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

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

Office 365 Tips for Improving Data Security
Microsoft 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

Microsoft Office 365 Tips for Improving Data Security 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

Microsoft Office 365 Tips for Improving Data Security email

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!

5 Benefits Of Using Microsoft Teams

5 Benefits Of Using Microsoft Teams

What are the benefits of using Microsoft Teams?

  1. Efficient interaction with colleagues
  2. Integration with Microsoft 365
  3. Improved transparency with your team
  4. Secure platform for sharing information
  5. Mobile and remote-work friendly

Microsoft Teams is a cloud-based collaboration and video conferencing service that allows teams to communicate via chat, voice, or video call. It’s suitable for organizations that have local, remote, or distributed workgroups. Additionally, it improves teamwork in Office 365. That’s why plenty of businesses use it as part of their daily operations. If you’re interested in the benefits of using Microsoft Teams, keep on reading to learn more!

Efficient Interaction With Colleagues

Microsoft Teams is a time-saver when it comes to communication. Whether you have a quick question or need to discuss a certain task with a group, you can use the platform to satisfy your needs. This means that you can say goodbye to the days you spent going through emails. With Microsoft Teams, your email inbox will never be overloaded again. On top of that, you won’t have to miss important messages too.

But it’s more than just a chat service. Microsoft Teams also allows you to communicate via the method you prefer or think is most efficient. You can interact with your team through chat, voice, or video calls. You can keep conversations organized depending on specific topics, projects, or groups. Other than that, you can also include people from outside your organization as guests.

Integration With Microsoft 365

What makes Microsoft Teams stand out from their competitors is their integration with Microsoft 365. This means that you don’t need to switch apps when working on a document with your team. Instead, you can also make a new Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document in the Teams platform. This makes file collaboration so much easier and more efficient instead of having to send files back and forth via email.

Teams can integrate with a variety of Microsoft and 3rd party apps for better productivity and collaboration — such as Trello, Wiki, and YouTube. You can use them in messaging software and other channels available on the platform. Aside from adding apps from the Teams app store, you can also create a custom line of business apps, workflows, or bots.

Improved Transparency With Your Team

One of the most critical things in a business is to keep everyone abreast of the latest developments. This allows all teams or departments within the organization to remain on the same page. But with remote work being the norm, this has become more difficult for many businesses.

Fortunately, Microsoft Teams can assist in easing workflows. Announcements and newsworthy updates can be uploaded to the relevant channels, which employees can view and assess. Because each conversation is threaded, your team can back-track on any message that contains important information.

Other than that, you can also have meetings visible to everyone in the channel and allow any member of that channel to join if they want. With Teams, up to 10,000 can join in a meeting with little difficulty.

Secure Platform For Sharing Information

In early 2021, it was reported that Microsoft Teams had reached 145 million daily users. The platform is trusted by big organizations such as Accenture, Continental AG, and Pfizer. These large companies deal with sensitive information every day, so security would be important to them.

Microsoft Teams is a secure platform for sharing information. It uses the same security features just like Office 365 suite — such as multi-factor authentication and single-sign-on (SSO). Additionally, businesses can also control who and what has access to the platform. This can be done by only allowing certain devices and blocking access according to user location or IP address.

With Microsoft Teams, your data are encrypted in transit and at rest. To ensure that your files are safe, they’re stored in SharePoint and backed by SharePoint encryption.

Mobile And Remote Work Friendly

Microsoft Teams is a great platform for mobile and remote work. You and your team can stay connected anytime and anywhere, so you can stay on top of your important tasks. Teams is available on desktop, laptop, tablet, phone, or any compatible mobile device.

You can install the app on multiple devices so you can have instant access to all the documents and apps on the platform. This way, your workforce will be kept in the loop whether they’re in the office, at home, or on the move.

Microsoft Teams also has settings that allow you to enjoy your break after office hours. You can set predefined hours for do not disturb daily or have it activated manually.

Key Takeaway

Microsoft Teams is a cloud-based collaboration and video conferencing service trusted by small and large organizations all over the globe. This platform can help you communicate with your team quickly on important matters, use apps that are vital for your operations, and make sure that everyone is in the loop.

If you want to experience the benefits of using Microsoft Teams, you can contact us here at CT Link! We can help you set up this service so you can take full advantage of the features you need for better productivity.

3 Reasons Why Your Business Needs To Go Passwordless

3 Reasons Why Your Business Needs To Go Passwordless
3 Reasons Why Your Business Needs To Go Passwordless

What are the reasons why your business needs to go passwordless?

