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What are the benefits of Windows 10?

With the modern computing world moving more towards cloud-based solutions, Windows 10 fits right in alongside that model, as well as maintaining functionality in a more traditional domain network environment. Windows 10 has security and Identity Management at its core, using elements such as Bitlocker to encrypt your data and Windows Hello to control access and credential management.

Updates are changing in the way they are deployed, gone is patch Tuesday. Security updates and fixes are now rolled typically once a month with feature updates twice a year in April and October. Monthly updates are generally installed automatically to keep your machine as safe as possible, while feature updates can be managed as to when they are deployed to ensure smoother user transition.

Licencing has also changed, rather than having to purchase the licences for Windows 10 in bulk, Microsoft now offer a subscription service in line with other offering such a Microsoft 365, meaning you only pay for what you need when you need it.

It is not easier than ever to work across different machines and continue to work safely and securely. Users can login into their work OneDrive account from home and continue to work on documents they were working on in the office, all within a safe and secure environment.

Working alongside Microsoft 365, Windows 10 provides the safest most flexible working solution to allow you and your team to work in a variety of ways, a key benefit when taking into account the ever changing world we are all presently living in.

Should I update to Windows 10?

Windows 10 was released in July 2015 as the predecessors to Windows 7 after 6 years in service. Support for Windows 7 officially stopped in January 2020, meaning there is no longer security updates and bug fixes for the general release of Windows 7.

Benefits of Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 is more than just office and email; it is a package of applications designed to work together to allow greater collaboration between teams in a secure and flexible environment.

It has never been easier to allow team members to work remotely from home, or on their own devices without concerns over the security of your data and access to it.

Most M365 packages are available on monthly subscriptions, meaning you can alter the number of licences required month to month based upon your needs, therefore reducing any upfront spend and leaving you in control of you IT budget.

When combined with Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility Suite, M365 gives you all the tools you need to completely control your data and systems to ensure everything is kept safe and secure, whilst allow you to work how to you need to. Access can be restricted to certain countries and areas, and even control how long a document can be visible for without been connected to an internet connection. Security is applied directly to a file, not at the server level, meaning even if a file leaves your environment it is still protected, therefore allowing you to share data externally with confidence.

What is Teams

Microsoft Teams is a key component of M365 and acts as a place to bring all the team together to work seamlessly in many ways. This can be working together on a document, exchanging ideas in a channel, or chatting with a colleague about a project. Your phone system can even be linked into Teams meaning you have one place to complete a lot of you work, therefore increasing productivity. It is also available a mobile application for Android and iOS, meaning you can be connected wherever you are.

What is Power Platform

Sitting above most application within M365 is a suite of applications called Power Platform. These applications allow you to create automations to suit your business requirements easily and in most cases without any code, although a little logical thinking is required. Using Power Platform and the options it provides can transform your business and improve some of the processes by automating them, therefore ensuring they are completed correctly each and every time and freeing up time for your team to concentrate of other work.

Best Business IT Software/Best IT Solution for small business

It is highly unlikely that there is a single solution to meet your business needs, as generally speaking software is written generically to be used by the masses and your business is unique is how it does what it does.

A good business solution is often a collaboration of different systems, talking to each other and working alongside each other to achieve the result. Think of busines solutions in the same way you would your team, you do not employ a single person to work in all departments and expect them to excel in all of them.

Microsoft 365 will give you a good solid footing to deliver the foundation of an IT system upon which to build success from. Providing your core IT requirements such as Office, Email, security, and file storage, what else you need depends entirely upon your business operations.

It maybe that you need a large CRM system such as NetSuite or Dynamics, which are considered best in class, or you may need something smaller like an online package with some tweaks to fit your requirements.

There are literally thousands of software packages out there, all claiming to the best available and No. 1 in the world. This is where GNU Consulting comes in, we will work with  you to understand your requirements and identify the best software for your needs, not only now, but also into the future and what be the best all round package for you.

What is Malware

Malware is not one single thing, it is a general term used to describe software designed to get into your machine and generally do bad things, such as stealing, corrupting data or compromising software.

The damage malware can be massive and comes many different forms, it can hit you financially and damage your reputation. There is the cost of removing malware from infected machines, loss of data and any publicity of that data, it could also cost you customers and your reputation.

You can protect against malware by ensuring that your software is always up to date and by using security/virus protection software to keep you safe, but there is still always a risk and vigilance is always required. Always check what you are agreeing to install before installing it, if a pop up appears asking you to install something that you were not expecting then do not agree. If something does not feel right, chances are it isn’t!

Here are some of the types of malware you need to be aware of it, but remember this list grows all the time and is not exhaustive!

Adware – Adware delivers unwanted adverts. Free software often contains lots of adware which can be infected with other viruses. Adware isn’t all bad though and is often used for online advertising and especially on mobiles. Typically, it isn’t malicious, but you need to stay vigilant.

