What is workspace virtualization?

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Have you heard of the concept of workspace virtualization, but don’t know exactly what it is and how it can benefit your business?

Rest assured, Groupe SL’s team of IT outsourcing specialists is here to provide you with the answers you are looking for.

Virtual workspace definition

A virtual workspace is a workplace where employees are connected to each other via digital tools, no matter where they are physically located.

Users in a virtual workspace bridge the physical distance between them with a set of computing tools designed to support close communication and collaboration. These tools often consist of software that uses cloud computing to make various virtual desktops and business applications (like those found in the Microsoft 365 service) accessible from a data center.

A virtual workspace therefore simulates a real-world physical office.

An example to help understand workspace virtualization

For a better understanding of the concept of workspace virtualization, here is a more concrete example.

Rather than having to install all business software on a new employee’s computer, the employee could simply connect to the Internet with their personal device to access the company’s cloud-based data center. From there, the employee will have quick and easy access to all of their published, SaaS and mobile applications via a single, secure unified workspace.

Workspace virtualization therefore allows the operating systems, applications and data of the underlying hardware of a computing device to be ignored, which simplifies IT infrastructure management.

The benefits of enterprise desktop virtualization

Now that you have a better idea of what workspace virtualization is, you may be starting to realize the full potential of implementing it in your business.

Better data security

When a workspace is virtualized, data and applications never leave the data center.

For a company that works with sensitive data and confidential information, desktop virtualization can therefore reduce the risk of data loss at the terminal level, thanks in particular to an online backup.

Furthermore, it is much easier to implement security measures like two-factor authentication with a virtual workspace.

Assured compliance

Many companies have to meet stringent requirements in order to operate in full compliance.

Compliance may require a company to update each employee’s computer, which is a daunting task for organizations with dozens or hundreds of employees.

With desktop virtualization and hosted cloud solutions, cloud software updates will ensure that employees are working with compliant software.

Reduced workspace costs

A virtual workspace eliminates the need to provide employees with a physical workspace.

Companies that rely on this technology could save significant amounts of money in rent, heating, insurance and security costs, to name a few.

Similarly, desktop virtualization is a good way to make more room for remote work without compromising productivity. Not to mention that it could allow you to hire candidates from anywhere in the world.

Groupe SL helps you get the most out of your virtual workspace

In conclusion, workspace virtualization is a fairly abstract concept, but the benefits are tangible for companies that decide to implement it.

If you’d like to speak with workspace virtualization experts to find out if and how your organization could benefit, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We can develop a deployment plan tailored to your organization if you decide to make the move.

Azure AD: a tool to lighten the IT department’s workload

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As companies leave the office behind and start prioritizing remote work, their IT departments are faced with new challenges. One of the biggest difficulties to resolve is remote access to IT resources.

In this article, our IT outsourcing services specialists explain how Azure AD can help you better manage remote access to your cloud resources such as Microsoft 365. They also present two other tools that can help you manage your IT infrastructure while your employees are working from home.

What is Azure AD?

Azure Active Directory, or Azure AD for short, is an identity and access management (IAM) program that is hosted on the Microsoft public cloud. It includes a variety of features and services to help companies better manage access to their IT resources, particularly those that are cloud-based.

This service is much more powerful than a local Active Directory, because it gives organizations the ability to implement cybersecurity and monitoring features more easily and at a lower cost.

Azure AD: advantages for companies

With Azure AD, users can sign in to all local and cloud-based web applications with the same authentication. The program is compatible with multiple platforms and devices, and can be integrated with all Microsoft 365 software.

With Azure AD, companies can implement multi-factor authentication, manage passwords and self-service groups, automatically control access, add devices, and monitor the use of critical applications.

Azure AD lightens the load on IT departments by facilitating access and automating certain tasks. It also secures access to companies’ sensitive data.

Intune and Autopilot: two programs that complement Azure AD

If your goal is to reduce the amount of time your IT department spends on configuration for new computers and users, you may want to consider Intune and Autopilot, two programs that complement Azure AD well.

Intune: a cloud service for managing mobile devices and applications

Intune is a cloud-based software that handles mobile and non-mobile device configuration, software deployment, update management and compliance.

With this tool, your employees can use their personal mobile devices at work without the risk of confidential data breaches. Intune protects your organization’s data by isolating it from the user’s personal data and requiring authentication before performing certain operations.

