internet tips

Increasing Workplace Productivity with Office365 Skype for Business

Increasing Workplace Productivity with Office365 Skype for Business 1000 450 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Skype for Business (S4B) is just one of the productivity tools in the Office365 arsenal, but it adds many powerful collaborative features that can take your efforts into the stratosphere, improve employee productivity and engagement, and streamline many of your business processes to be more efficient and agile than ever before. The modern communications solutions it offers are valuable for any size business, but nowhere is its effect as dramatic as at the enterprise level.

With full S4B integration into your Microsoft Office suite, your workforce can connect and collaborate with the click of a mouse. Add to that the ability to integrate your CMS, and you’ve got a neat little package that packs a huge punch.

What is S4B?

We are all familiar with Skype as a way to video call and make IP phone calls from your computer or device. S4B is much more than that – a complete unified communications system that combines all of your communications into a single platform: your entire network’s voice, mobile, SMS, email, instant messaging, voice mail and live chat are consolidated, and available on any device, from anywhere you might be working. All of your messaging and calls can be managed from a dashboard, which gives you the ability to monitor what is going on with every single user. This includes being able to monitor call quality as well as call length and destination, so that you can better optimize your hardware as well as your human capital to accommodate your specific needs.

Overcoming communications challenges

Increasing employee engagement is something you want to strive for, and with S4B you are giving them the tools to stay focused and continue on in their tasks without the challenges of technology, location, or even language. Yes, that’s a thing: recent features added to S4B include support for more than 50 languages. So, if for instance  you are on a video conference with a client or a remote worker, and that person is in China, you can opt to have their spoken input translated in real time. This works for both voice and video calls, and adds a new and exciting layer to what is possible.

S4B also gives your workforce the option of switching to a different mode of communication without having to exit the platform or switch devices. For instance, if you are on a call with an account, you can conference in other employees instantly, or join a remote meeting that is already in progress on the other side of the world – all without leaving your desk. If you are on an important call and need to leave your desk, you can switch to your mobile device without interrupting the call, and carry on. The same applies to your remote workforce, or to your in-the-field salesforce. In a world that increasingly expects an immediate response to most issues, your team can connect and collaborate, no matter where they are: in the airport, in transit, or anywhere there is an internet connection.

Organization made easy

Skype for Business also makes it easier to set up conferences and meetings. Integration with your CMS allows you to set up and invite your contacts to meetings from within the S4B environment. Take your efforts even further by broadcasting your meetings to up to 10,000 people, a great option for large companies with international locations. Broadcast your team conferences, training seminars, and webinars, and provide an interactive experience for your viewers as you can ask them to complete polls, ask questions and take messages as you go.

Get Started with Office 365 and Learn More About S4B

If you are considering implementing Office 365, or if your company is ready to get started with Skype for Business unified communications, we would love to hear from you. Greenlight ITC is a full-service IT consultancy, and over our more than a decade in business, we have helped thousands of Australian businesses become more productive and achieve greater success. Call today or drop us a line to speak to one of our Microsoft Office 365 specialists, and find out what Office 365 and S4B can do for you.

Benefits of Microsoft Office365 for your business

Benefits of Microsoft Office365 for your business 1000 450 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Microsoft Office365 has positioned itself to become ubiquitous in 2017, and it’s doing a great job of meeting almost every business need from home office to enterprise. Office 365 is a cloud-based productivity suite, combining their signature collection of office software with powerful collaborative attributes, allowing your team to work from anywhere, and on any device.

Your company will benefit from business-class professional tools like email, messaging and video conferencing, fully integrated across your network. Enjoy a range of collaborative tools such as calendars, cloud storage and full Skype for Business (S4B) integration – not to mention enhanced security features that give you access to the latest in tech safety.

Installing Office365 is possibly the smartest decision you will ever make

With no up-front costs, it’s an easy decision to make. You’ve got no software to update or maintain, because your apps are backed up and updated automatically as new versions become available. The savings operational efficiency alone would make the ROI worthwhile, not to mention the ability to reduce or eliminate your server load by hosting applications and storing data in the cloud. Deployment is easy and can be accomplished across your entire system without engaging IT support.

Scalability made easy

Being able to scale at a moment’s notice is another benefit of Microsoft Office365. Licences are billed per user/per month, and each user can connect up to five devices. If you experience a sudden growth spurt, you have the ability to add users with a few simple clicks.

Office365 will also help you minimize the time you spend training new hires, as they will likely already be comfortable with the Microsoft environment, allowing them to get to work right away.

