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Category: re-brand, Windows 10, Business, IT News, Latest, Microsoft Office, News.

As of April 21, 2020, the official branding of Microsoft’s business plans has changed.   Instead, Office 365 business plans for small and medium-sized businesses are now known as Microsoft 365. The new branding is to reflect Microsoft’s strategy of providing a single complete productivity platform for its customers.

Fortunately, from the viewpoint of current subscribers, the change from Office 365 to Microsoft 365 is not going to have much of an immediate practical impact. In general, the subscription you had on April 20 is the same as the subscription you had on April 21, only with a different name.

So, to be clear, here is a recap of the Microsoft 365  business packages available, along with their new titles.

A breakdown of Microsoft 365 for business

As was the case when the productivity suite was called Office 365, each subscription package of Microsoft 365 includes various familiar applications such as Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Each subscription package will also include various levels of services like Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive, and Teams. You will have to decide which package is right for your business needs.

The least expensive subscription available is called simply Microsoft 365 Business Basic, formerly referred to as Office 365 Business Essentials. With this subscription package, you get access to the online cloud-based versions of the office apps only—no desktop versions. But the package does allow mobile apps. Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams services are included.

The next level package is called Microsoft 365 Business Standard, formerly called Office 365 Business Premium. It includes the basic office applications online, mobile, and on desktops. Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams services are included.

The next level package is called Microsoft 365 Business Premium, formerly listed as Microsoft 365 Premium. This subscription includes office applications online, mobile, and on desktops. Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams services are included. However, this package also offers Intune and Azure Information Protection services.

There is a fourth subscription package available called Microsoft 365 Apps for Business (formerly Office 365 Business). This subscription includes the office apps, but the only supported service is OneDrive.

If you’re interested in using Microsoft 365  for your business and would like help to find the right package, contact The PC Support Group now on 03300 886 116 or email us on info@pcsupportgroup.com or leave us a message here and one of our team will be in touch.

For businesses who have chosen cloud-based data hosting services, there’s a temptation to relax and think “great, we’re paying someone else to take care of our data, we don’t need to worry about it anymore.”

Of course, using cloud-based services can deliver major benefits for businesses. But it’s vital to remember that all the data you have “in the cloud” is still stored in a physical data centre somewhere in the world, managed by your cloud service provider.

So, good data security practice means that it’s essential to have exactly the same knowledge about how and where your data is being handled “in the cloud”, just as if it was sitting on a server in your office!

Unfortunately, worrying research results published recently by leading hosting provider TeleData UK reveals that large numbers of firms are lacking this very basic information:

  • 42% don’t know the location of the data centre their provider is using
  • 25% don’t even know if it’s in the UK
  • 33% don’t know if the data centre is ISO compliant.

That’s alarming enough, but the standout statistic for me is that 43% of businesses don’t know whether the data centre they are using has a failover to a secondary location should an outage occur.

Let’s just think about the size of the huge risk that those businesses are taking. One day, everything’s rosy in the garden, customers are happy and business is booming – then bang! Suddenly they can’t access their data. They don’t know where their data is, they don’t know how long they might be without it – or if they’re ever going to be able to access it ever again!

Committing to a cloud service provider requires detailed due diligence and fact-checking to confirm the service is fit for purpose, that all risks and eventualities have been considered and minimised, and that all GDPR and ISO compliance requirements have been met.

I bet those businesses who don’t know where their data is stored, know every dot and comma about their alarm system – which company supports them, where they are based, how long it will take them to get to the office in the event of a problem. Yet many seem to know far less about their data, their most valuable asset.

At The PC Support Group, we specialise in Microsoft Office 365 because from our long experience we believe it’s the best – and a major advantage is its transparency – you can sign in (or your IT support provider can) and find out everything you need to know about the data centre where your data is stored. That’s hugely reassuring in my opinion.

If you have any concerns about how your data is being stored and handled or would like an  informal chat about how we can help provide peace of mind or improve your data security arrangements, call us NOW on 03300 886 116 or email info@pcsupportgroup.com

Phil Bird

Managing Director, The PC Support Group

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Category: Windows 7, IT News, IT Security, Microsoft Office.

Windows 7 officially reaches end-of-life in January 2020. So, if you’re one of the thousands of UK businesses still using it, now’s the time to upgrade – or you could be issuing an open invitation to cybercriminals.

 

While your PCs won’t suddenly stop working, from January 14 Microsoft will stop updating or supporting your operating system, meaning that automatic security and bug fixes will end, making it increasingly costly to maintain and vulnerable to attack.

