Now Copilot’s going to make your team work better together

Have you heard about Team Copilot yet? It’s the latest addition to Microsoft’s suite of AI tools and should be available later this year.

Think of Team Copilot as an advanced, AI-powered assistant designed to help your team work better together. While Microsoft’s 365 Copilot has been a personal assistant for individual tasks like drafting emails or recapping missed meetings, Team Copilot takes it to the next level by focusing on group activities.

There are three main ways Team Copilot can help your team:

1. Meeting facilitator

During a Teams video call, Team Copilot can take notes that everyone in the meeting can see and edit. It can also create follow-up tasks, track time for each agenda item, and assist with in-person or hybrid meetings when used with Teams Rooms.

2. Group text chat assistant

In group text chats within Teams, Copilot can summarise lengthy conversations to highlight the most important information. It can also answer questions from the group, making it easier to stay on track and informed without wading through pages (and pages and pages) of chat history.

3. Project manager

Team Copilot can help manage projects by creating tasks and goals within Microsoft’s Planner app. It can assign these tasks to team members and even complete some tasks itself, like drafting a blog post. It will notify team members when their input is needed.

You know that productivity isn’t just about individual work. It’s also about effective teamwork. So, by helping with group-orientated tasks, Team Copilot can make big improvements to your overall productivity.

It’s important to note that while Team Copilot is incredibly helpful, it doesn’t replace the role of a human meeting facilitator. It won’t lead meetings or ensure inclusivity, but it will create agendas, track time, take notes, and share files.

It’s more of a business insights assistant, helping with group interactions and meetings rather than censoring comments or keeping people in line. But hey, who knows what’s to come in future!

Team Copilot will be available in preview later this year for Microsoft 365 customers with a Copilot subscription. While it’s a work in progress, the potential it has to transform team productivity is huge.

Keep an eye out for its release and think about how it could fit into your workflow to boost your team’s productivity. If you have any questions or need further assistance in understanding how Copilot can benefit your business, get in touch.

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More businesses are proactively investing in cyber security defences

More and more businesses are making the smart decision to be proactive and invest in their cyber security defences. This is fantastic news, especially since stats show that about half of small and medium-sized businesses still have no cyber security measures at all.

If your business falls into that category, it’s time to change.

Cyber security might sound complex, but it starts with a few simple steps. Let’s talk about some basics you can put in place right away.

First, think about encryption and multi-factor authentication (MFA). Encryption is like putting your data in a secure vault. It ensures that even if someone intercepts your information, they can’t read it without the encryption key.

MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring you to verify your identity using a second device, like your phone, whenever you log in. It’s a bit like needing two keys to open a lock instead of just one.

Another easy step is using a password manager. These generate long, random passwords for every account and remember them for you. Password managers make life easier and your business more secure in one package. Amazing.

Advanced monitoring tools are another great way to protect your business. They’re a little like security cameras for your digital space, always on the lookout for anything suspicious. These tools help detect unusual activity in your systems, giving you a heads-up if something’s not right.

And let’s not forget about protecting your business from phishing scams. These are attempts by criminals to trick you into giving away personal information by pretending to be someone you trust, like a supplier or a bank. Educating your team on how to spot these scams is crucial. If something feels off, it probably is.

Why is investing in cyber security so important?

  • It protects your data
  • Avoids financial loss
  • And builds trust with your customers and partners

Your business data is valuable, and protecting it means safeguarding your business’s operations and reputation.

Cyber attacks can be costly, not just in terms of money but also time and resources. Prevention is ALWAYS cheaper than dealing with the aftermath of a breach. Plus, showing that you take security seriously helps build trust with your customers and partners. They need to know that their information is safe with you.

Investing in cyber security doesn’t have to be daunting. We’re the experts in this field and would love to help you secure your business. Whether you need advice on getting started or want a comprehensive security plan, get in touch.

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Content and DNS Filtering

What is it

  • DNS filtering involves using the DNS to block malicious websites and filter out harmful or inappropriate content.
  • Content filtering is a software-based approach that prevents domains from resolving altogether.

What do they do and why is it important.

Lets start with content filtering. Content filtering prevents websites from being accessed. Most solutions will use website categories that are then either blocked or allowed. But most solutions will allow you to allow certain groups of people to access certain category of website (Marketing could acccess Social Media). However you might also allow everyone to access social media over their lunch break.

By doing this you are achieving 2 things, firstly you are preventing employees from wasting time, doing stuff they shouldn’t. But it is also helping you to protect employees from stuff online they shouldn’t really be accessing.

