

Another type of multi-factor authentication will use a special app to push through the code. The user still generates the MFA code at login, but rather than receiving the code via SMS, it’s received through the app.

This is usually done via a push notification, and it can be used with a mobile app or desktop app in many cases.

Security Key

The third key method of MFA involves using a separate security key that you can insert into a PC or mobile device to authenticate the login. The key itself is purchased at the time the MFA solution is set up and will be the thing that receives the authentication code and implements it automatically.

The MFA security key is typically smaller than a traditional thumb drive and must be carried by the user to authenticate when they log into a system.

Now, let’s look at the differences between these three methods.

Most Convenient Form of MFA?

Users can often feel that MFA is slowing them down. This can be worse if they need to learn a new app or try to remember a tiny security key (what if they lose that key?).

This user inconvenience can cause companies to leave their cloud accounts less protected by not using multi-factor authentication.

If you face user pushback and are looking for the most convenient form of MFA, it would be the SMS-based MFA.

Most people are already used to getting text messages on their phones so there is no new interface to learn and no app to install.

Most Secure Form of MFA?

If your company handles sensitive data in a cloud platform, such as your online accounting solution, then it may be in your best interest to go for security.

The most secure form of MFA is the security key.

The security key, being a separate device altogether, won’t leave your accounts unprotected in the event of a mobile phone being lost or stolen. Both the SMS-based and app-based versions would leave your accounts at risk in this scenario.

The SMS-based is actually the least secure because there is malware out there now that can clone a SIM card, which would allow a hacker to get those MFA text messages.

A Google study looked at the effectiveness of these three methods of MFA at blocking three different types of attacks. The security key was the most secure overall.

Percentage of attacks blocked:

  • SMS-based: between 76 – 100% 
  • On-device app prompt: between 90 – 100%
  • Security key: 100% for all three attack types

What’s in Between?

So, where does the app with an on-device prompt fit in? Right in between the other two MFA methods.

Using an MFA application that delivers the code via push notification is more secure than the SMS-based MFA. It’s also more convenient than needing to carry around a separate security key that could quickly become lost or misplaced.

Looking for Help Setting Up MFA at Your Company?

Multi-factor authentication is a “must-have” solution in today’s threat climate. Let’s discuss your barrier points and come up with a solution together to keep your cloud environment better secured.

 


Featured Image Credit

This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Are Two Monitors Really More Productive Than One?

When you see those people with two monitors, you may assume they do some specialized work that requires all that screen space, or they just really like technology.

But having the additional display real estate that a second screen provides can benefit anyone, even if you’re doing accounting or document work all day.

We get used to being boxed in by the screen size we have. This can lead to us struggling when trying to fit two windows next to each other or continuously clicking between layers of windows on the desktop.

Most of us have experienced clicking around to find the window we actually need in a layer of different applications. This is one of the things that eats up time during the day and that using dual screens can help eliminate.

According to a study by software developer Mavenlink, 73% of surveyed businesses say they spend over an hour per day on average just switching between different apps.

Productivity Research on Dual-Screens

So just how much can using a second monitor improve productivity? Probably more than you realize.

Jon Peddie Research looked at the benefit of using two screens connected to a desktop computer or laptop for several years. It found that overall, employees in all types of jobs can improve productivity by an average of 42%.

From three studies conducted over 15 years, it also found that between 2002 and 2017, there’s been a significant rise in the use of two monitors, with a compound annual growth rate of 10%.

The company’s namesake put it simply saying, “The more you can see, the more you can do.”

What Are the Advantages of Adding a 2nd Screen?

Do More in Less time

The biggest advantage to using a second monitor is that you can do more in less time because you’re not struggling to get to the windows you need when you need them.

With an additional monitor, you can keep programs like email always open on one screen while you work in other programs on the second screen. You’re able to work more fluidly, getting to all your apps when you need them.

Expands Screen Space for Laptops

Laptops are great for portability, especially when traveling or moving between home and work (as many employees do these days). But the more portable the laptop, the smaller the screen space.

One big drawback of using a laptop is that they will have a smaller monitor. There is also the difficulty in positioning. When using them on a desk, people will often try to prop them up, but the person is still staring down at the screen in most cases.

Connecting your laptop to a monitor can significantly improve the experience and make it like working on a normal desktop PC. You can either choose to mirror your entire screen or still make use of the laptop screen for some activities while using the larger screen for others.

Side-by-Side Comparisons Are Easier

There are a lot of tasks that require looking at data in two windows. You may be editing and comparing a finished design with the original instructions. Or you may have to pull details from notes to include in a PowerPoint presentation.

Trying to get two windows up on a single screen side-by-side can be frustrating. You may try to resize the windows just so, only to have your configuration lost when you have to maximize a screen to click a menu item or scroll.

