Improve the Safety of Your Small Business Network with These Simple Security Checks

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Improve the Safety of Your Small Business Network with These Simple Security Checks

When it comes to small business cybersecurity, many business owners lag behind, often because they do not consider it a priority. They believe that they don’t have that much to protect and therefore there isn’t anyone out there trying to steal their data.

However, this mentality can land them in a lot of trouble, especially since threats to network security don’t always take the form of a premeditated super-targeted attack. They also aren’t limited to large businesses.

In fact, a lot of hackers prefer to target small business because even though they may be handling smaller amounts of sensitive data, they usually have weaker security measures compared to large businesses that can afford top-notch solutions.

If you’re a business owner who would have a harder time surviving downtime in service provision, or other consequences like having to pay a ransom for data, and lawsuits plus boycotts due to data leaks, here are some tips on how to improve your business’ network security:

Install a firewall

This is basically a device that monitors outgoing and incoming traffic, filtering out any suspicious traffic. On top of a typical external firewall protecting the business network from malicious outsiders, a small business with highly compartmentalised operations can add an internal firewall to its security setup.

This addition can help to bolster security while taking into consideration the most vulnerable sections of the network and those most likely to put other sections at risk. You should also ensure that employees install firewall software on any other devices that they use for work while at home or on the go.

Use multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication involves going through extra steps after entering your password when logging into an account while on the internet. This may be something like entering a code sent to your phone number via SMS or through an authenticator app, that expires or is refreshed periodically.

This method will come in handy when someone else guesses your password, uses a password generator or malware and tries to log into your accounts. They’ll remain locked out since they don’t have the second piece of evidence required.

Train your staff

The truth is that regardless of all the hardware and software you deploy towards boosting your business’ network security, ultimately, it will come down to the vigilance of the people using it.

Whether it’s simple logging out and shutdown procedures or detecting possible phishing attempts, employees should undergo continuous education and sensitisation on emerging threats and how to avoid them.

You can also carry out random drills to check whether employees are conversant with the required procedures and are following them to the dot.

Utilise anti-spyware and anti-malware

There’s a wide range of malicious software used for purposes ranging from secretly collecting a user’s information, say through capturing keystrokes and screenshots, to interfering with application processes.

So while many business owners stop at using basic anti-viruses, this software goes undetected. Make sure you install anti-malware and anti-spyware to scan all directories for any hidden threats and neutralise them.

Keep your software updated

A lot of computer users ignore update requests because they usually involve length restarts and their systems seem to be working just fine. What they forget is that these updates are occasionally put out as a response to a recently discovered vulnerability within the software.

Always check for any new updates, whether it’s for desktop software or firmware on other devices, find out any flaws through online forums and install all the required and stable updates available.

Backup your data frequently

While this may not speak directly to the security of the network, it is about securing your data and applications, especially what’s needed on a daily basis for critical business processes like payments.

With proper backups both on and off-site, you can rest assured that if attackers manage to penetrate your security and make your data inaccessible, you can always continue operations on another server using backup copies.

Endeavour to find a provider who can deliver all the required small business security services or at least offer solutions that take into consideration the organisation as a whole and its changing needs. Visit Deployus to get a better picture of network security solutions that ensure continuity for your business amidst changing situations.

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Going Mobile in 2021? Our Top 5 Tips for a Successful Mobile Workforce

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Going Mobile in 2021? Our Top 5 Tips for a Successful Mobile Workforce

The mobile phone, particularly the advent of the smartphone brought with it an unprecedented level of convenience. From shopping to ordering rides, meeting new people to sharing pictures, mobile phones have made many parts of our lives much easier.

However, the year 2020 came with changes that made some of these mobile phone capabilities way more of necessities than they had previously been. Many shoppers need cashless and contactless payment solutions along with delivery, and a lot of people need to be able to work from home.

Situations like these have increased the need for workforces to serve mobile users more effectively and efficiently, in part by harnessing the power of mobile devices on their end.

The result, for instance, can be a scenario where an e-commerce store owner makes necessary changes to their store via a tablet at home, enhancing the shopping experience of mobile shoppers.

Subsequently, businesses can shift to a mobile workforce model depending on how relevant it is in their respective cases.

What exactly is a mobile workforce?

