Microsoft Teams Options Improve Remote Presentations

Microsoft Teams Options Improve Remote Presentations

Until the recent rollout of Microsoft Teams background customization feature, videoconferencing was a sometimes less-then-enviable communication vehicle. Users would have to tidy up the workspace, scrunch the camera to only capture their face or suffer that “lived-in” looking home office or kitchen table in the background. Aside from having the capability to see someone while talking, background distractions and disheveled spaces were significant negatives.

Microsoft Teams

Now comes Microsoft Teams’ background customization feature that opens the door to a wealth of possibilities. Work-from-home professionals can now erase coffee mugs and laundry baskets from the video feed that didn’t necessarily convey the right message. The new feature allows Microsoft Teams users to not only improve presentations but also make them your own.

How To Customize Your Microsoft Teams Video Background

Before diving into the technical steps users will need to follow, it’s important to keep in mind that personalized background customization may only be available for scheduled meetings. The relatively new Microsoft Teams’ personal image feature could evolve to impromptu video chats down the road. For now, users should plan ahead if they want to employ anything other than the curated images. These are the necessary steps to customize your background.

  • Open or Join a Teams meeting
  • Click on the three dots at the screens’ bottom
  • Continue to Meetings controls
  • Click through More to Show Background Effects
  • You now have the option of selecting None, Blur, or selecting a standard Microsoft Curated Image.
  • Preview your custom background and click Apply if satisfied

Business and educational Microsoft Teams licenses with video conferencing up to 250 users reportedly enjoyed early rollouts. And while this background customization option certainly stands head and shoulders above real-life living spaces, there are other features and possibilities that can take remote presentations to the next level.

Maximize the Potential of Microsoft Teams Rooms

What may prove to be the game-changer for remote presenters is the wide-ranging customization tools beyond background cleanup. The rollout adds features that transcend ordinary talk to expansive visuals and futuristic information collaboration. Microsoft clearly aims to stay ahead of other applications that offer real-time video chat by delivering a few eye-catching bells and whistles. These include the following.

  • Whiteboards: Microsoft provides a feature that allows multiple users to collaborate on thought development by inserting notes and visuals on a virtual whiteboard.
  • Closed Captions: Microsoft video conferencing includes a feature that will enable hearing-impaired users to follow the real-time text.
  • Privacy: Groups can now create a specific channel that contains files and essential elements for unique purposes. This eliminates the need to start from scratch when leveraging digital meeting spaces.
  • DLP: Administrators gain Data Loss Prevention tools to secure sensitive information and prevent leaks.
  • Events: Microsoft 365 allows real-time events with up to 10,000 participants. This can be utilized for anything from live streaming entertainment to virtual industry conferences.

Taking maximum advantage of these tools delivers exponential creative presentation enhancements. Between the background customization and other tools, remote presenters will have plenty of outside-the-box ideas.

But the ability to upload personalized images may be the defining item. That’s primarily because niche industries sometimes have radically different ideas about what constitutes professionalism, enhancement, or is just plain cool. Now that Teams allows users to upload unique and specialized backgrounds, remote presenters can genuinely make it their own.

What You Need to Do to Protect Your Team From Coronavirus Phishing

How to Protect Your Business From the Surge in Phishing Websites

Look at the spike in phishing websites during the coronavirus. Learn how cybercriminals are leveraging the pandemic. Find out how to protect your business.  

As the entire world is worrying about the coronavirus, cybercriminals are taking advantage of the global crisis to line their pockets. Google reports that there has been a 350% increase in phishing websites in the last two months alone. This threat is genuine, and you need to take steps to protect yourself, your business, and your data.

Coronavirus Phishing

What Is a Phishing Website?

Phishing websites are designed to steal your information, but they can work in a variety of different ways. For instance, a cybercriminal may make a website that looks like your bank site. You think the site is real so you enter your username and password, and then, the criminals have everything they need to access your account.

Similarly, a phishing website may look like it’s for a charity helping people with the coronavirus. Still, in fact, it’s just a scam designed to steal money and credit card information. In some cases, phishing websites download malicious files to your computer when you visit them — once executed, these files may encrypt your data until you pay a ransom, copy all your keystrokes, or steal information from your computer in other ways.

Rise in Phishing Websites During the Coronavirus

In January, Google reported that it knew of 149,000 active phishing websites. By February, the number almost doubled to 293,000. As the virus began to take hold in the United States in March, the number increased to 522,000. That’s a 350% increase since January.