With two monitors, you have the screen real estate you need to fully open both windows and have them right next to each other so you can easily do your work.

More Freedom During Video Calls

Have you ever been screen sharing on a video call and needed to check an email or review notes? It’s difficult to do that when everyone can see your screen. We often “sanitize” our screens (like turning off alerts, etc.) before we go into a meeting to ensure nothing that should not appear is popping up.

With dual screens, you can choose which screen you want to share during meetings, and still have apps open on the other screen that no one can see. This is a big advantage if you need to check for an email or message someone while you’re sharing your screen.

Fairly Inexpensive Productivity Booster

Purchasing another display is a fairly low investment when looking at technology. A monitor can be purchased from anywhere between $125 to $250 on average. And with a 42% average productivity boost, it can have a pretty sweet ROI.

There is also no big learning curve with this upgrade. Once the monitor is plugged in and the PC is set to see the additional screen, it’s good to go. Users can simply drag apps and documents from one screen to another as if they had one large screen.

Need Help Improving Productivity?

There are several productivity boosts that you can get using the right technology tools, and they don’t have to cost a fortune. Ask us how we can help you!

 


Featured Image Credit

This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

How OneNote Can Streamline Team Collaboration (And Four Tips to Make the Most of This Program)

OneNote is a digital note-taking tool that comes with plenty of benefits for users. But what you may not have realized yet is how powerful this app can be for enhancing team collaboration.

Note-taking.

This is an essential part of day-to-day operations for many business owners, managers, and teams. After all, people can’t rely on their memory alone to recall everything that gets talked about each day. Especially when it concerns important matters.

When it comes to note-taking, traditional methods such as pen and paper are effective but take too long. But modern-day businesses need something that allows them to work faster. That’s why they opt for digital solutions like OneNote.

OneNote is a productivity tool that leverages cloud and Microsoft technologies to make information capturing, storage, and sharing a breeze.

Think of OneNote as a hub for all notes that allows you to organize them in many ways. It even allows pinning multimedia documents next to simple text.

So, if you’re looking for a robust digital note-taking tool, OneNote may be the solution for you.

Keep reading to discover the numerous ways in which this tool can be helpful for you and your business.

Why Should You Rely on OneNote?

OneNote is not just a powerful tool for note-taking. It’s also a useful tool that allows you to perform various functions for easy information processing.

Some of its main benefits include:

BENEFIT #1. PROMOTING REAL-TIME COLLABORATION

OneNote is part of Microsoft’s fully-cloud based Office 365 suite. This means OneNote users can share files with other team members or clients in real-time. Multiple people can view and edit their notes simultaneously, allowing for a seamless collaboration anytime.

A great thing about real-time editing is that you can track all changes to the file. You can even restore the previous version of a document in case of accidents.

Businesses that run in multiple locations can benefit from this feature as well. It’s because people located across the country can work on the same project without affecting team collaboration.

Simply put, there’s no need to trade emails and waste time waiting for responses – managers can have an easy time collaborating with their team instantly without ever leaving the office.

BENEFIT #2. SECURING SENSITIVE INFORMATION

Doing business online and sharing sensitive data comes with security risks. This is especially true for notebook software. Fortunately, OneNote comes with a set of security features that protect your data from being exposed to third parties.

For example, you can lock specific sections with passwords while having all your information secured with 3DES encryption at all times. And if your password-protected documents remain inactive for a long time, the software will automatically lock them to prevent data leaks.

BENEFIT #3. INTEGRATION WITH OTHER SOFTWARE

Like other Office 365 suite apps, OneNote has great integration abilities. You can sync your OneNote with Outlook to send email information directly to the app and vice versa.

What’s more, you can integrate this software with non-Microsoft apps as well. Some notable plugins include Zapier, Slack, Trello, Evernote, Dropbox, Salesforce, and many others. And all your essential apps will be synchronized, allowing your team to be more productive each day.

BENEFIT #4. PROJECT MANAGEMENT

OneNote has dozens of uses for general business. However, it’s especially suitable for project management.

Project managers often deal with issues such as team member misunderstandings, communication delays, or project bottlenecks. But thanks to Microsoft’s note-taking tool, many of these issues are quickly alleviated.

Project management can become more straightforward. It’s because OneNote makes it easy for the manager to track each team member’s achievements. They can update timelines, check off completed tasks, or assign new ones with ease.

TAKE ONENOTE TO THE NEXT LEVEL

If you have never used OneNote before, you may be interested to learn about some tips to help you get the most out of the software..

TIP #1. CREATING QUICK NOTES

Quick Note is a great feature that lets you write down a thought when you’re out having lunch or away from the office.

Imagine being in the store and remembering you haven’t responded to an important email. You can take your phone, open the One Note app, and create a Quick Note reminding you of this task.