Intune also provides other convenient features for administrators:

  • Inventory of the devices that access the company’s IT resources
  • Configuring devices to meet current security and integrity standards
  • Deleting company data when a device is lost or stolen
  • And more

Windows Autopilot: ideal for pre-configuring new devices

Windows Autopilot is a collection of technologies used to pre-configure new Windows PCs for professional use. IT departments can also use Autopilot to reset, repurpose and recover devices more quickly and easily.

With Autopilot, users who receive a new device can connect to a network and start working in just a few simple steps. All the IT department needs to do is verify the employee’s credentials, saving the IT infrastructure manager considerable time and effort.

Groupe SL is your best resource for more information about Azure AD, Intune and Autopilot

If your company wants to encourage employees to work from home without making things more difficult for the IT department, Azure AD, Intune and Autopilot can help. In addition to automating as many tasks as possible, these tools will make your infrastructure more accessible and secure.

If you want to find out more about these tools or implement them at your company, contact our team today! We will be able to provide you with customized deployment support.

Cybersecurity tips for law firms and legal professionals

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Legal professionals collect and store a vast amount of sensitive data about their clients and their activities. As a result, the computer systems at law firms typically contain a wealth of information that should never be disclosed or fall into the hands of people with nefarious motives.

Since a good deal of this confidential data is protected by law, law firms would be well advised to make cybersecurity a priority.

Not sure where to start reinforcing the security of your IT infrastructure and protecting your data? Not to worry, our managed IT services and cloud solutions specialists have decided to share a few of their best cybersecurity tips for the legal field.

Secure your network access

If you don’t take steps to secure your law firm’s network, cybercriminals will have easy access. Use antivirus software, firewalls, malware scanners and any other technology you can to keep your network secure.

It’s also a good idea to use two-factor authentication to limit access to your databases and applications. This requires every user to provide two pieces of proof that they are authorized to access the network. Two-factor authentication is much harder for cyberattackers to bypass than just a password.

If possible, consult an experienced IT outsourcing company for advice on the best strategies and tools you can use to ensure that your network is well protected against cyberattacks.

Encrypt your communications and sensitive data

Stolen laptops and intercepted business communications are major causes of confidential information leaks, particularly in the legal field. Encryption is a relatively simple and effective cybersecurity strategy that can protect your sensitive data in such situations.

Encryption essentially involves translating data stored in an email, local hard drive, web browser or cloud application into a secret code that then requires a key or password to decrypt. If a stolen computer or device is encrypted, the thief will not be able to access the information it contains without the encryption key.

Consider cloud storage

In many cases, the cloud offers better security than in-house IT hardware and software when it comes to protecting sensitive data.

Consider moving your operations to the cloud to increase your security. If you aren’t sure, an IT outsourcing company can help you decide whether the cloud is the best option for you and implement an online backup strategy.

Keep track of the mobile devices you use for work

Although BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies have several advantages, they are risky for law firms unless proper security measures are taken. Many firms have sensitive data stolen because they secure their networks and computer systems at the office but are less careful with mobile devices that get used for work.

Every employee and partner who regularly accesses your network or database should take steps to protect their phone, laptop, tablet and any other mobile device they use for work. These devices should always be protected by a strong password and equipped with the appropriate security software, particularly for staff who work remotely.

Educate your staff about the importance of cybersecurity

Don’t just assume that all of your employees and partners know how to identify and defend against cybersecurity threats. Create an open dialogue on the subject and keep your colleagues informed in order to avoid accidental user errors and promote best practices in data security.

You should also provide each new hire with up-to-date cybersecurity training.

Make a business continuity plan

Even the most secure law firms remain susceptible to data breaches, disasters and IT equipment failure that can result in the loss of confidential information. Law firms must prepare for the worst by establishing a business continuity plan.

The purpose of a business continuity plan is to maintain essential operations during a crisis, or at least restore them as quickly as possible. The plan is essential in order to handle security breaches in a way that causes the least disruption to business operations.

Lawyers can rely on Groupe SL to protect their sensitive data

Cybersecurity and data protection should be top priorities for legal professionals, because they are in possession of information that must remain confidential. Thankfully, there are many ways law firms can reinforce the security and reliability of their IT infrastructure.

If you are looking for a cybersecurity partner to protect your business from threats that could cause sensitive data leaks, contact our team! We will be able to assess your needs and provide you with customized solutions.

