Office 365 – A productivity tool kit for your business

Microsoft Office 365 is cloud based software with a host of professional tools designed to support businesses and boost productivity. It’s been claimed by Kevin …

Microsoft Office 365 is cloud based software with a host of professional tools designed to support businesses and boost productivity.

It’s been claimed by Kevin Turner (Microsoft COO) that 4 out of 5 Fortune 500 companies use the service which is no doubt impressive when operating in a market with strong competition (Google Apps being a prime example). Office 365 is commercially successful for Microsoft and with nearly 50 million active business users p/month it’s clear that the platform is a valuable addition to the business world.

Why Office 365?

The traditional Microsoft Office software is a familiar sight in most organisations and Office 365 provides the well-known features of these Office applications but with a pay-as-you- go payment model and a host of additional extras. In the digital age many businesses are seeking ways to streamline business by improving workforce efficiency and this is captured by Office 365.

What are the key business benefits of Office 365?

    • Increased flexibility – Anytime, anywhere and on any device.

The modern business operates with a mobile workforce who work on multiple devices and Office 365 works in harmony with this business model. According to recent reports 61% of professionals work outside of the office at least part of the time therefore on-the-move platforms are essential to maintain a high level of productivity. Office 365 allows employees to view and edit emails and documents on the move.

    • Simple Back up and storage

Microsoft provides free storage on its OneDrive cloud service which not only allows users to access documents anywhere, it keeps all of the work in one location. If employees are going out to meetings they can keep all notes in a secure location and edit work during the commute. The backup capabilities keep work stored on the cloud which is undoubtedly useful if systems crash.

    • Improved collaboration

Returning to the stats on mobile workforce, it’s apparent that with this amount of movement in an office, work teams can struggle to unite on projects. With Office 365, workers can collaborate on documents stored in the cloud and work together whether in the same office or in different countries.

    • Unified communications

Taking collaboration up a notch, the integration with Skype allows users to voice call, video call or IM colleagues, suppliers or clients once again on any device and anywhere! With Skype being a recognised, communications platform many professionals are already familiar with its functions therefore can seamlessly use the application. Skype is also popular for international calls and small businesses can benefit from the pay as you go, low cost payment plans.

The roundup of benefits confirm why Office 365 is a cloud based productivity tool kit. The functions of the platform have been devised with the modern business in mind and with uptake increasing it’ll be interesting to see where the platform goes next.


Cyber threats: A cyber security checklist for small businesses

Are you concerned about a cyber-security breach impacting your business? You are not alone Cyber security is an important topic in any business. In 2015, …

Are you concerned about a cyber-security breach impacting your business? You are not alone

Cyber security is an important topic in any business. In 2015, we’ve witnessed some very public cyber-attacks followed by reports with rising statistics showing in black and white that no company is safe. Speaking at an Info Security event in 2015 Ciaran Martin, Cyber Security at GCHQ declared that they had been “genuinely surprised by the extent and variety of UK organisations subject to intrusions.”

The government are placing cyber-security as a key part of their agenda but in the meantime where does this leave the small businesses in the UK?

It’s crucial for businesses of all sizes to develop a plan to keep information secure and work safer online. As a support arm for businesses of all sizes, we have put together a quick guide and checklist for business owners who need guidance setting up a cyber-security procedure:

    1. Start with implementing best practise

Go back to basics and assess the core procedures within your business. This includes making sure you have secure passwords, updated software and you routinely monitor the technology devices in your business.

Set aside time to update your passwords every few months and use varying passwords across different platforms. In this case predictability and consistency can be damaging.

    1. Train your employees on cyber security

A quick course or training session can arm your staff with enough knowledge to be cyber vigilant. Basic guidelines are important – do not visit harmful sites, avoid downloading from untrustworthy sources and delete unsolicited emails.

The Information Commissioner’s office have revealed that 93% of incidents that breached data security were due to human error therefore it’s also important to ensure your staff are aware of data protection best practise.

Your employees will also need to be trained on how to handle threats or ideally be encouraged to report anything suspicious to senior members immediately.

    1. Awareness is key

Your staff will no doubt need to be aware of the potential harm and risk of cyber-threats but this vigilance needs to be a fundamental part of business operations.

Be aware of the movement of your staff:

      • If they are working remotely, are their devices secure?
      • Are they logging into information outside of work? If so, they need to report any loss or theft of devices immediately.
      • Are they accessing secure servers when handling secure information online?

If you have freelancers or interns consider how much information they need to access and if an employee leaves the company remember to refresh all security passwords.

    1. Protect your devices

Adopting the right anti-virus software for your business is a basic requirement but many businesses overlook the importance. It’s an investment that will pay off when it comes to cyber security and relieves the pressure of continually monitoring your employee’s browser history. The software will not make your device invincible but it will lower the risk of an attack.

When addressing your software, also assess the security of your server and determine whether your data storage is safe.

    1. Remember to back up

To lessen the impact of a cyber-attack you will need to implement good practise when it comes to backing up your data and documents. Online back-ups are a simple way to apply this procedure to your business on a routine basis without the hassle.

Losing all of your company data and starting from scratch can be damaging – back up, back up, back up!

Most importantly remember that every business is different and the security needs will vary depending on your industry requirements, services, processes and data.

Adjust this list to suit your business and protect your business from a cyber-security breach – better safe than sorry.

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