The next time you open OneNote on your computer, you’ll see the message there.

This feature is similar to Sticky Notes, as it lets you jot down any idea or thought in a matter of seconds. All your notes will be saved in the “Unfiled Notes” section of your “Quick Notes” notebook, a place where all your notes are saved by default.

TIP #2. SEARCHING ACROSS ALL NOTES

Searching for notes becomes more challenging as time passes. If you’re an active user, you can find yourself storing hundreds of notes in a matter of months. But don’t worry, as there are tons of options to organize your notes as well as search for it.

OneNote has a built-in search option to make note finding easier.

All you need to do is click on the magnifying glass or hit “Ctrl” (or “Command” for Mac) + “F” on your keyboard and look for a phrase or word. The software will go over all your typed, handwritten, and even picture notes.

You can further narrow the search by selecting the drop-down arrow and choosing the desired option. You’ll see all matching results highlighted in your notes.

As you find the note you needed, you can close the search by pressing “X” on the right-hand corner

TIP #3. USING PRE-MADE TEMPLATES

OneNote is designed to have a blank canvas for each new note. And it’s what gives users a whole lot of flexibility. However, you can find this approach to be too basic sometimes. So, why not add some style, structure, and colour to the app?

Thankfully, there are tons of pre-made templates to choose from. You can download a template with decorative backgrounds, to-do lists, planners, and more.

Note that you can use the templates only on new OneNote files. The ones that already contain text won’t work since most designs require content to appear in a specific place on the page.

If you need to add a template to your existing note, simply create a new one, then copy the existing text over.

TIP #4. SCANNING DOCUMENTS FROM YOUR SMARTPHONE

Do you need to take notes from a scanned document? That’s not an issue for OneNote. You can use the Microsoft Lens: PDF Scanner App (available for Android and iOS) to take high-quality scans of multiple documents using your phone and upload them to OneNote.

BECOME THE MASTER OF NOTE-TAKING

Digital note-taking tools have helped thousands of workers and managers become more productive. OneNote is one such software that seems to have it all – abundant features, flexibility, and ease of use.  At Inspired IT we are HUGE users of OneNote across all our departments and link this into teams.

Whether you’re a business owner who wants to boost your team’s performance or a project manager that needs better tracking of the project timeline, OneNote has something in store for everyone.

If you’d like to learn more about how this powerful tool can help you make your business better, feel free to reach out to us. We can have a 10-15-minute chat about this topic or speak to your Client Relationship Manager and they will be happy to assist.

9 Best Practices for Making Your Mobile Devices Safe From Cyberattacks

THE NINE PRACTICES

PRACTICE #1 – ESTABLISH A SOUND SECURITY POLICY

Before issuing tablets or smartphones to your teams, create an effective usage policy. Define rules about acceptable use and determine the penalties for violating them.

Your employees must be aware of the security risks and measures that can help them reduce the risks. They should know that they are the first line of defence against cybercrime.

Furthermore, be sure to develop a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy if you permit your team to use a personal device for business. Your company policy can include the following:

  • Requirements for the installation and remote software wiping on any personal device that stores or accesses company data
  • Employee training and education on safeguarding company information when using wireless networks on their mobile devices
  • Data protection methods that include automatic locking or other security measures applicable after long inactivity periods
  • Protocols for lost and stolen devices
  • The use of security software and antivirus platforms
  • Backup requirements

PRACTICE #2 – ENSURE THE OPERATING SYSTEM IS UP TO DATE

Updating Android and iOS operating systems improve overall user experience, but their most significant role is in addressing security vulnerabilities.

Therefore, install updates as soon as the developer rolls them out to reduce exposure to cybersecurity threats. Delaying it may give criminals enough time to attack your weaknesses and take advantage of outdated operating systems.

PRACTICE #3 – ENABLE PASSWORD PROTECTION

A complex password or PIN can help prevent cybercriminals from accessing mobile devices. Besides using alphanumeric combinations, you can also use facial or fingerprint recognition, depending on what suits your employees.

If you opt for digits and letters, don’t share the combination with people outside your company. On top of that, be sure that your staff doesn’t store them on their phones. Unmarked folders and physical wallets are a much safer option.

PRACTICE #4 – INSTALL BUSINESS PROGRAMS ONLY

Lenient download policies can allow your team members to install non-business apps. Downloading such apps might seem harmless, but they are also infamous for their harmful advertising codes and many other threats. To mitigate this risk, tell your employees they can only download and use apps necessary for their roles.

PRACTICE #5 – AVOID PUBLIC WI-FI CONNECTIONS

Your team may need to use public Wi-Fi networks in emergencies to send crucial emails or schedule a meeting. However, connecting to such networks can expose confidential company information to cybercriminals using the same network.

