IT Business Continuity Checklist 2020

Assessing your company’s remote work capabilities

Working from home has been seen by many, as a short-term situation. However, it now seems this will become a longer-term way of operating with many employees working from home exclusively due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

We have produced an IT Remote Working Business Continuity Checklist to help you assess your company’s work capabilities.

Is My Business Prepared?





Have you updated your work-from-home policy in the last 12 months?

Have you communicated policy and expectations for all employees now working from home?

Do you need to acquire more phones/laptops to ensure all employees have a sanctioned device?

Do you have enough VPN licenses to issue them as needed?

Does the employee have sufficient Internet access to perform their job?

Have you identified if remote employees have access to systems or platforms required to successfully perform their job?

I.E. Cloud applications

Is your company able to provide secure measures to avoid cyber attack risks when working remotely?

I.E. Protected Wi-Fi; VPN Connection; Multi-Factor Authentication

Do you need to make adjustments to your IT budget to deliver necessary resources?

Do you need to offer remote work security training to your staff?

Do you know if your users are using their ISP router/firewall only?

Do you feel that with remote working, security has become weaker – as you’re solely relying on VPN for security?

If employees are using their own devices for remote working, are you aware if they have anti-virus or updates enabled?

TieData can offer you a FREE comprehensive remote working security suite for 60-days for up to 250 users. From protecting VPN connections to optimising login experience by integrating Cloud applications with a single sign-on process, authentication is a smart and simplified avenue to protect your remote workforce.

Contact us today to start your 60-day FREE offer.

cloud obstacles

3 Obstacles to Cloud Success

Business decision-makers all over the world realise now that Cloud strategies have to become a priority. While most businesses use the Cloud in a somewhat ambiguous way, not enough of them have a clear plan that is set up with specific obstacles in mind.  

There are three primary factors that no business wants on – money, time and control.  

Here’s how to overcome these obstacles to your Cloud success: 

Wasted Money 

No one wants to pay for more than they need. It’s essential to look at precisely what is included in your Cloud solution and that you have the best deal for your business. Many Cloud packages, including Microsoft Cloud solutions, have extra licenses that users pay for but rarely use. 

Ensuring that you can are only paying for Cloud services that benefit your business strategy is the key to successfully optimising the Cloud. Working with a Managed Service Provider is the best way to ensure that you are getting the best Cloud solution for your specific business needs.  

Wasted time 

One of the primary reasons that businesses today waste time is by not having the right resources and expertise. Cloud technology is continually evolving and changing. If you do not have dedicated IT staff or are trained in understanding Cloud computing, then you may find yourself stuck in the present. Evolving as a business alongside the evolution of technology is the only way not to get left behind.  

If you do not have the expertise required, you will be wasting time, money and resources trying to do work that the right person should be able to keep on top of for you. 

The Cloud is optimised best when data is organised and segmented in a way that is easy to understand and locate.  It’s very common for the Cloud environment to quickly get bloated with data, which can negatively impact performance and productivity. You will waste less time and money in the long run if you add cloud specialists to your team, or better yet, work with a third-party team of Cloud specialists.

Loss of control 

It’s essential to be in control of your data at all times. Without regularly analysing your Cloud environment, you won’t be able to understand the risks you face correctly.  

If your data is not entirely secure, you could end up paying a lot more in the long run, and you may see your productivity decrease over time.  

The most common Cloud security threats. 

Having control over your data is not only essential to avoid losing valuable information, but also to keep your business compliant. If you have not adequately assessed the risks of cloud computing and thought of solutions, sufficiently, you could be putting your business in some tricky situations with GDPR and security regulations.  

Ultimately, if you prepare yourself well for Cloud migration and plan for these obstacles, the Cloud will transform your business. It’s no secret that unlocking the potential of cloud computing in a business is a springboard into growth. It provides agility and if used correctly, can increase efficiency and productivity.  

Don’t fall victim to these Cloud obstacles. Ensure that your business is secure, productive and future proof.  

What are your cloud blindspots?

Book a Free Microsoft 365 Cloud Risk Assessment Report

Get your free Microsoft 365 Cloud Risk Assessment including a full report of issues and recommendations.  Let’s start mitigating your risks today.

Coronavirus Remote Working

Remote or Home Working due to COVID-19

In light of developments concerning the coronavirus (COVID-19), you may be concerned about being able to remote/home work. The good news is that there are many ways for teams to remain both productive and connected.

For some of you this may be already a common occurrence for others it may be a new challenge.

Here at Tiedata, we have been remote working from the start, so we have expert advice on hand to help. We hope you find this information helpful in this difficult time.