The importance of data protection in the accounting industry

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Currently, more than 75% of Canadian businesses are concerned about an increase in cyberattacks, but less than half are planning to increase their security budget for data protection and compliance.

These companies are risking a lot by putting off implementing cybersecurity solutions, because failing to protect sensitive data can result in significant fines and penalties and erode the trust of customers and partners.

Accounting firms possess a large amount of sensitive data and confidential information. As such, they need to be very well prepared to face cybercriminals.

In this article, our IT infrastructure management specialists explain the importance of data protection in the accounting industry and suggest ways to reinforce it.

The potential consequences of sensitive data breaches for accounting firms

For companies in the accounting industry, data protection is not only a matter of ethics, but also a matter of compliance. Accounting firms that do not meet the authorities’ data protection requirements will face repercussions.

For example, under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), accounting firms can be fined $100,000 for improperly reporting a privacy breach.

Accounting firms can also be fined up to $10,000,000 for unsolicited commercial messages containing malware under Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL).

Accounting firms around the world can also face penalties of more than $60,000,000 if they violate the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by mishandling EU residents’ personal information.

Cyber threats (malware, phishing, ransomware, etc.) continue to present new risks. Since the Digital Privacy Act has expanded companies’ responsibilities under PIPEDA to include the obligation to report data breaches, repercussions for non-compliance may include litigation in addition to the fines mentioned above.

How can accounting firms improve their data protection?

There are a number of strategies accounting firms can put in place to prevent sensitive data leaks, detect security breaches and report them to the Privacy Commissioner and those affected in an expedient manner.

Detection and surveillance

Canadian accounting firms can increase their IT system monitoring in order to detect security incidents as early as possible and address them quickly. Here are some examples of monitoring methods:

Outsource IT infrastructure monitoring

Most IT support companies today offer professional services for monitoring network hardware, devices and applications and keeping them secure.

Managed IT service providers small and large can assist or even replace an accounting firm’s IT department. By outsourcing these tasks, accounting firms can free up internal resources to focus on day-to-day operations while cybersecurity specialists stand guard.

Implement multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a secure authentication method that requires users to provide at least two pieces of evidence in order to access a program, function or confidential accounting information.

This cybersecurity strategy provides a higher level of data protection than single-factor authentication (SFA) methods, where the user only has to provide one piece of information, such as a password or access code.

By requiring several separate authentication factors, MFA makes it more difficult for cybercriminals to impersonate an authorized user and gain access to computers, online backups and other sensitive resources. Even if hackers obtain a password, they won’t have the second element required to gain access.

Install effective antivirus software

Antivirus software continuously scans computer memory for malware and automatically removes it. It provides centralized control and a way to monitor the entirety of an accounting firm’s network.

Antivirus software can give even SMEs the ability to manage their security in a centralized way. The best tools also offer protection against ransomware, keyloggers and rootkits in order to prevent and detect some of the types of attacks that can be most damaging to businesses.

Training employees and raising awareness

Studies have shown that 95% of cybersecurity breaches are the result of human error. That’s why it’s important for accounting firms to educate their employees on the importance of data security.

It may also be prudent to train accountants to develop work habits that do not expose confidential information unnecessarily. This is particularly important for employees who work remotely.

Accounting firms can rely on Groupe SL to protect their sensitive data

In conclusion, cybersecurity and data protection are vital for accounting firms, because cyberattacks can expose them to severe financial penalties and damage their reputation. Accounting firms should therefore implement effective cybersecurity measures and make sure that their staff is aware of the issue.

If you need assistance protecting your accounting firm from cyber threats that could cause sensitive data breaches, contact our team of cybersecurity specialists! We can discuss your situation and provide you with solutions that are tailored to your needs.

Why conduct a penetration test?

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As cybersecurity strategies evolve, hacking methods do too. That means that it’s possible for hackers to be one step ahead of the IT security measures companies put in place.

That’s why even companies that adhere strictly to the best practices in IT security guidelines can be vulnerable to certain types of cyberattacks.

Companies that want to protect their IT infrastructure even more effectively can conduct a penetration test, a strategy that complements the IT security audit.

In this article, our managed IT services specialists will discuss the subject in depth.

What is a penetration test?

A penetration test, sometimes called a pen test, is a simulated cyberattack against a computer system carried out by a cyber security specialist to identify vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers. The test can target all networks, applications, devices and physical security components.

Penetration tests can use real-world scenarios to show companies how their current defenses would perform in the face of a large-scale cyberattack and whether they could ensure business continuity in such a situation.