A mobile workforce can be referred to as one that has people alternating workspaces, say home offices, shared spaces and clients’ addresses, while also using mobile devices to get work done. Mobile workforce trends come with a number of benefits such as:
● Higher quality hires that aren’t limited by proximity to the office
● A reduction in wasted hours (such as in long commutes)
● Improved employee productivity and overall wellbeing
● Limited disruption of business operations by sudden catastrophes
● Reduced expenses (e.g. on office rent)
● Lowering of employees’ carbon footprint

Never-the-less, running a smart mobile workforce also comes with a number of challenges like:
● Difficulty making data and other resources accessible for employees that need them
● Heightened cybersecurity risks
● Less effective collaboration due to the absence of face-to-face synergy and smooth communication
● Inconsistencies in productivity due to distractions in the new workspaces such as noise in the more public spaces or young children that need constant attention

So how can business owners ensure that they get the most out of their mobile workforces?

Here are five solid tips for successful mobile workforce optimisation:

Get a reliable internet connection – If your employees were carrying out their tasks using a connection from a particular ISP, you need to check with them and make sure that they still get good speeds within the various spaces they use.

Use cloud services – Cloud services make it much easier to access data stored in one location from many different areas, which is crucial if workers are to have consistent performance in different workspaces.

Cloud services will also enable workers to easily navigate any outages or downtime related to on-site infrastructure, with backup servers facilitating smooth continuity of business processes.

User-friendly security interfaces – As you aim to protect the business’ data and infrastructure from cyber-attacks, make sure you opt for solutions that employees can be easily trained to use.

Distribute clear documents regarding any security procedures to be followed during work so that every staff member is in the loop.

Software tools – These may serve a number of purposes like project management, video conferencing, team collaboration, marketing automation etc. Ensure that every employee has the particular apps they need for their respective tasks, and are all running software that serves the entire team.

Comprehensive I.T. service providers like Deployus offer great insight on the hardware and software tools your organisation can use to keep a mobile workforce satisfying customers consistently. Learn more about how our solutions enhance connectivity, workflows and overall productivity here.

One-on-one check-ins and stand-up calls – Business owners need to come up with new activities that can partly convey the same kind of social support and bonding that teams have when working together in the same space.
Designate a few minutes at a certain time of day to catch up on what’s going on in team members’ lives outside work assignments, engage in small games and competitions, like fantasy leagues/tournaments.

Additionally, you can put some more emphasis on areas like analytics, on-boarding and internal marketing. Try making more decisions based on insightful statistics on issues like employees’ workplace experience.

Use them to help new employees and existing ones taking on new roles to get more acquainted with their tasks and the tools they have to use in advance. Tweak your deployment system to get team members into conditions that boost their performance.

If for example, you have a business app that customers can use to create an account, get your employees to master it too and be able to easily assist customers where needed.

As a business owner leading a mobile workforce, you should always anticipate any challenges that can arise from mobile consumption and delivery of goods and services, and work to lead your team through them.

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Our Predictions for Information Technology Trends in 2021

Our Predictions for Information Technology Trends in 2021


This year we saw businesses undergo some form of digital transformation in a bid to reach more customers, continue selling products with minimal physical interaction and enable staff to work remotely.

While some factors like pandemic restrictions may eventually cease, there are certain behaviours that are bound to stay, whether previously present or not, like online shopping. This means that many organisations will have to adopt or double down on some trends to remain relevant.

With a focus on information technology, let’s talk about some the trends that may be prevalent in 2021:



This fifth generation standard for broadband cellular networks is set to improve connection between a wider range of devices. 

5G wireless technology comes with much higher multi-Gbps peak data speeds, higher availability, greater network capacity, ultra-low latency and a more consistent user experience.

With 5G’s economic effect projected to mature around 2035, supporting up to $13.2 trillion in trade and creating at least 22.3 million new jobs, many organisations will be rushing to get conversant with this technology and be well-prepared to take advantage of it.

From remote-controlled medical procedures to immersive shopping experiences, 5G will enable its adopters to gain a significant edge over their competitors. 


AR and VR

 While augmented reality and virtual reality are not entirely new, they are still in their infant stages when it comes to their use in different kinds of businesses. One of the most powerful attributes of this technology is the way it emulates some parts of a physical store shopping experience.