Be prepared to work remotely

We advise all our customers to consider how they can continue working if their office or usual workplace becomes unavailable.

Would remote/home working be an option for you and your employees?

Have you considered/tested how this will work in practice?

We recommend getting a solution for remote working in place sooner rather than waiting to see how events develop. Preparation is key, if you haven’t done so already we strongly advise contacting us today to discuss how you can access your email and applications and continue to be connected and productive.

Be vigilant

Associated to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, we are seeing a sharp rise in phishing emails impersonating Government and Health Organisations such as the WHO.

We recommend you taking extra care when reviewing your emails. Check the senders email address and consider if you really need to open an email or click on the link, check with Tiedata if you are unsure. You should never need to disclose personal information or passwords over email.

Risk Assessment

You need to identify who needs access to what systems, is it just emails and documents or main business applications.

Do you currently have a method of remote/home working?

And to what extent?

Have a plan and be prepared

There is a risk that any action taken may become regional-based, so many organisation will be affected at the same time. And this is something we both need to be prepared for. It will not possible for Tiedata to enable hundreds of users to be able to remote/home work overnight, it will take time to achieve this.

For an organisations who don’t currently have remote access capabilitys or only a select number of users with remote capabilities, we can assist in enabling you to have remote access to your work computer.

However, you will need a computer at home to facilitate this capability. We have selected to use Teamviewer as a temporary solution, which has a 7-day trial commercial use version. We will assist you in setting this up, with an additional level of security (two-factor authentication) by using your mobile phone. Without two factor authentication, there is an increased risk you could become a victim of cybercrime.

If you would like more details on this option the please contact Tiedata as soon as practically possible. Note this service will incur a charge dependant on the option/s selected. Prioritising your staff and determining those critical users who may need this service would be a good starting point.

Questions and Concerns

Please be aware that resources to deliver such a service may become constrained due to high demands, so please act early.

If you have any questions or concerns, then Tiedata’s team are on hand to help and advise, please contact us.

Microsoft Teams Features

Microsoft Teams – Improve your team workflow

Microsoft Teams is Microsoft’s fastest growing application. It is included within all Office 365 Business and Enterprise subscriptions and allows you and your team to share information and work effectively either in or out of the office.

Microsoft Teams now has over 13 million daily users and is a real-time collaboration tool with file sharing and task management built-in. Furthermore, it is well integrated with Office 365 which many organisation’s use today. With Microsoft Teams being included in most Office 365 subscriptions we believe the growth is supported by organisations switching from paid meeting tools such as Zoom and Webex across to Teams.

Tiedata takes a closer look at the Microsoft Teams application features:

Communicate more effectively
Get your team on the same page with group chat, online meetings, calling, and web conferencing.

Work better together
Collaborate on files with built-in Office 365 apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and SharePoint.

Customise your workspace
Add in your favourite Microsoft apps and third-party services to keep the business moving forward.

Keep your team secure
Get end-to-end security, administrative control, and compliance—all powered by Office 365. Meetings is one of the main features of Office 365 and has a number of key features which includes:

Meet with anyone, anywhere
Host audio, video, and web conferences with anyone, either 1:1 or live events with up to 10,000 people. Get features such as scheduling assistance, meeting note taking, screen sharing, meeting recording, and instant messaging.

Meet with intelligence
Make online meetings more effective by sharing context and content and leveraging AI for assistance.

Meet with confidence
Get high-quality audio, video, and screen sharing, and the same security and compliance of Office 365.

For more information on how to use Teams within your organisation including setup and training please contact the Tiedata team on 01773 513 513.

Microsoft Planner

Introducing Microsoft Planner

Office 365 includes a really neat tool for task management, allowing you to take the chaos out of teamwork and get more done!

Planner makes it easy for your team to create new plans, organise and assign tasks, share files, chat about what you’re working on, and get updates on progress.

The top 6 features of the product are below:

1. Easy to use

Launch Planner from the Office 365 app launcher with a single click. You can then create a new plan, build a team, assign tasks, and update status—in a few easy steps.

2. Organise work visually

Each plan has its own board, where you can organise tasks into buckets. You can categorise tasks based on their status or on whom they’re assigned to. To update the status or change assignments, just drag and drop tasks between columns.

3. Visibility and transparency

The My Tasks view provides a comprehensive list of all your tasks and their status across all your plans. When working together on a plan, team members always know who is working on what.

4. Collaborate around tasks

Built for Office 365, Planner lets you attach files to tasks, work together on those files, and even have conversations around tasks without switching between apps. With Planner, all your team’s discussions and deliverables stay with the plan and don’t get locked away across disparate.

