Innovating Industries: Teams for Manufacturing

Microsoft Teams Manufacturing header

Technology is always evolving to make life simpler for businesses and their employees. No matter which industry, there are always new ways to improve the operations and make jobs easier for every job level. In today’s article, we are taking a closer look at some of these advancements for manufacturing. Specifically on Microsoft Teams and the variety of apps within it that can empower all employees within the company to help finish tasks more efficiently.

Updates: Create, Review, Submit Employee Updates

Many in the manufacturing still use tools that are considered outdated or do manual updates to sync with each other and get work done. This is a process that Microsoft looked into to save employees time and energy through a streamlined app available out-of-box. With Updates in Microsoft Teams, you are able to easily do recurring tasks such as check-ins, and reports such as inspections and maintenance updates, or even real-time urgent updates like incident reports. Updates can be your one stop app to manage them all.

Approvals: Integrate Approvals into Microsoft 365

Microsoft Teams allows you to integrate and extend approvals through the Approval app. Through it, your team will be able to create approval requests directly into Word documents, either the whole documents or just a section of it. Additionally, you can manage and create your requests through Microsoft Lists to easily interact with your approvals.

Walkie Talkie: Enable Simpler Communication Through Teams

A simple way to immediately contact one another is sometimes vital in manufacturing. The Microsoft team understands that sometimes its not necessary to reinvent the wheel. The Walkie Talkie app in Teams allows for a secure way for frontline workers to communicate each other with the familiar push-to-talk experience. Unlike a regular walkie talkie however, team members are able to communicate even if they are anywhere in the world, as well as do away with the static for a cleaner audio between one another. This can be used through devices such as corporate given devices or BYOD, you may also opt for partner devices that optimizes its use with it as well.

These are just a few of the ways Microsoft 365 and Teams can help digitally transform the Manufacturing industry. Through many different integrations and applications, Microsoft can help streamline the flows and process of many manufacturing organizations through different customizations.

If you are interested in learning more about more about the different ways to improve your business with Microsoft, you can send us an email at marketing@ctlink.com.ph!

Security Advisory: Critical Vulnerability for Microsoft Exchange Found

It has recently been reported and come to the attention of Microsoft of two critical zero-day vulnerabilities that affect Microsoft Exchange Server 2013, Exchange Server 2016, and Exchange Server 2019. The first one, identified as CVE-2022-41040, is a server-side request forgery (SSRF) vulnerability, while the second one, identified as CVE-2022-41082, allows remote code execution (RCE) when Exchange PowerShell is accessible to the attacker.

CVE-2022-41040 can enable an authenticated attacker to remotely trigger CVE-2022-41082. However, authenticated access to the vulnerable Exchange Server is necessary to successfully exploit either vulnerability, and they can be used separately.

Unfortunately, there is evidence that there are currently active attacks using these vulnerabilities as of today. As of today, Microsoft is still working on a patch/update to fix this vulnerability. They have provided a few ways to mitigate the issue in the meantime. We strongly suggest that you take the following steps to mitigate the threat

Known Mitigation

Firstly, if you are an Exchange Online customer, you do no need to take any action as Microsoft security already has you covered. For those using Microsoft Exchange Server 2013, Exchange Server 2016, and Exchange Server 2019, you may try the 3 options below:

Option 1: For customers who have the Exchange Emergency Mitigation Service (EEMS) enabled, Microsoft released the URL Rewrite mitigation for Exchange Server 2016 and Exchange Server 2019. The mitigation will be enabled automatically.

Option 2: Microsoft created the following script for the URL Rewrite mitigation steps. https://aka.ms/EOMTv2

Option 3: Customers follow the steps found here for the third option for mitigation

Exclusive Workshop: Collaborate and Stay Secure with Microsoft 365 for Business!

When the pandemic hit, businesses all over the world had to scramble and adapt. Many small and medium-size businesses really struggled with these changes and did not know if they would be able to make it through. The “new normal” has demonstrated that in order to thrive, businesses need to invest in developing capabilities in key two areas:

  • Real-time collaboration
  • Security

Real-time collaboration was hard to maintain during the start of the pandemic as many did not have the means to work remotely. Those companies that were unable to adapt to the pandemic were not able to recover their business. As you know, Microsoft Office 365 was able to help many businesses collaborate in real time and keep the user performance high even during those uncertain times.

Security does not fall behind collaboration in terms of importance during the pandemic. The spike in malicious attacks at the start of 2020 caused many businesses to lose important business data. Although some businesses were able to recover, many did not. These attacks also cost businesses significant amount of profit over time as lost business opportunities were hard to recover.

Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium Workshop

Even as we are emerging from the pandemic, remote work setups are now more accepted, and we can expect to see it from businesses. Therefore, we should keep finding ways to improve the business processes with better and innovative ways. This is why we at CT Link are partnering with Crayon Philippines to create an exclusive workshop for some of our customers to learn more about the benefits of Office 365. With better real-time collaboration and security features, this workshop aims to show you how you can keep improving despite the ever-changing IT landscape.

Interested in learning how you can attend our next exclusive workshops? Inquire at marketing@ctlink.com.ph to learn more!

Office 365 Tips for Improving Data Security

Microsoft Office 365 has become one of the most widely used collaboration tools for many businesses around the world. This is due to the familiarity, convenience, and functionality that the platform gives its users. The pandemic made it even more apparent when businesses had to close their offices and remote work was enforced globally. However, cyber criminals are aware of this and are actively looking for ways to exploit user ignorance for their gain.

Below are a few security tips to help you and your company improve your Office 365 security:

Enable Device Protection

Users of Office 365 will agree that one of the best features it has is its mobility. Being able to access your files, collaborate with others, and checking business emails on any device is incredibly convenient. However, this can lead to security risks in the long run if devices are not properly secured.

Microsoft Intune is a cloud-based service that focuses on mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM). It helps your organization properly manage and secure your users’ devices, whether or not they are using company devices or using their personal devices (BYOD). One example of its capabilities is preventing emails from being sent to people outside your organization. It also allows your corporate data to be secured even if they are on a personal device, keeping it isolated from personal data.

Microsoft Intune Capabilities

  • Option to be purely cloud or co-managed with configuration manager and Intune.
  • Customize rules for both personal and organization-owned devices when accessing corporate data and networks.
  • Protect your company information by controlling the way users access and share information.
  • Ensure security compliance for all devices and apps

Set up Email Security

Attackers usually take the path of least resistance when targeting your network which is usually your users. Phishing attacks have gone up since the pandemic since users are more vulnerable outside your network. Making use of the default Office 365 anti-phishing capabilities can help your company monitor and block known campaigns to lessen the risk of a breach. These functions can be enabled through the Microsoft Defender in the settings window.

If your company would like a complete email security solution for your Office 365 defense, Trend Micro Email Security for Office 365 can help. The Trend Micro solution uses an optimum blend of cross-generational threat techniques, like machine learning, sandbox analysis, data loss prevention (DLP), and other methods to stop all types of email threats.

Trend Micro Email Security Capabilities

  • Stops phishing and spam by examining email senders, analyzing email content and malicious URL
  • Protects against BEC by examining email behavior while allowing you to define priority users for BEC protection
  • Detects and blocks advanced threats using machine learning and sandbox analysis

Turn on Multifactor Authentication (MFA)

Enabling the MFA capabilities of Office 365 adds an additional layer of security to avoid data breaches. By verifying each user that requests for access, lessens the chance that any malicious attacker can get into your network. Office 365 MFA can be enabled for individual accounts or through policies for all users. Individual account option makes users go through authentication on their login while policy-based MFA can be customized based on the user’s role or permission levels. The policy-based option is not available on all licenses.

RSA SecurID is another option if you are looking to improve your MFA capabilities for Office 365. With a native Office 365 integration, you can better secure your network with a variety of different authentication methods. The below authentication methods are also available whether or not the user has internet access:

  • Hardware tokens
  • Soft tokens through the mobile app
  • Biometrics through the mobile app
  • Tokens received through Email or SMS

For further security form the RSA solution has machine learning for its authentication solution. However, it is not included in the basic edition.

Contact us at marketing@ctlink.com.ph to learn more on how you can better secure your Office 365 suite today!

Streamline your Workflows with Microsoft Approvals

The pandemic has changed many things over the past year, remote work has now become a more widely accepted set up when it comes to managing your workforce’s schedules. However, even with cloud-based tools to help with collaboration, files and decisions can still be hard to track if it is scattered throughout different platforms like email, messenger apps, or even through video or audio calls.

This is not a problem for users of Microsoft Teams as Microsoft has recently added a new application called Approvals.

https://youtu.be/Z9fdqSxKuJw

Approvals in Microsoft Teams allows users to create, manage, and share approvals directly from the Team app. Approval flows can be made directly from where users chat, channel conversations, or from the Approval app itself. They can be monitored easily from the Teams app and will notify approvers once the request has been made.

