January 31, 2019

Technology and your business in 2019

By Bryan Parsons

We're already one month into 2019 and technology continues to move at an ever-increasing pace. Below I've covered some of the things SpiderGroup thinks your business should be focusing on in 2019.

End of the road for some key Microsoft software

If your business still relies on Windows 7 it's time to change that. Microsoft officially ends Windows 7 support in January 2020, you should aim to replace or upgrade impacted machines by the end of the year. I highly recommend ensuring all your Windows PCs are using the latest version of Windows, Windows 10. It's much more secure than previous versions and has some great features too.

Also worth noting is the end of support for Office 2010, not due until later in 2020 but worth planning and budgeting to replace this now. Most businesses favour the subscription model, giving users a Microsoft 365 Business Premium licence gives them up to 10 installs of Office 2019 per user. As an approved Microsoft Gold partner and Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider, SpiderGroup is perfectly placed to help you get this in place and support your business during the transition.

Device mobility and security

Your business data is more dispersed than ever, with many businesses using Office 365 which brings great tools like SharePoint and OneDrive, your data can be accessed from any device, from anywhere. It's really important businesses retain control over their data and it remains secure.

Device management solutions can help you achieve this, ensuring your data can only be accessed from approved devices which meet a minimum level of security. And if the device was to get lost or stolen, you can remotely secure and wipe the device, your data won't fall into the wrong hands and your business will not be the next victim of a data breach.

With many businesses allowing staff to work flexibility, there is growing use of personal devices to access company data and staff are often reluctant to enrol these in device management solutions which can give their employer access to their personal data. Managing and securing your data at the application level can give you the best of both worlds, peace of mind that your data is secure and the flexibility for staff to use their own devices.

Getting more from Office 365

Here at SpiderGroup, we have been busy helping customers get the most from Office 365 and one of the most popular services is SharePoint. We've helped many of our customers move their data to SharePoint and provide customised intranet sites and internal tools to improve business efficiency. SharePoint can help you manage and secure your data, often reducing the local IT burden for your business. It can also help your staff work more efficiently and stop your data spreading to unmanaged solutions.

Microsoft Teams is the other bigger player in 2019, it has gone from strength to strength in 2018, here at SpiderGroup we've been using it and it has provided many benefits...

  • reduced email traffic within the company
  • improved communication and collaboration amongst staff
  • helped us improve our project management and planning
  • provided an excellent, cost-effective phone system for the company
  • integration with third-party tools and software to improve business processes and efficiency    

We're keen to help businesses get the most from these tools and others included in Office 365, many companies already have them as part of their Office 365 subscription, isn't it time you started using them?

Security is key

Something we can't stop talking about, the way businesses are targeted and attacked continues to evolve and become more sophisticated. It's not enough to simply have a strong password or well-informed staff, you need to protect your business and your assets. If you don't have any of the below in place, we'd suggest taking steps in quarter 1 of 2019 to change this...

Two-factor authentication for all internet accessible services

Two factor or Multi-factor authentication is a basic security implementation which protects your accounts against the most common type of attacks. It’s not a big burden on users and is free with Office 365, for other services we’re a Duo partner and their service can secure pretty much anything!

Device management and control

As covered above.

Staff training and testing

Make sure your staff know what to look for, how to identify suspicious emails and what to do when they find one. Then make sure they really do know by running some simulations periodically to ensure staff remain vigilant.

Cyber Essentials certification 

It will cost you less than your car insurance and will ensure you have a good minimum baseline in place your business. We highly recommend this government-backed scheme.

Password management for staff

There are loads of great systems available but the purpose is the same, ensure staff don’t re-use passwords and a secure way to manage, store and share passwords.

Get in touch

As always, if you'd like your friendly Bristol based IT company, SpiderGroup, to help with any of the above please don't hesitate to get in touch.


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