During the coronavirus, the most significant increases in phishing sites have happened during the most stressful times. The most significant day-over-day increase occurred on March 21st, the day after New York, Illinois, and Connecticut told their residents to shelter in place. The second-biggest increase? March 11th, the day the World Health Organization declared the virus as a pandemic. Both of these days saw about a threefold increase.

Unfortunately, no one is immune — one survey indicates that 22% of Americans say they have been targeted by cybercrime related to COVID-19.

Critical Strategies for Protecting Yourself From Phishing Websites

To protect yourself and your business from phishing websites, you need to take a multi-pronged approach. Keep these essential practices in mind:

  1. Educate your employees about the risks of phishing websites. Send out a newsletter, set up a training session over videoconferencing, or find another way to talk with your employees about how to protect your business from phishing attacks.
  2. Don’t click on links in emails from unknown senders. A lot of cybercriminals use phishing emails to direct users to their sites. If the email appears to be from someone you know, double-check the sender, and consider reaching out to them directly before clicking on any links.
  3. Invest in quality cybersecurity tools that block malicious websites, prevent your computers from executing approved applications, or protect your network in other ways.
  4. Be aware of the signs of a phishing website. These may include misspelled names of companies or charity organizations or forms that ask for information you usually don’t provide. For instance, a phishing website trying to steal your bank details may ask for your username, password, and PIN, while your bank’s actual website only requests your username and password.
  5. Advise your team to be selective about the websites they visit. Ideally, if they are searching for information on the virus or trying to donate, they should go to sites that they know and trust, rather than going to unknown websites.
  6. Work with a cybersecurity specialist. They can help you safeguard your network, which ultimately protects your money, your data, your business, and your reputation.

To stay as safe as possible from cybercrime during the coronavirus, you need to be aware of the heightened risks. If your team is working remotely, your network is likely to be even more vulnerable than usual.

To get help, reach out to a cybersecurity expert. In essence, they can guide you toward the right products, scan your network for vulnerabilities, and take other measures to ensure you are as protected as possible.

IT Security in the Work-From-Home Age: A Checklist for Securing Zoom Meetings

IT Security in the Work-From-Home Age: A Checklist for Securing Zoom Meetings

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to breed uncertainty, more and more people are being mandated to stay home. Social distancing measures mean that many workers and students are now trying to get work done from home while staying connected with colleagues using online technologies. Zoom has become one of the benchmark technologies used by teachers, students, and workers of all stripes.

While Zoom makes virtual meetings a breeze, teachers, students, and working-from-home employees in all sectors should be informed about the potential security issues they could face in this constantly-evolving ‘new normal.’ Like all virtual technologies, Zoom is not immune to security risks, but with the right tips and tricks in mind, Zoom users can be sure their meetings remain highly secured.

Secure Zoom Meetings In Denver

Why You Should Take Zoom Security Seriously

With so much uncertainty going on, adding Zoom security to your pandemic checklist may seem daunting or beyond your technological scope. However, keeping your Zoom meetings secure doesn’t have to be a highly technical or confusing task. Not to mention, making sure your virtual meetings are kept secure is a critical part of keeping business running as usual in these uncertain times.

Maintaining Zoom security is so important because unfortunately, the internet is filled with malicious actors. As more and more people make the switch to working and learning online, hackers and trolls are waiting in the wings to disrupt education and business any way they can. The last thing you need in a time like this is to have your virtual boardroom or classroom invaded by strangers with bad intentions.

Whether they aim to shut down your virtual productivity or interrupt meetings with insulting and inappropriate behavior, keeping internet trolls from ‘Zoom-bombing’ your meetings is a critically important part of protecting team participants and maintaining strong morale amidst the pandemic uncertainty.

A Fool-Proof Checklist for Maintaining Strong Zoom Security

The good news is this: protecting your Zoom meetings and participants isn’t as hard as you might think. The truth is, it’s all about being proactive and vigilant. Below we’ve created a list of easy security tips and tricks that you can deploy to ensure your Zoom meetings aren’t invaded by offensive and tech-savvy trolls and pranksters.

Here are the best ways to keep your Zoom meetings secure + appropriate:

Password-protect your meetings

The easiest way to keep trolls out of your virtual workspace is to set passwords for your meetings. Be sure to choose strategic passwords that only your team participants will know. Also, be sure to share password information privately and change them regularly to prevent hacking.

