6 Ways Microsoft is Empowering Your Remote Employees


6 Ways Microsoft is Empowering Your Remote Employees 1

6 Ways Microsoft is Empowering Your Remote Employees

Due to the threat and spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), U.S. state governments and businesses across the country are mandating that their employees work from home. With the increasing prevalence of a mobile and digitized workforce, taking such measures to equip employees can be fairly seamless and offers a negligible impact on conducting “business as usual.”

If you’re a business leader, you might be thinking through:

Industry leading technology companies, like Microsoft, are recognizing the growing and immediate need for small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) to adopt IT solutions that will deliver the mobile capabilities to enable a remote workforce. Microsoft is taking proactive measures to ensure businesses are aware of the cloud capabilities available to them through Azure and Microsoft’s cloud-based tools. Using these solutions in a secure manner is always a concern and Microsoft has security procedures in place to protect your Microsoft assets. Microsoft is also offering virtual education opportunities, so individuals understand how to fully utilize their solutions.

So, what are some of the most popular Microsoft cloud-based tools available and how do they support your business?

Here is some general information about commonly used Microsoft cloud-based tools for running your business in the cloud and Microsoft security protocols:

Microsoft Cloud-Based Tools

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Office 365 Business

This cloud-based subscription service enables users to access resources and share files with Office apps across the web, mobile, and desktop, storing their content in the cloud by default. There are different subscription levels available, and basic business packages include:

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Need employees to collaborate on work files and projects away from the office? SharePoint is a web-based collaborative platform that is typically bundled with Office 365 packages. SharePoint is primarily leveraged as a document management and storage platform, ensuring consistency and easy collaboration amongst employees. Businesses can also take advantage of the highly configurable features for different business initiatives and projects.

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Businesses can save their files to the cloud in OneDrive and can access them from any device, in any location with an internet connection. If you lose your device or it gets damaged, rest assured because your files are saved on OneDrive and can be easily accessed on another device.

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Microsoft Teams

Teams is Microsoft’s communication platform that enables employees to make calls, chat, create groups, conduct meetings, video conferencing and virtual collaboration. Teams also has useful features like background blur to block out potential distractions (like kids or pets) and the ability to record and share meetings.

Microsoft Security Protocols


User Identity and Access

You may have different business stakeholders who need to access various applications within your corporate network; employees, partners, suppliers, etc. Every user who needs to access your corporate network can receive a primary account synced to Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) and can be denied access to applications that may be sensitive or not pertinent to their job function. This will strengthen your security posture and mitigate the risk arising from access abuse and make smart access decisions based on machine learning.


Multi-factor authentication (MFA)

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a security system that verifies a user’s identity by requiring multiple credentials. Microsoft gives you the ability to set up MFA in order for employees to access corporate Microsoft resources, and an Authenticator app can be installed on a mobile device. Enabling MFA ensures your accounts are up to 99.9% less likely to be compromised.

Do you want to learn more about cloud-based Microsoft solutions to empower a mobile workforce? NexusTek is a Microsoft Gold Partner and ranks in the upper echelon of all Microsoft partners. Our Microsoft experts and technology consultants have numerous Microsoft certifications, and can help you decide what Microsoft solutions would be best for your business. Contact NexusTek today.

The “Other” Pandemic – COVID-19 Phishing


The Other Pandemic COVID-19 Phishing Blog

The “Other” Pandemic – COVID-19 Phishing

Cybercrime is an ongoing issue today, even in a state of a global pandemic. Phishing, malware and ransomware attempts are becoming more disguised and believable each day. Oftentimes, cybercriminals use current events to increase response to phishing campaigns. If you have had any conversations, watched television, or been outside your home then you are aware of the latest pandemic, the COVID-19. What you may not be aware of is the detriment that cybercriminals are manifesting based on the societal fears surrounding COVID-19.

In response, there has been a flood of phishing and spear-phishing campaigns related to COVID-19, commonly known as Coronavirus. The campaigns vary in exact messaging, but many have imitated the World Health Organization (WHO), Center of Disease Control (CDC) or HR departments issuing warnings and work-from-home guidelines. Criminals are weaponizing the fear surrounding COVID-19 in a variety of malicious campaigns. These malicious campaigns will come with various hostile links, requests for personal information, or even requests for money transfers. Many advisories have been issued explaining the need to take extra precautions to prevent users from receiving phishing attempts.