Your Approvals in one App

With Approvals, you can see and manage all approval requests in one app with all key details, status, requestors, and approvers. You can also track the progress of specific approvals to find out more on what’s happening or if there are delays.

Upload documents, images, links, and other files

Approval allows for requestors to upload files or pictures when creating approvals. This ensures that their task or request has supporting documents to prove completion and creates a faster approval cycle. This also makes it easier to find files when you need to find it.

Approvals built on the Power Platform

Approvals in Teams is built on top of Power Platform and is easily integrated to create an uninterrupted flow of work to reduce the wait time of tasks. With integration of Power Platform, you can do more than just simple approvals and rejections. Since it is a workflow app, you can immediately place tasks and objectives after an approval or rejection customized based on what you need, so that the flow of work continues until the end result you are after is achieved.

For example, you can create a flow to act on the request directly from Teams and define what happens after the request is approved (e.g. post a confirmation message in Teams) or rejected (e.g. create a task in Planner). When a specific form is submitted, this flow will automatically be triggered, which makes it easier for both the requestor and the approver to expedite the process.

To learn more about Microsoft Teams and Approvals, you can fill the form below and we will get in touch with you as soon as we can!

Office App: Your new Microsoft Office on the Go

Most Microsoft Office users hardly use their phone to do their work, if ever they do its for revisions or small adjustments.  Users usually save majority of the work for when they can use a desktop, this should be expected as the mobile version, while handy, had a lot of limitations.  Microsoft took this as a challenge to better improve their mobile app so that you could use the app on the go to create majority of the content of your files, be it a document, a spreadsheet or even presentations.

Microsoft has announced on February 19, 2020 that the Office app is now generally available for use on both iOS and android for you to test and hopefully give more feedback.

The Office app delivers several key benefits including:

  • Combining Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in a way that simplifies the experience with fewer apps to download or switch between. It requires far less phone storage than installing individual apps while maintaining virtually all the capabilities of the existing mobile apps people already know and use.
  • Integrating our Lens technology to unlock the power of the camera with capabilities like converting images into editable Word and Excel documents, scanning PDFs, and capturing whiteboards with automatic digital enhancements to make the content easier to read.
  • Adding new functionality for common tasks people often encounter when working on a phone—things like making quick notes, signing PDFs, scanning QR codes, and transferring files between devices.

New features are also on the works that will hopefully help you do more content heavy work when using the Office App.  Below are the features that are currently being worked on and hopefully will be out on a future update:

Word Dictation— a feature where you can enable writing via voice while keeping all punctuation and symbols via a shortcut bar.

Excel Cards View— a feature in which excel rows will be displayed as easy to read and edit cards to better.

Outline to PowerPoint— a feature in which your powerpoint slide based on an outline you write will be automatically designed by powerpoint designer.


To learn more about Microsoft Office or any other Microsoft products, you may visit our product page or you can contact us directly at 8893 9515 and we would be happy to answer your inquiries.

You may also find the link for the Office app below for your respective devices:

Download for Android | Download for iOS

AIP Scanner: Automating Data Protection for your Organization

Organizations these days have large amounts of unstructured data just being left alone in their on-premises data repositories and SharePoint libraries.  With the amount of data usually amounting to terabytes (or even Petabytes in some cases), it can seem like a daunting task which can take long hours to accomplish.  However, with the help of some tools and apps, this seemingly difficult task may not seem that daunting anymore.

This is where Azure Information Protection (AIP) Scanner comes in.  AIP Scanner can scan your on-premises data repositories against the standard Office 365 sensitive information types and custom types you build with keywords and regular expressions.   Once the data is discovered, the AIP scanner(s) can aggregate the findings and display them in Analytics reports so you can begin visualizing your data risk and see recommendations for setting up protection rules based on the content.

Benefits

Below are some key benefits that one organization who is currently using AIP Scanner have mentioned:

Enhanced functionality:  AIP scanner has the capability to not only scan sensitive data, but also to apply labels and encrypt files. PDF and RMS-encrypted files can be scanned as well, given that the operator is an accredited RMS superuser.

Simplified management processes: AIP scanner has an integrated view with centralized logging for the scanner results which make viewing and managing them easier especially when you are scanning large amount of data.

Consistent scan results across the enterprise: With AIP Scanner, you can reuse Office 365 DLP information types meaning that you don’t have to rebuild policies between your cloud scans and third-party products.

To learn more about AIP scanner, you can visit the original article here or you can contact us at 893-9515 and we would be happy to answer your inquiries!