Keep meeting announcements private + internal

If you have a meeting scheduled, be sure to notify participants privately, through internal email servers or over the phone. Never announce meetings using public mediums like social media – this makes it easier for trolls to know when you’re meeting.

Monitor participant lists regularly

Whenever you have a chance be sure to review the list of participants in meetings and ensure that only authorized team members are included on the participant list.

Screen-share carefully

Screen-sharing is an important part of working collaboratively online. However, to make sure only appropriate and professional screen content is shared with participants, use the Zoom screen-sharing settings to control who can screen-share. Your best bet is only to grant screen-sharing access to those who need it and disable the function for those who don’t.

Disable the ‘Join-Before-Host’ function

By turning off the ‘Join-Before-Host’ function, you’ll ensure that only the authorized meeting organizer is in control of the meeting.

Lock your meetings

Once a meeting is underway, use the ‘Manage Participants’ control panel to lock meetings down and prevent additional participants from joining.

Keep your camera view professional

This one should go without saying, but part of keeping Zoom meetings appropriate and professional falls on your shoulders too. Be sure that nothing in your camera view is inappropriate or detrimental to a productive and secure working environment.

There’s no denying that these are uncertain and challenging times. However, around the globe, teachers, students, and workers alike are all lucky to have virtual technologies like Zoom at the ready to keep business and learning moving – even while the world stops. While security issues can be a hassle, a little proactivity and vigilance can go a long way. Stay informed and use these tips and tricks to make sure your virtual workspace is protected from risk.

COVID-19: Safety How to Clean Your Phone Effectively

How to Protect Your Phone From the Coronavirus

Find out how long the coronavirus can live on your phone. Learn how the coronavirus gets onto phones. Get tips on how to clean your phone or other devices. 

Around the world, people are taking unprecedented measures to protect themselves from the coronavirus. Schools and businesses have closed, and many people are sheltering in place, only leaving their homes for essentials.

While you may already be taking many of these precautions, you also need to be aware that your phone could be harboring the virus. Keep reading to learn how to protect yourself.

COVID-19 Safety How to Clean Your Phone Effectively

Can the Coronavirus Live on Your Phone?

Research indicates that the coronavirus can live on inanimate surfaces such as the metal or glass of a phone for up to nine days. If you’ve handed your phone to a friend to watch a video, had your phone in the vicinity of coworkers or other people, or even just held your phone after touching potentially infected surfaces, you need to clean your phone.

Even if your phone hasn’t been anywhere in a while, you should still clean it. This can be especially important if you are a senior or are immunocompromised or if you let your children use your phone.

How the Coronavirus May Get on Your Phone

Because people use their phones so much, they’re likely to touch their phones without even thinking about it. To illustrate, imagine you’re in a store grabbing groceries. You are very careful not to get within six feet of other shoppers and of course, you sanitize the shopping cart before use.

However, you end up touching items on the shelves or the credit card machine while you are paying. If someone with the coronavirus has touched these surfaces or coughed near them, these surfaces may harbor the virus.

After touching these surfaces, you are aware that you may have picked up some germs on your hands so you avoid touching your face until you can sanitize your hands, but you still reach for your phone to use mobile pay, check your bank balance, or to look at a text. While doing those routine tasks, you potentially put germs onto your phone.

In other cases, the spread of germs to your phone can be much simpler. For instance, you walk into a store, touch the door handle, and then pull out your phone. People are so used to checking their phones frequently that they are often overlooking these risks.

Why You Shouldn’t Touch Other People’s Phones

Additionally, a lot of people bring their phones into the bathroom, and the coronavirus can be transmitted by fecal matter just as easily as it spreads with droplets from your mouth.

To protect yourself, avoid touching other people’s phones. If you work in an industry where you have to touch people’s phones — for instance, if you work in phone repair or handle tech support for a business — you should wipe off phones or devices before touching them.

How to Clean Your Phone

Now that you see how easily these germs may get onto your phone, check out these tips for properly sanitizing your device.

  1. Find a sanitizing product. If you don’t have hand sanitizer, you can make a solution with 0.1% bleach or 62% to 71% ethanol and water. You can use Clorox disinfecting wipes or similar products safely on most phones, but you should not use aerosol sprays, pure bleach, or abrasive cleaners.
  2. Put the cleaner on a soft cloth. Don’t apply it directly to the phone.
  3. Wipe off the phone with the sanitizing wipe or a microfiber rag moistened with cleaner. Throw sanitizing wipes away after use, and put rags directly into the wash. Keep in mind those items may harbor germs so you want to avoid reusing them or putting them somewhere they could spread more germs.

