Are you making the most of Office 365?

Are you making the most of Office 365?

Office 365 is a software and cloud-based suite which when used correctly, can drive efficiency, increase productivity and encourage collaborative working in the business world. And even though it has been around since 2011, it is amazing to find how little our clients fully utilise all the tools that Office 365 provides.
​Systems Integration have been Microsoft partners for over 15 years and although we have the experience to ensure that we maximise the system it”s potential (after all Office is far more than just Word and Excel), we wanted to ensure that all our clients are also aware of other Office Features that could assist you in maximising your efficiency.

Who needs paper when you have OneNote?

Your paperless note pad. Not only is it eco-friendly, but it also brings formality and structure to your planning, meeting notes, to-do list, and anything else you would normally scribble on a Post-It note.
This interactive tool allows you to type notes, deposit useful articles, and compile documents, but it is also a free-form canvas that allows you to highlight, draw and enter text. The tiered layout enables you to not only organise your notes by project or subject matter but also makes for a user-friendly system to share notes with others.
And with apps for both iOS and Android, OneNote is your paperless, modern-day Filofax that can go anywhere with you.

Missing Facebook, then use Yammer

The perfect social platform for businesses allowing you to share company news, employee achievements, general workplace policies, and useful information for staff, Yammer is your business secure social network only accessible by those with an approved email address.
Yammer can also have a great positive effect on team morale especially in larger organisation environments; news and announcements can be shared easily across sites and even with off-site employees, praise and gratitude can be aired widely, and external news such as traffic incidents that may affect staffs’ journeys can be shared.

Avoid Emails and chat direct with Teams

This is the WhatsApp of the business World. An instant messaging tool that allows you to reduce the number of internal emails you send and receive and get quick answers to quick questions. In our experience, it enables more efficient working and is a great collaborative working tool.

But more than just an instant messaging tool, Teams offers audio and video conferencing calling which will fill the gap as we say goodbye to Skype For Business. It also offers file sharing and live editing among colleagues, and even the ability to integrate additional apps for project management, analytics, staff training, and more!

Allow everyone access with SharePoint

A file hosting application that allows documents to be saved centrally for all to access. Files can also be edited in location and alerts set up to notify anyone who needs to know when an amendment is made.
The idea is much that of a shared drive except SharePoint can be accessed remotely, doesn’t require space on your network and is generally superior in the features it offers.

Turn data ainto opportunities with Power BI

Collating facts and figures from unrelated data sources, from Excel spreadsheets to cloud-based analytic tools, Power BI has the ability to turn records of business performance stats into a coherent visual and interactive insight, that will inform and direct important business decisions and planning.
And, of course, true to Microsoft’s passion for collaboration, your insights are structured into a digestible report that can then be shared with your teams and colleagues.

At Systems Integration we offer far more than just IT support

At Systems Integration, we’re about more than just resolving your IT issues and installing new hardware; we’re here to guide, advise and train our clients to make sure you’re getting the most from your tech, so if you’re running Office 365, make sure you’re using it to its full potential; get in touch and arrange for one of our technicians to pop around and show you the ropes.

Fancy Increasing online productivity

Fancy Increasing online productivity

Are you always working on spreadsheets?

Is Excel the bane of your life but at the same time a necessary evil?

If you are one of the many office workers that has just read the first two lines and are now sat looking at this shaking your head in acknowledgement, we empathise. Not only is minimising and maximising your screen to transfer data from one spreadsheet to another, an arduous task, but it is so counterproductive and soul destroying that it has been proven to be a contributor to office in-efficiency.

So how can you overcome this – the answer, dual monitors. Yes that’s right, you have to spend money to save money. Recently the New York times did an study of office ergonomics and dynamics trying to see what can be done to assist with productivity and relieve stress in the workplace, it was found that workers that had a dual screen set up in their workspace actually upped their productivity by 20-30%!
Now you may be working for a business that does not like spending the money and when you inform your boss if this, they may simply say, minimise what you are working on and half your current screen… Although this will allow you to work on two spreadsheets at once, it does not give you the screen real estate you need to get things completed efficiently.
Imagine you are using one screen and you are doing online research, you may be required to compare data across multiple sites, having multiple tabs open at one time, we all know how quickly the space gets used up, and we all know how confusing it can be if you are then wanting to transfer said data onto another spreadsheet, yes minimise, maximise, oops lost it….

So, can Two Monitors really increase productivity?

Depends on the work you are required to do; say for example you are completing;

  • Data entry
  • Excel
  • Emailing
  • Working with large spreadsheets
  • Online chatting such as Skype
  • Graphic design

Having more than one monitors will allow you too:

  • Compare documents side by side
  • Switch seamlessly between apps or even have two or more open at once:
  • Graphic design projects: you may need to review two versions of an image to run a comparison. You can also view the image on one screen while making edits on the other.
  • Keep chats open as you work without having the screen pop in front of the work you are doing.
  • With an auxiliary monitor, text and images will be larger and easier to work with, which will assist in reducing eye strain.