 Many people selling goods online have been limited to product photos and videos, which are good for conveying information but cannot do it all. Through AR, shoppers can get a better idea of what a product would look like when occupying a certain space.

 Virtual reality also enables users to do things like trying on shades of makeup and seeing how it would look like on yourself. These technologies will therefore serve as a decent substitute for the conventional face-to-face product demonstrations that salespeople use to win over customers.


Artificial Intelligence

Automation is steadily spilling over into various business operations such as customer support chats, email marketing and more.

Machine learning can be used to discover patterns in the behavior of subscribers and subsequently place them in the right categories to receive communication that resonates with them.

As many businesses continue to scale, the data surrounding new customers and sales can quickly become overwhelming. This means that business owners need to automate more of the day-to-day processes to free up more time.

We can see the growing shift towards AI and machine learning reflected in the number of applications and web services springing up to handle different activities like SEO, lead generation and social media campaigns among others.


Data Analytics 

From marketing, to supply chain forecasting, data is becoming a more valuable resource for those who want to make more informed and logical decisions.

But gathering, processing, storing and retrieving this data is complicated, especially since the sources and uses differ from one set to another.

Businesses are also resorting to the use of big data for a better understanding of both consumer and producer behaviour on an industry-wide scale.

Big data enables organisations to learn things like the intensity with which businesses are targeting certain demographics and the implied ceiling on impressions and conversions from promotional campaigns.

 We can expect to see greater emphasis put on building applications and other tools that can be used to handle very large sums of data and monitor changes in real-time.

There are many more trends that will be gaining more popularity in 2021 such as crypto-currencies and Blockchain technology, quantum computing, cloud computing alternatives like edge and fog computing, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and more.

A lot of the innovation we’ll see will probably be driven by the desire to simplify payments, foster live collaboration between multiple participants, improve data security and reach more potential customers at a time.

We may also see a lot more use of open-source technologies and decentralisation of resource management across digital business networks.

Business owners should therefore take another look at their business operations and identify areas where more efficiency can be achieved, then research about off-the-shelf solutions or consult service providers for more customised solutions.

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Building Brand Loyalty to Increase Customer & Client Retention

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Building Brand Loyalty to Increase Customer & Client Retention

Businesses thrive when factors like the cost of credit, per-capita income and cost of production are in their favour. But sometimes there are sudden (or not so sudden) changes in the market that can catch them off-guard.

A good business can be gauged by how resilient it remains or how quickly it adapts when everything is going wrong, for instance during a pandemic like the one we are in now.

This is where the loyalty of your customers will be tested seeing as a lot of the one-time buyers or even other occasional customers may cut back on their expenditure significantly.

Scenarios such as the entrance of a new and larger player into a market can also make it difficult for other businesses to retain customers, especially if the newer business is aggressive with methods like discounts and promotions.

Let’s go through some ingenious ways to build brand loyalty and retain customers:

Understand What A Brand Is

Put aside the back end activities like your financing and accounting and think about every point of your business that a customer interacts with. From store attendants to graphics in social media posts and forms on your website, list every element that can be openly and directly associated with your business.

Think about what kind of person your business would be and separate the parts of your brand that you can control, like store themes and product packaging, from those that are harder to control, such as “word-of-mouth reviews”.

Refurbish things like your logos and slogans to send messages that are relevant to the times/current affairs. For example, Nike made a shift from “Just Do It” to phrases like “Play for the world”, “You can’t stop us” and “Play Inside”.

Study Your Customer

Don’t make simple assumptions like “they want it cheaper”, only to find that your customers were more worried about getting their products fast and safely. Embrace technology by using reporting and analytics tools to do more research about your customers and find out what makes them tick.

Go beyond the basics like their age, gender, location etc. and find out details like how frequently the recurring shoppers buy, whether they always first look at other new products or go straight to a specific one, and so on. Pay attention to queries over the phone too.

This insight will help you to refine the content in your marketing strategy such as the copy used for messages in your automated email campaigns, plus your paid advertising .This information can also help you when building brand loyalty by improving customer experience. For example, you can redesign your site to make it more responsive on various types of devices, improve the search function, make your call to action buttons easier to reach and shorten checkout processes.