Viability can be easily measured through a number of factors, including:

✓ Improved employee productivity and engagement:
o Being able to work from any location frees up your workforce to go where inspiration will find them. Think of what they might accomplish if they weren’t tied to the same old desk all day long!
o Enhanced connectivity through video conferencing, messaging, corporate social networking and integration with various apps and CRMs
o File sharing and other collaborative tools
o Synched access to calendar, email and contacts across all devices

✓ Better business continuity
o Work within one integrated platform
o 99.9% uptime guarantee
o Business-class email hosting
o Conduct on-line meetings from wherever you are
o Enhanced security features to defend against the latest threats
o Disaster recovery support
o Reduces IT support costs

Productivity integrations that you will actually use

Office 365 Groups was introduced in 2016 to enhance productivity for workgroups. Originally developed for educational institutions and other large, collaborative workgroups, it offers integrations with apps that are designed to help you get your work done faster and more efficiently. While Skype for Business might represent the most high-profile connection in Groups, apps like Delve, Yammer, Planner, Power BI, Office Graph and Dynamics CRM add layers of functionality that add even more benefits.

Office 365 Groups is all about collaboration. Within the public or private group that you create, Office Graphs tracks and compiles information related to a specific user for easy access, as does Delve. Delve and Graphs work together to present this compiled content in an intuitive manner, providing personalized and organizational insights that can help your team be as productive as it can possibly be. Yammer is Microsoft Office 365’s private social platform, helping connect your team more effectively.

Today’s cyber threats need today’s cyber security

In addition to the range of cyber threats you know about, there are a world of perils that you haven’t yet imagined. From ransomware to social engineering tactics, on-line thieves are becoming more and more sophisticated about how they access your systems, and nobody, not even the small business owner or solopreneur, is free from risk. One of the ways cyber thieves can access your system is through vulnerabilities in outdated software. Microsoft Office365 is self-updating, so you can sleep peacefully, knowing that your systems are always protected with the latest security patches. This feature is yet another contributor to your ROI, as you will never have to count on contracted IT support (or a random member of your staff) to keep your software and systems up to date.

Your systems and data are always protected

Microsoft Office365 is a key player in your disaster recovery plan. Since applications and shared files are all stored in the cloud, your location could burn to the ground but your data would still be safe and secure, your applications running as usual. Your customers would not notice a thing, and your workforce could pick up where they left off on another device at another location.

What’s already great about Office365 is just getting better

New features that rolled out this January prove that Microsoft is committed to being the only productivity solution for businesses of any size. If you are thinking about moving to a Microsoft Office365 environment and would like to speak to one of Greenlight ITCs Microsoft IT support specialists, call today. We would love to speak to you about the benefits of Office365, and demonstrate more completely what it can help you accomplish.

How to manage your daily emails more effectively

How to manage your daily emails more effectively 1000 450 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

It feels like everyone has a different way of handling email, yet nobody claims they have nailed it. I feel the same way. I think we all receive too many emails and it’s hard not to feel constantly over whelmed, or that I have missed or forgotten something.

This is how I attempt to approach email, and it’s the same with my work day. It’s all about large outcomes for what I am trying to achieve. I try not to get caught in the trap of just working away on things that have little impact, “try” being the operative word. Here is what I do:

  • Check email around 3 times a day 10:00am, 1pm and around 3-4pm. Not checking emails first thing takes discipline and I don’t manage it every day. It is great to start the day knocking off things from my list first as I find I am fresh and ready. It’s a waste to use my fresh brain deleting spam emails or reading some email someone has cc’ed me on just to cover themselves.
  • I have all notifications disabled on email and on my phone. This helped my sanity a lot.
  • Everything needs to be actioned/deleted on the spot or put onto my paper list this gets the inbox to zero every time it’s checked. I only want to have one list and that’s my paper list.
  • I don’t move email into separate folders I just search the one inbox for anything I need. I did try the folders for every email system however I found I could never find anything as the sorting was not consistent enough.
  • I am ruthless with deletion if it’s in the “I am interested however not now category” then it’s gone.
  • I then work on the items on my paper list by largest impact.

I realise that this won’t work for everyone as I have a management position, and generally a lot of the requests are not time critical. I also have the luxury of being able to delegate a lot of requests.

What is your system? Does it make you feel less anxious and stop things slipping through the gaps? I would love to know.