The easiest way to minimise this risk is to provide a high-quality internet plan that features roaming services for your remote workers. But if there’s no way to avoid public Wi-Fi connections, a reputable virtual private network (VPN) or secure global network (SGN) may do the trick. It can help shield your data by creating direct, secure links from your location to the intended website.

PRACTICE #6 – LEVERAGE PHONE TRACKING

Losing company-issued mobile devices is unfortunate, but it’s not the end of the world.

Enabling Android Phone Tracker, Find My Phone on iOS, or other device-tracking software can help locate your lost smartphones. Some programs also enable you to remove data on your stolen devices remotely.

Installing these apps takes a couple of minutes and gives you much-needed peace of mind. With it, even if your staff loses their mobile device, cybercriminals are less likely to get their hands on the content.

PRACTICE #7 – INCORPORATE MDM (MOBILE DEVICE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE

For even more security, you may want to integrate with reliable MDM. It’s an excellent way to separate personal and business information while allowing your team members to set up robust security measures on their devices.

In most cases, cloud-based software is the most affordable, flexible, and manageable type of MDM. Many platforms let you check out device information, update and manage apps, configure your devices, create usage restrictions, and remove content remotely.

If possible, implement MDM software that enforces security measures across all devices. As previously mentioned, this can include data encryption, strong passwords, and setting up containers to separate personal information from enterprise data.

PRACTICE #8 – SCREEN MESSAGES CAREFULL

Cybercriminals frequently employ SMS phishing to trick your team into clicking dangerous links. They pose as someone credible, asking your staff to share confidential information.

If your employees encounter such messages, they should delete them or alert the IT department. Another great idea is to avoid opening the SMS and block the sender.

PRACTICE #9 – BLOCKING AND WHITELISTING

Many threats can compromise your company due to employee errors. For example, a team member may not realize they’re downloading a malicious app that allows thieves to steal data from their mobile devices.

Blocking and whitelisting can enable you to protect your employees from these risks by determining which sites and apps are safe.

On one hand, blocking certain applications can give your IT department peace of mind and alert them when someone tries to access those applications.

On the other hand, whitelists can work great for highlighting the tools your team should prioritize over social media and games.

DON’T DROP YOUR GUARD

Securing your desktop computers and laptops only is a disaster waiting to happen.

Your employees may still use their mobile devices to send emails and share sensitive information. That’s why shielding them from cyber criminals should be your top priority.

So, develop a strict usage policy and follow other recommended practices to make your team’s smartphones and tablets virtually impervious to data theft.

Get in touch with us at Inspired IT for even more cybersecurity tips. We can schedule a non-salesy chat to help you identify and address any potential security risks.

Article used with permission from The Technology Press

Inspired IT inducted into CRN Fast 50

At Inspired IT we have been celebrating an incredibly successful year and have just been placed in the CRN Fast50, which recognises the fastest growing IT providers in Australia. We’ve enjoyed an impressive revenue growth of more than 50 per cent in 2021, which is especially significant when considering the impact Covid-19 has had on many businesses throughout the country.

Our success has been thanks to an expansion in the wide range of quality IT Managed and Recurring services we offer our clients. At the same time, we’ve also increased our hardware and software sales at Inspired IT, primarily in the banking, finance, private health, and construction sectors. Our growth, which prompted our move into new premises earlier this year, is also due to expanding our client base and the internal growth within the companies of existing clients. Offering Microsoft’s Team Calling to businesses has also helped give us the advantage over some of our competitors. Customer feedback from this cloud-based service is that it’s enhanced internal and external collaboration on projects, and allowed consistently effective communication. 

The CRN Fast50 competition is purely merit-based, and entries are judged for their growth alone, which must be verified by supporting documents to prove the case is genuine. It’s open only to Australian systems integrators, managed service providers, value-added resellers and businesses selling software.  To qualify for entry the businesses must have been in operation for a minimum of three years.  

For our team at Inspired IT, being placed 21st in a nationwide competition shows just how far we have come since 2016 when we founded our company as a team of just one, expanding to 14 five years later. Our passion for delivering quality IT services to businesses in Perth, Western Australia, commitment to personal and professional growth and progressive attitude and working environment, have supported us during our period of rapid expansion.  

“To have come this far in just half a decade, and have our growth acknowledged and celebrated at a national competition level is a big win for us,” Matt Seeds, the company founder and Managing Director says. “Being placed 21st in the country for our sector is a real step up the ladder for us and we’re already enjoying the benefits of the brand recognition this positioning gives us.”

Matt says it’s the ethos of continually learning and adapting to the industry’s latest developments that has helped boost Inspired IT’s revenue so much in such a short space of time. The company’s responsive to adopting new software and technology and offering it to new and existing clients, ensuring the businesses we support are ahead of the game. This way, we help our customers to operate at maximum efficiency and potential. 