The coronavirus is more contagious and significantly more deadly than the flu. People are also contagious for quite a while before they show symptoms. As a result, you need to take protective precautions very seriously, and you should make sure your phones or other devices are as clean as possible.

The Coronavirus Is Here, Is Your Remote Team Up and Running

The Coronavirus Is Here, Is Your Remote Team Up and Running

Look at CDC tips for minimizing the spread of the coronavirus. Review the importance of having a business continuity plan that takes health issues into account.  

As global concerns due to the coronavirus prevent many people from coming into their offices, businesses are scrambling to establish remote working environments. To facilitate a shift out of the office, you need collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams and a cybersecurity environment that supports remote access to network tools and applications. In the business world, the shift to telecommuting has been happening slowly over the years, but many businesses now need to deploy a plan quickly and efficiently.

Preparing for the Unknown in the Midst of the Coronavirus

As the coronavirus has spread through the United States, businesses and governments have taken unprecedented actions. Most states have closed schools, stopped the operation of nonessential companies, and advised their citizens to stay at home. Business travel has screeched mainly to a halt, and parents are trying to figure out how to juggle working from home with taking care of their children, while also worrying about a global pandemic.

As of April 7, 2020, there have been over 14,000 deaths and nearly 300,000 confirmed cases in the United States alone, and analysts expect the situation to get worse before it gets better.

Are you ready? Do you have strategies to deal with the inevitable rise of sick days and the extremely high possibility of extended quarantine? Have you invested in technology that can support a remote workforce so you don’t have to sacrifice productivity to safeguard your team’s health? If not, your business needs a continuity plan and the technology to implement that plan quickly.

Health Tips for Businesses

If you run an essential business that still has workers coming into the office, implement these tips from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to protect your team.

  • Require sick employees to stay out of the office.
  • Have employees wear masks to stop the spread of the illness — if an asymptotic person carries the virus, masks can reduce the risk of them spreading it to others.
  • Carefully consider scenarios that may occur as the disease spreads including employees not being able to come to work.
  • Create a plan for dealing with the coronavirus or other infectious diseases that outlines remote working policies.
  • Find a way to send as many workers home now as possible.
  • Stay abreast of public health policies related to minimizing exposure in workers.

Encouraging Social Distancing

Take some time to facilitate social distancing in your own business. Consider changing the physical culture of your office. For instance, send out emails encouraging people to replace handshakes with polite bows, and remind workers of the importance of essential practices to reduce the spread of diseases, such as not sharing utensils or drinking vessels. If you have a retail business, hang signs reminding customers to respect social distancing guidelines, and advise them to grab essentials and leave.

Perhaps even more importantly, look into tools that foster remote working without minimizing productivity. If you’re already using Office 365, you have built-in access to tools such as Yammer and Microsoft Teams that can help as your workers stay home instead of coming into the office.

Facilitating the Shift to Remote Working

With Yammer, anyone who has an email address based on your internet domain can access an enterprise social networking service that streamlines communication in ways that you can’t with traditional email or text services. You can collaborate on projects, build on each other’s knowledge, and stay on top of the essential communication from your team. This app offers a discovery feed that highlights the most critical updates, and it features an inbox that lets you prioritize and manage messages based on your priorities.

With the cloud-based tools of Microsoft Teams, your workers can share documents easily, edit documents or spreadsheets together, chat with other collaborators while simultaneously accessing the same file, and even video chat as necessary. You can also hold virtual meetings that bring the whole team together, and you can perform all of these functions without sacrificing the security of your data or files.

To support a remote team, create a disaster continuity plan, and set up tools for remote collaboration, you need the right help. A managed IT services provider can guide you toward the best solutions and help you maintain and troubleshoot those applications so that you never have to lose a minute of productivity even if no one is in the office.

Hackers Target Zoom Meetings for Cyberattacks

Zoom Scrambles to Address Cybersecurity Issues in Meeting Platform

As the usage of Zoom has skyrocketed during the coronavirus outbreak, the company has had to respond quickly to security flaws and potential phishing attacks  

As Zoom usage skyrockets around the world, so too do the opportunities to exploit users unfamiliar with the tool.