Through techniques like A/B testing, you can learn how different customers respond to certain features and deploy them the correct way. Automation will also enable you to improve customer support with the use of chatbots. Don’t forget to remove any unnecessary pop-ups or prompts.

If customers can find what they are looking for with ease and get effective help when stuck, they have a higher chance to coming back due to the convenience.

Establish Trust and Strengthen Relationships

Strengthen your security measures by offering things like multi-factor authentication, getting a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate and clearly displaying badges related to safety and compliance standards in areas like your checkout or account opening.

You can also offer discounts or loyalty program points in exchange for a review from customers. These may get them to sign up for updates, enabling you to reach out to them continuously with the help of marketing automation and CRM tools.

Another way to establish trust with your customers is by offering them the chance to opt in or out of things like extra cookies and other intrusive features while ensuring that you send verification messages and receipts via email or SMS promptly.

Embark on a Mission

Set a non-business-related goal and mention it to your customers as a promise. Find a way to help them participate in achieving that goal while they buy from you.

For example, if you run a nutritional supplements store, you can let your customers know that a portion of the money they spend on each product will go to funding charities delivering basic healthcare services to disenfranchised populations.

There’s even an assortment of apps that can manage the whole process. Use data relating to customers’ search entries and use of certain keywords on other platforms to guide you on what social issues they may be paying attention to.

In conclusion, always consider every service or communication point and cover the entire customer journey, making use of any technology that simplifies actions on both your end and the customer’s end.


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The Future of Cyber Security in Australia

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The Future of Cyber Security in Australia

Due to the rise of remote working in combination with efforts from multiple businesses to acquire more customers and boost sales through online channels, the digitisation of just about every business process is becoming inevitable.

Businesses have to adjust to the exponentially increasing data exchanges, meet human expectations of enhanced user experiences, achieve seamless global connections and transformed supply chains.

This creates new loopholes in business systems, posing future challenges of cybersecurity. It’s estimated that cybercrime results in roughly $300 million in losses every year in Australia.

The Australian Government plans to invest $1.67 billion towards building new cybersecurity and law enforcement capabilities in their 2020 Cyber Security Strategy. However, they’ve made it clear that businesses are responsible for securing their own products and services and protecting their customers from vulnerabilities.

Let’s take a look at some areas that may draw considerable attention when it comes to the future of cybersecurity in Australia:

Phishing Emails

In the near future, many businesses will have scenarios where a multitude of instructions are sent from one employee to another in disparate parts of the world.

Emails pertaining to emergency fund transfers, reactivating dormant accounts, downloading work documents and software updates are all ways in which phishers can get employees to follow malicious links and give access to unauthorized actors.

Employees should be taken through educational programs/activities that enable them to identify suspicious messages. Businesses should also restrict access based on IP addresses, limit password validity periods and use multi-factor authentication amongst other measures.

Cloud Jacking

This is a type of cloud system breach where the attacker uses already prepared scripts to take over a business’ cloud infrastructure without having to be proficient at cyber attacks.

The scope of these attacks covers botnets and other malware, commonly conveyed through malicious emails to gain credentials of cloud business accounts on AWS (Amazon Web Services) and other platforms.

Some attackers simply want free cloud services while others may aim to steal sensitive data and disrupt vital applications.

Remember that cloud jacking isn’t limited to public cloud services, which is why businesses using private cloud or some other multi-cloud setup should look into top-notch solutions like Cloudflare security features.

AI-powered Attacks

In the future, there will be a rise in adoption of numerous forms of automation or AI-driven tools to mimic human behaviour, whether it is sending messages, logging into accounts or visiting websites.

Machine learning techniques and other AI-enabled countermeasures to spot patterns and block suspicious traffic and other AI-related cyber attacks, sound nice in theory, but the reality is they’ll probably also be on the other side aiding smarter attacks.

This is why it’s imperative that we continually implement, adapt, and improve security strategies, with specialist knowledge.

Coronavirus Cons

2020 saw maneuvers such as face-mask scams and false contact-tracing requests among others, where cybercriminals attempted to capitalize on the misinformation surrounding COVID-19.

With the pandemic nowhere near its end, we could see a new wave of attacks targeting people who seek guidance about vaccination and other SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) related to COVID-19.