Accessing Windows Applications from your Mac or iPad, and other devices

Accessing Windows Applications from your Mac or iPad, and other devices 1000 450 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Many people love the ease and elegance of Apple products, but did you know that with a bit of clever engineering, it is possible to access your Windows only Application from other devices? We do this for many of our clients through Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Service.

Apple ships a basic RDP client with the Mac, but this has limitations if you intend to use an RD Gateway like we do for additional security. However all is not lost. There are other applications out there, and here’s a brief summary of our experience:

The best Mac/iDevice app to use that supports RD Gateways is called Microsoft Remote Desktop (MRD) and is available via the App store at no cost. This app currently requires OSX 10.7 or iOS 7.0 or later. This requirement usually changes when new OSs are released so be careful to check this before you install.
Recently we have seen this app have major problems with iOS 8.0 in that it will not work with the RD Gateway properly as well as causing session crashes due to some of the passed through touchscreen gestures. We do not know at this time if either problem is fixed in iOS 8.3.

For people that do have these problems the other two choices are apps called 2X and CoRD. Both are free and have similar OS requirements as MRD. However neither supports the use of the RD Gateway.

Our Customers have reported 2X is actually a lot more fluid and adjust the display settings better than MRD when connecting to the server, and it does not suffer from the session crashing issue either with the touchscreen gestures.

We no longer recommend CoRD. It appears to no longer being updated or may even now be removed from the app store. It’s ability to forward printing devices from OSX was also deprecated some time ago with official word from the developer that they essentially have no intention to ever fix it.
if you do try an OSX update keep in mind that you may be running other software that will not work with the new OSX version without also being upgraded (usually at a cost). One very good example of this is Parallels. We’ve not yet seen a version of Parallels that will run on multiple OSX versions. You will have to also upgrade their Parallels version or abandon their Windows VM.

Also note that upgrading OSX is only free of charge for users upgrading from 10.6.8 or later to 10.10.3 (Yosemite). Mavericks is no longer available on the Mac App store and if you do not wish to upgrade to 10.10.3 you will have to purchase the intermediary versions e.g. 10.7, 10.8 etc. as these are not provided free.
If connecting from an Android phone or tablet then Microsoft Remote Desktop is also available from the Play Store as is 2X. The required Android version varies between devices so best method is just to test it.

Top 10 Tips to keep your Passwords Safe and Secure

Top 10 Tips to keep your Passwords Safe and Secure 1000 450 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

As IT professionals, we are fighting a never ending battle to keep our customers networks secure.  Here are our top 10 tips that end-users can undertake to help keep your systems secure.

1. Don’t give your password out to anyone

Be very mindful when a colleague or IT professional asks you for your password. Wherever possible type your password for them, or get them to use their own.  The IT security industry uses the term Social Engineering  to describe a process where bad guys pose as an IT professional to get regular users divulge passwords or other security related information.

2. And Watch out for web “phishing” attacks

Phising   is when you get an email that pretends to be from a bank or other reputable institution, that leads you to a false website that prompts you to enter your account information.  Banks will never send you such an email, and if you do think it is legitimate, give them a call to confirm.  A commercial anti-spam filter will block a lot of these emails, but you still need to be vigilant.

3. Use different password for each account

We all do it.  We all have one, or even a number of favourite passwords that we use (or rotate) on different systems. If even one of these passwords gets compromised, it leaves the door open to a multitude of systems.  Once you are aware of a breach, you have to go and reset your passwords everywhere you can think of.  Better to keep the passwords different from the start.  Password management software can help track these passwords, and even generate unique passwords for you.

4. Change passwords regularly

Some systems and websites, such as banks, require you to change your password on a regular basis.  For any system that has potentially sensitive information, it’s best practice to take a pro-active approach and initiate the change yourself.

5. Put a password on your mobile and tablet

If you use your mobile or table for work emails, or file sharing through dropbox or one drive then it goes without saying that you should have a password or pin to access your mobile device.  Losing your mobile is bad enough.  Allowing thieves enough information to gain access to your bank accounts would be disastrous.

6. Create passwords that include Capital letters and special characters with numbers

And avoid common passwords and dictionary words.  A brute force attack is where an attacker uses software that goes through a list of common usernames and passwords to see if they get a “hit”. So don’t leave you password blank, or use “password” or “12345”

7. Don’t leave passwords on sticky notes

You never know who is looking around the office when you are not there, so keep you account details and passwords out of plain sight

8. Update your anti-virus and anti-malware software

A current subscription for anti-virus software may help detect and prevent some phishing and key logger attacks.  The software is cheap compared to costs of rebuilding a compromised PC, let alone the cost of lost data

9. Use password management software

There are a number of free and commercial password management solutions available that will store your passwords in a “vault” on your PC or in the cloud, depending on your preferences.  Talk to your local IT support  company if you need guidance on this.