Is it hard to set up a dual monitor configuration?

In a word no, but you do need to ensure that prior to spending your money on a second screen you do need to…

1). Check to see what type of video input port on your device. Laptops usually have these on the sides, while laptops have these ports on the back.

2). There are different types of video input ports and these vary across devices, with variations in shape and size. Make sure you know which type of port your computer has, as it will be necessary to match the port to the second monitor’s type of input plug. The most common video ports include:

  • HDMI
  • Min-VGA
  • VGA
  • DisplayPort
  • DVI-D
  • Mini HDMI
  • DVI-I
  • Micro HDMI
  • Mini DisplayPort, Thunderbolt
  • USB Type-C, Thunderbolt

3). Make sure the cable matches: again, make sure the cable has the correct plug/pins that will fit your device. Some monitors are plug & play, making them easy to install. However, you may need to buy an adapter to fit your computer’s port or the monitor’s plug.

4). Connect it all together: once you are sure the monitor’s plug/pins fit your device’s port, and/or you have the proper adapter to connect the second monitor to the computer, then you’re ready to put it all together. Connect one end of the cable to the monitor, and then connect the other end of the cable to the computer.

5). Turn the monitor on: now you’re ready to go—turn the monitor on and make sure everything’s working!

If you believe that a dual screen set up would benefit your or your employees and are thinking it is just too much of an outlay or too much hassle then do not. At Systems Integration we have great deals on office IT hardware and if you call on us to assist we even have the engineers that come to your place of work and set everything up. Interested? Get in touch and take the first step in increasing your office productivity

Office 365 Perks and Pitfalls

Office 365 Perks and Pitfalls

Last month we talked about disaster recovery and data back up, this month we again highlight how important it is to have back up plans in place, even when you are using up to date cloud based systems such as Office 365.

Let’s face it, Cloud based Office 365 is a fantastic tool that has been around now for almost a decade now, but we still find many businesses are unaware of it and the advantages it can bring.

The collaboration benefits are huge – No matter where you team are and no matter what device they are working on, your team can edit documents in real time. But, the downside is that your team also have the power to accidentally delete important files, form anywhere on any of these devices.

As good as Office 365 is, many businesses assume that Microsoft is backing up their files – This unfortunataly is not the case.
​Microsoft does protect your data but they work on a shared responsibility model with the following being user responsibility:

  • Data loss due to departing employees and deactivated accounts
  • Data loss due to malicious insiders/hacktivists deleting content
  • Any Data loss due to malware/ransomware
  • Recovery from prolonged outages
  • Long-term accidental deletion coverage with selective rollback

In short, when human error/interference is involved, the burden is on ensure your data is protected. And yes, this also includes misconfigured workflow and malicious damage including hackers and viruses. In other words, no back up in place = Goodbye important files and emails.
Another common oversight by businesses, relates to access to files created by employees after their user accounts are closed. An active Office 365 license is required to access data. When employees leave, you can simply deactivate their account. However, if you do this without a backup you could inadvertently delete valuable company data as you would lose access to any files created by that employee. If you have no limit to your IT budget, you could simply continue paying licenses for terminated employees, but this is not a practical long-term solution.
Alternatively a good back up system can save the data from users accounts before you delete them.

How can Systems Integration help?

We offer an affordable back up and recovery service to our IT Support customers across Swindon, Wiltshire and the South West. Our Experienced Engieers will work with you to find out what your business needs and tailor the solution to your requirements. With a well-managed back up system in place, you have peace of mind that you can quickly recover from any loss of data – be it accidental or malicious. Think we can help? get in touch with us today and we will get one of our technical consultants to give you and your business a free systems audit and show you how you can ensure data is never lost. ​

Disaster Recovery. Is it worth it?

Disaster Recovery. Is it worth it?

Accidents and bizarre events occur all the time, but for some unknown reason many businesses surprisingly don’t consider having an IT Disaster Recovery plan a neccesity, and if they do, only a minority fully believe it is successful. Infact according to a recent survey, only 35% of UK organisations have full confidence in their current disaster recovery strategies (Databarracks).
If you are a business where a large portion of your operations rely on your systems and technology, it’s vital, that the worst possible scenarios are considered and prepared for. Yes, it may take some planning and a little investment, but in the long run it could really be the one plan that could prevent the downfall of your business. After all, would you want to have to go and apologise to clients that you lost their data, their invoices, their details, their clients etc etc
Disruption to your business can be costly and IT downtime could have a real impact on your bottom line. According to many disaster recovery companies, the average business will lose in excess of £100k per hour of downtime on average. Can your business afford to take that risk?
Besides, it’s not just financial loss you have to worry about. As mentioned above disruption to your day-to-day operations can also have a significant impact on your business’ reputation and customer satisfaction, giving your preying competitors the perfect chance to snatch away valuable opportunities. Without customers, you won’t have a business to run!