DNS Filtering, unlike content filtering where websites are blocked based on the categorisation of the content, this is blocking the site, because of the DNS (The Domain Name) for instance with our solution we block all new domains, and restrict access to domains upto 30 days from registration. We do this because it helps prevent phishing attacks. Imagine you receive a phishing email, and you click on the link, but instead of getting a webpage that looks like something you should sign in to, you end up with a blocked page site.

If you want to know more please contact us

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Uh oh! You’re at greater risk of malware than ever before

Here’s something not-so-fun but incredibly important to talk about: Malware attacks.

And it’s bad news. These scary cyber threats are hitting small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) harder than ever before. That means you need to know how you can defend your business.

First things first, what exactly is malware?

Think of it as the digital equivalent of the germs that make you sick. Malware, short for malicious software, is like the flu virus of the cyber world. It’s designed to sneak into your computer systems or network and wreak havoc in all sorts of ways.

So, what kinds of malware are we talking about here?

Well, according to a recent report, there are a few major troublemakers: Information-stealing malware, ransomware, and business email compromise (BEC).

You might be wondering why you should care about malware. Let me set the scene. You’re running your business smoothly, minding your own business, when BAM! A malware attack hits.

Suddenly, your files are encrypted, your systems are locked down, and you’re being held hostage for ransom.

Sounds like a nightmare, right?

That’s the reality for many SMBs facing malware attacks. It’s not just about losing money – it’s about the potential damage to your reputation, your operations, and your customers’ trust.

But there are plenty of ways to fight back against malware and keep your business safe and sound:

Educate your team

Teach your employees to spot phishing emails (an email pretending to be from someone you trust), suspicious links, and other sneaky tactics used by cyber criminals. A little awareness goes a long way.

Armour up your devices

Make sure all your computers and devices are equipped with the best software to prevent attacks.

Back up, back up, back up

Regularly back up your data to secure offsite locations. That way, if you are attacked, you’ll have a backup plan (literally) to restore your files.

Fortify your network

Improve your network security with firewalls, encryption, and other powerful weapons. We can help with all of that.

Stay sceptical

Be cautious of suspicious emails or requests for sensitive information. When in doubt, double-check the sender’s identity and never click on risky links or attachments.

Have a plan

Prepare an incident response plan for dealing with malware attacks. Think of it as your emergency playbook, complete with steps for containing the threat, recovering your data, and reporting the incident.

That’s a lot to take in, but remember, knowledge is power. These are all things we help our clients with, so they don’t have to worry about it. If we can help you too, get in touch.

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Be more productive with these Microsoft Edge features

Be more productive with these Microsoft Edge features

Improving productivity is a never-ending mission for most business owners and managers.

Whether it’s speeding up tasks or improving communication, every little helps. So it’s crucial to make the most of the tools you already have.

And while you might think of your web browser as just a means to access the internet, it can be so much more than that. Especially if you use Microsoft Edge in Windows 11. It has loads of features that can help supercharge your productivity.

Here are five of our favourites.

1. Split Screen for multitasking

Multitasking is a skill every business owner needs, and Microsoft Edge’s split screen feature makes it easier than ever. Whether you’re comparing web pages, researching multiple topics, or simply keeping an eye on different sites simultaneously, split screen lets you view two pages side-by-side within the same tab. It’s like having two windows open at once, but without the clutter.

2. Vertical Tabs for streamlined navigation

Too many tabs? Yeah… we understand that. Microsoft Edge’s vertical tabs offer a fresh perspective on tab management. By stacking tabs vertically along the side of the browser window, you can easily navigate between open tabs and access essential controls like close and mute.

3. Workspaces for seamless collaboration

Collaboration is key in any business, and Microsoft Edge’s Workspaces feature makes it easier than ever to work well with colleagues or clients. Create a workspace with a collection of open tabs, then share it with others via a simple link. It means they can open multiple tabs with one click. It’s perfect for brainstorming sessions, project management, or team presentations.

4. Collections for organised research

Gathering information from the web is a common task. Microsoft Edge’s Collections feature makes this easier, allowing you to easily save and organise text, images, and videos from web pages into custom collections. Stay organised, focused, and productive.

5: Immersive Reader for distraction-free reading

When you need to focus on reading an article or document online, distractions on the page can be a pain. Microsoft Edge’s Immersive Reader feature provides a clutter-free reading experience by removing ads, links, and other interruptions. Customise the text size, spacing, and colour scheme to suit your preferences, and even have the content read aloud for hands-free reading.

If your business doesn’t already use Microsoft Edge on Windows 11, this could be the perfect time to switch. Can we help you move over? Get in touch.

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Firewalls

Perimeter and device firewalls

This week, we turn our attention to the subject of firewalls, both at the perimeter and on your local computer.