Being placed 21st nationwide in such a prestigious competition for our line of work is also thanks to the personal approach we take with each client. We value responsive and focussed communication styles, using language that’s accessible, clear, and concise.

“This year we came 21st, but our mission is to continually evolve who we are as a team and a company and our focus for 2022 is to not only maintain our 50% growth but to reinvest into Inspired IT to improve our expansion rate further and give our customers an even better service,” Matt Seeds.

The Value of a MSP

THE YEAR THE WORLD CHANGED

In 2020 the world of business IT changed dramatically and permanently.

Business technology today is far more complex than it was only a couple of years ago and it’s becoming more and more so every day. It is changing at an alarming rate and that is set to continue well into the future.

Modern businesses have never been more reliant on IT than they are today, not only to survive in an ever more competitive marketplace, but to thrive, to evolve, and to grow.

The future for business IT systems is already seeing increasing adoption of hybrid cloud, in addition to the many public and private cloud services available.

Software as a Service products are growing at a truly alarming rate and businesses all over the world are increasingly aware of the business productivity benefits, they can bring.

And therein lies the potential pitfall.

With huge advancements in technology comes the need for advanced technical skills, to identify, research, purchase, configure, manage and support these new systems.

If your business already has those advanced skills in-house, you’re very fortunate. But the vast majority of small and medium businesses don’t have that luxury, and that’s where the value of a professional Managed IT Services Provider (MSP) becomes a necessity.

THE VALUE OF YOUR MSP

MSPs are experts in all aspects of business IT. They have invested huge amounts of cash in training and certification and typically have larger teams of expert technologists.

They are there to advise you on what technologies are best suited for your business. And they will ensure that it is professionally configured and managed, backed up and supported.

They provide you with all the advanced technical expertise, that only enterprise businesses can afford to have in-house.

Outsourcing your business IT requirements to an MSP will actually save cost in the long run, helping you to utilise your internal resources more effectively.

And in a world where IT is changing and developing so rapidly, MSPs have more resources to devote to your business, keeping you appraised of valuable emerging technologies.

A good MSP will guide you and your business through technology challenges and changes that would be daunting without them.

FULLY MANAGED SERVICE

MSPs as the name suggests, provide a one-stop-shop for all your technology needs.

  • Hardware supply and configuration to desk
  • Network infrastructure services
  • Cybersecurity and data protection
  • Compliance
  • Data backup
  • Disaster recovery & business continuity
  • Cloud services adoption
  • 24/7/365 Network monitoring and management
  • Expert technical support with full remote access for speed of resolution.
  • Professional technical account management
  • IT Consulting
  • Technical Project Management
  • Internet connectivity (broadband, leased lines, MPLS and more)
  • VoIP telephony (often saving considerable costs over traditional PBX systems)

And don’t forget, the MSPs team, are first and foremost, business people. They understand the importance of technology to you and your business. They get business.

AND FINALLY

Outsourcing your IT management to an MSP does not mean relinquishing operational control. You are still in charge, only now, you have the support and backup of a team of technology experts.

They take on the responsibility for the time consuming and often repetitive tasks involved.

The benefits of outsourcing many of your IT operations to an expert MSP are numerous and can usually drive cost savings.

And if it makes budgeting simpler, doesn’t it make sense to add them to your list of professional advisers, alongside your accountant and lawyer, and not just as an item on your Profit & Loss statement. Recognise the expertise and the value they deliver and build that relationship.

Finally, and reassuringly, MSPs typically have best in class software monitoring and remote management tools that provide greater visibility and security. This in turn helps drive better decision making, based on real-time analysis and reporting.

Your MSP is, quite literally, your other emergency service.

3 Key Business Benefits To Using Windows 365

In business, efficiency is one of the most important parts of running a business. In order to communicate, create and collaborate in a way that is seamless, you need the right tools. In terms of productivity tools, Windows 365 is the best on the market for businesses of all sizes. It will help your staff to do their jobs more efficiently from wherever they work. Windows 365 also makes businesses much more versatile which in turn allows them to be more competitive overall. With a range of tools such as Teams, Exchange, Word, and SharePoint, the Windows 365 productivity suite is built with modern businesses in mind. Today we will cover three of the main benefits business will experiences when using Windows 365.

#1 Unlimited Versatility

Businesses have always struggled with several key challenges that have been highlighted in recent years. With Windows 365, businesses of all sizes can offer secure access from various locations for seasonal workers, at-will hires, and backup staff members as the need arise. The flexibility that most CEOs have only dreamed of has not become a reality. With Microsoft cloud housing the full operating system, there is no longer a new to maintain costly new company-funded hardware or upgrade security to account for staff members using their personal PCs. Managing times of high traffic will be as simple as informing your staff and providing a passcode for company access.