Bots – Bots are used for many different things within software, for automating tasks and processes, for scanning websites for search engines and alike. But as with most things, they can also be used for malicious purposes, such as denial of service attacks, collating data and distributing malware.

Rootkits – Rootkits appearing to be declining in numbers, but they are still around and pose a serious threat. The infiltrate the core of a system and replace vital system functions, they normally escape detection from anti-virus software by hiding in plain sight, but behind them are worms, malware, and a host of other nasties.

Viruses – Viruses are the most known type of malware out there, and the term malware and virus are often used interchangeable, albeit incorrectly.

A virus is a specific type of malware that operate in different ways depending on what it has been written to do. Similar to a real-life virus it is capable of spreading and duplicating itself to other machines and devices by attaching itself to programs and executing code when an infected application is launched.

The damage done depends on what the virus was written to do, some will steal or delete data, while other could just put smiley faces throughout a document, but they are all bad.

Worms – Worms can be used in a variety of different ways, from overloading servers and network by utilising all the bandwidth, to spreading over a network and delivering payloads such as other malware. Unlike a virus though, a worm does not require a human element to help it spread and can do so by itself.

Trojan – As the name suggests, a trojan may appear to be something harmless like a file or a known application you wanted to installed, but once installed it can also install other malware to infect your system. The use of trojans appears to be on the decline, but they are still a threat.

 

Spyware – Spyware is designed to sit in your system and monitoring and reporting your activity, this could be keylogging, data harvesting or anything else the author thought to do. They can also wreak further havoc by changing some of your security settings and network connections to allow for a wider attack by other malware.

They generally spread by exploiting weaknesses in your software, so it is essential to keep software updated with the latest patches and fixes.

Keyloggers – As security system becomes more advanced and harder to hack, the same as with cars, it is becoming easier to steal a user’s identity (or keys in the case of a car) than it is to hack a system. This is where keyloggers come in, as an emerging class of malware, they are designed to sit on your system and record the inputs on your keyboard and capture sensitive information such as usernames, password, and banking details etc.

Ransomware – There have been many high-profile ransomware attacks in recent years. Ransomware infects your machine, encrypts your data and the criminals then demand a fee to decrypt the data, often attempts to remove the encryption can lead to permanent damage of loss of files.

There is no guarantee that the criminals will even decrypt your data if you pay the fee. When the NHS became infected with WannaCry ransomware in 2017, it cost around £92 million to remove it.

Spear phishing – Spear phishing is something businesses can be more prone to. It relies upon targeted emails encouraging the receiver to open an attachment or click a web link, where further malware can then be installed. These can be particularly damaging as they may come from known and trusted sources with whom you have an existing relationship and are therefore more likely to trust.

Whilst security software can help with this, education is also vital in preventing this kind of attached, and keeping vigilant, if something doesn’t look right, don’t open it or click it.

Scareware – Scareware is similar to spear phishing, it uses social engineering to try and trick people into downloading more malware. It could be a pop up that suggests you are already infected and to download a piece of software to remove the infection, for which you have to pay. That software may or may not do anything, but it could also introduce more malware into your system.

Attacks could also claim they know something personal about what you have done on your machine, and unless you click a link and pay money they will release images and search history about what you have been doing to everyone in your contacts list.

How to change your background in Teams

This can be done either before or after you enter a call when using the video feature in Teams.

Before the call begins

When you turn your video on using the toggle switch next to the image of a camera,  another toggle switch will become active to the right .

Turn this second toggle on, this then opens a selection pane on the right-hand side of the screen, select the background you want by clicking on it and it will be applied straight away.

Click on the close in the top right-hand corner of the selection pane when the background you want has been selected.

During a call

Ensure your video is turned on by clicking on  if you have no video image.

Click on the three ellipses  on the screen, then select “Show background effects” from the menu

Select the background you would you like, then click either “Preview” and only you will see what it looks like or select “Apply” to apply the section.

Click on the cross in the top right-hand corner to close the selection pane.

How to create a Teams meeting

To create a Teams meeting from with Teams go to the “Calendar” button  on the left-hand side of the screen.

The options to create a meeting are in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

Meet now – creates an instant meeting you add people to

+ New meeting & Schedule Meeting – creates a meeting entry on the calendar to which you invite people the same as you would with an Outlook meeting. Each recipient will receive a meeting invitation with a link to click and join the meeting.

 

From Outlook

If you have the Teams Outlook add-in installed, then to create a meeting:

  1. Go to the calendar in Outlook 
  2. Click “New Teams Meeting” in the Ribbon
  3. Enter details as you would for a normal meeting, each recipient will receive an invitation with a link to click to join the meeting.

 

With all meetings invitations, if your organisation has a conference bridge enabled, the dial in details will be included within the meeting invitation.

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