If you follow Microsoft products, then you may know about Microsoft Ignite. Held annually, it generates many exciting updates and announcements in the Microsoft world.
Microsoft held its most recent conference last October. In the rush of the recent holidays, you may have missed some of the highlights. So, we’re bringing them to you now.
One thing you’ll notice is that Microsoft Teams got a lot of love at the event. Microsoft is now describing Teams as “the app at the center of Microsoft 365.” We can see why the company keeps enhancing this virtual workspace. Teams now has over 280 million users. It’s not surprising seeing that Microsoft has introduced over 450 new Teams features. And that's just in the last year.
We’ll go over some Teams features below, along with other Microsoft App announcements from Ignite. These may give you some ideas for your next digital workflow upgrade.
There is a new Teams Premium offering from Microsoft that adds a whole new AI component to the platform. This service includes several AI-powered features. They make it seem like you have your own meeting assistant.
Some of the cool features include automatically generating chapters from a Teams meeting. The app also generates personalized highlights for you. This saves you from having to rewatch the meeting later.
If you’re meeting internationally, you can enjoy real-time translations for captions. Meeting guides is another new feature. It sets up your meeting options according to your needs.
360-Degree Intelligent Camera for Teams Meetings
SmartVision 60 is the first 360-degree, center-of-room intelligent camera. It has the ability to track the speaker as they’re moving. The camera is also due to have a people recognition feature coming soon.
Virtual meetings can feel much more like real meetings using SmartVision 60. Instead of just seeing a small video feed of one person, the movement of the camera can capture a whole team.
Cisco is Now a Certified Devices Partner for Teams Rooms
Those that are fans of Cisco meeting products will be pleased to know they now have more options. Microsoft announced that Cisco is now a Teams Room Certified Devices partner. You can now start Teams meetings across all certified Cisco meeting devices.
One of the virtual workspace apps to support the new hybrid movement is Microsoft Places. This is a team management app that integrates with the rest of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem.
The office is still around, but for how long? Much of the world had to do things virtually during the pandemic. Many companies and employees found they like it better that way. Seventy-four percent of US companies have or plan to put in place a permanent hybrid work model.
Microsoft Places is one more way Microsoft is leading the hybrid office revolution. Some of the app’s features include:
Hours & Location Feature in Outlook & Teams
Another feature announcement related to the hybrid working world is hours and location. This is a new capability added to Teams and Outlook to make it easier to schedule in-person meetings.
It can get tricky to plan in-person meetings when you don’t know who is working at the office and who is remote. If you plan without checking, you're bound to alienate someone. They won't be happy if they were planning to work from home that day.
The new hours and location feature allows people to specify where they are working. They can adjust this from hour to hour. It takes the guesswork out of scheduling.
Loop App Private Preview
Another exciting app announcement that Microsoft made was about its Loop app. It stated that Loop entered private preview. This gives some organizations a chance to check it out.
Loop is a collaborative workspace app that helps teams ideate in a virtual space. All data pulled in from Microsoft 365 apps syncs automatically to stay up to date.
Microsoft Clipchamp Video Editor
You may have noticed an unfamiliar app popping up on Windows. Microsoft Clipchamp was formally announced at the Ignite event. It’s a quick and easy video editor for Windows PCs.
Have you ever felt frustrated trying to fix a video and not having the right tool to do it? Then you may want to take a closer look at what Clipchamp has to offer. It looks to have a fairly low learning curve.
Get Help Navigating the Microsoft 365 Universe
Microsoft 365 has come a long way in a short period. There are many different app integrations you can use to power your workflow. But it can get a bit complicated without an expert to help. Give us a call today to schedule a Microsoft consultation.
Article used with permission from The Technology Press.
Many of us look forward to January 1 as a fresh start. But as we hit that refresh button, it’s a good idea to look back too. No, we’re not saying you need to go sit by a waterfall and meditate on your IT infrastructure, but there are benefits to doing a new year tech review.
What is a tech review?
In a tech review, you can accomplish several key things. First, you can gain a clear picture of what the IT infrastructure looks like. After all, technology is always evolving. You can determine what assets you have and how employees are using them. You’ll also revisit your tech spending and whether it's achieving business outcomes.
A tech review also gives IT staff a chance to clarify roles and responsibilities, as well as mission.
You may be setting your budget for the new year. With a tech review in hand, you can make sure you spend money on technology that will make a real impact.
A tech review, done at any time of year, also offers you the ability to:
Steps for your tech review
There are many steps to take in an effective annual review of your technology. Read the main ones here.
Perform an IT inventory
Make sure you know all your tech assets and where they are in their lifecycle. This is a good time to identify current hardware and software in need of upgrade or replacement. Then, you can plan ahead and avoid security risks or unplanned downtime.
Review your IT outcomes
You should be spending on IT to achieve certain business goals. Now’s the time to consider whether your technology is doing what you wanted it to do. A Harvard Business Review study found that 77% of respondents see an IT strategy–implementation gap. So, at least you’re not alone in needing to ensure your tech initiative aligns with business outcomes.