#2 Hybrid Working Capabilities

The global pandemic changed the way people work forever. Although some parts of the world are returning to the in-office, many are still offering their employees the option of working remotely. Along with business, even schools and governments are embracing the virtual trend. Windows 365 allows businesses the luxury of expanding their remote access operations while making online access to corporate resources more secure. Cloud PC takes personal computers and converts them into a digital workspace that is secure, highly productive, and most of all personalised for the way you do business.

#3 Increased Computational Power For The Workforce

Keeping machines and software up to date is one of the most costly problems a business will face. When your staff is saddled with out of date technology, not only are they less productive they may not even be able to do their jobs. Windows 365 is hosted in the cloud and offers a full complement of the most up-to-date data, apps, settings, and upgrades available. This will allow your employees to have more access to critical analytics, computing power, and applications they need to get the job done. Upgrades to business systems no longer have to be drawn out for weeks, instead, upgrades are applied over the cloud and effective instantly for all staff members regardless of where they happen to be.

Transforming The Way You Do Business With Windows 365

Windows 365 has put the power back into the business. With instant booting, secure access, and easy upgrades, there are no limits to how far your organisation can go.

Is Poor Patch Management What Is Causing A Gap In Your Business IT Security?

In business one of the most important things, to consider is the strength of your IT security. Unlike personal security, business IT security keeps critical systems, staff, and consumer information safe from attacks and leaks. There are always upgrades rolling out to combat the constant barrage of attacks, but if your business patch management in your IT department is not properly applied, your whole company may be at risk.

Why Is Patch Management Important?

Patch Management is the main method in which companies of all sizes mitigate security vulnerabilities. The IT department is tasked with securing software, servers, technology, and other hardware to both install and test patches to maintain a high level of security. This seemingly simple task is one that most companies struggle to keep up with, and your business is most likely no different. Effective patch management will allow you to protect yourself from the thousands of vulnerabilities that are a part of doing business. In fact, in 2018 alone there were 16,500 security vulnerabilities reported and that number has grown exponentially as hackers learn and ramp up their efforts to steal your business information.

Does Your Business Have Security Gaps?

Security gaps in your business can result in a loss of critical data, violate privacy laws, and even lead to security breaches. If you think your patch management or overall IT protocols are ineffective, the best way to find out is by performing an Information Security Risk Assessment. This will allow you to uncover the risk to your business and data security so that you can upgrade your safeguards. Think for a moment how often you or your staff snooze the update notifications on their PCs or other work-related devices. These notifications are critical updates that allow your business’s information to remain safe and out of the hands of nefarious parties. By neglecting these critical updates, your business is being left vulnerable to data breaches and more.

Does Your Business Have The Patches You Need To Stay Safe?

Security patches are used to repair or prevent an IT vulnerability once a problem has been identified. If you don’t have an IT team constantly looking for updates, chances are your patch management protocol is creating a gap in your business security. There are many different types of patches; Hotfix patches are often released on the fly while a program is live, Point release patches don’t change features but rater update to fix minor flaws.

Security patches are critical and are released when there is a weakness that needs to be fixed to correct and identified vulnerability. There are also service pack patches that are considered major and update or change large sections of a program. There are also unofficial patches that are made by private users to fix a problem on their local systems or the more popular monkey patch that fixes a plug-in. As a business owner or IT professional, maintaining a proper patch management protocol is essential if you want to ensure a business and its consumers are protected.

At Inspired IT under our Managed Services, this is done in a controlled environment and is reported on if the devices do not get updated. If you want to find out more please contact info@inspired-it.com.au

 

What Is A DDOS Attack And How Can It Hinder Your Business?

Unsafe Global Network

A lot of things have changed in the business world since the onset of the pandemic. While many companies learned how to be more flexible, these changes also brought with them added security risks. ISP’s have seen more traffic than ever over the past two years which has given rise to even more criminals and hackers than ever before. They have taken to attacking service providers, businesses, and even governments with impunity. With DDoS attacks on the rise, it is important to know what they are and how you can protect your business from them going forward.

What Is A DDoS Attack?

A DDoS attack is a denial of service attack that is aimed at disrupting the regular flow of internet traffic in a specific location. These targeted cyber attacks prevent regular users from accessing a site or company while also opening that target to data breaches and more. Most hackers use this form of attack to infiltrate the target to steal information. In some cases, this is sensitive consumer information and passwords while in others it is critical information about the target itself.

How Is This Year Different?

In the last year, DDoS attacks have increased more than 500% when compared to previous years. The increase in malicious attacks coincides directly with the rise in consumer dependence on online services and companies’ reliance on telecommuting by their staff. An increase in ISP usage was so much that it had the effect of being overwhelming for most providers to the point where their security measures were no longer as effective. Both short attacks and other abnormal patterns were noted which allowed for widespread disruption and even data breaches.

