Data management

Keep Your Business Continuity Plans Current

Keep Your Business Continuity Plans Current 600 329 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Is there one thing we can count on now with COVID-19? The situation can change in an instant. You may have been confident in your business continuity plans in the past, but the pandemic has shaken us all up. It’s a solid reminder to review our plans to get back to business quickly and seamlessly.

A good business continuity plan ensures maintained operations before and during unexpected disruptions. Generally, decision-makers strategize in advance to ride out:

  • natural disasters
  • man-made disasters
  • national emergencies
  • utility failures
  • sabotage
  • data breaches or cybersecurity attack
  • theft

These could impact a system or network or prevent you accessing your location to get to your computers and important data.

Now, we also know that we should prepare for the effects of an international health pandemic!

Such business-centric planning considers all necessary elements of staying on track. You’ll look at physical premises and staffing, and hardware and software requirements.

Preparing for the Unexpected

A business continuity plan tries to anticipate the worst that could happen. The problem is that we can never know what the next bad thing might be.

You may not ever need to use your plan, but taking a “these things happen to other businesses” point of view could leave you in a serious lurch.

The COVID-19 crisis has also made things real for many businesses. Governments required organizations across industries, regardless of size, to migrate to remote work. Companies with business continuity plans in place responded with greater agility, whereas others were left scrambling.

Now, many countries are beginning to slowly reopen for business. Sure, there are constraints, but the idea is to get the global economy up and running. While you’re adapting, take some time to revise your business continuity plan.

It’s better to get your decision-makers around a table (or in a virtual meeting) now, while things are calmer. Most people think more clearly when not in the midst of a crisis. So, be proactive. Plan now for the worst. You can weigh up options at leisure, pursuing many different what ifs to determine the best plan of attack.

Look back at what worked and what didn’t during the COVID-19-related disruptions. This review can provide real insight into opportunities, and you’ll be even better prepared in the future.

Planning with an MSP Partner

Business continuity plans lay out how the business will move forward amidst disruption. Work with a managed services provider (MSP) to ensure your planning is comprehensive. Our IT experts can help enable remote work, set up data protection, and develop a backup setup.

Give us a call. Put a business continuity plan in place, and be more confident you’re ready for whatever happens next.

Invest Now in Your Top Tech Priorities

Invest Now in Your Top Tech Priorities 600 329 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

As 2020 comes to an end, and the global economy is in a slump. But believe it or not, now could be a good time to invest in technology priorities. The Christmas break may be the perfect time to get those IT projects done.

You may already have streamlined processes. You had certain technology tools and systems in place to get things done. It all was working fine. Yet 2020 brought many challenges to the way business functions. The technology you relied on in the past may not be the best answer to your current business needs.

You might have been putting off cloud migration, as most work was onsite, or you resisted remote working out of concern that employee productivity would suffer. Perhaps your business didn’t want to secure a “Bring Your Own Device” workplace.

Now, you need to rethink how your employees report for work. You could be facing any familiar challenges such as:

  • a server that could support your teams overburdened by remote workers;
  • a reliance on email document exchange causing difficulties with version control and accountability;
  • not having enough software licenses to accommodate employees working from home;
  • employees lacking the technology to get work done offsite.

Businesses need to act now to address their new technology needs. Keep in mind that many vendors are offering discounted services, plus, you may find it easier to access business loans for tech investments.

Stepping Up Your Tech Game

Some businesses are struggling to keep their doors open. Others are waiting out the current situation to see how things shake out. Then there are those that are rolling the dice and betting on a rebound. Improving the IT environment can be a foundation for future business success.

Plans may have already been in place to invest in a systems or hardware upgrade or migrate to the cloud. Continuing the digital transformation journey, when everyone is adapting already, could make sense. Reduce negative impacts by making the change while employees are working remotely. Downtime may not be as big of a challenge.

Your business may also invest in data backups and disaster recovery solutions. Didn’t have business continuity plans in place? You’ve likely realized their importance now. These plans prepare your business for data breaches, ransomware attacks, power outages, or natural disasters. Contracting for cloud data backup pays off when you can recover quickly and cut damage done.

Starting a partnership with a managed service provider (MSP) is also helpful. An MSP gets to know your business and its systems and needs. They can help find cost savings and identify opportunities for greater efficiencies. They can also offer expert IT advice, manage and track your data backups and cybersecurity, or take on day-to-day tasks, freeing up your IT team for revenue-generating innovation.

If you’re thinking of making a tech investment, contact us today. We’re available to consult on the best solutions for your business needs.

Our experts can put your plans into practice while you focus on your business recovery. Contact us today!