  1. Convenience
  2. Security
  3. Productivity

With so much information that you need to protect from outsiders, it’s important to have a method of authenticating users before they gain access to your data. One way this has been traditionally done is through the use of passwords. But with the advancement of technology, it seems that going passwordless is not just possible but also beneficial when it comes to convenience, security, and productivity. This article will talk about the reasons why your business needs to go passwordless.

If you’re wondering how passwordless authentication works, it’s simple and user-friendly. Instead of putting in the usual letters and numbers, a device — often a smartphone — will ask for your fingerprint, face, or PIN. One example is the Microsoft Authenticator application that you can use when logging in to your account to access Office 365 services.

Now that you have a basic idea of how passwordless authentication works, learn more about its benefits below.

Convenience

Convenience

Passwords have always been the main medium used for authentication. When you log in to your e-mail or bank account, you need to enter a string of letters and numbers to gain entry. This is also applicable when requesting access to your company data.

Most of you probably used memorable phrases and numbers so you won’t have difficulty logging in to your accounts. You might reuse the same combination for several applications and accounts too. But the problem with this is that it creates weak passwords.

The next step is to create passwords that won’t easily be guessed. This can be done by adding symbols, using both uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and the like. Or maybe you may resort to auto-password generators.

You’ll need to update this regularly to keep your accounts safe. But the problem with this is that these passwords are difficult to remember. And it might be inconvenient to re-create passwords every time. Dealing with lost or forgotten codes is a hassle too.

But going passwordless means that you don’t have to keep re-creating and remembering passwords. Instead, you can use an authentication app on your smartphone to get into your account. Input your fingerprint, show your face, or enter a One-Time Pin sent to your device.

Security

Security

As said before, memorable passwords are easy to remember, but they’re often weak and easy to guess. What makes weak passwords a potential problem for your organization is it increases the risk of a data breach. Hackers can use a number of tools and techniques to guess the password and subsequently access company data.

For one, they can use the password spraying technique. Cybercriminals will use a list of common passwords until they get into an account. This might sound impossible, but many people still use passwords such as “123456” and “qwerty” in an attempt to make it more memorable.

Aside from these, data breaches can also happen through social-engineering attacks such as phishing. In this situation, the hacker attempts to trick your employees into giving them their credentials — including the username and password. This is effective because the hacker pretends to be a legitimate company, website, or partner vendor.

This is why it’s important to train your employees in password management. But in other cases, it’s also beneficial to go passwordless as it can make it more difficult for hackers to perform a potential data breach. Compared to passwords, fingerprints and biometric identifiers are harder to spoof.

Passwordless authentication is even more secure if used with multi-factor authentication methods. This is an identity verification process that requires additional factors of proof before an account can be accessed. For instance, after entering your username or password, you need to enter your fingerprint into an authentication app before a personal account can be opened.

Productivity

Productivity

If an employee loses a password, time is wasted. Instead of accessing the company data and applications, they have to wait for the IT team to reset the password. Add to this the time spent to create new strong passwords. This is the reason many employees opt for weak and easy-to-remember passwords instead.

Passwordless authentication is considerably more hassle-free. By replacing passwords with something the user is (biometrics), the log-in process is more convenient. Employees never have to remember and type in a password again. Instead, they have the authenticating factor with them anywhere they go — such as their fingerprint or facial features.

What this means for your company is that there will be less need for password resets. Your employees and the IT Team will have more time for core activities and other important tasks.

Key Takeaway

Passwords have always been the main means of logging into an account. But weak passwords can be problematic because there are a variety of tools and techniques a hacker can use to guess them.

On the other hand, strong passwords require additional characters, symbols, and numbers, which make them harder to remember for your employees. This can lead to wasted time in your organization, which is why going passwordless may be a better option.

There are plenty of other reasons why your business needs to go passwordless. If you need to know more about how this works, you can send us a message here at CT Link!

Microsoft Office 365: Taking a look at MyAnalytics

Microsoft Office 365: Taking a look at MyAnalytics

As an Office 365 user, you are given a plethora of apps to help make many day to day tasks simpler and easier.  However, most of us are guilty of not making full use of these applications and this is due to not really knowing what they are or knowing how it could help the organization.  We usually just use familiar apps such as the office products and email since these are the apps that we are familiar with, however there are lesser known apps that come with Office 365 that can be just as helpful.  One of such apps would be the MyAnalytics.

MyAnalytics helps you track the time you spend on activities throughout your work days, meaning you find out which activities are consuming your time the most or even who you usually spend time with during meetings.  If you’re wondering how it gets all this data, MyAnalytics is synched with your calendar and email.  The data is also placed in an easy to read dashboard so there is no worry for you not to be able to make use of the data it provides you.