Businesses should keep a catalogue of all health and government agency websites, helplines, seals/symbols and other pieces of information that help to identify relevant authorities on COVID-19 matters.

This will enable them to easily distinguish between legitimate communication and false messages and channels.

Skills And Personnel Gaps

With increasing demand for cybersecurity experts, businesses across various industries may fall victim to the scarcity created.

Small and medium-sized businesses could face challenges implementing their own cyber security measures due to a lack of dedicated security staff, complexities with understanding the field of cyber security and implementing security measures, or underestimating the risks of a cyber attack.

Lots of businesses will have to try and outsource more personnel or even train existing team members on the basic practices that protect business data and networks from cyber attacks.

Advanced Ransomware

For businesses in fields like healthcare that handle sensitive customer data, or any business that is privy to customer payment information, it is crucial to have a robust backup and recovery plan.

This is in addition to making sure that system breaches that usually result in data leaks are diffused by encryption and other permission-related measures.

In regard to the future of cybersecurity data, there will be more threats outside what is mentioned above, with some arising from 5G security loopholes and advances in quantum computing, among other trends.

This is why businesses should team up with I.T. service providers like Deployus that have partnerships with leading security providers like Palo Alto, Duo and Veeam along with the know-how to make sure your business is continually protected.

Deployus also provides education to business owners and employees around their own day-to-day practices and how the implemented security procedures work.

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The Benefits of Using the Cloud for Your Workplace

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The Benefits of Using the Cloud for Your Workplace

While the concept of the cloud has been around since the dawn of the internet, it’s only in more recent years that it’s truly shaped our digital landscape.

The average person uses 36 cloud-based services every day which may at first seem unrealistic until you consider that things like Office 365, Microsoft Teams, and LinkedIn are all cloud applications.

While many of us have found ourselves using these applications in everyday workplace duties, there are still many businesses that are yet to fully realise the benefits of migrating either partially or fully to the cloud.

If you’re on the fence about it, we’ve outlined below the four key areas where a full, or even partial, cloud migration can help your business.

Productivity Without Physical Barriers

As 2020 has taught us, the ability to work and collaborate remotely and realise business continuity is imperative to a business’ operations.

The cloud gives teams the opportunity to communicate, access important information, and continue their duties without (or with little) disruption.

Whether you fully migrate to the cloud or implement a hybrid model, having access to cloud applications means business productivity and sales will be less impacted by physical barriers.

It allows not only remote working but also increased access to skilled workers and the ability for eased international growth. Cloud computing allows individuals and teams to access essential data from other countries in real-time, all while maintaining the required level of security.

Reduction in Unnecessary Costs

Research conducted by Multisoft has shown that it can be up to 40 times more cost-effective for small to medium businesses to use cloud computing than running an in-house IT system.

This is due to a number of reasons, the first being that most cloud providers offer pay-as-you-go subscriptions meaning costs are spread out over time and become operating expenses.

Comparatively, traditional in-house methods can involve a large capital expense and lock-in contracts. Cloud hosts typically also offer usage-based pricing models, meaning you can potentially reduce costs when features or storage space is no longer needed.

If you’re worried about migrating due to the costs involved, Deployus can design a custom solution to fit all your requirements. This may involve remaining on-premises, going hybrid, or using the cloud fully.

More Time For Your Internal Team and Increased Security

With the help of the Deployus team, an organisation can be presented with an ideal cloud solution for their day-to-day operations. This often involves determining the organisation’s infrastructural needs going forward.

On top of utilising the virtual server space, network connections and bandwidth that come with such an arrangement, a client can depend on us for any maintenance and upgrades required.

This not only results in a reduction in costs on your organisation’s side but also frees up your internal team, leaving them with more time to focus on other tasks. Clients can also benefit from a round-the-clock monitoring program and a 24-hour help desk

For businesses practising remote working, you can look further into endpoint protection to make connections to workplace networks by remote devices more secure.

Our solutions also cover email security and SD-WAN, harnessing the power of Next Generation Firewalls, centralised logging and correlation technologies to secure business networks and the data transmitted across them.

Deployus understands that the threats to business networks are always evolving and constantly assesses its services to ensure that there are no vulnerabilities to any new types of threats.