How Can DDoS Attacks Hurt Your Company

Companies have always been the target of cyber attacks but with more people working from home DDoS attacks and brute force attacks have skyrocketed. Most businesses make sure things are secure at their end, but forget to provide the same type of security to employees who have remote access. If your business is vulnerable to attack, not only is sensitive or proprietary information at risk, but the information of your site visitors and customers is also at risk. Even if a DDoS attack is unable to break through and steal important data, these attacks do prevent real site visitors, employees, and consumers from accessing your site for a time. This can result in a loss of reputation, contracts, and more.

How To Mitigate DDoS Attacks

Proper patch management and secure RDP protocols are critical if you want to protect your business while also allowing your staff to work remotely. There should always be a limited number of users allowed to connect to the corporate servers online at any one time. Strong password policies with three or four-step authentication are also critical. There is no perfect solution but exercising diligence, disabling external connections through TCP & UDP ports, and maintaining strict patch management is an effective way to prevent most DDoS attacks from being successful.

Windows 365 the Cloud PC

Following Microsoft announcement of the new Windows 365 Service on 2nd August. Inspired IT is pleased to announce it will be offering Windows 365 to our customers, which is essentially a streamed version of Windows-10, or when it is available, Windows-11, via a virtual PC. Employees can control it via the keyboard, mouse, or microphone of whichever device they are currently using. The device becomes a virtual desktop through which Windows 365 is operated, and the primary point of difference is that all the information is passed through the internet as opposed to your business’s network.

This innovation is a work in progress and Microsoft plans to evolve Windows 365 to elaborate, expand and improve the service to ensure customers experiences are continually enhanced. Each Cloud PC will have access to a fast internet connection, with download speeds of 10Gbps and upload speeds of 4Gbps.  For staff to be able to experience the full benefits of Windows 365, establishing a connection through an existing Windows PC will provide the best experience.

Inspired IT is committed to providing its clients with the ultimate computing experience and with an ever-increasing reliance on the Cloud for storing and transmitting data, we like Windows 365 because it is the perfect complement. When we look back at the early days of computers, with their huge, highly expensive and now comparatively ultra-slow terminals, we can appreciate just how efficient and minimalist Windows 365 and its virtual technology really is.  

Pricewise there are many options for Microsoft’s new service, which was released on 2 August, with a whole range of options to suit any budget, per user, in addition to eleven other pricing options offering an increased RAM and storage. Customers can select from Business and Enterprise packages, with the former being able to manage everything online via windows365.microsoft.com, with no need for a licence and the capacity for up to 300 users. Alternatively, business owners can select the Enterprise tier, which does not pose a limit on the number of users. Instead, companies can build on pre-existing licences and utilise Microsoft Endpoint Manager data security software.

Inspired IT likes the “instant boot” aspect Windows 365 offers its users. It is an especially good service because it allows users to pick up exactly where they left off. The state of your Cloud PC remains unchanged, even when you are switching between various devices which helps increase efficiency and productivity.

The global pandemic Covid-19 created has left employees wanting even more flexible options when working remotely according to Work Trend Index research. At the same time, the need for a higher level of collaboration is required as more and more data is being exchanged online. With staff working from home, on the move or from the office, confusion could easily reign without a smooth exchange of data, which Windows 355 makes easy through its permanently online status.

The concept of a committed team of staff working busily together in the office, where they can liaise and operate cohesively is an image of the past for many businesses today. Bring in a series of different devices and additional static and mobile staff, and we can see why Windows 365, with its “live” Cloud-based position, permits far greater ease of working collaboratively.

Whether your company requires seasonal workers for bigger projects or specialised staff that are brought in temporarily for a specialised “one-off” venture, this new Microsoft service will help ensure everything runs smoothly and that all staff are on the same page, thanks to Windows 365.

Teams Calling

Inspired IT has created a partnership with Perth-based ICT solutions company, R-Group International which allows us to offer Microsoft Teams Calling to our customers. Teams Calling is an ingenious design by Microsoft that enables staff members to make and receive calls from anywhere within the Teams app.  Now we’re excited about being able to offer this service to all our clients with an Enterprise License or Business 365 Licence with a Business Voice without call plan addon.

There is a multitude of benefits to using our new Teams Calling service. These include all the functions you would enjoy from a standard calling service, such as hold, transfer, forwarding and voicemail, but instead through the cloud. It can help increase efficiency because staff can see exactly who is available and select the best communication method, be it calling them by video, voice or through an online chat. Your business will be allocated a telephone number that is capable of handling local, long-distance, mobile audio and video calls.