Be prepared be protected

When you think of disruption to your business, it may be natural disasters that could affect your physical office that come to mind. In the UK, we know all too well that bad weather and floods can cause chaos if you don’t have a plan in place for your staff to work remotely. However, it’s actually network outages and human error that account for 50% and 45% of downtime respectively.

The fact is, regardless of industry, no business is immune to IT catastrophes. You could have the latest, most sophisticated defences in place on your systems and highly skilled staff that have been rigorously trained, but network outages and human error are harder to control. It only takes one human mistake or an internet connection failure that is out of your hands to send everything into chaos.

So, is a disaster recovery plan worthwhile? Yes… if you want to run a business effectively, disaster recovery is an essential you need to consider.

Disaster recovery goes hand-in-hand with business continuity so, when putting a plan together, you should utilise the knowledge of an experienced managed services provider like ourselves, who also specialises in Data backup and IT support. Taking this business-first approach means no stone will be left unturned when it comes to implementing your IT disaster recovery strategy across your organisation.
It’s also important and reassuring for you to know you’re in capable hands after the implementation of your disaster recovery plan. Our team at System Integration are able to provide you with robust solutions that are always one step ahead of the ever-changing threats that could affect your business.

By outsourcing your disaster recovery, you also get to benefit from our amazing IT team, who have a vast array of technical abilities and are committed to helping your business succeed. In summary, if you do not have a disaster recovery plan in place and you use IT, you are taking a risk and as much as we love having calls and enquiries from local Wiltshire businesses requiring our help, Disaster Rceovery is the one project that is avoidable and never easy to clean up after the fact. Get in touch with us and let us put your mind at ease… ​

Back up or not back up? That is the question.

Back up or not back up? That is the question.

We have previously mentioned the importance of backing up and what your business should be looking for from any backup product. In May of this year, data and how everyone uses it was brought to the forefront with the introduction of GDPR, but it isn’t just personal data that we have to be wary of.
Data is collected and used in such a variety of ways that it’s very difficult for any law or industry regulation to fully encompass what and how you should backup – even when there’s expectation around data security, they can never account for your company’s exact circumstances. This month we are going to take a look at the legal implications of not doing so correctly.

In May this year we were introduced to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation aka GDPR. What did it mean? Basically it put every company that deals with sensitive data in the spotlight. All business need to be able to demonstrate methods of data security, retrieval, deletion and backing up. If you are assessed and it are unable to demonstrate that you have measure in place to do this you could be facing a world of pain, both for your firms reputation and for your business finances.
To put it in comparsion, in 2016 penalties for those companies who failed to protect customers data was approximately £2 million, but, with GDPR in place, those fines today would have added up to be £160million!!.
So if you were not backing up and taking care of your data before, you really need to start thinking about it. Even more so when the Information Commissioner’s Office starts investigating and implementing fines for those who don’t comply…

These days most service level agreements/contracts to have penalty clauses, meaning your business could be subject to a reduced level of compensation for work done – or you could even end up paying damages if missing a target leads to adverse financial implications for your customer. Imagine being in the final stages of a project with the dealine approaching and your firms IT network is infiltrated by a virus..what do you do? If you have everything in a secure back up, nothing, simply retrieve it and carry on. You may lose a few hours work, but that is nothing compraed to having to explain to a client that their is nothing
Think about what failing to deliver in line with a contact do to your business? What would it do to the customer to whom your services or products are being delivered?
Having your data backed up would never put you in the the unfortunate position of having to explain to a client you have not met teh agreement that both parties signed up to. Pending the contract, it could also prevent any legal proceedings against your company for failing to meet any contractual agreements.

If you have staff, then you probably pay them. These finacial details are personel, if you lose them you’re inviting the complex and swift impact of employment law.
Losing their data could lead to non-payment of wages. The result of which can be financial woes for your employees. Whether or not your staff have signed formal contracts matters very little, the act of having previously paid them means a ‘deemed’ contract has been created – which you stand to break if you lose crucial data.
It would be almost definite that you could easily collate this data again from the indiividuals, but employers who fail to pay their staff are immediately exposed to any financial penalties levied on the the employees i.e. penalties for missed loans, morgtages, bills etc.
Having your data backed up avoids all this…..

The actual cost of not backing up is huge. You can be fined, your business would be in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons and who would do business with a company that has had its data breached?
Something to ponder over is the fact that according to Ponemon Institute’s 2017 Cost of Data Breach Study: United Kingdom, data breaches cost UK organisations an average of £2.48 million..Do you have that much spare cash laid about? Doubtful….

If you have any questions on security of you IT system and how backup of your data can help save you and your compnay, then please get in touch with Systems Integration, Swindon’s IT experts and we will show you how to ensure your business and data is protected.

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