Data Recovery

Cloud computing is instrumental in improving a business’ data recovery process. It allows data to be stored off-site in a secure format, with teams who are dedicated to keeping it safe.

Research by RapidScale shows that 20% of cloud users are able to recover from a site disaster in four hours or less, while only 9% of non-cloud users are able to say the same.

This reduction in downtime means less impact on productivity and sales. It is important to note the backup retention of cloud based systems and also ensure third party backups are implemented where retention does not match business objectives.

Our recent blog article further details how cloud computing can form the base of your data recovery process and help prevent total data loss and long periods of downtime.


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Why You Should Backup Office 365

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Why You Should Backup Office 365

Many people are under the impression that Microsoft and Office 365 provide comprehensive backup solutions and security measures and although we appreciate why they’re under that impression, unfortunately, it’s not the case. While Microsoft hosts the infrastructure to keep you and your business active in the cloud, the data that’s stored is still your data and it’s your responsibility to make sure it’s protected.

Microsoft 365 offers geo-redundancy which is often mistaken for backup. One means the storage location of your data is redundant because there’s protection against site and hardware failure. The other is a historical copy of your data which is stored in another location. True backups and a multi-step backup strategy are imperative to make sure your business’ critical data is protected. With 72.8% of cyber attacks targeting Microsoft Office in particular, simply having an O365 subscription does not mean you’re protected.

One of our partners, Veeam, created this diagram to show where Microsoft’s responsibilities end and yours begin. In essence, it shows that there are six key reasons why your business’ Office 365 should be backed up. These are: the potential for accidental deletion, confusion and gaps in retention policy, the presence of internal security threats such as malicious insiders and departing employees, the presence of external security threats like ransomware and rogue apps, legal and compliance requirements, and the need to manage hybrid deployments and migrations.

Diagram depicting Microsoft's responsibilities and your own. Text is described in blog below

The potential for accidental deletion

One of the most common occurrences of data loss comes about due to the accidental deletion of files, which can sometimes go unnoticed for long periods of time. If it takes your business longer to discover the loss than Microsoft stores your data, then it will be completely lost.

Confusion and gaps in the retention policy

This is related to where your business’s data is stored after it’s removed, like in the ‘recycling bin’ for example. This retention method is incomplete and offers no point-in-time recovery options.

The presence of internal security threats

While the number of occurrences of malicious insiders, employee retaliation and evidence tampering may be low, the threats they pose to your business can be extreme.

The presence of external security threats

Microsft is responsible for the infrastructure which your data is stored on and the security needed to physically protect it, however it’s your responsibility to protect from threats like ransomware, rogue apps, and hackers.

Legal and compliance requirements

Different industries and regions have varying legal and compliance requirements which may not be catered to by Microsoft which could leave you open to legal action.

The need to manage hybrid deployments and migrations

Many organisations haven’t fully migrated to the cloud and choose to adopt a hybrid model, however this can mean that they’re on-premise data and their cloud data are secured separately which can open up gaps in their protection.

What should I look for in a backup solution?

  1. Your business should have the flexibility and freedom to use your existing on-premise capabilities or a cloud for cloud backup system, depending on your unique needs.
  2. The solution should provide incremental backups, granular recovery, automation, and policy-based retention capabilities.
  3. It must be capable of protecting hybrid deployment methods as well as full SaaS adoption.
  4. It should compliment Office 365 and integrate with their existing protection measures.
  5. There should be flexibility with user access controls, access to SaaS usage metrics, and the option for multifactor authentication.
  6. It should be able to grow or shrink without capex as your business’ needs change.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365

Deployus frequently recommends Veeam to customers who require a backup solution as it can be integrated with both on-premise and cloud data storage systems. Veeam helps protect your Office 365 data from accidental deletion, security threats and retention policy gaps and it allows your business to quickly restore individual Office 365 items and files with industry-leading recovery flexibility. It can also help you meet legal and compliance requirements with efficient eDiscovery or Office 365 backup items.

According to an IDC report, almost half (49%) of organizations have suffered from an unrecoverable data event in the past three years, so it’s imperative to make sure your data is protected. If you’d like more information about why you still need to back up your Office 365 or if you’re interested in a backup strategy, please get in touch with our team via our contact form.