The Zoom platform has increasingly has been the target of hackers exploiting the vast numbers of users working from home. For context, the company noted that as of December 2019, the most significant amount of daily users was 10 million. In March, that number ballooned to 200 million.

How Are Hackers Exploiting the Zoom Platform?

For many exploits, it starts with a website.

According to Check Point, more than 1,700 domains had been registered using the word zoom in the first three months of 2020. Many of those domains point to an email server, which can indicate the site is part of a phishing scheme.

Remote workers may receive seemingly official meeting notices using the Zoom platform. Hackers ask recipients to head to a login page and enter their corporate credentials.

It’s a perfect storm that’s playing into the hands of hackers. It also means companies need to be vigilant in helping users understand how to access and use the platform and other tools used in this paradigm shift of how work is done.

“Zoom users should be aware that links to our platform will only ever have a or domain name,” a spokesman noted. “Prior to clicking on a link, they should carefully review the URL, being mindful of lookalike domain names and spelling errors.”

What Is Zoom Doing to Protect Users?

Zoom has had to take several steps recently to address security concerns related to its dramatic usage growth. The company has increased its training sessions and reduced customer service wait times. Here are several of the other issues that Zoom has addressed:

  • Zoombombing. Multiple incidents of zoombombing have arisen in recent weeks. Uninvited visitors to online sessions have gained access and harassed participants by playing music loudly, displaying pornography and disrupted sessions. That’s led to more explanations of passwords, muting controls and sharing settings
  • Windows 10. The company has addressed an issue that affected those using Zoom’s Windows 10 client group chat tool. If chatters used the tool to share links, the Windows network credentials of anyone who clicks on a link were exposed
  • Facebook Interface for Apple Devices. Zoom removed Facebook’s software developer kit from its iOS client to prevent it from collecting users’ device information
  • Privacy Issues. The company removed features, including the LinkedIn Sales Navigator app and attendee attention tracker, to address privacy concerns. It also issued updates to its privacy policy

The company announced it was freezing all feature enhancements to redeploy software engineers to focus on what it calls “our biggest trust, safety, and privacy issues.”

How Can You Protect Zoom Users from Cyberattacks?

Here are some tips to ensure that Zoom users are protected:

  • Use password features to require meeting attendees to log in before being allowed access
  • Update the software. Users should be alerted that upon finishing a meeting, the software will check to see if an update is necessary
  • Encourage managers to use the Manage Participants section features, which can control the use of users’ microphones and cameras. Sharing restrictions are also a good practice
  • Be careful about recording meetings. The recording sits in a file, either online or the host’s computer and could be stolen

Cybersecurity is a sad reality in these turbulent times. However, a focus on prevention and detection are important deterrents to cybercriminals and can reduce the risks to your business.

Coronavirus Forcing Your Workers to Stay Home? Quickly Shift to an At-Home Team in the Midst of Crisis

How to Create a Work-From-Home Team Quickly As Your Business Deals With the Coronavirus

Stay productive and secure your tech network as you deal with the coronavirus. Get support for at-home employees. Learn how to switch from an in-office to a remote team.  

Coronavirus Work From Home

In the midst of the coronavirus, business owners are facing a host of new challenges. To slow the spread of the virus, you may have been asked to suspend services or allow your employees to work from home. At the same time, however, you also need to continue to bring in revenue, stay productive, and focus on growth as much as possible.

Making the shift from an in-office to a remote team quickly, especially at a time when everyone is dealing with untold stresses, can be difficult, and the right approach is essential. Check out these tips.

1. Decide What You Need to Stay Productive

Creating a remote team isn’t as easy as handing your workers a laptop and telling them to check in once in a while. If you don’t have a current work-at-home policy, you need to create one from scratch, and you may need to adjust workflows, find new tools, and create new security policies. As you try to facilitate this shift, keep these types of questions in mind:

  • What can my employees accomplish from home?
  • Can they handle core business activities from home?
  • Even if my business is deemed essential, can I send some employees home?
  • What types of projects do I want to prioritize during this time?
  • What applications do I need to facilitate workflows and keep everyone connected?
  • How can my employees work from home without compromising the security of our network?
  • What can I do to make this new arrangement as productive and comfortable as possible for myself and my team?

2. Consider Providing Employee With Devices

Don’t necessarily encourage your employees to use their own devices when working from home. Their home computers and tablets have all kinds of music, videos, images, and other downloads that may be infected with malware, and their devices are usually not equipped with the same level of antivirus or malware software you use in your office.