Perimeter

A perimeter firewall serves as the first line of defence in network security. Acting as a gatekeeper between internal networks and external threats. It scrutinises incoming and outgoing traffic based on predetermined security rules, blocking unauthorised access while allowing legitimate communication. By monitoring for malicious activities, it prevents attacks such as intrusions, hacking, and data breaches. Implementing a robust perimeter firewall is crucial for safeguarding sensitive data and maintaining the integrity of IT infrastructure, making it an indispensable tool for businesses in the digital age. Its strategic placement on the network edge ensures a secure perimeter, fortifying an organisation’s cyber defences.

Modern perimeter firewalls will also be able to run add on software. To provide a range of additional features. Whilst for many with cloud based email, having anti-spam module enabled is probably a waste of time. Utilising the anti-virus module is always a good idea to try and prevent a virus right at the gateway.

Device firewall

It is important to have a firewall enabled on any device, even if your device is sat behind a perimeter firewall! This is to make sure that it is on if you take your device out and about

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Advanced End Point Security

Advanced End Point Security

Whilst all out packages include Anti-Virus. We are the first to admit Anti-Virus alone is not enough anymore, and will never ever keep you completely safe.

We supplement the Anti-Virus with some advanced end point (Computer) tools.

The first security measure is to make sure you aren’t an administrator on your computer.  Most people when creating their account will select the account to be an administrator account.  This in the main is not needed, and without the administrator permissions, then it is slightly harder for bad actors to do things with your computer.

Secondly we use a tool, that locks down the computer, and the software installed.  Most applications have a wide range of permissions and can do stuff it just doesn’t need to be able to do.  This is then used to make sure any compromise is fully utilised. Bad actors will do this, by making sure they can always access your network (persistence), as well as spread through the network searching for your data.

By locking everything down this should ensure your physical device is safe, and whilst all this means there are a few steps to go through if you want to install something new. The delay is normally less than 10 minutes, we firmly believe this is well worth waiting for. Achieving a safe cyber secure environment.

Of course the biggest issue for most businesses is a compromise of cloud accounts. And so we monitor the log in for unusual behaviour, like:

  • logging in from somewhere you aren’t
  • multiple logins from different locations. 
  • Multiple unsuccessful logins

This along with measures taken to help the computer user, should help keep you safe. But to make sure we also back it up (more to come in few weeks’ time).

For more info give us a call to arrange a complimentry Cyber Security Check

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Is Wi-Fi 7 worth the investment?

Is Wi-Fi 7 worth the investment?

You know that staying ahead of the technology curve is vital for all businesses in a highly competitive marketplace. One innovation launched earlier this year is Wi-Fi 7, the next generation of wireless connection.

But what exactly does it offer, and is it worth the investment for your business?

  • Lightning-fast speeds: No more buffering and lagging. Wi-Fi 7 brings blazing-fast speeds to keep your business running smoothly.
  • Rock-solid connections: Forget all about dropped calls or lost connections. Wi-Fi 7 ensures reliable performance, even in busy environments.
  • Futureproofing: Wi-Fi 7 is built to handle the demands of tomorrow’s tech. It’s future-proofing your business’s internet.

Now, here’s the million-dollar question: Should you upgrade to Wi-Fi 7? Well, it depends. While Wi-Fi 7 offers some awesome benefits, it can be a bit pricey to upgrade.

The initial investment includes the expense of next-gen routers capable of supporting Wi-Fi 7, which can range from hundreds up to thousands. And there may also be ongoing operational costs, especially if you’re leasing routers from internet service providers.

If you’re not ready to dive into Wi-Fi 7 just yet, that’s ok. There are plenty of other ways to improve your business’s existing Wi-Fi. From optimising your current set-up to adding extenders or mesh networks, there are options to fit every budget.

We’re all about making sure you find the perfect tech solutions for your business to keep you and your team happy. If you’d like to go through your options, get in touch.

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Patch management

Patch Management

A lot of the time when systems are compromised in a Cyber Security Attack, it is because something that should have been updated hadn’t been! Patch Management.

So, this week we have a look at the various updates that need to be considered. Is your IT support company doing all of this!

Firstly, we will start with the Operating System.

No matter what flavour of system you are using they all need updating, this should include everything from your server, through to your mobile phone. Although manufacturers will rave about the improvements in updates, the biggest reason we think you should install these updates as soon as you can is that they patch critical security holes.

It is also worth bearing in mind that some of these may not be selected to be installed by default. Or your IT support provider may not automatically install them. On operating system updates one of the biggest things, we see is people not restarting their computer.  These updates if they require a restart, are not fully installed until the restart has happened.