It unites all your technology into one place, avoiding confusion. Team Calling also helps increase productivity by allowing instant screen sharing while linked via video between two or more people to allow files to be exchanged live without any interruptions. This also helps achieve a higher level of collaboration. Efficiency can be increased through clearer audio and video connections. There is also an automated answering system available, and this permits staff to answer inbound calls and direct them to the correct queues via a cloud-based phone system.

In addition, Microsoft Teams Calling allows businesses to create custom greetings and play a chosen piece of music for customers waiting on hold and the set up of shared voicemail. It is also a 100 per cent cloud-based system that results in employees being able to transition smoothly between Microsoft Teams while on the move to their office phone at their desk. Calls can be made from a laptop, headset or traditional phone using the delegated Microsoft Teams Calling number thus creating a more cohesive means of telecommunication.

At Inspired IT we knew we had to enter into a partnership to be able to give our clients the best possible Teams Calling experience and chose R-Group International because it had a pre-existing system in place with its telecommunications services operating from multiple data centres across Australia through its licensed carrier division. We have now invested in training by R-Group’s UC team and our staff are fully supported by a 24/7 Microsoft Office 365 helpdesk, so we are able to quickly troubleshoot any issues that may arise.

“We’ve had our sights set on offering Teams Calling for some months and by partnering with R-Group we are finally ready to offer it to our customers, in a form that meets our company’s very high standards,” Inspired IT’s Managing Director Matt Seeds says.

Our Teams Calling packages range from $12 to $20 per month per user, depending on whether the cost of calls and which calls are included in the deal. There is a one-off set-up fee and OnDemand support is charged at our standard hourly rate.

“R-Group were our ideal choice to work with because they’re on the same wavelength and offer a fantastic service,” Matt Seeds says. “Our customer satisfaction is of paramount importance to us and we only wanted to move into this new sphere if we could offer our clients a cast-iron guarantee that Teams Calling would assist in the smooth running of their business.”

Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of having a cloud-based business, not only for exchanging files and storing data. With Teams Calling and an audio/visual cloud-based calling system of offer, Inspired IT can offer businesses the ultimate in communication technology which is especially beneficial for staff on the move or working remotely.

Call us today to see how we can help your business operate more smoothly with Microsoft Teams Calling and we’ll help you choose the best package for your company’s needs.

Windows 11 Timeline for Your Business

Are you wondering when Microsoft will launch its highly-anticipated Windows 11 OS? While the official release date has yet to reach the media, there’s plenty of speculation about the operating system coming to market sooner than expected.

When Will Windows 11 Release? – A Timeline

So, when will Microsoft release Windows 11? There was loads of speculation on the official release date of Windows 11 early on. At the beginning of June, Microsoft fans got what they were waiting for when the project’s name leaked online.

Microsoft Windows 11 beta release - Inspired IT

Images showing a supposed build of the operating system surfaced in mid-June, and the market response seemed positive in the apprehension of the company’s formal announcement on the OS.

Leaked screenshots of the build and its interface showed something similar to the hyped but cancelled Windows 10X project. However, the new OS had a redesign of its out-of-box experience, leaning on the Windows 11 branding.

In a surprise move by Microsoft, the company’s CPO stated the leaked images were of an early “weird build” by the dev team.

During the Microsoft Build 2021 developer conference, the company’s Chairman and CEO, Satya Nadella, dropped a teaser about the project’s development.

https://youtu.be/bPB8YsKy9k4

According to his keynote, Microsoft was already self-hosting the OS for months. Nadella also mentioned an official company announcement would arrive shortly. Only a week after the event, Microsoft started sending out sending invites to a Windows 11 media event on June 24, 2021.

In a display of ingenuity, Microsoft posted its 11-minute video featuring Windows 11 startup sounds to its YouTube channel on June 10, 2021. While the company was yet to announce the official name of its new operating system project, the clues left by the development team suggested Microsoft was going with the “Windows 11” name.

Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay officially announced the naming of Windows 11 at a virtual launch event on June 24, 2021. During the event, CEO Nadella labelled Windows 11 as the “re-imagining of the operating system.”

Microsoft also launched a developer-focused event discussing issues like updates to its Microsoft Store, the launch of the Windows App SDK also known as “Project Reunion”), Fluent Design standards and guidelines, and many more items.

The June 24 media event also saw Microsoft tease a future release date for the OS. According to Panay, the public could see a release date in “Holiday 2021,” with no specifics given around what he inferred with his statement.

However, Panay did mention that the release of Windows 11 will coincide with free upgrades for Windows 10 users with compatible devices.

Finally, during an event on June 28, Microsoft released the first-ever previews of its SDK and build of Windows 11 to media and tech insiders.

As of the Winter of 2021, there’s still no official word o the definite release date for Windows 11.

If you want your business to be Windows 11 ready then speak to our team at Inspired IT today.