To reduce the threat of cyberattacks, consider providing your team with company-approved and secured devices. However, if you already have a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy for your office, you may want to continue having employees use their own devices because in this situation, you’ve already taken steps to secure those devices.

3. Help Your Workers Secure Their WiFi Access Points

As a general rule of thumb, your employees home WiFi networks are probably less secure than the WiFi you use in your office. To secure these access points, instruct your team to do the following:

  • Use stronger encryption
  • Create more complex passwords
  • Hide your network names
  • Use firewalls

To help your employees with these steps, you may want to create detailed tutorials or contact an IT managed services provider to help you.

4. Route Traffic Through a Two-Factor Authentication VPN

To secure your tech environment as much as possible, consider having your employees access your network through a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN encrypts all the information passing from your employees’ computers to your network. Even if a hacker gets onto your employee’s WiFi network, they cannot see keystrokes or any of the data being transmitted.

If you don’t already have a VPN, look into services such as GoToMyPC or Zoho. Also, try to choose a VPN that supports dual-factor authentication. Then, your employees have to enter a username and a password, but they also have to use a second authenticator such as a code texted to their phone number or email address. This layer of security provides extra defense against cyber criminals.

5. Consult With an IT Managed Services Provider

Returning to business as normal may not be possible for a while, and a managed IT services provider can help identify the tools and processes you need to support your new working environment, while also taking steps to ensure your network is as secure as possible.

In difficult times, you want your business to survive, but if possible, you should try to thrive. Our managed IT services can help you adapt to this quickly changing environment. We can help you choose the tools, the processes, and the resources you need to stay as productive as possible.

Remote Workforces Deliver Business & Employee Benefits

When considering the employee and employer benefits of working remotely, businesses are wise to change. The alternative could make your outfit less competitive.  

If you would like to gain a little perspective on how radically our culture has changed, try this exercise. Pick up a pencil and a piece of paper and write out a half-days’ worth of emails rather than send them electronically. You will probably discover the first one looks more like scribble than cursive writing. And, your productivity will completely tank.

Remote Working Coronavirus

At first blush, the exercise demonstrates our reliance on electronic devices and real-time communication. But on another level, it shows that thought leaders are wise to embrace technological advancements as they emerge. Remote workforces rank among the more innovative trends of the business landscape today.

“To remain competitive in today’s work-from-anywhere environment, companies will need to invest in responsive technology infrastructure and enhanced virtual collaboration tools, as well as training and tailored performance management and incentive strategies for remote workers,” director of HR at the Gartner research group Emily Rose McRae reportedly said.

This shift away from in-house staff to people working from home or on the road once earned mixed reactions from industry leaders. But the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted businesses across the globe to find a way to have valued employees work from home until health crisis passes. Employers and employees alike are discovering this advancement tend to be mutually beneficial when utilizing platforms such as Microsoft Teams.

Mutual Benefits of Remote Workforces

The health crisis has motivated businesses to shift to Cloud-based systems and Microsoft Teams strategies as a short-term measure. But HR departments may want to take the opportunity to scan the workforce landscape because work-from-home expectations are expected to surge and impact hiring.

“By 2030, the demand for remote work will increase by 30 percent due to Gen Z fully entering the workforce. Gartner’s most recent ReimagineHR Employee Survey found that only 56 percent of managers permit their employees to work remotely. Organizations without a progressive remote-work policy will be at a competitive disadvantage for attracting and retaining talent,” according to Gartner.

That being said, these are the reasons why the global trend to remote productivity is well-received by management and staff.

  • Commute & Stress Reduction: No one can dispute the fact that commuting to the office adds unpaid work hours. Sitting in traffic or being packed into commuter rails tends to be an unpleasant way to begin and end each day. Employees and employers share this stressful routine. Remote work platforms such as the Cloud and Microsoft Teams allow all parties to sit down with a morning beverage and log on from anywhere. No hustle, no bustle, no extra hours, and no commuter expenses.
  • Talent Without Borders: Before the massive cellphone footprint, people used landlines with rotary dialing, and long-distance was expensive. In those days, it was common to pay a premium just to call someone in the next state over. But just as your cellphone can connect you to people far outside your region without added expense, so can the Cloud. When projects are conducted in Microsoft Teams via a Cloud-based network, your remote talent pool expands exponentially. A skilled person 1,000 miles away can secure a job they are qualified for, and employers gain access to talent otherwise unavailable.
  • Reduced Infrastructure: An increasing number of organizations that do not necessarily require a brick-and-mortar footprint. These outfits can eliminate that cost in some cases. Other operations can reduce office space expenditures. With remote workforces, less can be more.
  • Live-Work Lifestyles: Millennials and the Gen Z crowd tend to see work and life more closely aligned in their lifestyle than previous generations. The Cloud has been a boon and securing offsite positions allows employees a preferred professional lifestyle. Raising children no longer comes attached to childcare expenses or limited “parent hours” jobs.