10. Spread the word

Pass these tips onto your colleagues and staff.  A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.  Even if a low level users account is compromised, hackers often use this as a stepping stone to get access to an entire system.

Handy tips and tricks for identifying malware

Handy tips and tricks for identifying malware 1000 450 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Handy tips and tricks for identifying malware
We live in a world that is dominated by computers. For many people, they are a necessity that is essential for daily life. We use them to watch videos, write term papers, do our taxes and so many other tasks. Computers truly are one of the greatest inventions in the history of mankind. However, there is a threat to your computer that is always lurking and waiting to cause problems when you least expect it. This threat goes by the name of malware.

If you own a computer long enough, you will eventually have to deal with this menace. Having your computer get infected by malware can be an annoying hassle that ruins your day and slows down the work you need to get done. However, if you know a few tips, you can get a resolution to these issues before they get out of hand. If you are able to identify the malware infection symptoms, you will be able to get your computer working perfectly. You will also be able to safe-guard it from being attacked by malware in the future. The five tips below will allow you to recognize that signs that your machine is contaminated with malware:

1. Browser offline

If you are not able to access the Internet, but you are certain that you are still connected to the network, a malware infection might be in progress. You will first need to go to Internet Options > LAN Settings to see if any foreign proxy is currently in use. There is malware that is able to configure your browser to allow it to enter through a proxy that is unsafe. If this is the case, eliminate these proxy settings.

2. Change of Google links and/or home page

If your home page changes by itself, this is a good indicator that malware is present. This is also the case if you click on a link provided by a search engine and you are taken to a different site. If these things are happening, there is an extremely strong possibility malware is the cause.

3. Your PC is slowing down

One of the most common problems created by malware is slowing down the computer it is infecting. The decrease in speed can be related to a specific application or the network performance as a whole. It is important to note that just because a computer is slow, it does not automatically mean malware is the cause. A small amount of memory or a fragmented system are also common causes of slow computers. Therefore, regularly schedule maintenance on your computer, such as disk cleanup, running a check-disk and defragmenting your hard-disks. If you perform all these tasks and your computer remains slow, malware may very well be the culprit.

4. Pop-ups

Every person on the Internet knows how annoying pop-ups can be. Persistent pop-ups are a prime indicator of a malware infection. To get rid of these pop-ups, you will need to use an anti-malware application.

5. Software

Using anti-malware software is the most common method of finding malware on a computer. This type of software is also able to detect adware and spyware.

Why keeping your anti-virus up to date is important

Why keeping your anti-virus up to date is important 1000 450 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

New viruses constantly emerge out of nowhere. Malicious hackers have a harder time getting to your computer than they used to, but we still need to protect our computers with anti-virus software. Some viruses have been around for a while, but they have avoided detection until recently. Viruses can steal your personal information, ruin your productivity at home or at work, and make it difficult for children to use the computer for educational purposes.

Hackers often send viruses called key loggers into your system to try to steal your information. When you type in your social security number, bank account number, pin numbers, and credit card numbers online, they are hidden from view to protect you. Some hackers send viruses that can remove these safe barriers and steal your information. With that information they can steal your identity, remove funds from your bank account, max out your credit cards, and more. Safety online should still be the number one priority, so you must keep your anti-virus software up to date to catch these malicious acts before they catch you.

The definitions within the anti-virus program are what keep your computer secure. Let’s say your definitions are three months old. Any new viruses created in the last three months can then freely attack your computer since your software doesn’t recognize them as threats. You must have the latest definitions since they are loaded with the correct detection abilities to remove threats before they cause damage. The right software blocks threats before they can latch on to your computer and harm your systems. We will keep your computer healthy and safe with new anti-virus definitions.

Installing new updates can be a confusing and time-consuming process if you don’t know exactly what to do. You can’t afford to take chances with something so vital to the safety of your computer. We have the tools and abilities to update your anti-virus software with all of the latest technologies. Your computer needs the newest virus definitions to block and remove the threats that have just emerged lately. New anti-virus definitions will ensure that your computer won’t become a target during the next wave of virus attacks. We can help you rest easy knowing that your computer is in good hands.