For a better understanding, below is a few key sections of the app that you will use:

Your Time Overview

Gives you an overview of how much time you are spending on certain activities such as meeting hours, email hours, focus hours, and after hours work.

Network

This section shows you the data of the people you work with such as your top collaborators.  You can even include certain people in your organization to see how well you communicate with them (please not that only you will see this and not the other party).

Meetings

This section shows you how long you spend in meetings and your habits during meetings such as multitasking during meetings (yes emailing during meetings are considered a bad habit).

Email

This section breaks down the time you spend on emails and how you and others interact with the emails, this includes how long it usually takes you to reply to an email.  Take note that there is actually an add-in for MyAnalytics (included in the license) that can help give you more insight into emails directly within Outlook.

Focus Hours

This section shows you how much time you have to “focus”.  These “focus hours” are defined by Microsoft as at least two consecutive hours without a meeting.  However, it can’t really keep track of all the other small distractions that we encounter throughout the day, so you can usually think of this portion instead as how long can I potential do work rather than being focused.

After Hours

This shows you much time you spent working after hours. After hours work includes meetings and emails outside your defined working day. If work/life balance is important to you, this can be a real eye opener about how much you’re actually doing outside the office.


To learn more about Microsoft Office 365 applications or MyAnalytics, you may visit our product page or contact us at 893-9515.

Office 365 Update to Help Protect you from Macro Based Malware

Office 365 Update to Help Protect you from Macro Based Malware

We are now in an era where it’s hard not to make use of new technologies such as Cloud Storage.  With your data available anywhere you are through the connection of the internet, this has helped many businesses become more flexible in their operations.  However, we are always skeptical on how safe our data is since our data is stored somewhere we do not know and if these locations are secure from cyber criminals.

Now if you are an Office 365 user, you can rest easy as they have just recently announced that they are now integrating their Antimalware Scan Interface (AMSI) to the app!  AMSI was integrated to Office 365 as a way to help improve security against attacks that make use of malicious macros and scripts that target office documents by detecting them early on or by stopping them from executing.  Below is a quote from the Microsoft Security Team for their reasoning in bulking up security against macro attacks:

“Macro-based threats have always been a prevalent entry point for malware, but we have observed a resurgence in recent years. Continuous improvements in platform and application security have led to the decline of software exploits, and attackers have found a viable alternative infection vector in social engineering attacks that abuse functionalities like VBA macros.”  

If AMSI is familiar to you, it might be because it isn’t something new as it was already being used by Microsoft as early as 2015 when they announced that Powershell adopted it as well for security purposes.  To give a background on AMSI, it is an open interface available on Windows 10 for applications to request, at runtime, a synchronous scan of a memory buffer by an installed antivirus or security solution. Any application can interface with AMSI and request a scan for any data that may be untrusted or suspicious.

If you want a more in depth read on how AMSI is helping protect you from attacks, you can read the original blog post from the security team here or you can contact us at 893 9515 and we will be happy to help you!

Microsoft To-Do adds New Features Steps and List Sharing

Microsoft To-Do adds New Features Steps and List Sharing

It’s now been over a year since Microsoft has released To-Do, it’s intelligent task management app which was developed by the team behind wunderlist.  With it being integrated with Office 365, the team has been collecting a multitude of feedback from users and have now released them in a couple of updates throughout this year.

One of these updates would be Steps which allows you to create sub-tasks to your main tasks to help break it down to smaller actionable items to help you focus on finishing the said task.  The number of steps will be displayed on the task to help productivity so that you know how far you are in that specific task.

 

Another update which was just recently announced was the feature of List Sharing.  List Sharing allows you to share your To-Do list with others so that collaboration will be easier as others may see your progress on your tasks or update it as tasks or Steps are accomplished.  This can be done through sharing a link to the ones you want to share your list with and once you are finished collaborating with whomever you are working with while still retaining the option to stop sharing it.  Microsoft says that this update will be available for most Office 365 users by mid June.

To learn more about To-Do on Office 365, you may contact us at 893-9515 so we can better help answer your inquiries!

Microsoft Teams Turns One!

Microsoft Teams Turns One!

On March 12, 2018, Microsoft Teams celebrated its one year anniversary and what and eventful first year it was!  According to Microsoft, around 200,000 organizations in 181 markets (in 39 languages) are using teams to date and we can expect it to rise throughout the year with Microsoft’s additional features and updates to Teams this coming year.