Update tech guidelines
You probably have policies in place governing how your IT is used. Revisit these annually to ensure you are keeping up with the way your tech is evolving. For example, if your people are remote more often, make sure your guidelines match those tech deployments.
Ask the people who are using your technology not only about what they are using but also how they are using it. This can help you identify areas to improve, upgrade, or automate. Or you might find out people are using software that IT didn’t vet first!
Good questions to ask include:
You can ask employees whether they have experienced a cybersecurity threat this year. But you’ll also want to review your data to see if there are any indications of cyberattacks. Also, examine and revise your firewall settings to make sure they are as current as can be.
Review your findings and prioritize new technology
Drawing on the input you’ve received and the data you’ve gathered, decide what actions to take. You might want to replace redundant software or some with poor user experience. Or you may need to invest in hardware such as computers or servers. You could also find opportunities to automate manual tasks to boost your productivity.
Even if you have the budget for it, avoid making all your changes at once; it can be too overwhelming. Don’t expect your team to automate a process while also transitioning to new hardware. Bring your decision-makers together to decide on priorities and plan purchases and rollouts.
We review for you!
Don’t have the resources or know-how to do a year-end technology evaluation? Our experts can investigate your IT infrastructure for you.
Call today to secure your spot for a Technology Review and start the New Year off on the right foot. 262-515-9499
The new year has just begun and it’s a time of renewal as we plan for the possibilities to come in 2023. It’s also a time when you need to plan for resiliency in the face of ever-present cyberattacks.
Sixty-eight percent of surveyed business leaders feel that cybersecurity risks are getting worse. They have a good reason. Attacks continue to get more sophisticated. They are also often perpetrated by large criminal organizations. These criminal groups treat these attacks like a business.
In 2021, the average number of global cyberattacks increased by 15.1%.
To protect your business in the coming year, it’s important to watch the attack trends. What new methods are hackers using? What types of attacks are increasing in volume? Knowing these things is important. It helps you better update your IT security to mitigate the risk of a data breach or malware infection.
We’ve pulled out the security crystal ball for the upcoming year. And we've researched what cybersecurity experts are expecting. Here are the attack trends that you need to watch out for.
Attacks on 5G Devices
The world has been buzzing about 5G for a few years. It is finally beginning to fulfill the promise of lightning-fast internet. As providers build out the infrastructure, you can expect this to be a high-attack area.
Hackers are looking to take advantage of the 5G hardware used for routers, mobile devices, and PCs. Anytime you have a new technology like this, it’s bound to have some code vulnerabilities. This is exactly what hackers are looking to exploit.
You can prepare by being aware of the firmware security in the devices you buy. This is especially true for those enabled for 5G. Some manufacturers will build better firmware security into their designs than others. Make sure to ask about this when purchasing new devices.
One-time Password (OTP) Bypass
This alarming new trend is designed to get past one of the best forms of account security. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is well-known as very effective at preventing fraudulent sign-in attempts. It can stop account takeovers even in cases where the criminal has the user’s password.
There are a few different ways that hackers try to bypass MFA. These include:
Attacks Surrounding World Events
During the pandemic, the cyberattack volume increased by approximately 600%. Large criminal hacking groups have realized that world events and disasters are lucrative.
They launch phishing campaigns for world events. Attacks come for everything from the latest hurricane or typhoon to the war in Ukraine. Unsuspecting people often fall for these scams. This is because they are often distracted by the crisis.
People need to be especially mindful of scams surrounding events like these. They will often use social engineering tactics, such as sad photos, to play on the emotions.
Smishing & Mobile Device Attacks
Mobile devices go with us just about everywhere these days. This direct connection to a potential victim is not lost on cybercriminals. Look for more mobile device-based attacks, including SMS-based phishing (“smishing”).
Many people aren’t expecting to receive fake messages to their personal numbers. But cell numbers are no longer as private as they once were. Hackers can buy lists of them online. They then craft convincing fake texts that look like shipping notices or receipts. One wrong click is all it takes for an account or data breach.
Mobile malware is also on the rise. During the first few months of 2022, malware targeted to mobile devices rose by 500%. It’s important to ensure that you have good mobile anti-malware. As well as other protections on your devices, such as a DNS filter.
Elevated Phishing Using AI & Machine Learning
These days, phishing emails are not so easy to spot. It used to be that they nearly always had spelling errors or grainy images. While some still do, most don’t.
Criminal groups elevate today's phishing using AI and machine learning. Not only will it look identical to a real brand’s emails, but it will also come personalized. Hackers use these tactics to capture more victims. They also allow hackers to send out more targeted phishing messages in less time than in years past.
Schedule a Cybersecurity Check-Up Today!
Is your business prepared for the cyber threats coming in 2022? Don’t wait to find out the hard way! Give us a call and schedule a cybersecurity check-up to stay one step ahead of the digital criminals. 262-515-9499
Article used with permission from The Technology Press.
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