According to SKOUT Cybersecurity, A cyber security research company detected 403 users that utilize their security products were hit with 2,673 coronavirus related files that were an attempt to spread malware or steal credentials. Threat actors see this as an opportunity to steal personal and financial information via phishing emails or to spread malware or ransomware. Playing on fear or financial hardships, criminals are disguising themselves to steal money, sensitive information, and even hold your data hostage for a monetary ransom. The goal of a cybercriminal is to use emergencies, such as a health scares, to get individuals to make decisions quickly. For example, if you were to get an email from your HR department that asks you to click on a link and verify your Office 365 credentials to ensure you can work remote, how would you respond? Surprisingly, many staff members will blindly and rashly follow those instructions but would fail to notice that the sending address has a slight error and is coming from an outside source. You can imagine what happens next.

Some of these fraudulent COVID-19 emails are highly targeted, spear-phishing campaigns. For example, Japanese citizens were sent fake emails who pretended to come from their local health-care facilities. Even the contacts listed in the email resembled the actual name of local medical personnel.  Another example of a fake email was targeted towards companies in the transportation sector. The spoofed sender claimed to be a World Health Organization (WHO) employee and the email provided an instructions document (attachment file) on how to check for and monitor your crew members for COVID-19 symptoms on a ship.

Always verify the authenticity of the sender by contacting the organization it claims to be from through its publicly published address or published telephone number before interacting with or responding to any email. If you are not expecting correspondence from that sender, delete the email without opening it. Do not click on any links or attachments in the email. Instead, type the known URLs manually into your browser or use previously created bookmarks to access any websites or pages referenced in the email links. Legitimate companies do not send unsolicited emails to verify sensitive information. It should be something that was initiated from the user’s end. If you have entered your credentials into a COVID-19 related phishing website, please contact NexusTek immediately to determine your risk level and potential remediation steps.

If you are a target of these phishing attempts, please report the email to your IT or cybersecurity provider as soon as possible. If you do not have a cybersecurity provider, please contact NexusTek to ensure your network is as secure as possible. Using cutting-edge tools like SKOUT Cybersecurity, NexusTek is providing clients with enhanced cybersecurity monitoring and response. NexusTek partners with many strategic companies such as SKOUT Cybersecurity, Barracuda Networks, and other key players in the cybersecurity field to offer a wide range of cybersecurity services like monitoring, response, training, assessments, email security and more.

With the influx of remote workforce requests, there are many cybersecurity considerations linked to pandemic fear. NexusTek is available to partner with your business and can offer cybersecurity protection and a cybersecurity consultation with one of our experts. Please contact us at the link below to start that conversation.

The Secret Behind an Efficient Remote Workforce


The Secret Behind an Efficient Remote Workforce

The Secret Behind an Efficient Remote Workforce

Is your business prepared in the event of a disaster or pandemic forcing its staff to work remotely? Let’s not play to the fear of these potential events, but rather the challenges that your business needs to overcome when preparing for these disasters. The challenges that many businesses are facing when developing their remote workforce options within their Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is determining what remote solution would be best suited and scalable for their specific situation. While most employees have access to a laptop or personal computer and can work remotely, the remote options that many businesses utilize today are costly, inefficient and difficult to monitor/scale. To answer the call to that challenge, it may be time for your organization to evaluate a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).

Forgive the excess of jargon, but let’s start with a definition of VDI – VDI is the virtualization and hosting of virtual machine(s) (VM), running virtual desktop operating system(s) on dedicated physical servers and made accessible in the cloud. For most this definition may sound a bit confusing, but for those looking to empower a remote workforce, promote budget savings, increase scalability/productivity and enhance security, VDI may be the solution. To expand on this definition, let’s explore each of these benefits in detail:

Empower a Remote Workforce

If you’ve never been exposed to a VDI solution then it may still be a bit confusing. To simplify, let’s play out the VDI process from an end-user perspective:

End-User – From any approved device, (tablets, smartphones, laptops and desktops) launch the remote desktop application securely with the appropriate credentials. Use the launched desktop as you would a normal computer with access to all the required applications and files. You need a reliable internet connection, with adequate bandwidth to connect to the remote desktop. However, after connecting, all other applications that are launched within that desktop application will run off the virtual server’s bandwidth. And worry not, if an employee’s device encounters problems, or encounters a security issue, the company’s data remains safe and secure in the cloud and your employee can find another device and continue where they left off.