Microsoft Teams Supports Remote Workforce Culture

With dispersed workforces increasing, Microsoft Teams ranks among the most business supportive products on the market. It seamlessly works with Cloud-based networks and delivers real-time communication. The platform offers chat, video conferencing, managed channels, shared calendar options, and project space that can provide supervisors with top-tier oversight. In these troubling times, Microsoft Teams use has surged by tens of millions. But industry leaders may also want to consider the long-term benefits of embracing remote workforces into the future.

What Does “Zero-Trust” Security Mean?

“Zero-Trust” Security

As cybercrime continues to evolve, it’s more important than ever before to take a “zero-trust” approach to safeguarding your systems. IBM found that malicious or criminal attacks are behind 48% of data breaches with system glitches responsible for 25% and human errors responsible for 27%. The simple fact is, ANYONE can be compromised nowadays. Even though there always seems to be a new “buzz-word” or “trend” in the world of information technology, “zero-trust” is one we’re taking quite seriously. Why? Because cybercrime doesn’t discriminate – everyone is a target. Here are some of the largest corporations that have been hacked in the last few years:

  • US Customs and Border Patrol
  • Quest Diagnostics
  • WhatsApp
  • Apple iOS
  • Facebook

Even local governments have been the target of cybercrime lately. So how does zero-trust work? Basically, it’s all about using the right technologies, processes, and protocols to make it even more difficult for hackers to infiltrate entry-points, and if they do, it should be harder to find sensitive information.

Business In Denver Practicing Zero-Trust Cybersecurity

The Good News? A “Zero-Trust” Approach Doesn’t HAVE to Involve Investing in All New Technology…

A good “zero-trust” approach takes advantage of old technology that’s been available to us for years, and chances are, you’re already using some of it. Sure, there are some emerging tools that can help you strengthen your approach, but it doesn’t have to be a major investment, especially if you’ve already been taking cybersecurity seriously. There are a few main goals of a “zero-trust” approach to keep in mind:

  • Make it more difficult for hackers to infiltrate any end-points on the network
  • Make it more difficult for hackers to find sensitive information upon entry to the network
  • Make it easier to detect suspicious activity on the network

Three Steps to a “Zero-Trust” Environment That Keeps You Safe and Secure Against Cybercrime…

Here are the top three steps to a “zero-trust” environment to keep you safe and secure against cybercrime:

1. Implement Identity and Access Management — Identity and access management systems are designed to ensure the proper people have access to appropriate resources and data for their jobs. In some organizations, this may mean certain people have access on certain dates. In other organizations, this may mean certain people have access all the time. Regardless, the access is revoked upon termination immediately. Many identity and access management systems also incorporate tools to track user activities and set alerts for suspicious behavior to prevent internal data disclosure.

2. Use Multi-Factor Authentication Wherever Possible — Most online services nowadays are offering some sort of multi-factor authentication. Why? Because passwords remain the number one weak point for the majority of cases of data theft and/or disclosure. Google, Microsoft, Apple, and many other technology giants are offering multi-factor authentication wherein the user needs a password, along with some other form of identification, such as a PIN code sent to their mobile device, for entry into the service. This should be used wherever possible.

3. Take Advantage of Network Segmentation — In a traditional network, all of the servers and workstations are connected to the same local area network (LAN) – making it easy for hackers to access all vital information and systems upon hacking. Network segmentation prevents this because you’re essentially splitting the network up into smaller segments. In the event of a breach, hackers are limited in their ability to reach sensitive data, and in many cases, it’s more difficult for the hacker to infiltrate the network to begin with.

Elevate Services Group Is Well-Versed in Cybersecurity. Let’s Talk. Call (720) 340-3849. Our Team of Experts Can Help You Stay Safe.