Security Advisory: SWAPGS Attack

A new Security Vulnerability was recently announced by Microsoft which can be considered a variant of the old Spectre vulnerability.  This new vulnerability is called the SWAPGS attacks.  Its name comes from the fact that the vulnerability leverages on the “SWAPGS instruction”, one of the predictive executions within the affected processors which helps improve the speed of our computers.

So which systems are affected?

The researchers from BitDefender, the ones responsible for the discovery, have stated that the vulnerability affects all Intel CPUs manufactured from 2012 to the present.  However, Red Hat has also come out with its own security advisory  stating that the vulnerability affects x86-64 systems using both Intel and AMD processors, which AMD itself disputes as its own statement on this matter states they are not affected by the vulnerability.  The advisory also stated that from the industry feedback, they are not aware of a way to exploit this vulnerability of Linux kernel-based systems.

Is this attack easily executed?  Am I the target for these attacks?

With the details of these attacks fully disclosed, the chances of becoming a victim of these attacks are a lot higher.  However, as these kinds of attacks are very time consuming, cyber criminals would be more likely to attack more lucrative targets such as organizations or their key personal rather than target smaller individuals.

“Criminals with knowledge of these attacks would have the power to uncover the most vital, best-protected information of both companies and private individuals around the world, and the corresponding power to steal, blackmail, sabotage and spy,” Gavin Hill, vice-president for datacenter and network security products at Bitdefender warned.

What can I do to prevent this?

Firstly, this vulnerability was already included in the July 9 security update of Microsoft, so if you’ve already up to date with the security patches you don’t have to do anything.

As for existing Trend Micro users, given that this is a local type of vulnerability, Trend Micro IPS rule cannot be created for this. Vulnerability exploitable with only local access requires the attacker to either have physical access or be logged on to the vulnerable system. DPI can only detect attacks over the network.

As stated above, it would be best to immediately update your OS Security Patches, you may find a list below:

For more inquiries regarding this vulnerability, please do contact us at 893-9515 and we will be happy to answer them!

Beyond Office: Maximizing and Securing your investments with Office 365

Are you Maximizing your Office 365 Investment? How about Securing Your Corporate Data?

So your business has invested (or is looking to invest) in Office 365, you’ve made sure that every user has a subscription and everyone is fairly happy using all the familiar office apps like Word, Excel and PowerPoint.  This however is only scratching the surface of your investment in Office 365, there is much more to office 365 then the office suite. 

Learn first-hand from our experts from Microsoft on how you can maximize your investment into office 365 as we take a look at some lesser used applications from the suite.  We’ll also be briefly be discussing one of the new security aspects in Office 365, Azure Information Protection (AIP), which will help you complete your DLP requirements in this age of digital transformation.

Get in touch with us at 893-9515 to learn how you and your company can register for this upcoming workshop!

Security Advisory: Microsoft Alerts Customers to Patch BlueKeep Vulnerability ASAP

In case you didn’t hear, another big vulnerability was reported by Microsoft on May 14, 2019 known as “BlueKeep” which takes advantage vulnerabilities of Remote Desktop Services (RDS), Remote Code Execution (RCE), and Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).  However, BlueKeep only affects older version of Windows, so users of Windows 10 and 8 can rest easy.  The severity of the vulnerability though has forced the hand of Microsoft and they have actually made and released a security patch for its unsupported versions.  They have classified this vulnerability as a critical level threat.

This is why as of June 4, 2019, Microsoft once again urged its customers to apply the patch as soon as possible as more than 1 million devices are still vulnerable to the attack.  This is to avoid another widescale malware attacks like those of the WannaCry ransomware attack back in 2017.  Many companies were affected by the attack and caused many business operations to stop, more notably hospital operations.

What can you do to avoid being affected?

Microsoft has already provided the solution to BlueKeep, make sure you download the latest security patch for your corresponding OS (you can find the patches here).  You may need to reboot your servers to ensure the patch is running properly.

For those who are Trend Micro users, specifically those who use Deep Security, if you are unable to apply the patch due to other reasons, such as being unable to reboot your servers, please make sure that you apply the correct policy for the virtual patching of Deep Security to ensure the security of your servers.  Below is the Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) rule:

  • 1009749 – Microsoft Windows Remote Desktop Services Remote Code Execution Vulnerability

You can view the official Trend Micro article on it here.

For those who are looking into a longer-term solution, you can consider solutions such as Citrix Gateway and Virtual Apps to secure your remote connections to Windows servers.

To learn more about these solutions, you can contact us at 893-9515 and we will help introduce you to different options that you have to help prevent these kinds of vulnerabilities!

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