5. Works across devices

Planner works across all your devices. And with Planner, everyone is always on the same page. A glance at Charts is all it takes to know where things stand and if the team is making enough progress towards their goal.

6. Email notifications

With Planner, you’ll never miss a beat! Receive email notifications whenever you’re assigned a new task or added to a conversation.

Getting Started

To try it, from your Office 365 login screen at click on the blue tile in the top right and click on the Planner application.

Multi Factor Authentication

Protecting All Accesses with Multi-Factor Authentication

With an 11% further increase in Cyber Crime over the last 12 months (between 2018 and 2019) it is critical that all the applications you access are secure, and not just with a password.

If a user’s password is compromised, unauthorised users can access your systems. This is where MFA is critical as it empowers you to authenticate access requests using your smartphone.

MFA is a secure and easy to use authentication method that provides an increased level of protection. Your security is only as strong as the weakest link. Without MFA weak or inadvertently shared passwords increase the risk of a security breach.

Reports of cyber attacks are increasing, and hackers are becoming more intuitive in obtaining user passwords. As a solution, we offer MFA to our clients.

If you are using one of the following, please engage with Tiedata so we can establish the best way to assist you:

1. Cloud based systems, including but not limited to CRM systems, office suites and account packages e.g. Salesforce, Office 365 and Quickbooks.

2. Remote access – we recommend that all remote access is initiated via a Virtual Private Network (VPN). MFA takes your security to the next level.

Contact us to find out more about how our MFA solutions can benefit you.
Windows 7 2008 End of Life

Support is ending for Windows 7 and Server 2008 |Tiedata

Windows 7 is one of the most popular operating systems, despite mainstream support by Microsoft ending on January 13th, 2015. Microsoft now plan to stop security updates and all forms of technical support.
Read our article to learn more about how Windows 7 support coming to an end will affect your business.

Office 365 Productivity Tools

5 of Microsoft 365’s Most Well-Hidden Productivity Tools

1. Microsoft Flow

Take productivity to new heights by automating business processes across your entire organisation. Microsoft Flow allows you to turn repetitive tasks into multistep workflows. For example, with a few clicks capture social media feeds and add them as leads in Dynamics 365, subscribers in Mailchimp, and much more.

You can also use Microsoft Flow to create, use, and share automated approval workflows to quickly respond to and process requests, from time off and travel plans to documents and sales opportunities.

2. Microsoft Forms

You can easily create surveys and polls to collect customer feedback, measure employee satisfaction, and organise team events. Microsoft Forms is an online survey creator which is included with Office 365. Released by Microsoft in June 2016, Forms allows you to create surveys and quizzes with automatic marking. The data can be exported to Microsoft Excel too. 

In addition, in 2019, Microsoft released a preview of Forms Pro which gives users the ability to export data into a Power BI dashboard.

3. Microsoft MyAnalytics

Work smarter with personal productivity insights in Microsoft 365. You can Explore your work patterns with MyAnalytics and learn ways to work smarter—improving your focus, wellbeing, network, and collaboration. You can also Receive AI-powered suggestions in Outlook from MyAnalytics to help you set aside focus time before your week fills up with meetings, stay on top of tasks and emails, and follow up with important people.

MyAnalytics can improve your work patterns. Understand and improve your work patterns—gaining uninterrupted time to focus, being able to disconnect and recharge, and networking and collaborating effectively—with help from the MyAnalytics dashboard and weekly email digest.

4. Microsoft Planner

Organise teamwork with Microsoft Planner. Take the chaos out of teamwork and get more done! Planner makes it easy for your team to create new plans, organise and assign tasks, share files, chat about what you’re working on, and get updates on progress.

With Microsoft Planner you can get organised quickly without the need to purchase additional third party tools.

You can launch Planner from the Office 365 app launcher with a single click. You can then create a new plan, build a team, assign tasks, and update status—in a few easy steps.

Each plan has its own board, where you can organize tasks into buckets. You can categorize tasks based on their status or on whom they’re assigned to. To update the status or change assignments, just drag and drop tasks between columns.

5. Microsoft PowerApps

For more advanced users or aspiring “App-Makers” you can make Office 365 and Dynamics 365 your own with powerful apps that span productivity and business data. Customise SharePoint Online, use PowerApps with Microsoft Teams, and build apps on Dynamics 365.

Build apps fast with a point-and-click approach to app design. Choose from a large selection of templates or start from a blank canvas. Easily connect your app to data and use Excel-like expressions to easily add logic. Publish your app to the web, iOS, Android, and Windows 10.

Getting more out of Office 365

To learn about how you can get more out of your Office 365 subscription, contact Quinton at Tiedata on 01773 513 513.