Do More with Microsoft Forms

Do More with Microsoft Forms 600 329 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Most people are familiar with their Microsoft 365 subscription providing Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint. Those are the familiar options. But Microsoft is always evolving its cloud-based services. Microsoft Teams is a chat-based workspace integrating people, content, and tools. There’s also a Planner, To-Do application, Flow for managing notifications, and Power Bi Pro analytics. That’s to name just a few.

Another good one to get comfortable with is Microsoft Forms.

Microsoft 365 Forms Makes Data Collection Easier

Microsoft Forms allows your business to create surveys, generate quizzes, conduct polls, and capture data.

This easy-to-use application simplifies form creation: you simply select “New Form” or “New Quiz,” input the form details, add images if you want them, and you’re ready to go. You can click and drag to choose your question types from multiple choice, text, rating, or date options.

Ready-made themes allow you to pick different colours or graphics to personalize your survey. Before you go live, you can also preview and test your survey. You can even share with a colleague to collaborate on the survey design.

It’s that easy. In a few minutes you can create the tool you need to:

  • collect employee input;
  • measure customer satisfaction;
  • poll your team about how they feel about returning back to the office;
  • quiz employees doing virtual learning.

Once you have your finished link, you can paste it into an email, post it on social media, or put it on your website. You can also generate a QR code for mobile device use.

Get Results with Microsoft Forms

OK, you’ve shared your new survey, and the responses are raining down on you! There’s a dashboard for that. You can track the number of responses and average completion time. Plus, you can drill down into particular question data.

For any question, you can display your results in charts or graphs for that PowerPoint.

Since this is part of the Microsoft suite, Forms integrates with Excel, too. You can import the data there to leverage the full power of Excel’s analysis tools.

If you want to get even more advanced, upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Voice. Formerly Microsoft Forms Pro, this application helps you gather real-time customer feedback.

There are plenty of survey tools available online today. SoGoSurvey, SurveyMonkey, or TypeForm are top examples, but free versions can limit the number of questions or respondents surveyed.

Microsoft Forms integrates with other Microsoft 365 tools in your subscription. For quick intake or call center satisfaction, Forms is an intuitive application. It’s easy to keep in touch with customers and employees.

You can do more with Microsoft 365. We can help. Our IT experts get to know your technology and business needs, then we’ll identify the Microsoft 365 tools that can simplify the work you do. Contact us today!

Top 5 Risks When You Stay with Windows 7 this 2020

Top 5 Risks When You Stay with Windows 7 this 2020 1920 1280 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Windows 7 End of Life

Microsoft will no longer be supporting Windows 7 after a ten-year stint—as announced last December 16, 2019.

The purpose of this direction is for the tech giant to pour its ample resources into more lucrative, newer technologies. Essentially, Microsoft has squeezed as much juice as it can out of Windows 7. It doesn’t make sense for them to continue providing technical assistance and software updates that protect PCs using the outdated program.

The Impact on Your Businesses

First and foremost, Windows 7 is still being used on 39% of all PCs.

And a year from now in January 2021, Windows 7 will be used on 18.7% of all PCs, which accounts for around 281 million machines.

What does that mean, exactly? That even at under 20% of total usage on PCs, there are still over 280 million systems with Windows 7 in place. At such a vast number, it’s fair to guess that small to medium businesses make up enough of those totals. Especially since many owners might wish to sidestep the costly nature of upgrades.

Though, with the removal of all support for the system, keeping Windows 7 installed will end up being more costly than merely paying for the upgrade to Windows 10.

So, as a business owner or stakeholder who may still be using Windows 7, you’re likely interested in knowing what might happen after neglecting to upgrade.

Let’s examine some of the most significant risks involved in continuing to use Windows 7 on your PC and how it can affect your workplace:

The Top 5 Risks of Staying with Windows 7

Risk # 1.      No More Technical Support

Last year, Microsoft patched 29 Windows 7 vulnerabilities in April alone.

Of those vulnerabilities, 6 were rated critical with the other 23 being deemed important.

Think about it, that’s one month alone—and the only reason those changes were made was due to an extended support phase focused on fixing flaws. Those snafus on Windows 7, since it’s an older system, have continually surged over the years. Now, without support, these issues will be seemingly never-ending.   

Risk # 2.      Heightened Cybersecurity Risk

Studies from 2018 about cybersecurity in small-and-medium-sized businesses reported that 67% of survey respondents experienced some form of cyber-attack. On top of that, another 58% went through a data breach with employee or customer information.

These stats prove that businesses are already susceptible to these attacks. With Windows 7 now lacking the infrastructure to deal with these issues, if you don’t upgrade, the consequences could be disastrous.