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Microsoft has Ended Support for Exchange 2010 and Office 2010, Now’s the Time to Switch to Microsoft 365

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Microsoft has Ended Support for Exchange 2010 and Office 2010, Now’s the Time to Switch to Microsoft 365

No more than three years ago, 82 percent of companies were still using a traditional version of Microsoft Office but as of the 19th of October this year, Microsoft switched off the lifeline for Office 2010 and Office 2016 for Mac. This means that those products will “no longer receive technical support, bug fixes, or security updates. While you can continue using Office 2010 without Microsoft’s support, it means you’re opening your business up to increased security risks and compliance issues along with Outlook 2010 not connecting to the latest versions of Microsoft Exchange Server or Microsoft Exchange Online.

Also of note is the End of Life for Microsoft Exchange 2010. Installations of Exchange 2010 will continue to run after this date. However, because this version is no longer supported or patched for security vulnerabilities, we strongly recommend that you migrate from Exchange 2010 as soon as possible.

Why did Microsoft end support for Office 2010?

As with many other organisations, Microsoft is looking to make their products more agile and connected so they stay relevant in the ever changing digital environment. The best way to do this, is by moving to a subscription based cloud structure taking the forms of Office 365 and Microsoft 365. We’ll see the same additional benefits we see with other cloud services, like the ability for real-time collaboration, advanced creativity and innovation with the help of AI and machine learning, and some built-in security measures to help protect your data.

What’s the difference between Office 365 and Microsoft 365?

In April this year, Microsoft announced that Office 365 would be renamed Microsoft 365 to better reflect the offering and what the business would like to stand for. Microsoft 365 includes all of the same applications as Office 365 but with additional features, like open access to Teams which was previously reserved for businesses.

In saying this, some Office 365 subscriptions (enterprise plans only) still stand, as does the Microsoft 365 Apps subscription. They each offer varying levels of access to the Office suite, collaboration programs, and threat and information protection.

What should I do if I want to switch to Microsoft 365?

Making the decision to move to any of the 365 offerings requires some careful consideration of your business’s requirements. Deployus can help determine which level of subscription will be best suited for you depending on how many employees you have, your location, how they’ll need to use the Office suite, your current IT infrastructure, and your current network and cloud tools.

Additionally, while Microsoft offers some security measures at the cloud level, it is still your responsibility to maintain proper data backups and security. Deployus has specialist knowledge of security strategies and programs to protect from both internal and external risks, as well as partnerships with Microsoft, Palo Alto, Duo and, Veeam. Implementation of additional security measures can be included as part of the unique strategy Deployus can create for your organisation.

If you’d like us to create a deployment strategy unique to your business, get in touch with us today via our contact form.

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How Does Data Recovery Work?

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How Does Data Recovery Work?

We’ve previously written a blog article describing what data loss is and methods for avoiding it (find it here), but considering how important data is to your business, we wanted to go into more depth about it and in the worst-case scenario, how recovery works.

Data loss comes under two key categories: logical and physical. Logical failures are some of the most common causes of data loss and are due to things such as accidental deletion or disk reformatting. Physical failures specifically occur when physical components of a hard drive have failed or been damaged.

Because it’s better being safe than sorry, we highly recommend your data is always backed up. Not only this, but successful data protection and disaster recovery plans should also follow the 3-2-1 rule. You should always have at least three copies of your data, stored on at least two types of media, with at least one being offsite.

Deployus offers a range of backup solutions utilising Veeam’s availability Suite including Veeam Agent for physical servers and workstations and Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 which delivers a cloud optimised deployment option. Veeam Backup & Replication is implemented for virtual server infrastructure. Using this technology, you can easily backup your data both on-premise and on a Cloud offering of your choice, providing protection against total data loss.

Data Recovery

If you do experience a data loss and your backups aren’t in place, you’ll need to perform data recovery to get your files back. Depending on the cause of your loss, recovery comes in different forms with differing levels of success. There have been rapid advances in recovery software and technology meaning more often than not you’ll be able to recover at least a portion of your data. Keep in mind though, that no information is recoverable after being overwritten, no matter what software or tech you use. 

Data recovery is made possible by operating systems which have been designed for speed; to maximise computing power, the system removes basic references to the files instead of erasing them completely. Recovery software scans the storage drive to find these otherwise inaccessible files and moves them to a separate storage space where they can’t be overwritten.