Applications

Almost all applications have updates, and a good practice is to make sure these are up to date as well. Especially your web browser, a lot of attacks happen through web browsers this includes a method that bypasses MFA (2FA) So make sure you are updating all of your applications.

If you no longer need an application, then the best thing to do is to uninstall it

Lastly, something you probably have never considered is a piece of software that you won’t normally ever see.

FIRMWARE.

Firmware is software on many devices that control how the hardware operates, these should also be updated. You will find these not only on computers, and servers but switches wifi access points, telephones, printers – The list goes on, and on. You or your IT supplier should make sure these are kept up to date. They are available from the manufacturer, and the systems to keep these up to date have improved over the years. But some are still difficult to know when updates are available.

Whilst looking at the Firmware please remember that when a manufacturer stops updating the firmware this is normally because the device has reached end of life. And even if it is working properly, you should consider changing it,

If you want to make sure you are covered, please get in touch.

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Cyber attacks: Stronger, faster and more sophisticated

A new security report has revealed some alarming trends. 

First off, cyber attacks are becoming faster than ever. Breakout times (that’s the time it takes for a criminal to move within your network after first getting in) have dropped significantly. We're talking an average of just 62 minutes compared to 84 minutes last year. 

This is not good news.

Not only are these attacks faster, but they're also becoming more common. The report has identified a whopping 34 new cyber criminal groups, bringing the total to over 230 groups tracked by the company. 

And guess what? These cyber criminals aren't sitting around twiddling their thumbs. They're getting smarter and more sophisticated. The report highlights a new record breakout time of just two minutes and seven seconds. That's barely enough time to grab a coffee, let alone mount a defence.

But here's the real kicker: The human factor is increasingly becoming the main entry point for these cyber attacks. 

They will try to get your people to click a link in a phishing email, which will take them to a fake login page. Once your employee enters their real login details, they have inadvertently handed them over.

Or they pretend to be someone your team trusts. This is called social engineering.

So, what can you do to protect your business from these cyber threats? 

•	Educate your employees
Make sure your team is aware of the latest cyber threats and how to spot them. Regular training sessions can go a long way in preventing costly mistakes.

•	Implement strong password policies
Encourage the use of complex random passwords generated and remembered by password managers. Use multi-factor authentication for an added layer of security (this is where you use a second device to confirm it’s really you logging in).

•	Keep your systems updated
Make sure all software and systems are up to date with the latest security patches. Cyber criminals often exploit known vulnerabilities, so staying current is key.

•	Invest in cyber security software
Consider investing in reputable cyber security software that can help detect and mitigate threats in real-time (we can help with this).

•	Back-up your data
Regularly back-up your data and store it in a secure location. In the event of a cyber attack, having backups can help minimise downtime and data loss.

When it comes to cyber security, it's better to be safe than sorry. If we can help you to stay better prepared, get in touch.

A new security report has revealed some alarming trends.

First off, cyber attacks are becoming faster than ever. Breakout times (that’s the time it takes for a criminal to move within your network after first getting in) have dropped significantly. We’re talking an average of just 62 minutes compared to 84 minutes last year.

This is not good news.

Not only are these attacks faster, but they’re also becoming more common. The report has identified a whopping 34 new cyber criminal groups, bringing the total to over 230 groups tracked by the company.

And guess what? These cyber criminals aren’t sitting around twiddling their thumbs. They’re getting smarter and more sophisticated. The report highlights a new record breakout time of just two minutes and seven seconds. That’s barely enough time to grab a coffee, let alone mount a defence.

But here’s the real kicker: The human factor is increasingly becoming the main entry point for these cyber attacks.

They will try to get your people to click a link in a phishing email, which will take them to a fake login page. Once your employee enters their real login details, they have inadvertently handed them over.

Or they pretend to be someone your team trusts. This is called social engineering.

So, what can you do to protect your business from these cyber threats?

  • Educate your employees

Make sure your team is aware of the latest cyber threats and how to spot them. Regular training sessions can go a long way in preventing costly mistakes.

  • Implement strong password policies

Encourage the use of complex random passwords generated and remembered by password managers. Use multi-factor authentication for an added layer of security (this is where you use a second device to confirm it’s really you logging in).

  • Keep your systems updated

Make sure all software and systems are up to date with the latest security patches. Cyber criminals often exploit known vulnerabilities, so staying current is key.

  • Invest in cyber security software

Consider investing in reputable cyber security software that can help detect and mitigate threats in real-time (we can help with this).

  • Back-up your data

Regularly back-up your data and store it in a secure location. In the event of a cyber attack, having backups can help minimise downtime and data loss.

When it comes to cyber security, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If we can help you to stay better prepared, get in touch.

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