Risk # 3.      Additional Costs

On a per-system basis, it’ll be possible to receive extended security support. However, there’s an additional fee paid to Microsoft per computer to obtain the appropriate security updates. Furthermore, the dollar amount owed to Microsoft will double every year and caps out at a maximum of three years.

The price begins at $50 per machine—meaning by 3 years it’ll be $150 per device. If you have around 10 machines, that can prove quite costly.

Risk # 4.      Falling Behind the Competition

As Windows 7 becomes more obsolete, more businesses will be using Windows 10. 

As technologies keep improving, functionality enhances. If you’re on an outdated system, the slower it’ll run, and it’ll be less equipped to handle the state-of-the-art tools that’ll keep you ahead of your competitors.

Risk # 5. Frustrating Your Team

When your employees end up with inferior technology, their morale tends to suffer. For many staff members, it can be a bad look when you fail to equip them with systems, programs, and software that isn’t – at the very least – up to date.

If you don’t update to Windows 10 soon, your team might get the idea that you aren’t invested fully in their success. From there, frustration brews, work tends to be negatively impacted, and you’ll have an office full of employees at their wit’s end.

The Very Real Problem of Malware in the Workplace

As technology keeps reaching new heights, so does its propensity to be malicious and dangerous. Businesses far and wide must be eternally vigilant in the face of these threats that can damage both their reputation and bottom line.

For instance, recently, Landry’s, Inc., an American, privately owned, multi-brand dining, hospitality, entertainment, and gaming corporation, identified malware on its payment processing system.

The malware was designed to access payment card data from cards used in person. Interestingly, the card data wasn’t readable due to the end-to-end encryption technology used at points-of-sale. So, the malware was prevented from accessing payment card data.

Although this hasn’t occurred on a Windows 7, these attacks come from everywhere when sensitive information or money is involved. As proven by Landry’s, with state-of-the-art systems in place, these cyber breaches situations can be nipped in the bud.

So how do you mitigate these risks?

The short answer is to move to Windows 10 to receive the full support from Microsoft. This can be done by upgrading your operating system on your existing PC’s, assuming your hardware is capable of handling the demands of a modern operating system. If you PC is more than 3 or 4 years old, it is probably more cost effective to simply replace the PC.

Mobile Device Management and How it Can Protect Your Company’s Data

Mobile Device Management and How it Can Protect Your Company’s Data 150 150 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

 Mobile Device Management and How it Can Protect Your Company’s Data

 Mobile devices are the most rapidly growing type of software in the United States and all over the world. Because they are expanding so rapidly, businesses are having a difficult time keeping up with the increasing complexity of what needs to be managed, especially with regards to security. When an employee needs to access company information or resources and does so from a mobile device, he or she could be putting the company at risk for a security breach. The main way that companies have been dealing with mobile devices is by using mobile device management (MDM) systems. I have found that there are a number of different characteristics of such systems that allow companies to decrease security risks.

Administration Console

An administration console is able to assist with data protection by showing what all company-owned mobile devices are doing, regardless of who has them, what platform they are running, and the type of device. This will also allow for directory services to be used to automatically update all of the devices without requiring input from the user. This will make sure that the latest anti-spyware and anti-virus software is being utilized, which will decrease security threats to the mobile devices.

Logging and Reporting

Everything that is done on company-owned mobile devices that has a mobile device management system installed will be logged. This will allow the behavior of people on mobile devices to be monitored to make sure that they are not accessing company data through channels that have not been secured or putting the entire network at risk by downloading software from untrustworthy websites. If a problem should occur, it will be easy to tell where it came from and therefore make it simpler to resolve the issue.

Creating Profiles

It is very easy to create profiles through an MDM system that have their own sets of restrictions, passwords, and other security features that can be added to the mobile devices when they are first deployed. This will allow different layers of security to be added to devices depending on the level of the employee within the company.

Containment Management

Perhaps one of the most useful features of an MDM system is that of containment management. This is best for mobile devices that are regularly being used to access sensitive information that could do a lot of damage if it is stolen. With containment management, it is now possible to isolate any applications or information that is specifically connected to corporate data from the rest of the mobile device. When an employee is using the device for personal reasons, there will be less restrictions, but if any actions should veer off into the realm of corporate information, then the user will enter a closed environment that will reduce the chances of sensitive data being removed by hackers and used for nefarious purposes.

Create Personal Terms of Use

It is easy to create customized terms of use statements that need to be reviewed and signed by the employee who is receiving the phone in order to be able to use it. These customized terms of use statements can include specific instructions regarding accessing company information and lay down guidelines for what will happen if such actions are taken. This will provide the employee with full information regarding how serious a situation like that could be and the necessity of data protection, thus reducing the chances that a serious data breach could occur.

If you are looking for more information about mobile data management and other security solutions, fill out our contact form.