Logical failures

In instances of logical failures, it depends on your operating system as to how much success you’ll have with recovering your lost files. Windows NTFS systems maintain the file description information making it easier to find than with BSD UFS systems which delete almost all file information straight away. 

As mentioned above, once data is overwritten it cannot be retrieved. Even installing file recovery software can cause this, so we encourage you to do your research before it’s needed and has your chosen software already installed.

Physical failures

Physical failures are more complex than logical failures as data recovery software isn’t enough to get your data back. It requires special equipment and a perfectly clean room to handle and fix delicate components like the circuit board. Work like this must be done by a data recovery company and shouldn’t be attempted on your own as you’re likely to cause more and potentially irreparable damage to the drive.

File corruption

Corrupt files present a different problem to those which are simply lost. Instead of just looking for and recovering lost data, if a file is corrupted you’ll need data repair software which can actually fix it. This software uses standard file headers to recreate those which were corrupted, essentially rewriting them. In severe cases, the software may need sample files which perfectly match the damaged files.

While we’ve had significant advances in data recovery and repair services, it doesn’t mean you’ll always be able to recover lost data and we still recommend solid backup processes to reduce the chances of loss.

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How Digital is Transforming the Future

A dark room with a cluster of blue LED wires connected together

How Digital is Transforming the Future

These days people are being more digitally creative than ever before as they attempt to stay connected, keep working, and keep the world running during COVID. Digital advances have been happening constantly over the past three decades but the last few months have shown some big leaps; and it’s unlikely we’ll ever go back to “normal”.

In its essence, digital transformation encompasses the development of any tools or solutions that improve our processes, products, or experiences. But what might those transformations involve for our future? A special edition of AppDynamics titled “Agents of Transformation” revealed that IT professionals are prioritising the digital customer experience, continuing use of remote working tools, and maintaining more flexible resourcing.

The Digital Customer Experience

Over the past few months, we’ve seen in-person businesses pivot at the drop of a hat to offer their clients services in the only way they can – virtually. Large conferences, gym classes, trade shows, and even wine tastings have all moved to digital platforms and they seem to be working. For the foreseeable future we can expect to see more and more innovations in this space, as tech companies work to make their virtual platforms more accessible to everyday businesses.

As well as this, there have been advances in machine learning technology and its implementation. Rather than huge leaps forward, we can expect to see continued increases in incremental changes which add value to our days. Machine learning is a form of artificial intelligence which can be applied in almost any industry, making it hugely popular for developers and hugely useful for the wider community.

Flexible Resourcing

While it’s long been known that businesses which succeed are those who can be agile and innovative, recent times have made that clearer than ever. Flexible resourcing extends beyond the physical capabilities of businesses to their talent increasing their skills and knowledge, nimble technology use, and experimentation with new, and sometimes untested, digital tools.

For instance, the recent AppDynamics report suggested that “64% of technologists are currently being asked to perform tasks and activities that they’ve never done before.” With pressure like this though, comes less testing, rushed strategies, and potentially a disregard for future-proofing. For tools and advancements which are going to act as more than just a band-aid to current pain points, we need to make sure our technologists are equipped with real-time visibility and insights.

Remote Working

While it started as a necessity, the global, corporate workforce has shown that they’re capable of, and are potentially even more productive, working from home on a regular basis. When clear expectations are set and employees are supplied with the right technology, then telecommuting can have multiple positive impacts ranging from cost-savings to sustainability. SaaS and the cloud have made all of this possible by allowing us to connect and communicate in real time. 

Because of the positive results we’re seeing from the current situation, it’s estimated that 25-30% of the workforce will be working at home on a multiple-days-a-week basis by the end of 2021. This is compared to only 3.6% prior to the COVID outbreak.

Telecommuting poses additional concerns for businesses though, as it can increase the risk of unauthorised systems access, internal IT infrastructure vulnerabilities, increased bandwidth costs and data breaches. If your organisation is moving towards this structure (or already has with the latest COVID restrictions), we’ve created a checklist of minimum safeguards you should put in place which can be accessed in our report here.

We’re happy to talk you through the report, or answer any other questions you may have, so please feel free to contact us via our form and we’ll get in touch as soon as possible!

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