Types of penetration tests

A cyber security consultant can use a variety of penetration strategies to simulate a real attack by a hacker:

Black box

This strategy simulates an attack by a hacker who has no information about the company, network or server. With only the name of the company as data, the technician will try to find security flaws. This type of hacker is “flying blind.”

Grey box

In a grey box test, the attacker uses a user account to try to infiltrate the targeted system. This type of attacker already has access to a certain amount of information that is useful for penetrating the IT infrastructure.

White box

The third strategy simulates the type of cyberattack companies dread most. In this simulation, the hacker already has all the information they need to hack into a company’s computer system thanks to surveillance, third-party information or spyware.

Why should companies conduct penetration tests?

Penetration tests help companies assess the overall security of their IT infrastructure. Testing the infrastructure is important because the company’s security protocols may be strong in one area but lacking in another.

Penetration tests will highlight any vulnerabilities in the various layers of the company’s security system and will give the experts the information they need to resolve the flaws before they become critical liabilities.

More specifically, penetration tests enable companies to:

  • Check the effectiveness of current security controls: customers receive an assessment of the overall security of the physical, network and application layers of their IT infrastructure.
  • Expose real vulnerabilities: companies find out which parts of their system are most vulnerable to being hacked.
  • Ensure compliance: after the test, companies can check whether they are in compliance with the standards in place to protect the security of data and personal information.
  • Strengthen the security posture: companies can establish priorities and reduce vulnerability with the help of a security program developed based on the test results.

When is the best time to conduct a penetration test?

The high cost of a cyber attack and the potential data loss involved means that no company should wait for a real attack to occur before going on the offensive. It’s best to be proactive when it comes to IT security and conduct penetration tests on a regular basis.

Changes to your IT infrastructure can also affect security. It’s prudent to conduct a penetration test after changes such as:

  • Installing new equipment
  • Launching an application
  • A major update
  • Changes to relevant regulations

Groupe SL: your resource for IT security in Quebec

In conclusion, a penetration test is an excellent way to identify weaknesses in your IT security plan and determine what improvements need to be made to avoid falling victim to hackers.

Contact our experienced team to conduct a penetration test on your IT infrastructure. After the test, we can offer you a complete IT security plan and the best tools on the market to reinforce your protection.

What are the IT security risks for remote workers?

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Employers are currently adapting as best they can to the COVID-19 crisis by allowing remote work, or even making it mandatory.

However, although remote working was already increasingly common even before the arrival of the coronavirus, it poses its own unique cyber security problems.

In this article, our IT outsourcing specialists present various IT security risks for remote workers as well as ways to improve corporate cybersecurity related to these issues.

Companies need to strengthen their remote access policies

Remote access needs and practices are changing for all workers who use hardware, especially remote workers who rely on cloud hosting solutions.

Unfortunately, many business owners overlook the importance of having a strict remote access and identification policy. Yet professional management of remote access to IT resources is more essential than ever to prevent serious problems such as identity theft and loss of sensitive data.

IT and cyber security professionals can assess the security risks that organizations face and develop customized protocols to minimize those risks. This is one of the main reasons to perform an IT security audit.

Risks of using personal computer equipment

In recent years, a growing number of employers have adopted “bring-your-own-device” (BYOD) policies, which have allowed them to reduce their spending on computer equipment. In addition, with the rise in popularity of telecommuting in the COVID-19 era, an even greater number of employees are using their personal computers or their own mobile devices to perform their tasks.

However, what may seem like a good way to save money can also adversely impact the cybersecurity of a company’s IT infrastructure. Unlike personal devices, most computer equipment provided by employers meets minimum security standards. These computers, tablets and other devices are designed to operate within a corporate network. Their software has been optimized to meet the specific needs of the individual user in the corporate environment. The introduction of personal devices into a company’s IT environment therefore adds a new layer of risk to security considerations.

Personal devices should therefore be systematically checked by the employer’s IT department before being used for remote working. Mobile device management (MDM) applications can also allow companies to create secure access to data and perform remote lockouts or erasures in the event that devices are lost or stolen.