Promote Budget Savings

OpEx savings can come from a variety of sources when implementing a VDI solution.

Hardware Savings – Your primary objective is to have a VM running on a dedicated server with a solid internet connection. This may require an initial investment in server hardware or cloud infrastructure in a datacenter which will create long-term hardware savings. In turn, with the computer power housed in the datacenter, the machines accessing the VDI platform can be on lower end of the technology spectrum. The computing power and bandwidth need to reside with your dedicated server, so implementing a BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) policy or issuing devices to your staff may be more than enough. If you’re curious on how much this could save your company, request a quote on a mid-grade laptop vs. a thin client or low-end device for all your staff. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Reduction in IT Man Hours – Your IT staff or IT partner will have more time to focus on your staff and your organization’s substantial issues rather than engaging in tedious work that comes with troubleshooting device-specific problems. Depending on the level of VDI service you subscribe for, new applications, driver installs, OS patches, firmware updates and other various device-specific updates are centralized and need to be addressed once for every user versus the need to update every device individually. Since the OS and specific applications reside via your VDI, your business will experience a reduction in the time spent provisioning new devices.

Increase Scalability/Productivity

Once your VDI solution is implemented correctly with the appropriate procedures in place, all the vital data your business relies on will be centrally located and accessible to your team. Running back ups on your data will be more efficient and complete while reducing cost and complexity compared to backing up data from multiple sources. In addition, your staff’s ability to access applications and documents on approved devices from anywhere will enhance productivity during the most inopportune times. This could be during an off-site sales engagement, international travel or simply working from home. Not only will your company benefit from granting employees access to all their applications and data your staff needs to be successful, but the ability to scale your remote workforce becomes exponentially more simplified.

Enhance Security

Levels of data and application access is often a concern for most businesses. VDI allows different levels of access depending on the needs of your users and the requirements of your business. This allows for more granular access.

The security of your data is paramount and the more control you have over your data, the more your business is protected. With a VDI solution in place, your data is centrally located and can be backed up (and restored) via a single instance. If you choose to utilize a dedicated server in the Cloud, you will reap the benefits that a datacenter affords from a security and availability standpoint. In addition, there is a mitigated risk of your employees housing confidential data on their local systems since all data will be housed securely in the Cloud. The data does not leave your environment but is accessible from anywhere.

Considering recent health news, VDI is more fitting than ever. If you are looking for ways to increase security, simplify your environment and empower your workforce to be productive remotely, please contact NexusTek below.

Coronavirus and the Need for a Remote Workforce Failover Plan


Coronavirus and the Need for a Remote Workforce Failover Plan

Coronavirus and the Need for a Remote Workforce Failover Plan

For some businesses, the Coronavirus is requiring them to take a deep dive into remediation options if the pandemic was to effect their workforce or local community. Options to travel, have in-person meetings and even in-office contact (like handshakes) may need to become regulated and monitored for your business. The affects this can have on a business’ bottom-line can be drastic if the appropriate steps are not planned for.

The reality for your business and a conversation that needs to be brought to the forefront is to secure your Business Continuity Plan (BCP). This BCP will outline detailed steps on how to run your business if the virus (or any other peril) were to become an issue in your area. Within your BCP, a theorized list of implications that a peril would have on your business and ways to mitigate the impact of peril or outage-induced downtime are vital to the success of your plan.

Here are a few questions to pose to your senior leadership team to ensure your business is prepared for an event such as this:

Planning is imperative in pandemic and disaster preparedness. If you do not already, now is the time to develop your plans, procedures and policies for pandemics like the coronavirus and other disasters. Being prepared will mitigate the impact on your business and reduce downtime. If you do not have a cloud provider or IT Services company to help you navigate your business through situations such as coronavirus, contact NexusTek below.