If you need assistance updating your existing anti-virus software or purchasing new software, Greenlight can help. We have products that range from low monthly payments per user to complete systems installed on yearly pricing models. Call your account manager today, we will be more than happy to answer your questions.

Stay Smart Online: How to Navigate the Web without Fear of Data Theft

Stay Smart Online: How to Navigate the Web without Fear of Data Theft 1000 450 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

stay smart online - Hack codeMany small to medium-sized businesses make the error of thinking that they’re unlikely to fall victim to hacking, not like larger companies. That leads to an absence of strong data protection strategies. This is a mistake you don’t want to make. In the eyes of hackers, everybody is fair game. In fact, small and medium-sized businesses may have a higher chance of experiencing security problems because they don’t have dedicated IT support and strong security.

Statistics show that cyber criminals prefer small businesses because they have IT systems that are easier to penetrate. Compared to bigger enterprises that have strong IT networks and more secure data protection strategies, hackers can easily gain access to small businesses’ critical information and exploit it.

Increasing Number of Cyber Attacks

Just recently, Symantec released a report on Internet threat security that said there is a 500 percent spike in ransomware attacks. Hackers encrypt a user’s files and ask for a ransom in exchange for unencryption. They can also encrypt files on shared network drives.

Cybercriminals have made a lucrative business out of ransomware, earning between $100 and $500 per shot. What’s alarming is the fact that 3 percent of victims pay the amount, which is understandable when your business is on the line. The report also said that there is an increase in attacks on smartphones as well.

These facts show how important it is to not just tighten regulations surrounding piracy laws, but also encourage small to medium-sized businesses to be more serious about protecting their data. The solution can be as simple as having a dedicated IT manager to oversee the use of sensitive information and implement the right security systems. This won’t just prevent hackers from penetrating your IT systems but also foresee problems and implement preventative measures.

Having managed IT services will benefit SMBs. These will help you monitor your IT systems, making sure there’s no way cyber criminals can penetrate your network and use your data against you.

Stay Smart Online

Incidentally, this week is Stay Smart Online week here in Australia. Formerly known as the National Cyber Security Awareness Week, this campaign aims to promote safe and responsible Internet use, whether at home or in the workplace. The Australian Government has partnered with industry leaders and the community sector to raise awareness for safe Internet use. This year’s theme is focused on mobility, particularly appropriate due to the increasing number of individuals who bring their own devices and use personal applications for work.

With that in mind, let us share with you important tips on how you (and your employees) use the web without fear of exposing critical information to unauthorised persons.

Use hack-proof passwords. These are your first line of defence so make sure you avoid using common passwords because they are easily hacked. Use numerous combinations of lower and upper case letters, characters, and numbers, or even complete sentences. The more characters in a password, the harder it is to hack. Use a password manager so you don’t have to write down all passwords somewhere, you just need to remember one master password. It’s also advisable to change passwords every 4 to 6 weeks.

Install security software. Your computers must have firewall, anti-virus, and anti-spyware installed. These will protect you from worms, malware, and viruses that will damage your equipment and put your data at risk. Note that just having an antivirus installed is no longer enough.

Encrypt your hard drives. Passwords are not enough protection for your company data. Encrypting data will prevent others from reading your files. This will keep your data safe when being sent over the Internet or backed up on a server. Windows computers can use Microsoft’s BitLocker software to encrypt hard drives. You should also encrypt your USB drives and Internet traffic. PC World offers an easy step-by-step guide.

Make sure you have the latest software updates and security patches. Configure your computers to automatically download updates and always check for errors or failed updates. CSO.com, a website for security executives, suggests a free patch-management tool called Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI).

Segment your computer networks. Segmenting separates computers into groups to improve performance and security. You can segment your networks based on different functions like keeping records on customers, finance, and other important files. Here are some best practices for segmenting networks in virtual and private cloud environments.

Implement strict cloud computing practices. Anything you save in the cloud is no longer in your control, so make sure that you encrypt files before sending it out there. You must choose your cloud storage provider carefully, considering speed and security features. Greenlight ITC offers hybrid cloud services, which allow you to store sensitive data safely.

Educate employees. Your staff must be fully aware of the security policy. Educate and train them on how to use applications and access networks securely. Enforce the policies and be strict about it. The first line of defense in security lies in the hands of the employees. Their activities (using social media, instant messaging, and chat) can open the door to cyber criminals and put company data at risk, so make it known which activities are unsafe. Here are some tips from AVG on how you can keep that door shut.