Lack of security in some wireless networks

Today’s hackers are highly effective at seizing valuable data and information when workers use an unsecured connection. To reduce the vulnerabilities associated with unsecured residential and commercial Wi-Fi networks, employers can implement a variety of strategies:

  • Prohibit the use of unsecured wireless connections
  • Use geolocation to limit the locations from which enterprise networks can be accessed
  • Set up and require the use of a VPN for remote work

VPNs are perhaps the least complicated to implement and enforce, since these networks don’t have the potential to compromise employee privacy and don’t limit where remote employees can work. Trusted VPNs provide end-to-end data encryption and protect IP addresses to increase the security of all types of connections.

Don’t let your remote workers jeopardize the security of your IT infrastructure

There you have it, you now know 3 of the most important IT security risks associated with the need to work from home. However, even the biggest problems have solutions. Now that you know your enemy, you need to fight it.

If you are looking for an ally that will help you secure your IT infrastructure, Groupe SL can offer you a complete cybersecurity plan as well as the best tools available on the market to reinforce your level of protection.

Contact us now and enjoy the benefits of remote working without fear of being a victim of cyber fraud!

Why is two-factor authentication recommended to protect your corporate communications?

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To adapt to the global pandemic and continue to operate while complying with government guidelines, many companies have turned to working from home. In doing so, a tremendous amount of information is now exchanged online.

Unfortunately, many organizations are not aware that their business communications are not secure enough. Many still rely on standard security procedures requiring only a simple username or password, which are no longer sufficient to guarantee the confidentiality of online exchanges. They are therefore vulnerable to theft of confidential information and sensitive data by cybercriminals.

For a better level of corporate communications protection, new user identification strategies have therefore been developed. Among these, two-factor authentication is undoubtedly one of the most effective and easy to implement.

In this article, our cybersecurity specialists explain this computer protection measure and how it is useful for companies that allow working from home.

What is two-factor authentication?

Two-factor authentication, also called 2FA, is a secure computer access process in which the user must provide two pieces of evidence in order to be authorized to access a program, feature or file.

This strategy therefore provides a higher level of protection than single-factor authentication (SFA) methods, where the user only has to provide a single piece of information, such as a password or access code.

Different types of identification factors that may be required during an access request

There are several types of identification factors that may be requested during an access attempt. This creates unique combinations that cybercriminals cannot duplicate.

Knowledge factors

This is information that only the user should know. Passwords and personal identification numbers (PINs) fall into this category.

Possession factors

This is an object that the user should have with them at the time of the access request. It may be a magnetic token or a security card, for example.

Biometric authentication

This identification factor relies on the fact that each user has unique physical characteristics such as fingerprints or retina shape. Facial recognition is based on biometric factors.

Location verification

Location verification requires the user to be in a particular location. The user will not be able to log in if they are outside the geographic area where they should be. The origin of an access request can be known based on geolocation information such as an IP address.

How does two-factor authentication protect your business communications?

When working from home, a lot of confidential information circulates online and a large amount of it must be accessible to remote workers. Many organizations also rely on cloud hosting solutions to increase employee mobility.

A hacker who succeeds in pretending to be an employee and accesses a company’s computer resources could therefore easily seize data of great value to the organization (plans, formulas, research, creations) or cause system failures that result in operational shutdowns.

By requiring a second form of identification, two-factor authentication reduces the likelihood that a cybercriminal could impersonate a user and gain access to your computers, online backups, accounts or other sensitive resources. Even if a fraudster has been able to get his hands on your password, he won’t have the second element required to authenticate.

You also protect your customers by using 2FA

A computer attack can also have a direct impact on your company’s results if it causes a customer data breach. Worse yet, it can lead to a loss of credibility and make you lose their trust and loyalty.

A company’s effective IT infrastructure management therefore needs to include cyber security strategies for a high level of confidentiality and computer data security, such as two-factor authentication.

2FA on transactional sites

On a transactional site where customers need to enter sensitive information such as credit card numbers, two-factor authentication provides an additional layer of protection that enhances website and transaction security.

By creating a reassuring experience, businesses increase their ability to create seamless customer interactions.

Groupe SL helps you secure your communications and IT infrastructure

In summary, two-factor authentication is a very effective cyber security strategy for restricting access to your computer resources and sensitive information to authorized individuals. In a remote work context, it can make your communications more secure and even reassure your customers. You should therefore consider integrating it into your existing protections.

At Groupe SL, we can perform an IT security audit to identify security vulnerabilities in your IT system and determine if you should use 2FA. Based on this audit, we will also be able to offer customized solutions to strengthen your protection against threats such as viruses and hackers.