Teams for Intelligent Communications and Collaboration

Being part of Office 365, Teams has been able to take advantage of many of its strength by being able to integrate with many other Office 365 applications while also tapping its 120 million user base.  Teams uniquely delivers on its many features, such as chat-based collaboration, meetings, calling (and soon, full enterprise voice features), at scale with enterprise-grade security and compliance standards to make sure that you are within global standards.  However, to improve on their vision for Intelligent Communications within organizations, Microsoft has announced that they will be implementing the following features within this year:

Cloud recording—Will provide one-click meeting recordings with automatic transcription and timecoding, enabling all team members the ability to read captions, search within the conversation, and playback all or part of the meeting. In the future, it will also include facial recognition, so remarks can be attributed to specific meeting attendees.

Inline message translation—People who speak different languages will be able to fluidly communicate with one another by translating posts in channels and chat.

Cortana voice interactions for Teams-enabled devices—Will enable you to easily make a call, join a meeting, or add other people to a meeting in Teams using spoken, natural language. This functionality will extend to IP phones and conference room devices.

Background blur on video—The ability to blur your background during video calls will allow other meeting attendees to focus on you, not what’s behind you.

Proximity detection for Teams Meetings—This feature will make it easy for you to discover and add a nearby and available Skype Room System to any meeting.

Mobile sharing in meetings—Meeting attendees will be able to share a live video stream, photos, or the screen from their mobile device.

In addition to this, Microsoft will be adding new enterprise-grade calling features in Teams which will include consultative transfer and call delegation and federation.  Another feature that will be introduced is Direct Routing which will allow you to use your existing telephony infrastructure with Teams for calling.  To learn more about this you may read the original article here or you can contact us at 893-9515 to ask us directly!

Office 2007 Support has officially ended

Office 2007 Support has officially ended

Office 2007’s support officially ended last October 10, 2017.  This doesn’t mean that you will lose all your Office 2007 apps, nor will you lose any of your data associated with Office 2007.  Then what exactly does this mean then?  One big issue from discontinued support would be security; with no support, you could be exposing yourself to huge security risks.  Below are what you will be losing with the end of support:

  • You’ll no longer receive Office 2007 software updates from Microsoft Update.
  • You’ll no longer receive security updates. Security updates are what help protect your PC from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.
  • You’ll no longer receive phone or chat technical support.
  • No further updates to support content will be provided. In fact, most online help content will be retired.
  • You’ll no longer be able to download Office 2007 from the Microsoft web site.

Even though Office 2007 is still usable, you may want to consider upgrading to a newer version in lieu with the above benefits that you will be losing.  Below are the upgrades you can consider:

  1. Upgrading to Office 365 – the subscription version of Office that comes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other apps, depending on the plan you choose. With Office 365, the apps are available on your computer for up to 5 users and via browser; one subscription enables you to use them on both your PC and Mac.
  2. Upgrading to Office 2016 – Office 2016 is a one-time purchase (not a subscription) for installation on one computer only.

Speed up your GDPR Compliance with Microsoft Cloud!

Speed up your GDPR Compliance with Microsoft Cloud!

With the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) taking effect on May 2018, many companies are now working on complying with it.  Gartner believes that less than 50% of all organizations will be able to fully comply before its takes effect.  However, using the cloud can help dramatically increase compliance rate and Microsoft has worked with countless experts to help make its solutions simple and user friendly.

With roughly 160 GDPR requirements, which include how to collect, store, use personal information and even a mandate for a 72-hour notification for personal data breaches, it’s clear that using cloud technologies can help the speed of compliance in many organizations.  With this in mind, Microsoft has worked on their Trusted Cloud Principles, in which security, privacy, compliance and transparency are included, to help provide a unique journey to GDPR compliance.  Microsoft announced on February of this year that their cloud services would comply with the GDPR by next year May, which include Office 365, Dynamic 365, Azure (including Azure data services), Enterprise Mobility + Security, and Windows 10.

Cloud for compliance

Besides being compliant, Microsoft Cloud provides built-in sophisticated controls that can help you comply with the GDPR requirements.  Azure Information Protection is an example of one of the capabilities in the arsenal of Microsoft.  Azure Information Protection provides document tracking and revocation capabilities, this gives you the ability to monitor the flow of sensitive data and revoke access to it at any time.

Microsoft Cloud can also be used to discover, manage, protect and report on GDPR-related data.  With powerful intelligence capabilities on Microsoft Cloud, using features such as Office 365 Advanced Data Governance can intelligently manage your organization’s data with classifications, which can label sensitive data so that you can apply policies for either protection, retention or deletion.

Microsoft also plans on releasing a new dashboard as well to help provide a quantitative assessment to help identify where you are in your journey to GDPR compliance.

To learn more about Microsoft’s GDPR solution Here or learn more about Microsoft products from our Product page Here!