And you can guarantee that cybercriminals will be targeting Windows 7 users after January 14, because they know that their defences are down.

If you haven’t already, my advice is to start planning now to upgrade to Windows 10 and make the switch well before the January deadline. This way you’ll avoid any period where you’re not supported and the associated risks.

 

While Windows 10 isn’t right for everyone, there are many advantages of upgrading from 7 to 10:

  • It’s simple, with a minimum of disruption – in most cases, you can keep your files and software on your existing PC
  • Many programs you use will already have been updated to work on Windows 10, so you can just carry on as normal
  • Although the layout and interface is different with a little patience you’ll be able to transition and use it relatively easily
  • There are many great additional features and functionality on Windows 10 that will be a big help for your business, such as the Cortana virtual assistant and enhanced security
  • Support for Windows 10 is expected to run until at least 2025, so a small investment now will provide peace of mind for the next five years or more.

So, if you’ve decided to go-ahead and upgrade, here are just a few things to bear in mind:

  • You’ll need to calculate how many users you have and how many licences you need
  • While Windows 10 will run perfectly happily on most existing hardware, it may struggle on older machines, so now may be the time to upgrade some of your hardware too
  • Although as mentioned earlier, most software has been updated to enable it to run on Windows 10 you will need to check that this is the case with all the software you use before going ahead
  • Once you’ve established what you require, you’ll need to identify a budget and potentially look into financing options
  • Time, resource and investment will be required but upgrading will almost certainly bring productivity and business efficiency benefits, which will deliver a fast return on your investment.

If you’re still using Windows 7 and would like to discuss your options and find out how we can help you, leave a message here and mention Windows 7 upgrade and we’ll get back to you or call our friendly team on 03300 886116.

Phil Bird

Managing Director, The PC Support Group

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Category: Email, Microsoft Office.

Sending mass emails to contact groups (aka distribution lists) is commonplace in most businesses today as there are several benefits including saving time and therefore money; however, there are some cons to be mindful of before jumping straight in there.

We all know of someone who has had their email address used by a spammer.  One reason is when your email has been copied (cc) into a multi-addressee email – everyone who has been included can get access to your email address, including a potential spammer.

For confidentiality and security reasons, get familiar with the difference between copying email addresses in (Cc or Carbon Copy) and blind copying (Bcc or Blind Carbon Copy) them into an email.; and make sure your staff know the difference.   A great tip is to use the Bcc field when sending mass emails especially external emails when recipients don’t know each other.

The problem with Bcc is that there is a grey area between it being seen as informing someone privately and looking sneaky which can cause tensions in workplaces so always think twice before sending.  A good tip here is to try and avoid using Bcc when sending internal emails.

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Category: IT Support, Microsoft Office.

With their latest Office 365 suite, Microsoft has certainly made a bold statement when it comes to the future of home and business computing, while also throwing down a challenge to competitor products.

Their innovative office suite differs greatly from previous versions of Microsoft Office – from how you use it, what you can do with it and even how you pay for it.

And though change for change’s sake isn’t always a good thing, it certainly seems like this latest software has real potential.

But before you decide to install the suite to your own machines, here’s a look at just what Office 365 can offer you and your business, as well as how we at The PC Support Group might be able to support you in this process – we call this infographic Office 365: What it means for your business.

Want to demonstrate how Office 365 can benefit a business you know? Feel free to share our infographic using the HTML code below. You can also click to enlarge the image.

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Office for iPad

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Category: IT News, Microsoft Office.

Shares in Microsoft have soared following rumours that their Office suite will soon be available to use on the iPad.

So is there any truth in this latest round of Microsoft-Apple gossip? Well, it seems we won’t have to wait long to find out.

Reuters recently reported that Microsoft had a full version of its Office suite ready to release for on iOS, it just wasn’t sure when the company would make the announcement. Well, the answer could well come sooner rather than later.

Microsoft is holding a media event on Monday March 24th in San Francisco to announce what it called “some news related to the intersection of cloud and mobile”.

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Category: IT Support, Microsoft Office.

We’ve previously updated you on the fact that Microsoft is withdrawing support for the Windows XP operating system in April 2014 but you may not be aware that the same fate awaits Microsoft Office 2003.

In 2002 Microsoft produced the Support Lifecycle policy to ensure that users of their products where given clear visibility of the support they could expect. They committed to providing a minimum of 10 years support from product release (5 years Mainstream Support and 5 years Extended Support) and they also committed to informing customers when such support would be withdrawn.

In line with this policy, Microsoft announced that Windows XP (Service pack 3) and Office 2003 will go out of support on 8th April 2014.

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