Why companies should have a business continuity plan

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What would happen if all of the world’s computing resources were suddenly no longer usable? It would be chaos! Finance, transportation, communications, all human activities rely on IT.

Thankfully, this scenario is unlikely, especially since most organizations that rely on technology have a business continuity plan in place to confidently deal with their greatest threats.

In this article, find out exactly what a business continuity plan is and how important it is for an organization to have one and keep it up to date.

What is a business continuity plan?

Business continuity is the ability of an organization to maintain its critical functions during and after a disaster.

A business continuity plan sets up risk management processes and procedures to prevent disruptions to critical services and restore full functionality as quickly and smoothly as possible.

The ultimate goal of a business continuity plan is to keep critical functions operational during a disaster or at least to restore them with the least amount of downtime possible. Obviously, today, these functions are mostly computerized or rely on the use of computer hardware.

A business continuity plan takes into account various unpredictable events such as natural disasters, fires, epidemics, cyber attacks and other external threats. These also determine:

  • How these risks will affect operations
  • How to put in place safeguards, procedures and policies to mitigate these risks
  • How the recovery procedures will be tested to make sure they work
  • How the process will be reviewed to be kept up to date

Which companies should have a business continuity plan?

Business continuity is important for organizations of all sizes, but it is typically only absolutely necessary for larger organizations to maintain all of their day-to-day operations during a disaster.

In fact, according to many experts, the first step in developing a business continuity plan is to decide which IT functions are critical and allocate the available budget accordingly. These functions and the budget will obviously vary depending on each organization.

Once the essential elements have been identified and the budget set, administrators can put in place systems to guarantee their availability.

Business continuity plan example

For a rapid IT system recovery following a disaster, organizations can keep up-to-date copies of data in different geographical locations instead of simply the main data centre using technologies such as disk mirroring and online backup.

Employees can therefore continue to access data without interruption while protecting the business from a computer data loss if a location is affected by a disaster.

Why is it more important than ever to have a business continuity plan?

Here are a few examples of why companies should develop a business continuity plan and update it regularly.

Threats are increasingly varied and dangerous

Downtime can be a result of a variety of sources. A business continuity plan should take into account any potential business disruptions.

Some threats, such as computer viruses and extreme weather conditions, even seem to be increasingly common. It is therefore necessary to make sure that the continuity plan is updated and protects the company against new sources of problems.

The market is more ruthless than ever

We live in an era where people are looking for instant satisfaction of their needs. Loyalty to a product or service vendor is less and less valued and competition is strong, so even the slightest setback due to a glitch or computer failure can result in a huge loss of customers and money for an organization.

Similarly, an institution that suffers personal data breach or loss could very well lose the trust of its clients and have its reputation compromised. In sectors such as finance or healthcare, a business continuity plan is literally vital.

It is sometimes a question of compliance

As regulations governing business activities become increasingly stringent, it is important to understand what laws and standards govern and affect a given organization. In this sense, business continuity may be a requirement for legal or compliance reasons.

It is the duty of organizations to put in place an appropriate business continuity plan if they do not want to risk being subject to sanctions or penalties.

Groupe SL helps you with your business continuity

In short, a company should have a business continuity plan for continuity of operations in the event of a disaster. This plan has even become a must to stay ahead of the competition because it helps avoid computer failures and maintain the fragile trust of the public and business partners. However, developing an effective continuity plan requires a company to undergo a self-assessment and weakness analysis.

At Groupe SL, we can identify the threats affecting organizations’ IT systems. We also help companies maximize the availability and security of their IT infrastructure by offering customized IT services.

Hire us if you have doubts about your company’s ability to quickly resume business in the event of a disaster.

How to effectively manage a remote team with Microsoft 365

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In 2020, many companies have been battling the odds to remain in business. Many of them have been able to survive the storm that is still raging by requiring their employees to work from home.

Introducing remote work into an organization is no small feat. It requires, among other things, appropriate IT tools and a new approach to manage a remote team.

Find out how some of the features of Microsoft 365 can help you manage your remote teams.

Microsoft 365 helps you better supervise remote work

You may already know that Microsoft 365 offers a number of tools and features that help employees collaborate while working from home. For example, using Microsoft Teams  allows your work teams to stay connected and communicate effectively through chat and video features.

Did you know that various software packages in the MS 365 suite also offer managers the possibility of consulting various statistics about their employees’ productivity?

A better overview of communications

Project managers whose employees use Teams can have access to valuable information for satisfactory results:

  • Number of team calls
  • Number of team chats
  • Number of private chats
  • Number of virtual meetings
  • And more!

You can even find out who attends these meetings, even if they include collaborators from outside the company. Teams statistics also make it possible to know who is involved in teamwork and who works more often alone.

Reports that measure the commitment of employees who work from home

Microsoft 365 can generate advanced reports and analyses that contain a wealth of information to identify each employee’s level of engagement and effectiveness during their shifts.

For example, you could track the use of applications such as SharePoint and OneDrive to see which documents have been viewed and modified and by who.

The reports can also provide information about the use of various Microsoft 365 suite computer programs, which helps identify process improvement and employee training opportunities.

Microsoft 365 helps you optimize your IT infrastructure for remote work

As previously mentioned, Microsoft 365 offers a high-performance application platform that provides detailed statistics on employee work, which helps you manage your remote team. However, the proper functioning of the MS 365 platform is partly dependent on the IT infrastructure your company relies on. This is why you should be able to identify when certain operations are slow or do not work.

With this in mind, a global performance metrics solution can provide full insight into all Sharepoint components: site collection, web application, database, events, and more, so that administrators can measure all aspects of the infrastructure. They will get an insight for optimizing the performance of the hardware that the company relies on.

Microsoft 365 provides security for data exchanged between remote workers

Cybersecurity of confidential data exchanged between employees is at the heart of remote working concerns. Employees therefore need to work with a secure infrastructure so that they can share confidential or personal information without the risk of it ending up in the hands of ill-intentioned people.

By using the Microsoft 365 suite and Teams, your company can create a secure workspace for collaboration and file sharing. You can also create online backups using MS 365 to securely store files and documents while keeping them easily accessible to those who need them to work.

Contact Groupe SL to get the most out MS 365 and your remote teams

In conclusion, implementing Microsoft 365 in your business can help you make sure that you get the most out of your remote teams. You will then be able to monitor your IT infrastructure and remote employees’ performance, in addition to securing the data exchanged between employees.

Regardless of the reasons that drive a company to implement Microsoft 365, it remains a productivity and collaboration tool that is almost essential in a remote work environment.  For more information on Microsoft 365 solutions or to discuss your needs with a company specialized in IT outsourcing, contact Groupe SL.

Watch out for viruses hiding in fake Microsoft Teams updates

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As more and more remote employees use Microsoft Teams to collaborate on different business projects during the COVID-19 pandemic, hackers are trying to take advantage of this situation. Microsoft recently warned its users about a virus that is hidden in fake Microsoft Teams updates.

In this article, our cyber security specialists explain the strategy of hackers involved in this scheme and how to protect yourself from it.

A fake MS Teams update with hidden ransomware

In recent years, hackers have developed new tactics to take companies and institutions hostage.

Ransomware, or CryptoLockers, are Trojan horse type computer viruses that lock data stored in an IT infrastructure using a technique called asymmetric encryption. The owners of affected systems have no choice but to pay a ransom to the hackers if they want to recover their data. This is the kind of virus hiding in a fake Microsoft Teams update.

A misleading advertisement that seems to be legitimate

To spread their ransomware, hackers simply bought advertising space online. Both on websites and in search results, internet users may come across a legitimate, professional looking advertisement informing them that a Teams update is available.

Thinking they are doing the right thing, many people click on the ad and unknowingly install a malicious file that contains a backdoor for hackers to access their computer.

How to protect yourself from these kinds of threats

The best way to protect yourself against this computer virus is to be vigilant about Microsoft Teams advertisements that you may see online, especially if they lead to a supposed update. We recommend always updating your MS Teams and other Microsoft 365 suite tools within the software itself.

Installing an antivirus and firewall specifically designed for a professional working environment is another good way to counter the plans of hackers trying to take advantage of the remote work environment.

To avoid having to pay a ransom to regain access to your data, you should also keep backups of all your data on a variety of platforms.

Finally, Microsoft itself has recommended:

  • Using a web browser capable of filtering and blocking malicious sites
  • Using strong, random passwords for local administrators
  • Limiting administrator privileges to essential users

Protect your IT infrastructure from viruses with Groupe SL

In conclusion, keep an eye out and warn your family and colleagues of this computer threat!

Contact our team of cybersecurity specialists if your computer systems contain sensitive data and confidential information that you wish to protect. We will be able to discuss your needs and suggest appropriate solutions.